Saturday, January 29, 2011

India can't win the World Cup



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Call me a damp squib or a moron, but India have little chance of winning the world cup. Two reasons - Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. These two guys were the bulwarks of the India batting and now they are spent. Literally spent and jaded. Add Dhoni to this and you will find that India cannot win without one of these three having a hand in finishing off games.

Sehwag is overrated in ODIs and I can't understand why people keep talking about him in the ODI context. He is a non-event in ODIs. It's between Gambhir, Tendulkar and Kohli therefore to put a game out of the opponents reach. When chasing one of these three guys has to fire big time for India to win. Granted it's three rather than one, but with the confusion in the batting order due to too many top order specialists, Kohli is going to come in flummoxed.

My recommendation would be to bench Sehwag and have Tendulkar and Gambhir open with Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni to follow. Dhoni and Yusuf can float depending on the situation. Yuvraj needs to be a fixture at number four. Zaheer, Praveen, Harbhajan and Ashwin can then finish up the eleven. Keeping Kohli out or accommodating Sehwag in the middle order by benching Raina or Yusuf will be a big mistake. He hasn't played in the m.o. for a while and as an opener he hasn't really stepped up when Tendulkar has had a bad day in office. Gambhir on the other hand has developed an appetite to play out fifty overs and pace himself.

But what's likely to happen is that India will persist with a Sehwag, Tendulkar opening pair with Gambhir at number 3. They might bench Yusuf for Kohli, but bring Kohli in at a time where he cannot build an innings. Add to it, the Yuvraj and Raina form issues and we'll have a confused set of batsmen.

Bring it on.

Other Posts on the World Cup

25 comments:

Shridhar Jaju said...

Vidooshak, you are the first person I have read suggesting Sehwag to be dropped. I agree that his reputation is built due to his Test performances and hasn't really fired in LOIs, but dropping him would be a big mistake.

He is an impact player. He is not meant to play all the 50 overs. I know that currently, he is not lasting the first 15 overs also regularly. But when he does, India invariably has an edge in the match.

And given the kind of player he is, I think he deserves his chances to be the opener of the Indian team. His opening partnerships with both Sachin and Gambhir have very decent averages, even if he as an individual doesn't!

Anonymous said...

Retard. You state that two guys are out of form and then you want to drop someone else? Sehwag averages 40 in 2010 and 45 in 2009 at a strike rate that only Yusuf can match or better. Raina and Yuvraj will have to fight it out for that last spot.

Golandaaz said...

Take a deep breath before you respond Vidooshak :-)

But I agree that Sehwag isn't a LOI player and also that his opening skews the balance. However I would convert him into a middle order batsman

Vidooshak said...

Gol -

I was thinking people would think I was a moron, but "retard" means the guy was being a little more sensitive. Anonymous thought I had a medical problem.

Converting him to an MOB for the WC would be experimenting of the extreme measure. I don't see him replacing either Yuvraj or Raina. His fielding being the decisive factor in those cases. Unless, Raina or Yuvraj tumble further in the form stakes.

India can't win because if Kohli does play he will play in Raina's or Yusuf's place. Both slots where he is adequate but not suitable. Sehwag and Yuvraj being untouchables hurts us.

Vidooshak said...

Sridhar -

I love Sehwag too, but he's an over-rated ODI player. His impact as an opener is lower than both Gambhir and Tendulkar. To fit him, we convert Gambhir to a number three, robbing the team of our in form number three that's Kohli.

Shridhar Jaju said...

Vidooshak, I'll leave my liking for Sehwag's game aside and look at the thing again.

I agree when you say he is overrated in ODIs. But I cannot justify dropping him for the reasons that I stated earlier. He may not be averaging great, but his partnership records opening with both SRT and GG are more than just good.

Plus, when the question comes to whether as an opener or in the middle order... I have this reason - if Sehwag clicks in a match, from where can he cause the maximum destruction? The obvious answer to my mind is the opening position. So that is why I'll give it to him. Plus, amongst the 3 openers in our team, GG is the most proficient at No. 3.

Govind Raj said...

Yuveraj has an advantage, thanks to the Selectors doing him a favor. He is the lone left arm spinner in the 15. He will have a lot of bowling to do as the WC progresses into second half. Can't see Dhoni dropping him unless he fails miserably in the first stage matches and India progress further.

For all Raina baiting, he hasn't done all that badly in shorter formats. He will be fine on Indian pitches.

Keeping Yusuf out will be a BIG mistake. But Dhoni is quite capable of that. He did that in the first 2 ODIs in South Africa.

Sachin and Gautam are sure selections. I do agree with Viru being a much lesser player in ODIs. But he has done well over pat 2 years and when he plays, pitch conditions matter very little. SP was the first to suggest Sehwag in the middle and I believe he will be an asset at No. 4 or No. 6.

In spite of being in great form, Virat has tough competition with Gautam being there.

So the axe effect may involve Yusuf, Virat or Raina and not Sehwag. I believe Sehwag should be in the starting 11 for the first match; but in the middle. He is a reluctant opener and has expressed his wish to move lower down the order.

Vidooshak said...

The answer to Anonymous's question. The reason I recommend that Sehwag be dropped can be found in the gist of the post which is that Tendulkar, Gambhir and Kohli will have to put the game out of the opponents reach therefore, reducing the reliance on Raina, Yuvraj and Dhoni somewhat. In my view the three I mention are a better bet than Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir to put the game out of opponents' reach. Plus, I didn't see why Sehwag would suddenly be considered for an MOB slot to replace either Raina or Yuvraj.

Vidooshak said...

Govind Raj-

You sum up the problem wonderfully. I don't see Sehwag being better in the middle order roles that Raina or Yusuf play. He can do as well in Yuvraj's role, but doesn't bring anything new to the bowling or fielding stakes. Hence my feeling that India will not win, because they will not take the bold step of balancing the side by dropping Sehwag and keeping Kohli and Pathan in the side. Instead, they will drop Kohli or Pathan for Sehwag creating a mess.

Rishabh said...

We don't need to drop Sehwag - his job is to provide explosive starts, which he does. The rapidness of his scoring can be sort of a cushion even if he gets out withing 15 overs, because it then gives a player like Kohli the time to settle in (which he always needs).

With Kohli now playing the role of batting through the innings well, Yuvraj isn't needed, or if you want to swap finisher for finisher drop Raina for Yusuf.

The top order is set and the middle order isn't, so why do you want to fix what isn't broken?

Mahek said...

Since January 2008:

Gambhir: Innings 64, Avg 46.26, Strike Rate 92.04, % of 50+ innings 34.38

Tendulkar: Innings 36, Avg 52.09, Strike Rate 93.28, % of 50+ innings 30.56

Sehwag: Innings 49, Avg 45.72, Strike Rate 123.01, 5 of 50+ innings 32.65

How exactly is Sehwag an overrated ODI player? He's done pretty well when Tendulkar has sat out.

Incidentally, the Sehwag-Gambhir partnership is more prolific than Sehwag-Tendulkar and much more prolific than Tendulkar-Gambhir. Since 2008,

Sehwag-Gambhir Innings 26, Avg 55.52, Strike Rate 116.83, % of 50+ stands 30.77

Sehwag-Tendulkar Innings 24, Avg 39.91, Strike Rate 103, % of 50+ stands 29.17

Tendulkar-Gambhir Innings 19, Avg 27.15, Strike Rate 81.5, % of 50+ stands 21.05

So basically you're suggesting we go in with the worst of our three opening combinations and the reality is we will anyway not go in with our best. Logically speaking it should be Tendulkar coming down the order, but we all know no one has the balls to do it so Gambhir will bat at 3 and Kohli at 4.

Govind Raj said...

Mahek,
Thanks and hats off for providing the proof. I was a bit clouded by Gambhir playing through the innings and Tendulkar's 200.

The Jatman has be there. It is true, he needs to bat about 20 overs for the impact others can create in 40 overs.

You have a point. The ideal opening pair is Sehwag - Gambhir according to recent records. But then, will they keep the 200 man down ? Can they ?

I would choose Yuveraj ahead of Raina because of the left arm spin option.

Ganesh said...

@Mahek,no matter what the numbers tell,it must be Tendulkar who should open the innings;along with Sehwag.
Sachin is a better big-match player than both Sehwag and Gambhir;and it would be certainly good to have him dictating the fate from the start.
A lot was being talked about how India has been playing well,despite making Sachin play in the middle order(During 2002);but after the NZ series disaster,India once again had to depend on Sachin to perform well in the World Cup.
Sehwag-Gambhir might've been good during 2008;but I can't imagine either of them to last for a longer time on the crease than Sachin

likeatracerbullet said...

Dropping Sehwag or making drastic changes in the batting positions after a relative period of stability reeks of the 'Greg Chappell method'!
Now is not the time for experimentation. Sehwag might not be the same colossus he is in the Tests, but he is an impact player. His presence in the team along with the likes of Raina and Yusuf are why India are legitimate challengers for the World Cup. These are the players, who can win the game single handedly. You cannot drop them that easily. If the same logic was applied in 1996, Jayasuriya would not even have made it to the playing XI!

Shridhar Jaju said...

Mahek, I know you have advocated a Sehwag-Gambhir opening stand for long. The stats say you are right. But here is an additional stat for you to ponder:

No. 3 position statistics:

SRT - M 10, R 92, Avg 10.22, SR 48.16, 50s - 0, 100s - 0, HS 31

VS - M 11, R 352, Avg 35.20, SR 108.97, 50s - 1, 100s - 1, HS 114

GG - M 31, R 1161, Avg 43.00, SR 82.75, 50s - 6, 100s - 3, HS 150*

The reason why we need to go with Sehwag-Tendulkar opening combo, in my opinion, is because we need the best top-3 (not just the best opening combination). If you put together the stats you provided with the stats given here, you will find that India gets its best starts with Sehwag - Tendulkar opening followed by Gambhir at No. 3.

Sachin's No. 4 stats are better. But No. 4 is too low for India's best ODI batsman. No. 4 is too low for a batsman who can bat the entire innings. He will be wasted at No. 4... but none of the three (SRT, VS, GG) will be wasted at top-3.

Mahek said...

Shridhar, you make a good point there. Maybe that is indeed a better option for us. Whatever it is, these 3 are sure to bat at the top of the order and that makes it all the more baffling that Kohli has hardly batted at 4 when that is indeed the position he will take up in the order.

Last but not least, I don't think 4 is too low for Tendulkar. It's hard to call him our best ODI batsman when he's played just 4 ODIs in the last 13 months. I think there has been hardly any planning with regard to the World Cup and as a result we're going to have 3 opening batsmen, a number 3 who will bat at 4, and Yuvraj and Dhoni struggling for runs.

Shridhar Jaju said...

On that point, I completely agree with you... there's hardly been a good solid plan in the lead up to the World Cup.

The only reason why I still feel quite optimistic about India's chances is the fact that I see problems in the think-tank of every other contender as well!

Govind Raj said...

Expecting Tendulkar to think like a middle order bat at this stage is tough. He will sulk and that will not be good for the team.

Expecting a natural born opener Gautam to bat at 3 / 4 isn't fair either.

Viru is the only one of the 3 who has expressed openly that he wants to bat in the middle. With a struggling Yuveraj, I think he may be the best No. 4 option. But then we will be going in with the least effective opening pair of the available combo.

Sad but true, Virat may even be benched if Dhoni decides to stick to Yuvi and Raina. Yusuf is too hot at present. It is unfortunate that one of the 4 will have to sit out !

Golandaaz said...

who has more endorsements amongst Yuvi, Raina and Kohli?

Not suggesting anything sinister here but sometimes what the market thinks is correct.

Endorsements will be a good indicator for what is most likely to happen.

Mahek said...

Gol, endorsements are often a sign of who is the most marketable player. That in itself is contingent on how well the player has been of late.

I don't have any details on this but I see a lot more of Kohli on TV than the other two. Infact, Raina has never been a prominent figure on TV. Yuvraj is more visible even now. I guess that means Raina will be the one who misses out.

Soulberry said...

It is a worthwhile idea to be flexible with Sehwag's batting order if required. I am not sure benching altogether is a good idea. Given the unreliable form of two or three key players, there may be a case for employing Sehwag to complete a chase.

AR said...

India 2011 WC Future

1) India win all matches upto Semifinal in Mohali

2) If by any miracle they win the Mohali Semifinal they will win WC 2011

Ronak said...

Watch out this link - http://www.inthemo.com/stuff/sports/indian-cricket-team - on InTheMO

Anonymous said...

This post sure looks downright retarded in hindsight.

Golandaaz said...

Completely agree :-)

But spare a thought for Vidooshak. Here's his first para

Call me a damp squib or a moron, but India have little chance of winning the world cup. Two reasons - Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. These two guys were the bulwarks of the India batting and now they are spent. Literally spent and jaded. Add Dhoni to this and you will find that India cannot win without one of these three having a hand in finishing off games.

All 3 showed up big time and you have the license to call the author "moron". "Retartd" is quite close :-) so your comment is entirely valid