Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dhoni's Mood Swing

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Its difficult to understand the intent. Were India being defensive or was the move an attacking one? I am talking about the toss of course.

Traditionally, India's batting is its dominant hand. Called on to both defend and attack.

Yesterday, however at Capetown, it was India's bowling that was called up. Was their job to attack and get South Africa out. The weather serving as the catalyst.

Or defend India's famed batting.

Was Dhoni worried about the batsmen who have put up 3 scores of less than 250 in the 4 innings so far on the tour.

Historically Capetown entertains its batsmen for the first few days before it invites its bowlers to the party. If that is true, then once again India will be batting when the pitch is at its worst.

Of all the tosses Dhoni had to win, he won the one that he would have been better off losing.

From being dismissive of his bowlers after centurion, he is now entirely seduced by them. Why the sudden mood swing?

I think the 1990 Lords Test is still not completely out of my system. In a sudden bout of aggression that must have come over the normally gentle and conservative Mohammed Azharuddin, he invited  England to bat on winning the toss.

Captain and opener, Graham Gooch scored a triple hundred.

Yesterday was not that bad of course, but 200 odd for 4 down after having put the opposition in does not justify the decision to field first. The batters needed to be given first use of the pitch. Surely three chances should be enough to finally get the opening day batting right

On the surface, India's record in the last 6 tests, on the road, where they have invited the opposition to bat, makes good reading. 5 wins to 1 loss.

The details will make you slightly less impressed. 3 of the wins have come against New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Further specifics will make you wonder if we have given away to much already on day one. In the 2 wins against strong teams, India bowled out England for 198 in Nottingham 2007 and Pakistan for 224 at Rawalpindi in 2004.

Clearly the results justified the intent. Then.

What was India intending to do yesterday. Hide their batsman or expose South Africa's. If its the former, the mission's accomplished, if its the later it was at best a 50-50 day. Not entirely disappointing.


Vidooshak said...

Not a completely bizarre choice, given the amount of grass and the weather conditions. Indian bowlers need that help. Giving SA bowlers (#1 in the World among them) first use may have backfired. It's defensive-ish move, but I think pragmatic. The weather is supposed to be good the next four days and the expectation was that this match will follow the pattern of Centurion with a less helpful pitch. So I think it's defensible decision, but it also shows some lack of confidence in the batsmen's ability to bat through poor conditions. Now India may end up chasing over 400 on the last day and it's not optimal.

Tees Maar Khan said...

Hats off to King Kallis. Unless India get SA out under 350; it's going to be an uphill task. Mr.Sehwag, you are cordially invited to the party. Please show up.

Golandaaz said...

Welome TMK! with a name like that there is no end to what you can achieve; even be a guest writer on our blog. Where the only quaification is to have a curious sounding name

Golandaaz said...


I agree its defensive-ish

Dhoni is known to create his own history but he has gone completely against the norm here.

In fact a visiting side has done what Dhoni has done only twice before. England on both occasions.

They won one game in 1896 and drew the other more recently.

Not sure how Dhoni suddenly had the balls to trust his bowlers so much.

Lets see how it goes; for now I feel we have given away the series.

Anonymous said...

I think MS had no choice. The conditions demanded that you field after winning the toss.

India should have done better, however, Kallis is King at Newlands and his innings yesterday was brilliant considering the difficult surface.

Imagine if Dhoni had batted on that surface with Steyn and Morkel steaming in. I think it could have been very ugly.

To sum up, India didn't play badly, however, they did lose concentration at times which gave South Africa time to compose themselves after a horror start.

Four wickets wasn't enough but they have time to recover with the new ball in a few hours. If they don't clean up South Africa quickly (before 320)India will be hard pressed to win the match.

Golandaaz said...



But I am surprised he did not ask the batsmen to put their hands up and deliver under difficult conditions...

Obviously the sub-par scores played on his minds and so far none of the batsmen have done much on this tour to improve their career numbers in SA

I guess it was a pragmatic decision.

Lets hope for a 320-350 type score

Anonymous said...

And a Kallis even 100. He deserves it after his flawless batting yesterday.

straight point said...

dhoni tweeting ala clarke: sorry for winning the toss and opting to bowl... the overwhelming emotion of finally winning a toss got better of my judgment..

on serious note... i don't know why we are criticizing dhoni... with the overcast support we have this good a show by our bowlers... now imagine had the sun been there throughout... :)

with the bowling attack we have... they need every bit of help from track and the decision was just that...

Golandaaz said...


Not criticizing; just trying to understand the motive. Was it a defensive move or an offensive move.

To me it sounds a bit defensive.

Ganesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ganesh said...

Even I was surprised that,Dhoni opted to bowl first on a Traditional Batting paradise.
South Africa might've been 'restricted' to 362,but look at the number of deliveries 'eaten' away by Kallis and co.
1.5 days taken away.Chances of an Indian only lies in batting like how they did in Kolkata test in 2010;else expect a draw at best.:(
It was more similar to Ganguly opting to bat first on a Flat Wanderers wicket in the 2003 WC Final;at-least here the move didn't backfire;our loss(God forbid.) can certainly not be blamed on wrong decision taken after winning toss here.

Anonymous said...

Dhoni should not be let to continue as captain