Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cricket on Ambien

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As far as warm up matches go, none have truly met the objective. Things appear still fairly cool as my fellow opinionator Golandaaz has blogged. But some of these games have revealed a few insights into teams and their performances. A few centuries have been scored, some wickets have been taken and some teams have demonstrated intent.

Firstly, Pakistan has come to the party. They seem to have resolved their opening conundrum. Butt's malfeasance seems to have created a great opportunity for Ahmed Shehzad. I have not seen him bat. But based on reports, he appears to be the real deal. Misbah-ul-Haq too seems to relish his pivotal role in the batting order and has brought his form from New Zealand to the benign surfaces of the sub-continent. Be very fearful of this Pakistan team. They are the dark horses.

South Africa brushed aside Australia with ease. Steyn is unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence. I run out of adjectives to describe the joy in watching him bowl. My favorities Duminy and DeVilliers too are among the runs. Add Amla and Kallis and SA are formidable. Smith is their weakest link. Both from a batting and captaincy stand-point. Tsotsobe may reap a rich harvest of wickets as well. SA may fall short due to Smith.

India eked out a victory against Australia and we talked more about Dhoni's comments, than anything of substance. Batting must continue to worry India. The pitch that they played on wasn't typical, but their vaunted batting line up didn't show up. Sehwag wants to bat fifty overs. Fans please note that this means he is changing his game. This cannot be good news. India continue to be journalists and expert commentator favorites. Everyone understands that providing objective opinions about India will result in TV contracts, interviews, adverts and invitations to sundry awards shows being cancelled. India are being lulled into complacency. Until their middle order of Yuvraj, Raina/Kohli and Dhoni fires, India are sitting ducks for the good teams.

India's second game produced a more normal batting performance, but Dhoni hinted at Raina being benched for Kohli. A bold idea, but unlikely to stay that way through the duration of the World Cup. More batting changes are likely. Yuvraj needs to come good in the game against Bangladesh or risk being benched.

Sri Lanka too have readied themselves in a Sri Lankan sort of way. Since 1996, they have always been in the hunt, yet always been given less space than the other contenders. Sri Lanka too have a realistic chance of taking it all. They love playing on sub-continental wickets and they too have a fantastic batting line up. Kulasekhara brings the added consistency to their bowling that was thought to be lost after Vaas. They have five good bowlers. Unfortunately, they lack bench strength.

West Indies are still an exciting team on paper. They have sacrificed flair for method and seem to be out of sorts. On a good day, they'll win, but it's hard to see them win consistently.

Australia have got to be the worst of the top teams. They have brought many batsmen who are unfamiliar with the sub-continental surfaces. Ponting and Clarke seem to have found their feet, but it's not going to be enough. The bowlers need to deliver.

England would be very lucky to make the semi-finals given their fatigue and apparent lack of interest in ODIs. Their game against Pakistan may kick-start their campaign. But Pakistan have no shortage of desire. England have the arsenal. It's desire that appears to be missing.

1 comment:

ambien said...

I fall asleep within 30 minutes of taking the drug and sleep through the night. I wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my job. I am very pleased and thankful to have been prescribed this medication. I had been waking up during the night and not being able to get back to sleep. This led to being tired and not alert during the day - work day or not.