Friday, March 18, 2011

Indian team for West Indies

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India take on West Indies at Chennai over the weekend. They are desperately looking to gain some credibility as contenders. Australia and South Africa look like runaway favorites at this time. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also asserted themselves at different times in the tournament. New Zealand too have won in style against Pakistan. England eked out a great win against South Africa.

India is the only team that has no wins against elite competition. If anything, they have had tough wins against Ireland and Netherlands. Their very first game was about the only one that went to script. The tournament committee too planned belters for their games against elite teams. I'm assuming the hope was that India's batting would blast the team to high enough total to spook the opposition. Strangely, it was England that burst this bubble in Bangalore and led everyone else to believe, leading to South Africa not only stiffling the middle order, but also overcoming their choking ghosts.

Dhoni reminded everyone after the Ireland game why India was playing seven batsmen. It took that many to put away Ireland. However, all of these batsmen didn't manage to put away England or South Africa. It appears that the bowling weaknesses are screaming, but are not getting a listen. Against South Africa and England, India's bowlers couldn't defend fourteen runs in the last over. It appears that batsmen, including tail enders realize that India's trundlers are easy meat. While the debate about whether Harbhajan could have stopped South Africa is a good one to have, the fact that Dhoni didn't trust him to bowl the last over shouldn't be glossed over.

So what should India do versus West Indies. I feel that they should go with five bowlers and bench either Kohli or Pathan. Given that so far acceleration in the last ten hasn't happened, I'm inclined to think that Pathan should be benched for Ashwin. However, the equation in a chase could be different. Pathan becomes a different force in a chase. However, Kohli deserves to anchor a chase as well to see if he still has it. India's batting strategy is to depend on the top three to score the bulk of the runs and let the next three provide the finishing touches. So it's time to hold Sehwag and Gambhir accountable to their roles.

Strengthening the bowling will also provide insurance against potential meltdown of part timers. While people might argue that West Indies will easily use the pace of fast bowlers, I will suggest that the ground doesn't support that theory. If the pitch plays like it did in the game between England and South Africa, India's fast bowlers will be effective. India's batsmen should be able to overcome the threat posed by Benn and Bishoo, much more effectively than Gayle and Pollard are able to handle Zaheer, Bhajji and Ashwin. Yuvraj can bowl a few if Nehra or Munaf get some stick.

Bottomline is that India needs to register a good win against West Indies to gain some momentum going into the quarters. Given the way they are playing, it looks like another semi-final loss is coming. Unless, the team suddenly rediscovers it's mojo that is. This team can scare other teams, if it comes to the party. The top order is nearly there, it's time for Yuvraj and Dhoni to really step up their game.

Will the real India please stand up?


Govind Raj said...

The 'Real' India is standing up Vidooshak !

They have played true to form. They have done precious little in ICC events except for the 2007 shock T-20 win !

Anonymous said...

Good summary Vidooshak.

For me any sport and especially cricket is all about momentum and drive, assuming you have a decent overall team. Which India is.

I am a huge NFL fan and what India needs is the momentum of the Packers and the drive to win like the Detroit Lions. The Lions lost most of the games in 2010, but showed up for every game. They were there to win it. If you have the drive and the zeal to win, the momentum will follow you.

All I want my Indian team to do is "SHOW UP", put up an awesome fight every game even against the minnows. You cant control a "win", but you can definetly control effort and energy.

But when I see the body language of the Indian cricket team against England, Ireland, or When I see Dhoni saying multiple times that "slow fielders will be slow and we cant change that", I feel like we have already lost and given up on certain things. This is not gali cricket.

The real question is "Will the true Indian team show up and put up a scare for the next 2 games"

I am stuck in the success of the 80's with the 85 Bears and the 83 Worldcup win.

"Wherefore art thou Kapil"

Abhay Bapat

Golandaaz said...


This Indian team is showing no heart. Beginning to resemble English football teams at world cups.

There seems to be an air of superiority complex and tendency to complicate seemingly straightforward areas of strategy

Dhoni is leading an exercise in expectation management and media relations

Anonymous said...


A very lack luster win against WI. They will loose to the Aussies. And if that happens, Indian fans will be in a deep freeze from the disappointment. How far is 2015? And I say all this strongly hoping I am wrong.

Surprise me!!!!


Golandaaz said...

Losing to the Aussies is a possibility but Australia looks very brittle. On current form better Australia than SL.

Aus had only 3 tough opponents to play in their group. Pak, SL and a NZ team comming off a horrendous India tour.

They beat NZ but lost to Pak. The rain in the SL game saved the Aussies from being completely exposed in this WC.

Anonymous said...

BCCI are palying with the emotions & feelings of millions fan of cricket. Ahead of this world cup they know indian team is lacking of good seamer than also they have not appointed a good bowling coach for indian team. We dont know how much they will paly with our sentiments. How much we have to bear with bowlers like Ashsih Nehra & Munaaf patel. After Playing this much cricket thety are still unexperience they even didn't know how to bowl the tailender batsman.
Indian fans are very upset with indian performance in this world cup. Ahead of the world cup india was the favorite. But our weak attack has proven that we this worldcup is not for us.

How much time we have to wait for a good bowling for india like i.e... Wasim Akram, Allan Donald, or some other great bowlers.