Monday, September 12, 2011

Future not bleak for India in ODIs

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In the run up to the World Cup and in the immediate aftermath of the victory, I was chuffed about India's bench strength. India seemed to be able to win matches despite some of their best players not playing games. They seemed to be able to cover for the stars when they were gone.

India unearthed some serious talent in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan this way.

However, when I ran Statsguru to check India's record when Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Zaheer were all not playing, I found that India had won only one game out of five. India have always needed some of the big guns to deliver in the ODIs.

While pundits and fans alike may feel that the mighty have fallen, we must pause and think. India's third or fourth string team have given England a few things to think about in the ODIs, although, England seem to have an answer to everything that India has thrown at them. With little or no experience in English conditions, India have started finding their feet. Despite these players never playing as a group before. Some instances of panic were there, which is perhaps due to lack of experience.

Credit is due to Dhoni for ensuring teamwork and camaraderie.

On the bad news side, Ravindra Jadeja continues to demonstrate his inability to handle pressure. He has been roped in as a replacement for Yuvraj and now appears beefed up and more fit. However, in crunch times, he seems to panic and lose his poise. Enough has been invested in him.He can't deliver the final punch. As much talent as he seems to possess, he seems unable to step up at crunch times.

Frankly, I can't understand why Yusuf Pathan was not considered instead of him. Virat Kohli seems to have taken his fiery baptism in test cricket into his ODI game. There appears to be a crisis of confidence. Unlike Raina who seems to be able to compartmentalize the two formats rather well, Kohli, could be suffering from a hangover. However, he is too good to languish for long. It won't be long before he re-discovers himself and starts leading again.

Rahul Dravid hasn't really stepped up, even though there was ample opportunity. He seems to be in great nick, but somehow he's lost the ability to convert. In the absence of all other senior batting pros, he was supposed to provide the solidity. Unfortunately, he can't seem to get going in his last ODI series. A poor swansong for an all time great.

Dhoni and Raina cracked the code in the last ODI, but it was too little too late. Parthiv Patel will probably continue to remain on the fringes, although his hooking and pulling has been a great sight to watch. It's been ages since we've seen an Indian batsman hook and pull with such calm.

Rahane has been the find of the ODI series. He needs to continue to work on his game and improve it. He's got attitude, guts, shots and desire. In may ways, he's very similar to Kohli. Hopefully, he'll be nurtured just the way Kohli is being looked after.

Good signs all.

On the bowling front, RP, Munaf, PK and Ashwin seem to be ok, but they are unable to combine well. They are also inconsistent and are giving away too many boundary balls. A four every over seems like a definite possibility with all these guys. RP seems to be dusting off his cobwebs, but he'll never be a spearhead in the Zaheer mold. He does have enough potential to be a troublesome side-kick, but India need to desperately unearth a leader for the pack. Munaf is flattering to deceive, even though he seems to have all the stuff. PK has heart, but not the stuff. He'll probably continue to do yeoman service, but India will realize that they can't go into battle with him if they have to win big games against big guns.

The heartening news seems to be that Ashwin is ready to take Harbhajan's place in the ODIs. There are probably a few series after which this will come to a head and India will have to make the tough choice.

Harbhajan needs to find his fire again, if he is to fairly keep his place in the side. Despite the losses, India's ODI future is looking decent. India have won in the past without Tendulkar, but they fast need to find an answer to their bowling issues. Zaheer Khan has been huge to India's success.

To regain their aura, India will need to find another Zaheer or Srinath or Kapil. Within a year or so, India needs to find the core of it's next World Cup side.


Fantasy Cricket said...

Yes I agree as most of the youngsters need the guidance to play at highest level. As its seen on this tour of England on live pitches Indian Batsman were struggling to score runs as well as after Zaheer Khans Injury none of the baller was able to get wickets on regular bases. BCCI should allow Youngsters to play county Cricket.

Vidooshak said...

FC -

Frankly, even our most experienced cricketers have always struggled against swing and bounce. That's another reason that I am optimistic. To a certain extent, India has always been a fair-weather bully. Very rarely have we won a test match against a team in seaming conditions away from home. The only time that I know is the 1986 England tour.

asp said...

Indian team really need good fast bowlers, need good coach (Stephrn Fleming). No use of yusuf patan he only plays in ranji trophies not in international cricket.

Unknown said...

Yes your right. BCCI can bring young players in the team and it will be chance to prove their skills for youngsters. Previous ODI's Indian players were struggling in all aspects. This can be overcome by introducing youngsters in the team, so that fans can pick the consistent players in their league while playing Online Fantasy Cricket in websites.