Wednesday, January 11, 2012

India can be dangerous at Perth

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After an uncharacteristically business-like performance on and off the field by the Australians, the put-on good behavior seems unsustainable with Hadin cracking first. Two victories is all it takes for an Aussie to start preaching his "insights" and passing free unsolicited judgement best left for casual chit-chat over drinks (or blogs like us).

I thought Australia's strategy to talk up this Indian team and saying all the right things about the batting and Sachin Tendulkar in particular was working well. Inviting Rahul Dravid to deliver the Sir Donald Bradman oration served up well in the context of this strategy. Even before a ball was bowled, Australia had used flattery to subdue India into complacency. 

So I am not sure if there is a change in "strategery"; or it was a one off case of Hadin losing the plot. 

Things don't look too good for India. When cricketers start reacting to rowdy crowd behavior, one has to conclude that the team is cracking under the pressure. It happened in the West Indies during the T20 Championships, England, and its happened now in Australia.

The Dhoni v Sehwag rift, is entirely a creation of the Australian media. That's what I would like to believe. Except  Virendra Sehwag, on occasion, no one from the team really likes to speak his mind or opinion on cricket matters. Surely that is not to assume that there may be differences of opinion in the team. I hope there is and given how different Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sehwag approach their games, it can't be a surprise to anyone that they might differ on tactical matters from time to time. To suggest that there is a "rift" between the captain and his deputy is perhaps stretching things too far.

India are dangerous when incited and even without the drama of words I am strangely optimistic of India's chances for the rest of the series. 

India, for much of the year, was a team in denial. After Sydney I think what the team saw in the mirror must be hard to turn a blind eye to. Perhaps what is reflected will spur them on. Also this Australian team is not known to string together victories yet and there might be just enough pride, desire and skill left in the ageing Indian team to turn one against the home team.

Though I hope that does not translate to mass euphoria and the seniors are given another free reign for an unspecified amount of time. If that were to happen, I would gladly settle for another loss at Perth.

Composition wise, it does not make sense to drop VVS Laxman mid-series or replacing Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma. Ojha for R Ashwin seems even less of a rational move given the left handers in the Australian team and traditionally off-spinners doing well in Australia. 

However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be forced to make token changes. 

If a change is indeed forced by the selectors or the BCCI, what I would truly like for India to arrange it self around Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at 3 and 4 however appropriate and for the seniors to bat around the two. Of course nothing of that sort is going to happen but the reason for this suggestion has many motivations, the main reason is that the seniors, once again, have gotten away without criticism for routinely putting Raina and Kohli under pressure at #6. Additionally the change is both tactical and long term oriented. 

6 straight failures of the middle order; however accomplished the order may be; surely must be cause for tweaking.

Kohli coming in higher up the order with the assurances of his more illustrious team mates yet to bat may just set him up in the right mental frame of mind.

Irrespective, I think Australia are in for a rude shock at Perth. I have nothing to base this on; other than plain old optimism and romanticism that I would like Sachin, VVS and Rahul to dazzle one last time.. as a unit


Bala said...

I find it strange that you are over-biased against the seniors (Of course other than Sehwag :) to the extent that you wouldn't mind losing 4-0 but you don't want them to succeed. Also i find it hard to agree seniors have put Kohli/Raina under pressure by making them bat #6. After all that is the most convenient position to bat because you don't lose either way. If the top order had scored heavily you can bat with gay abandon but if the top order had failed no body notices #6.They are certainly not the game makers. Plus they get to bet when the bowling is at the most tired an the ball loses its venom. I am sure the these seniors will be fair enough to call it a day when they see themselves a burden on the team. The reason i suspect they have continued so far is purely because they are deep down convinced that they are still the best. It is up to the rainas and Kohlis to knock them of the line by putting in the necessary performances when the chances come their way. After all ganguly was almot forced to retire how many..5 years back or so and no body has made that spot on their own still !!

Golandaaz said...

Who cares what the seniors feel deep down within. India have lost 6 matches in a row and rarely lasted beyond the first new ball and always put the #6 batsman on the spot.

Check our scores and check the score when the 4th wicket fell; its a sorry story.

Now bias is a negative sounding word, but yes I have been against the seniors continuing after losing 0--4 in England. You have a bias for them, I have a bias against them...we can say it that way

And yes, if a win @ Perth results in another free ride to Sachin and Co; then yes I would probably say its a high cost for a win.

So how about this my ultimate wish is that India wins at Perth with the bowlers taking 20 wickets and Virat and Sharma scoring centuries and Sachin and Co. flop. This way I am not being unpatriotic :-)

Jay said...

I don't think you can lump Sachin with the rest.
Right through Eng and here in Aus he has looked good. The only thing that seems to have affected him is the 100 century nonsense. Once that is out of the way, he will be piling up the runs again. I will the last person to be surprised if we see Sachin make yet another tour to Aus.

Golandaaz said...

SRT can and should be lumped with the rest...especially if you consider his performance in the last 1 year.

In England he struggled to score 273 runs (90 odd of which came in the last innings of the tour) at an average of 34.12. In comparison Matt Prior had better numbers.

Plus he is more interested in the IPL than Test tours. I don't see why he should be allowed to play on. If his performances were winning test matches, then yes but we have lost 6 in a row

rizzle said...

When you read comments like, "If his performances were winning test matches, then yes but we have lost 6 in a row", you realize why the internet is a shit hole that magically allows a turd piece to have a loud opinion and voice.

Someone flush this moron please. Thank you.

Golandaaz said...


Vidooshak said...


The big advantage for India will be that Pattinson will not be playing. So batting has a better chance of coming good.

Just like India subdued Australia minus Hayden at Perth last time and Australia minus McGrath and Warne at Adelaide in 2003, this time too the odds theoretically favor India.

Plus, I don't see Ponting being able to repeat. So Aussie batting vulnerability is intact. Take care of Hussey at Perth and India have an upper hand.

Translating that into a victory on the back of a "senior" renaissance is what fans are looking for. Will they get it?

Golandaaz said...


I agree...

Hosts make the mistake of assuming that responsive wickets will spell doom for India. Actually it plays into India's hands because it brings our bowling into play.

If you see right from Lords, our batters have failed more or less on flat pitches. The MCG was the only truly and consistently bowler friendly track. Right through the English tour the pictches had only a few sessions per test where the ball was doing anything...

On truly challenging conditions, with the opposition down on their key resources I will actually back India over Australia. Our batters are far more accomplished in such conditions than Australia's

On Ponting... the thing that I will say in his defense is that he had adapted. He isn't being stubborn like our pack. HE has dropped a slot in the batting line up and it has worked.

Our oldies refuse to assume any responsibility for losses while when we were winning the accolades were gladly accepted. Take the #6 situation for example...everyone keeps pointing out (including me) that we haven't found Ganguly's replacement yet and people are critical of Kohli and Raina but after last year I am wondering if the criticism against them is fair. The reason being our oldies have routinely left the #6 to fend for himself under a lot of pressure...

Vidooshak said...

Gol -

Playing into India's hands would be a stretch, but in general I agree that it brings the fast bowlers into play.

Blaming the seniors for Kohli/Raina non-performance is a HUGE over-reach. You are getting carried away.

Kohli, Raina or whoever is going to bat in whichever position need to come good in the match situation presented to them. Otherwise, you'll have a century on debut Raina style and then fail miserably when a real need exists for him to come good.

Kohli has a unique problem. He has all the support and backing in the world, including those that don't support our view that seniors should be phased out. He hasn't simply transitioned from an ODI mind-set to a test mindset. This is a skill issue, not a match situation issue.

Golandaaz said...

Of course I am not putting the entire blame on them but creating grounds for tweaking the batting order