Vantage point

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

A few thoughts about the ongoing series -

- Sami and Shoaib are two amazing bowlers. This is the first time I have properly observed Shoaib in about 3 years and I can confidently say that he is miles ahead of the other fast bowlers in world cricket. The closest competition is Sami. Lee is not even in the same league. He just lacks the range. What Sami and Shoaib need is a good bowling coach who will help cut out their errors.

- Ashish Nehra's split webbing is, in my opinion a blessing in disguise. A bowler as prone to breakdowns as him, better take a break now, during the pyjama phase of the series. That way he will be fit for the more important test series.

- This is an ODI series after all. It can only get exciting up to a certain point. It lacks the more glorious uncertainties of test cricket. Which is why this TEN Sports wrangle hurts me so much. It means I am missing out on the more lip-smacking prospect of Sri Lanka and Australia battling in the test arena. Every day as I read of a dramatic day's play from the Island, I curse Bukhatir. It has been ages since I have seen Warne bowl. Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! :(

- Yasir Hamid is a decent bat. His innings, according to me, was more responsible for the 329 rather than Afridi's.

- Tendulkar still can't finish ODI matches.

- In places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa etc, a middle order that features both Laxman and Dravid seems formidable. However on the absolutely flat 300-plus-everyday subcontinent tracks, they are going to act as dead weight. 60 off 70 balls is a brilliant knock overseas. But here, it means that 10 balls were wasted. And more often than not, that is what makes the difference. Even if someone does waste those balls, there should be someone who makes up for them. So if a Laxman wastes those balls, Sehwag or Yuvraj should make up. The way Afridi made up. But yesterday, we lost the match because of Ganguly's 15 off 38. The 23 balls wasted were not compensated since Sehwag and Yuvraj did not click.

- When every 300-plus chase gets close, it stops becoming interesting. 2 matches into the series and I am already bored. "Team X chase/almost chase 300 plus". Ho hum, so what's new?

- Powar is a promising bloke. Balaji's cool head more than makes up for his limited talents.

- Zaheer is obviously not a 100%. Why is he playing pyjama cricket? Send him home, and call him back for the test series. No one remembers who wins one day series. It is the tests that matter. Even now, no one is talking about how Australia whipped us in the one day series. They are talking about how we gave them a hiding in the tests.

- Miandad is a funny guy. :)

- This Indian team has fighting spirit. Despite what happened eysterday, they are not chokers.