Monday, 19 March 2007

Task Cut Out For Team India

Team India have only themselves to blame for the perplexing situation they are in. The timid approach against Bangladesh has cost them dear and the danger of constantly trying to exceed expectations against Bermuda could well lead to them not playing their natural game.

The calculators will be out from today. The net run rate (NRR) will be utmost on the minds during the last two games and in order to take some pressure off in the last game, India must get healthy on the NRR front against Bermuda and not leave too much to be done against Lanka.

The best route to a healthy run rate would be to bowl first today pack the minnows to a lowly total and finish the match quickly. Batting first and rattling up a big score would do a lot to the confidence of the team but if the wicket was to seam in the first hour and India trying to go berserk, could lead to chaos all over.

As far as the team composition goes, Anil Kumble should come in place of Agarkar. Robin Uthappa should go back to open with Sourav and Sehwag (If he is in the XI) should bat only at five. Rahul at three and Sachin at four gives the side a solid look at least on paper and with all experiments failing there is nothing wrong in having batsmen in position they feel at home.

India have nothing to lose from here. Let the so called stars not play to save their reputation, it can only lead to more punctured egos. The match between Australia and Netherlands was another example on top sides not trying different things just because the opponents happen to be a weaker outfit. Has Ponting ever batted in a different number if the or has McGrath tried anything out of the ordinary just because he is bowling to a set of unknown batsmen?

The trick lies in playing your natural game and sticking to your strengths. India should resort to a settled batting order hence the player knows and understands his role. Let all polices on flexibility be thrown to the backburner. Batting and spin will be India's strength and let them stick to that.

The demise of Bob Woolmer was a tragic event and another stark reminder on how stressful this game has got. It is no more a sport it used to be. The media explosion has everybody (player and coach alike) minutely dissected and they are always under the microscope and that pressure can get too much at times.

The pressure and high expectations can affect a player’s performance. Sachin Tendulkar was a clear case of nerves in the opening match. The fear of failure has got him. And if it can adversely affect someone mentally as strong as Sachin, spare a thought for mere mortals.

I have not interacted personally with Woolmer but I have heard him as a very warm human and a great cricketing brain. Sad, pressure took a toll on his health. It is indeed a very sad day for World cricket.


Bharadwaj Sheshadri said...

Sir, How much of a role does politics play in deicisions taken within the team such as batting order, etc? Do you think foul play is involved in the Woolmer demise?
Kindly reply either at or to

Anantha Narayanan said...

I feel that the bowling composure of the Indian team is not well balanced. I make these comments based on India's performance against Bangladesh.

Zaheer Khan and Agarkar had a very poor time bowling against the minnows. But Munaf patel had a decent spell against them. What happened to our pacers?

It was a noticable mistake to not include Kumble in the match. We had not much experience in the pace bowling attack other than Zaheer Khan. And the bowler in form Sreeshanth has been left out in the bench. If he was included in the match against Bermuda, at least we can be sure of a good pace attack in the big match against Srilanka.

Any way we shall pray for the entry of India into super-8 for now.

Voice in Colombo said...

Well, India batting first, made 413-5 in 50 overs. India's highest ever, and highest ever in a world cup. I'm sure now the pressure in back on Sri Lanka (Not Bermuda of course)

Now, surely the Indian will get the benifit of NRR at the end of this match, making it compulsory the Sri Lankans to win both the remaining matches.

I'm waiting with my fingers crossed.

Oh gosh! It's so hard to wait with fingers crossed. Bangladeshi's shocked both India and Sri Lanka, with their surprise win!