Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Resting Key Bowlers An Ill-Advised Move

image courtesy cricinfo.com

One cannot call it complacency. But resting two of your main bowlers for a match that represents a lot more than an increase in the points table shows a lack of vision from the Sri Lankan team management. Lasith Malinga, one of their new-found hopes, was injured. His non-inclusion was mandatory. With their strike prowess already down, Lanka should have played their best bowlers in order to put some doubts in the Aussie camp.

Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas are no greenhorns. The Australian batsmen have encountered the duo in possibly every cricketing condition and themselves are no mystery to them. Why rest them? What did Sri Lanka gain by doing this? Consider this carefully - a target of 227 could have been tricky had Jayawardene been given the experienced duo.

There was a tremendous psychological advantage to be gained, had the Lankans pulled the rug from under the Aussie feet. Imagine the Indian team of 1983 upstaging the then mighty West Indies. We approached the match fully aware of the fact that if we could do it once (Manchester, in the opening game) we could repeat the act. Sri Lanka had such an opportunity (if they are to meet Australia again in the tournament) but muffed it by not playing the right men.

The tale itself did not alter much from the original script. What really stood out was the positive Aussie attitude. No, I am never going to grow tired of repeating this. They are the only side who look at the power play as a period for grabbing wickets. With some very good fielding as backup to create pressure, the wickets go down in clusters and partnerships are never allowed to prosper.

Frankly speaking, there are no great shakes about this Australian bowling. But the discipline and never say die spirit gives it a bloated look. Ponting deserves all the credit for making the team believe that there is a wicket around the corner every time. The target was never going to challenge the strong batting lineup especially with the main strike bowlers cooling their heels.

South Africa have only themselves to blame for finding themselves in this quandary. They should not have let this opportunity go to such an extent and if England are to have one good day today, it is almost certain to be pack up time for the Proteas who somehow manage to play their worst cricket during the World Cup.

Both sides are beset with similar problems. The openers have failed to get going and the skippers are not among the runs. Sides generally lift themselves when the men at the helm strike and sadly that has not been the case with Graeme Smith and Michael Vaughan. Australia run away from the rest of the sides because nine times out of ten their openers give the innings the impetus and sadly England and South Africa have been found wanting in this regard.

The team that bats first will have a definite advantage. It is a high pressure game, and the side chasing will have a lot to contend with. My instinct says the team that musters more during the power play will emerge victorious.


Anonymous said...

I do not agree with what you say about Sri Lanka resting its key bowlers. If you are beaten once does not mean you would be beaten twice; likewise if you win once does not mean you would win a second time.

You are not alone in singing the hosannahs for the Aussies. Sri Lanka too have been using power plays to get wickets. Perhaps you did not notice.

Satz said...

hey krish...
Resting 2 key bowlers put Lanka on a back foot...However I feel its too early to make a call on the same as time & again those guyz have proved that they gel very well as a team & a break doesn't upset their rhythm too much...The Indian series which they lost comprehensively did not have any impact on the performance of their team at the World Cup...Remember the same bowlers were rested for the series
i have heard a lot of people comment on the structure of the world cup & to say that teams like India & Pakistan(especially) had one off day & they were out of the tournament...But look at the bright side is that England who have not looked like beating anyone ,now can win 5 games & be the world champions..Of course they have the "choking" South Africans to contend with...Maybe they shrugged it off after the 434 run chase epic...My favs to be S.Africa for the day unless Pieterson/Flintoff play a blinder..

Kalyan said...

Krish, As you put it in the title, Sri Lanka paid price for not playing Vaas and Murali.Silva is such a SL promising player averaging 50 plus in this world cup, He already has three fifties with another fifty added in this game.If Silva keeps his form he may one day might become SL captain. Another thought is even having Vaas and Murali would be a struggle to defend 226. The SL batting is not up to the mark in this WC and their main strength is with bowling of Vaas and Murali.

Dilip said...

Agree with the first Anonymous poster. The Lankans are not idiots and Moody most certainly is not. If they rested their key bowlers its probably because they wanted to give Aussies false hope and introduce an element of surprise in the event SL lost. Consider what would've happened had SL won -- Aussies would be left wondering how in the hell they are gonna beat SL when Vaas and Murali do come back into the side. It was an acceptable gamble.

Your point about Vaas and Murali not being greenhorns is similarly short-sighted. With the exception of Ponting and to an extent Gilchrist, how many times have the remaining Aussie players played those 2 SL bowlers?

And lets get this straight -- SL was **prepared** to lose this match. So your point about "paying the price for resting key bowlers" is sounding like a 'Doh!' moment to me.

Aswin Kini said...

Hi Krish, let us agree on the fact that Srilanka rested their key bowlers in order to avoid giving match practice to Australia. I agree with Satz, Srilanka would have struggled to defend the total even with Murali and Vaas.

Anonymous is 100% right when he says, "If you are beaten once does not mean you would be beaten twice ". I completely agree.

My biggest worry is that this World Cup has lost its glory thanks to lots of one sided matches and also the continuing Aussie domination.
Although Australia are playing cricket at a very high level than the other teams, they still don't deserve a fourth World Cup.

Australia have had no decent competition. Their continued domination has been a disgrace for the other teams. It's a shame for the game when only one team continues to dominate irrespective of the opponent.

If Australia's rich form continues, they are bound to win this World Cup. If they do so, please start writing an obituary for cricket.
I would rather watch Hockey, or Football than watch cricket because atleast they have evenly matched teams who can give constant entertainment.
I fear that Cricket has already lost lot of its glory thanks to the greedy ways of ICC and the shambolic performance of other teams, if the trend continues, then it's Bye Bye Cricket.

Please do read my article regarding World CUp 2007 in my blog www.crickcon.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Srikanth,

I wonder if we have team fixing influenced by MRF, Sony, Pepsi, and so on. I have a feeling that our commentators like Krish Srikant, Shastri, Gavaskar, Arunlal, Harsha are all part of team fixing and commetary fixing.

JUST look at the facts :

Every time Sachin Tendulkar fails, he got the unplayable delivery, the BEST ball a bowler could have bowled, a snorter, a sqatter or something which could not have been negotiated.

How many times ? How many times the same refrain ? LAST 5 series the bloke is failing miserably, not a finger raised by the pundits like Srikant, not even a concern voiced. In a country like Australia, Hayden failed for 3 matches and thrown out, and had to fight for a come back. Here our chief selector Vengsarkar and Captain Dravid said any number of matches Sachin failed he would still be part of Indian team. WHAT CAN GREG DO with such a team and such a mentality. I had predicted 6 months prior to world cup, check my blogs that going by two big facts that Tendulkar has been Flopdulkar when required to deliver and be counted and has not achieved anything in the earlier 3 world cup is a dead weight and would fail ABYSMALLY in this world cup. I had predicted that this world cup should see the end of Flopdulkar, which is a disease to Indian Cricket in the fact that the centuries come not when defeat stared and victory was to snatched from the jaws of defeat, or when the country expected to deliver, but when every other batsman scored(BANGAR scored, Ganguly scored and Tendulkar scored a century.

Even after such a miserable failure which would shame any sensible Indian, the THICKskinker wants to go on with the 50 crores per annum of product sponsorship, a part of that as Star TV put it goes to atmosphere creators like Jadejas and Krish Srikant, and hence for the 2011 world cup, this Faildulkar is our ONLY HOPE. and what we have seen is only a bad dream.

Gavaskar went on to say that Tendulkar would retire only in 2011, what an audacity.

4 world cups came and the flopdulkars were faildulkars and must Shame- karokar and Quitdulkar, and not Thickskinker, and coaxing Indian fans in to big hoax while making money for 50 generations of FLOPDULKARs.

We need a see a change please. Send this to Tendulkar and Ian Chappel. The criterion of the best batsman in the world are:

1> Number of centuries winning the test matches.

2> Number of centuries winning the ODIs.

3> Number of World cup won for his country, on the strength of his own bat(JAYSURYA and ARVINDA)

4> Number of ODI and test series won abroad, not including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

5> IN times of crisis, when required to be counted if delivered ( Yuvraj and Kaif in Natwest trophy.)

6> Snatching defeat from the jawas of defeat (VVS Laxman at Eden Gardenes)

Please recall one such instance of DULLDULKAR in the lst 3 -5-7 years.

THE BEST BATSMAN in the world.


Gullible Indians and clever MRF and Pepsi and corporates.

Now they have also disowned Faildulkar.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kris

I agree with most of the other comments here.

Some Aussie player - rather ex-player- has said something about Sri Lanka debasing the tournament by their omission. He would say it, won't he?

As Mahela said at the conference, he has a squad of 15 and he should have the right to play any combination of them. Only when a team like Sri Lanka does this then such objections are raised. We could equally argue that England's displays so far - I should say it is worse than that of Bangladesh - has the same effect but surely that would not be the politically correct thing to say. Certainly the commentators would not say it as they would then be denied the column space to droll out their useless comments.

Benno said...

To Aswin Kini,

You say:

Although Australia are playing cricket at a very high level than the other teams, they still don't deserve a fourth World Cup.

Just curious, who does deserve this cup then?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kris

Any comments on New Zealand not playing Bond and Oram?