Thursday, 19 July 2007

No place really for Ganguly

This Test series will be the litmus test for Team India that left for the United Kingdom sown with self-doubts and still emerged with a degree of respectability after the wins in Ireland. The scenario could have been slightly different had Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff been fit for the Test. With the duo missing out on account of injury, the sides look equal, at least on paper.

With the second half of the summer promising a run feast only Harmison and Flintoff could have troubled the Indian top-order with their disconcerting bounce. If the newfound successful pair of Dinesh Karthik-Wasim Jaffer see off the new ball there should not be too many demands on the seasoned middle order.

The bigger question is about the capability of the Indian attack to take 20 wickets. Zaheer Khan looks to have regained his touch and if there is something in the conditions Sreesanth should also come into play. The third seamer slot looks a bit open but R.P. Singh with his high arm action and straight wrist could well win the race. He has developed the one that comes into the right-hander and looks the best bet to go on to play on hallowed turf.

Anil Kumble will have to bear a bigger burden this time around. Unless the think tank decides to go in with five specialist batsmen, he would be the only spinner and for him to wheel his arm over relentlessly would not be easy on a shoulder that is not getting any younger. A confident start by the bowlers would be handy and there is no reason for them to think they can't get 20 wickets as some pundits have been suggesting.

Not many gave us a chance when we toured England in 1986. It was the persistent line by our seamers that paved the way to fantastic results. It is a question of getting the basics right. All that I have said might look like the most mundane statement by an ex-cricketer. But, believe me, nowhere else in the world is a player rewarded as in England for sticking to the basics.

The reason for India drawing the series in 2002 was the might of the batting. The effort of Sanjay Bangar and Rahul Dravid on the first morning in Leeds was worth its weight in gold and the team started believing they could punch well above their weight. With Sachin Tendulkar among the runs and Dravid always dependable, the task ahead of England bowlers does not look too rosy either. Sachin has not got going in Lord's and that should be motivation enough for him when he goes out to bat, probably for the last time in a Test match there.

Going by tour reports, Yuvraj should be sitting this Test out. My heart goes out to the youngster who is in good form. Personally I would have gone in with Yuvraj ahead of Sourav Ganguly but given the latter's ability with the ball and his record and experience in England, things might have gone in his favour.

It looks as if we have some exciting cricket in front of us and the side that starts better would have the definite advantage. Given the way England batted against West Indies in the recent Test series, they might have their nose in front, but only just.

My XI: Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, V.V.S. Laxman, M.S. Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, S. Sreesanth and R.P. Singh


Cricket Guru said...

Hi Krish,

Surprised that you left out Ganguly from your squad.

I was watching the 1986 Leeds test on Star Sports yesterday. Do you still remember the shot (straight drive you played against Graham Dilley? Awesome. But the contrast could not have been more stark, coming as it did after Sunil Gavaskar's trademark straight drive off Lever!

The catch you took at forward short leg to dismiss (Derek Pringle, I think) was extraordinary. It was a full blooded pull shot, still, you never turned around, as most fielders standing so close would, but instead kept your eyes on the ball all the way to your hands!

Pleasure to be on your blog.

mohan said...

The depth and density of your analysis were made evident when you spoke less than 3 lines about the theme which you had named your article after.

Three days after the second test, I dont need to say anything , as Ganguly did take a wicket and did make 79 runs .. did take part in crusial match winning partnership with Sachin to help you realise the heights at which your miopic thoughts were sitting rather heavnely relaxing.

Start using your brain MR. Krish, records are good, expert commentator on CNN IBN should be expert in his thinking. Yuvi did no great in any 5 day version of the game to claim aganist Sourav.

Kirsh, please haan .. we thought you shoot off only your wicket trying poddeen-headed batting techniques .. but we did realise also the true with your mouth ..

last but not the least .. you must be dared enough to publish my comment ..

Another kris ..

Amit Bajaj said...

india's fav 4 may not have delivered the goods that we all think they should have had, but each one of them can be so bloody good every now and then that one can't just write them off...i am sure now that ganguly seems to have cemented his position, the get-some-young-blood brigade will direct their knives and axes at laxman, but don't forget we are playing a lot against australia in the coming days...

Krish Srikkanth said...

Dear Mr. Mohan,

Thank you for writing to me. I am glad that you expressed your opinion frankly, which gives me an opportunity to make myself clear.

The article was never intended to be an in-depth analysis on Ganguly’s place in the side as I thought there were other important issues as well to be discussed. Since most other players were well settled in their respective positions and only Ganguly’s position seemed to be the only one up for competition, the article carried the title “No place…”.

Honestly, I am glad that Ganguly proved me wrong. Almost all the players have performed creditably well. To me, what has stood out is the performance of the eleven players as a team, and if we were to look at the performance of the team in the overall perspective, one will be able better understand the contribution of individual players. Even Anil Kumble came up with a crucial ‘30’ odd runs, not to speak of the wickets that he took.

I do not wish to comment further as I believe what I have stated above is enough to make those who have in-depth knowledge of the game, understand the underlying meaning in it. However, I stand by my belief in Yuvraj’s potential as a match-winner. I am sure I am not alone in this belief. This is not to belittle the performance of Ganguly, which is definitely most creditable and most praiseworthy. But a good performance by one player does not automatically make another player, sitting in the sidelines, less competent.

K. Srikkanth

Krish Srikkanth said...

Hi Amit!
I full agree with you! But I thought Lakshman too has performed creditably well and it wouldn't be easy to dislodge him from the side. Having said that, I must also admit that infusion of fresh and younger blood into the side is an inevitable process, and is an accepted fact of any team game anywhere in the world and our players can be no exception.

Krish Srikkanth

kunalsingh said...

Hi krish,
can you tell me why you are so much against Ganguly. he was the top scorer in first test from Indian Side. And he has played marvelously in the second test.

Krish Srikkanth said...

Dear Mr. Kunal Singh,

Thank you for writing to me.

I am really shocked that my general comments seem to have given the impression that I am against Ganguly. This is far from the truth. Actually, I am one of his ardent admirers and I am really impressed with the way he has managed to stage a come back despite heavy odds and proved his detractors wrong.

If my comments on the composition of the team have given you this impression, I must clarify what I said were in the overall perspective and were in no way directed against any individual, least of all Ganguly. Having said that, I must also confess my anxiety to see that young and budding talent is not allowed to go untapped, in the long-term interest of the game in India. My comments should be viewed in this context and I would certainly not want it to be twisted out of context.

With regards,
K. Srikkanth

kunal singh said...

hi krish,
Thanks for your comments. I also agree with your concerns about youngsters not getting enough chances. But, I can still debate if Ganguly should be first to go out from current team composition.
That aside, it really makes a difference when more youngsters are on the side. Indian youngsters are really full of talent, enthusiasm and energy.
btw, you are one of my my favorites cricketers so far.

Krish Srikkanth said...

Dear Kunal,

I fully agree with you. The team building exercise is a continuous process and one should never lose sight of it. I also agree with you on Ganguly. If he continues to perform, there can be no question of replacing him. The hunt should always be on to infuse fresh blood, not for the sake of it, but to have fitter, ever competitive side for the future of the Indian cricket.

K. Srikkanth