Friday, February 19, 2010

What I liked about it

Having watched one of the more gripping Day5s in recent times, here are some thoughts.

What I liked:

1. The fact that the win was achieved with 3 bowlers and Viru was biggest takeout for me. What they can do with three, they ought to do with four. The five bowler theory can be buried till Irfan is back in the thick of things.

2. Harbhajan bowling like the ought to do. No, I am not talking about the five-fer. The lines he bowled and the willingness to give the ball air (no doubt taking courage from a 350 run cushion) have redeemed him - partially - for now.

3. Mishra's response to criticism. No chest thumping. No targeted abuse at media men on anyone. Just the wickets of Smith, Kallis and AB. Thank you very much. He had to run to and hug MSD after those wickets, dint he ;-) The confidence MSD seemed to have in him (or was it compulsion) rubbed off on Mishra. The googly came out well on occasions as compared to Nagpur where it went into cold storage.

4. Usual suspects - Viru, SRT and VVS delivering when it mattered. The first two named gents perhaps feeding of the presence of the third. Viru's hundred was initial offensive. Sachin's was an "another day at office" kind of knock. VVS and MSD stuck the knife in when it mattered. While Sachin has the Damocles sword of ODI world cup which he needs to tick off from his list, VVS has no such agenda. He plays for the sheer pleasure. Count the number of 60s and 70s on his stats page and we will know that here is another who could have finished with 25 Test Hundreds today instead of 15.

5. Ishant repaying the faith kept by his captain. It is not to say that he has recovered his bowling mojo. Why, that spell of short pitched stuff to Amla (on which the momentum turned) was grossly overdone with all the menace of my neighbour's cat. But, boy, did he run in and give it everything, like he always did. While Sreesanth may have possibly given more wickets, there is no guarantee that he would have kept his head on such a day. Hence, despite his awful control and the pace that is now in the low - mid 130's , I would say Ishant grew up today and became a man.

6. Lance Klusener and Venkatesh Prasad. There was no jingoism or malice. Just thoughtful comments and good grace. Venky seemed to get over his awe of Sunny Bhai with passage of time. Zulu had a shy smile when he talked up South Africa's chances. Now, if only they could stop saying "We".

What I hated:

1. Harbhajan's horrendous celebratory run and the obnoxious post match comments. Enough has been said and written about this over-rated bowler. He shot off his mouth yet again with a rant that was as tasteless as it was opportunistic. Similarly, the fact that he is playing to the galleries should not distract attention from the fact that he turns in this kind of performances once in a blue moon.

2. The dissing of Mishra in some quarters - stuff like "big boots to fill" and "he will never run through a side". Give him the confidence and the chances. A leg spinner is rare in cricket and we have two guys in Mishra and that young bulldog Piyush Chawla who have shown calibre. And like good Indians and we are too eager to brand and consign them to the dustbin. Ask South Africa how difficult it is to get a classy spinner. Ask Sri Lanka if Mendis Season 2 was as effective. Ask England what a difference Graeme Swann has made. Why are we so bent on self flagellation? Stick with him. He will deliver.

3. Many people pronouncing Badrinath as "not good enough". I know the guy's body language sucks and is a wallflower for most part, but give him the Sri Lanka series and let us see. For all we know, if the nightwatchman had gone ahead of him on Day 2, it could have been his day along with VVS. Did we not see in Nagpur that he has the mettle? Patience, people - he may not make than 15 ball 35 in an IPL quickie, but what little I saw suggests that he is Test class. The fab four did not happen in one day.

4. The obsession with Ranking. Let us see the Ranking for what it is. A status based on the points system that reflects current position. The channels, the commentators and everyone else seemed to go on and on about it.

5. The fact that one person who needed to make the biggest impression in this series made if for the wrong reason - dropping Hashim Amla. Murali Vijay was incessantly talked up by people. He seems 'to belong' unlike Badri, but did not have the bloodymindedness to make it count. He and not Badri was the replacement for RD and it is for that reason that he will rue this series as a missed opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. Late,

    Class, as always! Agree with you on many aspects:

    1. Bhajji : He should trust his bowling more and brain less. If he just bowls the right line, and gives the air and drift, he can thrive. He needn't depend so much on variations, the doosras and teesras. Just get the first one right man!

    2. Ishant: I liked the fact that he dug out inspiration from the depths to conjure up those 2 much needed breakthroughs with Zak out.

    3. Bhajji: Like it's been said over and over again, just keep your mouth shut man! Why does he feel the need to be so obnoxious after every single performance is more flummoxing than his bowling itself.

    4. Murali Vijay totally blew it.

    Disagree/wait-and-see approach with:

    1. Badri: Shorter leash with him because he needed to make it count and just didn't. For some reason, he didn't look extremely convincing. You have to make it count as a batsman. I hope he gets another chance. He does deserve it.

    2. Mishra: He needs to be a little faster through the air so that the batsmen don't have so much time to adjust and still play. He definitely has the spin and length right.