Everybody has something to say about India's tour of South Africa. From the surgical to the purely cosmetic, the solutions have come thick and fast, (like Ntini's cutters. Sorry, but I had to say that.) I can't claim to add anything more to what has already been said. The batting has been atrocious, as it always has been in South Africa. Pathan continued down the spiral, even captaincy could not deter Sehwag from flirting with danger, Agarkar does not deserve a place in the side if he can't make his experience count and Kaif continues to inspire fear. Dinesh Mongia still tries everything to get out, Sreesanth hasn't learnt too many lessons, his much touted 'willingness to learn' notwithstanding. Yada, yada, yada.
Any bright spots? Sure. Zak's back, and how? But for the last ODI he managed to work Grame Smith out like he was a simple linear equation. He looks leaner, fitter and hungrier. Good. Anything else? Well, Dinesh Kaartick, maybe, for playing a good hand in the Pro20. Is he worth persisting with? Yes, provided he does not go the Raina way.
Chappel was too easy with the paudits really early on in Raina's career. I am not saying that all of Raina's travails date back to those comments about greatness and ToI as ususal went overboard with comparisons with Sachin, but when he found himself all at sea against Pollock, Ntini, Nel and Co., he had to return to the basics. What basics? Don't you know that in India we don't have any basics. We rely on the artistry of the Azhar-VVS-Ganguly types or the sheer class of Tendulkar. Basics are for workmen. Like Dravid and Kumble - two people who can work their way back from the deepest rut with sheer bloody mindedness. Basics? Or guts? Both, in my humble opinion.
Coming back to Dinesh. Is there place for two keepers in the team? Well, Dhoni qualifies purely as a batsman. And Dinesh, if he works on it can make that claim as well. In any case, wicketkeepers are bond to be decent fielders too, and Kaartick has been doing food work in the deep. So that is the silver lining. Slim sliver. And that shot that went directly behind the stumps for four (yeah, like Douglas Meriller did to Zak!) was amazing. It was g..no, I'll stop myself. He is just a random cricketer from Tamil Nadu. Hopefully, he will do even better in the days to come.
I love you, P. See I am so smart. Nobody reads this blog anyway (except Tyrone, my other love, sometimes), so I can post personal messages here without embarassing you, or myself.