13 September 2007

Zimbabwe stun us, and Australia

I don't want to write too much on T20 because I really haven't seen enough of the format to even come cloase to understanding it. Do good Test batsmen remain good T20 batsmen? Will the minnows find it easier to topple an established Test outfit? Two days into the tournament, there is a flurry of results that refuse to show up any "trend". But Zimbabwe and Taylor, that was awesome. Cricket fans everywhere bar Australia rejoiced with you.

And to continue the focus on the future Indian ODI team..

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina was the poster-boy when Chappell was still Guru Greg. Prodigiously talented and reminiscent of the young Yuvraj Singh, at nineteen he was toasted by many as the "next big thing" when he calmly walked in at five wickets down for under a hundred, and proceeded to polish off a large total against England with crisp and elegant shotmaking. Raina was also one of the exciting young fielders that formed part of a creditable offside cordon that also contained Yuvraj and Kaif. However, the same notions of "flexibility" that showcased the versatility of a deep Indian batting line-up, returned to haunt Raina. Shuttled up and down the batting order, he became a confused shell of his former self, and that was severely exploited by bowlers in the Champions Trophy. In his last seventeen ODIs, he did not cross fifty once and was pretty much a big hole in the Indian batting line-up, averaging under twenty for that period. The horrow finally culminated in his axing prior to the World Cup, and he joined compatriot Mohd. Kaif in the domestic circuit. An injury to his knee also ensured that unlike other international discards Sehwag, Pathan and Harbhajan, he was not on the team to South Africa for the Twenty20 World Cup. Raina was as much a victim of his early success as bad man-management. Making it back to the team will not be easy given that Kaif, Rohit Sharma, Sehwag, Karthik and Uthappa can all legitimately lay a claim on limited middle-order positions. But if he does, he will have learnt that inner demons have no place in international cricket.

6 comments:

Sumit Chakraberty said...

suresh raina is a good example of the harm that a bad coach and captain (chappell and dravid) can do to a budding talent. chappell built him up as this great talent that he had discovered for india, messed him up with high expectations instead of quietly grooming him in a steady batting position, as buchanan did with michael clarke. don't know how he's doing these days, but i liked his batting except that his weakness outside offstump got exposed and he seemed unable to do anything about it. a good coach might have made a difference.

John said...

He's playing in Delhi today, turning out for India A, under Mohd. Kaif.

John said...

But quite inexplicably, wasn't part of the squad. Parthiv Patel, Akash Chopra and S Badrinath made the most of the opportunity, though..

Sumit Chakraberty said...

ya nice to see kaif got a duck because i don't want him back :) anyway, i think it's hard to form judgements about players in such matches. i saw a bit of chopra - he was blocking everything even though he was on 160 odd and the team was at 440 odd. he obviously has no interest in helping the team win the match. at the end of the day, his double century or whatever will look impressive. the only way to counter this is to also give weightage to strike rates which hardly ever figure in domestic match records.

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