10 April 2007

Re: Pervy's comment

Thanks, Pervy. Obviously, Chappell and Dravid thought that Tendulkar was better equipped for the slow low middle overs.

The decision (if one were to believe the sound bytes) was born out of the following premises:

1. Ganguly had to be in the team. Period.
2. Uthappa had to be in the team. Not on an impressive track recors, but to keep Sehwag in check and for the promise of creating magic.
3. Tendulkar may be a better opener than either, but the team needed him in the middle order. Why? Because, Tendulkar is a "master of the angles", as somebodysaid, and there is no better single-runner in India. Plus, if the team needs a boost in the middle overs, Sachin has never had a problem shifting gear now, has he? Remember Greg saying looong back, that this world Cup, "will be won in the middle overs".

Objectively, you have to agree with the logic in point 3, particularly with the benefit of hindsight. Looking at the succesful teams in this World Cup, everyone bar the Aussies have relied on a middle-order heavyweight to pile up the big scores. Generally starts have been sedate, even Jayasurya eschewing the hammer-and-tongs approach in the first five overs. Styris has been a giant, Jayawardene is back to piling the runs and Ponting never really stopped. Kallis, even though he has been a bit slow, has made sure that the Africans were well placed for Boucher-Pollock-Kemp-Hall to make a difference at the end.

If this logic were clearly explained to Tendulkar, then it was up to him to swallow a bit of pride to do the dirty work. And who knows, things may have clicked on some other day. As far as strategies went, this one had as much going for it, as any other one.

The problem however, is if it were the first two factors that influenced the decision-making than the third. If that were the case, one cannot fault Tendulkar for losing commitment.

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