19 January 2008

All's well with the world

Right now, life seems to be clothed in a mellow light, there are birds singing outside my window and they aren't annoying, and the weather in Delhi is just the perfect mix of cool, breeze and sunshine. Also, India have just won themselves the most signifcant match since I started watching the game.

Even if India go on and lose badly at Adelaide, to script the first half of a turnaround from 2-0 down, is remarkable for a touring Indian team. Forget the events at Sydney. Forget that it was Perth. Forget that the legendary Hayden was sitting out. This match is one for the ages, simply for the confidence-injection that it will give the likes of Arpy, Pathan, Ishant, Dhoni and Sehwag. Here is a team that can now create its own winning streaks, provided they continue to look forward.

Ishant Sharma will leave Perth knowing that he made the best batsman in the world today, look like a tailender. Pathan and Sehwag know that they belong in the international arena. Arpy knows for sure that he can lead an Indian attack in years to come. Dhoni hasn't messed up with the gloves all series.

Can we forget the role of the Chief? Lead kindly Kumble. Credit to him for lifting the team from Sydney. Hope he lingers as captain for more years. What a champion! Nineteen wickets in the series already. Talk about leading from the front!

Pathan has become a very smart cricketer, and I suspect he is fast turning into what Uncle J Rod calls a Probot. When asked to bowl when the ball is flying around, even a television viewer is arrested by the sense of calm that he brings in. You can almost see him make an assesment of the situation, and quitely determines the line and length that is largely required. That he had evolved into someone who could look beyond the storm, was clear in the T20 World Cup itself. In Tests, he is not only a bowler who can make the new ball talk in helpful conditions, but also someone who can be relied upon to keep it tight when the strokemakers are set, and perhaps induce an error. With such an abundance of left arm swing bowling options, he may not always make the team, but his presence will make Zak and Arpy persevere for improvement. Man of the match in the T20 finals, a hundred in his comeback Test match, and now another MoM performace when it counts.

Sehwag should go forward from here and he should not give anyone a reason to question his spot at the top of the order. His contribution to this team cannot be measured in terms of his runs, wickets and strike rates alone. "Work ethic" was one of those sound bytes floating around when he was dropped and it is up to him to make sure that not even demented selectors and BCCI mandarins have a reason to say that again. But what a bowling performance, na?

Jaffer remains the only one to have not made a contribution in Australia, and the knives are out. I hope they persist with him, but I have no words in his defence. But I will stick by my point that as a team looking to challenge Australia consistently, a settled opening partnership is important, and that means identifying openers who will do the work for you over the long run and then sticking with them through good times and bad.

Australia will need to reconfigure their bowling attack, and in all probability, so will India. But Mitchell's skills as a swing bowler are under some doubt, and Wasim Akram keeps criticizing his new bowling action on air. Ponting needs to do something about that fast, or find a better third seamer. He also needs to ask himself if he got carried away by the hype. Why did he not include a spinner at Perth? Was it because the part-time spinners did better than Hogg in Sydney? Or did he believe that this Perth wicket required a four-man pace attack? He will need to question how he arrived at that conclusion. It is strange when a visting team assesses conditions better than the home team.

As for Adelaide, expectations are already sky high. Mather Hayden will be back, and India have a chance to level the series. I cannot wait.


Jrod said...

I don't think he is a Probot, you are right he might become one, but he has what music executives call the x factor, and they snort alot of cocaine, so they should know.

Viswanathan said...

Indeed all's well. :)

Soulberry said...

Morning and Congratulations John! Your fifth bowler "turned" the key (wink) when needed most!

I have about 2 hours of random play from yesterday saved on disks to look at.

I had to attend a funeral out of town yesterday.

Anonymous said...

All went well John... am adding you to my blog roll... cheers

John said...

Really happy that Sehwag's back, Soulberry. Hope he does not give anyone reason to question his place.

Thanks, Scorpicity.