22 January 2008

Paandav kitne the? (Or the power of five)

If you're not the kind of Indian cricket fan who goes only by the scorebook, the end-of-Perth analysis of this series is this:

Bowling has been excllent. Batting has been ho-hum, but all but one have shown they are in good form. Regardless, they won a game which people are calling the greatest win ever. So, excellent.

It would be unreasonable to burn effigies now, even if they come back 3-1, even if the fourth was an huge innings defeat. Let me be clear that I think it is unreasonable to burn effigies anyway.

This means that the Indian team goes into this match with a license to thrill, and so it does not make sense to go in without the power of five. Arpy-Pathan-Ishant-Kumble-Bhajji.

Looks good on paper, and even better in the first three matches. Be sure that they won't reduce the Aussies to dust at Adelaide, but we know they can trouble their best.

Is this series a statistical anomaly for Michael Hussey (avg of 54 only)? Or will we learn that Michael Hussey is a statistical anomaly? The bigger threat is Mathew Hayden. How does one get Hayden out cheap? Especially if he just wants to score runs and nothing else will do. Well we can start with throwing five decent bowlers at him.

What of the batting? There is no doubt that Jaffer has been the weakest link, and if Kumble's thinking concurs with what I have said above, he will have to get the chop. I would have preferred it if it were a middle-order batsman, but none of Ganguly-Laxman-Dravid can be dropped at this point.

Your best batsmen or your best openers?

At the same time, everyone but Jaffer have shown some excellent form, and what is rumoured to be a batting beauty is perhaps, just what the doctor ordered. Ganguly has a point to prove and this is his best chance. And Sachin and Laxman are not without a sense of occasion - their last chance(?) against the best team in the world playing at home. And there is Dravid with all those happy meories at this ground.

But this should, by no means, be the end of the road for Jaffer. I suspect there is an even chance that it may be, but that would be very cruel to a man who made runs in England, West Indies and South Africa.

Is there a case for a parallel change to bring in Dinesh Karthik in place of Dhoni? There is, because then we can continue to keep Dravid at number three. But is this going to happen? No.

Australia does not need to play five bowlers. Also, with Brad Hogg into the batting at Adelaide, there is a lot more sting to the tail than merely that other statistical anomaly-Mitch (avg of 99 only).

I hope Mitch continues to play, and I hope he overcorrects his wide outside offstump line and bowls on the pads.


straight point said...

ideally the line up should be same except dk for dhoni and bhajji for jaffer without disturbing the balance of the team...


make pathan open...everybody comes in their usual spot...and what worse pathan can do then say jaffer???

what you say?

John said...

I think it is a risk worth taking. Do you remember Headingley 2002? With the series drawn at 1-1, India wanted to play five bowlers and opened with Sanjay Bangar, to not upset the balance in the side. The rest is history.

And guess who was the opening batsman who had to make way?


Soulberry said...

Looks like India is thinking alike but the Indian team isn't. Now that we have all said so, Dhoni might just make use of the fresh lease of life Haydos has given him and leave us writhing in shame. (laugh)

I agree DK should have been played in the spirit of nothing to lose and everything to gain.