19 March 2008

Return of the Sree and other boring matters

Been a while since that war dance, the defining memory of that series, happened. Sreesanth had a fantastic tour of South Africa, though the batting frittered it away every time he and Zaheer had South Africa down in a heap. Boring, cautious batting from the two sides did not help the series though there was a result in every match - quite like the Eng-NZ zzzznorathon going on right now.

Sree now returns from injury to find a place in the team because of injuries to Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, to bowl under Anil Kumble's captaincy for the very first time. The recently concluded CB Series not only saw a much calmer Sree, (who incidentally, has attributed his new Zen state to Ayurvedic treatment), he was also modestly succesful with a few crucial wickets.

With such intense competition for a spot in the Indian fast bowling ranks, how Sree copes with the drudgery of bowling to Ashwell and Jaques, and the biffing to be expected from Grame Smith and ABDe could determine his future in the Test bowling ranks. Will he keep his cool? Unlikely. Will he be succesful? Perhaps. Smith, Jaques, Amla and co. are unlikely to have forgotten about Sree's wily ways. In any case, Sree will be part of an attack that might contain two left arm seamers.

Edit: Sree's rehabilitation though, is just one of many cataclysms that we have seen since that eventful tour of South Africa. Foremost among them is the end to those meandering days under Dravid, to a more purposeful approach under Anil and MSD. Dravid may have been a more astute strategist, but Anil and MSD are delivering more spectacular results.

Dada's return. If memory serves right, that tour was when he made his comeback, and things have been pretty rosy for him in the Test arena since then. With Yuvraj and Rohit Sharma barking at his heels, this series is no different from the previous few which have all started with his place under threat.

Pathan was sent home in disgrace from that tour, having lost his form so horribly since his brilliant hat-trick. Not only was he crucial in that win at Perth, but he has made himself pretty much indispensable to the balance of the ODI team. The pace and nip are not quite there yet, and it is forseeable that he may find himself in a restricting role, once the ball loses shine.

South Africa was also where Karthik was asked to open for the first time. Having impressed, he went to scale greater highs in England - not only as opener, but as general cheerleader-in-chief, before returning with a thud at home against Pakistan. Now he finds himself a back-up for the tireless MS Dhoni, Sehwag having claimed the opener's spot with aplomb in Australia. Unfortunately for him, it also looks like Gautam Gambhir and Chopra have somehow climbed higher up in the pecking order to replace Jaffer if that becomes necessary.


Aashrey said...

I miss that dance though.
Any chances of it happening again?

Sree's supposed to have taken up meditation now. The little boy's maturing.

John said...

It will happen again, but on the TV screen, after he has been paid a few crores by Hindustan Lever/Marico.

Anonymous said...

Sree was quiet in the CW series because he got whacked to every part of the field. On the openers, I thought Akash or Gambhir should have been tried out instead of Jaffer. No point in loosing hope in Jaffer but it is necessary to also try out the rest.