14 June 2011

India in the Windies 2011 - Preview

The Windies

The whole “they were once the greatest but look at them now” discourse is really boring. When I started watching cricket, the Windies were still very good, and they have slipped since then. But a West Indies tour retains its worth for me because it is special.

It is special because it is the far corner of the world when it comes to cricket, and it is cricket’s only proper bastion in the western hemisphere.

It is special because it’s the West Indies. What sort of dimwit skips a West Indies tour for a rest? The sort of dimwit that can’t find rest in an archipelago of beautiful islands.

It is special because they were once great opponents. Maybe the greatest ever. I enjoy trolling through accounts of how good they all were.

And luckily, cricket is continuum, and to give you a sense of historical context, in 100 ODIs played between us, the Windies have won 55 to India’s 42. I.e., it will take 13 straight wins for India to even equal things between us. Still think the Windies are playing for pride in this series?

The West Indies cricket team of today may be no match to their predecessors, and the pitches and politics may be shite, but I still like to watch them try, and watching them win today is probably the least pissed off I have been after an Indian loss.

Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons are worth keeping an eye on. They have interesting bowlers in Roach, Rampaul, Taylor, Edwards, Bishoo, and of course Russell. Most of them are good athletes. The batting seems pretty weak, but if Gayle and the selectors could get over the “we aren’t speaking to each other” nonsense, there would be at least one seriously destructive batsman in the side.

I was hoping that they won at least one of these JAMODIs. I think it is best not to stir up the home team’s spirit with a clean sweep at inconsequential LOIs, when you want to whop them at real cricket.

And just to give you the proper historical context for that, of the 82 test matches played between us and them, they have won 30, and we 11.

The Umpires

Norman Malcolm has to be the worst umpire I have ever seen in international cricket. I have never seen a dismissal like Pollard’s in the 3rd ODI. I mean, he gave it out only because the Indians wouldn’t stop appealing. You could see that. And the way he gave Badrinath not out in the 4th ODI was simply astonishing. I have seen Random Rudi do something like this once before. I can’t be bothered to remember where. But even Rudi didn’t slide his hand across his neck to ask the players to shut up after he had half lifted his hand to give a player out! Such obvious indecision from an umpire should spread like wildfire amongst the players. Given the power that umpires exercise in cricket, his further participation in any serious cricket would be an injustice to the players whose careers he impacts.

The Commentators

I never got to watch Dujon play, and from what I read he was pretty impressive. As a commentator though, he is just hilarious. He obviously doesn’t give a shit. The other day, he says “so Pakistan win” just after India won a match. Well, we’re often on the verge of war, but were once one, and are pretty close on a map, so maybe his confusion is understandable. Today, he watches a super-slow-mo replay from Amit Mishra and expertly pinpoints that “that’s the carom ball.” All with this lovely drawl and he never bothers to correct himself. That’s pretty cool. Take a bow Test Match Sofa, you guys have some serious competition.

And Us

Rohit Sharma’s been ok, Kohli less responsible than you expect of him these days, and Raina pretty flaky. Of the batsman, Parthiv Patel has surprised me pleasantly.

Unfortunately Badrinath looks like a Ramprakashian figure in Indian cricket. I have never seen him comfortable against an international attack, and I can’t see him in our test side (Wellofcouse as someone who struggles against a 50mph tennis ball, I would be happy to be proved wrong).

Amit Mishra pleases me. But I don’t know if that’s just because he is a leg spinner or if he is a good leg spinner.

The Ashwin – Harbhajan contest is interesting. A lot of people seem to be backing Ashwin to replace Bhajji. Ashwin definitely looks like the better batsman, but when in comes to their bowling, I am unsure.

Ashwin is always economical, and Bhajji is a lot of the time, but who gives a shit about that. What concerns me is that Ashwin effectively spins the ball with one finger, thereby limiting the amount of turn he can get. A spinner who doesn’t turn the ball is like an eggless cake, i.e., a slow-medium bowler, Jonathan Trott even!!!

Hopefully Ashwin can get the Kumble mojo going. He interests me.

1 comment:

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