Tag Archives: 50 Overs

Champions Trophy – Top order and Bowling a major concern for India

India takes on South Africa in couple of days in Sophia Gardens and they still have few issues to address before the big game. The team selected for a major trophy like the Champions Trophy has a few gaping holes which might prove to be India’s undoing in the tournament. Murali Vijay has failed in the two warm up games and so has Dhawan. Rohit Sharma’s continued lackluster showing at the international level isn’t helping India’s already inexperienced batting lineup.

The batting entirely depends on the experience of Dhoni, Raina and Kohli. Dinesh Karthik has shown excellent form in the two warm up games and Dhoni will be hoping that he takes that form into the tournament. The opening combination of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan does not inspire a huge amount of confidence at the moment. It seems like Dhoni will not open with Rohit in the Champions Trophy which means that India has to stick with the Vijay/Dhawan combo for the tournament unless they push either Pathan or Karthik to the top of the order.

The bowling too lacks experience in the absence of Zaheer. Ishant Sharma isn’t consistent enough to lead the attack and Irfan Pathan isn’t the same bowler he was at the start of his career. It will be interesting to see the combination India go in with for the first game against South Africa. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has done enough to retain his place in the squad and I am thinking that Umesh Yadav will share the new ball with him. Ishant’s good performance against the Aussies in the second warm up game will help him hold on to the third pace bowling spot. Jadeja is almost a certainty for the all-rounder spot in the X1 and Ashwin might just hold on to the specialist spinner spot in the team ahead of Mishra.
The top order is still a concern for India and so is the death bowling. The Indian bowlers were carted all over the park by the Sri Lankan batsmen in the first warm up game. Even though the bowlers made a great comeback in the second game, the concern still remains. The consistency of the pace bowlers and the spinners is to be questioned. Dhoni will hope that the Indian bowlers hit their straps when they take on South Africa in the opening game of the Champions Trophy.

The top order has crumbled in both the games only to be saved by Kohli/Karthik in the first game and Dhoni/Karthik in the second game. Vijay and Dhawan have both failed to get going in both the warm up games and it will be one of the areas of concern for the think tank. India found themselves 62/3 in the first game and 55/5 in the second. The top order need to get their act together if India is looking to progress to the Semi-finals. Rohit Sharma also hasn’t spent any time in the middle and has thrown his wicket away at least once in the two games he played ahead of the Champions Trophy.

This will be a difficult tournament for both Dhoni and Fletcher. The team is inexperienced and also it will be difficult for the players to shun all the commotion which is happening currently in India post IPL. Dhoni has been in the center of it all and he along with Duncan Fletcher has to make sure it does not affect the team performance. This will be an interesting tournament for the Indian team and it will be interesting to see how the youngsters perform at the highest stage. Champions Trophy is a tournament where there are no easy games and the teams need to hit their straps right away. India will know that and will be looking for a good start against South Africa.

Team India preview – Weight of Expectations

India would be entering this world cup not only with the pressure of being one of the host nation but also one of the favorites. The favorite tag is not something given to them just for being the host nation but has been gained by Dhoni’s men through consistent performances over the last couple of years. So let’s take a look at the Indian team composition.

Everyone knows that the strength of Indian team is always their batting and rightly so. The batting is power packed with the addition of Yusuf Pathan lower down the order. The top order comprises of Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Ghambir followed by Yuvraj Singh, Raina/Kohli and Dhoni forming the middle order. So a fantastic batting line up who can on their day destroy any bowling attack on the subcontinent pitches. Sachin joining Sehwag at the top means that Ghambir has to drop down to number 3 in the order.

Virat Kohli’s excellent form with the bat for over a year means that Suresh Raina would most probably have to give way to him in the X1. Yuvraj will hang on to the number 4 spot followed by the captain Dhoni and Pathan to provide the finishing touches. The bowling though will be a huge concern for the captain and the coach. The combination for their first game in just couple of day’s time will be a huge headache. None of the pace bowlers looked threatening in the couple of warm up games which India played. The spinners though did a brilliant job. So now the question is whether to play a 2 pace/2 spin combination or go with the tried and tested 3 pace/1 spin attack.

The spinners Chawla, Ashwin and Harbajan have for sure out bowled the pacers in the lead up games which means that Dhoni might want to go with two spinners. Zaheer will be for sure one of the pacers in the team but his partner is still to be decided. Nehra, Sreesanth and Munaf have struggled in the lead up and none of them has looked like picking up wickets or containing the batsmen with the new ball. So the tossup can be random as it probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference. So all in all I think the onus is for sure on the batting. The batsmen cannot have too many off days in the middle during this world cup. The Indian bowling is thin and on flat batting decks will struggle to contain the opposition.

The Indian team for me resembles the 1996 Sri Lanka team when they won the world cup. Sri Lanka’s plan was simple during that time, bowl first and chase with their powerful batting line up. They like India only had one good pace bowler and one experienced spinner. They relied heavily on the part-timers to choke the opposition in the middle overs and it was extremely successful. So India needs to also play to their strength which is their spinners. Harbajan and Chawla/Ashwin will be the way to go for the Indians.

So with great batting and adequate bowling for this conditions, India for sure are one of the favorites for the world cup. I think if the bowling stands up to be counted this time, they have an excellent chance of going the distance. Dhoni also has to use the part-timers wisely and has plenty of options in that regard. India have had a decent track record at world cup’s played in the subcontinent as they have at least reached the semis on the previous two occasions (1987 and 1999) and would want to go one step further this time. This world cup also marks the last for Sachin Tendulkar and he would for sure want to sign out from the 50 over format in a grand style. I hope that team India can give us fans with plenty to cheer about in the coming month and a half and I wish Dhoni and his men all the success.

My Indian X1 for Bangladesh clash: Sachin Tendulkar, Virendar Sehwag, Gautham Ghambir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni (Capt, Wkt), Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla/Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth (I go with sree as he has the ability to produce match winning spells)

Eden’s loss is Bangalore’s gain but what about the fans?

Historic Eden Garderns will not host an Indian game this world cup

Another major event in India and we have yet another controversy. This time it is the cricket world cup. ICC recently conducted their review of the stadiums hosting world cup games and found that Eden Gardens, Kolkata was not up to the mark. They snatched the India-England game which was scheduled to take place there on the 27th of this month and are contemplating taking away the other games too. This is really a shame on the part of both the CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).

All the stadiums had ample time to prepare for the world cup. It’s not as if the venues were decided at the last minute. The tier 1 test grounds in India hardly get international games, so there is no reason for them to fall behind the schedule. Apart from the IPL, the only International game I can think of last year was the test match between India and South Africa in Feb 2010. Surely money cannot be the issue either considering the wealth the BCCI has at their disposal. So what can be the reason for this debacle? It’s for sure the mismanagement of the Indian administrators. I am not sure when the administrators will realize that such mismanagement affects the pride of the country overall.

When ICC (International Cricket Council) said that Eden was not up to scratch, BCCI was immediate in washing their hands of the matter. The BCCI said that they should not be blamed for this scenario. It’s very strange that the cricket board of a country in which a mega event is about to take place make such a statement. But BCCI for sure had the guts to ask ICC to provide an extension, why would they do so? The World Cup was about to begin in 2 weeks and if the stadium wasn’t ready, it deserved to be pulled out.

Bangalore was finally announced as the venue for the India-England game and the decision is still pending on the rest of the games. I just feel sad for the cricket fans of Bengal as they would be really disappointed to miss out on a high profile clash. The cricket fans of Bengal are one of the most passionate followers of the game. Eden Gardens might not be the best stadium in India but is a very historic and high profile venue and it is a shame that they would not be hosting the games if the ICC decides to pull out the rest of the games too. The CAB and the BCCI are to be blamed collectively for this oversight. Even though the games will go on and the ICC or the BCCI would not lose their sleep over the change of venue, the only loss will be of the fans. I don’t think the BCCI or the CAB cares about them anyways.

It’s great for Bangalore though as they have gotten another big game in their kitty but again, the only people to suffer as always are the fans.