My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Aussies

With just few days to go for the cricket world cup 2011 to begin, I have decided to take a look at the top contenders. In the first part I am going to take a look at Australia. Australia has won the cup 4 times and is the defending champion. That’s precisely the reason I decided to write a separate preview on them.

You can never count Australia out of any major sporting event. The team is still the best in the world in the 50 over format and has just had a crushing 6-1 victory over England in the ODI series. The current Australian team does not have the aura of the past 3 world cup teams and has only one great player in Ricky Ponting. The batting has been a struggle for the defending champions over the past year or so but their fighting spirit has kept them afloat in the shorter format. The Australian batting will be lead by the inform Shane Watson. Watson who has been brilliant for the Aussies over the past couple of years in all formats and will be a key member at the top of the order.

Ricky Ponting off course will be vital to their chances and the middle order comprising of David Hussey, Cameroon White and Michael Clarke need to step up to the occasion. Michael Hussey’s sudden removal from the squad due to injury is a major blow to the Australian chances as that has put enormous pressure on an inexperienced Australian middle order. The bowling though does not have such issues as Brett Lee’s return has given a definite edge to the pace department. Jason Krezja did a good job in the warm up game and will definitely be a good addition in the sub continental condition.

Even though Australia have struggled in the longer format in the recent years, their ODI form hasn’t dipped that much. They are still the best team in the world by a wide margin according to the rankings and would have to be considered as one of the favorites. I would place them as the top contender to win the world cup as they know how to raise their game for a major event. I am sure they will be one of the semifinalists this time and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are one of the two teams competing for the title on the 2nd of April at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Sudeep Tyagi is the only new face in the Indian squad for the Australian series (Pic: courtesy Cricinfo)

Sudeep Tyagi is the only new face in the Indian squad for the Australian series (Pic: courtesy Cricinfo)

The Indian team for the upcoming Australian series was announced last week and the only new face in the squad was Sudeep Tyagi. Tyagi is the latest addition to the search for a good young Indian fast bowler. Tyagi had a great beginning to his domestic career but could not repeat the same in his second year of the championship. His success in the shorter format of the game has resulted in his selection in the Indian ODI team.

Tyagi is not an out and out quick bowler and fortunately he does not claim to be one. He bowls around 135-140 Km/hr and swings the ball both ways. He had an impressive showing in the Emerging Players tournament in Australia and also in the recently concluded Challenger Series in India. India will be playing the Aussies later this month in a 7 match ODI series where I am sure the selectors would want to test him out. Only time will tell if he breaks the familiar pattern of the current and past Indian seamers have been following.

Since 2000 the Indian team has had promising entrants in the pace bowling department like Zaheer, Nehra, RP Singh, Irfan, Sreesanth, Munaf, Ishant, Balaji, VRV Singh etc. If you take the careers of all the above mentioned bowlers one thing is common among them which is lack of consistency. All the above mentioned bowlers had a great beginning and an impressive first year in the International scene but could not sustain the same in the coming years. Bowlers starting to bowl at 135-140 to start with, in their second year average around 130 or lower. They lose their swing and pace and look pretty mediocre.

Ishant who had an impressive Australian tour earlier last year bowling consistently over 140 K is now looking ordinary averaging less than 130 K in speed and bowling freebees. What is causing such a drop in performance is something to be investigated. The BCCI have now taken the easy way out by sacking the bowling coach, which I don’t think is a solution to this conundrum.

Lots of theories have been floating around in the media to explain this situation like, too much cricket, too much money etc and I feel that it’s a bit of both. The adulation and recognition the players receive is tremendous and I feel that it becomes too much for them to handle. Players like Zaheer, Nehra and Munaf had to be dropped from the team for them to come back as better bowlers. The treatment seems to work, which means that the bowlers need a kick on their back side once in a while.

The other aspect is too much cricket which cannot be ignored either. Tests, ODI, and T20 which includes two BCCI tournaments now every year cannot be good for the bowlers. The big money and fan following so soon in their careers can only lead to drop in performance of these youngsters who are barely 20 when they make the side. Either the BCCI should follow the Aussie path by bringing in the players who have considerable domestic experience or should have performance based points system which will mean that their IPL place or the Indian team contract will be affected.

Now that another youngster is making his debut we have to be careful the way he is treated. We don’t want to hype him too much after couple of good performances. My suggestion would be that once the player makes his debut in the International arena, he should be made to concentrate on the National side rather than playing in the IPL or any other meaningless tournaments. Tyagi needs to understand that he has the best chance now to cement his position in the squad and not follow the path of his seniors.

In a recent interview he mentioned that he wants to perform like Zaheer Khan and I hope he was talking about the performances of Zaheer in the last two years only. Hopefully we can see a break in the trend of the last few years in the pace bowling department. Once Zaheer comes back we can have a good pool of bowlers which can augur well for the future of Indian cricket. I sincerely hope that BCCI does something about the bowling problem rather than adapting the drop and pick option.


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