Tag Archives: Kallis

World Cup 2011 team preview – England and South Africa

I have decided to group England and South Africa together as both of them have lots in common. Both the teams are yet to win the tournament and would be keen to set the record straight. England who reached the World Cup finals on three occasions would want to go one step further this time if they get another chance and South Africa would want to be in the finals for the first time.

If we look at both the teams, they haven’t had a great year in the shorter format. England reach the world cup after a 6-1 loss against the Aussies and South Africa with a hard fought 3-2 win against the Indians. Both the teams have some exciting players in the X1 and have a good balanced bowling attack. South Africa comprises of a very strong batting line up led by Smith and Amla at the top. The middle order consists of Kallis, Devilliers, Ingram and Duminy followed by Mark Boucher. So a very strong batting line up capable of raking up huge scores on flat subcontinent wickets. The bowling too is extremely potent with Dale Steyn and Morkel leading the pace attack. The spin bowling also received a great boost with the inclusion of Imran Tahir (Leg Spinner) along with Johan Botha.

That lends an excellent balance to an attack which normally is pace heavy. So I would say on papers the proteas are one of the strongest contenders for the title. They bat deep and also have an attack which can be dangerous on these wickets. So overall I would say South Africa has come with the best combination to succeed on these wickets for the first time and they would like to make the most of it. England also has a similar team to the Proteas. Pieterson and Trott give them the solidity in the middle order along with Collingwood and Morgan (If he does play). Strauss is a calm head at the top and the captain would surely want to lead from the front. The English bowling has great balance with Anderson leading the pace attack and Swann leading the tweakers.

Swann being arguably the best spinner in the world at the moment will be a huge advantage for the English. He also has featured in a full series to the subcontinent in the past which should give him an advantage to bowl in these conditions. All in all both the teams have an excellent chance to make it to the semis but it all depends on their temperament. Both these teams have had chances in the past but have not been able to grab the same and have faltered at the crucial stages. So Smith and Strauss will be mindful of the fact and would want to make this world cup memorable for their respective teams.

India needs to regroup after the first test disaster

To call India’s performance in the first test against South Africa a disaster would be an understatement. That’s how bad it was. India entered this series as number 1 side in the world, but judging by what transpired over the 5 days in Centurion, the team looked far from being the best side in the world. I agree that losing the toss on the first day was a recipe for disaster but it wasn’t a 136 all out pitch for sure. The pitch had some bounce and SA bowlers were exploiting it quite well but a batting unit as experienced as India is expected to counter them.

The Indian batting looked clueless and except for Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni and Harbajan looked ordinary. The first innings batting collapse meant that India needed to show some fight with the ball and try to restrict South Africa to a reasonable first innings total but it was not to be. The bowling was very poor to say the least, never looked like taking any wickets on a pitch which eased out a little bit. The fast bowlers were unable to provide the initial breakthrough and it was too much to expect Harbajan to get the wickets on a flat second day pitch.

Even though the pitch was flat, the bowlers still had some bounce to work with, but the Indian bowlers looked listless. The problem for Dhoni was that not only his bowlers were ineffective but the runs were coming at a fair clip for the South Africans. The South African batsmen were scoring at almost 5 runs per over which meant that they could declare sooner than the Indians would have wanted them to. The only reason the Indians managed to pick up couple of wickets at the end was due to the fact that the home team was throwing their bats around for quick runs.

It was a great game for Kallis as he scored his first double ton in test cricket and De Villiers scored fastest test hundred for South Africa. Once South Africa took a 484 run first innings lead, the Indians were just hoping for a miracle.

The batting in the second innings though showed some fight as the top order finally came to the party. Sachin Tendulkar once again showed why he is a class apart from his team mates as he looked comfortable against a confident bowling attack and scored his 50th test century. It was brilliant innings under pressure as he tried his best to save the test for his team. Dhoni, Sehwag, Ghambir and Dravid batted well too, but the lead was too much for them to overcome. As loss by an innings will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Indian team.

So what can the team do to reverse the trend? First things first Zaheer has to be back in the team. His experience and skill will add much needed potency to the pace attack. With Zaheer being fit and available, that should be taken care of for the second test. The second most important thing would be getting Pujara in the place of Raina. Raina unfortunately does not look cutout for test cricket but Pujara does. I think the experiment with Raina in the middle order should end. When Harbajan Singh can bat better than your designated number 6 then for sure the team has an issue with that position in the order. So that change has to happen immediately.

With just few more days left for the second test to commence, the Indian team does not have too much time to regroup. I don’t think they can drastically improve from what we say few days back in Centurion. The only silver lining for the team is the fight the batting put up in the second innings but the concern with the bowling will still remain. I hope that the bowlers put up a better performance at Durban to give India a better chance of coming back into the series. It will be for sure an interesting thing to see, how the team responds to the loss in the first test. As the best side in the world they have a point to prove and another loss will only raise further doubts regarding the current rankings.

IPL isnt promoting anything

Indian team practice at Green Park

The dismal performance by the Indians against the visiting South Africans clearly proves that the players were not ready for this battle. Unfortunately over the past few weeks IPL has been given more media coverage than the current test series. The Indian players talking about their plans about a tournament which has not yet started and which isnt an International fixture either shows their lack of interest in this ongoing test series. The South Africans on the other hand are taking this more seriously and are deservedly ahead in this series dominating both the games played till now.

BCCI’s excuse for IPL is that it will promote cricket, but where? I dont think Twenty20 tournament atleast in India needs any promotion. How many players from Kenya and Bangladesh are part of IPL?So what and where are we promoting cricket?BCCI are just trying make the most of the popularity gained by the latest version of the game in India after the WC win. BCCI has no interest to promote anything by having this tournament. BCCI as a board will become richer and the players who signed up will make money. Other than the two parties mentioned no one is gaining because of this tournament. Players have already started suggesting that this should be part of ICC’s annual schedule which is hilarious as this is not an International tournament.

This is an Indian domestic league which has international players signed up for, similar to county cricket in England. ECB isnt asking ICC to include their Twenty20 league in the International calender. If BCCI is going to have this tournament in the middle nowhere without taking the International calender into consideration then they better be prepared to miss some key players on International duties. This is getting completely out of control. When BCCI started this concept I was totally for it as the concept was completely different for cricket but now I am not able to stand it anymore.

The English players who said that they dont want to be a part of the league want their own domestic tournament adjusted to accomodate IPL. This is just getting ridiculous. Why would ECB reshedule their domestic tournament to accomodate another country’s domestic tournament? Its the players who should decide where they want to play. Which league they want to represent, no board is going to reschedule anything to accomodate a 44 day tournament. The problem is that these ameturish comments have come from players like Kevin Pieterson and Ricky Ponting.

BCCI has made sure that the players themselves are looking forward to IPL more than their International fixtures. Before the Pakistan tour was called off, there were few Australian who were dissapointed that they wouldnt be able to make it to the first edition of this league. The Indians already seem to be more interested in promoting their franchise rather than putting extra hours in practice for an International series. The series against the South Africans was very important for India as this was a follow up to a successful tour down under. A good performance by the home team would have made sure that they would be the undisputed number 2 in test cricket.

The performance in Ahmedabad Shows that we dont deserve that tag. The youngsters should realise that they can score plenty of runs or claim plenty of wickets in IPL but as Kallis rightly put it, only your performance in test cricket will be remembered. There have been lots of players who have great record in domestic cricket but the viewers will only remember the Laras, the Tendulkars or the Kumbles of cricket. Playing for the country gives a player the ultimate satisfaction and that should be the first priority for any cricketer. BCCI might make lots of money and probably the team owners will do too but they have to be careful that they dont bring a divide among the cricket fraternity. Again I stand by my statement that BCCI isnt promoting anything through IPL but just are reiterating the fact that they are the big boss of cricket.