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Posts Tagged ‘Vettori

The first test begins tonight and the Indians will have some selection headaches. Dhoni and his team have had a fantastic one year in ODI’s but the same cannot be said in the traditional format of the game. Indian performance in tests last year has been patchy. The year 2008 began with India losing to Australia in the controversial Sydney game and followed that up with a fantastic win in Perth. The next series India played was against the South Africans at home which they drew 1-1.

The team under Kumble was very inconsistent in that series too. They had the highs like in Perth and lows such as the 3 day defeat in Ahmadabad. The Srilankan series also saw the Indians performing inconsistently and lose 2-1 to the home side. The year ended on a high note with the wins against the Australians (2-0) and against the English (1-0) under Dhoni’s captaincy.

Even though the year ended well, the performance of the team in test cricket was rather inconsistent overall last year. Now India plays New Zealand at the start of 2009 after winning the one day series convincingly. This is an important and most significant series for the Indian team in a long time. The scars of the 2003 series still fresh in the minds of the players and the fans needs to be erased. The team’s quest to become No 1 in all forms of the game can be majorly hurt if they lose here in New Zealand.

New Zealand though will be happy to be underdogs and let Dhoni face all the pressure. Daniel Vettori will be thinking that no one will blame them if they lose to the No 3 side in the world and a win will give them a huge push up in the rankings. Dhoni will know that this series very important for his team and his captaincy.

This Indian team though will be confident and would want to turn in some consistent performances in this series. Dhoni will know that if they play up to their potential then they should win this comfortably. The Indians though have few selection headaches before the start of the play tonight. The first one will be that of a batsman. It will be between Yuvraj and Vijay.

Yuvraj though will be the first choice but looking at his performance on the only pitch which aided seam movement is not that encouraging. M Vijay though made a solid 90 odd for the NZ state side in a domestic game. So the choice will be interesting but I feel that Yuvraj will be still selected for the first game. The second selection will also be an interesting one between Kulkarni and Balaji. Munaf probably will not be in the running for the third seamer spot after his inconsistent performance in the ODI’s.

Kulkarni had a good spell in the domestic game in NZ where he picked up 3 wickets and Balaji also turned in decent performance in the game he played. So this is also going to be an interesting selection for the team management. I am thinking they might go with Balaji for the first game or probably even go with Munaf to see how he goes. We have to wait till the morning of the play to find out the same.

All in all rain permitting its going to be an interesting contest. I hope that we get a full game without any rain interruptions and may the best team win. I am just fed up of seeing high scoring draws, so hopefully this is not one of them.

India lost yet another dead rubber and this time it was against the Black Caps. The Indian batting continued in the same merry way as the other games where the pitches were more suited to the batters. The pitch at Auckland had something for the seam bowlers and the Indian batsmen kept swinging and lost wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 149. The game was shortened by rain and India decided to bat first which actually surprised Daniel Vettori as he claimed that he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.

The Indian batting started aiming for 300 or something with Sehwag and Ghambir both trying to hit out, but were still able to provide a decent start. Once Ghambir departed Sehwag was joined by Raina who again continued the approach. After Raina departed playing an ugly swing across the line, Sehwag joined him pretty soon with another rash shot.

India was three down and the team needed a partnership which never happened. Jesse Ryder was brought into the attack and he took the wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj which put the Indians completely out of the game. Rohit Sharma tried to get some respectability to the total but did not get too much help from the others in the top order.

It was a really bad performance by the Indians after dominating the series. The New Zealanders would have been happy to get the win as it would give them the much needed confidence ahead of the test series. This is the third time in last one year that India has lost the dead rubber after dominating the series till then.

The test series gets underway in Hamilton on the 18th and it will be interesting to see how the Indian batters go about their business. It will be a different team with Dravid and Laxman coming in for Raina and Rohit. I am sure that the approach will be much measured and calculated than the mindless swinging of the bat we saw in the last game. The test wickets for sure are going to have something in it for the bowlers and the Indians should respect the same. Hopefully it will be an Indian win which will make this series more memorable.

Sehwag blasts the kiwi bowlers on his way to his match winning 125 no in the 4th ODI

Sehwag blasts the kiwi bowlers on his way to his match winning 125 no in the 4th ODI

It was a great performance by the Indian team to win the one day series in New Zealand for the first time. Yesterday’s match again was rain affected and the way Sehwag and Ghambir kept India way ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis (DL) calculation was absolutely brilliant. The Indian bowling though was patchy. The start was good but they did not keep up the tempo letting Mccullum and Ryder to get off to a flier. Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan were brought into the attack and they were successful in putting the brakes on the Kiwi openers.

The Indian fielding again was not up to the mark. There were lots of misfields and missed chances along the way during the New Zealand innings. Brendon Mccullum was given two reprieves during his innings of 77 and Dhoni’s miss stumping was the worst of the two. India’s bowling at the death was also not that spectacular as they were carted around easily by Andrew Mcglashan and Grant Elliot. After the rain interrupted first innings New Zealand reached a competitive 270/5 in 47 overs which was bumped up to 281 for the Indians to chase by the DL. Ishant Sharma was rusty on his return to the side and was inconsistent. Even though he picked up two wickets he was really shabby with no balls and got hit around a little bit. Hopefully he will get his act together before the important test series to start in a week’s time.

So India started their innings needing almost 6 an over which is kind of tough in a game with so many rain interruptions. Well it’s not something which troubled the Indian openers though as they took the kiwi bowlers to the cleaners. Nothing worked for the New Zealand captain last night as the Indians rattled along at over 7 runs per over. All the bowlers were treated with equal contempt by the Indian openers. Sehwag blasted his way to a brilliant one day hundred of just 60 deliveries which is an Indian record. It was a display of calculated hitting and it came of brilliantly for the Indian opener. Sehwag finished on 125 unbeaten when the rain interrupted play for one final time. The Indians were racing along in the pursuit of 220 of 36 overs as they were 201/0 in just 23.3 overs.

The Kiwis will be really disappointed in losing the series 3-0 as this is the first time they have lost to the Indians at home. Dhoni and his team though would be enjoying this moment as it adds yet another brilliant win to their resume. The Indians though would want to finish the series 4-0 and get as much confidence as possible for the test series. They would have been bolstered by the news of Rahul Dravid scoring a fantastic hundred in the New Zealand domestic game. All in all a great performance from the Indian team after losing the first two Twenty20 games. Hope they carry this confidence to the test series too.


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