Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Goutham Chakravarthi

India stand to lose more than just the series when the third Test gets underway on Friday morning. Talks of both teams going with four quick bowlers have donned the headlines over the last two days, but they have been just a sub-text in a week dominated by Haddin’s claims on India being a side not needing much to turn on each other and Zaheer’s counter claims to it. Perhaps, Haddin folding his hands and saying, “Friday the 13th… be scared India…. be very scared…” is sillier than Hrithik Roshan calling this the Agneepath series. Even though some of the cricket from India in Sydney was pretty silly, none could match these sequence of events over the last week.

From being touted to be the best opening pair in the world two seaons ago, Gambhir and Sehwag have largely disappointed. They were Batman and Robin, Holmes and Watson, and Bryan and Bryan: irresistible and scintillating. They would thrill with their strokeplay and running between the wickets. One would sneeze and the other would catch a cold. Two close pals, one a genius on his day, and the other, a determined soul, needing each other more than ever before to turn it around for themselves and for their team. They set the tone and their form usually dictates how well India do as a batting unit.

If they can give India a good start, India will fancy their chances. Photo: AFP

Yes, in their heyday, this team would turnaround every friction, banter and abuse to its advantage. They were among the most respected and tough bunches going around. Yet, with reasons, firstly, with injuries, and now with age, the reasons for decline have not been arrived at. Some have pointed out to Fletcher’s incoming to this team coinciding with its dipping fortunes, but, the coach and the team swear by the culture and insist that nothing has changed.

The reason for India’s declining fortunes is directly proportional to its waning batting performances. India’s planning in the Tests has not been as prudent as it has been in the one-dayers. It took a hard stand to leave out the likes of Laxman, Dravid and Ganguly and groom youngsters and reaped benefits. A similar attempt in Tests has never materialized.

India goes into Perth with little confidence and/or collective form. A green pitch might guarantee 20 wickets for both sides. There in lies India’s best chance. The chasm between the sides has been Australia’s bowling. India’s bowling has been inconsistent and seems to rise and fall with Zaheer’s mood and health. Should the wicket encourage a three day Test, the result will hinge on a crucial 70 here or there, and, right now, that seems to be the best the Indian middle-order seems to be able to produce.

Over the next few days, this Indian team will not just fight the Fremantle Doctor and the Aussies for the series, but for their immediate future. While the right thing would be to blood a couple of youngsters, it is difficult to imagine this team management opting for that. For long, consistency in its team selection counted among its strengths, now, it might have come back to haunt them.

Australia go in as favourites, but the pitch might give India a chance to pull one back.

You can read preview from the Australian camp here.


 Goutham Chakravarthi

 17 August 2011

“Indians either need to learn to do banana splits to keep themselves warm or go back to India and start preparing for Champions League T20,” said Tim Bresnan, wearing a sleeveless shirt and a wrestler’s shorts, and flexing his biceps and then resting both his hands on his hips. But for the cape, you would call him Batman.

Bresnan has challenged the Indians to follow suit and try banana splits or go back home!

Bresnan added, “English boys are now the alpha males of cricket. Guys like Cook have reformed batting in the days of ugly swipes and heaves that are influenced by the blasphemy of the IPL. You cannot compare our extremely superior batting line-up to theirs. It is unfair. We pratice it as a sacred art – perfected by the likes of W.G. Grace, Hutton, Hobbs, Hammond and passed on to the likes of Boycott and now Cook. It is art in its purest form.”

Asked if it was a challenge to bowl to the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Laxman, he said the biggest challenge was not to be bowled over by a dozen middle aged men dressed like Britney Spears on the fancy dress Saturday in Birmingham. Once he could resist keeping his eyes off them, he said he had conquered his biggest challenge and Indians’ batting was nothing in comparison and pointed out that Sreesanth and Ishant couldn’t and suffered as a result.

With the Indian media contingent also not interested in the series after having to go through the arduous task of praising Cook’s batting for three days, the series sponsors, npower, tried to attract media personals to the press conference by arranging for a “Who has more tattoos” contest.England’s long list included two South Africans in Jade Dernbach and Kevin Pietersen and India were represented by Sreesanth.

Vaughan has appealed to stop worshipping Tendulkar and copy Tuffnel's batting instead

Sreesanth’s sledging of Dernbach’s tattoos notwithstanding, it took an accusation from Bresnan again to warrant Indian media interest back in the series. “Sehwag is the joker to this Batman,” he said referring to himself. He said, “Virender Sehwag is the most overrated of Indian batsmen as he is a flat track bully and cowers when touring abroad. Boycott’s mum had better technique against the moving delivery.”

When asked for a reaction, the former English skipper, Michael “Vaseline” Vaughan said, “It is about time people understood Indian ways do not work anymore. The Tendulkar way has not worked for Tendulkar himself and he should learn a thing or two from Cook. No surprise his clone Sehwag hasn’t done well. Time someone like Ravi Bopara learnt the lesson and stopped worshipping Tendulkar. Even mimicking Tuffnel’s batting technique would have given him a hundred runs at Edgbaston. If he did, we will have the best Indian in our team, like we have the best Zimbabwean and South Africans in our team!”

Bob Willis joined the bandwagon and said, “This entire series has been about Tendulkar getting his hundredth 100. Don’t you see that he wants to put himself along Bradman with the perfectly imperfect number 99? Their preparation and prioritization of the English tour has been abysmal. If Strauss wins the toss at The Oval, they should look to bat till lunch on Day 5 and declare. Indians have shown no stomach for fight and will disintegrate twice in the remaining two sessions. England might even win with a session to spare!”

Zaheer Khan is reported to have pocketed the coin that is to be used for the toss tomorrow to check his weight after being accused for being fat by Stuart Broad. The umpires and match officials were busy checking if a substitute coin will be allowed if the designated coin for the toss can’t be recovered and if there was a possibility of the match being called off in such a scenario.