Posts Tagged ‘Munaf Patel’


Goutham Chakravarthi

In an attempt to make India a fitter unit, BCCI has roped in the services of Usain Bolt as India’s running coach with immediate effect. Indians are expected to train with the world 100 meter record holder for a week in their quest to give them an added edge before they head to Australia for a 4-Test series. Talking of the appointment, K Srikkanth said, “Taking a leaf from Gavaskar’s famous commentary usage of converting ones into twos and twos to threes, Bolt will help team India convert each single into a three at least – and in some cases to a five or even a seven – and thereby helping our batsmen increase their scores three-fold!.”

Talking of his appointment, Bolt, who joined the team at Vishakapatnam, said, “The last day of the third Test at Wankhede had the whole island interested and I had a couple of friends wake me up at the dead of the night to catch the game when my phone rang. N Srinivasan was on the line and I told him the super slow motion pictures were outstanding and I congratulated the BCCI on the quality of their TV production when Srinivasan told me that it wasn’t super slow motion pictures I was seeing, but Ashwin running in full throttle!”

India train to sprint their way to success in Australia under the supervision of Usain Bolt

He added, “I couldn’t believe someone could actually sprint so slowly. When asked if I would help them fix the problem, I was skeptical. But when they dangled a 2 million dollar contract for a week’s training, I couldn’t resist. I asked Fletcher to send me tapes of their running training, and now I am here in India for a week to help them train.”

Of all Indians, Laxman and Ashwin seemed the most excited after their first training stint with Bolt this morning. Laxman said “I sprint the 100m in just a little under 44 seconds just behind Ashwin who does it in 41.43 seconds. Bolt has given us specific training routine that should ensure both Ashwin and I break the 40 second barrier by the end of the week. Finally, there is hope for us to look for the quick second run.”

Ashwin added, “He seemed to be able to point to the mistakes in my technique straight away. He could pin point to my technique that I seem to have followed from my childhood subconsciously – that of Rajnikanth running in slow motion in his high adrenaline fighting sequences. I am unlearning the technique and move towards the modern running method of complicated leg strengthening exercises that will give us enough power to our legs. Also the key is to ensure that the feet not being in contact with the ground for more than 0.2 seconds while in full sprint. Laxman and I, the smarties that we are, have already come-up with a formula that’ll help us get there. Expect us to run like the wind in Australia.”

Bolt is also introducing the sprint runners’ set block positioning for the non-striker while backing up. You will see the likes of Suresh Raina now crouched on one knee without the bat and both hands just behind the popping crease with his upper body in a 45 degree angle that the sprinters use to generate pace off the starting block. Bolt claims that Raina this way is able to run his twos in one-sixth of time he would take otherwise – in the traditional method. Bolt claims that this technique will ensure that there will not be many dot balls as it ensures players are quick enough to run a single even when the batsman lets go of a delivery to the keeper. He insisted that in places like Perth where the keeper tends to stand far back, Raina, Kohli and Dhoni would be able to run twos to the keeper and promised that we will see byes contributing more to team scores going forward. If the wicket-keeper is slightly slack, batsman might run a bye to him even off spinners!

Duncan Fletcher, the Indian coach said “Bolt’s insight into running and the transformation that is possible with his inputs is quite amazing. Even I have been able to move from one side of the ground to the other in less than 20 minutes now. Munaf Patel, Aashish Nehra now run quicker than they bowl. That was the easy part. We are now trying to translate this to field positions as well. The increased agility of the fielders will ensure that each fielder can now control two positions. Jadeja will now man both point and covers and Kohli mid-off and extra-cover, where as, Raina will cover the whole of the on-side and Dhoni alone now will cover for the keeper and three slips. Our not-so quicker fielders will stand on the boundary and strategize thereby giving us an unprecedented edge over all teams that have played cricket before us. Sehwag now can charge down to spinners and hit it almost off the bowlers’ hands as he is now that quick!”

With the whole of the nation very excited by this development, Bolt was convinced that India would start favourites in Australia this time. He signed off by saying, “India will run away with the cup in Australia. I think they should. If they did, don’t think there is anyone in Australia quick enough to chase them down. Let’s just hope they don’t assign the task to Laxman or Ashwin yet. They will get chased down for they are not quick enough just yet”


Srikrishnan Chandrasekharan

Indian team will be very much pleased with their performance over the last 3 weeks against England in the ODIs. Even though the series score tell us that England beat India 3-0, the psychological feeling of players reveal that the team India played much better cricket than England. The Indian team was fooled by ICC / ECB / BCCI in awarding the shorter format cricket through D/L method as 50 Overs One Day international Tournament. England captain won the toss for five consecutive games reveals that there is fair amount of good time / luck surrounds him and his team.

ICC cheated fans across the globe by completing a 50 over ODI series without a single match completing the quota of 50 overs by both the sides. This is ridiculous act by ICC and shame on them on not utilizing the basic technology available to them in framing the fixtures of the series. When there was a clear indication of weather issues before start of the ODI series ICC either would have called off ODI series or changed to a format of 35 over new International format for the 5 games scheduled for the tour. One should not measure the performance of Indian bowlers during this series as none of the match played the quota of 50 overs.

A series that will be remembered as much for the rains as anything else.

Injuries to several key players during the tour, the Indian team shown exemplary performance on their batting and improved show in the bowling with the resources at their disposal. The weakness of England bowlers was exposed during so called the ODI series. Except Swann, every other English bowler failed to make any impact against this young and inexperienced Indian lineup. Indian bowlers tried their best but it was really hard for them to bowl in English conditions where the match format changed after every rain interruption. India would have ended up with a more respectable series scoreline if any of the match been played the quota of 50 overs on both sides.

Parthiv making a comeback, Rahane on other hand making his debut, Rahul inclusion to the side after to ODI format and these 3 players formed the most critical batting position and made a reasonable contribution to the team in the series. On the other hand, Dhoni and Raina, short of runs in Tests, came back strongly and played some wonderful cricket. Jadeja played some good cricket when the team needed. India made a commendable total against tough bowling attack in English soil [274 (50) – 1st ODI, 187 (23) – 2nd ODI, 234 (50) – 3rd ODI, 280 (50) – 4th ODI, 304 (50) -5th ODI]. Once the top players are fit and make a comeback to the side, team India might easily score 300 to 350 against this English attack on Indian soil.

The team management and BCCI should look at the positives from the tour and build the stronger team for the future. The focus of BCCI should be picking right talent and framing a team that can play for next 5 to 8 years. Also BCCI should not make any hasty decision on players / captain / coach of the team based on one or two series failures. India needs to have backup players and use them effectively in the case of injuries to their main players. They need to be given fair chance to play in every series by resting the main players.

The team management should keep focus on these players and enhance their skills both in Test and shorter variants (Kohli, Raina, Rahane, Rohit, Manoj Tiwary, Jadeja, Ashwin, Praveen, Munaf, Varun, Parthiv, Ishant, RP Singh). In the recent series Indian pace bowling lacked line, length, mixing of deliveries and pace. Former fast bowlers should come forward and guide the young bowlers to scale up to the next level. Also, the batsmen should stay at the crease for longer duration and convert their scores in to bigger ones.

The truth of life was revealed during this series. The team which is World No. 1 on Test International and World Champion on ODI’s failed to win a single match on the tour with their class players who helped the team to win plenty of series for India at home and abroad. Before start of the series, fans, reporters and former players across the globe predicted that India will beat England on their home soil comprehensively. The reality is different of course and may there be enough steps taken to get the team back on track. And quickly.


 Goutham Chakravarthi

 1 September 2011


Stories about the square being changed from East-West to North-South greeted us as part of the renovation at Old Trafford in the build-up to the game last night. The people had turned-up in numbers and they witnessed a tight finish that England controlled beautifully in its chase. Grey clouds and cold weather not withstanding, there were some sparkling performances by some of the new players on both sides.

Rahane impressed on his debut

Ajinkya Rahane has hardly made a mark in IPL so far but for a game this season where he controlled a chase magnificently from the middle order to win it for Rajastan Royals. Yet, he possessed the confidence of a man coming with two centuries in the Emerging Players’ Tournament in Australia. He looked at ease against this English side on a slow wicket. He cut and pulled with equal ease and handled the spin of Swann and Patel with the confidence of a man who deals with them on a daily basis for his bread and breakfast back home. In short, he hardly looked out of place on his debut and looks a good bet now to partner Tendulkar at the top of the order in the one-dayers.

Rahul Dravid looked like the Rahul Dravid that I saw a lot of at the Chinnaswamy in the first edition of the IPL as captain of Royal Challengers – he looked out of place when having to force the pace. He looked to play a lot of big shots to rotate the strike and was missed by Kieswetter (he can’t keep wickets to slow bowlers from what I saw yesterday) early. When the struggle of Dravid looked familiar, he pulled it back like he did in the second half of the first season – by hitting Samit Patel for three straight sixes. He got out immediately after that, but it will be remembered for him scoring a hat trick of sixes, a feat, I can’t remember him achieving in any other format of the game.

Raina is comfortable with whatever is thrown at him in this format. He again held the innings together on either side of two spectacular collapses and still threatened to push India to a total close to 190 at one stage.

Dernbach was impressive for England even as Bresnan didn’t look very keen for the game. His control over his highly talked about back-of-the-hand slower ones mesmerized the Indian lower order that continues to battle collapses in all formats of the game. It is a worrying trend and it will be interesting to see how Dhoni and Fletcher work a way around this problem and also try and fix their fifth bowler issues. Dernbach, here, took full toll and floored the Indian tail with his slower ones and quick length deliveries. Indian had to settle for a much lesser score at 165 than what they looked good for at one stage.

England controlled the chase beautifully. It was a wicket that suited this Indian attack – slow and low. Pietersen and Kieswetter threatened to take the game away from the Indians when an impressive and unlucky Munaf pulled it back for the Indians. Long left to the sidelines all through the tour, Munaf showed good skills with his range – slower cutters, nip-backers and a good yorker – and troubled all English batsmen. He accounted for Kiestetter and Dhoni accounted for Pietersen with a quick flash leg-side stumping.

Morgan is highly regarded within the IPL circles as well for his ability to adapt to the varying demands of T20 cricket. He crouches so low, you wonder if he picks what the bowler is to bowl by smelling the wicket! In the over immediately after Pietersen got out, he smashed Rohit Sharma for two fours and a six to practically seal the game forEngland.

Morgan’s range of strokes and his general feel for the shorter format might make him one of the prime contenders for the captaincy post for both one-day and T20 cricket sometime in the future. That is a debate that might be inevitable should Cook or Broad look out of depth.

England’s vision for each format is impressive and it shows in the teams they have selected for T20 and one-day cricket. It is a summer where little has gone wrong for England. They have easily been the most prepared of the two teams all through the summer and look good for more given the nature of India’s mental state.

India is still looking for its first win over England this summer. They will have to be more disciplined and better prepared to put one over England on Saturday.


Prasad Moyarath

Bangalore

25 January 2011

India playing five one day internationals against South Africa in South Africa, just one month before the World Cup in India raised the eye brows of many Indian cricket aficionados. In the past, India could never do well against the hosts in the fast and bouncy pitches there. What will Indian players gain by playing matches on fast and bouncy pitches when the World Cup is going to be held in the flat batting tracks of the subcontinent? – This question puzzled many except those in BCCI. To the Indian surprise, all the matches were held on comparatively slow pitches and the Indians came out of the series winning 2 out of the 5 matches. Only the time will tell what the Indian team gained out of this series but a post mortem of this series reveals many interesting facts.

Sehwag, Praveen Kumar and Gambhir returned to India even before the start of the series with injuries. With Piyush Chawla, Ashwin and Rohit Sharma in the squad, the first two matches were looked upon by many as chances for the Indian selectors to try out these players before declaring the Indian team for the 2011 World Cup.

Team composition for the first two matches clearly proved that the selectors or the team management didn’t have any well thought out plans. Ashish Nehra looked completely out of sorts and Rohit Sharma sent in as replacement for Sehwag batted at No.4 and No.7 in the first two matches. Indians were beaten outright in the first match but won a thriller in the second despite Dhoni’s lackluster captaincy almost presenting a victory to South Africa. Even when it was very clear that India’s only winning option was to bowl out the South Africans, Dhoni kept persisting with part time bowlers and brought back Munaf only when the South Africans were very close to a victory. Luck was with Dhoni and India on that day.

Tendulkar returned to India with an injury and Parthiv Patel was sent in as a replacement. Indian team for the World Cup was announced and that seemed to confuse the team management more. Lack of a specialist opener forced the team management to thrust the role of an opener on the World Cup discard – Rohit Sharma and Dhoni didn’t have the gumption to use this contingency to test the disaster management skills of his team. He could have opened with Kohli and promoted himself to No.3. Though India won a thriller in the third one dayer through some hard hitting by Yusuf Pathan and presence of mind of tailenders, rain denied a century to Kohli and an outright win for South Africa (though they won by D/L Method) in the fourth one dayer.

Fifth one dayer showed the display of individual brilliance by Amla and Pathan. Cricket fans wondered what would have happened had Amla been caught by Ashwin at 70 and Duminy given out in the second ball he faced and rain not interrupted South African innings. Though South Africa won a thriller as shown by score card, apart from Pathan and Parthiv Patel to a small extent, none of the Indian batsmen took the fight to South African camp. Though the official Man of the Match was Amla, there was no doubt that the fifth one dayer would always remain etched in cricket lover’s memory for Yusuf Pathan’s innings.

India lost yet another one day series in South Africa but the fact that this team went down fighting even without 3 reputed players is a consolation. Indian team management and selectors never had a plan and was confused on the selection of players. They neither selected the team with an aim to win the series nor with an aim to give exposure to World Cup players. But with days to go for the 2011 World Cup, this series also exposed many weak links in the Indian side. Ashish Nehra’s lack of form and the inconsistency of Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni are sure to create sleepless nights for the team management and selectors. Lack of a good fifth bowler was clearly visible from the way South Africa recovered several times after an initial collapse. A world class side should be able to overcome any eventuality and this Indian side’s inability to overcome the opening problem that surfaced due to the injury to openers will pose a question mark on the quality of team selection. Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay turned out to be complete failures and it got forgotten due to the fact that they were not included in the World Cup team. Kohli, Pathan, Zaheer, Munaf and Harbhajan did something of note.

A diffident captain, a brittle middle order and a bowling attack with inconsistency written on it, this Indian side has flooded the minds of Indian cricket aficionados with doubts. “The big learning from this game is to keep wickets in hand for the last ten overs” – the parting words of the Indian captain summed up the whole picture. Did Dhoni become Indian Captain without knowing the basics of the game?