Posts Tagged ‘Praveen Kumar’

Prasad Moyarath

It is time for desserts, sweets and ice creams. A team of young and enthusiastic chefs who are specialists in these items are being flown in to appease those who are disappointed with the quality and taste of their main course prepared by some expert chefs renowned for their tasty main course. The management and admirers of these chefs look bewildered and they pin their hope on this new team to deliver quality and tasty food in their frantic efforts to restore their shattered pride. Can tasty desserts make people forget their horrible main course?

Selectors may have missed an opportunity to build a nucleus for 2015 World Cup by picking old stalwarts in the squad

This was the dilemma plaguing the BCCI and their selectors when they selected a team for the two T20s and eight ODIs involving Australia and Sri Lanka. The team selected looks a perfect blend of youth and experience. The baffling part of Indian cricket is the fact that a few cricketers are allowed to pick and choose their matches and tours while the others will be picked and chosen as per the whimsies and fantasies of the selectors. 39 year old Sachin Tendulkar included in the squad as he made himself available while the promising Ajinkya Rahane thrown out. Zaheer Khan is back. Sehwag included despite his horrible form. Are these three going to play any part in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand? Have not the selectors squandered a wonderful opportunity to blood at least three youngsters in these testing conditions and build a nucleus for the 2015 World Cup team? Debate can go on but nothing more can be expected from this selection panel whose decisions have been criticized and questioned in every nook and corner of the country after the continuous Test debacles outside the subcontinent.

Though Sri Lanka is the third nation in the triangular tournament, they cannot be ignored as a weak opposition considering the fact that they are coming after a tough tour of South Africa. Their players will be better accustomed to the bouncy pitches than the Indian players who were either injured or playing Ranji Trophy matches in the dust bowls in India. Australians are well planned as usual and will be a tough nut to crack in their home conditions. This gives a picture of the tough task ahead for the current World Champions to conquer Australia.

In the big grounds in Australia, Dhoni’s captaincy skills are going to be tested. Athletic fielders like Raina, Jadeja, Kohli, Tiwary and Rohit need to be placed tactically to contain the runs. Running between the wickets will have to be improved. Suresh Raina’s vulnerability to short pitched bowling will be exploited. With Sehwag and Gambhir not in good form, there is every chance of the middle order getting exposed to the swing and bounce of the two new balls from both ends. The selectors seem to have anticipated this problem and their decision to include Parthiv Patel as a reserve keeper is a testimony for that.

The two new balls from both ends will surely play a decisive role in Australia than in India. Will the ageing Tendulkar survive the rigors of an ODI series with the new rule not permitting runners? Umesh’s performance in the Test series has clearly proved what extra pace can do in Australia. With Ishant and Varun unavailable, the selectors could have included Ashok Dinda in place of Vinay Kumar for his speed. In Vinay, Praveen and Irfan, India has 3 similar bowlers and the Australians gave a glimpse of what to expect from Vinay Kumar by the way they treated him in the WACA Test.

The Indian selectors have again selected a ‘strong on paper’ team more suited for Indian conditions like they did for the Tests but unlike the Test team, this team has some characters who can give a fight to the opposition. Praveen Kumar coming back after an injury, Irfan making a come back, Sachin and Zaheer having question marks on their ODI fitness, Dhoni, Sehwag, Gambhir and Vinay Kumar low on confidence, the Indian team management needs to get the right combination from the day one to make their presence felt in Australia.

Some bold decisions will need to be taken and some youngsters will need to be persisted. Umesh Yadav needs to be handled with care and it is a pity that there is no fast bowler in this team to replace or support Umesh. This Indian ODI team does not inspire confidence and optimism in the Australian conditions and I foresee the Indian top order batting and medium pace bowling creating more headaches than other areas in the coming days. Let us wait and watch.


Goutham Chakravarthi

Cricket Australia’s decision to rotate players to ensure that there is a good pool of players available at any time to mitigate problems arising out of injuries, players falling out on issues of when to sing the team song and when to pop a beer. The new rotation policy looks beyond mere player rotation and looks at rotating most things associated with Australian cricket to give itself a wider pool to choose from.

It is learnt that Micky Arthur, the new Australian coach, wants the team to try a new team song this time. Under the Southern Cross I Stand, the traditional team song has resulted in at least one team member falling out with the current captain. He said, “In order to have better options, I have proposed the latest internet rage pa pa pa paen Kolaveri song to be our new team song. Already, the team is hooked to it and cannot wait to sing it as a team. The strict rule is of course that we can sing as a group only after we win games. With the team desperate to sing it all the time, you can expect them to demolish the Kiwis swiftly in the first Test and sing the song.”

The proverbial fat lady who sings has appealed to Cricket Australia that they cannot sing the song as she has obtained the rights of singing the song for all sports. The news was received with broken hearts in the Australian dressing room. Pat Cummins, the new pace sensation, tweeted “We are absolutely devastated. We so much wanted it to be our team song. Looks like the fat lady has sung! we’ll fight her in court for the rights on this song.”

Australian players to sport boxing gloves to give them the extra punch.

Among other rotations to be part of their plan this Australian summer will be the rotation of batting gloves. As mark of respect to the Boxing day, all Australians will sport boxing gloves while batting. Justin Langer who used to box as part of his preparation has justified the move saying that this will give his batsmen the added punch and a sense of additional security while facing the menacing Indian quicks like Praveen Kumar. Langer also pointed out that the benefits included shooing away of close-in fielders against spinners. He said, “We have been found short playing good spin recently. Now this gives an option for the batsman to skip down and punch the short-leg or silly-point fielders while pretending to play a punchy stroke.”

“Hockey sticks and baseball bats will also be used on freehits in ODIs and T20 games,” said selector Rod Marsh. He reasoned, “It both confuses the opposition and also makes our players more versatile. Should some of them not cut it as successful cricketers, they can fancy becoming hockey drag-flickers and fancy Major League Baseball aspirations. It is a win-win situation through and through.”

Kiwis to perform Haka during the toss to distract the Australians

John Buchanan, the former Australian coach and the current Director of Cricket for New Zealand expressed admiration for such theories. He said, “I’m finally beginning to believe that they have got a hang of what I was trying to achieve in my time with them. Still, they can look to rotate captains or have multiple ones. They do rotate their spinners either by plan or accident. But as part of the Kiwi set-up now, we are well prepared to face any challenges the new Australian management will throw at us. We have tricks of our own too that we look to put to practice.”

When asked for specifics, Buchanan explained, “We want to carry some of our practices from our recently crowned rugby champions. You will see Ross Taylor and boys performing the Haka before the toss for one. Am sure they might throw puches with their boxing gloves and all, but we tackle and scrum better. That way get into them even before the game begins. You will also see the young quickie Trent Boult taking the art of bowling to the next level. You will see him perform a couple of cartwheels in his run-up before he delivers. It gives him the leverage to release the ball at any point in his cartwheel which means his release point ranges from a maximum height of 14 feet to a minimum height of 3 feet. He might have a career in circus once his cricketing days are over. He is that good.”

It is also being speculated that there could be rotation policy for the selectors and spectators too. And also for retirements. Pat Cummins is expected to announce his one-day retirement first before Haddin retires from dancing down the wickets to quicks and Ponting from playing the hook shot. Written press releases are expected on these lines before Thursday from the players to show their commitment to this new initiative.

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

 18 August 2011

India scored over 500 runs in the first-innings at the Oval in their last two Tests here. Anil Kumble scored a Test hundred last time around! This time, however, Indian batting, has been a collective failure. In four Tests in 2007, not one top-order batsman got to a hundred though all but Dravid got close to it on multiple occasions. They were strong as a unit. This time, barring Dravid, hardly any one else seems capable of wielding the willow.

Still, it is hard to give up on this batting side. It is a far cry from the last time India were subjected to losing three Tests in a row – in Australia back in 1999-00. That was a team never expected to win and here is a team, which after three successive defeats, each progressively bigger than the previous one, there is still hope of a turn around. Only just.

Will the smiles return?

The break between the second Test and the third was expected to give them time to clear their thoughts as individuals and as a unit. Instead, they were handed a mauling by an impressive England unit with no apparent chinks. As the prospect of a whitewash looms large, India, with its perceivably wafer-thin bowling attack and a batting side equally thin on confidence, will need a remarkable turn around to stop England.

They are a team of impressive individuals made of the right stuff. Things that have defined them over the last decade – resilience, doggedness, scrap – have gone missing. Big runs have eluded their batsmen. In fact, they have been deprived of any runs at all. It has left the players and the fans stumped.

English bowlers have shown enormous precision in carrying out their plans. Their quick-bowling reserves seem to run deeper than the mental scars they have inflicted on Indian batsmen. Their lengths have been fuller, none more so than Broad, and they have managed to move the ball late both ways to make life suffocating for the Indians.

It is in this cauldron of relentless pressure that India’s batsmen have been found wanting. Rahul Dravid has been the lone exception. He has shown exceptional skill in handling the conditions and bowling. Tendulkar and Laxman have not been allowed to get away. The younger batsmen have been found out and must be wondering if they are good enough at this level.

It will take enormous discipline, grit and patience to wear such a potent bowling side. You would have expected this Indian batting side to do just that for they are good at it. For starters, they would, for a change want the openers to grind and battle conditions. Sehwag has had his success overseas giving this first session to the bowlers. He can make for lost time better than most. Gambhir needs a score. That both are coming back from injuries hasn’t helped India’s cause.

Tendulkar’s last average series came against a rampant Ajanta Mendis in Sri Lanka back in 2008. He looked unsure there like he has often done here. When he has been positive, like in the first innings at Lord’s, second innings at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston, he has hardly looked troubled. India will hope for a big innings from him and from another pillar of strength, Laxman, as it looks to pick up the pieces and put them back together.

Expect Kohli, R.P. Singh and Pragyan Ojha to be given a look in. Ojha is a tidy bowler with potential. He should exploit any spin and bounce available and R.P. Singh is a steady swing bowler who might trouble the English openers. India will sweat on the fitness of Praveen Kumar and will hope that he is available. Ishant has blown hot and cold. May be, the bounce at the Oval will be to his liking.

India needs big runs from the batsmen for its bowlers to pose a challenge to a rampant English top-order. It will be interesting to see their approach to this Test. One would think that holds the key to their success.

 Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, CouchExpert

12 August 2011

It will be hard to put a smile on the face of an Indian fan these days. The tour to England, thus far, has exposed flaws that would, to an ardent fan, make even the disastrous regime of the Indian National Congress seem pardonable – a sign that usually announces the arrival of very hard times to come.

As bowling strength dried up, and fielding slipped in to recession, a series provocative enough to the visitors appeared as scary to the Indian fan as the riots that have taken over the streets of England. In order to build credibility, henceforth, with an already skeptical public, a major reform in performance is what would have to be targeted. Sadly, the reform refers more to better cricket than anything else around.

Against an attack that seemed to lack both ownership and leadership, talks over the struggling forms of the English openers were put to rest as Strauss and Cook relished the red delicacies that were thrown their way. The opening surge shed light into the mythic power of the English unit’s rapid rise to the top, ever since the advent of the Ashes triumph down under.

Dhoni had acknowledged the prevailing skepticism by building accountability in to some of his causes for failure – injuries and workload. While the former was given a nod by some, the latter was rubbished. With Sreesanth struggling against southpaws, Praveen – intelligent and hardworking – but just not quick enough to trouble the batsmen, and Ishanth not consistent enough, Dhoni couldn’t but embody that popular Indian myth that with the lack of a departmental leader, the unit is virtually clueless.

Cook just needs three more hundreds to equal English record holder Wally Hammond's 22 hundreds in Test Cricket. © AFP

It simply wasn’t one of those days an Indian fan would want to remember: the bowling appeared to be fragile, and fielding slender – one really can’t do much but shrug when the man with a record catches in Test Cricket drops two sitters at slip.

While the Indians seemed to fluctuate between the conundrums of lack of ideas and butterfingers, the English batsmen cashed in to take an insurmountable lead with the back-in-form Cook notching up his 19th ton, three away from topping the centurions chart among English batsmen. It is hard to believe that he isn’t 27 yet.

It took a no ball from Mishra, revealed later through video replays, to get Strauss out sweeping to a delivery that he ideally wouldn’t have on another day. Bell, after being dropped by Dravid at first slip, fell to Praveen Kumar, who seemed the only Indian bowler capable of taking wickets.

That Kevin Pietersen blazed past his half-century at almost run-a-ball, and at times striking at a higher rate, pretty much summed up the Indian attack’s lack of aggression, and ideas, on a day that surely has been the nadir of the series so far. The Indian woes just seemed to add up, like Amit Mishra’s no balls in test cricket.

At present, the argument against the Indian bowling is obvious: the unit is as oblivious to the environment as the current Indian government is to scams and threats. The unit is deflating at the rate at which prices are inflating in their homeland. But at least with the current Indian cricketing setup, there is a little bit of hope that soon enough, the scenario will move the grey clouds away to witness a clear blue sky.

Hope is the only energy source to which the Indian fan can cling on to.