Thursday, June 9, 2011

Progress Report

I’ve been apprehensive over Suresh Raina’s captaincy prior to the commencement of the series. Much to my surprise (if not for many more) he is definitely doing a good job.

It is time to share some words of appreciation and due diligence for his success.

His choice of players in the playing XI has been spot on in the first two ODI’s. Many would have wondered why Ashwin did not figure in the scheme of things. Mishra definitely lived up to challenge and exploited the weakness of WI batsman to play leg spin. Though it is tempting to play Ishant Sharma as a first choice fast bowler abroad, Raina think tank fielded Munaf and Praveen. The wickets India played so far better assisted these two bowlers ahead of Ishant. After all with Ishanth’s pace and bounce the ball would have come on to the bat nicely on these sluggish wickets only to aid batsman to score runs freely.

On the contrary Sammy has been playing two leg spinners Martin and Bishoo on both the games. I don’t know if it’s the fault of selectors or Sammy not to push for the off spinner Nurse ahead of Martin in the squad to give some variety to the attack. Also surprised why Suleiman Benn went out of favor? With his experience he would have exploited the conditions far better than these two leggies. Again surprised to see Pollard dropped for the first ODI and Darren Bravo dropped for the second ODI. I agree both these players have not lived up to their bill, but they definitely have the talent and need more encouragement to flourish.

Definitely Raina scored more marks over his counterpart. Though his success is largely due to the fact that India is a stronger unit on paper compared to WI and the conditions far more suited the guest than hosts. Not to miss out to mention Raina had the opportunity to witness Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Dhoni’s leadership in close quarters to pick a lesson or two while Sammy was hardly led by a high profile skipper. But to actually lead an inexperienced side, pressing the advantage and winning in style deserves full appreciation.

It is also nice to witness Rohit Sharma let the bat do all the talking in the first ODI, while Kohli clearly expressed his appetite for runs in the second ODI. Not much of Yusuf Pathan show till now as the batsmen were hardly tested.

If WICB resolves its difference with Chris Gayle and decide to play him in the remaining 3 ODI’s along with Jerome Taylor it will be a true test for Raina’s wits. Will be curious to see if Raina can drop Pathan or one of the batsmen to play 5 bowlers?  The report card can be completed then.

For now, Fletcher, Raina and Boys score full marks.

Cricket Lover

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