Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dhoni makes mockery of Test Cricket

8 out of 10 reports bash India for the loss. The remaining 2 appreciate England’s prowess which I don’t blame. Even the legends like Kapil Dev slam the Captain with the statement “Dhoni makes mockery of Test Cricket”. An already disappointed cricket fan who is emotionally associated to the game when reads such reports, wonder what would be his reaction? Burning effigy & buses, demolishing public properties are common sites in India. Knowing that why fuel the anger? What do you gain by portraying the Indian Team so bad? A silly gimmick to sell yourself? It once again reminds me the quote from a commentator “When these players stop playing, we will all be out of jobs”

India has not lost this series 4-0 and there is absolutely no necessity to create panic. So I really cannot understand why the media not doing mature analysis and reporting?

In the previous post (Didn’t I tell you? These guys are not good abroad), I gave few analogies to explain batting out of position. Though the analogies received appreciation, still the post could not convince the failure. So, this one continues from where we left off.

What can go thru a batsmen mind when he does not bat in his usual position?
First I wish to clarify; any sport beyond a point is more psychology than skill. Cricket is no exception. When we call Gambir a specialist opener, it means he normally starts his innings with the new ball and gradually adjusts his technique as the ball grows softer. But, all of a sudden when he comes to bat the older ball, his mind is not adjusted as it would be attuned to nippier, bouncier, seamier, swingier, faster deliveries which are less true in reality and leads to misjudgment.

In case of Laxman it is the other way. It is also the same reason why Laxman failed as an opener but succeeded immensely when restored the middle order slot. However, if you lock me with the question how he handles the ball change?
The logical answer would be that he spent enough time in the middle already and making the transition to the new ball is relatively easier. I hope this also clears the air why ball change is a crucial factor in test cricket.

But any of the above points hardly explains what difference it makes to Tendulkar batting at No.4 or No.5?
When Tendulkar walks at No.4 he is aware of the fact that there is Laxman to follow, which is a huge psychological advantage. On this day, Laxman already gone, tail up, it is a huge psychological blow for the master to begin the innings. More importantly the whole Indian team was not chasing a target in terms of runs but counting the overs to deal. Trust me, this not the spot where you wish to be.

It is lot easier to suggest that each batsman should have batted for the personal milestone, but in reality it is hard to make up your mind to chase imaginary figures over what you are already dealing with.

Also, who bats with lower orders makes a huge difference in terms of runs derived from those partnerships. Laxman who predominately bats at No.5 or No.6 spends most part of his time only with lower order. He shares a special rapport with them that fetched him the cult status he enjoys today. You don’t buy it?
Let us revisit the two centuries Dravid scored recently. In both cases, despite Dravid appeared rock solid he could not put substantial partnership with the lower order. At Jamaica, he lost confidence on Ishanth Sharma and so improvised only to lose his wicket. At Lords, he could not derive more runs from his partnership with the lower order and finally left stranded. Trust me; I’m not blaming Dravid on both these instances. Just wanted to bring to your notice where Laxman scored Dravid could not.

Also there is a lot of buzz about Dhoni not being himself as a batsman. Neither are we as we move across various stages of life from childhood to bachelorhood then to marriage hood and finally the parenthood. Every man evolves with time and so is Dhoni. But when it matters the most, time and again he had stood up to save our hopes. 

Phew… so much of psychology that complicates cricket isn’t it? Not really if you are Sehwag.

Cricket Lover

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