Monday, August 8, 2011

The Build Up for the Revival

The injury list mounts. This time Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Zaheer are ruled out of action for the remaining part of the series. Ojha, Kohli and RP Singh are called in for replacement. Sometimes I wonder if the injuries are legitimate or a gimmick to save their careers. Well, here is my speculation. Bhajji is more or less certain to be dropped for the 3rd Test and possibly the series too. From his perspective, he would any day prefer an injury to rule him out rather dropped on performance grounds. By all means Mishra may not find the purchase from the wicket due to conditions. So when cricket returns home, Bhajji will be an automatic choice considering 2 spinners feature in Indian conditions. However, there is also a possibility the think tank may have master minded the entire injury show. After all, Bhajji is doing no good and doesn’t look to be among wickets, so why not dump him and seek the services of a fresh player? Yuvraj certainly looks better than Raina and sure to play the 3rd test ahead of the junior. But what are his chances of success? If he fails, his test career is more or less in jeopardy. He will have to again wait in line until Rainas, Pujaras, Kohlis fail. Now, Raina’s place is in danger and Kohli did not have sufficient time to acclimatize the conditions. Chances are good both will fail. So, when cricket returns home, Yuvraj can go back to his spot without the worry of the ball bouncing past his shoulders.

Phew…. Quiet a conspiracy. Relax guys. Don’t be mad at me. Let me bring some sanity and believe nobody is faking and the injuries are genuine.

Regarding the choice of replacements, both Kohli and Ojha deserve to be a part of the squad. It’s actually a surprise Kohli failed in WI and allowed Raina to take the place. However it is little disappointing the selectors did not want to try Rohit Sharma. He is the only candidate untested in this version and this could have been a wonderful opportunity to measure him. I guess Kohli’s medium pace must have tempted the selectors to give the Delhi lad a reprieve. We just have to wait and see if he is blessed with the golden arm of Ganguly.

By all means the 11 day break must have done a world of good. To add it, Sehwag’s arrival and Gambir’s fitness are more good news. Finally we are too good a side not to turn it around. Once again turnaround is said more easily than done and past reputations seldom instill the faith in the current circumstances.

Here are my positives that will work in favor of India.
1. Leave alone the damage Sehwag can create, India is going into the game with their established opening pair.
2. Not sure about others, the least I’ve been saying India’s failure are largely due to the shuffling of batting order. With the openers returning everyone will now go back to their houses.
3. Mishra’s (Ojha too) selection should certainly work England’s disadvantage as he turns the ball away from the right hander.
4. After 2 Tests and 2 warm ups Indians are surely used to the conditions.

It would not be a bad ploy if India takes the brave decision of playing 5 bowlers. I know you are laughing at me for going one batsman less, but I’ve a reason to back the theory. England was all out only once in the past 4 innings and on that occasion India was able to secure a lead despite the late order collapse. Basically when India is chasing a target in sight they played positive. However in the event of chasing mammoth total India completely lose track. If the 5th bowler can press this advantage there is no harm in taking it. The form of Dhoni will be a cause of concern in this case considering his burden will only increase for playing a batsman less. A player of his magnitude doesn’t have to go searching for form. After all he is gifted with the ability to rise to the occasion.

Once again RP Singh’s lack of match practice could prove against the 5 bowler theory and so Raina or Kohli will play as the 6th batsman.

Champions are the ones who crucify the opponents. Champions are also the ones who rise from an absolutely hopeless situation.

Bottomline: In short while we will know who is the true champion? 

Cricket Lover

PS: Many believe a Tendulkar ton in the second test may have eased the pain despite defeat. Anyways, Tendulkar not scoring the century turned a blessing in disguise. Otherwise the critics would have picked it for the Jinx.

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