Friday, September 2, 2011

Why would India bat second in the D/N games?

The one off T20 loss in the heap of losses revealed a lot with regards to the outcome of the ODI series. A depleted Indian side that is lacking delivery from the experienced pros and fighting hard to get back to the winning ways is now left to deal the deteriorating weather too. I’m equally disappointed like you when a spinner like Ashwin bowls so many wides and the players looked like a bunch of school boys in terms of batting, bowling and fielding in the T20 match. No excuses especially for the batting debacle, but in reality it is extremely difficult to play in cold conditions. I’ve personally experienced this and decent enough to judge how the Indians felt the other day.

It was those last few days of April 2007 in New Jersey, a perfect day to sip a blended scotch in the warmth of a couch and watch a movie in the home theatre. A bunch of mates decided against and went ahead to play practice match in order to get ready for the season ahead. I was new to the team rather new to the country as well. There is hardly any surprise that I remained little more enthusiastic over the others to establish myself. We lost the toss and rightfully ordered to field. Within few minutes understood playing in cold is no joke. I started praying every moment for the game to finish when the game hardly started. It was my turn to bowl and I bowled everywhere except the wicket. Not because I’m an awful bowler but for the fact that I never felt the ball on my hands due to the heavy numbness on the fingers. And then catching the ball caused even more excruciating pain. Those 80 overs appeared to be 80 hours in a day.

Sorry for the diversion, now coming back to the Indian team. Well, the weather now in England is not as bitter as I described above but definitely dropped enough to add fuel to the fire. If you ask me how much it changed in the past 15 days, definitely it should have dropped a few more degrees making it inconvenient. Sooner the sun goes down the line of horizon the little warmth will quickly start fading making the life of bowlers and fielders even more miserable. The three day night matches to be played on Sep 6, Sep 9 and Sep 16 will be the game breakers per my opinion. Without a doubt India will have no hesitation to field first if they win the toss in any of these three games. Also England will have no problem in sending India in only to exploit their weakness for cold evenings which in turn will make the life of English batsmen easier. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed on India to win all these 3 important tosses to gain some momentum for the chance of any revival.

This series is definitely advantage England though Indians are the World Champions. Trust me, I’m not being pessimistic but only realistic. Circumspect would be a better choice of word considering the circumstances. If India can dump England in the two day games (Sep 3 & Sep 11), who know, the final ODI could be a cracker of a contest and if India can win that vital toss, anything can happen. However India going down 5-0 or 4-1 is a disaster.

Going into the first game of the series tomorrow, it will be big test for the batsmen to come good against the likes of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan. If India could put a sizable total, they should not have a lot of difficulty in defending the target as the likes of Pieterson is missing the English lineup. Despite the loss in T20, the first flower actually blossomed in the Indian camp. It is nice to see young Ajinkya Rahane, willing to offer positive stroke play on both sides of the wicket with so much of variety. He definitely impressed everyone ahead of the south paw Mukund. Again these are early days and he is still left a long journey to go. Indian think tank should give a serious thought about the next new comer Varun Aaron ahead of Vinay Kumar.

Following would be my playing XI for the first ODI.

Rahane, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kohli, Sharma, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Varun Aaron.

Bottom line: Despite India being poor chasers, if we still see them opting to chase after winning the toss in the day-night encounters, the reasoning is not rocket science.

Cricket Lover

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