Monday, March 25, 2013

WHITE WASH (series review)!!!

Expectedly (Series Preview) India won the series against Australia. A month ago, some may have had doubts on that too. Certainly, none expected India to wash it 4-0. Especially from this team that is still in the phase of transition or from the Captain who just lost it 8-0 away & 2-1 at home.

What transpired, India to produce such a performance?
In my opinion, a few cards that looked BLUFF turned TRUMP. To name it, Murali Vijay, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Captain Dhoni and Shikar Dhawan delivered throughout the series (Big Time) that truly reversed the fortune for India. Dhawan is an exception here for he played just one Test Match. However his surprise package at Mohali made Indian victory possible in only 4 days of cricket. Again, I’m very honest to admit that I was totally stumped by Ashwin’s quick rise. Mind you, I had framed him as only the 5th bowling option for India after his performance against England. And, Ravindra Jadeja, who used to be the butt of Indian Jokes, turned out to be a big thorn in the Aussie flesh. After this series, it will not be any surprise if Jadeja pips Ojha in the XI for the role of left arm spinner. By the way, losing it to Jadeja is totally not Ojha’s fault. And then, Murali Vijay completely wiped the traces of Gambir’s woes with outstanding consistency at the top. Lastly, Captain Dhoni nailed it for playing 5 bowlers throughout the series. Mind you, for a long time, Teams across the world/along generations have dropped the idea of playing 5 bowlers even at home. It requires a lot of courage from a Captain to play 5 bowlers in Test Cricket. And, you have to understand that this Team is in transition phase too, which makes the decision all the more difficult. Also, Dhoni’s Captaincy was in scrutiny for reasons well known. In such a state, Dhoni deserves all accolades for backing the idea of 5 bowlers and making it work. Between, he also deserves it, for backing these horses that appeared wrong punts in many eyes.  It now appears the Midas may have got back his touch. So, don’t be surprised, if Raina joins the list of all-time greats in Test Cricket. Between, the Selectors also earn the credit for including a B Kumar in the squad and sacking the duo of Sehwag & Gambir. All in All, the entire crew gets a THUMBS UP!!!

As usual, the series spurred the gate for Debates. Did Tendulkar play his last Test Match in home soil? Is this team any good outside subcontinent?

I’ve a feeling that Tendulkar has NOT played his last Test Match in the home soil. It is hard to digest that India will go to South Africa with NIL Test Cricket for 9 months. So, in all likely hood, a short Test series will be arranged (ideally with Sri Lanka) before the tour of South Africa. This will ensure the players have some games under the kitty before the Big Tour. Also it will serve an opportunity to give farewell to one of the greatest servant of the nation. 

To answer the second question, this team is sure to better 8-0 whitewash. After all, you can’t do any worse than that. Having said that, one can expect India to follow the policy of Horses for Courses on the Tours abroad. Obviously you don’t need 3 spinners in the XI. Logically you would be tempted to play one extra batsman in place of a bowler (i.e 4 bowlers instead of 5 bowlers), and 3 pacers instead of 3 spinners.

So, the Team would look something like this is my personal guess.

Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Tendulkar/Sehwag, Kohli, Rahane/Tiwary/Raina/Rohit, Dhoni, Ashwin, B Kumar, Yadav, Ishanth Sharma.

Also there is a good possibility of Irfan Pathan coming back to reckoning if Dhoni fancy the idea of 5 bowlers abroad.

Bottom line: The upward curve on the transition has just begun. Rather begun with flying colors.

Cricket Lover

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