I remember the year 1989 very well. Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace. We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past. Crickets fans were feeling directionless. Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks. Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted, the whole nation " batted " through him.
In 1991, a tall, thin guy, with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath. The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match. While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries by a few runs in both those tests. Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85, a bespectacled Kumble taking a 4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991, Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000, a dashing Sehwag scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever. More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship. Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among certain sections of fans. Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity because of superstars and stars. Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her. Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+. Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy to our team.
I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair, Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti etc. etc. are waiting.
It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names. It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
Shreyas Iyer. Sanju Samson. Rishabh Pant. Karun Nair. Sarfraz Khan. And the latest addition to the mix, chota packet promising to be the next big dhamaka - Prithvi Shaw.
All of these guys seem to have that 'it' factor when it comes to their batting. That certain something that jumps out when you watch them bat - plenty of timing, a plethora of strokes, and a willingness to take the attack to the bowlers. But take a bit of a closer look, and you can start to see telltale signs of inconsistency - a tendency to "live hard or die trying". Given the way the economic and 'popularity' incentives are stacked in favor of "modern" bats who are capable of exciting stroke-play, its not hard to see why the teenyboppers of Indian batting are all out to emulate the ABDVs and Rohit Sharmas of the world, as opposed to the Gavaskars and dare I say, even the great Sachin Tendulkar.
Gone are the days where the domestic circuit prioritized, taught and honed the ability of a young batsman's ability to put a premium price on his wicket. These days, all you hear in terms of "cutting edge conventional wisdom" is the tiresome cliche of "expressing yourself" and "playing your natural game". So widespread is the epidemic in India's young ranks,, that even the normally reticent Rahul Dravid felt compelled to publicly call out some of his wards. An annoyed Dravid was quoted as dismissing all this emphasis on "natural game" as "frustrating". Dravid chose to make his point with an unusually strong choice of words.
Strong words they might be, but I feel that it will be inevitably swamped by the tsunami of $$$$ that has flooded cricket since the inception of the IPL. After all, what will a young Indian cricketer aspire to be, considering the cricket circuit today - Why should he devote his energies to building his skills like say, a Murali Vijay, Che Pujara, or even an Ajinkya Rahane? When a test cricket 'failure' like Rohit Sharma is a multi-millionaire superstar IPL team captain, and gets to be a glory hogging ODI opener for the national team because of his ability to hit sixes?
To some extent, this evolution of incentives and the corresponding evolution in batting is not restricted to India alone. One look at the young batsmen coming through the ranks in England and Australia will show you a markedly 'same-ness' in the ranks. James Vince. Marcus Stoinis. Chris Lynn. Glenn Maxwell.
I wonder where the next Rahul Dravid will come from. Or if he will show up at all. Cricket will be poorer for it, if he doesn't.
No.4 is a pivotal role in ODI lineup,sort of a mid runner in a relay race who takes the baton from the top 3 and passes the baton to so called finishers(i hate this term) to finish the game.In some ways no.4 has to be a player with a finisher mentality himself but he has to be well versed in playing dual role of consolidating and finishing.
Yuvi played the role of no.4 really well for half decade circa 2005-2011 but post that no number 4 has been able to establish himself.Though Pandya batted at no.4 in last 2 ODIs but in the current set up there are lots of players who are vying for that no.4 slot:
Hardik Pandya : He has done a great job in last 2 odis. In the modern ODI setup he seems an ideal no.4 to me as he has shown the ability to take singles according to situation and sixes against spinners are never far away.That he isnt a slogger has been on display in the last 6 months or so and to me he has certainly fortified his credentials to be a regular no.4.But I believe if he is to be the regular no.4,there has to be inclusion of one more more power player in the lineup.
Manish Pandey : His demotion in the last 2 odis must have given him signals that the team management has not been impressed with him.But Pandey to me is someone who needs to time to build up his innings and I dont think he is someone who can be very successful in lower order.He plays all his cricket for KKR at top order and thats where he has been successful as well.So, he is another one who at the moment is playing at a position where he is being disadvantaged and he has himself to blame for that as he failed continuously against NZ last year and then in the 1st ODIs this series.But personally I believe he is someone who needs to be backed,that innings at Sydney always come to mind where he played an ideal innings for a big chase.
Jadhav : Very good player,always likes to aggressive ,sometimes unnecessarily aggressive.What I observed even yesterday about him,he has these pet shots which he plays whether its cut or sweep.I was very disappointed the way he played against Zampa , he got into bad positions and was premeditating too much.Not one of the top contenders for me for sure.
Dhoni: The favorite of many on this forum.He is someone who in many fans thinking is the ideal no.4 at the present with the way he bats these days.The way he takes his own sweet time before getting into groove.Somehow I believe he is good at the position he has scored runs at no.5 recently ,though I was hoping he is sent earlier than when he came in because I wanted to see how he reacts to the situation,his modus operandi etc.There were many who believed he would have taken RRR quite up and made the situation even more difficult.Sadly,even though am his fan I agree with the said notion,because we can only presume what he would have done and too much tuk tuking is exactly what he has done in recent past when there has been a huge target to chase.But even if he is given a chance at no.4 ,its not a bad option to try but he needs to be tested in situation like there was one yesterday.
KL Rahul: Only few bright minds in the team management think Rahul can be a no.4/middle order option,.I ll only hope,this guy's career is not ruined in the process.
Then ,we can throw in a curve ball in Krunal Pandya: I truly believe this guy is a very good batsman,who can play according to situation,street smart and also has the ability to play big shots when needed.Last year I believe he was playing at no.3 for Baroda,which clearly shows he is primarily batsman,who has the ability to build up an innings.
The batting order should be set, keeping in mind that when the situation of 60 runs of 36 balls comes,there should be a player left who is adept at taking side home from that situation.Exhausting all players capable of playing at good pace is also not a bright idea.
Development of Pandya as a cricketer has been a delight to watch.In many ways this guy has completed our side in almost all formats.Hitting ability aside ,the matirity and calmness he has shown in last 6 months exemplifies his development.
Much of Pandya's growth as a cricketer must be attributed to Dhoni at start and largely to Kohli for always backing him in every situation.There were times I thought him playing as a 3rd seamer is a slightly risky option but he has seldom disappointed with the ball in the hand.Going into the champions trophy final I thought he might be the weak link in the bowling but he turned out to be one of the best bowler on the finals day.Subsequently he has taken crucial wickets and now hardly can be treated as a weak link as I presumed he was in this side.Inclusion of variations like knuckle ball is a pleasant sight as well.
Batting has been a revelation.I remember I was not convinced that much after his 50 odd vs Eng at Eden Gardens in January this year , the innings was riddled with edgy shots.But 6-8 months after that,Pandya looks much more calmer, equally destructive against spinners or seamers but he does all that with a plan in mind.Never have I seen a batsman who finds hitting sixes against spinners as easy as this guy and even yesterday when Agar was bowling I knew chakka tou padega hi isko kabhi na kabhi and Pandya didnt disappoint.Now the growth part ,when he miscued one on a flighted loopy delivery, he knew he had committed a mistake and it was great to watch he didnt repeat it and on the contrary changed his modus operandi and hit Agar for a six using his feet.Maturity,calmness and game awareness everything was on display.
Now coming on to the nub of the point I am trying to make,looking at Pandya grow as a cricketer in this regime, a thought came in my mind that Rishabh Pant who I believe is an equally big talent,should be given a chance to become a polished cricketer like Pandya is on course to becoming.As I wrote earlier,Pandya has completed our side in many ways already but if Pant is a given a chance to become a player he has the potential to become ,our limited overs team can be the most dangerous side in the current circuit.We have one maverick in Pandya and there is still scope for one more in our side and Pant is ideal for that.
Now comes some people's apprehension that Pant can only play if Dhoni hangs up his keeping gloves.I dont believe that, Dhoni and Pant both can play,like Healy n Gilly circa 1997.The world cup is still 2 years away and I am desperately hoping Pant is in Kohl's scheme of thing for that tournament because such a talent has to be tapped.
I think in the last two series ,its apparent he is needed in the side.He has always been a master of ODI format and knows how to remain in the game and not throw it away.The chases in SL albeit mediocre totals ,once gain emphasized the importance of Dhoni in this side ,because deep down even the critics knew till he is there we are in the game.
Coming to yesterday's game,watching the match I was also infuriated when he was playing those dots but eventually we reached a fighting respectable score.It was majorly thanks to Pandya's assault but when got out at the score of 205 ,it was still way below par.But once again the style of playing till the last ball of the innings helped and fighting total was reached
Combining both 1st and 2nd point,one quality that one can ascribe to Dhoni is the art of building partnerships in Limted overs cricket.his sole aim in any limited overs format is to build partnerships and take the game deep and give himself and his team a chance.This attitude dates back to his 1st tournament as captain,WT20,2007.Remember the game vs Pakistan,when we were tottering at 20 odd for 3, he build a partnership with Uthapaa ,Dhoni was the sedate partner but eventually a respectable target was reached.Similarly in a must win game against SA,again we were in trouble ,yet again he played a key role in a match winning partnership with Rohit and yet again he played second fiddle.This quality is still intact and was on display yet again yesterday.
I have been reading this nonsense a lot since yesterday that because Faulkner was there Dhoni was able to catch up in the Ind.To all those critics,if you have followed Dhoni's career, this has been the generally the case.He most of the time targets such bowlers and tries to gain maximum out of them.But its not the case that he cant hit other bowlers when he wants to.Yesterday that six over covers was refreshing to see and there is also a clear change in technique as well as set up when he bats these days , meaning there is an effort to evolve.
Now on to the Negatives that invite criticism:
As mentioned earlier, his tactics playing sedate partner in partnerships and trying to be there till the end to maximize the runs till 50 overs ,brings one question to mind.Why his partner has to show some intent always and he becomes stagnant in the process of remaining there till the end.This question mark will remain with him ,because he has done that throughout his career.And I don’t think we will see any improvement in this regard with his batting especially while setting up totals.There was this thought that once he relinquishes captaincy he might change his attitude and play a bit more adventurously but obviously that was false belief. In a way he thinking of the team first that he should be there in the end and add extra 20-30 runs but with deteriorating abilities he fails to execute perfectly.
The most irritating part about his approach, is the proclivity hold back a bit longer than he should before going for the slog.Yesterday I thought he would open up post 45 overs mark atleast but he didnt and even Bhuvi helped him immensely during that period.The fact that he started going for runs only from 47 overs onwards is something thats not up to the mark and he needs to be more proactive in this regard specilaly on flatter wickets.
Thirdly,it was nice to see him finish and chase those mediocre totals in SL but I have this big question mark on his art of batsmanship,when we will be chasing 300-350 kind of scores in near future.There is no scope of sedate batting at that time , there will be greater need of intent.Partnerships will still be the key in chases as always but his proclivity of playing dots and just being there can be a major handicap those situations.Major increase in RRR will eventually lead to wickets and such a situation should not forced upon any batsman. Obviously these are my assumptions what could happen in bigger chases with Dhoni but hopefully its not the case.
Overall, to sum up he is an ATG ODI bat and still deserves his place in the side for his batting as well.He has these negatives attached to his art of batsmanship ,which will always be brought forth when he fails to execute.There is also this discussion going on about batting at no.4 may be ideal for kind of batting he does these days but I like him coming at no.5 but not below than that.
The one-sided beat-down handed to SL by India and the passionate words of Andrew Fernando here, here, and here, shed some light on the current state of SL cricket. Question is, where do they go from here? How do they get more competitive? Do they? Given the unprecedented level of churn and chaos that cricket is undergoing right now, Franchise T20 cricket is forcing a re-drawing of international calendars, as well as forcing cricket boards to drastically change how their domestic cricket is structured, played, coached and governed. Sri Lankan Cricket will not have a popularity problem with the sport, unlike say England, Aus, NZ, SA. But they are almost destined to have a funding and talent issue, given their population base. It is no surprise that they have firmly allied themselves to the BCCI - its given them a funding lifeline without which things would have been even worse. Based on Fernando's reporting, it appears that the lifeline may have been wasted to some extent by profligate and corrupt administrators. A situation that's as sad as it is predictable. The question is, what can SL cricket do to stay competitive at the international level?
Cricket as we know it is changing. And changing rapidly. All countries and boards need to keep up with the modernization that has entered the game in this post-T20 world. Top teams need top dollars in order to compete with the best in the world, and they need to create and/or strengthen their domestic cricket structures to ensure that they have a steady pipeline of skilled players coming through. Boards need to work to provide their younger and developing players with platforms where they get to train and compete with and against the best possible circumstances - whether that's first-class cricket or Franchise T20 cricket. Opportunities to 'develop' prospects apprenticing in international cricket over bilateral series will continue to shrink.
I believe the answer is to double-down on its alliance with the BCCI. The time has come for a Columbo Franchise to join an expanded IPL. SLC already tried their hand at getting their own little franchise tournament going. It died as soon as the Indian money stopped flowing through the "Champions League" tap. They don't have the population numbers that the Bangladesh or Pakistan have to sustain their own league. Nor do they have deep pocketed fans who can make up the paucity in numbers that Australia or England do. Their best bet at acquiring and maintaining access for their unfinished talent to top-level franchise cricket is to partner with the BCCI, and a deep-pocketed Indian investor - let them get a piece of the profits, while extending the IPL's 7 domestic player rule to Sri Lankans for the Colombo Franchise. This will create a self-funded pipeline and finishing school for Sri Lanka's younger cricketers. 7 Sri Lankans starting for an IPL team, means a dozen or so Sri Lankans are guaranteed roster spots in the top T20 league in the world. Apart from the established stars that win contracts for the other teams. If they don't do this, the only Sri Lankans who will get a chance to participate in these overseas leagues will be the ones that are already on their way to international star status.
There are 2 immediate obstacles that stand in the way of this hypothetical scenario. First, This requires a bold and visionary attitude from SL cricket administrators, one that will set aside short-sighted provincial and nationalistic attitudes to recognize the long-term benefits to SL cricket. And second, it requires equally visionary and pro-active leadership on the Indian side - both within the "non-profit" quasi-governmental BCCI, as well as the private IPL Council.
From a BCCI perspective, adding the Colombo Islanders and the Dubai Stallions to the IPL makes complete financial and strategic sense. You enhance and extend the IPL's pole position as the planet's leading cricket T20 league, expand your playing calendar, increase your fan-base, your profits, and gain/strengthen long-term allies at the ICC voting table in the process. Geographic proximity and existing cricket infrastructure means the logistical challenges are minimal. There is ample precedent for this - Look at the most successful sports leagues in the world, and you'll see that the best ones already span national borders - whether its the NBA or MLB in America, for example. The NFL - widely considered to be the most profitable sports league in the US, is working hard to expand beyond its American footprint, and is investing heavily in building a platform that will ultimately lead to creating a Franchise in London. The NBA has been quietly doing the spade work to lay the foundation for spreading its reach into emerging markets like China and India. Unlike the NFL, The IPL doesn't even need to do the hard yards. All it needs to do, is say yes.
SL test series is about to begin, Overseas tours are coming . In few days we ll be discussing team combinations
Every tours holds a key towards the future goal, n our goal is to earn our tarnished reputation overseas. The brand of cricket we have seen under kohli gives us high hopes and we also have a good bunch of players in the right age group. For that to happen this team has to fill its loopholes.
1. backup opener
2. Backup keeper
3. wkt taking spinner
4. backup middle order batsman
5. Seaming all rounder
6. Fresh blood in fast bowling
But there are some solution that can be found on this tour in kuldeep n Pandya. The potential Wkt taking spinner and Potential seaming all rounder
But its important we play them and give them opp to learn .
1. Pandya- In overseas condition we need a 5th bowler + cushion in batting. Jayant yadav cant be our answer overseas neither can be jadeja whose batting is only good against spinners. So we are left with Pandya n Shankar , shankar is on A-tour and opportunity to give him 4 day games has already been missed. Pandya is someone who can destroy spinners and looks good against fast bowling. A bowler who clocks above 140k , get seam movement, bounce, bowls a wkt taking line and is deceptively quick. So he sounds a good package and better then binny n jadeja as all rounder. We have given chances to yuvraj, raina, rohit who failed so why we have fear with pandya . He might fail with bat but will still contribute with ball. A 5th bowler like him will always fetch wkts unlike binny who cud have done the role of containing. We played binny on last tour of SL so lets try someone better this time Pandya. Pandya will only improve if he plays. Come overseas tour we ll have to give him a chance so why not now, the way he takes on spinners who knws he might get the better of herath. If pandya plays all 3 test higher chances he ll come out as better cricketer. Also i have seen him take blinders in slips in domestic
Another good slip fielder wnt harm among many droppers
Test cricket can improve Pandya batting - as he is going to get more and regular opp with bat then in ODi at 7, and he ll keeping getting his 10+ overs for bowling as well.
2. Kuldeep yadav- before i put his case, ill have to start with jadeja as for me kuldeep shud replace jadeja despite him being no.1 ranked
Do we see jadeja as our wkt taking bowler overseas
Do we see him going as an all rounder
Shud we take 3 spinners overseas- ashwin , jadeja , Kuldeep
I have one answer to all this question - NO . Then whats the harm in dropping him now. Yes its subcontinent- so we can give kuldeep a chance safely and didnt we win in SL last time without jadeja. Jadeja has become no .1 by bowling in India with Sg but now its all going to be kookabura and that ball diff has effected even our gr8 spinners in past.
Ashwin did really well last time in SL and contributes more with bat then jadeja. For me if we have to win overseas we need a wkt taking spinner and that hs to be decided among kuldeep or ashwin, i dnt see jadeja as a wkt taking spinner overseas. Neither we shud carry 3 spinners overseas.
Its high time we look at filling these gap holes on this tour, few opp have already been missed lets not waste anymore. IF we can trust these 2 in similar condition how wud we in tougher conditions
Lets keep individual n individual rankings aside , its all about the team not individuals