sourab10forever got a reaction from Trichromatic for an article, Match Report : 2nd ODI,India Tour of England 2018
In contrast to the recent flow of things for this mighty Indian LOI team, they faced a decent-sized defeat at the hands of the three lions. Not only did this result spill life into the series and saved the 3rd ODI from becoming a dead contest, It was a vital speed-breaker that was necessary for India when looking at the larger picture i.e the upcoming WC.
Morgan, to the joy of his counterpart, decided to bat first after winning the coin toss. The stats and team form showed that batting second was the key and the factors that led England to decide otherwise remain unclear. Perhaps, as Gambhir pointed out, it might have something to do with negating the effectiveness of the Indian spin-duo under the lights.
The 1st Innings
The first 15 overs or so went as per the script. The English openers got them off to a great start, like they always do. Kuldeep came in and picked up his customary set of wickets. What changed, to the relief of the English fans, was the sight of their main ace Root back to what he does best. A well compiled century while not only making sure that he held the fort against the Indian spinners but also scoring at a decent pace. Buttler fell early and Moeen wasn't any good either. the Indian bowlers were keeping things nice and clean until David Willy decided to go bonkers and gave England what they required to get to 320, which was just about at par given the conditions.
The 2nd Innings
Dhawan gave the innings a great start unleashing a set of exquisite cover drives. The Hitman, on the other end, took his own sweet time. Rahul fell cheap and India's innings was already in trouble. Kohli-Raina stitched together decent partnership but the RRR was always climbing and their pace would only mean one thing-pressure on the weakest part of this Indian team, the lower middle order. Dhoni again gave a masterclass on why he is a misfit at no.6 but Kohli easily brushed away this fact in the post-match press conference with an often used brush called 'off-day'. Once Raina was out in the 32nd Over, there was but little hope. India succumbed to a 86 run defeat.
Not a lot of takeaways from this game for Team India. Only a couple of questions that Kohli and Shastri will have to find answers to. The series is now up for grabs and hopefully, India can pull it off and take a load of confidence going into the all-important test series.
sourab10forever reacted to Trichromatic for an article, Match Report : 1st ODI,India Tour of England 2018
A day after England’s loss to Croatia in the FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals, a cricket match between two strongest ODI teams wasn’t expected to the hit headlines, but fireworks were always on cards given both teams have very explosive batting lineups. The match was played on the same ground where England had scored the highest ever ODI score three weeks ago.
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to chase on what looked like great batting conditions. England started quickly as usual and absence of two front line bowlers - Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, meant that Indians didn’t find it easy to stop openers Roy and Bairstow. They were off to a flyer in powerplays before Kohli threw the ball to chinaman Kuldeep who has been in great form on this tour. An ill-fated reverse sweep by Jason Roy in 11th over started the downfall of the England team after that great start.
Root looked absolutely clueless when he was caught plumb in next over of Kuldeep and a good review against Bairstow for what initially looked like ball pitching outside leg meant India had clamped down chances of a big score.
England needed to rebuild after 3 quick losses, however captain Morgan couldn’t check his temptation to play a big shot against Chahal, only to be caught by Raina at midwicket. Kohli removed Kuldeep from attack after a 4 over spell allowing English batsmen Stokes and Buttler to rebuild innings. Together they added 93 runs. Buttler continued his great form and was fluent throughout his innings scoring at more than run a ball. Stokes, on the other hand, was scratchy and found it difficult to get going against all bowlers.
Bringing back Kuldeep brought quick rewards for Indian teams as he dismissed Buttler to a faint edge down the leg in 39th over. England 214-5 by 44th over were hoping for Stokes and Ali get them close to 280 in 50 overs. However, Stokes who had been patient for longer earlier inexplicably decided to go after Kuldeep’s last over only to see his reverse sweep caught inside the circle. Wiley fell in the same over giving 6th wicket to Kuldeep - best haul for a spinner in England.
Pacers failed to create much impact in good batting conditions and England were dismissed for 268 which didn’t look like a challenging score for a good chasing team at any point. Rohit and Dhawan started quickly before Dhawan fell to Moeen Ali as he tried to go after him. Once Kohli was at the crease, chase always looked in control complemented by Rohit’s unnatural attacking batting early in the inning. Sharma displayed a wide range of shots to completely annihilate the weak English bowling. He brought his 100 in just 82 balls and won the game for India in the 41st over after Kohli’s dismissal earlier.
It was an easy win for the Indian team, but Kuldeep was easily the biggest difference between two sides who are occupying top 2 places in the ICC ODI rankings. If England has to compete with this in-form Indian team, they have to quickly find ways to tackle Indian wrist spinners who seem to be on a different zone with their accuracy, guile, flight, pace and skills on display. English bowling will be tested again and if they have to improve their 2019 world cup preparations, they need to seriously look into this department.
sourab10forever reacted to GolGappe for an article, 2019 World Cup: Challenges ahead for Captain Kohli
Virat Kohli has recently completed 50 ODI’s as skipper of India. The results are mighty impressive. They’ve won every 4 out of 5 ODI’s with Kohli as skipper. They have been dominant at home, had a great run in Champions Trophy, and treated RSA like a school team in RSA’s own backyard. Bowlers have finally figured out how to take wickets during the middle portions of the game, Captain possesses two skilled slog-over bowlers and a very confident all-rounder who brings a lot of balance to the side.
However, the side is far from perfect and this article highlights some of the areas that India needs to improve on before the World Cup. Normal wisdom suggests that you would want every player to have 30-50 ODI’s under their belt prior to World Cup but I disagree. Good players will shine regardless. New players bring a bit of a mystery factor and new levels of energy for high-octane tournaments. India’s IPL tournament prepares these players for big stages and selectors shouldn’t put too much emphasis on experience factor.
India’s top 3 are arguably collectively biggest batting threat in one-day cricket but as the final of the Champions Trophy demonstrated if these three go cheaply, India’s lower middle doesn’t look capable of mastering tricky chases. To be honest, the top 3 have enjoyed the best of batting conditions and hogged the majority of the strike preventing the lower middle order from getting valuable match experience.
Number 4 and 5 in one-day line-ups are still up for grabs. KL Rahul is still trying to figure out his role in ODI set-up. Raina is a fighter but he is technically limited.
The tail is a bigger worry. With the exception of Bhuvneshwar, India has three genuine number 11 batsmen. In this era of batting deep, India over-relies on the top 7 for the bulk of heavy lifting.
Elephant in the room
Any sane selection committee would have ensured Dhoni is collecting his pension by now but he is guaranteed a spot in final XI for the World Cup. Given his street smartness, surprisingly he has been a constant no-show in recent past and has frustrated fans on several occasion by ignoring the match situation in trying to bat himself in.
India’s reluctance of dealing firmly with fading stars puts inexperienced selection panel in a bit of a quandary. As IPL and other tournaments showed, there are potentially 2-3 very strong wicket-keeping candidates available should Team Management desire them.
The entire Indian cricket fraternity worships Dhoni and you can be assured the wise old wizard will retire on his own terms.
6th Bowling Options
When fully fit, India is fortunate to have 5 genuine wicket-taking options but there will be times when 1 or 2 of these bowlers will have an off day and a 6th option will come in handy. Suresh Raina is the only certified pie-chucker in the side but India can use someone who is a bit more reliable with the ball as a 6th bowling option. Krunal Pandya offers that option to India but it’s hard to see conservative Indian panel considering someone like Krunal Pandya to fill this important role.
Backup Bowling Options
The current backup options haven’t been that impressive. I can’t imagine the Kauls, the Sirajs, the Thakurs, and the Unadkats of winning games on their own. Agreed, they have been up against brutal batting orders on very flat pitches but none of them has demonstrated that X-factor that bowlers need in this era of flat pitches, mighty bats and smaller grounds. Umesh Yadav bowled some vicious spells in IPL but lacks that consistency. Shami has fitness and personal issues to deal with. Varun Aaron is not even on selector’s radar. Under present system, Mavi, Nagarkoti, Khalil and Rajpoot will probably have to put on impressive performances for 12-18 months to get a look in.
The purpose of this article is not to paint an overly negative or depressing picture of the current state. Like India, all other teams are also facing their own unique set of challenges. England lacks world class bowlers and will be under massive pressure to #BringItHome. Australia has serious re-building to do after Sandpapergate disaster. RSA is dealing with ABD’s retirement and the return of Amla to a more mortal form. NZ is like Belgium (Football Team) of cricket. A guaranteed semi-final pick but lack that firepower to go all the way. Pakistan and WI possess several match winners but do blow hot and cold. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have serious issues of their own.
Here is hoping team management and selectors are paying attention to few of these issues and ensuring India goes well-prepared into the mighty important tournament.
sourab10forever reacted to SK_IH for an article, Kohli and Shastri should develop Pant as they have developed Pandya in last 1 year or so
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.
sourab10forever reacted to sandeep for an article, Can the IPL help save Sri Lankan Cricket?
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.