Monday, November 5, 2007

Did anybody miss Dravid?

So that wasn't so difficult, was it? No Dravid, Tendulkar gone early, and India win easily. Okay, I'm not saying one necessarily followed the other, but those who keep chanting that without the trio to hold things together we can only win Twenty20 cricket are refusing to look at cold facts. And the facts are these: Mohammed Yousuf, the erstwhile Yohana, headed Pakistan's batting averages in the last series, which Pakistan lost. One of the primary reasons for that was that Yousuf had the lowest strike rate among Pakistan's batsmen. Yousuf was again the highest scorer in the first ODI of this series with India, and Pakistan lost. He did end up with a good strike rate at the end, but he and Younis played too cautiously in the middle overs and were primarily responsible for losing the game. Pakistan and India face similar problems: their senior players don't want to take sufficient risks. I've worked out the averages and strike rates of the Indian players starting from the England series, and it's no surprise to me that Sachin Tendulkar tops the batting average, but languishes at the bottom along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid when it comes to strike rates. So was India's win in Guwahati against Pakistan in the first ODI facilitated by the absence of Dravid and early dismissal of Tendulkar? It seems an unkind thing to say, but let's see how the rest of the series goes, let's see how many Indian wins can be attributed to the seniors. My viewpoint on this has been steady for a long time now: the importance of sheet anchors in one-day cricket is exaggerated, especially with wickets becoming flatter and average team scores becoming higher; anybody can go along at 4 runs an over on such wickets, but that's not going to win many one-day matches; in fact, successful teams like Australia are also upping the ante in Test matches.

17 comments:

Straight Point said...

you hit the nail on its head...

anybody who is talking about Sheet Anchors mild strike rate is seeing another game...like once black and white movies...looks good for occasional viewing but cant be staple diet...

Modern thinking is that once you have 20 overs power play have your top impact players playing those overs and irrespective of reputations you will have to select horses for courses players to take advantage of that...you will win more matches than otherwise...

and if one is thinking more of who will come at 20-3 kind a situation regularly than the team itself is not good and will loose...irrespective of who the sheet anchor is that is...

Sumit said...

sp, the strange thing is some senior cricketers continue to be praised for their high batting averages which they have achieved by playing risk-free cricket at the cost of the team in recent times

Straight Point said...

it has always puzzled me to no end that why its indian subcontinent players who become slow by age where else around world they remained as aggressive if not more???

a la Hayden, Gilly, Jayasuriya, Lara etc...just beats me...

Soulberry said...

Sumit, I'm not getting carried away with this victory. India committed some fundamental errors and were helped by even more from Pakistan. Things could have been tight if either Dhoni or Yuvraj fell earlier. Now they should have completed the task...a thing they'll have to master.

I'm uncomfortable thinking that Dhoni might have to come in at the position he did and the situation he came in, regularly.

The two spinners succeeded yesterday...no guarantees about that in future but they are the best bowling partnership we have at the moment. Then the first spells of RP and Pathan...India escaped here. The bowling wasn't as incisive or d angerous as the tentative Pakistan bats made it appear. First match nerves...possible. But I certainly would expect a more convincing from the current flagbearers.

I know that last one sounds funny when you look at the scorecard...five wickets is emphatic by any stretch of imagination...but you and I know it wasn't that easy or likely to be. A few things to iron out especially in the light of Dhoni's statement about having recently played Ozzies.

They have to incorporate two lessons first up - never ease off when opponent is down and out and 2) hold onto your catches.

Dravid wasn't missed but it is the out of form Dravid we are talking about and only an ask of just over 4. India has moved ahead and must keep challenging themselves to better performances.

And finally, a fine gesture by Sachin in turning down the captaincy. Now all three are ready to support a new captain and help him gell into the job.

princeparas said...

Great to see rahul dravid back in form. He should be in team now.

Sumit said...

soulberry, you're absolutely right - the win looked easier than it was. if first slip had been placed right to be able to take one of gambhir's catches, or if shoaib had been brought back into the attack earlier before dhoni and yuvraj sealed the game, who knows? but that's got less to do with the absence of dravid than the indian policy of playing five specialist bowlers. that's why our batting looks vulnerable. besides, it's unfair of dhoni to promote himself ahead of the in-form uthappa... as for sachin's gesture, it's lucky for him and the board that he realised his third stint as captain would be no better than the first two. dhoni makes a better test captain than any of the seniors, and the job should've been offered to him first, instead of diminishing his stature by making a gesture to sachin.

Sumit said...

sp, if hayden et al drop their strike-rates, they will be dropped. in india, when the seniors drop their strike-rates, we call them sheet-anchors. that's the difference.

Sumit said...

paras, dravid's double century was inconsequential. if he had got it in the first innings, he might have helped karnataka get a couple of points. in the second knock, he could've hit out to give karnataka time to go for a win. instead he played safe.

Straight Point said...

sumit

the q is not that they have dropped the strike rate and become what we call sheet anchors or 'platform builder' but why they have dropped...while we have live example out there in world that age is nothing to do with it...

Vidooshak said...

Does India have a player who can play an innings like Younis Khan did in the middle order/middle overs? Its not Sehwag. Dravid was losing it because his form & strike-rate dropped. A Badrinath or a Raina or a Tiwary should have been blooded for just that type of a role. Sheet-anchor is perhaps an inappropriate term. What's needed is a pace-setter or a governor(like in engines).

Sam said...

I think Sumit, this strike rate issue is now being blown out of proportion, we hv got your point, but if you keep harping about it in almost every post, then it sounds boring.....

we know u aint a big fan of seniors and no matter if they play fast or slow, your views aint changing. we know this.

so time now to find some other issue to bash the seniors, cos Tendulkar showed his class the other day but for his 99 jinx.....

Had Yuvi or Dhoni or Uthappa had faster strike rate or showed some guts, then score wud hv been past 360......

ur views on this......260 in 39 overs to 321 in 50....just 61 in 10 ? not quite enough!!!!

Sam said...

And Dravid was missed in the Mohali ODI when he could ave kept one end and accelarated in the end.....when dhoni, uvi, uthappa got out, this was a perfect situation for Dravid to show his class....

Sumit said...

sam, i saw tendulkar's innings in mohali. he was all at sea in the first ten overs and was lucky to survive. he did get after the lesser bowlers later and scored at more than a run a ball, but as pakistan showed later it was such an easy track that even 321 was not enough. i was disappointed by the way tendulkar got out at the wrong time, desperately seeking a single for a personal milestone. it made things hard for yuvi, dhoni and uthappa who had to come in late and start hammering without getting set. both the games india won featured big knocks by youngsters, not seniors. these guys are clearly playing to win, not for milestones. having said all that, i think both tendulkar and ganguly seem to have become aware of the growing criticism of their selfish play, and raised their strike rates in the last two games. if they play like this, i would be happy to see them at the top of the order, because they do have class and experience. but ganguly has to improve his running between the wickets and fielding to stay in the team.

Sumit said...

vidooshak, yuvraj showed in kanpur that we do have players who can absorb pressure and then accelerate and take the team to victory. in fact, i think yuvraj has done this more often than either younis khan or dravid. given more opportunity (and more overs to play), the likes of uthappa, rohit sharma, raina, tewary, badrinath all have the potential to outdo dravid. but for that to happen, the fans should be ready to let go of seniors who are well past their best.

Sumit said...

sp, you make an important point, that seniors in teams like australia and sri lanka have not dropped their strike rates. only the ones in india have. is it because the seniors in india think they can keep their palces by maintaining a high average, and blaming bowlers or late order batsmen who hit out and get out for our losses?

Sumit said...

vidooshak, the idea of a governor is a good one. such a batsman should have good defence and also be able to accelerate at will. dravid fitted the bill for a few years around the 2003 world cup. but these both his defence and hitting have fallen away.

cricket updates said...

hey dravid is a great player of india as well as world..Today He along with ganguly and laxman is out of the team, but in the current team no body can match the class of dravid...He made 10000 runs in both forms of cricket,,It's not a joke to make that much runs in both test and oneday cricket . All the seniors are gems in indian cricket.....

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