Monday, January 28, 2008

Hogg, Not a test bowler

Hogg is a better one day player. He reminds me of Michael Beven. A more than useful bowler and a solid lower middle order batsman. He was never ready for tests and his weaknesses were exposed when he played against a quality spin playing team like India.

Hogg cuts lonely figure

While one Western Australian bowed out to overflowing praise for an outstanding career, another must have crept off wondering if he had performed in his last Test. Brad Hogg's re-trial as the first-choice spinner failed again and if Stuart MacGill doesn't regain his fitness in time for the winter tours the selectors need to gamble on the next generation.
It's been a deflating series for Brad Hogg who has been shown up as a Test bowler
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Series round up and 4th Test

{Photos: Courtesy}
Brett Lee was adjudged Player of the Series for his 24 wickets, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day, January 28, 2008
player of the series - Brett Lee

Adam Gilchrist, souvenir stump in hand, leaves Test cricket behind, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day, January 28, 2008
Gilly bids Adieu

Well 4th test ended in a draw but not without generating some interest during India's second innings. That goes to show, how soon Aussies can turn things around. Had Sehwag's catch being taken, it would have been a different story. But they themselves have to blame for that. They were sloppy (not at all Aussie standard) in the whole series. Nevertheless Australia retained the Border Gavaskar trophy. Here is my take on the 4th match.
  • Both the teams played safe/negative cricket in their first innings.
  • We don't know Australia that scores 3 runs per over for the whole innings.
  • Australia missed a golden chance by dropping Sehwag's catch.
  • Harbhajan had a disastrous match. Never looked threatening.
  • Sachin's century was the best of the match.
  • Sad to see Gilly retire.
Probably a more lively pitch would have made a real game out of it. There was nothing much for the bowlers. Pick of the bowlers were Lee and Ishant. They showed how to bowl on a dead rubber. Spin department of both the teams failed.

As for the series, it was a well fought series and a lot of positives and negatives came out for both the teams. I think Australia showed signs of slump. They were not as lethal as they used to be with Warne and McGrath. They don't have a world class spinner. Their back up pacers are not good enough to support Lee. They have to improve or shall I say concentrate on catching. Also they should get prepared for Hayden's retirement. Should look for good openers soon. These chunks were well exploited by Indians.

Virender Sehwag scored his first century of the series, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day, January 28, 2008
Veeru's Ton helped India save the match

Ishant Sharma unsuccessfully appeals for lbw after Ricky Ponting fails to offer a shot, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day, January 19, 2008
Ishant Sharma - Not just fast but talent too.

After being written off by most, Indians displayed a refreshing variety of cricket. Their bowlers looked capable of taking 20 wickets and their batsman showed class. Specially, Sachin . Laxman proved to be a better batsman against Aussies on Aussie soil. For me, pick of the tour was Ishant. I have not seen any Indian bowling his heart out like this. He earned good respect from all. Specially from Australian greats. I heard them saying good things about him. I wish him good luck for future. Sehwag proved to be a match winner/saver again. You can't have such a talent sitting on bench for years. I hope he continues to play in future and shows more control over his innings like he did in Adelaide. He has to believe that he can make big scores, even by playing a solid and safe cricket. India has to pick good spinners and think about future. Kumble and Bhajji are not going to stay forever. Rahul's confidence has to come back. Sourav has to think beyond. Its time for him to say a graceful good buy and contribute to Indian cricket in other ways. Lets hope this healthy rivalry stays there forever between two teams.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gilchrist announces his retirement

  • Finest Wicket Keeper batsman I have ever seen.
He will be missed greatly. Saw some glimpses of his brilliance in Perth against India but bowled cheaply by Sehwag. Had he stayed in that innings, the result would have been different. He is the man of big occasions. So many times Gilly has given us a treat of aggressive batting.

As cricinfo notes - "Adam Gilchrist, who revolutionised the role of the wicketkeeper-batsman, Gilchrist played 96 Tests, the same number as Rod Marsh, and has collected 414 dismissals, currently one more than South Africa's Mark Boucher"

He has been instrumental in Australia's one day success. Coming as an opener and thrashing bowlers all over the place is his trademark style. His game against the short bowling is next to nobody in contemporary cricket. Gilchrist brought a limited-overs approach to Tests, becoming the first man to launch 100 sixes in the format, registering the most centuries by a wicketkeeper-batsman, and scoring at a phenomenal strike-rate in the low 80s.

He is truly the best keeper of his times or may be in the history of cricket. Peter Roebuck notes "Yet to characterise Gilchrist as a cavalier is to underestimate his craftsmanship and his contribution. Guarding the stumps was his primary duty, a role he carried out with an athleticism and skill that spoke of substantial skill and unfailing stamina. It was no easy task to replace as superb a gloveman as Ian Healy, into whose hands the ball nestled like a bird in a nest. Gilchrist met the challenge with aplomb, not so much ignoring the hisses that greeted him as turning them into cheers by sheer weight of performance and freshness of character."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ind-Aus 4th Test. Day 1 and 2

Indian Team belongs to Australia now. They are comfortable playing here and are totally in control of the 4th test. So much that they are enjoying the conditions that Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh put up more than 100 runs for 8th wicket. Austrlian weakness in the bowling was wide exposed by Indians. Indians put up a fighting first innings total of 526, surpassing average 1st innings score at The Adelaide.

Earlier, Sachin's sublime innings came to an end after a fierce battle with the world's best bowler. I think it got to do with the blow he got on his knee from his own shot. But I loved the innings. It was one of those rare one's.

India got a glimpse of the fact that the bowling is not going to be easy here and getting 20 wickets to get a win would need something special from their bowlers. RP's injury can be a blow if he does not recover this morning. Bowling in the right areas and drying out the runs would be the key to frustrate Aussies and eventually get them out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Australian Perspective on Indian team behavior.

This morning I read this insane piece of writing from cricket-blog. Here are few quotes from it.

'In this series against India we have witnessed something different and unusual. The visitors, with the worst disciplinary record in world cricket, have cried foul. After the Sydney Test, a comment by Kumble to the effect that only one side had been playing in the true spirit of the game, was seized on by the media.'

The whole world knows who are the brats of world cricket. My take on this, the fact that Kumble took a strong stance against the spirit with which Aussies played, was a bomb shell on the Aussie cricket. All the TV footage showed what Aussies were up to. The best was Clark standing after nicking one to 1st slip. Cannot stop laughing.

'Kumble succeeded in muddying the waters. It was no longer just poor umpiring. Somehow the poor behaviour of our cricketers contributed to the result. This was brilliantly conceived and executed.'

As far as muddying the waters is concerned, I don't think the whole world (except Aussie Team and few reporters) can be fooled by the statements and the TV footage. Yes, the composure shown by Kumble in all the press conference was commendable. Brad Hogg should have been slapped a ban, then it would have been 10 out of 10 execution. But we Indians are kind hearted.

'Previous successes had not been built around any overt goodwill toward opposition sides.'

True. Aussies don't know how to win matches by playing fair cricket and with true spirit. They killed the phrase "Gentleman's game" associated with cricket for so long. Yes, they became #1 team by doing so.

'Many Australians underestimate Indian people, seeing them as modest, humble, self-effacing types who are often mistreated and misunderstood. Underneath that exterior you will find many with devious cunning, ruthlessness, astute brains and acumen. Just ask Pacific islanders of countries with a large Indian population base.
Do you know anything called, "Intelligent"? I think that is what describes Indians best. For a sport being loved by every India and winning it, you have to be ruthless and cunning.

Suggested Reading who don't agree.