I am a cricket lover. Cricket is my passion. It’s in my blood. But hell, I cannot be beat my friend Nishant. He thinks, talks (literally), eats and sleeps cricket (guess it’s not the right phrase, though I hope you get what I mean). He’s more into cricket than I can ever be. For instance during my training in Infosys, another of my friend Sai Ram, rued badly that he missed the cut to 100% by 1%. He was mad at himself, cursing all he could on his head. Nishant tried to cool him, but Sai Ram retorted “You never know how I feel not getting the 100%”. To which Nishant replied “I know exactly how you feel, it’s just like how Azharuddin had felt when he could play only 99 Tests. And he’s from Hyderabad, just like you”.
But that doesn’t stop from being critical on the current Indian team. You might ask “What’s wrong with them? They are the best team India has produced so far, save the English series, they were on top most of the times!”. I have to agree that this is by far the best Indian team, the one team that can dominate on every turf around the globe. I am a believer that English series was a culmination of all the bad luck that could happen on them in one series. The growing list of injuries, series of bad decisions, lack of touch and so on. The test series was all that, the one day series I could see that the whole team was so demoralized by the whitewash in tests that they couldn’t stop themselves getting whitewashed again in the later part of the tour! Nevertheless we got some revenge against them when they toured India, but it will never rub of the humiliation we suffered in the hands of the English in tests unless we go there and demolish them in the test series next time. World Cup, on the other hand, was actually a lucky charm for India. True they played magnificently after the group stages, but then they were lucky to stay alive in the group stages. Anyways a World Cup is a World Cup win. I cherish the moment Dhoni hit that magnificent six over the long on to bring the whole nation joy and make us proud! Pessimistic point of view, India had the advantage of playing on their home turf. But we were technically the first team to win the World Cup as the host. So that.
After the world cup, some of our heroes haven’t shined ironically. Sachin has been in a so-so form, with everyone waiting for his 100th International 100s. Yuvraj looked out of sorts even before the World Cup and currently so, but his all round contribution (mainly with ball I might add) during the World Cup was vital to the team’s success. Harbhajan too falls in the similar line as Yuvraj, he wasn’t convincing before the World Cup and worse currently, though his lion hearted performance in the World Cup has led the team to the cup and is what the team wants him to perform now. Sadly these three players are underperforming and I really doubt whether it’s got anything to do with their physical fitness. I will come back on them more later.
The rest of the team look good. The bowling was the major concern before, during and still is after the World Cup, but I see there’s light in the tunnel ahead. The fast bowlers are gaining confidence. Ishant has been wicketless but he’s bowling well nonetheless. Umesh Yadav has been the find of the year so far and I hope he becomes a great bowler in the days to come. Varun Aaron has shown promise, with the fact that Dhoni has faith on him. Praveen Kumar, the wily fox, was unfortunate to have missed the World Cup and is struggling with injuries, so is Zaheer Khan. Both of them are an asset to the Indian side and will trouble any opposition in the World . I really wonder what has happened to Ashish Nehra, who I consider as one of the heroes in the World Cup. Spinners on the other hand are one area India can be proud of. Ashwin has always been credited for being what Kumble has been for the Indian team in the past and I really hope India need not have to search for another off-spinner for a long long time. As for Ojha, I always consider him as a great bowler and was dis-heartened when India did not pick him for the World Cup squad. He now shows why is indispensable to not only India but any other team in the world would have a spot ready for him. Harbhajan really will have to pull up socks if he has to get back to the Indian team, but looking at his current dismal form even in the Ranjis, I think it’s almost over for him. I’d love to be proved wrong though, because I really love Bhajji’s bowling, especially when he bowls with a lion’s heart. Other spinners are good, Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla have a good number of varieties to their leg-spin, but they aren’t witty enough and need to learn a lot on how to vary their pace and variation. It lovely to see that there are so many vying for the spot for spinners in India!
The batting, well should I say more? It’s been phenomenal to see the number of talented youngsters knocking on the doors of the Indian team and yet the current crop of national players are doing what’s best for the Indian team, go out there and score tons of runs. Sehwag has been in ominous form, his only problem is the silly dismals that stop him from making mammoth tons (I doubt whether he is bored by the opposition that he tries to do something, almost all the time!). Gambhir has been a sort of backbone to the Indian side when there were times of trouble (The World Cup final knock was a gem of an innings). His current lack of runs from his willow is I believe to be temporary and will in no time amass a pile of runs in his kitty. Dravid has been a pleasant surprise for me after a really long patch of poor form. He’s been phenomenal from the word go during India’s tour of West Indies, England tour, and here in India. He’s been the run machine for India and goes to show others that he truly is a one-of-a kind and a legend in due right. Sachin, ah Sachin.
Now that’s one player I like to talk about more. Which would be in part 2. Till then have fun folks!