Murali-ed, Vass-ed, Malinga-ed, Fernando-ed and Jayasuriya-ed

Courtesy: Cricinfo
A banner that read "Murali-ed" probably got it just right.

Add Vass-ed, Malinga-ed, Fernando-ed and Jayasuria-ed to that.. That really was an outstanding fielding performance.

I spent about 5 years of my early childhood in Sri Lanka and do have a great affinity towards anything remotely connected to the Emerald Island. No prizes for guessing which team I would be rooting for from now on.

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Blogger Abu Safiyah 11:41 PM

My take on the team:

1. Sehwag - should not have been in the team to WC in the first place.
Dravid's obsession with Sehway cost India the WC.
(never mind Bermuda, he did precious little against BL)

Rating: 5/10

2. Ganguly - did not come back to the team on account of any domestic cricket, but proved his determination/ yet no agression or fire power as before. Happy to hang in and be counted.
Advice: Look at videos of AB, Greame Smith (they lost the match not the hearts)
He is not getting any younger as well. Should pave way for a new opener.

Rating: 4/10

3. Uthappa - Should go back to under 23 (if there is a squad like that). It is one thing to hammer Zonals teams and another to play on foreign soil

Should develop his Wk skills to be counted.
Rating: 3/10

4. Tendulkar - Please take a cue from Inzi bhai! No dont kill Chappel, just retire.
Can continue to play Test cricket

Ironically, Sachin's last WC matches have both been a Duck (2003 finals and SL 2007)
Rating: 2/10

5. Dravid - a poor leader. We need him in ODI but at no.3. He performed better when he kept wickets!

Rating: 3/10

6. Yuviraj - guessed he missed his pal in Kaif. The spirit to fighting when old heads are falling around, can be difficult for anyone, even if you are Yuviraj Singh.

Rating: 6/10

7. Dhoni - well ... his scores can tell more about him 0, 0 ..
Can play Test cricket though.

Rating: 0/10 (for his batting)

8. Kartick - did you play him to be counted?

The Bowlers:

1. Zaheer & Munaf - bowled as they could.
learn from SAF - even in 370 odd, count the number of the extras they gave.
Ofcourse, they cannot bat or field (even like a 37 McGrath) but they are the best available to us. Groom them

Rating: 7/10

2. Agarkar - sometimes I wonder, if he too wonders why is he in the team?
Cant bat, cant bowl. Oh yes, then i must be an all-rounder.
A Robin Singh could have done better!

Rating: 4/10

3. Harbhajan - even since he was picked, I guess he was the green horn. Not in his best of times, should have not been picked.
We dont expect him to score a 50, but when you leak away 50 runs, please pick up a few wickets, will you?

Rating: 2/10

4. Kumble - Smile you are on Camera

5. Sreesanth - hope you enjoyed the beaches. please write an article on the beaches of CArribean and Kerala.

6. Pathan - could have score more runs than Tendulkar!    



Anonymous Anonymous 1:53 AM

Hi I think that SriLanka are the one's who actually look like winning the world Cup, Apart from Aussies that is. For once we are seeing a world Cup squad not marred with injuries and most players in form.
Smart Alec    



Anonymous Vineet 8:49 AM

Lankans cant win this WC, because everything is tilted towards Murali and if Murali will not strike than Lankans would be in gr8 trouble.    



Anonymous The Village Cricketer 5:50 AM

Come on Abu, how can Sehwag have cost India the world cup, he was the only person to score any runs!

Sri Lanka is a wonderful place to visit, wonderful people, and now the team I think second most likely to win the world cup (after Australi). Come on the England though.    



Anonymous Anonymous 1:42 PM

Dear sir:

No matter, whether we like it or not, Cricket is linked to our national pride and the team's performance in field does impact the country's image in people's mind. Cricket is a serious issue to us, because, no matter, what we might want to 'claim', it has become linked to our national pride.

I would like to bring few facts to your attention, which I think are making Indian Cricket go the way Indian Hockey went where our team slid from being world #1 to being a constant national embarrassment.

These are:

1. Performance gap between the team of Australia and India has been steadily widening in place of narrowing that we might have hoped.* This is in spite of great popularity of Cricket in India and in spite of Indian Cricket board being far the richest in the world.

2. Physical fitness of top teams like Australia have greatly improved while fitness of Indian team has remained constant or further declined. Other teams complement their skills with excellent physical strength, agility and stamina while Indian players lose any skill edge because of very poor overall fitness. Only Yuvraj among current players has the skill and fitness players that can match top athletes/players from teams like Australia.


3. Rahul, Sachin and Saurabh have been main stay of Indian batting for about 8 years now. Thy are ageing and tiring yet, there is no replacement is in sight. There are no young batsmen who has shown enough promise, talent and performance to seriously challenge them now and to adequately replace them when they retire. If it remains this way, it can sink Indian team further once this trio retires which may not be that far away.

4. Indian spin bowling resources are running nil! In the country once famous for its spin bowling, today, there is no real replacement for aged Anil Kumble and no real challenge to Harbhajan Singh among young players. This is a matter of national shame and actually, a matter of great urgency. Our greater guiles and greater skills in spin bowling could have helped us make up for our lack in other areas now, quality spin bowling too might become one of our serious lacks. Perhaps, it is a high time to recognize our spin bowling heroes like Bedi, Chandra, Prassana and to start a real spin bowling academy!

5. General fitness level of our players is very poor and to make it worse, they have shown lack of any real motivation to gain and maintain top level physical fitness on their own. This is among the main reasons that we are being left farther behind by the teams much fitter than ours in spite of being more or less equal or better to teams like Australia and South Africa in terms of sheer talents and skills. We need a courageous and bold change*** to change this poor attitude and in order to ensure that our team is fit enough to compete with the best in the world.


With warm regards and best wishes,
Arvind





---

* Increasing performance gap between Australia and India
=================================================

In 1985, India won Benson and Hedges cup in Australia without losing even a single match. After reviewing Indian performance, Ian Chapel said that India team was the strongest and most well suited for ODIs and that India might become the #1 force in ODIs.

In 1996, India was favorite to win he World cup but, was eliminated only because of having to bat second against Srilanka on a crumbling wicket Calcutta wicket.

In 2007, India was ranked 6th among ODI teams when entering the world cup.




****Courageous, bold measures are required to ensure that our team has physical fitness level comparable to those best in the field
=========================================================

Board, players and media in general, pay little to no attention to the issue of physical fitness gap between the Indian players and those from countries like Australia, South Africa. Importance of physical strength, agility and endurance in top level sports can not be over emphasized. This is where India lost big time in Hockey and now it has started to slide in cricket too.

Most players have shown little to no interest in maintaining themselves in top physical form and thus, changing it might require courageous and bold action on part of the board and selection committee. Set strict, high international standard fitness parameters, publish them in an open format, set a goal of 2 years and require every player to pass that level in order to play International Cricket for India.

For example, set a time-table of 2 years and require every test/ODI player to be able to run 9 miles in an hour, be able to 200 pushups, be able to throw ball 80 yards for 30 times in an hour.


Similarly, set a timetable, a strict physical fitness goal and require each player to meet them at first class level too and for all age groups. In addition to improving physical fitness level of the national team, this will also greatly change player's attitude towards discipline, practice, training and fitness which will bring great dividend to the team and greater unity and team discipline. Implementing them on first class level for all age groups will improve overall fitness among players in the country and greatly improve its awareness in addition to improving the bench strength.

Granted there will be some exceptions, where a relatively 'unfit' player can make the team because of being immensely talented such as a Shane Warne. However, an effort should be made to treat them as 'exceptions' and to keep these exceptions to a minimum. For example, a minimum of 80% of players in team should meet these criteria.

Among other things, setting open high standard for physical fitness would also provide simple, clear, straight-forward answers to questions like:

- Is Player A fit to play.

- Is player B too old to play.

- Should player C retire or not be selected because he is too old and thus is not fit to play.

If you meet the fitness criteria, you are fit to play else you are not irrespective of your age. Simply meet the criteria and then practice and train to maintaining it and you are fit enough to play competitive professional sports at the highest level for India.    



Blogger Abu Safiyah 4:30 AM

great post Arvind. This should be the report to BCCI infact.

but disagree on your point number 3. Rahul, Sachin and Saurabh have been main stay of Indian batting for about 8 years now. Thy are ageing and tiring yet, there is no replacement is in sight.

The problem is you pit the newer lads against these guys and ofcourse Uthappas and Karthick might get awed by the occasion/ There are some other seasoned performed who are if not young abt the same age as Dravids and Gangulys. Why not give them a change. They are mentally strong and can perform jsut as well as these biggies -- well ...

4. Indian spin bowling resources are running nil!
Completely agree with you on this.. infact i am scared we have no quality spinner and even Brad Hogg and Vettori can win test matches in India against India and we might not have a good spinners. Somehow I am not too impressed with Bhajji too...    



Blogger Abu Safiyah 4:34 AM

hi Village cricketer.. guess you have a point on Sehwag.

But we are missing the finer point. Its not that Sehwag has suddenly turned into a very good batsmen at the WC. The point I was making is at no.1,2 & 3 (which is where Sehwag was batting), we need Match winners and not an odd 40.

Please discount his "scintillating" century against Bermuda (I think Ed Joyce can hit better) but he did precious little against BL, which is where we lost the WC..

And yes I have begun to admire the Sri Lankans.. just for the mere self-beleif and the love that put put in their game.. So you know who i will be rooting for this WC>>    



Anonymous Anonymous 3:31 PM

Thank you very much Abu!

It is quite evident from watching top teams play today that Cricket has transitioned from being a leisurely, gentleman's only game into a tough, intense, competitive, professional sports. To ably compete this game now, it takes greatly more physical and mental toughness. Those with higher endurance and stamina 'outlast' their weaker, more fragile opponents more often than not even when the opponents is slightly better in terms of sheer skills.

Greater physical fitness not only means improved performance and stamina, it also means a greater ability to wage and win long, hard battles. Those who get tired quickly are also likely to give up easily. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that fitter teams like Australia are also known for fighting very hard, for not giving up and for converting a seeming lost match into a win through sheer endurance. On the other side of it, teams with physically unfit players are the also the ones known to easily panic, collapse, give up easily and lose easily anytime going gets tough.

It is very hard to sustain a fight after your legs and arms have already 'given up'! Therefore, it is no surprise that the players who lack physical stamina and endurance are among the first to drop shoulders and lose heart. Once the body is defeated, mind follows quickly. Someone might pull an exception once in while and might sustain a battle after body has already tired and given up. Yet, we can see that mental strength to stay put and wage long battles come quite easily to those with higher physical endurance.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that teams like India are known to crack easily under pressure and are found lacking in appetite to wage and win long, hard battles. Indian team winning a long, hard event is an extremely rare event primarily because physically fit and 'durable' players are a rarity in the Indian team. In the very few events such as Indian win in the hard-fought NatWest series final in England came because of the sheer endurance of the two of the fittest members of the Indian team. . . Yuvraj and Kaif.    



Blogger eCricks 7:35 PM

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Check it out.    



Blogger Enhance Life 5:09 AM

Hi,
I have my money on SL for the 2007 world cup. The only threat I see are the Australians.

Sham
http://enhancelifethinktank.blogspot.com/index.html    



Blogger The Enigma 6:31 PM

I think the Lankans have a great shot at this WC. They have pace in Malinga and spin with Murali.

It will be interesting to see how they adapt if Jayasuriya fails at the top and the aforementioned bowlers struggle to make their presence felt in the semi-final.

I seriously think that they have a great shot at winning the title.    



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