Harsha Bhogle

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  • Castrol Index shows how closely the Irish ran India

    India's victory over Ireland in Bangalore shows
    how far the popular, and tough, Irish have come in the ICC Cricket World Cup
    2011.

     

    Two weeks ago, this game would have been
    regarded as a pushover, as a gentle walk in the park, as two points in the
    bank. As it turned out, the two points arrived but as the Castrol Index worms
    constantly kept telling us, there were moments when we couldn't be sure. That
    is not only a tribute to the challengers but also an indictment of India's
    position.

     

    When India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virat
    Kohli fairly quickly together, you will see the worms fairly interlocked. That
    is a fair assessment because the track was slow, the Irish were handling what
    seemed like thin resources pretty well and India was really an accident away
    from being in trouble. The final result suggests a relatively easy win but that
    is the result of a ferocious assault by Yusuf Pathan; it was more difficult
    than that.

     

    And yet, while that shows up bowling and
    fielding weaknesses,

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  • Bell’s dismissal was a huge turning point

    I've had the privilege of watching some great matches over the years but few can match the one between England and India for drama and emotion.

     

    Eventually, that is what sport is about and this game was a great commercial for cricket. It had valour and courage, fear and nervousness, skill and stupidity....human frailties were on show even as a legend constructed another masterpiece only to be upstaged by one who batted brilliantly but will not occupy the same page in history.

     

    To be honest, I thought the Castrol Index was being very kind to England at the start, rating India ahead only 171 to 169. But the moment a game is played on a flat deck India lose its great advantage in batting since conditions tend to even that out and bowling then becomes the differentiator; that is also why India's best chance is to play on tracks that help bowlers a bit so that its weakness gets evened out and the batsmen can provide the edge.

     

    From that point of view, the Castrol Index got it spot on; it

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  • India makes a powerful statement in winning opening game

    Some thought India's first game in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 would be a banana skin game. It had the potential to be one but eventually class told and the greater statistic prevailed. It wasn't about 2007, it was about India having beaten Bangladesh in 20 out of 22 games! The Castrol Index made it 77-23 to India before the game started and, as it turned out, that was a fair reflection. In fact, the Castrol Index for the game put India well ahead with a 235-120 margin.

     

    Virender Sehwag was brilliant, not just with his strokeplay which illuminates stadiums at most times, but with the manner in which the innings was organised. Small wonder he finished with a Batting Momentum Index of 289. He said two things before the game: One, that he wanted to bat for as long as possible and two, that it was a revenge game. The first of those is a valuable trait to possess and one that Sehwag had, for some reason, forsaken in limited-over cricket. This could be the coming of him in One-dayers for

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