• To be felled by Murali and Mendis can be compared to computer security wizards having their identities stolen by hackers. As Test defeats go, the one in the first Test was heavy, which could, however, be explained away.


    Even such a vaunted batting lineup, most famous for taking on spinners and dismantling their reputation hour by hour, could be forgiven its lapses when confronted by Murali and a mystery spinner in his first Test.


    The greater problem is the latest defeat points to the fact that India’s batsmen are ageing troubadours. They are quite capable of delivering when the conditions are true or flat but if there is so much as a bit of deviation from perfect behaviour on the part of the pitch, they are as lost as babes in the woods.


    It’s not easy to accept that a set of batsmen who performed out of their skin in Australia at the beginning of the year could have lost it all by the time the South Africans got at them in early April in Ahmedabad in lively seaming conditions.

    Read More »from SSC debacle: Is this the beginning of the fall?
  • The Indian team is in Sri Lanka. The ODI skipper, Test wicket-keeper and explosive middle-order batsman is not in the party. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is said to be resting at home in Ranchi. It is a brave decision that Mahi has taken, perhaps a foolish one too.


    As wicket-keeper batsman, Dhoni bears a workload greater than any others, except perhaps the fast bowlers. To keep wicket in Asia is probably a more demanding task because the ball is, on the average, gathered at much lower heights.


    To don the gloves for session after session on some merciless Asian wickets is the closest to bringing out ant tendencies to masochism. Poor Dhoni must be suffering from an overdose of cricket as otherwise he would not have taken such a decision. The timing of his pullout is what makes it strange, even unpalatable to the Establishment.


    Dhoni keeps off the Test team at a time that is too close to the IPL. Players can expect no public sympathy with regard to overcrowding of match fixtures when they

    Read More »from Dhoni’s decision to opt out was remarkably brave
  • As strategists, the Sri Lankans were outstanding and they excelled in executing their plans, Also, they recovered from a shocking start to run out comprehensive winners of the Asia Cup, leaving us in no doubt as to who were the superior side in the competition.


    To have held back Ajantha Mendis for the final rather than expose him to the Indians in the preliminary league was a masterstroke even if such a move is par for the course when it comes to mystery spinners or very young fast bowlers.


    Where India failed was in homework. Not enough may have been done in analysing the mystery spinner's bowling. I am certain the Indians would have had a video session to view the way Mendis bowls. But to play him in the middle is a different proposition altogether.


    What the Indians could not gauge quickly enough was the pace at which the spinner bowls. He is almost slow medium, perhaps much like Anil Kumble. While the Lankans always prided themselves on playing Kumble like they would a slow

    Read More »from Shielding Mendis before final paid off


(1,342 Stories)




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