India makes a powerful statement in winning opening game

cricket blogs for Yahoo Cricket Columns

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 he was doing his ability no justice at all.


The second was interesting. Too often we say that our players don't tell us anything we don't know, that they are insipid and predictable. Well Sehwag was different! And while it may seem provocative to some that is what he thinks and that is what we are entitled to know. I hope Sehwag is never gagged!


Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan said he was very impressed with Virat Kohli's footwork against spin, even as the young man amassed a Batting Momentum Index of 160. He hardly looked in any trouble and in our studio Sourav Ganguly said he should be batting at No. 6 in Tests now. He is full of confidence and it was a wonderful state for a young man looking ahead to find himself in.


I fear Bangladesh assigned too much importance to the dew. Having said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he would have batted second too and at one stage, when it looked like Bangladesh would get 300, one wondered about that decision. I still believe Bangladesh is best when it bats first and slowly strangles the opposition with its spinners. And yet, against quality opposition, it is a bowler short. I think the series against New Zealand could well lull it into believing that its bowling is good enough.


It is a wonderful start for India. I remember saying that India needed, not only to win but also to make a statement and it did that.


Harsha Bhogle, is writing in his role as a Castrol Index spokesperson.