The spirit of Diwali was missing all along till Rohit Sharma first lit the lamps on way to a hundred and then showed what kind of fireworks he can produce by slamming an incredible 209 runs on Saturday.
Call it lusty hitting or a clinical assault on the ragged Australian attack, this was the kind of batting which lifted the spirit of an entire nation as the lead up to the festival of lights was low key.
Having grabbed the chance to open the innings in the ODIs, Rohit was at his fiercest best in a series which M.S. Dhoni’s boys won with swagger. Things seemed dicey for India at the start before the collective batting might of Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli decapitated the Aussies.
Reams have been written about the plight of the both teams’ bowlers on placid pitches, whose nature perhaps wouldn’t change even if jet planes landed on them. At this time, when we rejoice over the collective batting might of Team India, spare a thought for the bowlers, who seem clueless about where to put fielders and stop the bleeding.
Back to Rohit, and the intensity of his batting has been a treat to watch. At a time when comparisons are being made between the best opening combinations that India has had, this man is indeed a revelation. With cricket fans now counting the remaining days Sachin Tendulkar will be seen in action in the two Tests against the West Indies, prominent names at the top of batting order like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been forgotten.
It will take some time for the Aussies to get over what has been a nightmarish ODI series for their bowlers. Looking ahead to the Ashes at home, they quickly need to get over the trauma, though they have some sturdier players for the Tests.
To be sure, when the Aussies came to India, they had decided it was more important for Michael Clarke to ensure his back is in proper shape so that he could lead by example in the Ashes.
I am not too sure if the Indian cricket board and the team management have any such plans for players who are supposed to be ‘injured’. The other day, when BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel sent a press release announcing the names of the players for the two Tests against the West Indies, Ravindra Jadeja’s name was out of the list.
“Ravindra Jadeja has a shoulder strain. The physiotherapist of the Indian team has advised two weeks’ rest for him, after the end of the ODI series against Australia, as a precautionary measure,” said the BCCI release.
Logic demanded that if Jadeja was injured, he be rested immediately.
If he had a shoulder niggle, he should have been pulled out of the team for the last ODI in Bangalore. That did not happen and Jadeja the bowler again took the field at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, going for plenty but taking three wickets.
The BCCI would do well to let us know if the people who take care of players’ rehab are so efficient now that they could ensure Jadeja was fit for the Bangalore match.
If at all Jadeja has an injury, he should have been rested. And if it’s a case of dropping him for the Tests against West Indies, it is a bad decision. Bowlers like Jadeja really don’t need to prove their worth in bilateral ODI series where the bat dominates the contest.
Let us rewind to the four-Test series against Australia at home in February-March. ‘Sir’ Jadeja grabbed 24 wickets and showed us he is a maturing as a bowler in the longer format.
Any bowler’s real worth is assessed by how he bowls in Tests and in that direction Jadeja had shaped up well. It would have been good to gauge Jadeja’s progress against the West Indies.
On the other hand, if the BCCI bosses, selectors and the team management have decided that Jadeja is merely a one-day expert, it is sad news.
At a time when bowlers have been treated mercilessly in the ODI series, Jadeja has still managed to do decently.
Somewhere, there seems to be a strong disconnect between what the BCCI is saying on Jadeja and what the reality is. If a bowler of his calibre has been sacrificed for the Test series, it defies cricketing logic.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.