The lull before the storm…

When I see the news or read the papers I am amazed to see how much little coverage is India/South Africa Test Series is getting. Difficult to say why is this happening in a cricket crazy country… maybe its T-20 or maybe its SRK vs Sena… I cant guess…

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But what I can tell you is come Saturday in Nagpur, not one quarter will be yielded by either team, this is going to be one hell of a battle. The Proteas are an invigorated bunch and expect them to come hard at all Indian players. The good thing about this Indian team is it does not get intimidated, infact when ever needled, it rises and plays much much better. Infact I at times hope the opposition players would abuse and sledge our players all the times coz somehow when our players play with full intensity no team is able to match us… the problem is we do not get that intensity all the time unless when provoked, India and Indians by nature I guess are laid back people. At times team India has this bad habit of making contests exciting, when we play against Australia we have close encounters and sometimes shockingly enough when we play Bangladesh we tend to lower our level of play and make that match close and exciting too…

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The Aussie ruthlessness and ability to maintain the same standard is still to be mastered by Dhoni and his men… The Australians have proved that no matter how close the contest against the West Indians and Pakistan in the Tests at the end what matters is who won.. and they won just about everything.. !

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An opportunity of a life time it is for Badrinath, he has done whatever a domestic cricketer in India should do and that is score runs all the times against all the opposition. It is a just reward for this really talented and hardworking cricketer and I hope Dhoni plays him for both the Test Matches.

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 Murali Vijay could be Dravid’s replacement as he is an opener and again while Sehwag and Gambhir are going the way they are its an opportunity Vijay should take with both hands because sooner than later the middle order is going to be vacant.

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Now with Laxman also under the injury cloud we might have Rohit Sharma batting in the Test XI and I love this batsman and he is probably the most talented batsman in India at the moment, but he needs to be shaken up, he gives it up too easy and is very laid back. I hope being out of the team and scoring his maiden triple in Ranji trophy would have taught him a thing or two and he will not take anything for granted and perform and ensure he doesn’t go out of the team.

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A lot though for India will depend on the openers, amazingly India’s fortunes in Test cricket have turned since Sehwag has been opening, the rate at which he scores, the fear he puts in the opposition bowlers, the fielders he scatters… goes a looong long way in helping team India’s chances and as always he must in this series too LIVE BY THE SWORD OR DIE BY IT… ! Though going by his consistency in Test Matches it is very difficult to imagine that he will let 4 innings go by without something special. He has an amazing sense of occasion and I expect some fireworks from him.

South Africa’s main worry would be their middle order’s form, Duminy and De-Villiers have been lacking runs but they are two genuinely talented blokes and you can expect them to come good. Plus Kallis is playing like a dream these days. If Smith gets over Zaheer’s first burst the batting line up would suddenly seem very very long. 

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Before the series I used to think even if the South African batting sorts itself out I still doubt if they can consistently get 20 Indian wickets, remember Dhoni comes in at no. 7 and the ball wont swing or seam as much nor will it bounce as much and I don’t think Paul Harris or Johan Botha can run through our batting. I would really like to see how Morket and Steyn go when the heat goes up… Parnell though I think might be the surprise packet and India would do well to watch out for him. But now with the Laxman, Yuvraj and most importantly Dravid out it will be an even battle.

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Dhoni’s biggest worry will be the spin department with Harbhajan not looking too inspirational and a toss up between Ojha and Mishra. Although Ojha merits a place in the team by performance, Dhoni would do well to pick Mishra as South Africans have had a long history of problems playing wrist spin. Mishra can leak runs but might pick wickets. Ojha will give Dhoni more control as he bowls much tigher.

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In many ways picking Ojha or Mishra will tell you a lot about Dhoni’s approach… whether he is going to be conservative or be prepared to gamble…

 

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I cant wait for the first ball to be bowled tomorrow… Bring it on I say the World Championship of Cricket at Neo Sports calls it !!!!!!!!!

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I’ll sign off with this small article I read in cricinfo today about who will conquer my most favourite Indian batsman, this if anything should tell you how important and precious is VIRENDER SEHWAG  :

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It is instructive that Mickey Arthur (former South African Coach) should use Sehwag as the metaphor, and not, say, Sachin Tendulkar or Gautam Gambhir, who are actually more difficult to dismiss nowadays.

 

But Sehwag invokes fear. When he plays well, he feels sorry for the bowlers. He leaves behind destruction and debris for bowling units. Arthur’s sacking has come with a positive: he won’t have to worry about all that. Over the next two weeks, the rest of his mates of nearly five years won’t have that luxury. Over the next two weeks, they may be thinking about how to get Sehwag out even when talking to wives and girlfriends. They have perhaps been thinking about how to get Sehwag out for two weeks now. Or longer even. Sehwag can ruin a series in two hours, and the scars those two hours leave can run deeper than two days of batting from some

– source cricinfo.com

 

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24 thoughts on “The lull before the storm…

  1. Bindhu!! says:

    I came here looking for a post on the series and got exactly the same 🙂
    I am sure Indian batting will miss Dravid. I seriously do not see any difference in the batting of two sides.

    The contest should be between SA new ball bowlers vs Sehwag and Gambhir and Zaheer vs Smith. cant wait to watch. 🙂

    • hitchwriter says:

      Zaheer won his duel with Smith.. Sehwag century.. still a long way to claw back for team India… ! We all miss dravid… !

      however unless they give a more sporting wicket in Calcutta.. I think we will just have draws… ! the pitches need to give soemthing more to the bowlers !

  2. anishthomas says:

    Already they started verbal war.It seems Dale steyn told to reporters that he will shower sewag with short pitch balls.But it is such a sad fact that we don’t have a genuine spinner like kumble ,bhaji and all.
    Hopefully it will be a good series

  3. Indian Homemaker says:

    I am sure some sports channels must be showing cricket? It is possible that SS has managed to get the attention it craved… I just hope this time they do not get voted for bullying and threatening 😦

  4. Phoenixritu says:

    Yeah, cricket is huge in India – and its really surprising that there is no cricket fever. May be you are right, Team Bollywood and Team Shiv Sena are playing right now. Never mind, come end of the week, the match will be all we want.

  5. Niveditha says:

    I think the strength has reduced due to Dravid’s absence. But hope for the best. We are the number 1 test team in the world and will remain so. 🙂

  6. Deeps says:

    From the look of it SA seems to have gotten off to a smashing start! Lets hope Dhoni and his team manage to get the better of them!

    I’m not a big a fan of cricket,you knwo that. But I really like the way you write about the game. Its quite engaging. You should take this on a more professional level,Hitchy. You’ll really do well 🙂

  7. Minal says:

    At times team India has this bad habit of making contests exciting, when we play against Australia we have close encounters and sometimes shockingly enough when we play Bangladesh we tend to lower our level of play and make that match close and exciting too…

    Since I started watching, my theory, which I mentioned in my blog post, is that we do well when we are underdogs, when nothing is expected from us. I think we relax when we are touted favourites. The proving everyone wrong bit brings out the best in us 🙂 I agree with what you say!

    We might have Rohit Sharma batting in the Test XI and I love this batsman and he is probably the most talented batsman in India at the moment, but he needs to be shaken up, he gives it up too easy and is very laid back.

    Rohit is undoubtedly a talented bloke who just goofed up his big chance by playing some stupid football on the morning of the match! A la McGrath in Ashes 2005! What was he thinking?

    Before the series I used to think even if the South African batting sorts itself out I still doubt if they can consistently get 20 Indian wickets, remember Dhoni comes in at no. 7

    I don’t have the same faith with no Dravid and VVS in the line-up. Yuvi is not even a matter of concern – I’d be more concerned if he were playing:-) I think Steyn and Morkel will be the key – they have proved it today morning haven’t they? But as you rightly said tough for Sehwag to go quiet for 4 innings and he is already taken responsibility today. Interesting build up and really hoping Badrinath plays well today cause they guy has deserved this place.
    A friend had suggested picking Ojha over Saha and going with 6 batsmen/5 bowlers – would not have been a bad ploy either. Though yesterday we needed an extra bowler and today we need that extra batsman. Your views?

  8. hitchwriter says:

    I would have loved Dhoni to go in with 6 batsmen… !!! really it would be sending a really strong message to South Africa that we are going for wickets… we intend to win.. !

    I m from Ian Chappell school… you must keep poking your opponent in his chest all the time…

    having said that… I would drop Yuvraj and play Dhoni at 6, but with VVS and Dravid already out… I can understand Dhoni wanting whatever batting he could…

    But I would love 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers.. with dhoni being the 6th batter… especially on these flat pitches… !!! Wishful thinking though.. India has never been that aggressive… and enterprising… though it must be said.. most captains these days are the same… ! 😐

    Also I so wish we would invest in Irfan Pathan rather than Jadeja in ODI’s… with Pathan in the mix… India can always go for 5 bowlers… ! Pathan needs to be nurtured…. ! and being the 5th bowler the pressure will be a lil less…!

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