irfan pathan: an enigma representing current crop…?

shared by straight point on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

my last post on ishant in which i compared him with irfan pathan got me thinking about him...

we have all seen his rise and demise of irfan pathan...no need to delve further on that coz it is very well documented...

my question is why it’s happening...?

earlier it was said that problem with irfan was that too many cooks were spoiling the food...and that was true indeed...he was running into all and sundry for his problems...and lost his way...

but that was long long away...now he at least don’t have such problems...but somehow he is still far away from being an international class bowler...

so what we make of him...

a bowler with very little talent who witnessed almost unrealistic purple patch only to be faded away...

or is it that he is not pushing himself hard enough to regain his lost glory...?

does the availability of easy money in terms of t20 and ipl have diluted his intensity to work hard on his game...?

i think it has...

once you know that even without putting effort you can make money thru ipls and t20s...when you know that being bits and pieces player...batting one day and bowing another that too for just 4 overs can fetch you good sum...why would you push yourself...why would you run that extra mile...

and i think it’s not only irfan who is thinking in this line...there are many players who are content to play the way they are playing...without even bothering to raise their game to next level...

that’s where I think selectors...and respective boards should step in...before the trend gets out of hand and you will have assembly of uninterested...unmotivated players representing national teams...

to start with...they can award contracts to only those limited players who can represent national teams in at least two formats of game if not all three...thereby making players always on their toes to be in the ‘pack’...

regarding ipl and other ‘private’ leagues...market will itself decide the worth of player coz unlike boards franchisees can’t be fooled...twice...

and before someone points me about kkr...i would like to add that exceptions only prove the rules... :)

17 comments:

Late Inswing said...

Enigma? It seems more like a syndrome. Irfan, Uthappa, Harbhajan, Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf P all give the impression that they are coasting and do not seem to see beyond the next T20/IPL encounter.

Awarding contracts for 2/3 versions is a good idea. For me, the mandarins in the board must realise that we have gone too far with the "Good player in one format is good in any format" rhetoric.

No doubt, Irfan P and Harbhajan are key players in the T20 scheme of things, but a measly 4 over spell should not qualify them automatically for Test cricket.

While not 'officially' selecting two/three different sides, profiling the players correctly would have unintended benefits also.

For instance, if Pujara is picked and groomed as the next middle order batsman for tests, I doubt if Rohit would be oh-so-cool. He would get the much needed kick on his backside. Ditto with Bhajji, Irfan P and others.

As for the IPL, you are right in saying the market would determine their values. When the review of contract comes up, I doubt if KXIP would pay USD 600,000 or 700,000 for a male cheerleader who is seen to be happier in the dugout than in the middle.

Sorry abt the long comment, but this inability of players to step up has been a major irritant.

straight point said...

dont be LI...you hv put the 'enigma' even better than me... :)

regarding the pujara example...we expect this to be the natural reaction of 'rohits'...but do they even care is the point...and how can be make them to think on their games...

if they no that they are not in reckoning anymore given at least 2 version eligibility...they will know even franchisees wont pick them coz then they wont be 'sellable'...

we are fast running into these kind of players trap and respective boards must sit to reverse the trend...this can be a start...

Ottayan said...

It is complacency that is causing them to loose it.

straight point said...

ott we all are talking about the symptoms or disease...where is the cure...?

Homer said...

Apologies to be the dissenting voice in this discussion but I think it is simplistic to believe that the availability of easy money has diluted players games.

The problem was in evidence much before the IPL came into the picture.

Rohit Sharma's inconsistency with the bat was in evidence when he played Ranji for Mumbai ( and before he became part of the national consciousness). Irfan's blow hot blow cold has been in evidence for about 3 years now.

So what has been done to arrest this?

On a tangential note, Irfan has played about the same ( or probably more) cricket as Sachin had at the same age. It will be instructive to remind ourselves that Dravid and Ganguly did not even come close. Nor did Laxman.

Dravid scored his first Test century in his 9th Test. No one accused him of coasting then.

Could it be that the expectations associated with these players was not as high then - that they could ease into the game without having every action of theirs scrutinized?

Could it just be that we are expecting too much with every performance seen in isolation instead of in toto?

Cheers,

Sam said...

I have posted a huge post on the current situation. Its idiotic to even compare the likes of Sharma, Raina and Pathan with the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.

The attitude of this 3 greats in addition to AK and VVS was way better than the current lot.

Money wasnt that huge in 1990s as it is now, but then this players didnt just play for money.

As Homer pointed out we didnt isolate Dravid or VVS then when it took long for them to score first 100s, but then the class was evident in every long innings they played.

In the age of T20s and 4 overs each bowler, can you imagine anybody play a day long to save a Test match ala Calcutta 01 or even a Adelaid 03?

My answer is as good as yours.

It would be apt to demand for a degrade or even revoke of the contracts of the players like Irfan, Yusuf, Harbhajan, Raina, Sharma brothers (Ishant and Rohit) alongside Sreesanth.

May be the loss of money would be a great lesson for them to get their act together or give them a deep shock.

Awarding different contracts for Tests/ODis and T20s could even be a good idea.

I m not sorry for long comment :)

Late Inswing said...

That was well written Homer. Your point taken. The IPL and easy money may not be 'the cause' - but they are certainly seem to be huge factors when it comes to motivation or lack of it.

I am all for giving a long rope to talents to provde themselves (had mentioned elsewhere for a stretch of 25 ODIs for Raina and Rohit at 3 & 4 before passing the judgement)

But the syndrome here is that the players seem to view themselves as T20 players and lack the innings building skills.

As for expectations, Saurav got 100s in his first two tests and Dravid almost had 2 as well. VVS got a 50 against SA on his debut - the expectations on them were also fairly high. All the abovenamed three made visible efforts to suit themselves to various demands - which is not apparent in the likes of Rohit.

Another feature is that the above named gentlemen had topped the domestic charts for 3 - 5 years ( among the current lot only Badri has done that,Raina to some extent and Kohli is beginning to do that). The most feared batsman on the circuit, Viru turns up regularly for Delhi and makes tonnes of runs for them. Point here being, unless the Rainas and Rohits know the art of innings building, riding out tough periods and not losing wicket to hostile bowling, EVEN their ODI form will continue to be patchy, let alone the Test middle order spots.

As for seeing the performances in toto - my effort a few days back on some of the players http://lateinswing.blogspot.com/2009/06/meaningless-series.html.

Would appreciate your thoughts on that.

straight point said...

homer...well made point as always...so it seems the complacency was always in their blood... :)

but as late swing has said that the advent of ipl only made them even more lethargic to develop overall aspects of game...

and as for performances in isolation...i don't think anybody out of irfans, rohits, rainas etc can complain that they were not given enough chances...and yet if they can't say for sure that they have cemented their places in team they have themselves to blame for...

i would make them play for india 'a' team so that they get experience of various conditions...situations which will help them improve and build overall game...

straight point said...

sam

once again you managed to miss the point of the post...

nowhere in my post i compared current lot with greats... :)

though you will be happy to know that certain yuvraj as at other end of india's recent biggest fourth innings chase...and certain dhoni to saved the test at lord when most of greats were there in the team...

but that is not the point...the point is how to make them think about their games...

as i said earlier we all are talking about symptoms and disease while the real motive of this post is to initiate debate on solutions...

cheers!!

straight point said...

LI...as i commented any of today's crop (barring some exceptions like dk etc) can't complain that they were not given enough chances...

its high time they should be send to drawing boards to work on games...coz i still beleive they don't lack anything in terms of talent and skills...what they lack is temperament that, the good news is, can be sorted out...

Som said...

Irfan himself is intrigued and apparently that's why he has engaged a Chartered Accountant from AUstralia to check the balance sheet.

straight point said...

som...

she will have to work hard to find some 'balance' though... :)

Homer said...

LI,

I had written about Raina and Rohit's inconsistency and inability to construct innings as early as late 2006 early 2007.

Point is, what has been done to address that in the interim? Neither at the state level or the national level has this problem been identified, let alone addressed.

Now, about the players themselves, two points in their defense

1. Age
2. Opportunity

These kids are younger than the greats mentioned in the comments - and the greats did not become great over night. And with the pressure being so much more now than it was then, I think we need to cut the players some slack.

Also, all of them play the IPL, earning big bucks. If they are cut now from the national team, what motivation will remain for them to become more than T20 players? They will still play the T20 World Cup every 2 years, they will make their money in the IPL,so where will it leave our feeder system?

If it were me, I would keep them in the rotation, but would ensure that the rotation happened - with greater play time for those who perform. This way, they are in the national team but they also know that they cannot take their places for granted. Also, since the national team players get better contracts in the IPL, the onus on getting the bigger bucks will reside entirely with them and thier playing time.

And with the publicity attached with the national team ( all year round) versus the IPL ( 6 weeks a year), the ball will be in their court as to what they want.


We should have addressed the problem much sooner. We didnt. Now we have to mitigate the situation within the parameters of what we have.

Drastic action will only be counter productive, imho.

Cheers,

Homer said...

Sp,

The problem is not opportunity but expectation.

Team India has been playing non stop cricket since South Africa toured India in the middle of 2008. Between then and now, the very same people who are under the spot light have performed admirably at different times.

Yet, the critique on them is that they don't perform - an unfair criticism in my opinion.

And ODI and T20 performances dont reflect 4 and 5 day performances - the extrapolation is just not done. What you can extrapolate is class, not longevity.

Yes, playe them in the A team and force them to play Ranji... It never hurts!

Cheers,

straight point said...

homer,

i don't think its a case of unreal expectations...its the manner in which they throw their wickets...repeating same mistakes again and again despite getting best facilities...coaches...etc at their disposal...

look at this way playing atrocious shots like rohit has played in both odis is no way an excuse of being on road or playing non stop cricket...its the matter of showing dis-respect either to conditions...bowlers of being in the world of their own...

its high time they should be realized the importance of wearing team india cap so they start valuing it more...

Prabu said...

To me the problem really is a lack of good grounding in domestic cricket. None of these guys get to do a full grind for a few years - they play a few games and then ODI cricket or T20 cricket beckons them and they do only half the season for their domestic teams. Dravid and Ganguly slogged their asses off and finished in the top batsmen in domestic cricket for a few years before they got selected. Very few in this team have gone thru that and unfortunately for the one that has done it, MSD doesn't like him.

SP, the money factor is actually not something I would consider seriously. Reason being that longevity in the international game is what brings money for longer term. While you and I may think they are making great money, once they make great money the lifestyle changes demand even greater money and this doesn't come in a forced 3 yr IPL contract. They'll be dropped like hot potatoes unless they can pull in the crowd which is primarily international cricket based. I Think the players will also be aware of this.

straight point said...

prabhu...

the problems are very much interwoven...like domestic cricket is not good coz we dont have good pitches...either we see favoring them batting too much or bowling and in both cases we don't know the real worth or either batter or bowler...

when was the last time india 'a' toured...?

those who have the patience to grind out in domestic games are labeled as 'test' discards...they cant break into yet coz greats must play each and every tests even against weaker teams...

those who tons 'dlf maximums' are hailed as indian cricket messiah next day...and so on...

but somewhere somebody needs to take the plug out...but then the question is...is bcci willing...? and if willing what's their vision...?

you are being too idealistic when you say that money is not the big factor...if they were looking for longevity...they wud have worked on their game but not...that's not happening either...

take for example rohit's case...he had good ipl outing...as luck wud have it viru's injury gave him the opportunity to assert himself on bigger stage...world cup i.e. but what he did...just blew it away with trying to over do himself...

the problem is clearly mental not technical or skill...and i hv started to wonder what paddy upton is doing in the team...

as i said in beginning problems are indeed interwoven...

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