is team india a one man army again...?

shared by straight point on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

if you have come to read it thinking about certain sachin in mind... please don't even bother to read beyond this line coz this post is not about him...

its about zak... zaheer khan... when no one can...

Zaheer takes a wicket every 58.6 balls. Of all the bowlers who played for India and took 100 wickets or more; no one has a better strike rate. For reference Kapil stands @ 63.9, Kumble and Chandrashekhar @ 65.9 and Bedi @ 80.3

- facts courtesy opinions on cricket...

naturally when zaheer don't take wickets... india struggles... considering bhajji has refused to take the lead spinner role let alone the lead bowler... and ojha being a defensive bowler at best...

together they are not creating enough wicket taking opportunities and reasons are apparent... obvious...

india is playing with virtually non-existent second pace bowler... sree has been erratic at best... ishant struggling with fitness and form... and selectors not showing enough balls to look for pace bowlers beyond these two until unless forced by the way of injury...

this has resulted in a tremendous pressure on zak who is supposed to take wickets with new ball... with old ball... supposed to check the flow of runs and keep the one end going while the bowlers from other end seem more interested in creating bowling dots all over the pitch...

still zaheer's name is not taken in the same breath as his more pedigreed colleagues as the reason india rose to the summit of test ranking... but this rant is for another day...

unlike previous dominant forces... team india has adopted a different route to achieve results... their no-nonsense batting...

although test match advances coz of wickets but team india is consistently putting up huge totals or over coming it in no time which not only gives our bowler enough time to bowl opposition out but give an additional teeth of pressure of total on board...

australia becoming the first team to lose a test match in india despite putting up 450+ score in first innings recently is the case in point...

but this strategy backfires when pitches doesn't even have the semblance of life coz then it neutralises everything... one of the reason india could not force issues in current series with new zealand... on the likes of pitches where even a tailender in sree could play out 70 odd deliveries without looking much in trouble against the likes of vettori and company...

it seems that curator's and team india's missions are poles apart... that simply defies the endeavor of a world no.1 test ranking nation... that team india is no.1 despite all these limitations is testimony to its character, attitude, intent and mental strength...

but in short india can afford to have an off day from any bowler but zak... the fit zaheer could have still extracted the result from this track and there in lies the story...

22 comments:

Freehit said...

You have hit the right node with this article SP.Zaheer is almost the only bowler who is sure to make the team say after 6 months.Everyone else is uncertain.Bhajji will make it most probably since he gets along with MSD well and is now even scoring runs.
Ojha bowls long tight spells but isn't quite the wicket taking option that India need in the bad form of Bhajji.
I am coming up with an article on India's bowling on holding willey soon.Do check that out.

straight point said...

thanks mayank...

when two defensive spinners bowls at tandem... what else we should expect...?

the problem with india is labeling bhajji with leading spinner tag... he is at best a second fiddle spinner and should be used as ojha has been used...

lets see who will fill the first spinner slot... :)

greyblazer said...

Zaheer is a fine bowler especially with the older and his injury is a big blow for India. I was surprised though when I saw that yesterday dart champion took a wicket.People talk so much about Dravid batting slowly at 3, so maybe Harby can bat at 3 haha.

straight point said...

:)

gb... of all the slow scoring talks of dravid... he has always played this way... starting slowly and then picking up as his innings progresses... and you know what i wont be surprised if sachin, with the form he was in, scored even slowly than him in this series...

as for harby... the time has come when we must see his role in team differently... after reconciling with his current state of skills...

A Bisht said...

I have touched the same issue in may latest cartoon.

It's amazing that we have not still found a bowler with genuine pace. Stand in your toes and look at neighbor Pakistan, they are rolling out pacers with regularity.

I believe that no matter which era one plays in, Test matches are won by bowlers; as containing runs and slogging both are possible here; as much negative tactics are used.
Win that usually needs attack, needs attacking bowling. In current context, the relevance of fierce fats blowers once again, increases as in most matches truck loads of runs are scored, but the outcome is still a draw.

I think, there is no tag called a specialist spinner; as spinning legends who have focused dedication for their art; are scarce in any era.

A genuine pacer is a product; that actually exists. India seems to be missing on that.

straight point said...

Ab... for once i thought you are talking about a team that is lying low on pecking order... the team that loses more often than it wins... :)

zak is also not a genuine pace bowler... goes to show you don't need raw pace to get desired results... one needs guile, focus and a street smart mind to overcome conditions that zak has been able to since his come back...

and only if selectors look beyond the set of fixed players... we might discover a talent...

A Bisht said...

@SP________That's exactly I want to say, Zaheer has not that pace, still he is an attacking bowler (stats in the article show); But if a combination of pace and brains would have been the thing to be desired.

I think, in ideal situations, a genuine pacer should be inducted to the team; or in other words a young pacer should have pace and other qualitative skills. After eight or so years, when the pace starts to slow down; because of age considerations; he should don the role of a 'more brain than pace'.

Currently, the irony with India is, the new introductions, don't have the ability to attack with sheer pace; and since they lack the subtle nuances of the art, owing to lack of experience. The attack loses teeth.

straight point said...

Currently, the irony with India is, the new introductions, don't have the ability to attack with sheer pace; and since they lack the subtle nuances of the art, owing to lack of experience. The attack loses teeth.

i am in agreement with it...

but ishant and sree have been representing india for a while and its not only the "nuances of the art" their fitness levels are also worrisome... as much as selectors fixed mindset of not looking beyond them...

Golandaaz said...

India's bowling has indeed become a 1-man army. Harbhajan's regression is alarming.

I am not sure, who is to blame for it though. Without specific information, I am suspecting that Harbie is playing with an injury but that's not the point.

I am not ready to blame the selectors for lack of a 2nd pacer to support Zaheer. Its not like there are obvious candidates they have missed. All you can criticize them for is not trying out unproven talent.

straight point said...

gol...

its not only bhajji i suspect more than half the team is carrying an injury or niggle but then most of them are also performing their primary skills better irrespective of that...

like sehwag who dint bowl at all in last test and was seen throwing underarm thru out the test...

as i hv been saying in comments... time has come for us to reconcile to the fact that he won't ever be the same bowler (if he becomes again that will be huge plus) and decide his role according to that...

so india should look for first spinner not second...

selectors have been blowing the opportunity for quite some time... for testing out second seamer...

patel has gone off radar for some reason... rp is not even talked about... praveen has been labeled as odi specialist without even wondering what he can bring in to table in tests... kulkarni who was deemed fit to tour nz was not picked again... same with unandkat... and these are only few examples i can think of...

Golandaaz said...

I am generally very hesitant to criticize the selectors and tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. The reason for that is I am sure they have a perfectly sane reasons for not picking any of the bowlers you mention. Just that the BCCI does not believe in transparency. It would be so much better if selectors are allowed to share more than just comical sound bites. The way it is today the selectors look worse than they actually are.

On to Bhajji. obviously I am saying the extent of his injury is worse than most. To the point where it is affecting his skills.

I think if he takes a year off and comes back fully fit, we might get a good 3-4 years out of him, where his strike rate goes into the early 60s.

The kind of selections you are suggesting are okay for a team in transition. We are a team on top and selectors don't want to experiment. Once we are dethroned, which seems very likely in SA, beaten in England and Australia we will see the rebuilding phase in 2012

raj said...

SP, spot on.

I dont even think Bhajji is our second spinner. Ojha is doing fine in that role, thank you.
We need a lead spinner.

If Bhajji supporters flaunt his batting skills, I say let him fight it out with Raina for #6, if he is so confident of his batting skills. He is *not* good enough for the #1 or #2 spinner slot in the team.

It is annoying to see MSD saying nothing is wrong with his bowling attack. And he wants to protect Durby by saying that he doesnt want to pressurise Durby into being an all-rounder. Hello? The only contribution you are getting from him is his batting, and you dont even want to make that mandatory for him? Why is MSD baby-sitting and protecting Durby so much?

straight point said...

gol...

i do understand what you are trying to say regarding selectors being in tough position...

but don't look beyond... mithun did more than ok in SL and we get the news that certain unadkat will replace zaheer...

now there are two things... either they feel mithun blew the opportunity there in SL or that they are most certain that ishant will take over zaheer's place...

in both cases they have killed two talents... mithun for sending him message that your effort was not even deemed fit to get a recall as fourth bowler...

unadkat for they have made it sure that instead of playing in ranji he will don the drinks trolley...

and oye... why are you suddenly sounding so pessimistic about india's chances...? :)

straight point said...

raj...

you know my stand on bhajji very well so i don't have to tell you that i am not defending him when i say that i have seen kumble drawing matches on similar pithces...

having said that... if the matter has come to the point that dhoni has to come in open and defend bhajji then i am sure both know this very well that i can't go on for ever... they can't go defending each other without the back-up of solid performances expected of bhajji and not with bat...

in fact i have this theory the more success he will get thru his bat the more finger will be raised on his bowling...

so just enjoy the show bro... :)

Golandaaz said...

oh..no. I am simply suggesting what needs to happen for India to take selection risks :-)

straight point said...

*shudder*

gol... i dread that stage... i hope we start taking risks even before that... :)

Masuud said...

Pretty much agree with the gist of the article. As a neutral observer, and above all a Pakistani following Indian cricket, that man has seriously come up leap and bounds in the last few years. Stats tell me he's had the last 4 years as his best and with a reasonably good average (28+) that puts him as a force in the game in both home and away matches. Especially his work with the old ball is a treat to watch and since I'm a fast bowling whore, there's nothing better than a left arm pacer making that leather talk with shine on its one side.

Having praised him, I want to press on the very theme of the talk here. The guy is 32 years old, so that means he has a maximum of 3-4 years in him and with India failing to produce any serious fast bowlers (which sadly, its never been their fort), its a real concern for Indian cricket, which they have no doubt addressed it time and time again (MRF academy, foreign bowling coaches etc) without much fruits. Also, there can't be enough irony in the fact that Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma have fallen off like anything from where they started (esp the latter). Hence, the fact of India depending on its spinners still holds firm, and me not being one of the anti-Bhajjis (since I believe he still does a reasonable job), I'd like to point on the pitches being blamed here for the NZ series.
Fair enough they were flat tracks, par why at first place were they put in place?
Isn't Dhoni, being the home captain, eligible enough to demand the supporting tracks he wants?
Isn't BCCI the strongest enough board (financially and authoritatively) in the world who can acquire services of the best curators in the world?
Why wasn't Indian batting good enough to put 500-600 totals in both tests and put the Kiwis under the pump like they've done in most of their tests at home while on track to be the top test team?

So you need to ask questions like this, keeping aside the credit which should be duly given to the Kiwis for performing out-of-their-skins. Long talk cut short, Zaheer is a human being after all, he can't be expected to perform excellently in every test. Same is the case with the mindset of Indian fans; you shouldn't expect the same batsman or bowler to keep giving you the results. Dependency is a really dangerous phenomenon and in cricket, its even more injurious (and Indians, of all, know it best).

Masuud said...

Pretty much agree with the gist of the article. As a neutral observer, and above all a Pakistani following Indian cricket, that man has seriously come up leap and bounds in the last few years. Stats tell me he's had the last 4 years as his best and with a reasonably good average (28+) that puts him as a force in the game in both home and away matches. Especially his work with the old ball is a treat to watch and since I'm a fast bowling whore, there's nothing better than a left arm pacer making that leather talk with shine on its one side.

Having praised him, I want to press on the very theme of the talk here. The guy is 32 years old, so that means he has a maximum of 3-4 years in him and with India failing to produce any serious fast bowlers (which sadly, its never been their fort), its a real concern for Indian cricket, which they have no doubt addressed it time and time again (MRF academy, foreign bowling coaches etc) without much fruits. Also, there can't be enough irony in the fact that Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma have fallen off like anything from where they started (esp the latter). Hence, the fact of India depending on its spinners still holds firm, and me not being one of the anti-Bhajjis (since I believe he still does a reasonable job), I'd like to point on the pitches being blamed here for the NZ series.
Fair enough they were flat tracks, par why at first place were they put in place?
Isn't Dhoni, being the home captain, eligible enough to demand the supporting tracks he wants?
Isn't BCCI the strongest enough board (financially and authoritatively) in the world who can acquire services of the best curators in the world?
Why wasn't Indian batting good enough to put 500-600 totals in both tests and put the Kiwis under the pump like they've done in most of their tests at home while on track to be the top test team?

Masuud said...

So you need to ask questions like this, keeping aside the credit which should be duly given to the Kiwis for performing out-of-their-skins. Long talk cut short, Zaheer is a human being after all, he can't be expected to perform excellently in every test. Same is the case with the mindset of Indian fans; you shouldn't expect the same batsman or bowler to keep giving you the results. Dependency is a really dangerous phenomenon and in cricket, its even more injurious (and Indians, of all, know it best).

straight point said...

massud... welcome at sp and thanks for the comment..

as far as batting goes we have invariably found a different man that rose to the occasion when situation demanded with only vvs being the common factor but he always revel under pressure circumstances...

zaheer has been exceptional since his comeback and any team will develop dependency on such talent... to give you an example just take dale steyn out of sa attack and you will know what i am talking about...

having said that... fitness rather than dearth of talent has been biggest worry for us and also selectors reluctancy for looking it beyond fixed set of players (unless forced with injury) for whatever reasons...

but i am hopeful they will see the light soon without being put in corner... :)

Spongebob said...

On flat pitches yes he is the one man army.(thanks to his great ability to swing + seam)

On bowler friendly pitches not necessarily, as we saw in last test in Lanka, against Aus. spinners took decent wickets. No!

Let Indian bowlers play on spinning track or bouncy track, you will see whole different bowling army. :D

I was disappointed to see no Munaf or RP in call up. What wrong did they do? I thought RP was injured thats why he was out of team. Right! But disappointed.

Let team which is going to SA take a rest and don't play ODI or go early to SA without playing ODI.

straight point said...

welcome spongebob... hope you will keep dropping by...

fair points...

i hope the sanity will prevail and most members of test squad will be sent early to sa... no point them being bowling machines on roads for meaningless odis...

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