Recurring Decimals…..

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A win and a drop ….some comments.

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I was going to write an extended post with a blow-by-blow account of how I savored India’s incredible win (as mentioned previously, it involved Belgian beer, chased by single malt, not always the best of combinations, but who cares when you are naturally high) last Saturday and how we basked in the warm glow of redemptive feeling the day after. Unfortunately, that moment has passed.

Mind you, it is still a great feeling that we won, notwithstanding the small matter of winning again in Adelaide to level the series and the sobering realization that I don’t recollect a time when India won two on trot on foreign soil (excluding Bangladesh).

But the worst bit of distraction to the feel-good atmosphere has been provided by our wise men of BCCI, who in their infinite wisdom, decided to bring the ebullient Indian team back to ground by announcing the composition of the ODI team, just a day after the victory . A team that apparently would not consist of Sourav Ganguly or Rahul Dravid.

As one of the BoBs [1], I have been asked to comment on Ganguly’s exclusion – no doubt for the perverse pleasure of certain bloggers expecting an apoplectic response. Unfortunately, we have to disappoint, because my initial reaction was that Sourav’s non-inclusion is not such a bad thing [2]. Not because I believe Sourav doesn’t fit into the ODI team, but mainly because Sourav, Dravid and Laxman are still the critical core of our Test team. Given India’s unsurprisingly hectic schedule in the coming year, I would prefer if these three (and Sachin as well) are reserved for Test matches, which to me are way more important than the thousand ODIs that take place. Additionally, it is not a bad idea to blood a younger team.

On reflection, however, I have changed my mind. For a tough ODI contest against the world champion team in their own backyard, does it really make much sense to have Sachin (and arguably Sehwag) as the only senior players ? The most common reasons for Sourav’s exclusion seems to be his poor running, fielding and a bad record against Australia in Australia. Athleticism is certainly a worry, but I am not sure that experience does not carry any weight, especially for the 50-overs match. As for prior record, a bit of digging in Statsguru reveals that Ganguly and Sachin’s respective averages in Australia are 24 and 28 – not that much different, and Ganguly even has a century while Sachin’s highest was 82!

Apart from such purely cricketing reasons, the timing and the manner in which the decision seems to have been arrived are rather unfortunate. Sadly, much of the attention has been deflected from the euphoria of the win (I am sure the Aussies are taking note and preparing some choice sledges as we speak) to the over-the-top reactions [3]. This team had together as a unit, showing great spirit in the face of all the post-Sydney hoopla, but whispers suggesting that Dhoni may have wanted Sourav to be excluded does nothing to help the spirit ahead of an important game. Further, this report suggests that the decision was made in consultation with Yuvraj Singh as the Perth test was in progress ! The same Yuvraj Singh, who was cooling his heels in the dressing room on the back of two entirely forgettable outings in Australia!

Also read the Lord’s comment on the droppings, as he argues correctly that a younger team should have ideally fielded for the Pakistan ODI series last year.

Overall, what I would have liked to see, was some kind of a rotation policy for ODIs with a judicious mix of the knowledge of the experienced and the exuberance of the youngsters. Of course, anything bordering on a sensible decision from the BCCI is just too much to expect.

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[1] Bongs of the Blogosphere. Although some people doubt that given the fact I can sleep soundly at night without the mandatory twice daily servings of fish.

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[2] Admittedly, it was a personal disappointment for a different reason. I have been a huge fan of Dada and was looking forward to seeing him in action live for the first time at the GABBA, perhaps even try to hunt down an autograph at his Brisbane hotel. Sadly that will not be.

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[3] I do not expect anything more than marginal tabloidism from The Australian, but this is a bit much.

Just two days after India posted one of their greatest Test wins, in Perth, effigies were being burned across the subcontinent over the axing of veteran batsman Sourav Ganguly from the one-day squad.

I have to sadly admit that the city I still call home is shared by a bunch of assorted, obviously unemployed morons. But does that give Fox Sports the license to extend it to the entire subcontinent ? Next time there is a riot in an isolated Sydney suburb, we should say that entire Australia is being overrun by bigoted racists.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 22, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Australia, Cricket, India

One Response

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  1. […] But it was the youthful energy of these guys along with the likes of Gambhir, Uthappa, Sreesanth, Dhoni etc., and the prescence of just one ’senior’, the evergreen Sachin Tendulkar that lifted the CB Series trophy at the Gabba last Tuesday. And in the process they have also made me (and a few other bloggers) eat a humble piece of my own words. […]


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