India in Sri Lanka, 3rd test, SSC: Finally, an overseas series win!

The last time India won a series abroad, the feeling we were left with was quite different.

The year was 2011.The opposition was the West Indies. India had won the first test at Kingston by 63 runs and had drawn the second test. Set a target of 180 in the third test, India were 94-3 when Suresh Raina got out. India required 86 runs off the last 15 overs. India’s rising limited overs star, Virat Kohli, was the next man in Read More …

Cheteshwar Pujara: Take a bow!

A lively pitch assisting both seam and spin. Your skipper loses the toss and you’re out there opening the batting. Your opening partner goes second ball shouldering arms to one that jags back in.

Not the best circumstances to try and make your comeback into the test team?

Unless you are Cheteshwar Pujara.

You respond the only way you know how. With runs. Tough runs while your team-mates crumble under pressure. You grit your teeth and grind it out.

Solid forward defence against pace. Fleet-footed against spin. Old fashioned test cricket.

So what if you had to carry drinks for your more ‘talented’ team-mates in the last few games?

Technique. Temperament. Test match hundred.

Cheteshwar Pujara, how we’ve missed you. Take a bow!

Stuart Binny : Half man

Gary Sobers. Jacques Kallis. Ian Botham. Imran Khan. Kapil Dev.

Great all rounders.

Always involved in the game. Invaluable assets for their skippers. Capable of turning matches by their batting or bowling and sometimes by their fielding (think of Kapil’s catch in the ’83 World Cup final). Players who merit a place in the team by virtue of either suit, batting or bowling, and were invariably excellent fielders.

Is Stuart Binny one of them?

No.

Is he a bowler who can bat or a batsman who can bowl?

No.

Per his own team director, he is the half man : half-batsman, half-bowler. A bits and pieces player. And he is competent at being that in limited overs games. But him not being good enough with either the bat or the ball by itself is a recipe for disaster for India’s test team.

Mind you, he really tries hard and he did decently in the 2nd test – you must give him that. But he is not the answer to India’s lack of a genuine test allrounder. Not a long term answer anyway. Remember England’s 90s experiments with Mark Ealham, who played 8 test matches? Poor Binny reminds me of him.

How is it that a country of a billion and more cannot produce another decent all rounder? Irfan Pathan briefly threatened to become one before the ‘evil’ Greg Chappell meddled with him. Bhuvi showed promise with the bat in England but not much more has come of it. Ashwin looks good while at the crease but hasn’t got runs consistently enough to be called an all-rounder.

For the moment though, it appears that we shall continue to play test matches with five and half batsman and four and half bowlers.

And so we shall remain : neither here nor there.

India in Sri Lanka : 2nd test, P Sara Oval : The 399 day wait

399 days.

That’s how long it had been since India’s last victory in a test match.

Today started with the Indian fans wondering how we were going to muck this one up. After all, we had been here before but had failed to take winning positions to their logical conclusion.

Would the match peter out into a draw? Would Sri Lanka achieve the impossible twice in a row and win it for Sanga? Read More …

India’s tour of Sri Lanka, 1st test, Galle : We are Insane!

Insanity : Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein

Those who watch Indian cricket are insane.

First, we are driven mad by our inability to rid ourselves of the disease which goes by the name of Rohit Sharma. If our jobs rewarded talent rather than performance, we would all be CEOs, no?

Read More …