One day series was a fabulous contest and the
result showed that neither INDIA nor PAKISTAN
WON... CRICKET DID...!
AND also of course the hearts of the cricket lovers
on both sides of the border, won!
The final encounter is poised interestingly at
RAWALPINDI THE HOME OF SHOAIB AKHTAR, the most
important player who can matter, along with his
captain INZAMAM UL HAQ.
LOT is at stake besides the reputations of the
individuals, there is the reputation of the Country
involved in being tagged supreme. Such is the
cricket craze in both the countries.
My sixth sense says it will be a draw and a lot of
runs will be scored knowing the nature Of the
wicket at RAWALPINDI AND ALSO the nature of the
game .It is because neither side wants to loose and
face, the wrath, of the respective fans.
It is only when one is prepared to loose, can one
It is learnt that YUVRAJ SINGH IS LIKELY TO open to
accommodate Saurav Ganguly is not digestible. This
change in such a crucial game is too risky and
Like "yuvi" so many Cricketers of merit, including
'yours sincerely', have been made a scape goat in
the past. In The tour of England in 1971, which we
won for the first time in history at U.K., I was
getting prolific runs in the warm up games. And on
the eve I got a brilliant 79 against 'KENT' ON A
green top. I was feeling great and had played at
no. 3. The intelligentsia came to me and asked me
to open even though we had four opening bats in the
squad and pleaded, In the name of 'team spirit',
'country needs you', and all that rubbish!
Perhaps the Greatest mistake of my life I made that
Which, I see YUVI might also do. By the way Yuvi
has also got brilliant face saving century in the
middle order, this my dear readers Please bear in
mind as you read further.
On that famous tour of U.K I WAS SPECIFICALLY
SELECTED AS MIDDLE ORDER BATSMAN. And yet I was
sweet Talked into opening. I could not put my foot
down and refuse to open, as I was assured to Play
in all the 3 tests, even if I failed.
And lo behold I failed!
And my carrier was Doomed.
In retrospect I feel, I should have had the courage
of conviction to stick to my middle order at the
cost of not being considered and perhaps my destiny
would have been different, who knows?
I see the same being repeated time and again and
hence I write this with vehemence.
YUVRAJ SINGH'S CAREER IS AT STAKE!
He IS AN ideal no.6 bat, a left hander, a great
asset in the field and a good change Bowler.If at
all the captain has to be accommodated (what a
joke?) there is an option, I feel.
Don't change the opening pair who is averaging 60+
but play SAURAV at 3 followed by SACHIN AND RAHUL.
Don't play (not drop!) LAXMAN! To MY MIND THIS IS
THE BEST BATTING ORDER...
Our bowling is no great shakes. In Irfan Pathan we
have a lethal weapon and BALAJI/NEHRA not AGARKAR
AS HE SEEMS TO BE NOT 100%, IS A GOOD SUPPORT TEAM.
As FAR AS SPIN IS CONCERNED which is supposed to be
our strength, we are struggling. No Doubt ANIL
KUMBLE IS GREAT AND HAS THE CAPACIY TO RUN THROUGH
ANY SIDE, but as on today, He needs too many overs
and lacks the support at the other END and it is
here the absence Of HABHAJANSINGH is felt. Kartik
has failed and Ramesh Power perhaps does not enjoy
the Confidence of the captain.
The need of the hour is to search for young
spinners. As talent research officer (TRDO) I SAW A
LOT OF MATERIAL IN THE WEST and all over, I only
hope the big wigs that matter will take Cognizance
of our report and do the needful.
Anil Kumble is not anymore young and the strength
in his fingers over the long spells also is
understandably less. This is what exactly happened
to a great spinner; I played along in his later
days, P.K. SHIVALAKAR, WHO SHOULD HAVE PLAYED FOR
THE COUNTRY, and WHO COULD MANAGE LINE BUT THE BITE
WAS NOT THERE.
ANIL HAS LOST THE BITE AND WE HAVE TO BE realistic
Our wicket keeper Parthiv is seen to be maturing
into international cricket yet his keeping Has to
be sharpened which I am sure he must be working at?
It was great to see his guts WHILST batting and
fighting a lost battle. That is half the battle won
in test cricket. 'HAVE GUTS, YOU TRAVEL"!
As far as Pakistan is concerned they are too
dependant on two batsmen viz. INZAMAM UL HAQ AND
YOUSUF YOUHANA. Both are class acts but the rest
are yet to make the opponents worry. No doubt there
is potential and time will play its part. But the
real weakness of PAK is it DOES NOT HAVE DEAPTH in
Their bowling is too erratic although they have a
match winner in SHOAIB AKHTAR BUT THE OTHERS ARE UP
AND DOWN STUFF. D.Kanaria impressed me and I liked
his humility and attitude. I felt he was very much
under bowled and too long a spell is given to
M.SAMI, WHICH HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL AND HE IS A
DOUBTFUL STARTER FOR THE final countdown.
THIS PAK side is at the moment in the developing
stage and if it gets the right kind of support not
only from the fans but also from the establishment
it will be a force to reckon with in due course.
So, by the time you may be reading this the battle
would have begun. It is a grand thing which has
happened after such along time and I only pray it
remains as graceful as it began. Hope the Indian
team comes home happily irrespective of the result
and leaves a mark of respect for the game which has
survived for more than 150 years!
GOD BLESS AND LONG LIVE CRICKET!'