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Wednesday, October 29, 2008 

Tour Diary #3

Ponting ke Chhakke, hakke bakke!

Would have again loved to have gotten this post in yesterday, but with the Diwali celebration at home, I couldn’t get time and space to write. And just on that Diwali note, what is up with the smses for diwali greetings. Come on people, either send personal messages, or don’t take that pain, it won’t really matter. But sending spam messages, is quite irritating frankly. Especially when you have to read the entire message to find out who sent it.

Back to cricket then, Ponting has a very serious problem (literally ‘gambhir’) on his hands going in to day 2. Delhi boys are special anyways..hehe. But before we get into the third test, let me flaunt the drubbing that we gave the Australians in the second. I mean, 320 runs was the victory margin that is also effectively an innings victory. Australia is such an insipid cricket team. They lack depth in batting, they are not doing well in pace bowling and they don’t have spinners. Ishant Sharma has made Ponting his bunny, Hayden doesn’t seem to like spending time on Indian pitches and rest of the batsmen, save for Hussey, don’t look threatening even if they are batting on 60-70 odd. We are steam rolling this Australian side and hell we will crush them like the ganne ke juice ki machine crushes the dhaniye ka patta. We have tested blood alright.

Dhoni’s captaincy is not a revelation anymore, it’s becoming a hallmark of his cricket. What I like about his captaincy is that he looks and plays like a cricket captain and not a leader. I think the two most successful Indian captains, by number of wins, were very distinct personalities. They did get hundreds in their first two test matches, but one would lead by example and the other would lead. Both of them were successful. But Dhoni is somewhere in between, if not in a league of his own altogether. He never seems to be ‘dictating’ terms. He can be called senior only to Gambhir, Ishant and Mishra. Rest of the 7 are much more experienced than him. Yet he handles them with respect, care and authority. And the best way to do that is to hit Brett Lee for a boundary to square leg first ball. That to me was the shot of the test match.

Mishra impressed in the match. He maybe the future of Indian spin, but he doesn’t look like someone who would take 2-3 hundred wickets. But still he has done well and all credit to him. As I said earlier, it’s a beautiful art, leg spin. Sachin and Saurav made a lot of runs, so did Gambhir and Sehwag. Everyone made runs, everyone took wickets, everyone took catches. Boy we beat Australia and how.

So going into the third test, Ponting can only hope that his team bats a lot of overs. I doubt that there would be a draw in Delhi. I can’t remember when was the last time we had a draw here. Perhaps and India Zimbabwe match, where Andy Flower had net practice, in 2003. Generally the Kotla wicket is result oriented and having seen the first day, only one result looks likely.

By the way, the frustration and anxiety with the Australians showed today, with Katich doing a moving screen on Gambhir and then following it up with a bit of lip. Gambhir will give them some tomorrow morning, when the Aussies start chasing leather again. Ponting is absolutely devoid of any plans. There are no tricks left, no catching positions left where he can trap the Indian batsmen. All he is thinking of is batting and batting through the test match. Ricky mate, this is just the beginning, get ready for a mauling in South Africa next. Hard and Fair my ass.

And finally, as much as I would love to see him continue, I think its time for Dravid to hang up as well. He is not one of those who will do well in trying to prove it to someone. He is not someone who gives it back so to say. If he believes he wants to do it, he will do anything. He showed glimpses of that in the IPL. But he is now trying too hard to prove something. I don’t know what. Perhaps he is looking for that final purple patch with which he can sign off. But his options are dying out. He has another test match at Nagpur for sure, but if he doesn’t get a 100 till then, then I am not sure if he will be picked anymore. Maybe for one last series ;). Sachin on the other hand paid his premium for another year at least. The thing is that in the test side he deserves his place, but if he comes in the one-day side at the expense of a Gambhir or Sehwag, then it will be unfortunate.

I get the feeling that this could be another Kumble special test match. He bowls well with Harbhajan, but the added responsibility of being the premier strike bowler will be good for him. It’s all happening at Kotla, and India is doing it in style. Hope to make it to the Ambedkar Stadium stand once again on Saturday and revisit glory as I did that fateful Saturday evening in February 1999. Come on Jumbo!


Well, it is Happy Diwali!

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