Monday, October 16, 2006

Dirty Harry can't find his sixth bullet

This article made for nice reading. Ian Chappell finds interesting similarities of the top six men that matter in each of the major Champions' Trophy sides with the six bullets loaded in chambers of a 'six shooter' revolver. I thought the old fella's pretty much on the bull's eye or thereabouts. Except for the part on Indian bowling and batting, that is.

Chappelli has this to say about Indian bowling:
"...the West Indies, South Africa, England and India all fall a bit short in bowling class but the hosts can raise themselves into the first group if Pathan is firing on all cylinders."

The Indian bowling department is shaping up coolly and admirably for the battle on hand and the war coming up. Over the last three or four series we have seen two of Agarkar, Harbhajan and Munaf taking turns at the 'the miser and the mauler' duties in all matches irrespective of Pathan's bowling form which still remains important to Indian fortunes as Chappell senior underlines repeatedly in that piece.

However the following part of his observations reads more like high hope than any immediate possibility with every passing day:
"India with Virender Sehwag in form and opening would be formidable."
Barely six months after making the world sit up to a booming cresendo of consecutive batting explosions last season India are suddenly in desperate want of another century maker to support Tendulkar in the batting department. All three potential candidates - Dravid, Yuvraj, and Sehwag - are inexplicably looking quite a distance from that vacant role at present. For confirmation of this willow worry we only need to look at Indian batting scorecards for the last 10 ODI's.

Sehwag, in particular, is a major cause of shivers. Never an owner of a brilliant defence or deft footwork on the crease, today he appears to have lost a chunk of even the modest lot of the basics that he started off with. He looks determined that he does not want anything in the name of a basic batting technique to come in his way. He would be well advised by his supporters inside the camp to look where that 'way' ends.
They can perhaps persuade Sehwag to re-assess all the aspects of his game that got him here - at this apex level - in the first place. Too much of his present batting performances depends upon the bowling errors he is allowed and he looks a fidgety batsman whenever top bowlers bowl to a plan against him. As far as my memory goes, an attacking game was never EVERYTHING that Virender Sehwag had in 2001 when he scored his debut Test century in South Africa.
India have a trigger-happy wicketkeeper, a serviceable all rounder (Pathan), the two war-painted bowlers and one bazooka of a batsman. That fills up five chambers. Rival gunmen are already firing shots in our backyard. The English ones nearly broke into the building today. India's missing bullet rolled under the cot quite a long while back. Someone please retrieve it NOW....

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