Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Indian post-Bermuda worries and music therapy

India came out to defend 413 after the luncheon break, needing to bowl out Bermuda for a low total in order to keep up with the run rate. Bermuda went on to reach 110/8 on a pitch aiding swing bowling all along the day. In the light of their earlier performances this was already looking like a relatively better show by the minnows.

India could not trouble the only pro Bermudian batsman, David Hemp (he remained not out). Upto this point the Bermuda innings adequately reflected the toothlessness of Indian bowling and the skipper had little to do about it. All 3 medium pacers were bowling at speeds within a few miles at each other, with no yorkers / slower deliveries in sight. Dread to see such a unidimensional team of bowlers face the attacking batsmen of Sri Lanka in 4 days....

Soon after the team from the isles with 70,000 odd population eased themselves to 154/8. During this period Dravid kept bringing on, among others, a struggling Agarkar to finish off the innings but never did he think of summoning that 4th swing bowler in his team, Sourav Ganguly. When Dravid finally brought on a non regular bowler it had to be Sehwag, and I thought even his off spinners swung enough to remind the captain of Dada. A few overs later Dravid gave a bowl to his second non regular bowler Sachin and he promptly picked up Leverock with a leg spinner. Sach then proceeded to prodigiously swing the next two deliveries into the pads of last man Jones. When Kumble (he bowled better today but not exceptionally yet) dismissed Jones finally Bermuda had made India field for 40 overs.

Dravid has often shown this tendency of persisting too long with his main bowlers even after they have ceased to be effective. We have seen him rotating his struggling specialist bowlers when allowing a part timer to have a bowl would perhaps be saner. In the conditions prevailing in Trinidad today Dravid's decision not to employ Dada even for a single over looked like an outright shocker from a distance, especially as India needed to maximise the win margin to give themselves the best chances of qualifying in case there is a 3 way points tie with Bangla and SL in Group B.

If that - persisting with an out of form Agarkar and never trying out a part time bowler tailor-made for the conditions - was not stubbornness I do not know what is.

I hope Dravid gets rid of it (stubbornness) by the end of this match and his team management seriously considers including Pathan in the next match as a replacement for either Uthappa (5 bowlers) or Agarkar (7 batsmen).

Lovely Sidelight: Over no. 37.2 of Bermuda innings. As India are made to toil by the Bermudian lower order the television camera zooms into the Indian dressing room. It looks relaxed. Irfan Pathan is saying something to Sreesanth. No wait, Irfan is actually humming a few lines of some popular melody. Pathan's lost-in-the-song expressions and waving hands speak a lot about his involvement in the solo performance.

It does not remain a solo very long as - joy - Sreesanth in his studiously frameless glasses joins in pretty soon! Why don't they put mikes inside the dressing rooms and switch those on specifically at these tender moments? [Perhaps the main concern is switching them off before a batsman comes back dismissed off an umpiring error].

As though that is not exhilarating enough, the third guy to appear in the same frame is also a reputed dressing room singer in his own right - Harbhajan Singh. However he looks a little distracted and is probably busy reading a mag.

With the skipper making all his musically talented (remember, Dinesh Karthik is more than chirpy behind the stumps...haven't heard much of his dressing room singing though) players warm the bench, Bhajji may well have been fishing for entry coupons for the trio to musical talent hunts while the other two maestros practised for it. What do they call their band? Do rush in your suggestions.

Or did the doctor finally recommend music therapy for the grim Mr. Chappell?

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