Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Post World Cup analysis...of my OWN world cup previews

What goes up must come down. Likewise whatever gets previewed should also get reviewed - including the preview. Not that it is important to anyone (even myself)..just feel I need to get it out of the system before the World Cup win gets out of everyone's system.

I will list a set a set of ticks and crosses. 'Tick's are for the things I was right about, and 'Crosses' for the ones when my foot came perilously close to my mouth.

These were not exactly 'predictions' - I quit predicting since 2007 when I predicted India to be semi-finalists 'without a shade of doubt'. Let's say I 'opined' on EACH of these points BEFORE things happened...

So even in my failures I am better than those who rightly thought Nehra shouldn't have bowled last over against SA BUT only after seeing the result when all are generally right on what did not work - something that was forgotten while people thought themselves capable enough to get into reviewing every little decision of captain (exclusion: I know of someone who actually gets credit for predicting that one rightly before it happened):

Tick: Sehwag vs Pathan dilemma in knockout matches: Sehwag does not score batting 2nd. He never did in the past 2 years barring one knock a year, and in WC he failed 100% in 2nd innings. Contrarily, 2nd innings are where Yusuf Pathan comes good. During WC, Pathan did not get many chances in 2nd innings till he was dropped - and he did well in one of his 2 chasing innings. As predicted, Sehwag was a passenger in 2 of the 3 knockout matches where India batted second.*

Tick: Even with 4 bowlers the Mumbai pitch was never expected to be so helpful to pacers that Ashwin could yield position to Sreesanth: India’s 3rd seamer became the weakest link in final match. **

Tick: Dhoni's public criticism at his batsmen playing to the gallery ( in South Africa match, after 2nd successive collapse in last 10 overs of 1st innings) would be taken positively by his team: There were concerns that it was inappropropriate.***

Tick: Trust Dhoni to have the best intents and most optimal plan for this set of players, instead of judging by him ONLY by results: Results can go wrong inspite of all that...try to see his point and shout ONLY IF that is not agreeable / he does not admit it. He admitted both mistakes he made in knockout phases - one directly (misreading Mohali pitch) and the other tersely (playing 3rd seamer in Mumbai).+

Tick: [This is a shady forecast - non-cricketing] Winning the final might be Sachin's destiny which became apparent after Pak semi final: He won the cup and the players all but dedicated it to him.

Tick: (This was before WC started when Yuvi was struggling) India cannot win this world cup without Yuvraj firing as he does not have a replacement at this stage, so we might as well keep him in the team and hope for the best [I see an in-form Yuvi as 1.5 batsmen]. Yuvraj bettered the best by becoming 2 full players in the tournament - one batsman and one bowler

Cross: (This was not a public prediction) Sachin would contribute to the final win and silence those who criticise of his finals performances. That criticism remains unfair anyway - Sachin has contributed to may final wins including Aus tri seeries in Dhoni era - but what better to do it in a WC final? NOT TO BE!!

Tick: When India were 31/2 and Gambhir-Kohli were trying to form a partnership, the camera zoomed into the gallery for a moment. I had predicted that as THE decisive moment and that India would win after that point. So it happened. The man was superstar Rajnikanth.

Cross: (This was not a public prediction) I had assumed India's bowlers to bat better as the tournament progressed especially never happened - they kept looking like fish out of water.

Cross: Raina would struggle after the lows he suffered in the leadup to the world cup and it was a big risk to replace Pathan with him in knockouts: Raina and Sehwag were instrumental in ensuring that India did not lose the semi final in the 1st half itself. Raina did the same in the Quarter final chase against Australia. He is well on his way to be our Michael Bevan (with a better strike rate)..and here's hoping that Raina's Test career does better than Bevan's. He deserves some luck.

And now to the one 'Cross' that made me happiest after I was wrong:

Cross: Yuvi's fielding returned! When the World Cup began, I kept expecting Yuvi the batsman to come back sometime (during world cup or maybe later - not for a moment I thought him to be a finished batsman). I considered Yuvrja the bowler to be 'buffet' stuff but I wouldn't have exactly bet against him improving there. The one thing I was prepared to bet against: I was sure that Yuvi's take-off-the-cliff dives to pouch magical catches and stop boundaries were a thing of the past. Gone for ever. Imagine how ecstatic I was to see him bring back those flying days in the final stages of World Cup.++

[The (*) & (+) signs are for explanatory notes which no one is interested in...I have removed text out of those be produced only if further discussion happens on a point]

[Posted as a note on my Facebook page]


angshu said...

Including the explanatory notes:

* Although that would be no guarantees about Pathan' success, Another factor favouring Pathan selection over Sehwag: India would not need the 7th batsman batting first, so I suggested Pathan would have been the better choice in knockout matches INSTEAD of Sehwag (especially as the latter does not bowl either). The only argument in favour of Sehwag came from the semi final where India batted 1st: how important was that 1st innings 38 by Sehwag against Pakistan in the utimate analysis? Was that critical for India not getting ambushed in the semis?

** However the logic of the decision to take the additional medium pacer was agreeable in context of the bowling skills of part timers - all of India's part timers offered spin options and there was no part time medium pacer to look forward to. Considering Sri Lanka's skills at playing spinners, Dhoni probably needed an insurance.

*** I saw Dhoni's comment was an impersonal admonishment made in public, not aimed personally but more of an expression of anger at people not learning from mistakes (it came after India's worst collapse in many years had been repeated in quick succession and included silly shots even from tailenders while MSD was around). A player having any powers of self admission - and enjoying a secure dressing room - would accept the reason of that outburst as valid and take it positively. Also, Dhoni has this history of offering thoughts on the match from bird's eye (not just as India captain) view at ALL presentations and it would be mean of his players to take ONLY THIS comment out of context.

+At least he can detach his ego and review his decision with the same fairness as he criticises his batsmen for playing to gallery - he did not qualify himself by listing what he did right (and he almost got everything else right). I can't think of famous Indian leaders in any field who had such powers of admission.

++ Perhaps the inclusion of BOTH Raina & Kohli, combined with his ever improving fitness, charged him up enough and transported him back to his early-2006 days with Raina and Kaif when they had become a wicket producing trio on field.

angshu said...

Another CROSS: After watching the ugly Dhoni struggling in QF & Semis, I REALLY did not think that the Dhoni of Final would be seen anytime soon.

Prabhat Jha said...

How winning changes everything:

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