Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You Need A Rest I See !

Sourav Ganguly has gone on record saying that he needs a rest. Question: Should he be allowed to skip the Irani Trophy when he has done nothing to deserve this rest ? For that matter why is Gautam Gambhir leading the Rest of India side ? Why aren't the top Indian players playing ? Do they consider it below their dignity to play in the season-opening domestic tournament ?

People might argue that this should be used as an opportunity for youngsters to shine. So is our domestic cricket reduced to that ? A launching platform for young cricketers ? In 2003, when India played an almost complete side in the Irani Trophy I was so happy that finally we had begun respecting our domestic competitions. Sadly, that was just a flash in the pan.

I would have liked to see the following team for the Irani Trophy
Powar (Harbhajan should be suspended)

Here is the actual ROI team for the Irani Trophy:
Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Dheeraj Jadhav, Shikar Dhawan, Robin Uthappa, Venugopal Rao (Vice-Captain), Suresh Raina, Neeraj Patel, Parthiv Patel (Wicket-Keeper), Ramesh Pawar, Ram Kumar, RP Singh, Sreesanth, Ranadeep Bose, Amit Bhandari and VRV Singh.

For that matter is Murali Karthik going to return from his Lancashire stint to represent his Railways side ?


It is not black and white as several suspected. And I did too almost. It is not as if Ganguly is the clear-cut villain and Greg is the saint. This is what can be concluded from the inside stories of the Review Commitee Meeting. Clearly, both were in the wrong and both had some valid points. Only in such a situation, would a compromise be possible.

Here is what the Mumbai Mirror has to say on the issue. A detailed analysis on the points raised in it here on Prem's blog.

One of the most disturbing points about this whole issue is the leaks. First of all, the deadly email leak - alleged by Dungarpur, Pawar and others to be from the SG-JD camp, now this leak despite the gag-order. Again note, that whatever leaks have come out, it is all in support of SG which leads one to believe that there is indeed a deliberate attempt to seek sympathy by JD-SG. Which is why SG still remains an extremely shady character.

One particular piece the article mentions:
Ganguly told the committee that Chappell tried to undermine his authority right through the Zimbabwe series and even went out to toss with the opposing captain without Ganguly's knowledge during a warm-up game while the team was practising in the nets.

In his note, Ganguly called it a "huge humiliation for any captain". But, he wrote, he let the incident pass as a joke because he did not want to make a scene and create an "unhealthy dressing-room environment".
I'm not sure what are the rules about this and whether it is as serious an issue, but I feel SG would be rightly annoyed if that were the case.

The other parts are pretty irrelevant. It mentions that SG says that GC did in fact categorically ask him to step down unlike what GC said in his email. However, I do not see anything wrong in GC asking him to do that other than a sense of timing.

The incident in Mutare could have been a case of miscommunication as the Board President said in his press conference.

Consider this:
He vehemently fought the charge that he used a policy of "divide and rule". Ganguly stressed on how the Team India concept had emerged under his leadership and gave incidents of how he had backed players, even fought for them with the selectors on occasion. Secretary Karunakaran Nair, who sits in on selection meetings, backed Ganguly on this.
Mr. Ganguly, what about Nagpur then ? Don't be under the impression that we don't know what happened at Nagpur. Also, it cannot be ignored that you did not even feel like congratulating the team after winning the Test match in Mumbai. Why, even in the latest series win in Zimbabwe, you alone held the trophy aloft. You didn't feel it necessary to share it among the team that had won a series outside the subcontinent after 19 years !! The abscence of RD anywhere near the prize distribution has also not gone by unnoticed. Do you mean after all this we are expected to believe the team is one happy family ?

More on this to come ... You can start pouring in your thoughts.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Harsha, Why Are You Quiet ?

Harsha, I would want you to come up with your stand on the whole mess Indian cricket finds itself in. I am a huge fan of your columns where you provide such a beautifully balanced view yet leave not doubt what your stand on an issue is. I think your column on Mohammad Kaif's innings against Zimbabwe before he got that wonderful hundred against NZ was a brilliant piece of journalism - not harsh or overcritical yet made the point - and I'm sure Kaif got it. You, in your columns are quite different than you on TV where often you have to let the opinions of the experts take centre stage - though you and I know they are often not free of bias and politics and prejudice.

You are the voice of Indian cricket. You are to Indian cricket what Tony Cozier is to the West Indies or Richie Benaud to Australia. It is not right of you to let this ball go by and concentrate instead on scoring on the BCCI elections. Almost every Tom, Dick, Harry and Sanjay Jha in India has had his say. We don't care about these. We want your opinion. Please grant it to us.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Dada, For The Sake Of The Bengali Pride ...

If not for the team (he has long given up on it, in fact I don't even feel like calling this my Team India these days, it is a collection of individuals some of whom get along with SG and some who don't), not for the simple principles of fairness, not for anything else then at least for the sake of the great Bengali pride, Sourav should do the right thing - hand over the captaincy and redeem himself to some degree.

It really hurt me today when my family and I were discussing the issue watching the news channels go wild, that a person in my family suggested that Bengalis are always likely to play politics and that one should never trust them. I have so many of my best friends who are Bengali and I know that they are such extremely lovely people - mostly brilliant, go-getters at the same time extremely fair and just and likeable. Also excellent at making intelligent and precise discussions.

Bengal has given us so many great heroes - Tagore, Subhashchandra Bose, RD Burman, Kishore Kumar - to name a few - and until last year according to me Sourav Ganguly. This really pains me immensely.

The Turbanator Speaks

Harbhajan has been the first of "Ganguly's boys (chamchas)" to speak out in favor of him and make gross accuasations against GC. One of them even includes a most indecent attempt of involvind RD who has stayed away from the issue.

Whether Harbhajan was bit by a stray dog for him to make such comments or he is just inherently foolish or he was prompted to do so by SG is anybody's guess. Hell, he even had the audacity to say that this mess should be cleared soon because it is preventing him from playing to his full potential. What audacity and arrogance that makes him feel that after all this he will still be allowed to play without any disciplinary action to be taken ?

One thing should be clear. Irrespective of what happens with GC or SG, HS should be banned for at least 6 months - for not being able to shut his mouth. Luckily the PCA has already given him a show-cause notice.

Also I don't really care if we lose HS as a result. I do not deny that he is a very good bowler and has won matches for us in the past, but it counts for nothing if one does not have the spirit and discipline. I'd rather have a bunch of ordinary players full of discipline and passion than some gifted megalomaniacs who are too big for their shoes.

So if anyone else wants to follow HS, he is most welcome - let us see your true colors !!

The Email That Shook Indian Cricket

The full text can be found here.
Exactly, as I had imagined. It was evident that Ganguly was not acting in the best interests of the team for the past year.

If this email is entirely false, SG should still be kicked out for sheer incompetency as captain and player.

If this email is even half-true, he should not just be kicked out but banned for a fair while.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Of Character Of Men

Ganguly has gone on record commenting on the 'character' of GC. Apparently he said something to the effect that you can judge the character of a man who within hours of a truce goes and does something like this.

The fool (and I am not going to think twice about using derogatory words here on) should realize how his character is being reflected through statements like these. What 'truce' is he talking about ? Does he think this is a family matter or a Bengali soap opera (one of which he might soon be producing) that there can be things like 'truces' and being all hunky-dory again ? This is professional cricket for God's sake and the person in-charge has to give his honest feedback.

In any case, it is now being apparent that the email was sent before the 'truce' happened and it was leaked yesterday evidently by someone who was sypathetic towards SG and malicious towards GC. This has to be someone from the JD camp in the board. I can't help feeling that SG is appearing to play a victim here but in reality it is GC who is being targetted.

I have also heard rumors that he is planning to quit. I hope that is not true. I hope he stays on and fights the system. Because we need him to. Someone has to cleanse this dirty system and to do that one has to be in it.

Talking of characters once again the sterling character of Rahul Dravid has stood out in all this saga. He never once uttered a word, never tried to take advantage of the situation and has always played every issue on its merit with a straight bat. Prem Panicker here is pretty close to what happens in Indian cricket and knows what happens at close quarters. He says so about RD in as many words here. And here is Outlook's take on the issue.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Chappell Ganguly Saga

This is going to get reaaly interesting and really dirty. I just hope it has a happy ending (read Ganguly being sacked). We all know what has happened so rather than repeat all that here I think we should just start firing off. Anyone taking the first shot ?

All this mess could have been avoided had Ganguly been wise enough to quit a year ago when he was clearly on a high and had the respect of the team and the public. Or again it could have been avoided if the selectors hadn't made the stupid mistake of sacking Dravid after Sri Lanka.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Differences Begin To Show

Quietly but surely, Greg Chappell has begun making a difference - it was so heartening to see first Harbhajan Singh and then Zaheer Khan try out something different by going round the wicket. And to top it off, it has worked. Both have become successful. This is what I meant by saying we needed a tactically smart coach esp since the captain is tactically inept. Greg has all the knowledge, ideas and the belief - he knows the how the different angles will affect the batsmen. He has sorted it all out to a T. We must candidly admit that while both Zaheer and Harbhajan are very good bowlers with a good attitude they are brainwise quite limited. It was essential to make them see the light.

For The Record ...

India's first series win outside the subcontinent in 19 years. While it is nothing to be proud of, it was a shame we could not beat Zimbabwe in 2001 - so at least we did better on that count.

The controversies surrounding the Indian dressing-room do not look like dying down - with Zaheer Khan today asserting that that in recent times the atmosphere in the dressing room had been *upsetting* - after surprise surprise putting in a good performance !!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Aussies Wring In The Changes

The axe has fallen upon several high-profile members of the Australian squad int he wake of the Ashes defeat. This was to be expected but some of it is particularly incomprehensible.

The biggest of which is the absolutely unfair sacking of Damien Martyn. True, he had a poor series, but he had at least 2 very bad decisions and 1 great ball. His innings at Lord's was instrumental in that lone victory and most importantly, he has scored 6 hundreds in the past year - a lot of which have been in the subcontinent the self-proclaimed final frontier. This is indeed shortchanging that brave General who played a leading role in capturing that frontier. I won't be surprised if Martyn is declared the ICC Test Player of The Year in October Ceremony and wouldn't that be an irony ?? To make matters significantly more incomprehensible, his replacement in the squad is an all-rounder Shane Watson. Nowhere close to the batsman Damien Martyn is. And the 2 young guns - Clarke and Katich haven't really established themselves firmly yet - they have definitely not set the world on fire. In the past, harsh decisions have paid dividends for Australia but this one is not just harsh - it is downright stupid in my opinion.

Much more understandable is the omission of Hayden from the ODI squad. I have maintained for a long time that he is a highly overrated ODI player. Also expected were the sackings of Gillespie and Kasprowicz.

What do you all think ? Esp the Aussie fans. The full story here.

The Hundred Test Men

Sanath Jayasuriya becomes the first Sri Lankan to join the 100-Test club. It is, without doubt an elite club and in my opinion a benchmark for cricketing excellence and longevity. The other players and there are only about 30-odd to have reched this mark can be found here.

Without exception, each has been at least a very very good player.

Update: Jayasuriya has not had a great start to his hundredth test and Bangladesh are off to a good start.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I tend to think World Cricket is suffering from a lack of great captaincy at the moment . With the singular exception of Michael Vaughan who has done a sterling job. Fleming has been good but he has not always had a team to back up his efforts.

Ponting, as long as he needed to do nothing, seemed to be going well. The moment, questions were asked of him, he has come up way too short. About Ganguly the less said the better. I have lost all respect for this man. He has gone from being a hero to a villain quicker than anyone else in history.

Inzy is improving but has a long way to go. Smith has been so-so. Atapattu hasn't really been tested. Chanderpaul has been extremely average.

I would like to know your thoughts on this issue. Which captains do you like ? Whom do you hate ? Who are the tactically astute ones ? Who are good performers ? Just about anything you wish to say.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Whole Chappell - Ganguly Blow Up

To make a long story short: GC was well within his rights to do what he did. (Though his timing may not have been quite right). SG had absolutely no business going public with his frustrations and disappointments. SG has lost it. This is a desperate man clutching at straws. He has got to go for the larger good of everyone. The sooner the better. Your comments ?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Ashes

It is one of the greatest series of modern times and a tremendous achievement. Not that I am quite speechless for I am sure if I try hard enough I will be able to come up with an elaborate write up, but at the moment I somehow lack the inspiration. Hence I will just say Many Congratulations to England on a Superb Achievement. It is funny sometimes you look forward to an event so much with all kind of previews, tactics, suggestions and at the end of the spectacle you are at a loss for words.

Freddie, Tresco, Pietersen, Vaughany, Jones, Hoggard, Gilo, Harmy, Strauss - all have performed spledidly some time or the other. Of course, there were moments and periods of play that were crucial. McGrath's horribly ill-timed injuries, Ponting's terrible errors at the toss and on the field, Tresco's attacking batting at top, Freddie's magic at Edgbaston and powerful century at Trent Bridge and Pietersen's finishing touches at the Oval just to name a few.

For the Aussies Warne stood alone. There should be a lot of introspection in that camp. Clearly, this is not just a blip but a thorough exposition of the cracks in an apparently faultless unit. Personally I would like to see a change in captaincy. Warne would be my man. But let's see how it all goes.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Gaffer

Alec Stewart whose body fat indices were found to be better than all models in Britain two years ago, is finally showing signs of looking his age.

Keeping Track Of Greg Chappell's Progress

GC had stated before the finals of the Videocon Cup that winning this final was only a secondary objective in the larger picture of continued long-term improvement in key areas. Let us see how far he has come in achieving this goal.
1. Fielding: Good progress. While India fielded diabolically in the Indianoil Cup final, their fielding throughout the Videocon Cup (including the final) was promising. Of course the addition of Agarkar to the squad was a big boost in the field. Kaif can always be relied upon while Yuvraj who seemed a touch lax was at it again. The others while still remaining predominantly poor fielders are trying to make an effort, most notably Pathan. It is very difficult to expect the likes of Nehra to improve.
2. Running between the wickets: Constantly lukewarm. Dipped to a low in the Indianoil Cup final as far as intent is concerned, but at least not getting worse.
3. Batting: Opening problem is far from solved. Sehwag still scores a half-century once every 12 innings. Although, thankfully he at least makes 30s and 40s now. Ganguly is a liability. Dravid's form is not a major worry. Kaif is looking good at 3, Yuvraj at 5 and Dhoni at 6 also look set in their roles. I think this is the best to come out for India this season. #3-#6 now seem more or less settled to go all the way. The inclusion of Agarkar and Yadav lend solidity to the lower order esp. with Pathan finding form
4. Bowling: Situation looks grim. Nehra seemed to have risen above his injuries and inconsistency to be the 1 constant factor in the attack but his poor performance in the finals and subsequent injury has banished both those hopes. Pathan and Zaheer seem content to bowl medium-pace and take loads of wickets in favorable conditions so as to compensate for poor performances in challenging ones. Agarkar is lacking confidence. Harbhajan has been more or less destroyed by a weird combination of himself, Ganguly and a certain Chris Broad.

It seems quite clear where all GCs energies need to be focussed. He seems to be on the right track as he has already declared his intentions of putting together a bunch of 10 pace bowlers all of whom would be in contention for the World Cup.

The Ashes Test 5 Day 2

Nothing that happened at the Oval on Friday can possibly of greater significance that one thing that did not. The Aussies simply did not show any guts, courage and determination or sense and pathetically and disgracefully accepted the bad light. Langer says that the decision was not his and the management had decided not to take a chance with Flintoff reverse swinging the ball in less than perfect light. I believe him. It is very much in keeping with the attitude shown by Ricky Ponting and the Aussie team management on this tour to make negative defensive decisions such as this one. Looking at the statement itself, one can see the shallowness and cowardliness of the decision. By their own admission, the Aussies did not want to take the chance of losing a couple of wickets to Andrew Flintoff's reverse swing. The sprirt of the cricket clearly states that bad light should be taken only if there is a chance of physical injury. This kind of decision could have been understandable if a couple of tail-enders were batting. Given the context of the series, maybe not even then. Has Ricky Ponting forgotten that this Test has to be won if the Ashes are to be retained ? How dare he be afraid of defeat ? What difference is it going to make anyway whether they lose 2-1 or 3-1 ? Does he not know that iffy weather has been forecast for the rest of the Test ? I must say whatever little respect I had for Ponting as a leader has been destroyed by this decision. And my sympathies towards the Aussies have also decreased significantly alongwith. For the sake of cricket (and that of McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist) I still hope the weather gives both teams a fair chance to win.

This pathetic decision in the end clouded a good performance by the Aussie openers. Langer has looked in good touch but needs to now go on and make a hundred. Hayden buckled down well. Will all of it become inconsequential ? Time will tell

Friday, September 09, 2005

Nehra Out, Agarkar In

After going two ODI series (10 matches) without injury, the "great left-arm-king" of India is at it again. The handyman Agarkar has to fill in for him. No doubt, as soon as Nehra declares himself fit again, he will be given his place back on a platter, regardless of how the other bowlers perform. Agarkar has to take advantage of the situation and hope for the best. As the Bhagvad Geeta says:

"Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Faleshu Kadacha Na"

Speaking of bowlers, I think Balaji and Kumble are the two that deserve to be in the starting lineup straight away. It should be left to the two remaining "left-arm-kings" and Ajit Agarkar to fight for the remaining two spots. On current form and given the history of Zimbabwe wickets Bhajji should not figure at all.

The Ashes Test 5 Day 1

England is in the grip of an unprecedented cricket fever. When a football-crazy nation proclaims in one voice that a cricket Test is the greatest sporting event in its history in the last 39 years, you have to sit up and take notice. Finally, cricket is no longer a game just for the guys, it is for all - young and old, male and female, black and white.

Last week Mrs. Flintoff very aptly said that she was glad that her husband is a cricketer not a footballer so that he is loved all over the country; not loved in one part and hated in the other. Truly, by its very nationalistic nature and the immense pride which is at stake in an international game, cricket has more potential as a national unifier than any other game. In football, the national team comes together only at World Cups and the Euros and that too where most of its stars arrive to represent their nations after playing overseas most of the time. I would like to know from the English fans what their opinions are on this cricket v football issue in particular regard to nationalism and what sentiments are aroused resultantly. If they agree with me in my hypothesis, why is it that cricket was so completely overshadowed by football up until this summer ??

So the whole country is cricket-crazy right now and while one wonders how long this euphoria will last, it needs to be cherished nevetherless. Just one word of warning though. The England cricket team and the ECB should not get carried away with it. If reports are to be believed, the arrangements are already in place for the cricketers to be paraded if they retain the Ashes. For God's sake, make sure you win the Ashed first, then talk about parades. This is just the kind of idea that is likely to give the players a sense of having already got home and let their guard down a bit. For the sake of England, I hope that that does not happen.

Coming to the game, the day dawned bright ane clear, not a cloud in the sky. The 25K capacity Brit Oval was packed to the rafters and when the two English batsmen walked out, the applause was deafening. England has hosted four World Cups, but I doubt if ever before this brilliant atmosphere was matched. It tends to happen at times at the MCG and at the Eden Gardens although sadly Indian audiences are not mature enough to appreciate real cricket and are more keen on the shorter version of the game. But this was just a moment to remember.

Coming to the game, what more can one say about Shane Warne ? With England off to a flyer, I was just thinking - OK let's see what Warne can do here - first morning, flat wicket, batsmen off to a flyer - all the adverse conditions and befire I had completed my thought process the champion had already got into the act. Relying purely on skill, intelligence and mental strength, he almost singlehandedly put Australia on top in the game. For a leg-spinner to take 4 wickets on the first morning of a test, 3 of them before lunch is just tremendous. But the image that will remain etched on the mind forever would be the destruction of Pietersen's stumps and the look on the faces of both batsman and bowler following that.

This was not a magical ball ala Mike Gatting, Basit Ali or Andrew Strauss but the way he priced out Pietersen was precious. Pietersen has this tendency of playing Warne towards mid-wicket and the genius lured him into the trap perfectly before spinning one through bat and pad. Pietersen was shell-shocked, Warne while celebrating emphatically, wore a look of smug satisfaction, of a plan executed to perfection.

Warne looked more and more like the leader Australia have lacked in this series. While he was always giving Ponting advice, on the field earlier, today it almost seemed to me he appeared to have taken matters in his own hands, directing fielders and encouraging bowlers while himself bowling nearly half of the overs of the day. You might be wondering if I have forgotten that there is another team playing in this series in the course of writing this post and that is actually the better team at the moment. My apologies to the English for drifting away so completely towards the Australian performance. Much as I wanted England to win the Ashes at the start of the series (and I had even started a series of advices) I can't help feeling sad for Warne and McGrath for they really do not deserve to lose. They are two of the greatest champions of the generation (also Gilchrist I think) so a part of me really wants the three of them to fire at their best and pull off a win for Australia. However, another part wishes England to take the trophy to bring an end to Aussie dominance and arrogance - most specifically that of Ricky Ponting, whom I never really liked as a person and a leader (great batsman that he is)

At the end of day 1, the match seems more or less in the balance, and I'm sure a part of me will have got what it wants at the end - Question is which part ??

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Mandatory Post-Mortem

I am getting really weary of writing these posts. Another final. Another loss. This should really say it all. But can't stop myself from making some points. Note that henceforth I will refer to the Indian captain as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (shortened HWMNBN). So when HWMNBN won the toss, I had this weird feeling that it would be better to chase. But the lessons learnt in the past of hopeless left-arm trundlers succumbing to the pressure of a final and being plundered of near-300 (often higher) scores in finals would have prompted him to bat first. What he forgot was that against NZ, India have generally done better chasing. Rather they have done worse batting first. In the 2000 ICC Knockout finals in Nairobi when HWMNBN was the World's best ODI batsman India had lost batting first despite his hundred courtesy of an innings for the ages by an injury-ridden Chris Cairns. The similarities between that day and today were eerie. With the exception that HWMNBN was now one of the World's worst ODI batsman and the fact that the African capital hosting the match was different, a lot of things remained the same. Most pertinently, Cairns was once again injury-ridden and was potentially dangerously preserved as a supersub ready to be unleashed when the situation demanded. That was most likely to emerge while chasing a big score. Clearly, Fleming wanted to chase and that should have been reason enough for HWMNBN to field first. But he had other ideas. As it turns out, Cairns was not needed. Other than that, it all went to script just as Fleming would have imagined. But choosing to bat first was one of HWMNBN's less-serious mistakes and hence I would not harp too much on that.

Just as an aside, another negative outcome of the television age in cricket has been the demise of the very polite and pleasant gesture of telling the opposition captain of what one plans to do after winning the toss. When that annoyingly omnipresent Ravi Shastri is out there ready to pounce on the (un)lucky captain who wins the toss with his senseless chatter, the captain often forgets to tell his counterpart of what he wants to do. (Or chooses to ignore him.) This is what happened today. HWMNBN felt no need to tell Fleming of his choice. Or Shastri felt no need to allow him the time to do so. Either way, Fleming had to infer that he was going to field first only from the meaningless conversation between the two Indians. This is very sad, to see another of those little niceties which make cricket the game it is bite the dust.

276 was a fair score. Not great, but not bad either. Given just the score, the team defending it should have backed itself. Indeed a team with a decent attack and a good leader would have defended it at least 7 times out of 10. Unfortunately India suffered from a lack of both. Pathan's lack of pace and peneteration is shocking. If a 20-year old is content to bowl line and length at medium pace and rely entirely on non-existent swing, it is a matter of great concern. Nehra too suffers when the conditions don't suit him. He was his old self bowling one bad ball per over and that is all that is needed with a few chances for a good team like the Kiwis to get off to a flyer. As usual, the axe is likely to fall on Agarkar, one of the most ill-treated cricketers in recent times (along with VVS Laxman) But truth is the damage had been done at the top. Agarkar is a bowler who thrives on getting early wickets. Of course, he has not been at his best, recently. But that is mostly because of the step-motherly treatment given to him by HWMNBN and the management. He is always given short change when the great left-arm kings come back after taking leisurely time-outs. But the worst was reserved for the middle stages of the innings.

After that flier, Harbhajan and Sehwag had bowled well to get India in with a chance. However HWMNBN showed no intentions of supporting them with attacking fields. I will have to write a separate post on how he has destroyed Harbhajan's career as an ODI bowler (while acknowledging that he had supported and encouraged Harbhajan in the early days) But today he refused to give Harbhajan close catchers to prize out wickets when clearly that was the only way the match could have been won. Worse, he did not trust Sehwag, the best bowler of the day to be able to bowl with the field restrictions. He brought in the hapless Pathan who was thrashed for 9 and then Yadav who was hammered for 14. There were several points in the match where India had a chance to turn things around. But this one with Sehwag and Harbhajan bowling well, was the last and decisive one. HWMNBN made a mess of it.

I end by averring that we are unlikely to win any ODI series (and definitely not any final) so long as HWMNBN is in charge. This is a bunch of talented individuals but a very poor team. The weakest link in the team is the leadership, rather the lack of it. Unless, there is a change at the top, we can expect to see more such pathetic defeats in the near future.