Dec 26, 2006

Irfan, Sreesanth, Cricket and World Cup

Sending back of Irfan Pathan midway through the South African tour is undoubtedly a strong message to non-performers that their place is not guaranteed by past performance. Irfan or his fans should not see this as a snub especially when there are some more players in the team who too need to given the same message. Irfan should play in the domestic matches and regain his form and swing at the earliest. His getting back to form – particularly when he is also a good bat - is very vital for our world cup plans. The same applies to Dhoni and Sehwag too.

Earlier Zaheer Khan was thrown out of the team for the same reason and after a stint in County cricket and domestic cricket he is back in form and has claimed back his place in the national team.

If we have to put up big scores particularly on the slow pitches of West Indies so our bowlers can have something to defend, Dhoni firing on all cylinders is very important. His 30-ball 50’s or 80-ball 100s are what we want from him in the world cup. The team management should not waste any more time and tell Dhoni to perform consistently or get demoted. In the meantime Karthik can keep as he is as good as Dhoni in wicket keeping and is also a good bat.

I have no idea why Sehwag is still in the team. Is he there because of some quota system? The only thing Sehwag lost for constantly under performing was his vice captaincy. He needs to be axed immediately and taken back only if he performs in the domestic matches. He is also another vital member of our team for the world cup. On his day Sehwag can take any attack apart and he being the opener we need this from him on a consistent basis and not in blue moon.

Sreesanth’s performance was excellent in the first test match. He should cut back on his song and dance acts - which I actually enjoyed watching - immediately if wants to save his match fee from being sliced off by the match referee again and again. Andrew Nel had provoked him quite a bit and it was natural that a young Sreesanth got a bit carried away after he smashed Nel for a six straight over his head. Remember there is nothing more humiliating for a bowler than being smashed over his head for a six. In Sreesanth’s own words this is what happened in the field between them:

As soon as I walked in to bat, he said, "I can smell blood, I can smell blood". Then, after beating me, he said, "You don't have the fire, man. You should have a big heart to play. You are like a bunny to me." He turned back and said it again, "You are a bunny man, and I'll get you next ball." He changed the field, moving the short leg fielder to deep square leg and telling Boucher he would bounce me. I am a fast bowler, and I was sure he would bowl a length ball. I just took my chance and stepped out to connect the ball.[Outlook]

After seeing India’s abject capitulation in the one-day series I honestly was of the view that we were going to get “rainbow washed” mercilessly in the tests and that too in three days flat per test. The South Africans’ tailor-made pitch was intended to be our waterloo but Sreesanth and Zaheer had other ideas and now the Proteas will surely be in a dilemma on what wicket to prepare for the Durban test. I saw Sreesanth in action for the first time in 2003 in a warm up match against New Zealand on TV and he instantly impressed me. In the Johannesburg test, his seam position was straight and delivery impeccable.

I was glad to see Dada and Laxman performing well in the first test. It is imperative for them to perform constantly from now on if they want to keep their place in the team. There should be no doubt that Ganguly got back his place in the team because of politics and not because of any performance in the domestic matches which was nothing to write home about. VVS should remember that he is playing tests and can take his own sweet time to get off the mark.

Earlier in the year when Ganguly was dropped - after constantly underperforming - from the team we saw the worst form of chauvinism. It was extremely disgusting to see a section of the fans making a case for Dada’s recall on the on the basis of his past performance. I can say with confidence that this is the most ridiculous justification for his recall. On the other hand the fans who opposed the call for his recall accused Dada’s supporters of regional chauvinism. It became more ugly when even the political class of West Bengal came out in Dada’s support.

Ganguly’s supporters forgot everything about national interest in their chauvinistic one-point agenda of getting Dada back in the team. Let us not forget that nothing is bigger than national interest. The playing eleven represents the nation on the field –whether war or sports - and when national honour is at stake, nothing but the best eleven of the nation at that moment should take the field.

Anyone remember Yalaka Venugopal Rao who made it to the national ODI team due to some terrific performance in the domestic matches? Unfortunately his performance for India was nothing to write home about and predictably was dropped after playing some 16 odd matches. Now did anyone in Andhra Pradesh create a hue and cry about it? At least his city folks could have done some whining. No, no one did that coz national interest mattered most. Here let me not forget to mention that Venugopal is not only from my city but also from my neighbourhood!

Let me also write about the recent ‘misbehavior’ of the Aussie team members with BCCI Chief Sharad Pawar during the prize distribution ceremony of ICC Championship. I didn’t see any wrong on Ricky Ponting’s part when he gestured to Pawar to hand him the trophy. I think that was made in jest. However it was rude of them to push him off the stage when Pawar himself would have left after posing for the photographs. Then to make matters complicated the media went to town with this and made it into a matter of national honour. Ultimately the Aussies apologised and a needless matter was put to rest.
We should remember that Aussies are not exactly the gentlemen who are supposed to play cricket. After all they are the descendants of exiled hardened convicts from the British Isles. Wasn’t it that ‘good’ old Ian Botham who once called the Aussies a bunch of convicts and I am told he caused a diplomatic uproar in the 1980s between Australia and United Kingdom when he talked about beating the Aussies in Australia in a stadium full of criminals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you suck Sreesanth's cock, ever?