Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kolkatta’99 Revisited at Karachi ‘06

After day one I prayed that the ghosts of Kolkatta 1999 did not return to haunt us. Unfortunately that is exactly what seems to be happening!

Irfan pathan came up with the three most important deliveries of his career. Hat-trick in the first over of the match! We could not have hoped for a better start. It was like a dream! The ball was finally wrecking some havoc. After the leather being belted around it was time for the furniture to be brutally dismantled.

RP Singh and Zaheer chipped in and we had Pak reeling at 39 for 6 just like we had them reeling at 26/6 then(at Kolkatta in the Asia cup in 1999). As always instead of further tightening our grip we let it lose and let Pak recover to a reasonable fighting total. Moin Khan the then wicket -keeper rescued them and here it was the current young wicket keeper- Kamran Akmal.
The script has gone eerily similar, only this time Pak has put itself in a far more commanding position, having declared at 599 in the second innings!

Kamran Akmal though was a delight to watch. What a lovely innings he played. It is even more worth applauding considering the match conditions. None left to stand with you and the ball seaming wildly. A little bit of patience and loads of natural talent was the key for Akmal. He played splendidly and if Pak wins this match he deserves the man of the match for his innings have to be the one that turned it around for Pakistan.

Post day one it has been nothing but disappointment for the Indian team. First we did not bat sensibly at all. Specialist openers, anyone heard about them? Never mind! What’s the point in talking about it in the hindsight! Why did Dravid and Laxman open? Sehwag injured? Get a regular opener in his place!

Saurav Oh Saurav, they crucify and keep the sword hanging on your head. I thought you played with a lot of grit and that one mistake turned out to be your last! Time and again the same shots bring about your downfall. That lad Pathan plays it better than you! Do you not work on it? If not forget it, try to avoid playing it. Clumsy is the one word when I see you playing the hook shot! That shot is a sight for sore eyes when executed well, ask Dravid or Ponting. One fifty and you could have taken India to a respectable total but it was not to be.

Asif impressed. A little bit assistance and the guy bowled extremely well. Boy Pakistan really has talent in the fast bowling arena. But they seem to come and go; none seems to last a while. Razzaq had a terrific match too. 45 in first innings, 90 in the second, three crucial wickets: Tendulkar, Dhoni and Ganguly in India’s first innings. He bowled a snorter of a delivery to Yuvraj, Yuvraj was lucky he did not nick it!

One word for Simon Taufel. Awesome umpire! I wish we could have ten more of him on the panel! Yuvraj had one LBW appeal against him which Taufel turned down. Even the commentators did not realize in the replay that there was a faint inside edge of the bat before the ball hit the pads. They were convinced that he was out but several replays proved otherwise. That Taufel was correct. The next time when Yuvraj got out, Taufel got it perfect. The ball hitting the pad before it took the edge of the bat. That guy is seriously good! No doubt he has got the Best Umpire of the Year Award at the ICC awards for last two years.

Finally to end, we have our backs to the wall and Sachin has failed again. Is it the same pitch that Pak batted a while ago? I wonder! How we seem to squander a perfect lead position is something I fail to understand. Sometimes sticking to the basics helps, especially in tests.

Sigh! All it takes is one bad session to turn the tide against you. We have only ourselves to blame!

7 comments:

RPM said...

Terrible, terrible loss. This match was not supposed to go this way. Having them at 37 for 6 wickets down should have only meant one thing - an Indian win.

The bowling did let us down after the first session on the first day. First to let Akmal and gang take the first innings to 245 and then the second innings fiasco.

Oh well. On to the one dayers and on to start thinking about the next few test series.

Minal said...

@rpm: Did you see how the bowlers were castled by Asif? Wasn't Tendulkar sitting down a sorry sight?

What an irony! Ganguly fights it out yet his place is in question. Tendulkar's performance on the other hand does not even raise an eyebrow! It's not fair!

I'm not a vehement Ganguly supporter( He has his flaws all right)or a Tendulkar critic but sometimes things ought to be fair.

Ya sure after a dull test series now I have to look forward to some mindless ODIs which will see the bowlers being whipped around again!

Cricket where art thou!

venkyy said...

o well looks like its happend!

public criticism of tendulkar! http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2006/feb/02ten.htm

it had to happen. ppl r sayin he's over the hill noww. well it is surprising that he cudnt put up a fight. he averaged 21 in the series...

u do feel sorri for dadaa. he fought so hard. y the pull, y y y!!

i believe the one dayers would be more competitive...if 2004 was anything to go by.

RPM said...

@Minal: Just because dada is getting slapped around does not mean you (and the rest of the cricket world) should pull Sachin in too.

Dada is being made a pawn in the battle between Dalmiya and the rest of the BCCI. And as a result he is being microscopically looked at. Naturally every move he makes is going to make splashes all over the media. It is time to let him be. Under normal circumstances you would have let both their performances be written off as 'bad series'.

India of late has had the ability to stick with a combination and let temporary loss of form pass. With Ganguly's sort of sensational exit as captain and exit as an India ODI player, the fanatics have started questioning everything.

What next? Sack Dravid of his captaincy because he is a 'failure'? Because he was unable to create a breakthrough in the second innings of the third test?

Come on. I thought we were smarter than the average Joe. No?

Minal said...

@rpm: I don't think they will sack Dravid come on that would be stupid! Ganguly got enough time as a captain and a Dravid deserves it too.

Sad the way things are proceeding with Saurav. You are right, if not for the political game brewing around, we would have considered this as another 'bad series'. I wish the media pays heed and as you said lets him be.

Though I think Tendulkar's batting performance deserves some criticism not cause Ganguly is being pulled around but cause he failed twice when the team really needed him to play and that too on tracks that were not so deadly!

I'm a huge fan of Tendulkar but simply can't find myself defending his performance in this series. He needs to kick himself hard this time around.

@Venkky: I dunno about Tendulkar being over the hill and all.That's taking it a bit too far. His series performance needs to be criticised. Now lets not jump the gun too fast and speak about him being finished!

This is the problem, we never assess objectively series by series , we go all overboard, be it in criticsing or praising! When will these media folks get a grip and some rationality!

I still beleive he has some years of competitive cricket left in him and I beleive he is the sort of player who will call it quits at the right time.

Yes I'm hoping ODIs go in our favour going by the performance in last 6 months.

RPM said...

@minal: I totally agree. I criticise (or used to) Tendulkar a lot! And that is because I expect that he will score every single time he walks out to the crease. But since the time I have seen crazies talking about removing him from the team, I have taken an extremely opposite stance.

Yes, we need to criticize his performance in the series and also some of the other middle order bats too. Basically, the team was inconsistent.

And come on, the series itself was a waste - we only need to look at the third test to judge the performance in the series.

And I hope you realize I was taking an extreme point of view with Dravid's captaincy. I was saying that if we want to keep a short leash, we can talk about him failing as a captain too. Of course I know that it is too early to pass judgement on his captaincy. And once more, this series was almost like a one-off series.

Not looking forward to the one dayers, where 325 will not be defendable!

Minal said...

@rpm: I agree that the series was a complete waste. We wasted our openers, the bowlers were wasted on either side. Karachi offerred some hope and when we wasted a good opportunity to fight back and save the match and series!

Got your pt. on Dravid issue:-) Tendulkar and be removed from team? That's ridiculous. As I said in my comment before to Venkky, we tend to go overboard. I think Tendulkar has earned the right to call it quits himself!

He has been in good nick and that's why his failure in this series hurts most.Which is why I'm critical of him, he is definitely not finished!Guys who are saying that will be back singing his praises once he gets hundred in the test series at home!

God knows when objective criticism will see the light of the day in the sports media!

Agree with you on the ODIs too!