Wednesday, November 9, 2011

India vs West Indies Test 1 - Thoughts

It was much closer than it should have been. India in India (with an amazing record of just 2 losses in last 20 home games) taking on West Indies who have been struggling anywhere and everywhere against anyone and everyone. The first test in Kotla provided further proof that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Here are the thoughts at the end of the game.
  • A home test without Harbhajan Singh and a revamped bowling lineup. His direct replacement Ashwin takes 9 wickets and picks up the Man of the Match on debut. The other spinner Ojha making a comeback picks 7 including 6 in the 1st innings. Add Harbhajan's miserable performance against Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, the chances of a comeback soon become a bit dimmer. (In the same game another Indian discard RP Singh picked a Michelle while Suresh Raina scored a double hundred).
  • Chris Gayle was missing a result of too many ego clashes amongst West Indies cricket stakeholders. Don't know who to blame here. The board, the players's association or Gayle himself?
  • Another exclusion was of Ramnaresh Sarwan. This was a case quite similar to Harbhajan's. Born 10 days apart, both have great reputations, formidable records and a lousy current form and both out of their national teams.
  • Shivnaraine Chanderpaul was there as usual tormenting India as he has been doing since time immemorial. Probably the ugliest batting style in the whole cricketing world and also the most effective in blunting any bowling attack. But India are rendered especially toothless against him.
  • I like Darren Sammy. Many may say that he doesn't deserve to be in the team. But his dedication cannot be faulted. Bowls his heart out, takes the wickets, gets a few quick runs when his team needs them and is doing an excellent job captaining the West Indies team. I guess West Indies cricket needs players like Sammy more than Gayle.
  • India's collapse in the 1st innings was the reason that this test got all exciting. India still went on to win can say a lot about India's fighting spirit or West Indies's incompetence. Your pick.
  • Dhoni became the 1st Indian to reach 200 test dismissals whereas Mark Boucher just took his 500th Test catch. Also Dhoni remained not out on 0 in the 2nd innings. Hope nobody accuses him of remaining not out to boost his batting average this time around.
  • Sehwag was off to his murderous starts. Knocked a big chunk off the chase almost as soon as it got started both times around. 
  • Dravid was there doing his typical "Back to the Wall" jobs in both innings. He lost his crown of most 4th innings runs to Tendulkar though.
  • VVS Laxman was there to see another 4th innings chase through.
  • The stage was set. I had actually dreamed up the scenario as well. The ball bowled slightly outside offstump and it gets punched through the covers for a boundary. The crowds giving a standing ovation as India reached victory with the same shot as Sachin Tendulkar reached his 100th international 100. But alas, it wasn't meant to be... (Aside - SRT refused to take a legbye and was out LBW a couple of balls later in the same Bishoo over). The wait continues.
Now over to Kolkata.

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