The wrong award choices
Anyone who followed the recent India-South Africa one-day series
will tell you that the choices for 'Man of the Match' and 'Man of the Series' were flawed.
For the record, India won the final game at Bombay
, thus drawing the series and moving to fourth place
in the ICC rankings
While Rahul Dravid was named man of the match, Graeme Smith and Yuvraj Singh were named men of the series. I'll actually argue about both
The 'Man of the Match' award surely must go to the player who played the most significant role in the result of the match. I will explain why I think Jacques Kallis should have got the award. Kallis walked in to bat in the third over. He first put on 30 in 6 overs along with Smith and then 31 in 12 overs with Ashwell Prince. His next partnership decided the course of the game. Batting with Boucher, the two put on 81 runs in 20 overs, at a time when singles and twos were fairly freely available, even given the exemplary fielding standards displayed by India on the day. In fact, the two added nearly 50 runs in 12 overs when Harbhajan and Kartik were operating in tandem. Long-hops were treated with a lot of respect and patted to the fielders.
In fact Kallis' innings progression indicates how he lost the plot. He reached 22(39) [56.4 strike rate], 42(78) [53.8 strike rate], 61(108) [56.5 strike rate], 81(136) [59.5 strike rate] and was dismissed for 91(146) [62.3 strike rate]. Effectively there was hardly any acceleration. This at a time when Kemp and Pollock were cooling their heels in the pavillion. South Africa were 155/3 in the 40th over. They scored 221 only because of Pollock's blitz towards the end. As it turned out, that was not enough.
His 'Player v Player' statistics
indicate that he scored at less than 5 an over against every single bowler, including Sehwag and Yuvraj. Actually Boucher was guilty on that count as well. However Kallis was the one who played the longer innings and thus had the better opportunity to speed up things.
For Kallis' contribution to ensuring that the game turned India's way, I think he should have been named man of the match.
As for the man of the series award, it really should have gone to Pollock. He took top order wickets in just about every game, took a wicket every five overs, conceded less than 3.5 runs an over and was clearly the one bowler the Indian team feared. Perhaps he and Pathan should have been given the 'Men of the series' award, given the tough time bowlers generally have in one-day cricket. Of course, I am biased. I am a self-proclaimed member of the bowlers fraternity