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    February 24, 2006

    Kumbh mela

    Ganesh and I came to the conclusion that two reasonably good young Indian wicket-keepers, who're now unlikely to ever play for India again, Ajay Ratra and Dinesh Karthik actually look very similar to each other.

    Ajay RatraDinesh Karthik

    I also think George Bush & Ricky Ponting look alike, as do Vladimir Putin & Nasser Hussain.

    Anyway, this is what has happened in the last three years in the wicket-keeping 'pass the parcel' game in Indian cricket.

    Parthiv Patel snatched Ajay Ratra's place midway through India's tour of England in 2002 but Ratra came back for the final test. Parthiv was seen to be a better batsman than Ratra and thus got the nod for subsequent series. But he made far too many wicket-keeping blunders and Dinesh Karthik was first picked in the one-day side and then in the test side as well. After India's crushing loss to Australia at Nagpur, Parthiv Patel was replaced by Dinesh Karthik for the Mumbai test.

    Dinesh Karthik seemed set to retain his place in the side for a while, first when he nearly got a century against Pakistan at Calcutta and then when he was in the final shortlist for the 'Emerging Player of the Year' ICC award. But with Kevin Pietersen's batting displays, he didn't stand a chance. Nevertheless he kept quite well in the test matches, but he never really played enough one-day cricket to allow us to judge his ability as a batsman in that form of the game.

    Dhoni's biffing against Pakistan at Vizag, against Sri Lanka at Jaipur, in the Faisalabad test and most recently, against his favourite bowling attack at Lahore and Karachi meant that his supreme ability to take the game & initiative away from the opposition was a much more significant factor than his lesser ability with the keeping gloves, compared to Dinesh Karthik.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 4:11 PM |
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    7 sledge(s):

    The Wicketkeeper spot has been a real weak point of Indian cricket since probably day one. Before these wicketkeepers and Deep Dasgupta (you seemed to have forgotten) was Sameer Dighe. Would you believe that he play in ODIs for India for 2 years and the highest score he ever made in a game India won was 9? That wasn't his average - that was his highest ever score in a game India won. So if India was chasing and Dighe came up, India's only hope was to run him out!

    Ratra was a very weak bat and unprepared for big-league cricket. His century against WI was a total fluke - more so than even Agarkar's ton. He was a real bunny. And he lost game after game in ODI's because he always choked at the death. Against England in India 2002, India lost the two last ODIs from winning positions because Ratra absolutely choked in each run chase.

    Dhoni seems to be a rare talent. He really can turn the momentum in a match. I have heard that his technique is unsound on bouncy tracks - it will be interesting to see if that is true. But at least Dhoni has come good a few times, something the others never could say.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins (24-Feb-2006, 9:22:00 PM)  

    I think Dighe and Dasgupta played for India before Ratra and Patel came into the picture. Dighe was famously at the non-striker's end when Harbhajan squeezed out two runs against McGrath at Madras in 2001. Dasgupta scored a century opening the innings against England in late 2001/early 2002 at home.

    Hey, Agarkar's ton makes him "better" than Gavaskar, Tendulkar and a few others who've not scored a century at Lord's :)

    The thing about Dhoni is that I think he'll sort any technical problems out. I (and I'm sure others as well) were totally unsure about how Sehwag would fare in tests. But he's done ok, hasn't he?

    By Blogger Jagadish (25-Feb-2006, 1:23:00 AM)  

    yes, very true jagadish - a test average of 54.75 can only be termed "ok".

    By Blogger Ganesh (25-Feb-2006, 7:20:00 AM)  

    Ganesh: It _is_ a small sample size, of 6 tests.

    By Blogger Jagadish (26-Feb-2006, 7:53:00 AM) says its 42 :)

    By Blogger Ganesh (27-Feb-2006, 11:41:00 AM)  

    The look-alike thing is quite uncanny in those pics. When you referred toPunter, your sentence for a moment made me think you meant that like you, Putin and Hussain too thought ponting and Bush looked alike..., then that they all looked alike, then i clicked on the link and figured it out!:)

    By Blogger shakester (27-Feb-2006, 3:53:00 PM)  

    ganesh: I thought you were talking about Dhoni :)
    akr: So do Putin and Hussain look alike or not!?

    By Blogger Jagadish (28-Feb-2006, 10:36:00 AM)  

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