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    March 03, 2006

    Danger for Laxman and Harbhajan

    VVS Laxman's first-ball duck today at Nagpur follows his twin failures at Karachi. There've been reports about how he could be dumped if he didn't perform against England. His recent series certainly don't bolster his case, in spite of a century against Sri Lanka and a few fifties here and there. I've been a VVS supporter for a long time, but the writing does seem to be on the wall. In addition, he's been dropping too many catches in the slips of late, a very odd thing for him given the general quality of his catching.

    Moreover, it isn't even the case of a TINA factor. Suresh Raina is on the fringe, as is Venugopal Rao. Kaif's knock today means that he will continue to be in the reckoning for a middle order slot in the next two tests, regardless of whether Yuvraj becomes fit or not. Aside from all those names is that of Sourav Ganguly.

    The other person whose place could be in trouble is Harbhajan Singh. He had an awful tour of Pakistan, gave away over 350 runs without looking like taking a wicket. While he did "ok" at home against Sri Lanka and his overall stats don't show a marked decrease except for the Pakistan fiasco, he is expected to take wickets against a weakened England batting lineup. The sardonic kisses he blew to Harmison on the second day after dismissing him were pyrrhic. Harmison had already caused enough damage with the bat.

    Piyush Chawla, a replacement, is ready to fill in for Harbhajan in case he doesn't get back to wicket taking ways. Plus India can always try to play the patriotism card and make Monty play for India!

    For both Harbhajan and Laxman, the next two innings in the game are critical. Harbhajan is still not yet 26, so he won't have a problem making a comeback. Not so for Veevers.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:40 PM |
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    5 sledge(s):

    Laxman with an average of around 43 may sit well for most teams. For India that isn't good enough. Specially when you consider his close to 30 average in the last 2 or so years if you exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

    If Yuvraj isn't fit, I would like to see Raina get a run cos I have been a huge fan of his and am biased. :D

    Harbhajan - I have never rated him very highly. He just lost out on the record of bowling most consecutive balls without taking a test wicket actually. Bring in Chawla. Share your sentiments dude.

    By Anonymous Pratyush (04-Mar-2006, 3:03:00 AM)  

    jagadish: i think the bigger problem being masked here is our ineffectiveness of taking any wicket.. period..!!! earlier, our pacers might do something pick up a few here & there in opening spell.. spinners came on.. dustbowls galore.. we ripped thru the opponents.. now, the quality of our spin bowling is suspect.. opponent teams are more prepared in combating spin.. its no longer greek & latin.. what has hit us bad is that our entire bowling dept seems to have aged or gone past shelf life.. hence even a small batting collapse which earlier would go unmasked due to spin magic.. seems too obvious.. and has led to us losing quite a few matches.. i agree vvs and bhajji might be shown the door.. but i want to say.. so shud sehwag (atleast for a series.. he better get serious abt his responsiblities in team) and in bowling.. i think we better clean the shelves.. bhajji & kumble out.. get chawla.. powar.. karthik.. they cant do worse than 350 runs for no wickets.. and 'medium pace' dept needs also rework.. pathan taking 2 wickets per test match with new ball not going over 128 kmph.. is sad.. give him old ball if hes effective only with that.. get munaf, vrv.. even srinath.. damn doesnt anybody know virtues of line & length.. (whew.. big rant over.. had to get that out..)

    By Blogger Beowulf (04-Mar-2006, 8:29:00 PM)  

    pratyush: Unless Laxman comes up with something special to help India out today, I can't see him in the second test. But regardless of whether Raina or Yuvraj play, that makes for a fairly iffy middle order, which would be a worry.

    beowulf: Kumble has at least "looked" like taking a wicket ... and if not for a blind third umpire, he would have! Harbhajan hasn't!

    By Blogger Jagadish (05-Mar-2006, 9:06:00 AM)  

    hmm i agree kumble looked the best to take a wicket.. but if u wanna play chawla.. and also kumble.. it start another similarity in our spin ranks too (plus chawla is traditional leggie.. most agressive spin option that u can ever field..).. like the 1-d bowling attack of left-armers we have/had.. i would like chawla to get his teeth in on home series on spinning wickets than away series (seam/swing/bounce wickets) plus pressure to perform.. he needs to be nurtured.. i liked powar's bowling but he does not have variety.. cd become like monty.. can be negotiated once u figure out his line.. i prefer m karthik..just for variations and a different line of bowling..for lack of any other..

    By Blogger Beowulf (05-Mar-2006, 1:32:00 PM)  

    beowulf: Not really. From what I've seen/read, Chawla and Kumble are different from each other. Having the "variety" in the form of an off-spinner hasn't been too useful over the past few tests, has it?

    By Blogger Jagadish (07-Mar-2006, 11:32:00 AM)  

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