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    March 08, 2006

    Flintoff's selective memory

    At a press conference a couple of days before the second test at Mohali got underway, Flintoff announced
    The conditions here suggest a little bit more bounce and a little bit more pace, so possibly we have a decent chance of winning.
    I wonder why that "little bit more bounce and pace" did nothing for England when they last toured India. They lost at Mohali by 10 wickets, failing to score 250 in either innings. Harbhajan took 5 in the first innings while Kumble did the damage with 6 in the second. Flintoff was part of that side, scoring 22 out of the 26 runs he eventually made in the tests.

    Mind you, that test was played in December, winter in North India. Now it is March, winter is past. Although there was talk about rain affecting the game, the weather forecast doesn't look too bad.

    Mohali's reputation for producing pitches which helped fast bowlers is long gone, as I pointed out two months ago in a reply to a comment. So I really don't see the pace & bounce as a factor.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 2:16 PM |
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    7 sledge(s):

    What matters is how the pitch is for the current match. It has been shown far too often that history has little bearing.

    I don't see India having any thing more than a helpful wickets for themselves regardless of history, any way.

    By Anonymous Pratyush (08-Mar-2006, 8:13:00 PM)  

    So history doesn't prove anything, but Flintoff's comment - which from all angles appears to refer to the current conditions - is disproved by history?

    But then, I'm sure you've had a closer look at both pitches than Flintoff.

    By Anonymous Geoff (08-Mar-2006, 9:36:00 PM)  

    Sorry Pratyush, I didn't see your comment before I posted that. The question then is, what helps India? Will RP Singh or Piysh Chawla play? Even if the former plays, will India still consider spin bowling to be their strength?

    By Anonymous Geoff (08-Mar-2006, 9:38:00 PM)  

    pratyush: History may have little bearing, but the character of a pitch isn't that easy to change. After the relaying of pitches in the late 90s-early 2000s, Mohali became a much better batting wicket than it was when when Walsh & co bundled India out in 1993/4 or when Nash & co did the same in 1998/99.

    geoff: You're obviously right when you say that Flintoff has obviously gone by the looks of the pitch. I'm merely going by reports elsewhere ... and some past history. Then again, reading a pitch isn't necessarily something captains & players get right all the time. Dravid said that he misread the Nagpur pitch and thought it'd spin and bounce substantially from day four. It didn't. I think Piyush will play. If there is even minimal bounce, spinners will benefit. Even if it takes slow turn, a spinner is more likely to benefit than a seamer.

    By Blogger Jagadish (08-Mar-2006, 10:04:00 PM)  

    Really no need to apologise Geoff. :)

    Jagdish - I know the nature of the wicket doesn't usually change too much in a short period. The point I was trying to make was - the home nation will try and get whatever kind of pitch they want. So unlikely that there will be grass on the wicket any way though the bounce is not that easy to change, the pace of the bounce is changed without the grass and so the ball would come on easy.

    Mohali has a history of a good wicket which means less variable bounce which would be poor for Kumble. But would we omit Kumble knowing he is our best bowler in India? Not really. Also, would there be efforts to make sure the wicket suits Kumble? Absolutely.

    By Anonymous Pratyush (08-Mar-2006, 11:03:00 PM)  

    pratyush: Oh well. Game start delayed due to rain. Flintoff calls right again and England bat. They go in with 4 seamers & 1 spinner. India have 2 seamers and 3 spinners. The toss & team selection won't play too huge a part. India, bowling on the first day in damp conditions, have only 2 seamers to do the job. England, bowling on a final day pitch, will have only one spinner. Kumble actually thrives even when there is good bounce - remember Madras v Australia in 2004. On the first day, he more or less shot out Australia singlehandedly.

    By Blogger Jagadish (09-Mar-2006, 10:27:00 AM)  

    The most important part of Kumble isnt the bounce. It is the zip off the surface.

    A lot of people say this guy doesn't spin the ball. Well he plays on variations in length rather than line.

    And when there is variable bounce and a bit of kick off the surface, he is unplayable as evident by his record mostly every where in India.

    By Blogger Pratyush (09-Mar-2006, 7:43:00 PM)  

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