For a while, it did seem that out there in the middle, the main objective of the whole effort was to get Kaif to make some runs...and that India was ready to sacrifice a match for it. To be fair to him, this was his struggling day, and he did try to transition into the hit-or-get-out mode once his partnership with Rahul saw off the accumulation phase well enough, but then he was dropped, meanwhile Rahul got out. That meant he was the one who had to stay till the last, while Dhoni and Raina go for the hits from other end.
He can and hopefully will play better than this, for its obvious to anyone that such style, if adopted regularly, won't fit in any but a tiny percentage of matches. But when in form, he has played more fluently. If there was one lesson to be learnt from this, it was that his is perhaps one batting position that needs to be very well strategised about. Because in chases like yesterday's, his stay beyond a certain point in run chase (and even batting first, although that won't be as obvious then), especially when paired with another safe anchor in Rahul, can cause harm to the team. And it most certainly shows why this team cannot afford another similar styled player (e.g. Rao) in the lineup.
But, in the end, India won the match despite an average-to-bad day for most players, and Kaif himself saw us home, so I wouldn't analyse his innings any more, until his next outing.
Meanwhile, prepare for the shocker - this was the third match in a row where Ajit Agarkar was our best bowler! Yes, I know, it sounds like a fairytale...so lets enjoy till it lasts.
More seriously, I cannot see India doing any worse than this from now on in the series, since either our bowlers or batsmen, depending on the conditions, are going to get in a more combined and less scratchy effort.
worma: agarkar doing well isn't a shocker. he is too good to me and has done better than most others very often. somehow, the credits deceive him and we indians keep making fun of him most of the time. i, surely, think that he deserves a lot more credit than he gets.
jag: now dont start off his ducks against australia. i am purely talking in terms of his odi bowling and his usefulness as a tailend batter.
ganesh: his odi bowling off late has been good, if unspectacular. Esp since his change of approach (physicaly and mental)...I think under RD and GC, they've defined his role v well..and he knows exactly what is expected of him. Also good that he's opening the bowling.
So all in all, yes he's been fairly good of late...but I do think he gets the credit he deserves....Indian fans, in the long run, do give credit without partiality I think. There is a bias in favour of batsmen....but *amongst* the bowlers, there is no bias in favour of someone. But mind you, I did say in the long run. Ofcourse if you look at individuals then there are always logical and illogical backers/bashers for every single cricketer in the world.
My comment about him were more of tongue-in-cheek variety...knowing that there is a huge fan+hate club out there for this guy :)
In a discussion with a friend before this game, we were talking about the attack if we went for 4 bowlers, and I had Ajit ahead of Munaf. For me, he's our best first change bowler today...so if we play 3 seamers..he has to be in. On current form.
ganesh: I've never had any issues with Agarkar as a one-day player. He's far superior to those like Nehra, Zaheer etc. who're pretty unidimensional. Agarkar at least can [the operative word] contribute in all 3 departments. He's probably the best fielder among the bowlers and second only to Pathan in terms of batting ability. It is amazing to think that he's just 28, especially when we've all had a love-hate relationship with him over what seems like a decade! I suspect his career turned with the Adelaide performance. In fact he bowled quite well in the VB Series which followed.
worma: Yes true. I'd take Ajit ahead of Munaf currently. Munaf is unproven and certainly Agarkar bats and fields better!
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