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    September 17, 2006

    Rain ruins a classic

    I honestly can't remember the last time rain saved India's blushes. Most of the time, like against West Indies a few days ago, Indian cricket supporters blame the rain for India's plight.

    Against Australia yesterday, rain ruined what could potentially have been a classic. A couple of years ago, rain ruined another potential classic, the India v Australia test at Chepauk, where chasing 229 to level the series, India was 19/0 at stumps on the fourth day and Sehwag playing that breathtaking straight drive off the last ball of the day to signal his intent.

    If Australia had set India a target in excess of 280, I'd have had no hope for an Indian win. But this target was around 250. On the face of it, 245 looks eminently gettable, especially when a depleted Australian attack, with the notable exclusion of Glenn McGrath though, was belted around for 438 runs just six months ago. But this attack had McGrath in it, and chasing under lights is never easy.

    I'd have backed India to win, probably with 2-3 wickets and a couple of overs to spare. i.e. only just! But it'd have been a great game to watch at a time when 300+ totals are considered under par!
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 9:23 AM |
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    10 sledge(s):

    I remember the days when Pathan used to bowl between 85-90 mph. The world is lauding Mitchell Johnson at the second, but somebody needs to get into Pathan's head and remind him of where he was headed.

    You are absolutely correct though, had rain not intervened, we probably would've put up a greater fight and it could have turned into a thoroughly enjoyable game. Once again we are left to ponder.

    By Blogger The Enigma (17-Sep-2006, 2:54:00 PM)  

    I honestly couldn't care what speed Pathan bowled as long as he:

    a) Swung the ball like he's always done
    b) Took wickets like he's always done
    c) Bowled economically like he's always done

    There's a serious problem brewing with Pathan. I hope someone, including himself, knows the answer. Maybe it isn't anything cricketing, perhaps some personal stuff?

    By Blogger Jagadish (17-Sep-2006, 4:04:00 PM)  

    Most of the time, like against West Indies a few days ago, Indian cricket supporters blame the rain for India's plight. [...] I'd have backed India to win, probably with 2-3 wickets and a couple of overs to spare.

    Er, what? Or were you just saying that you're following the tradition of blaming the rain?

    By Anonymous Geoff (17-Sep-2006, 8:48:00 PM)  

    Two parts to the rain, Geoff. I'd have backed India to win at the halfway stage, i.e. after Australia's 50 overs were up. But the moment 16/0 turned to 20/2 and then 35/5, only rain could save India. So in that sense, I was thankful that the rain persisted at 35/5 while its entry at 16/0/5 ruined a potential classic since getting 170 in 24 overs was always going to be tough! :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (17-Sep-2006, 8:56:00 PM)  

    Can't agree with you there mate. Pathan has, on occaison, managed to swing the ball at his greatly reduced speed and still got hammered. Swing along may get you wickets in helpful conditions, but it will get you many more if it is allied with a little pace.

    The guy is still young. There is no plausible reason why he should be bowling like a 40 year old. Maybe you're right. Maybe it is something personal. As I've said on my blog, I think he needs some time back in domestic cricket to find himself again.

    By Blogger The Enigma (18-Sep-2006, 9:34:00 AM)  

    the Enigma: Irfan Pathan was the best Indian ODI bowler till the end of the English ODI series in India. Don't believe me? Check out his previous 20-30 games stats. And I don't think he was bowling any faster then (he bowled at better pace only in his first season). So, his problems are completely away from his slowing down, as Jagadish pointed out, and I agree.

    In fact, I think Irfan was close to being the best ODI bowler in the world, for a while, before we went to WI. I think he was there in ICC top 5 bowlers list.

    His problem, IMO, is simple lack of form. He is simply not pitching the ball in the right areas consistently enough. Simple. That said, he is only 21. He has enough time to make a few comebacks.

    And pace is over-rated. As long as his average speeds are in 130s and he has other weapons to use.

    By Blogger worma (18-Sep-2006, 12:32:00 PM)  

    I think pace is quite relevant, especially when allied with swing. You are definitely right about his stats, no argument there. With pace I believe he could be a sustained threat on all types of surfaces.

    I suppose, we'll agree to disagree on this topic. :>

    Love your blog guys. Look forward to plenty of discussion in the future. :>

    By Blogger The Enigma (18-Sep-2006, 10:22:00 PM)  

    enigma: Some time back in domestic cricket would be good. But what if he picks up 50 wkts in 5 games? Does that mean he's ready to be back? In fact Pathan's numbers for one-dayers aren't bad at all, like worma pointed out. Since Jan 1 2005, avg 23.6, econ 4.9, sr 28 in one-dayers and the numbers look good even if you exclude the one game against Zimbabwe. The worrisome bit is in tests: avg 33.13, sr 56, but scratch beneath the surface (i.e. remove Zimbabwe) and you get avg 48, strike rate 82, numbers which a batsman would be proud of.

    So personally I'd just hope that he gets back to his basics [where's the deadly yorker which got Gilchrist out and the reverse swinger which got Steve Waugh caught behind?] and goes step by step in one-dayers and then implement the same things in test cricket. He needs to:

    a) Stop leaking runs like a broken bucket
    b) Pick up wickets

    We can't afford to pick him as a batsman who comes in at #3 everytime [no surprise at all, like I posted earlier this year] and bowls 5 overs per one-dayer.

    By Blogger Jagadish (19-Sep-2006, 2:00:00 PM)  

    Pathan's Test stats are even worse if you exclude the hat-trick. I know that it doesn't make sense to do so, but I think that events like that show that he can be a very destructive bowler. I don't think the numbers back this up, but the impression I have of him is that he's a very 'streaky' bowler, where he'll mix in great spells with indifferent and downright poor spells.

    By Anonymous Geoff (19-Sep-2006, 4:05:00 PM)  

    geoff: That's cruel. That's about the only decent thing he's done in test cricket ;) But, as far as him being a 'streaky' [a very risque term to use!] bowler, you probably do have a case, looking at his bowling career so far.

    By Blogger Jagadish (19-Sep-2006, 7:37:00 PM)  

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