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    January 08, 2007

    Greatness is often just 5% further away

    At Cape Town, India made 24 runs in a period of 15.1 overs (90 in 31.4 to 114 in 46.5) between Ganguly's and Dravid's dismissals.

    At Adelaide, England made 24 runs in 16.4 overs (70 in 32 overs to 94 in 48.4 overs) between Bell's and Jones' dismissals.

    On the basis of this evidence, and the eventual results, it does seem very possible that the pathetic rate of run-scoring was the primary reason for the results. This isn't to say that England would have come back to win the series, but it wouldn't have been 5-0. On the other hand, some more positive batting could have resulted in a series win for India.

    If England and India had scored at a normal rate (3 an over, which is about what you'd expect in a test match), Australia's target would have been 216 in 36 overs (6 an over, certainly tougher than 4.7 an over) while South Africa's target would have been 240-odd, possibly just enough to make them wobble at 132/4 when Smith and Pollock got out in quick succession.

    Positive intent is always a useful thing to have. Case in point - Australia. Last year, at The Oval, Australia bowled out England for 373. Hayden and Langer had a century partnership and Australia were sitting pretty at 112/0 at tea on the second day. After tea, it became overcast and the light was offered to the batsmen, who accepted it, despite the onus being on Australia to do all the running, given England was 2-1 up and only needed a draw to win the series while Australia needed to win to retain the urn. The result is well-documented now, as indeed is the current status.

    I'm fairly sure that England's and India's cricketers, especially the ones who get really hurt by losing, would have woken up the next day morning thinking that the day would have been significantly better if each of them had score even 1 more run an over!

    THAT is what great teams do. The difference between victory and defeat, in international cricket, is that thin. Great teams do the small things better. The extra one run an over, the four overthrows saved, the cut-shot heading to the boundary which was ruthlessly intercepted by the point fielder ... those're the things that great teams do well.

    That extra 5% improvement which Rohit Brijnath wrote about last April now seems so bloody relevant!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:54 PM |
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    5 sledge(s):

    U seem to know a few things that I know, as do everybody else. But I wonder why people who matter dont get it. What do you say to that?

    By Blogger AV (09-Jan-2007, 12:20:00 AM)  

    I agree with you in principle. Scoring at an even clip releases the pressure.

    Though, its equally possible that South Africa and Australia applied that pressure, set the fields, bowled defensively and stopped the flow of runs. I didnt see that Indian inningsunfortunately, but Australia certainly plugs holes really well. KP, who was by fair their best batsmen, was finding it hard to get through the off side. They had guys like Clarke and Symonds prowling at short cover, and basically putting a hand on everything....

    Dravid and Tendulkar, though, are a level above every English batsmen, atleast on paper. From what I read in the reports the day after, those 15 overs changed the game.

    By Blogger omar (09-Jan-2007, 5:23:00 AM)  

    av: The flaws aren't in the planning most of the time. It's the execution which gets botched up. So those who matter (the administrators, support staff and players) do think about the same things that you and I write about, but those who matter more (i.e. those who play) don't execute the plans.

    omar: It is possible that the fielding was brilliant. But, like you said, you would expect the likes of Dravid and Tendulkar to not treat each ball as though it was delivered by McGrath rather than a rookie left-arm spinner called Harris!

    By Blogger Jagadish (09-Jan-2007, 9:52:00 AM)  

    The crawl by Tendulkar -Dravid becomes even more glaring when you place Karthick's innings alongside. There was one bloke who was ready to take the game to the opposition and two blokes who would not even venture outside of the crease to do some gardening.
    The failure was not in the run scoring, but the mind set. And the message it sent to the opposition.
    The little things that Jagadish writes about is basically that..
    The best example ( and for me, the most bitter pill to swallow) was the 1991 or 1993 Ranji Trophy finals between Mumbai and Haryana. One of the Mumbai players played a sweep that for all money was destined to the boundary when, all of a sudden this young bloke dived as if his life defended on it and restricted the score to 2 runs.

    The young bloke was Ajay Jadeja and Mumbai's margin of defeat - 2 runs.

    By Blogger Homer (09-Jan-2007, 11:23:00 AM)  

    True Homer. If Karthik could play the way he did, why couldn't Dravid and Tendulkar? The bowling and fielding was the same, and it's no one's case that Karthik is a better test batsman than either Dravid or Tendulkar.

    Nice example of Jadeja's diving stop!

    By Blogger Jagadish (09-Jan-2007, 6:29:00 PM)  

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