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    January 22, 2007

    Wrong award choice - part 3

    It is the time for yet another post on a wrong choice of awards by administrators. In 2005, Jacques Kallis was overlooked for the man of the match award for his brilliantly relevant batting display in game five of the one-day series in India. In 2006, Kevin Pietersen's inability to play his role as his side's best one-day batsman was not rewarded either with a man of the series award.

    Yesterday, as West Indies chased 339 against India at Nagpur, Marlon Samuels played the kind of innings Jacques Kallis would have been proud of. He came in with the score reading 102/1 in the 17th over, after Gayle and Chanderpaul had waded into some extremely ridiculous bowling on a superb batting track. West Indies had to get 7 an over over nearly 34 overs, certainly a tough ask. Samuels made it even tougher for his side. He did have his moments, especially with a couple of blows against Harbhajan, but West Indies were really handicapped by the fact that Samuels monopolized the strike during his partnership with Chanderpaul. When Samuels came in (102 in 16.2 overs), Chanderpaul had scored 40 in 38 balls. When Samuels left (175 in 33 overs), Chanderpaul had scored a further 27 runs in 44 balls while Samuels made 40 in 60 balls. They scored at 4.4 runs an over in those 16-odd overs. Obviously credit must be given to the bowlers (Agarkar and Harbhajan especially) when they bowled some tight overs early on in the partnership.

    India maybe made a mistake by dismissing Samuels, because it allowed Lara to come in and express himself and gave West Indies a real chance of a win, which would have been a record in most other circumstances, except for the fact that they'd still have fallen short of the record by nearly 100 runs!

    Ok, now lets set the snide remarks aside. But why was Chanderpaul given the man of the match award? Yes, a score of nearly 150 with his side chasing a huge total was a brilliant effort. But this was, all said and done, a great wicket for batting. In contrast, the bowlers might as well not even have turned up. Well, except for Zaheer Khan. He bowled brilliantly, except for a couple of overs early on. He finished with 2/48 in 10 overs, streets ahead of every other bowler in terms of economy rate. When West Indies needed 8.5 an over, he bowled 3 overs for 13 runs (and dismissed Samuels). The moment he finished his spell, the impact of his parsimony was felt as Chanderpaul and Lara cut loose against Sreesanth, Tendulkar and Harbhajan. When Zaheer came back for his final spell, West Indies needed 11.5 an over in 7 overs. He conceded 15 in 2 overs, and dismissed Bravo.

    Why should a batsman be named man of the match when both sides scored over 325 runs? Why wasn't a bowler recognized?

    Meanwhile, in other news, there's an absorbing finish in store at Port Elizabeth as Pakistan chase 191 for victory against South Africa. I'm tempted to put money on South Africa though.

    Update: I really need answers in the form of comments here. What was Sourav Ganguly on when he told BBC Sport that England would fare well at the 2007 World Cup? Was he clearly inebriated by his brilliant 98 in his first one-day international for India since a triangular series final in Zimbabwe, after which Chappell's leaked email took the spotlight and Dravid was named skipper?

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:54 AM |
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    9 sledge(s):

    I hope SA can pull it through. But after Ul-Haq's performance in the first innings I am very wary.

    By Blogger Reenen (22-Jan-2007, 12:45:00 PM)  

    Possibly. But there'll be enormous pressure on Pakistan. They have to do all the running to draw level! Besides, it probably only takes a couple of wickets in the first half an hour for Tufnell to to be well and truly amongst the McGraths.

    By Blogger Jagadish (22-Jan-2007, 12:59:00 PM)  

    Anyway... Back to your Man of the Match post...

    I agree. You have to give the game to the player who tipped the game in favour of the winning team. He had a "match winning" performance and there for should be player of the match.

    However... When I look at the figures in that match... Had Khan taken 4 wickets, he'd be man of the match. Maybe even 3. Or if he conceded 8 less.

    My view of it is that Khan's performance won the game, but a 149* in an ODI is overshadowing Khan's perfomance.

    By Blogger Reenen (22-Jan-2007, 2:26:00 PM)  

    Reenen: Zaheer's 3 spells went a fair distance in tipping the balance in favour of India. When everyone else was leaking more than 5.5 (or 7.5) an over, he gave away less than 5. I hate most ODIs for this very reason. As if it isn't enough that the conditions are hopelessly biased in favour of bowlers, there's hardly any recognition for bowlers who excel on flat batting wickets. On the other hand, if the pitch was a bit of a dicey one, I can bet that any batsman who scored 50 would have had a shot at an award.

    By Blogger Jagadish (22-Jan-2007, 11:04:00 PM)  

    Re; your question on Ganguly - what was he supposed to say ? That England is a rotten team with absolutely no chance?

    Also, note that he did not say England will do well - all he said was that they have potential!

    The rest was extrapolation by the imaginative journo.

    By Blogger BongoP'o'ndit (23-Jan-2007, 3:00:00 AM)  

    Well, he could have been truthful and said that England will be sh!t as long as they persist with Vaughan in the one-day side!

    By Blogger Jagadish (23-Jan-2007, 9:39:00 AM)  

    Reenen: I don't think the MotM should be from the winning side necessarily. Andy Flower was undoubtedly Man of the Match when he made 142 and 199 against South Africa, but lost. Perhaps that's just an example of us Poms rewarding failure, though :-)

    Jagadish: Ganguly is the new Warne. Shane's asked England to pick any number of no-hopers over the years (trust me, we can do that without Aussie help). And look who Ganguly recommended from his glorious stint at Northants - Usman Afzaal. He could at least have said James Benning.

    I was also interested that he said England were one of five teams that could win it. He doesn't think West Indies (Champions Trophy finalists, hosts) have a hope, or Sri Lanka (decimated England), or New Zealand (drew with Sri Lanka). If I was a fan of one of those teams, I'd be offended. It seems he has something against island teams.

    By Blogger Geoff (23-Jan-2007, 12:50:00 PM)  

    Australia's an island too. So is England, need I point out? :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (23-Jan-2007, 2:50:00 PM)  

    England isn't an island. Even England and Wales (the cricket board is for both) share the island with Scotland. And Australia is a continental landmass, according to Wikipedia.

    By Blogger Geoff (23-Jan-2007, 3:20:00 PM)  

    We'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. However, the moderators reserve the right to delete comments, especially those containing offensive or unsuitable language. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own cricket blog, but the moderators reserve the right to delete comments which only reference sites for viewing live streams.

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