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    February 06, 2009

    India wins 9 ODIs in a row

    The Indian ODI side, after ODI series wins away last year in Australia & Sri Lanka and at home against England, now has a 5-0 clean sweep in its sights in Sri Lanka.

    They've now won 9 ODIs in a row, 1 more than previous streaks of 8 - 1985, 2003 during the World Cup & 2006 in a thrashing of England. The interesting aspect is that all these sequences either started or ended in February!

    The Indian media has gone overboard in describing the team as the #1 side, conveniently forgetting that Sri Lanka is ranked #7 while South Africa beat the incumbent #1, Australia. There is no doubt that this side has immense potential. The batting is very good and has a great blend of aggression (Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina & Yusuf Pathan) & solidity (Tendulkar, Dhoni - depending on his mood & Rohit). The bowling has also been impressive & the new-ball bowlers (Zaheer, Ishant & Praveen) have picked up top order wickets repeatedly. Harbhajan's absence has given Pragyan Ojha the scope to display his ability and also put more responsibility on Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan & Yuvraj. The fielding is very good (Yuvraj, Raina, Rohit, Yusuf Pathan & even Ishant Sharma).

    Yet, could it be a false dawn? After all, the personnel were fairly similar during the Dravid-Chappell years where India's ODI side promised so much in terms of fielding, flexibility of batting order & bowling. Yet, within a year, the team had more or less lost the 'zing' when "seniors" were restored, thus driving up the age & bringing down the fielding & running-between-wickets.

    At least this time it is inconceivable that the personnel will change significantly. What could change is how the team responds to losing. Starting from the Australia tri-series, the side has won 20 out of 28 games against decent opposition (including England is a stretch of the term 'decent', admittedly!).

    The toss hasn't played too significant a role - 15 tosses won, 13 lost. Out of those 15 games where India won the toss, 3 games were lost. Out of the 13 tosses lost, 8 games were won. Out of the 13 games where the side batted first, it won 10. Out of the 15 times it chased, it won 10. Not a very significant difference.

    Yet, the elation must be tempered with the reality that after the Australia tri-series, the wins have all been in the sub-continent. Yes, the team can't really help that since that's how the scheduling is. That is why it is so crucial to win the ODIs against New Zealand.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:37 AM |
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