Here’s a quick introduction to how I plan to post my thoughts on the Cricket World Cup 2007 being played in the West Indies.
I am going to mostly focus on India and the Indian team and its chances, its progress (or lack thereof) and all the drama that may be going on on and off the field.
I do not plan to be technical – you won’t see things like “they had 33 dot balls from overs 20 to 30” or things like “his forward defense was flawed” – but I will certainly have things like “Sehwag should be canned!” and “What was Dravid thinking?!”. At the same time, you won’t hear me talking much about teams that India has nothing to be concerned about, like the minnows from other groups.
In other words, I will try to be the average fan, with a little bit of bias for India.
Having cleared that, let’s look at the first warm-up game between India and the Netherlands. I like this ICC idea of having warm up games – it is good for the West Indies spectators because there are more matches, it is good for the players so that they can see who’s looking good and who needs time, and of course by creating the rule of allowing 13 players in the team with 11 to bat and 11 to field, they make more combinations possible for the teams.
This game against the Netherlands was not supposed to be a true test in terms of winning and losing, but it was more an exercise to get used to the conditions and get some match practice. And just a reminder – the last time India played the Netherlands (WC 2003) in South Africa, it was not an easy win.
So how did the game go?
Objective #1 – Batsmen get time in the middle
The good: Sachin and Dravid are good to go. Pathan and Dhoni probably will not be bad options to accelerate the scoring towards the end.
The bad: Sehwag failed again. I don’t know what his mental condition is, but he really needs to be sent back home. Ganguly and Yuvraj did not capitalize on decent starts. Compared to Sehwag’s score, both Ganguly’s and Yuvraj’s scores were lower, but I still think Sehwag deserves to be criticised because he has not had a good outing in a very, very long time but Ganguly and Yuvraj have.
Objective #2 – Test the bowling combination
The good: Pathan seems to have got his length back – that lbw is so vintage! The nice arc to the right hander making him play at it and trapping him in front -ah, beauty to behold. Yuvraj got a bundle of wickets. Besides Sachin, in the absence of Sehwag, it will be up to Yuvraj to hold his own for four to six overs at least. If he can stay under four and a half runs per over and take maybe a wicket or two, it would be wonderful. Here he took four and declared himself ready for prime time. Kumble and Bajji unfortunately may not play at the same time, but both did their jobs admirably.
The bad: Not too much to talk about bad in the bowling department – Sreesanth continued his lack of wickets in the one day format – after a great test outing against SA, he seems to have lost it in the one dayers. To a certain extent he may be going through the same mental issues that Sehwag is going through on the batting front.
Objective #3 – Win the game convincingly
So there you have it. I hope to continue this format for the rest of the World Cup and write about at least all the India games. I hope they make it long enough for this to be called a “series” of articles.
Cross posted at Desicritics.org