The second warm up game was supposed to be a little more serious. After all, it was against the West Indies and the last time India played West Indies in West Indies, they were clobbered.
After winning convincingly against the Netherlands, it was time for India to rest some of the players and at the same time, try to win this game and go into the main competition with a lot of confidence.
Sachin was rested in this game and Ajit Agarkar was brought in. Munaf Patel came in too and Sreesanth was benched.
For some reason I was up early that day and thought I could watch the first hour or so live. But unfortunately, Lara won the toss and chose to bat, so I had to wait till I got to work to see the Indian batting. But in any case, I decided to watch the bowling and after the first loose over, Ajit settled in very well. That ball that got rid of Gayle was a ripper! I don’t know what it is with Agarkar but he loves bowling to left handed batsmen and is quite good in getting them out too. And Gayle especially has been his puppy of late. Gayle is a huge threat to take the game away from the opposition and it was good that India got him early.
As it turns out, it was not only him that India got out early. With pretty much everyone firing on all cylinders India bowled the West Indies out for only 85. When I reached work, I turned on Willow broadcast and saw the score at 85-9 with Kumble bowling. I thought to myself “Uh oh, it’s over and I missed almost the whole damn innings” and guess what – the next ball, Kumble got the wicket and it was all over!
India won by 9 wickets at the end. My summarized thoughts:
Objective #1 – Give Sehwag another go
The ugly: Yes, there is no good and no bad here. Sehwag was out cheaply chasing a ball he could well have left alone. There was absolutely no pressure in getting to the 85 runs and this was the most ideal place for Sehwag to shut us all up. But instead he made my voice louder. I know Dravid is trying to back his guy up, but come on! What’s the value of sticking to the guy when he just does not perform. Plus, mentally, he’s in no position to improve. Cut your losses, Rahul and get rid of Sehwag.
My fear is that in trying to back Viru up, Dravid will include him in the first game and maybe even the second and it is going to cost a valuable wicket at the top (or even in the middle, if they decide to push him down the order).
Objective #2 – Continue with the bowling combination
The good: Pretty good outing for both Munaf and Ajit. It does seem like Munaf is fully fit. His throwing action is still a little awkward but I am hoping he stays invisible on the field. Pathan had another nice lbw wicket and I hope he has his confidence back.
The bad: Kumble did not get a decent bowl and I am afraid between him and Harbhajan, Bajji will be chosen for his supposedly more agile feet.
Objective #3 – Win the game and close the warm ups 2-0
Mission accomplished !
Cross posted at Desicritics.org