Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rankings and test cricket

A lot of people are calling it India's final frontier.
Ever since the Indian cricket team were ranked number 1 by the ICC, the expectations have obviously gone higher.
One thing that I have noticed about the present Indian side is that they are slow starters. Ever since they got the number 1 ranking, they have lost most of the first test matches of the series in the last one year. The one against Australia at Mohali was almost a loss, if it weren't for Laxman and Ishant's heroics at the end. They got rammed by South Africa last year at Ahmedabad and it was a similar case against Sri Lanka, when we toured earlier this year. The first two matches against New Zealand were boring draws, before the Nagpur match turned things around for them.
So where does this leave them in the series against South Africa?
South Africa themselves haven't been doing too great. They drew with a Pakistani team that is desperately hoping that they don't get banned from the international cricket arena; earlier in the year, they drew with an English side that seems to be getting better by the day and they drew with India in India. It's nothing to write home about, but funnily these two sides are ranked one and two by the International Cricket Council.
England on the other hand are actually playing like a number 1 side. They have been consistently good; have been playing competitive cricket and are no longer the whiners that they were. It's almost like role reversal when I see them in the Ashes today.
Cricket today is viewed in a different way. It's more about the T20, as Chris Gayle said, which is unfortunate. Thankfully, you still have packed stadiums during an England and Australia match and Indians have colonized the world, so even if India were playing Zimbabwe in a test match tomorrow, there would be a decent crowd present.
I'm looking forward to this test series. India's fast bowlers have always done well abroad. Hell, someone like Venkatesh Prasad managed a 10 wicket haul against South Africa in 1997, so it'll be no surprise (unless of course, they decide to bowl like shit) that these guys do well.
My only concern is about the batsmen. They've done well in Australia, England and NZ, but South Africa has always been a problem. Hopefully, they rectify this problem.
As for England, let's just hope that there is a time that they have a test tri series between England, India and South Africa before the rankings take a whole new turn.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Australian Phoenix

We're two test matches down in the Ashes and England has the psychological advantage going into the third test.
England have been playing really good cricket off late. They drew a series in South Africa; they did well against Pakistan at home and they even won their first international tournament in the form of the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.
Although this may be the end of Ponting's career, Australia
will be back to the top of the summit sooner than later
Australia on the other hand have been on a downward spiral. Several of their best players retired at the same time, making their shoes hard to fill. Their captain is woefully out of form and their vice captain is batting like a cunt. Even that 80 was a piece of shit innings. He has batted better than that and he knows it. Hussey is doing a good job in the middle, but he needs to convert those 50s into larger scores.
The bowling is rubbish.
Siddle is good in bursts; Harris is good, but very unlucky; Johnson and Bollinger are inconsistent; Watson is a bits and pieces bowler and batsman, come to think of it and there is nobody in the side as a specialist spinner.
I heard someone tell me today that this is like the decline of the great West Indies.
But I disagree.
Australia may be playing like crap now, but they've always been a side to rise from the Ashes. I still maintain that they have a chance of reaching the final four of the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent. I will not rule them out of anything.
Let's face it: I watch cricket because of this side and the way they've played the game over the years. They've played it tough. Yes, it's been dirty at times, but it's been tough cricket. They never say die and although they may lose this tournament and Ricky Ponting, in the process, they'll be back on the top of their game by 2015, if not earlier.