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Javagal Srinath - Castled

... Dhoni should use his skills in middle order instead of coming up, opines Srinath

Wednesday, October 28, 2021
'Ignore voices'

The Vadodara ODI gave us a cracker of an opener and brought the series alive. Now the seven-match series may not seem that long after all. In every sense it was a comprehensive match, one that had all the ingredients of a tight game.

It was a blend of good and bad batting as also tight and poor bowling. The exciting finish only made it better. Had the Indians fielded better, the result could have been different as well. In fact, this is going to be crucial in the remaining games as well and though the Aussies will always have an edge with their superior fielding, every effort must be made by the Indian camp to keep the gap between the teams as narrow as possible.

There is a growing tendency, which was evident in the Champions Trophy as well, with a few players and pundits quick to criticize the pitches on offer in the different venues. Whenever they see a bit of movement off the surface or spin, or if it happens to be a low-scoring affair, the wicket immediately comes in for some kind of criticism. The accepted norm seems to be a wicket devoid of seam or turn, unduly empowering the batsmen.

The pitch in Vadodara, although it offered a bit of turn in the second innings, didn’t have the ball stopping as such and for all that was said against it, nearly 600 runs were still scored on it. That should certainly constitute a good wicket. When you play day games, you will come across such dry surfaces and simply have to make the best of it.

Coming to the other much criticized aspect, instead of finding fault with the Indian bowling, it will be better to take a moment to study Michael Hussey’s innings. He combined high creativity with the right temperament and it was his in-form presence right until the very end that enabled the Australians to finish well.

As far as the Indian batting is concerned, they will do well to ignore the voices that are asking for skipper Mahendra Dhoni to be pushed up the order. With the likes of Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir and now Yuvraj in the top four, Dhoni’s navigational skills in the middle order should be harnessed. For despite the top-order failing in the first game, there is enough ammunition there to keep the opposition interested and even worried.

The defeat in the close encounter shouldn’t be allowed to cause any sort of panic in the Indian ranks and make for any needless reconfiguration of the batting order. The Indian team lost the first match because there was no regular batsman batting in the last 10 overs and that is something they must look to rectify. And whatever slight imbalance there may have been in the first game, the presence of a fit-again Yuvraj can set it right.

Over to Nagpur then for the first day-nighter in that city.