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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

pace war in peshawar

The interactive program on TV after the loss of the first ODI in Lahore to Peshawar by virtue of the D/L system was an eye opener of sorts. The mantra of the home team was simple – ‘it is a pace war in Peshawar, if you survive, you win’. There were four culprits on view and the major part of the blame went to the Nawab and the Wall.

Yes, the Nawab of Najafgarh should have scored runs. He is a part of the Indian team and has an important role to play. He earns crores of rupees through his endorsements of a wide range of products. It is not enough to present an once-in-a-lifetime knock to justify his retention in the team. That is why the phrase has been aptly coined – ‘yeh dil mange more’. It is fine to sing along with the group and go into huddles for promotional ads but, the end result of failures leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. His fans want continuity, especially when he nurtures hopes of leading the team in future.

The Wall crumbled because of excessive experimentation. Sending Irfan one drop was a good decision but then sending Dhoni and Yuvraj in quick succession was poor strategy. It has been proved repeatedly that we lack the killer instinct – the last ten crucial overs leave us helpless. If we are batting, we struggle to put bat to ball; if we are fielding, we delight in no-balls, wides and loose deliveries. And then, we wring our hands in misery which, in the ultimate reckoning, is of our making.

Singling out individual players for criticism will never help in achieving Vision 2007. If new blood needs to be groomed, so be it. Throwing players like Murali Karthik to the wolves result in avoidable extra runs. With an off-side field, the poor fellow loves to pitch the ball on the batsman’s leg – the ball naturally races to the ropes without any hindrance. Even our so-called fast bowlers have to be disciplined to bowl in the ‘channel’ – if suitable punishment is meted out to the erring ones, the trend could be rectified. It is needless to mention that the nagging line and length of newcomer Asif and his wonderful ability to bowl wicket to wicket was one of the main reasons for the downfall of our celebrated batting lineup.

All said and done, the invaluable experiences that we are gaining in our sojourn in Pakistan must be viewed as a golden opportunity to build a powerful team for 2007.

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