T20 World Championships 09: Welcome Back Mr. Dhoni!
To everybody who was expecting to see this post after the India’s ouster from the T20 world cup, welcome! To people who are here just because they were redirected with a query from a search engine, I hope you will not need a search result to get to my blog anymore.
Sunday, 14 June 2009, Lords, England: The home of cricket as they call it, Lords has been famous for it’s historic moments in Cricket, So was this one for India. A legend by the name of Sachin Tendulkar sitting in the Lords balcony watching the future of Indian Cricket defend their title berth against the home team, England. With 8 runs required of the last ball of the match, It was evident.. India had lost the match.
Grim looks on the faces of the spectators told another tale. Hundreds and thousands of watts of electricity was saved, as a billion Indian fans switched off their television sets five minutes early, simply to not watch India lose. For once, The Indian team will be welcomed by more critic media group than a million spectators. India exits the tournament with a big loss, and also exit back door of the Airport.
A number of people called me ‘Anti-India’ because I signed India off as the biggest upset, Not once in any match did Dhoni or his men proved me wrong. Not once! The hard reality is that, we lost not because of bad luck, but more because of our over confidence. Yes, I just used the word ‘WE’, With a broken heart I accept the defeat, and the whole of India does. Where is this post heading? Full match analysis? Highlights? NO! I can’t stop but critically analyze and rate each players commitment towards the team and the nation.
I miss you ‘VIRU’: Virender Sehwag
My favorite and continues to be one because he can instill fear in the eyes of the bowlers. Hardly played one ball in the tournament, and if I go by the media reports, he hardly played 3 balls in practice. It had been confirmed that Sehwag carried the injury over to England with the team management hoping of a speedy recovery. Things turned bad, when Dhoni was reported to have some problems with it, Sehwag was confirmed not-fit and was sent back home after India’s second match. Overall score: 0 / 5
Aaram se ‘GAUTI’: Gautam Gambhir
Played some fantastic knocks, but in T20 world championships 2007. This year it’s been disappointing, India’s misery after the ouster of Virender Sehwag increased with Gautam not in form. Gambhir however scored a few fifties, but his run a ball innings didn’t help India much. I feel that this man can score runs only if he has a partner like Sehwag, who can trash the bowlers while he builds momentum by picking singles and occasionally taking over the run scoring job. His fielding has also been quite average. Overall rating: 2/5
Mera Number kab Aayega : Suresh Raina
Amazing player with mind blowing abilities, Suresh Raina was one of the best finds in Indian cricket. In lightining form Raina entered the tournament as most exciting Indian batsmen after Sehwag and Yuvraj. hardly given a chance to bat, Raina could only score a total of less than 25 runs in the two matches he got a hit. Dhoni’s choice of giving himself a hit put Raina off the essential match practice. Lightning on the field, Less match winning runs/wickets, Puts Raina to only a decent 2/5.
Main hoon Sehwag: Rohit Sharma
The less is more for this man. Indian under-23 player of the tournament in the IPL, 50 plus scores in the opening two matches against the bangladeshi and Irish bowlers Rohit all of a sudden looked like the best replacement for Virender Sehwag. It was not long before the man was worked out, It was Fidel Edwards, his Deccan Chargers team mate who showed the rest of the world his weakness against the short pitch delivery.
Rohit was dismissed for a cheap 12 in matches against the Windies and the English, skying a short pitched delivery. And suddenly India start missing Sehwag. No brilliance on the field, and no bowling at all put Rohit on a 1.5/5. Sachin once called him, the Next Sachin Tendulkar. Really? He’s got a lot to prove before he’s given that title!
Bring it ON : Yuvraj Singh
Have hated Yuvraj all the while, and continue to do so because of his actions on the field. His style of batting can be bludgeoning to the other teams, but he is definitely not a replacement for the great Saurav Ganguly! For once stop calling him that. All said, I cannot take away anything from the man, He is the best T20 player we got, and so he proved to be. A decent 41 against the West Indies got us to a respectable score, his quick fire 50 plus against the Bangladesh made sure we were not in for another upset. But there are problems, He only contributed with the bat. His fielding throughout has been sloppy, but no complaining, there have been players doing that worse than him. Overall score: 2.5 / 5.
Shane ka SHER: Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf carried his poor form from the IPL into the World championships. He hardly scored a few hits that he is known for throughout the tournament. Only Last night the whole of India would have been praying for one big shot from the capable man. He tried and it didn’t come off, probably he was listening to Captain Dhoni’s advice. (hand the strike to me, I’ll take care!) Under-Utilized by Dhoni, Yusuf scores a meager 1/5 for his efforts.
Yaha Performance Dena Mana Hai: Ravindra Jadeja
Only one hit in the tournament, and He is now the batsmen that the whole of India is talking about. His score of 30 plus at a run a ball pace proved to be england’s match defining innings. However he showed good with the ball by taking the important wickets of Bopara and Pietersen. But his showing with the ba puts him down with a rating of 1/5.
No Swing No Wicket: Irfan Pathan
Another upset of the tournament is this man. Carrying good ‘Bowling’ form from the IPL, and a few hugs from Priety Zinta, Irfan proved a failure with the ball and the bat. He just bowled wicket to wicket with no variety a all. He hardly swung the ball on bowler friendly conditions. His poor form was showing and he just scores 0.5/5 for his efforts.
Khotte da Puttar : Harbhajan Singh
India’s spin twin! Paired with the great Anil Kumble, harbhajan was able to pick wickets, thanks to the pressure added on the other end by the master. Harbhajan picked wickets often but always leaked runs when the screws needed to be tightened. His 2 wides down the leg side which went to the boundaries proved just too many for captin cool to score. A non-passionate cricketer combined with a ‘I’m the best’ attitude puts his at 1/5 in my ranking.
Dhoni’s da Khilona : Pragyan Ojha
The only man in the team who looked like taking wickets everytime he bowled. Carrying good form from the IPL, Pragyan Ojha impressed with his 4-for in the practice match against NewZealand, He bowled well in the League matches. When he wasn’t able to pick wickets he stopped the run flow from one end, something that was rarely seen in the other bowlers. His commitment towards the team, and his benchwarming in a crucial match thanks to captian Dhoni puts him at a score of 2.5/5.
I Love You ‘DHONI’ : RP Singh
It’s only a 0.5 out of 5 for this man. I better not say anything of him as he has become Dhoni’s go to man. RP singh was not pnly able to pick wickets, he proved to be the most costly bowler in the Indian contigent. Rarely swung the ball and showed variety, he was the choice for Dhoni in place of pragyan Ojha and Praveen Kumar. With Success, comes failure and he’s now facing it.
One-off Tournament : Zaheer Khan
Raring to go, Zaheer missed the 2 practice matches duw to a back strain before he was picked in the 11 for the match against Bangladesh in which he hardly looked to trouble the batsmen. He looked in good form against the Irish side, but then leaked plenty of runs in the all important Super-8 games. His poor showing in the tournament earns him a meager 1/5.
Ye Short Pitch Kya Hoti Hai? : Ishant Sharma
After his team finished at the bottom of the table in the IPL, Ishant looked like the last man to trust with his bowling. Ishant showed his skill with the ball in the practice games which earned him a spot in the final XI. He picked wickets as soon as he was called on to bowl. He carried himself well on the field without getting involved in any fights and bowled to his field plan but rarely a short pitched delivery. His score a 2/5.
Main Kaun Hoon? : Praveen Kumar
‘He is skiddy, nippy and skillfull bolwer’ These are the words Dhoni used to describe Praveen Kumar after his debut match against the Australian in Australia. Praveen continued to a million Indians with his swing bowling and changes in pace. He was one reason why the Bangalore Royal challengers team made it to the finals of the IPL. But then It was Kumble who was the captain, and It’s now Dhoni. He plays Praveen in 2 matches and simply drops him when Zaheer returns. I don’t say it’s a bad call, It bad when he chose RP singh over Praveen in the game last night. Praveen scores a 1/5 for his efforts towards the team.
Padmashree or PSPO? : Mahender Singh Dhoni
Captain cool is suddenly turned Catain Dumb.. His decisions in the tournament proved as the BIG reason for the team’s outster. If there is a reason why these players uner performed, It’s more to do with the decision their captain made. Dhoni should take complete responsibilty for what has happened. Dont’ agree?
Mistake Number One: Promoting himself to Number 3. By doing so, he demoted the man in form Suresh Raina down to 5 who rearely got a hit until the imoportant game against the Windies. He promoted himself to bat with Gambhir who was already struggling in form, a combination that blocked the run flow with Dhoni scoring a run a ball. It was also eveident and obvious to note that when the team was doing well, He came out and with the team struggling he left the job for Raina and Jadeja to do. Good captaincy? I doubt!
Number 2: Leaving Yuvraj Singh an Yusuf Pathan only the last five overs to work their magic. Yuvraj pulled the rabbit out of he hat with his skill, but Yusuf struggled. So when the crunch moment came like last night he struggled to get off the blocks.
Number 3: Under-Bowling Ishant SHARMA. Ishant looked in good form during practice. He bowled the second over in each innings of the practice games. All of a sudden Dhoni chose to open the innings without him, He became first change! Ishant was the only fast bowler who looked in form and who torubled the batsmen. Leaving him to bow first change decreased his confidence and so his ability to pick wickets.
Number 4: Maintianing the same batting order when Windies cracked the top 4’s inabality against the short pictched ball. Yes, it was more of the teams finding the weakness of the Indian Batsmen than the poor form to do with India’s outster. Dhoni missed a few tricks by surprising the opposition. Sending in Yusuf to open the innings with Gambhir could have surprised the English bowlers we could ave pulled off a win.
All along the way, The fielding and catching was rather poosr, there were very few or No spectacular efforts in the field to gain the momentum which the team needed the most. Choice of RP singh over Pragyan Ojha proved costly last night and so was Jadeja’s promotion over Yuvraj Singh, chasing a score with the required run rate soaring past 8 an over.
If there was one thing Dhoni shuldn’t have done is the split with the Media, Reports of tensions between sehwag and Dhoni, Players skipping practice session as if they were on a vacation, and continuing attitude even after losing an important game proved too much for Dhoni to handle. Well, Mr. Dhoni, Welcome to being an Indian Captain. It was smooth sailing until now, Lets see what you got in you to restore faith in the spectators.
PS: Dhoni and Harbhajan decided to skip the Padmashree award ceremony, was a big piss off, Both should have been suspended for a few tournaments like Australia did to Andrew Symonds. Here is call to BCCI to enforce the rule with immediate effect.