Friday, September 23, 2011

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, RIP

MAK Pataudi, 1941-2011
The Nawab of Pataudi, Jr died last night of lung infection. He was aged 70. He was known for his great dignity and self confidence and (Royal) wit, although he was a very quiet man who spoke very little. Yet, he was direct and forthright when he did.

What I remember is when he was asked how he was sure that he could continue to play cricket after the loss of sight in one eye, he said "English bowling"!

Pataudi, RIP

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spinning the way back to #1 in Test Cricket

In the last two series - one against a team which is at the bottom of the table (West Indies) & the other, a team that is now #1 (England), India came a cropper and also lost the #1 ranking. The biggest reason for the consistent poor performances against these relatively & quality-wise diametrically opposite teams is because we do not have a bowling unit that can take 20 wickets to win a match! While we have had some good faster bowlers like Kapil Dev and J Srinath, India's strength has always been spin. And the team, not to mention the bench, looks bare of quality, match-winning spinners. The current incumbents - India's Harbhajan & Amit Mishra look like middle order batsmen who can bowl part-time spin.

Therefore, it is time to look for a new spin attack of which there should be around 6 to 7 in the list of 30 and 2 in the playing 11.

I can think of the following:

1. Pragyan Ojha (slow left arm orthodox) -  54 matches, 225 wickets
2. Piyush Chawla (Right arm Legbreak, googly, can bat) - 69 matches, 272 wickets, 2644 runs batting (ave 29)
3. R. Ashwin (Right arm off break, doosra, can bat) - 34 matches, 134 wickets, 1170 runs batting (Ave 35)
4. Rahul Sharma (Right arm Legbreak, googly) - 7 matches, 13 wickets
5. Bhargav Bhatt (slow left arm orthodox) - 11 matches, 55 wickets
6. Iqbal Abdulla (All rounder, slow left arm orthodox) - 28 matches, 864 runs batting (ave 34.6), 88 wickets
7. Vikas Mishra (slow left arm orthodox) - 10 matches, 44 wickets

All these stats are pertaining to First Class games only and do not include list A, tests, ODI, t20I & twenty20.

The best thing about this is that all of these players are in their early twenties and can grow and mature into world-class spinners.

Is our cricket selection committee taking notice?