A Chink in The Wall ….

Sun Tzu said ………………..that if you see ground or position to be gained but do not act, you are weak.

I’m a huge Dravid fan. But no matter how I cut it, Day 4 and 5 of the Chittagong Test were not the perfect antidote to a skipper doubtless on the low end of the confidence scale after the World Cup.

A few gambles went wrong.

First the decision to continue to bat on Day 4 – maybe the idea was to get Dhoni to get us to a place where we cud set a 300 follow on target? Well, first that backfired and with Kumble not batting , declaring two overs and two wickets later seemed (in hindsight) kinda silly. As 20/20 says, 30 mins earlier we could have used the morning better, Zaheer Khan might even have woken up from his Graeme Smith dream and pitched somewhere apart from on the pads swinging in.

Then, we got them to 122/7. Well done ! And thats the part that people forget. But they do. We got them in 45 overs to a stage where they required another 66 to make us bat again. The part they do remember is that a guy with a career Test batting average of 8.57 in 20 Tests then got together with another with a Test average of 6.x and they got Bangladesh to 238. This as the skipper set the field far away giving away boundaries and refused to try the options. Or control the pace. In 23 odd overs, the game just completely slipped away. Maybe it was an innings of rare brilliance from Mortaza. Surely it was, but it seemed like it required more to stop. And it probably cost India the game.

Ever since, it really was a chase against the clock and the weather channel and once it starts getting grey, nothing looks bright. Thats when the breaking news channels take over. Why didn’t he bowl Sachin earlier ? Why did Saurav not get a bowl ? What if Yuvraj had played instead of Kumble? Didn’t he know Kumble could get a fever?

Its something thats going to haunt Rahul Dravid from the Indian media for the next 3 days. Till the Mirpur game starts. There will also be a question about Wasim Jaffer and what opening plan B they had in mind when they met in Mumbai on April 21?

And whether or not he likes it, there will be the back of the mind pressure that could make a wall crack. What if it rains and we end up 0-0?


17 thoughts on “A Chink in The Wall ….

  1. A 0-0 scoreline is fine.. This series was more to massage Lalit Modi’s ego than anything else.

    The worry for me is that for a guy who talks of processes like its going out of fashion, there is very little correction in the game plan by way of learning.

    Time and time again, we see the same rigidity of thought and action. Time and time again, there seems to be a lack of imagination and vision.

    That being the case, I dont really see how Dravid will feel the pressure.

    The World Cup was a bigger debacle than a 0-0 draw in tests against Bangladesh.

    Our approach has not changed despite that..

    Maybe because “We are like that only” ?

  2. I think Dravid’s contribution has been huge to the team in the last ten years, being their most consistent performer.

    As a captain, he lacks imagination and flair and I cannot see him changing. I have not been impressed with his captaincy and he doesn’t seem to learn or develop as he should have done by now.So more of the same is to be expected from the wall that won’t be moved!

  3. Homer and Rashmika ,
    Leave aside that bad session from 122/7, I thought there was a fair bit of flair actually ….
    – I think leaving aside VVS and Yuvi is a helluva ballsy thing to do
    – going for 5 bowlers may have been a result of sreesanth and munaf not being fit – or inspite of it , we’ll never know – and the vvs / yuvi bit may have been related too – but thats not quite unimaginative either – when you consider that his batters include two wicketkeepers … i think thats ballsy too
    – 0/1 after 1 delivery and you score at 6 an over in the first session of a Test match .. not bad ? and thats rahul, the wall at one end – with sachin and dada the only specialist bastmen to follow….
    – not having kumble – he had to have some more runs on the board and hence , I guess the decision to try and carry on the 4th morning .. didn’t work..
    maybe he’s not a wall after all ..
    the part that I agree with and will not defend is this – mortaza played a big innings and from every account i have read so far , we waited for his wicket to fall because we thought the job was “almost done” … that is something that simply has to stop ..
    0-0 Homer, the sledgers and the UK press will have him for lunch after the Indian media are done with breakfast. And rightly so. Because we’ve gone into the tour “assuming” that its a cakewalk – that we’ll win ; that we can experiment away ; and that we’re the better team ; and we are.

  4. Sfx,

    Personnel selections are the captains prerogative- I will go along with that.
    Team selection is about picking the XI who are best suited to perform against the particular opposition in the particular conditions.
    Now, the same cannot be said about coherent thinking in the team could there?

    295/3 at the end of the first day, a rain marred second day. If the intention was to aim for a win, couldn’t we have declared on the second day – after a rain interruption if we so chose? Remember that BD had not played active Test cricket for over 13 months. How do u think they would have faired on a stop start stop day?

    Day 3, we resumed at 384/6. If the intention was to score quickly and bat once, why did we not shoot for 400 or all out? When we declared, we knew that Kumble was hors de combat, we knew that the Bangladeshis needed one more wicket, we knew that VRV had done a great job frustrating the Proteas in South Africa with his batting. We know that by prolonging the innings, the BD openers would be the ones most worried. Why did we not choose to exercise that option?

    Batting on on the last day, we lost 4 wickets for 56 runs in 10 overs.And then declared.Given our performance in the first innings and given that Kumble was unavailable, why did we choose that option?

    And I have not even begun on our bowling and fielding decisions. 🙂

    Our media went to town after the WC debacle.. I havent noticed any change in our performance in the 2 ODIs and the Test that followed.

    As regards the Poms and sledging, at least we know who our captain is. Nuff said.

  5. Actually one point that we all miss is that the guy took the blame for the WC debacle and yet the BCCI and the selection committee backed him. So who is to blame for his blunders?
    We might be saying the same thing about DK in days to come.. -)

  6. Homer,

    Declared at the end of day 2 ? Come on …
    295/3 in 77 after 1 day.
    384/6 in 97 after day 2 – so basically another 90 in 20 overs on the rain marred second day..

    Every weather site that i went to , and YOU would know that i went to a few 🙂 , said that there was a 60% chance of rain on every single day of the game. It seemed like a lot of research had gone into those weather reports 🙂
    Anyway, point is that at that stage – end of day 2, we’d had 20 overs of play, Dhoni was still there and we had three days to go . It just so happened that day 3 got completely pissed on ..

    Day 4, and batting then, was apparently purely a Dhoni gamble – and was called off as soon as his wicket fell. Would have been wonderful if it had worked for ten overs… Didnt.

    Day 5 too, i think was similar but didn’t work.

    In my view, the chink (go Sun Tzu !) was not capitalising when they were 122/7… or turning the screws or going for the jugular or whatever is the apt cliche’….

    I’m just saying that at most other points he was a lot more proactive than he was when he thot he had it covered in Day 4 , session 2.5-3.

  7. Rahul (and all)

    Qn :

    Shud Wasim Jaffer get another chance or wud you try and get someone else (VVS/ Yuvi / Ganguly ?) to open in Mirpur?

  8. Sfx,

    Knowing that rain would play a pivotal role in the outcome of the game, given the flat wicket, given that the opposition has not played Test cricket for a while, why would u want them to bat at all?

    Remember that we have back to back tests.. Why give them a look in?

    Given the circumstances, I believe the captain could have and should have done more.

  9. Homer ,

    It sure is lateral , and whats wrong with lateral? But lets start assigning a few probabilities…..?

    So Sachin wants to open in ODIs where the “team” wants / wanted him to bat middle order and in the Tests where he’s comfortable, we’ll ask him to open? And this suggestion good for England as well ? And Australia ?

  10. Sfx,

    Its an experiment. Like all other experiments before it. And like all other experiments after it.

    Will it work? Sachin and Rahul are the best equipped in the Indian team to play the new ball ( and this is true despite Sachin’s decline as a batsman).

    So, if we are in make shift opener mode, this is as makeshift as they come 🙂

  11. Hey Homer ,

    No apologies .. was only kidding .. of course there’s a decline .. Its just that I dont think I’ve got enough alcohol in my system to talk about it at 8.30 in the morning … it requires a bit of emotional stability to deal with issues like that …

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