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MSD needs to start enjoying test batting

31 Jul

Believe it or not MSD debuted in test cricket only in 2005.

Here is another shocker, started his captaincy against NZ only from 2009. He has captained side only for 14 tests. To be honest, he is still very new test captain in my opinion. New test captain, but fair to say veteran captain overall.

Why veteran captain overall? Well, he has won first T20 WC, 2 times IPL winner, champions trophy T20 winner for CSK, and an ODI WC.

That’s  4-5 different types of team, but lead them to victory. Logically, he had filled his cup board with all important trophies for shorter format. If he retires now and after 20 years, people will still remember him as one of the successful captain.

However, he holds very vital role as a test captain at the moment. He hasn’t lost a test series as a captain yet. This is his only 6th series and possibly one of the hardest tour of his career as a captain.

Now, the thing about him as a batsman is … he can easily get ignored at that position. Number 7 is very weird place to bat at in test cricket. People will remember you for your failures more than your success at that position. Another two wicket-keepers come to mind, who have batted under batting line up like India, are Mark Boucher and Adam Gilchrist.

Both batted under lengthy experienced batting line up in their career. There are many reasons that you can’t expect MSD to do what those two have done. Main one is Gilly has played 96 tests. Boucher has played 139 tests. And MSD? only 59 and as a captain 14.

There is huge difference in responsibilities as well. When you compare players and look at who is better, you don’t go by one test to another. You look at whole career span. Consistency. Match situations. Opponents etc.

Look at who MSD is batting under, normally, under Sehwag, Gambhir, RSD, SRT, VVS, a newbie trying to prove as a batsman, and then him. I mean even if you want to bat under them, you rather feel like watching them bat instead. How will you get a credit batting under them? How will you put yourself above them or at least getting close to that class? I mean logically, even if 3 out of 6 promise to bat good and lengthy, game is set. But, test cricket doesn’t work that way, does it? There will be collapse. There will be opportunity, there will be exposure out of no where at any given moment! But my main question is how will you find enjoyment in batting at that position?

And that position is like a barrier between established batsman and tail. Imagine how dynamic that is. Sometimes you will be protected .. and sometimes you have to protect the tail. Sometimes you have to rush for the runs to give target quickly, and sometimes you have to bat out overs with tail to save the test match. It is harder place to bat at than we think, especially, when you are in good test team. Pressure is always there. Something will be always happening in that position. Someone is always at you. Situation will always demand something from you.

So, despite all the pressure and responsibilities, and saying all that, I think MSD somehow needs to start believing like a test batsman. He needs to start enjoying batting in test. I am not saying he is not right now. He needs to start showing strong intent. Start teasing bowlers, up his wicket’s price, improve his technique, if he has to, plan which bowler to attack in initial inning, which to see off, shoulder arms 50 deliveries, if he has to. Grind your inning. Protect tail. Must start to enjoy those things.

I know it’s not easy, as match situation might not allow him to do certain things or lack of exposure against decent bowling attack force him to play his natural attacking game.

I strongly think he needs to start believing that he is very good test batsman. I know he is not. Not experienced enough. But, start believing, start acting that he is. He must start believing that he is as good as RSD, SRT, and VVS.

It may sound weird, but what happens when you start believing that you are as good as mammoths, that will make you to price your wicket. Your mind will force you to stop chasing those juicy good length deliveries in your early innings. If there is a bouncer, you will want to duck when you just step in the middle.

Well of course, you can’t avoid beauties, and will get out with very good deliveries. But, at least you won’t play shocker of a shot, and then walk back to pavilion telling yourself, ‘Meh, they still have to take another 10 wickets’. No. That has to stop. There is nothing wrong with shoulder arming even filth that is bowled at you. Why? because naturally, you are very strong backhand player. It takes you a fraction late to touch a ball. So, must let your eye adjust with pace and bounce. That will compensate for fraction late bottom hand movement.

I mean he, himself, has played some powerful knocks in ODIs, recent being WC final 2011. He has allowed himself to get in the rhythm of aerodynamics then start solving problems. Somehow, I think he hasn’t forced himself consistently like this at test level. Yes, he is new, he is even newer as a captain + batsman + wicketkeeper, but being at 7 he has to step up his enjoyment level.

He must look to bat for longer time. Must use his whatever time he gets. Change your batting style if you have to. It’s not that he doesn’t have skill, he has to respect those skill, needs to evolve technique. I know it’s bit harsh to expect you to become good test batsman and asking you to improve batting at 7. But you must. Team requires you to. And more importantly, when team will go under transition, people will expect from you to take responsibility as a batsman. They aren’t blaming RSD, VVS or SRT, whenever they fail, they will look at your stats. After they are gone, they won’t blame new comers either, they will again blame you to take charge, since you would have played 80 odd tests, by then.

It will be very late at that time. So, time has come to lift your game. Time has come to start enjoying test batting. Especially, if you want to retire as a successful test captain.

I know you can, that’s why I am asking.

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MSD’s dream run continues

11 Jul

Is this the outrage post on ‘no result’ of final test between India vs WI at Dominica? 

No. 

Why? Because this is the blog not a twitter page. 

Also, it’s been more than 24 hours. So, epinephrine is not firing at the same velocity. 

I support my team. I am fan. I am blind.

So, let’s really look at what was the team that went to WI. 

I thought, ‘theoretically’, there was only one player out of 12 or 13, who was 100% ready to roll in WI. (Ready to roll = expected to pwn WI) 

One should understand that this was not a normal XI.

Mukund: (Newbie, trying to make a name) Vijay: (still a newbie, trying even extra hard to make an impact)

Dravid (Out of form)

Raina (was under severe pressure coming off from bad ODI series and bad SA tour),

Kohli: (Newbie was under pressure too)

MSD: (he still never had enough batting opportunities or batting experience on ‘pitch’ like this, also, having to bat below the Mammoths)

Bhaji: (bonus, not a batsman, lost ‘that’ bowling zip)

Ishant: (who was literally main bowler for the first time in his career, was under pressure too)

PK: (Newbie, had to make impact too) Munaf: (was injured in first two tests, had to come and bowl on slightly spinning track)

Mishra: (who was under pressure after getting picked over Ojha) Mithun: (overlooked in SA, had to make massive impact, again, same story)

So, basically only player who was inform, experienced and ready to roll or expected to do well was Laxman. He was the one, who scored decent runs, in last two tests. If not for the rain, would have been India 3-0.  Guaranteed. 

Did India do better than expected? Actually, they did. They really did well. Why? because WI fought really hard, surprisingly, even without Chris Gayle, which is still kind of sad. 

Castro. Kirk. Bishoo. Chander. Bravo. Samuels. Baugh. Barath. Ravi. did massively well. Sammy lead them well. (again) 

I tell you on this pitch, if you add Chris Gayle and if WI invites other teams, any other teams, and their FULL side. This side will give you very good fight. (Keamar Roach was missing in Barbados, Ahem, where is Benn?) 

Note: ‘same’ Pitch.

Was I entertained? Absolutely, yes. 

The most entertaining test team at the moment. Undisputed. 

Thank you for reading,

Bye. 

P.S. : read the title again. 

Bye again. 

To, Dear MSD, …

18 Mar

To,

Dear MSD,

Hi, I am knowledge_eater aka Knowledge_Poop, a curious cricket follower, cricket lover, cricket player and mere Bloger.

I have always been fond of you, and your captaincy. Why! because you have improved and transform from coal to diamond in least amount of time in Cricket History. Some say you are lucky, some say you have good side, some say you are defensive, some say you are aggressive, some say … oh well, people say, what they think, because they care. At the end of the day, cricket might be the winner, but we all want our team to be winner.

I think your captaincy always has plan with everything. Your decisions have always something to prove. Your decisions always have plan B. It is like an algorithm attach to it. If this and this will be the condition, this and that will be your next step. There have been many occasions where you have change your bowler, and instantly you have received a wicket. If that happens in a match or two, it’s fine, but I have seen it happening in many matches.

I like the way you speak behind the stump, there is a combination of request and order as a captain in your tone. I like that. I also like the way how have you managed to keep things almost uncontroversial for media, (here and there fake news reporting, or fake taunting regarding few players doesn’t count as a controversy).

And well of course, you have won a world cup.

And when newbie captain wins a world cup, it’s not fluke, a final tickle by Misbah might be fluke, but being undefeated for whole tournament wasn’t a fluke for sure.

That means, you had hidden leadership skill all along, and now it has become full blown full time job.

So, here is my request, before Media will eat you up alive, and they will if you do any more blunders or will do something courageous but result will be negative. Because, it has already started to happen.

1) Please, include RAshwin in playing XI

2) Do not give Yusuf Pathan bowling in first 20 overs, especially don’t give him so batsman get set in meantime and can easily play your non-part timers, whom you keep it late for slog overs. If you are so tempted to give him over, don’t include him in your side, take Raina, so in a way you don’t give him ball, or you rather give it to Bhajji or RAshwin.

3) Sit out Nehra, he is down on confidence, this is not the right time to make him prove the point. He might end up bowling too many extras in huff and puff.

4) Please, play Kohli one-down or at least at number 4. You can’t ignore him coming in with very good form into World Cup. Yes, Yuvi is a match winner, but Yuvi is still Yuvi. He is better finisher than starter. Yes, Man Beast is Beast, but he is innocent Beast after all.

5) I like the way you have used Munaf, so don’t change that.

6) I like the way you have used Zak as well, so be prepare for Plan B if he is going for runs, or batsman see him off.

7) I don’t think you are using Bhaji properly, so if you take RAshwin, you will have two options for bowler to play attacking role. If you use both of them at both ends, then batsman have to go after either of them, that’s when we can start smelling wicket. Yes, they are almost the same kind of bowler, but well, how many batsman around the globe are comfortable with spinners in crunch matches!

8 ) And finally, don’t trust your Tail. Because, it is literally tail.

So, thank you for listening.

And I can see the swords are out against you, I can smell it, a mistake from here, will cause mayhem against you, so I am just warning you.

From,

knowledge_eater

 

P.S. – I also like the way you have improved your skill of winning Toss and please tell your batsmen to not leave anything for you and finish the job, since you have enough to worry about.