Indians make good start, Lankans on course
Indian cricketers who are challenging strongly to lay their hands on the
ICC Mini World Cup, gave their chances a big lift when they brought down
England in the tournament opener in Jaipur on Sunday.
Being the hosts, everything is in favour of the Indians and nothing
short of winning the trophy would do for their supporters, to whom the
cricketers are demi-gods and the game a religion.
Led admirably by Rahul Dravid, the team seemed to have rejuvenated
the manner in which they took the field. Their thirst for success seems
to have returned. The fielders attacked the ball and held on to some
great catches as the one taken by Harbhajan Singh proved.
The bowlers bowled a good line. Patel, Pathan, Harbhajan and Powar
teased the England batsmen and gave them no respite. The batsmen should
have shown more commitment, especially Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Coach Greg Chappell, a no nonsense man must be a bit harsh on Dhoni
and tell him that a match is not won or lost till the final ball is
He tried to hit the cover out of the ball, in an unwarranted rush for
victory that was easily coming and not only did he sacrifice his wicket,
but his dismissal also led to India losing another wicket that of Raina.
The Indians must not rest on this victory, but be focused in their
remaining games and not give up till the trophy is on their shelves.
England no chance
England have yet to lay their hands on a major trophy. They have
entered finals of the World Cup and also the Mini World Cup, but have
never had the joy of holding aloft any of the trophies.
And if the manner in which they performed in this game is an
indication, then they will only be making up the numbers this time too.
Their approach was all wrong. After losing early wickets, none of the
batsmen seemed determined to perform and take them out of the sad
situation that they were in.
Skipper Andrew Flintoff's early dismissal seemed to have taken away
the fight from the remaining batsmen.
Even Kevin Pietersen seemed to be in an indecent hurry and being
dismissed in just 37 overs is a sad indictment on their game. One hopes
they will learn from this early debacle.
Lankans bash Windies
The Sri Lankans led cleverly by that wonderful cricketing brain in
Mahela Jayawardena and Farveez Mahroof with some intelligent bowling
bashed the West Indians by nine wickets in the final qualifying round
game and now move into Group B where they join Pakistan, South Africa
and New Zealand.
While this group will dislike the arrival of the Lankans, the group A
with Australia, England and India will say a big welcome to the Windies
who, unless they learn, will continue to be easy beats.
In my previous article I said that bowling wicket to wicket is what
this game is all about. Mahroof did exactly that. He did not overdo
things, but pitched in the right areas and bowled wicket to wicket that
brought him instant success.
While the West Indians gave an exhibition on how not to bat, Mahroof
gave an exhibition of how to bowl in this style of game to achieve
success. His wonderful spell of 6 for 14 was great reward.I hope he
continues to do the simple things right so that more success could come
his and Sri Lanka's way.
The Lankans with this crushing victory will be bidding for the
trophy. If they continue in this grand form, there is no reason why they
should not bring the trophy home.
The manner in which the West Indians batted it was indicative that
they were a bunch of individuals. No one seemed to be playing for team
In the late 50s and early 60s the West Indians had teams that were
all individual players. That was expected because they were coming from
It needed the soothing and godfatherly influence of the late Sir
Frank Worrell to bring them all together and get them to play as a team.
This Worrell did with great aplomb and what this team and successive
teams led by Clive Llloyd and Sir Vivian Richards achieved for West
Indian cricket should be shown and told to the present set of