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Cricket Thread -4
Kumle retirement is official now.

Meanwhile Chappell fires first salvo with his SMS:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><i>Even in the last selection meeting, I fought for youth. The senior players fought against it and the chairman went with them out of fear of media, if youth did not perform </i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->..experts point out that Chappell cannot be censured or punished for three reasons.

First, they say, is the fact that it was a private SMS sent to a journalist with whom Chappell has very old ties. Bala has been covering cricket since Chappell`s playing days, so their association goes back many years. And it was not Chappell who disclosed the contents; it was the journalist who did so.

Second, they argue, if Chappell is eventually punished, former India captain Vengsarkar is equally guilty of breach of confidentiality for revealing that Virender Sehwag was picked for the World Cup only after captain Rahul Dravid backed him.

Vengsarkar made this revelation in a television interview soon after the team was picked. He also agreed with the interviewer that had it not been for Dravid, Sehwag would have been dropped.

Experts also point to the recent utterances of Goa Cricket Association president Dayanand Narvekar, one of the five BCCI vice-presidents who has also publicly sought the sacking of senior members of the team and Chappell.

Like all other board officials, except selection committee chairman and captain, BCCI vice-presidents also cannot speak on selection matters.

Viv Richards:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"You watch (Australian captain) Ricky Ponting from the first ball and he is there. He is making an announcement that he wants to take you on. The way Matthew Hayden played today, <b>these guys are mentally very, very tough</b>.

"Other teams need to learn from their example. It`s very difficult in international cricket to remain mentally tough all the time. It`s a very hard sport."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> link
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It`s very difficult in international cricket to remain mentally tough all the time. It`s a very hard sport."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Agreed. Esp. with M. Bedi on the sidelines. NOW I understand why India lost.
I cannot believe these sports journalists get paid to say lines like following:

- India cannot do it because it is mentally tough
- India cannot do it because it is a power game

I have never seen any other country making excuses like that.
Where is the indian team? Resting after a well-earned exit?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pakistan players return to hostile reception


March 28, 2007

Shahid Afridi did not have a warm welcome at the Karachi airport © AFP

Pakistani cricketers returned home to a heated reception on Wednesday, angry fans telling them to "go to hell". The team's outing in the West Indies had ended in tragedy, their first-round exit from the World Cup being followed by the murder of their coach Bob Woolmer.

Shahid Afridi, Danish Kaneria, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Sami were heckled by a crowd of around 100 people after arriving at the Karachi international airport. The players were protected by dozens of policemen.

"Why have you come back?" one fan shouted while another supporter bellowed "Go to hell" at Afridi, according to an AFP reporter. When Kaneria tried to leave the arrivals lounge the crowd shouted "Shame on you" and he went back inside, before asking for police protection to help him leave.

Afridi said that all the Pakistani players were feeling "disturbed" after the events of the past two weeks. "The police did ask us a few questions but these were normal inquiries," said Afridi. <b>"We have been asked by the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] not to speak much on the issue. Just pray for us." </b>  <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Inzamam-ul-Haq and several other squad members arrived in Lahore but were driven out of the airport's cargo section to avoid waiting reporters and fans. <b>"We didn't want to hurt them, we just wanted to vent our frustration," said one fan after finding out that the players had eluded them. </b> <i>(When will indian fans get their chance to vent theirs?) </i>

Pakistani police had pledged to protect the players if necessary. "We are deploying police at the airport. We will not allow people to go near the players," Malik Iqbal, the Lahore police chief, told AFP. "The players will be provided with mobile police escorts as well."


It's all Krishna's fault onlee. In the days when he used to participate as he's supposed to, we used to win using the <!--emo&n^3--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/n3.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='n3.gif' /><!--endemo--> Predictor-Corrector System for match-fixing. The man starts this thread, even M. Bedi goes to Carribean to participate, and what does he do? Disappear!

<!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We didn't want to hurt them, we just wanted to vent our frustration," said one fan after finding out that the players had eluded them. (When will indian fans get their chance to vent theirs?)
Our nutcases are out there too. Last week they had on Zee one guy from Ahmedabad who's a Sachin look-a-like. He used to do some odd jobs impersonating Sachin in his full cricket gear and he used to earn a living doing so. These days he's scared to even get out of his house as even his own neighbours are pissed at him! He was even chased out of the local market!!!

N: M. Bedi was probabily <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->..drinking a seven-year-old anejo with ice and watching the sun sink lazily into the Caribbean Sea (can be as good as life gets)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> Can you blame her?
<b>Woolmer's murder linked to Dawood, Al-Qaeda</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The report quoted intelligence officials, who tour with the Indian cricket team,  <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->  as saying that the bookie was seen at the World Cup in Jamaica with Dawood's brother Anees Ibrahim.

Jamaican officials, however, said they were not told by the Pakistani cricketers about any such row between the coach and the bookie.

The report, however, claimed that two Pakistani players, in their statement to the police, did mention about the furious bust-up.

"Bob Woolmer said he had thrown a bookie out of his room. He didn't give a reason," an official said.

Deputy Commissioner of Jamaican Police Mark Shields said, "This issue has come up before but we have so far been unable to substantiate it."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What a show ! And this show will keep going until the finals - it will be interesting to see time-pass before that.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Jamaican police plan to collect the DNA samples of every person in the 300-room hotel where Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer died because it is "highly likely" the killer left DNA in his room.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Knocked out of the World Cup in the first round, India's cricket stars received another blow Thursday when they were fined for a slow over rate in their game against Sri Lanka.
WTF!!! This is really salt on the wound <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo--> India fined for a slow over rate!!
In Chappell household, dispensing advise doesn't start at home I guess:

Ian Chappell advises Sachin to quit
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Mar 29 2007, 07:50 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Mar 29 2007, 07:50 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Woolmer's murder linked to Dawood, Al-Qaeda</b>[right][snapback]66283[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->It's like Hauma Hamiddha said way back in post 285:
<!--QuoteBegin-Hauma Hamiddha+Mar 21 2007, 10:46 AM-->QUOTE(Hauma Hamiddha @ Mar 21 2007, 10:46 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->ISI has killed people before and will do so in the future. Hey, they even got away with 9-11. I am sure they have a hand in the betting racket so many possibilities are open.[right][snapback]65934[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Dawood, AQ, what's the connection? Well, the ISI and regular islamoterrorists of course. Seems to increasingly imply that they were making money for j-had from this and that Woolmer got in the way.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thank God, we're out of the Cup  <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->

        K P S Gill has thoroughly screwed up Indian hockey. But be happy that he is not in charge of Indian cricket.

        A T Rajendher film maybe unbearable. But the good thing is it ends in under three hours. <i>(to the uninitiated, T Rajender is a brilliant director, who also writes the story, dialogues, screenplay, lyrics and music to his movies, which were pretty good until he decided to act as hero in them! affectionately called karadi, bear by his non-fans.)</i>

      <b> A stern-faced Sonia Gandhi maybe difficult to countenance. But you will find it comparatively acceptable when you see her smile.</b>

      <b> The point is we must learn to count our blessings.</b>

        That is why we present an entire roster of reasons why we should be happy with India crashing out from the World Cup

        1) You will not have sundry experts like Srikkanth, Yashpal Sharma and Chetan Sharma, who will, when queried about what India should to do win the next match, pipe up and say that they <b>'should bowl to a plan and score runs fast to put pressure on the opposition.' With such 'experts', no wonder the lay Indian fans are like what they are.</b>

        2) <b>You will not have Bollywood beauties whose IQ is higher than even Petronas Towers (we are talking about Ignorance Quotient, mind you) to pout pathetically and then parrot </b>'<b>come on, India, You can win it</b>' while sponsors' logos are seen all over in the background.

        3) <b>The monstrosity that the Pepsi ad, in which Indian cricketers are shown transmogrifying into tigers, will be out</b>. By the way, was it an ad for Indian cricket or Bangladesh (they are also tigers)? <b>The removal of this ad, along with the one in which Sachin and a few young boys make a fool of themselves for a packet of biscuits, from air is good reason for coming back from the West Indies even without a wooden spoon.</b>

        4) Useless cliched terms like 'men in blue' and 'blue billion' will be thrown to where they should have always been � in the dust bin. Overworked sub-editors can now move on to other colours in the rainbow.

        5) <b>You will not be called to participate in stupid smses competitions where we are asked whether Agarkar will take 3 or 4 or 5 wickets. Agarkar and five wickets, never heard anything funny since the last Cabinet reshuffle.</b>

        6) You will not have any channel claiming that it is the official vehicle for the Indian cricket fans.

        7) <b>Greg Chappell will no longer let loose his bag of basement bargain management terms, saying that they were preparing the team for the World Cup.</b>

        8) <b>You will not have some idiot sidle up to you in train and ask for India's and Sachin's score, and then carelessly enquire in the same breath whom we are playing against.</b>

        9) You will now not unduly waste pejorative adjectives on the hockey team alone when they written from Olympics or the World Cup several days before the closing ceremony.

        10) You can now watch cricket and really appreciate it. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[/I]
This game of Cricket is very unpredictable.

In Sri Lanka vs South Africa game, at one point it looked like South Africa will cruise to the victory but then came Malinga the Slinga. He took four wickets in four balls setting a world record. That turned the game in favor of Sri Lanka.

At the end South Africa had to crawl towards victory.

Very good performance by Sri Lanka. They truly got unlucky at the end but if their batsmen had scored just a bit more, they would have won the game for sure.
Hold everything!

Bangladesh has now a 50-50 chance of beating Mouth Offreaka. BD 251 for 8 in 50 overs (against Mouth-OfFreaka! )

MouthOffreaka 64 for 3. Smith, Villiers and Kallis gone.

Last 2 overs have been maidens, last 3 overs had 2 wickets fall. Required run rate around 5.67, 33 overs to go.

If this had been "TeamIndia" batting I would have said BD had a 97-3 chance of winning, but MO has Pollock still to come.

Maybe the Final will be BD vs. Sri Lanka? <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Meanwhile the ICC had done what it does best: Release lots of hot air. Kept Rahul as the captain for the next 3 series, thus guaranteeing that India's most heroically dependable batsman ever, will go down in history as India's worst captain ever.

But at least they picked Indian coaches - Ravi Shastri. This has the important advantage of getting him out of the TV commentary box, thus saving thousands of TV sets from destruction.

Now if they appoint M. Bedi as the TV commentator for the next 3 series..... <!--emo&:tv--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tv_feliz.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tv_feliz.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:tv--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tv_feliz.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tv_feliz.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Make that 71 for 4!!!

Prince gone too. <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Still to come: The ***King Herschelle ***King Gibbs, Pollock, ButtMouth Nel, Langeveldt and Ntini

Required Run Rate 6.46!


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->35.5  Mashrafe Mortaza to Pollock, OUT, Nailed 'em. Driven to mid-off and takes off for a single. <b>And there he is ... Tamim Iqbal swoops down on the ball, picks up in one motion and lets rip a cracker of a direct hit. </b>Pollock struggles to make his ground and is just short of his crease. It's referred upstairs and he's a goner. This appeared to be a promising partnership developing but one direct hit can change it all. Bangladesh, Bangladesh ... the chants go around the stadium

SM Pollock run out 17 (23b 0x4 0x6) SR: 73.91<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--emo&:bevil--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_evil.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_evil.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:bhappy--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_woot.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_woot.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->37.3  Mohammad Rafique to Nel, OUT, Classical left-arm spinner dismissal that. Flight and loop, unlike the quicker ones that preceeded it. Nel tries to push it back again but is beaten by the flight and only manages to tamely pop it back to the bowler. Rafique is waiting and plucks off a good low catch, throws the ball up in celebration and is mobbed by his team-mates. Rafique da, that old warhorse, knows a thing or two about this game, it seems
A Nel c & b Mohammad Rafique 1 (5b 0x4 0x6) SR: 20.00

...  End of over 38 (<b>wicket maiden) -</b> South Africa 137/8 (115 runs required from 12 overs, RR: 3.60, RRR: 9.58)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

ButtMouth Nel Down Where He Belongs <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> .

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->46.1  Abdur Razzak to Langeveldt, OUT, And then they were one. Plumb. Landed on the middle stump line, went straight on, the bat came outside the line and the ball thudded into the back pad. In front of middle. Bangladesh inch closer to a famous win.

CK Langeveldt lbw b Abdur Razzak 9 (32b 0x4 0x6) SR: 28.12

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->46.4  Abdur Razzak to Ntini, no run, huge shout for a catch. Ntini pushes at a delivery which breaks away sharply and Rahim takes it and goes up in appeal. Not sure whether he got a nick there....

47.2  Mashrafe Mortaza to Ntini, FOUR, Hello? FIrst four in quite some time. Overpitched outside offstump and Ntini drills it through extra cover
47.3  Mashrafe Mortaza to Ntini, 1 run, low full-toss, outside off stump, Ntini gets off the strike with a drive to long off
47.4  Mashrafe Mortaza to Gibbs, SIX, That's a monster hit. Low full-toss, on the middle and off stump line, swung over deep midwicket.

48.4  Abdur Razzak to Ntini, OUT, Another famous win for Bangladesh. The players hug each other. This is definitely bigger than the win against India. SA are ranked no 1. Tossed-up on the stumps, Ntini tries to flick it to the on side, gets a leading edge which balloons over cover. Mortaza runs back and takes it. The players mob each other. Stumps are grabbed as souvenirs. The show has just begun for Bangladesh. The celebrations will go long in the night in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh. They have a devoted contigent who live outside the country. This will be a special moment to all of them.
M Ntini c Mashrafe Mortaza b Abdur Razzak 8 (11b 1x4 0x6) SR: 72.72<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Imagine the betting on THIS one! <!--emo&:eager--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/lmaosmiley.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='lmaosmiley.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:eager--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/lmaosmiley.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='lmaosmiley.gif' /><!--endemo-->

I have heard people making big deal out of South Africa’s bowling. I know it is a blasphemy to exalt Indian bowlers but I would say this, Indian seamers are much better than South Africa’s. Ntini and Pollock have no pace. Ntini can be a bit effective on a pitch that is taking some bounce due to his high arm action. Agarkar is much faster than Andre Nell. I never understood all the hoopla about South Africa.

One thing I have noticed that even if an Indian seamer is exceeding the speed of 90mph, he is called a medium fast bowler. But the guys from S Africa and Pakistan who are in the range of 85mph are being referred to as fast bowlers. Weird!

On the other hand Australia has emerged as an undisputed tiger in the jungle of cricket. I had high hopes for Sri Lanka and they are doing well. New Zealand is another team, which does not get praised often but they are very solid at the moment. They have some serious middle order power hitters like McCallum.

Greg Chappell has resigned. Some media people are dubbing it as a loss of India. These media people are dork. Once again, one man cannot pull out his magic wand and perform miracles that will win India games.

I was listening to the podcast on cricinfo.com and seems like no major changes are underway as far as players are concerned. I think Sunil Gavaskar will make a great coach but I heard he has hard time remaining objective when it comes to fellow Mumbai players.

I hope they kick out old farts and bring out some new batsmen. India's batting needs some serious overhaul.
damn dravid has been retained ac cRaptain, even after the disastrous performance in the world cup.

now he will win against bangladesh and people will forget the world cup debacle and hail him as the best captain india ever produced.

after which we will get our ass whooped by australia (in ireland) and then by england in england.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But the guys from S Africa and Pakistan who are in the range of 85mph are being referred to as fast bowlers. Weird! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I thought you being an opening batsman, would have the answer to that one - I've been wondering about it too. Here are my observations, other than that the desi media are dorks.

1. A lot of the effectiveness of the "speed" comes from what is done at the last instant of ball release, and the follow-through. You have the choice of
a) going with the smooth momentum and ***releasing*** the ball, or
b) releasing, but pushing your fingers along the seam, thus keeping them in contact with the ball as long as possible, to get the ball spinning along the seam or
c) pushing really hard to slam the ball towards the pitch.

The effect of ( c) is very visible in the follow-through - the bowler nearly bends double in the follow-through, while he merely runs on, virtually erect, in (a). Ntini or Nel or Brett Lee or Shoaib Chukhtar or Mohammed Sami or Malinga are ( c) while most Indian bowlers are (a). Sreesanth and Zaheer are (b), though Sreesanth is sometimes (b). Munaf and Irfan started out more (b) and ( c) but then Pathan became (b) and Munaf became (a). <b>Kapil Dev was more ( c), from what little I have seen of videos of his time. </b>

Indian bowlers, although they start out as tyros like Munaf, are quickly sobered by the reality of the wet-noodle pitches and the terrible outfields in India. The ball seems to go to sleep when it hits the pitch, and if they try to "speed" out the batsman, the outfield is so bad that any edge is going to carry for 4, because no one will do diving or sliding stops. Edging through fine-leg or third-man is the safest way to get runs. In fact until I started watching TV, I could never understand why it made any sense for an opening batsman to try to get runs in the "V" in front, when one could so easily get runs in the "M" behind. So until Sehwag, few Indian openers would actually try to hit forward, concentrating on deft "touches" to left and right. I have not watched Gavaskar on TV, but I imagine that he too got most of his early runs in the arc from square leg to point - behind.

So Indian pace bowlers at the higher levels, where the pitches are "batting paradises" focus on getting swing - which means, put the focus on getting the seam straight, and drag the fingers down the seam as it is being released to get the ball spinning fast. This retains the gyroscopic inertia (I have no clue what that means, but it sounds grand) and if done right, the ball holds direction until the final 3 yards before touchdown, and then swings drastically. This is deadly.

Look at Sreesanth on a good day as the perfect example, or Zaheer Khan to a nearly as perfect extent. The seam stays dead steady as it comes towards the batsman. In Sreesanth's case the seam is perfectly vertical, so the batsman is trying to guess whether it will swing left or right, and cannot know until the very last instant. This is the ideal of swing bowling.

Look at SA bowlers, and they can't hold the seam straight like that, except one of them _ probably Ntini on a good day.

But NOTE: You do NOT have to get the seam so dead straight etc. to swing the ball. Nearly all pace bowlers- even at the "pace" of Tendulkar - are able to swing the ball. Tendulkar can swing it pretty drastically.

In college, the most deadly (I mean from ability to read and play against, not physical harm "deadly") bowler I have faced was one who only took 3 steps, but could get the ball to do all sorts of things, including some drastic swing. Even I can get the ball to swing, pretty drastically, once in a while, BUT I cannot get it to do that reliably, two balls in a row, or get it to pitch in the right place. Sometimes swing comes at the wrong time, resulting in a straight ball deciding to go towards 2nd slip or down the leg side.

The international class swing bowler can control it.

But now look at the actions during and following release. The real **FAST*** bowler REALLY pushes his shoulder and back at the time of ball release, and the follow-through is pretty drastic. Indian bowlers on the other hand, don't seem to exert themselves much at this point - it's pretty mechanical.

The trouble with that final-instant exertion is that back, shoulder, knee and heel injuries are never far away.

The classic combination of smooth action and power is Glenn McGrath. The action LOOKS as smooth as that of a "medium-pacer", but it is perfectly choreographed, and there is huge acceleration at the final instant. The guy is also pretty tall and hefty and extremely, extremely fit. His action, if you try it, involves a massive backward stretching of the back, which produces a tremendous whiplash in the final move. This again requires a STRONG back, and perfect fitness to avoid back injury. Imagine doing this for 40 overs in Chennai or Kolkotta heat, as McGrath did in the famous Laxman Series.

Instead of this, MOST Indian bowlers either do a jump (Zaheer) or nothing. This is great for accuracy, but does little for zip or bounce.

Now for the part that really shows whether one is "fast". There are two criteria:

1) The frequency with which batsmen get "yorked".
2) The frequency with which batsmen give lolliop catches because of <b> sudden</b> rise to an awkward height, so that the batsman has to raise the bat very quickly, and still the ball hits on the top part, the handle or the glove.
3) The frequency with which batsmen get hit on the hand and head, or the ribs.

Agarkar actually manages a fair number of "yorkers", which is because he IS fast when he exerts himself. But how often have you seen either of the other two events?

Now look at Ntini or Brett Lee or Andre Nel, or Shoaib "Chukhthar" or Malinga. On a hard, bouncy wicket, these guys are absolute nightmares. The ball seems to "rear up" at the "last instant". Even on dead pitches such as in India, these guys get quite a lot of batsmen hurt on the fingers, and hit on the head. If this danger is there, batsmen are always going to be less confident, and that makes a huge difference.

So why is it that Agarkar, despite reaching 144kph, can rarely bother a batsman with bounce, when Ntini at 133kph does it all the time? Part of it is the height advantage, but MOST of it is that last-instant massive exertion. Look at Ntini or Brett Lee bowling. It's like EVERY ball is the last ball of the match, last chance to get the batsman out, and he gives it everything he's got.

Munaf used to do that. Pathan used to do it. Sreesanth is still capable of it. But all the other Indian "pace" bowlers have been essentially beaten down, probably by the dead pitches and the coaches, into "medium pace".

Sad. Since Kapil Dev (who was not so terribly fast, but had the same Ntini-like quality) India has not had a bowler who could really pay back against the abusive bowling from Nel, Flintoff etc.

Two major changes are needed in India.
1) Shift more top-tier cricket matches to pitches in, say, the hilly places like Kerala, or grassy places like Punjab, and demand hard, grassy pitches. Also, get the outfields REALLY cleaned (get every loose pebble out) and get excellent grass cover. With this, minor deviations in line or bounce won't result in 4 byes or leg-byes, and diving stops and catches will become the norm.

2) Recruit some real rural tyros, from the farms. 6-foot-7, 210 lbs. Get them to get into top shape, and give them top class training to keep them fit, and get their fielding and batting techniques into top shape. And get them to practice bowling, day in, day out. Focus on getting the ball to bounce, to cut, etc. And GET THEM into the top tier teams.

One final point. <b>There HAS been a major shift in 1-day cricket, and maybe all cricket, with the Bangladeshi demonstration. </b>With very moderate talent, but great heart, these guys have used their brains and come up with two changes as drastic as the Sri Lankan opening batsmen did in the mid-1990s.

1. <b>The use of CUTTERS </b>as opposed to swing in the early stages of an innings. Sehwag (and/or maybe Sachin) got out leaving a ball that clearly had no swing on it (seam was all over the place), and was pitched outside off-stump. He lost his off-stump - very unexpected use of cutters that early in the innings. This is what devastated the Indian batting against BD.

2. <b>The use of the ****SLOW*** bowler </b>in the middle overs. This is the lesson that Bapu Nadkarni taught, and Bishen Singh Bedi perfected, many years ago, and India has forgotten. Today's 1-day cricket is so fast-paced. The bowler rushes in, bowls very fast, and the batsman swings, very fast, and the collision of an 80mph ball and a 90mph bat sends the ball zooming .... 10 feet over the fence.

Now slow the ball to 40 mph, looping way up and dropping dead on pitching. The bowler can land that on a dime, every time. Try hitting THAT over the fence. You will get sixers once or twice, but the ball may go a bit HIGHER, and be SLOWER, so what would have reached the stands, now falls 2 yards inside the boundary, into the hands of the boundary line fieder. Two people get out like that, and the bowler starts looking monstrous. Batsmen try defensive prods. But the ball is so slow, that a push produces no runs. Maiden over follows maiden over. The pressure builds. You try a cross-batted sweep, but the ball does not come on to the bat, and it takes the edge - you are out. The fielders crowd around the next batsman.... He rushes out to try to take it on the half-volley, but the ball goes down the leg side and he misses, and is stumped. The next one makes the mistake of going back-foot defense to a flighted ball, and the ball nicely and slowly bounces off the shoulder of the bat to silly-mid-off. Or a faster one gets the LBW or skims off the pad to the middle stump through the gate.

This was the classic Bedi strategy. The only solution to this was demonstrated by New Zealand (Dowling) many years ago: Go forward, inside the line and hit BACKWARD- slam boundaries through fine leg. Actually, most world-class batsmen can do that to bowlers whom you or I would consider "fast". I have watched this happening to a team on which I was (fielding, through a 300-run innings), with horror. It was an ex-West Indies opening batsman.

Suddenly the leg-spinner is afraid to pitch near the leg stump, and becomes innoccuous, or the captain knuckles under, and takes him off.

Harbhajan SHOULD be able to do this, but he doesn't. He looks too dispirited and too inaccurate, and generally clueless these days.

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