Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Worshipping false gods?

The manner of defeat can be more horrifying than defeat itself and I don’t think MS Dhoni or Gary Kirsten missed the obvious.

The Asia Cup slipped through fingers. Worse, Indian batters can’t play spin!

For the uninitiated, India has traditionally been the land of rope tricks, hemp, fakirs, tweakers and batters with supple wrists. Lo and behold! One more myth lays shattered.

It’s not about one Asia Cup or Ajantha Mendis’ bag of tricks. Let's admit Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa and Suresh Raina (did you say Dhoni himself?) are veritable duds against spin. And interestingly, they don’t exactly fancy the rib-ticklers either!

At least Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman played spin better!

Are we worshipping the false gods, who, at best, are mere murderers of medium pace on docile tracks? Is Team India’s ODI future in safe hands?

But this was not supposed to be the case in this spin-fertile land where more tweakers sprout than ferns. You grow up playing them in serpentine bylanes, main streets on a bandh day, school grounds, practice nets and on full 22 yards at every level upwards. Then how come the sheer prospect of facing a spinner leaves you with paraplegic footwork and leaden wrists?

Consensus is Yuvraj is outrageously gifted, while Rohit is perhaps the best thing to come out of Mumbai since Tendulkar. Raina on the other hand is tipped, by the venerable Wisden, to define cricket in the next decade.

I’m afraid, unless this yawning chink in their armour is fixed, they would remain perpetual pretenders to the pedestals.

Image: AFP

39 comments:

Straight Point said...

cracking...SOM!

no batsman is complete if he cant play spin better...

while i will give benefit of doubt to rohit...and raina has not got enough chances against quality spin to be sure...what is sure as dead duck is i-cant-see-spin yuvraj...

everybody gets out to sping bowler but YS always manages to find embarrassment for himself and fans alike...and i am sure we have not seen last of his embarrassing dismissals...and best part is he doesn't seem to care about it...

how one wishes that he uses this break to call some spinners at nets for practice...but for bloody endorsements...

Neno Cricket said...

cont. with supportin SP....

Cracking....SOM! :)

This is a start and end of mendis. Surely no one can know how one will bowl untill he himself check...... Surely now this guy will punished badly with strong defense (or low strike rate) of Rahul Dravid and other seniors.

Don't you know Dravid is a worst batsman for any bowler of the world.

Trideep said...

The no of spinners in India is not like it used to be earlier.. Probably the quantity may be the same or more.. but the quality is definitely less... It shows in the bench strength of spinners in the indian team. And thats the reason y batsmen are not playing spin well.. they are just not used to it. Also worldwide u will see a fall of the quality of spinners... Y wud our batsmen need to play spinners well against teams like Aus or SA..

SP.. I dont think Yuvi will work on his batting during this break .. if its not endorsement.. he will definitely get some time out to party with his gang of girls...

vmminerva said...

False gods indeed, Som. I have never been a fan of Dhoni's batting style. Yes, it gets runs, but against quality spin, one knows what to expect. Batsmen who lack technique will fail and miserably against quality attacks. Yuvraj is hopeless, even more is Uthappa.

@Neno, my exact thought. I would be very much interested to see this guy bowl to Dravid. It will be a true test of temperment for Mendis.

@Tri, spot on with quality of Indian spinners. It is dwindling and does not augur well for Indian cricket

Wasim said...

Great article Som!

Would only like to ask one question,what about the bowlers?
They are more responsible of the recent defeats than the batsmen.

The result would have been the same even with the seniors, India will not win in Subcontinent consistently unless they improve their bowling.

Rob said...

Interesting, I always thought he (Dhoni) looked suspect against spin since he gave himself out LBW against Murali in the World Cup.

http://cricket-forever.blogspot.com/

Q said...

Spot on u r Som.

The brat pack of India are not the wristy batsmen the seniors are so they r going to be troubled against good spin more often than not.

I believe this is because of the more emphasis given to ODIs / 20-20 now as compared to tests.

Dave said...

Of course, it's not the first time India have crumbled in the face of quality spin bowling - Murali's 7/30 anyone?

Perhaps they should borrow Stuart Broad to give Yuvraj a confidence boost.

Som said...

SP, Yuvi makes a complete fool of himself against, say Muralitharan. It surely is one of the most hilarious sights in cricket.

Som said...

Neno, welcome aboard. Familiarity with his action would make Mendis lesser a threat, no question about that. Remember Paul Adams? Still it would be a good contest.

Som said...

Trideep, even against South Africa we fumbled. Remember how they looked awestruck against Paul Harris. Ravi Shastri was forced to say that the Indian batsmen treated Paul Harris as if he was Lord Harris.
And you are spot on, Yuvraj has parties one after another lined up to sooth his wounds created by Test omission.

Som said...

VM, to be honest, Dhoni is as far from aesthetics as North Pole is from the South. But at the end of the day, runs determine the outcome and not aesthetics. So I won't mind as long as runs flow from his blade. But definitely he's not the player I would walk that extra mile to watch him play.

Som said...

WASIM, I still feel after 300-plus scores had become the norm, Indian bowlers did quite a decent job by restricting Lanak to 273. It was just a one-off sizzling show by Ajantha Mendis and you can blame the batsmen for faltering, but can you really accuse the bowlers? I thought the National Stadium track was perhaps the flattest surface on earth and it was a decent job by the bowlers.

Som said...

Rob, he really is so. I never doubted that.

Som said...

Q, that would be the saddest thing to happen. I love to believe that T20 is a resent development and these batters have already got their technique right. Maybe the next generation would be vitiated by T20. But hell, the rot has already started!

Som said...

Dave, welcome here. You can hire Broad to boost Yuvraj's morale but one swallow does not make a summer and you might end up sagging the morale further!

allpaddedup.com said...

brilliant post, som.

absolutely heartbreaking to see Indian batsmen faltering against spin.

For once a cricket-smart and correct topic in the never ending jnr-snr debate.

Som said...

Allpaddedup, thanks. Going with the juniors is the way forward but they have to justify their place as well. And why is it so that we don't read much about the cricketers working on grey areas during breaks? Is it media apathy to report such things or it just does not happen?

Neno Cricket said...

Spinner's King in the hands of Mendis

What i think indians are still good at spin but are not ready to take any new challenge comming. Mendis was a new challenge and i think now Indians know how to tackle.

Did you remember Dhoni used piyush at the finals and same happen with India against Sri Lanka when jay used Mendis

Neno Cricket said...

thanks for adding me. I too added in blogroll.

Keep it up SOM!

Straight Point said...

however embarrassing was loss SOM in final...we should not get carried away in branding our youngsters non-happening against spinners...

gg is best player of spin...
Raina and RS both have handled murli and other spinner well in earlier stages...infact but for that atrocious shot raina was handling him quite OK...

YS is goner...but it doesn't surprises any one now...

more than their inability it was panic i think which resulted from three gifts (sehwags, rainas, YS)...i would say...

Rob said...

Is Harris a spinner? Don't you have to actually spin it to be called a spinner?

Dave said...

It does seem a bit harsh that Yuvraj gets left out the test team so often. Remember his hundred at Eden Gardens? If you need someone to score a hundred on a flat pitch against an exhausted three-man bowling attack, Yuvraj is your man.

Neno Cricket said...

@ dave

Forget yuvraj against sri lankan spinner attack.

This has proven again this time

Som said...

Neno, thanks. So on the lines of 'Singh is King', you have a 'Spin is King' with Ajantha Mendis as the hero?

Som said...

SP, yes, there definitely was a panic. I remember Rameez Raja asking Dhoni after the match : 'Was there any Mendis-phobia?" MSD: "Yes, I mean none of us could really pick him."

Indeed, the more they are familiar with his action, the easier it would be for them to read him.

Som said...

Rob, I don't think that a spinner has to necessarily spin the ball a lot. Kumble didn't do it and still returned with truckload of wickets. Mendis certainly turns more than Kumble but the Lankan, whatever I saw, relies on varying pace to get his man.

Som said...

Dave, Yuvraj is probably the player who remains immune to improvement. He's just where he started it all. Both flashy and lethal in ODIs and not an automatic choice in Test squad even after so many years. Indeed, The Prince Who Could Have Been The King.

allpaddedup.com said...

som,

i think it is media apathy, players practicing is not a fuck-all news.

hence, not on 24 hour news channels.

Neno Cricket said...

i mentioned some were singh's under kings but i forget where. May be at others blog.....

Som said...

Allpaddedup, I think as much. Practice does not look glamourous enough for channels. Only if you place a few cheerleaders around, it might interest them.

Som said...

Neno, I think you are reading too many blogs,! Which is such a huge boost for all of us. hahaha

Neno Cricket said...

yes som, atleast aggread on this point.. Reading too many blogs and commenting too many nonsense....

Sorry i fount that blog where i comment that words.. It was Som's Blog only...

Neno Cricket said...

hi everyone,

need your help in one project about cricket site.

Cricket Project

Som said...

Neno, cricinfo seems in for some tough competition!

Neno Cricket said...

ya, it may be....

scorpicity said...

Yuvi or dhoni can neither play a swinging new ball nor a turning ball... now what options do we have here... let's see how the seasoned pros handle him.

Som said...

Scorpi, I don't see Mendis repeating the magic again. And this being Test, India's Fav Four will have all the time of the world at their disposal to decipher and decimate Mendis.

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