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Lessons learnt for Team India

What is common to Harbhajan Singh, Monty Panesar and me? (Am from Tamil Nadu, and a fast bowler, just in case you thought on those lines). The answer is we 3 make a comeback with this Test match.

First things first! Today’s pulse question was ‘How many of you missed Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman today?’ The answer was a whopping 17% of the global population – in short, Indians all over the world. Except Monty Panesar. And Samit Patel. And Ravi Bopara.

‘Almost’ all Indians missed you!!!

‘Son of Sardar’ was on a ‘Talaash’ for wickets, giving all the ‘Khiladi 786’s a nightmare they would carry ‘Jab tak hai jaan’! Effectively 31 for 7 at the close of play on Day 3, with once-in-a-while best batsman and for-quite-some-while best batsman at the crease. (Incidentally, that is lower than any score my team had scored at college!) Had I been at the ground, I would have assumed I’m at London and started searching for ‘The Eye’. No! It’s Wankhede! You are joking, aren’t you!?

Humbled by a 0-wicket-taken victory margin, the daggers are out. But since we are ‘impartial’(!?), we won’t focus just on ‘attacking’ a ‘defence-less’ India. Let’s take the good ones first.

Point worthy of Mention #1: England can play spin if they try. (And if Kevin imagines the mirror image of left arm tweakers). Speaking of Kevin Pietersen, I was extremely happy to see him among the runs. He is, by a long distance, England’s best batsman and they would do well to keep him on the team bus even if he asks for an extra seat.

KP learnt Zen during his stint in the commentary box and now, there is nothing ‘left’ that is not ‘right’!

Point worthy of Mention #2: Cheteshwar Pujara might fill in Dravid’s boots. If he stuffs some cotton to make up for the vacant space, of course. He has the temperament and technique, but scores a lot of his runs home rather than away. This might be due to the fact that he has played most of his matches at home!

Point worthy of Mention #3: Over the last year, Ashwin’s batting average has been higher than, amongst many, Gambhir, Sehwag, Sachin himself and Dhoni.

Point worthy of Mention #4: Yu-vi can! Now that the eternal Lord of survivors Lance Armstrong has fallen into ignominy, Yuvraj is the inspiration for the millions of fighters worldwide and it is indeed an achievement every Indian can be proud of.

Now the ‘D’ ones!!

Point worthy of Mention #1: India must learn talent retention from a HR consultancy immediately! How many have we let torment us… Chanderpaul, Sarwan, Amla.. now Panesar!

Point worthy of Mention #2: Once feared opener. 5 digit total career runs. Part of a World Cup winning team, that too as one of the hosts! Member of Parliament. Mumbai Indians opener. His stay at the crease reduced to a matter of minutes towards the fag end of his career. Yes… I am talking about….. Sanath Jayasuriya (Gotchaa!!).

But if you were thinking like the 99.986% readers, your fears are well justified as it is high time He bowed out. It is agonizing to see the master being subdued by bowlers who would have been scared to death, bowling to him in his prime.

(It’s not just a fan’s rant. There is logic behind it. Almost all of Sachin’s dismissals starting from the New Zealand series, through the Champions league and into this series, have been either bowled or LBW. That’s a sign of ageing and slowing reflexes. Sachin fans, think about it. Rahul fans, relate to it!)

Point worthy of Mention #3: Same as the #3 in the ‘good ones’ list. Ashwin averages more than the main-line batsmen. (Everything is lost for Rahane and Tiwari. Please apply for an English or South African passport at the earliest.)

Point worthy of Mention #4: West Indies are winning, India is not! Not exactly fair ground, but you cannot argue against facts, can you!?

The visitors have spiced up the series a bit, as they have shown they in India aren’t like India in England and India in India have shown they aren’t like England in England either. The next Test raises all expectations and one can hear Dhoni singing ‘Lagaan’ songs in the dressing room. He might sing at the presentation ceremony too!

Before I close…

  • Abul Hasan, Bangladesh’s No.9 batsman, scored a century on his Test debut, batting at No.9 of course. This implies he is a better batsman than Sachin, Dravid and Laxman and can fill their places aptly if flown over to this side of Bengal!
  • He stars in another stat too! Abul Hasan dutifully gave back in his bowling what he took in his batting. His first innings batting and bowling figures were 113(123) and 24-0-113-0 respectively, exactly the same number of runs. This is scientifically proven to be rarer than you suddenly waking up in your sleep and seeing Sachin Tendulkar standing outside your window.
  • The ICC is contemplating a move to mark Clarke’s 200s as 100s and 100s as 50s in order to normalize his scores while comparing with other batsmen. He has scored four out of the 10 doubles this year. Indians scored one this year and one lesser last year.
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