December 26, 2009

Who will bowl with the relatively new ball?

Through the one-day series India has picked 3 medium pacers, one of whom has ended up going for plenty. Of course, once Ishant was included he was the chosen one. In his latter years when Kumble was still playing one-day cricket, then too India played 3 seamers plus the one spinner; the fifth bowler’s role tackled by part-timers.

Thus India’s attack lost out on either Kumble or Bhajji when playing teams like Australia and South Africa away from the sub-continent. The 2003 finals in South Africa, when the Aussies whipped 359 runs was against an attack sans Kumble; Zaheer going at over 9, Nehra at 8 plus runs per over.

Surprisingly it was the part-timers like Mongia, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Sachin who bowled 15 overs for 85 runs. Where as the three seamers went for 211 of their 27 overs.

That’s one game, but this is a pattern across India’s one-day games over the last few years. And if the part-timers(usually spinners), and there are always a few who can bowl 10 overs – why doesn’t India take the lead and start playing two specialist spinners as an attacking move?

That is, bowl them in the power plays – take pace off, challenge the batsmen to hit over the top when the field is in; these are cricket clichés, said often enough, but no Indian captain has been brave enough to play two specialist spinners.

It’ll be interesting to see how many one-dayers Bhajji and Kumble have played together; it’s time India realised you don’t need a home test series to play two specialist spinners; always play your best four or five bowlers.

For old time’s sake, I took another look at that India v Bangladesh scorecard in the 2007 world cup game; while the final scores do not give you a sense of the mauling, here too India played three seamers plus Bhajji.

Times like this you wonder, where did Kumble play his 271 one dayers, when did he take those 337 wickets, why wasn’t he good enough to be the fifth bowler?

Kumble played his last one dayer in March 2007, an inconsequential world cup game against Bermuda. He played his last test much later, in November, 2008. For the record, Bhajji did not play in that game, India bowled three seamers, and the fifth bowler’s role was split between Sachin and Sehwag.

Kumble’s one day bowling average was 30.89; Bhajji’s stands at 33.12.

Today, Bhajji is a first choice spinner while either Ojha and Mishra make the squad (but not the playing XI) depending what the flavour of the season is. Not long before both are dispensed with, and India turns to an old flame, Piyush Chawla. What better, he even bats as high as six for his Ranji team.

On Bored: batty about batting

No comments: