India gives two KO punches and gets one from D/L

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Friday, January 23, 2004, 11:52 [IST]
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Once again the Duckworth (less)/Lewis method comes to haunt India after their excellent start. The Aussies were nowhere near victory before the rains came and played spoilsport for the umpteenth time for India. Centuries from Laxman and Yuvraj were reduced to mere footnotes by Duckworth (less)/Lewis.

In the World Cup final last year when the Duckworth (less)/Lewis method could have won India the World Cup, the rain played spoilsport again by staying at the horizon teasing the Indians. However, there are a few things for which the Indians have to squarely take the blame for this recent defeat.

What was going through Balaji's mind? Or for that matter the captain's? Going into the final over, Balaji's economy rate was already bad, and he got to bowl. What about Agarkar, Pathan, or even the captain himself?

They had decent economy rates going into the last over. When a bowler is expensive to begin with don't risk sending him in the death over. What guarantee is there the expensive bowler (especially if Indian) suddenly becomes as accurate as a torpedo?

Moreover, Balaji has not matured yet. He got whacked around by Brett Lee of all people! Once again, India pretends to be going for the jugular but only ends up tickling the opposition.

A worrying trend like this is not going to help India rise in the ICC rankings anytime soon. Maybe they might salvage some pride by winning the VB Series trophy in the end. However, there is greater likelihood they will fail.

But, there is a ray of hope. India built a huge total sans Tendulkar and Sehwag, and that too against the Aussies who by the way were below full strength just like India. There is a hint of improvement.

Will Amit Bhandari get to play or is he just going to sit on the bench and improve his tan? Murali Kartik keeps on disappointing. Kumble's ODI bowling average has entered into the 30's.

One thing this tour did expose was the fitness level of the Indian cricket players that is a mixed bag at the moment. Oh! by the way, how is the search for a genuine fast bowler going? Is it once again shelved because of a hint of success without one? That would be like avoiding crucial surgery just because the pain has subsided.

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