Onus is on Indian batting

Published: Friday, July 27, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Indian cricket is known for batting and its batting maestros. Start a conversation with someone about the powerhouse of world cricket, from where nearly 70% finances of the game streams in, you automatically engage yourself in describing the brilliance of Dravid, Ganguly, Sachin, Laxman, Dhoni, Yuvraj and who not?

You can talk hours and hours about finesse, elegance, style and reliability attached with such big names. It seems this team does not have bowlers to play their part. You cannot find Agarkars, Kumbles, Sreesanths and Zaheers anywhere in the minds, in the news, in the commercials and above all in the expectations Indian fan following associate with them.

Before the start of World Cup 2007, experts appearing on tele screens spent umpteenth airtime discussing what Dravid can do, how Ganguly can hit dibbly-dobbly bowlers out of the park, how Sachin can caress the ball down the ground showing full face of the bat and how Yuvraj will finish things-off in crunch situations bolstering his reputation of being among the best finishers of the game.

But the million dollar question was whether India can lift the trophy? Riposte was clear and harsh. No, because they do not have enough firepower in their bowling department. But in the end, India failed to qualify to the advanced stage of the tournament due to inability of self-aggrandized batting line-up. Indian bowling did not commit any folly during that embarrassing exit because Indian batsmen did not give them anything to play with or bowl at.

Last December, India went to South Africa where in the 1st Test at Johannesburg, India bowled out for modest 249 which definitely was against formidable South Africans, but Sreesanth had other plans. He ripped through the heart of Protean batting with his delightful swing bowling and wrapped them up for mind-boggling 84. Sreesanth's 8 for 99 set the match up nicely which ended in favor of the Indians. It was a big victory abroad that carved out by a young bowler, not by batting stalwarts.

Biggest success that India seen in last few years in Test cricket was against Australia at Oval, Adelaide in 2003-04 series. Rahul Dravid got man-of-the-match award in that game for his 233 and 72 in the first and second innings respectively. But the knockout punch came from Agarkar His spell in second innings spelled doom on Aussies where he opened the match up for his team like a can of beans. For me, Agarkar was the man who changed the game otherwise...

Now before the start of this recent Indian tour to England, biggest concern was the ability of Indian bowlers to bowl out the hosts twice in a match. They have shown in the 1st innings of Lords Test that they has that ability to change the game on seamer-friendly pitches, but now bigger question is the capability of Indian batting to survive and get big runs for their team.

But for me, Indian bowling after years of criticism and exasperation is getting better especially, overseas and it is Indian batting which needs to fire if India want to win this series.


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