Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Fallen Warrior...?

Other than during the dark days of match fixing, there probably has never been harder times in Indian cricket than what they are currently facing. A side in transition after the retirement of two legends of cricket is never going to be easy, and as the results have shown, it hasn't gone too smoothly for India.

Against top teams, India have sunk to depths never seen before. Even during the 90s when India were poor travellers they were a force to consider at home. In the previous decade, they did well to remove the tag of tigers at home and lambs overseas, but recent results have erased out all the hardwork done.

When the team is not doing well, there will always be loud talk about who must be dropped and who must be selected. Though it is necessary to bring in changes considering the results in the past one year, change for the sake of changing is never a good option. India must realize, the side is going through a period where there will be instability as it won't be easy to replace Dravid, Laxman and in the near future Tendulkar. Chopping and changing players regularly will not help. It is very important that the youngsters coming in are given a fair chance. We have to realize that in order to become as good as some of the greats, they have to be given opportunites to fail and learn from their experiences. Laxman was pushed up and down the order initially but he was persisted with. Had he been dropped after some of the initial failures he had, world cricket would not be able to cherish such a charismatic stroke player!

One of the things which has come out very strongly during this debacle, is MS Dhoni's place in the test team being questioned. I find it quite bizzare that, when the entire top 6 is going through a bad patch, why question the number seven batsman only? Yes Dhoni hasn't been amongst the runs lately, but the replacement captain who the former chairman of selectors Mohinder Amarnath is considering hasn't been amongst the runs for the past three years!

Innings Runs Average 50s/100s
MS Dhoni 114 3784 37.46 27/05
Other Indian Keepers(From 1992-2012) 178 3530 22.7 15/3
Table Showing Runs scored by Dhoni and remaining other wicket keepers in Test Matches during the last 20 years
As we can see from the above stat how well Dhoni has done in comparison to other Indian keepers over the past 20 years. One of the points raised against Dhoni in Test matches is that he hasn't played match winning knocks like how Gilchrist did for Australia. But looking at the stats of wicketkeepers over the past decade (minimum runs scored as 1000), Dhoni has not only scored the maximum number of runs over this period, he is the third highest averaged batsman during the period. Dhoni hasn't played a single big defining knock in Tests, but he has played a lot of decisive 50s during the period. Unfortunately in India we are satisfied only if a batsman hits a 100.

Player Matches Inns Runs HS Ave
MJ Prior(Eng) 61 91 3269 131* 43.01
AC Gilchrist (Aus) 59 85 3136 162 41.81
MS Dhoni (India) 72 114 3784 148 37.46
BJ Haddin (Aus) 43 71 2257 169 35.82
KC Sangakkara (SL) 25 44 1510 185 35.11
Table Showing Highest averages by wicket keepers in Test matches during the period Dec-2002 to Dec 2012 (minimum 1000 runs scored)

When it comes to runs scored in victories, Dhoni is only behind Gilchrist during this period. It is no coincidence that India's best period came when Dhoni the batsman was contributing. With the rate at which he scores, he often gave the bowlers a few extra overs to get the opposition out.

Ideally, a 8-0 loss is good enough to end a captaincy career. But given the amount of success Dhoni had prior, it was natural that he was given a chance to redeem himself. Unfrotunately for the selectors, the senior members next in line Gambhir and Sehwag are woefully out of form themselves. The only way out here is to give Dhoni a chance to bring back the lost glory or give a young player an opportunity to rebuild the side in a similar way Grame Smith was trusted upon the captaincy at a very young age, thereby relieving Dhoni of the burden from captaincy and let him concentrate on contributing as a player.

Dropping Dhoni from the team at this stage would be a complete blunder. He has set the standards so high himself, that we expect another player to ease into his place easily. For all his contributions to Indian cricket, he deserves to be given a chance to make a strong come back. You never know the value of what you have till you loose it. Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of a cancer cell.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Thrills and Frills of Home

With all the hype surrounding the India-England series and the Indian media portraying the series as a grudge series, it is disappointing that the talk of the town has been about the nature of the pitches rather than about some engrossing cricket which has been played over the last two weeks.

A lot of talk has taken place about the extent of home advantage a team must have. I believe that’s where the beauty of test cricket lies, the different challenges one has to face when travelling to different countries is what makes cricket a very unique and intriguing sport. There have been times when spinning tracks have been ruled as unsporting and I find that pretty absurd since a green top is considered as a fair wicket. A track which turns from day one can be considered as unsporting only when the result of the game is highly dependent on the toss. A track can be considered as sporting when it favours both batsmen and bowlers equally. It has almost become a norm these days that if a bowler’s track is laid out, it is considered as a bad track, but on the other hand if it is a batsman’s paradise, no one seems to make a fuss about it.  That’s where I feel Dhoni’s unyielding request for tracks which have turn and bounce right from day one is a wonderful step in order to change the state of wickets which are prepared in India. For most part of the last decade, there have been way too many flat tracks which have been prepared leading to high scoring draws. As we saw in Mumbai, the toss was taken out of the equation, the spinners got turn and bounce from day one, fast bowlers found carry as good as one can get in India, Pietersen and Cook showed there was good value for your shots once you get in. Yes the creation of a supposedly tailor made track for India backfired, but we were able to witness some wonderful cricket, with the pitch not too inclined to support one facet of the game.

It has become a major talking point, whether India’s strategy of preparing pitches to suit their team is moral or not. Though I see no problem in having pitches suited to the home team’s strength, it is the Indian team and media’s attitude with which I am quite perplexed. The word which has been floating around has been about Australia and England preparing green tops to suit their fast bowlers, so why should India not prepare tracks to suit their spinners. The pitches during India’s tours to England and Australia where nowhere close to green tops. The only reason we lost is simple. We were outplayed in all the three departments! How else can one explain that when Australia and England used to pile up big scores, India could barely cross 250 in almost all of their innings? It wasn’t as though the pitch was green when India batted and became flat when they bowled!

There lies part of the bigger problem for India. With the retirement of stalwarts Dravid and Laxman, and Sachin’s colossal career coming to an end it is necessary they identify and back a group of batsmen who have the skills to play in all sorts of conditions. We need to give priority to performers in first class cricket -as of now we have lot of cricketers who are coming in through performances in the limited overs cricket. They can thrill but unfortunately it’s all frill! During the period between 2002 and 2007 when India did reasonably well overseas a lot credit was given to the remarkable performances of batsmen. But the most crucial element was the performance of Kumble during that period. He was the leading wicket taker overseas in the world during that period. Remarkable for a man who was considered only good for home conditions. How MS Dhoni must be wishing he had one such bowler who could perform such a similar role for him.

It is disappointing to see the team and BCCI not admitting that they performed extremely poorly during their last two tours. Results don’t matter but it is what you learn from the experiences is what Dhoni has been emphasizing on. But if you don’t acknowledge your mistakes, it is pretty hard to improve from there on. Only a couple of test wins more and Dhoni will become the most successful Indian captain ever in terms of wins registered. With the team in a transition period, and results not going his way, he is going through the most difficult phase of his career. How he performs from here, will define his legacy.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Turning Twenty Three and counting…

A couple of weeks ago, Sachin Tendulkar announced that he will consider about his retirement series by series. A statement by Sachin will always be a headline, and once it was of this magnitude, it was bound to send shockwaves throughout the world. It has almost become a fashion now, people commenting on what Sachin should do or shouldn’t do. Don’t worry; my article won’t be one of the same! 

Sachin, for many is the greatest batsman to play the game, for some he’s just behind Sir Donald Bradman, for others he lies somewhere in the top 5. I really don’t know where to place him as it would be unfair to compare him with batsmen of previous generations. In the case of Sachin, it is really hard, as he has endured which no sportsperson must have ever gone through. His presence lifted the hopes of the nation, his dismissal brought about despondency among the masses. It is hard to imagine any other person who had to face such ordeals. 

Sachin’s career has to a large extent symbolized everyone’s dream. As a small kid, you always wanted to be a national sensation at a very young age, be adored by your country-men, be a celebrity, best player for your team, play match winning knocks, take your team to victory in a stiff run chase, being the brave hearted warrior when everyone around you is struggling and above all a World Cup winner. The lesser I talk about the magic number of 100 international centuries it is for the better. One might argue that only half of his centuries have resulted in victories, but it is a number which has to be respected. It is a feat, which even the very best will find it hard to achieve. No matter how irrelevant one finds statistics, this is an accomplishment which everyone silently in the minds would wish was theirs. 

Back when it all started
He has had an illustrious career and it is remarkable how well he has sustained his performances for the last 23 years. Twenty three years! These are numbers which you generally don’t tend to hear for sports personalities. To still remain at the top is stupendous. At a tender age of 16, the nation had pinned their entire hopes on him, and he rarely failed to deliver. Perhaps many of us were realizing our unfulfilled dreams through Sachin. Maybe it’s no coincidence that India’s economy was on an upward rise as Sachin was growing up, and as he is reaching towards the end of a glorious career, the economy is going down. 

The World Cup victory for India last year was the icing on the cake. It was a dream for Sachin to be a part of a world cup winning squad, and for a billion viewers watching him with his child like smile run onto the field after the victory in the final, gave us hope, strength and the credence that one day, if we pursue our goals and dreams with utmost dedication, it will be fulfilled. 

 Virat Kohli summed it up best after winning the world cup final in 2011, by saying “Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; It was time we carried him”. I think Sachin deserves his space to make his decision regarding when to leave the game. We owe him atleast that much. 

Having said this, it doesn’t mean he can go on irrespective of his performances, but for now he seems good enough to carry on for a while longer. His whole career has been scrutinized with disdain, for once if we stop marking each and every move of his during the twilight of his career, we might be able to watch the child in him play freely, relieved of all the burden on his shoulders. Until then, let us sit back and enjoy a once in a life time player, wield the magic with his willow and bring a smile on the faces of a billion people.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

T20...A Specialist's game?

Recently concluded was the 4th edition of the T20 World Cup, but a lot has changed since the inaugural tournament in 2007. Back then, T20 was a relatively new format with most teams not really sure of what to expect. With India winning the 1st edition, it led to the creation of the IPL and with that the number of T20 matches being played has spiraled up. With 5 years of serious international T20 being played, it probably is a good time to analyze how the game has evolved, and see which players have had more impact than others.

With the advent of the IPL, there have been a lot of players who have made their name in domestic T20 games and have been fast tracked into their national sides. Keiron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Warner are some of the names which come into one’s mind immediately. They have performed exceptionally well in domestic leagues around the world, but let’s just have a look at who are the players who are the most successful at the international level.
Player Name Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
ML Hayden (Aus) 9 308 51.33 143.92
A Symonds (Aus) 11 337 48.14 169.34
CH Gayle (WI) 28 976 39.04 148.32
V Kohli (India) 14 463 38.58 129.32
MEK Hussey (Aus) 30 721 37.94 136.29
KP Pietersen (Eng) 36 1176 37.93 141.51
Misbah-ul-Haq (Pak) 34 788 37.52 110.2
BB McCullum (NZ) 53 1655 36.77 135.65
EJG Morgan (Eng) 30 758 36.09 131.59
JH Kallis (SA) 23 666 35.05 119.35
Table Showing List of Batsmen with highest averages in International T20 with minimum runs 300
Player Name Matches Wickets Economy Rate Strike Rate
DL Vettori (NZ) 33 37 5.61 20.7
BAW Mendis (SL) 26 51 5.85 11.6
Saeed Ajmal (Pak) 48 69 6.13 15.4
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 56 62 6.22 20.4
DW Steyn (SA) 28 37 6.36 16.2
GP Swann (Eng) 39 51 6.36 15.8
Harbhajan Singh (India) 25 22 6.36 24.5
J Botha (SA) 40 37 6.37 20.9
NL McCullum (NZ) 39 40 6.47 16.2
Abdur Razzak (Ban) 23 35 6.69 15.2
Table Showing List of Bowlers with Best economy rates (Minimum wickets taken 20)
One look at this list and you can realize that hardly any of the T20 specialists have topped the charts in either bowling or batting. The trend continues in this World Cup too. The leading run scorers and wicket takers apart from Luke Wright and Balaji are regular fixtures in the Test sides as well.  Having said this, we will have a look at the overall career stats of popular T20 players. By popular I mean players who have earned a place in their respective national sides through performances in domestic T20 games.
Player Name Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
Luke Wright 32 568 19.58 135.88
Keiron Pollard 26 409 18.68 146.07
Imran Nazir 24 500 21.73 135.13
Craig Kieswetter 25 526 21.91 111.91
Richard Levi 11 231 25.66 155.02

Looking at these stats, one can infer that they haven’t really been consistent. They have had their impact matches for which they have been brought in for, but largely they haven’t been able to put up a series of good scores.  I just had a glance at their first class performances and it’s nothing to write home about.

Maybe it has got to do something with their not so consistent performances in T20 as well. At the international level, they will find bowlers of the highest caliber and if they haven’t mastered the art of playing the long innings, they might be found wanting. There might be just 20 overs, it may not look like it’s a lot, but when you have quality bowlers at the top, sometimes it’s best to weather off the storm and capitalize in the end. It is best illustrated in the Super 8 group match between Australia and South Africa. Shane Watson saw off the initial testing overs of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and then went absolutely berserk.

Before T20 became popular there were a lot of players who were termed as ODI specialists such as Michael Bevan, Andrew Symonds, Ajay Jadeja, Nathan Bracken, etc. Having said so most of these successful players were always good at first class level and at a minimum were always under review for Test selections. Pollard, Levi, Kieswetter definitely do not belong to this category.

One might argue, after seeing Pollard’s knock against Australia in the semi-finals showing that he has the X-factor in him to win games. I don’t question his ability which is obvious to see, but does he have the temperament to play a long innings in T20? In the semis there were only 2-3 overs left when he came out to bat, he had only one way to bat at that stage, but if there comes a point where he comes in to bat as early as 6th or 7th over, will he be able to adjust accordingly?

Looking at the top bowlers in T20, other than Afridi, all are regulars in the Test team. It shows once again if you have learnt to get wickets in first class cricket, the chances of performing in the shortest format of the game also hold true.  Cricket is a simple game, and its best to keep it that way. Probably someone like Jade Dernbach should realize this, for all his variations he has got; he hasn’t been able to hit consistent lengths regularly which has resulted in not so satisfactory performances.

David Warner leads the next generation of cricketers who have started of playing T20 matches before first class games. He has been reasonably successful so far, though his weakness against spinners has been well documented. It will be interesting to see how the young brigade performs in the long run. Ravichandran Ashwin of India, probably their only specialist T20 bowler, rose to stardom after some stellar performances in the IPL. But one must not forget that he was a steady performer in first class cricket before making his name in the glitz and glamour of IPL.

Few years ago, it was said that if you are good enough to play Test cricket, you definitely can play T20. It looked like a joke then; but then looking at the way the game has progressed it is very much the reality. Exciting times ahead - it would be interesting to see if this trend continues.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Twenty 20…. Foreseeing the larger interests of the game

Twenty 20…. Foreseeing the larger interests of the game
With the amount of T20 games being played these days thanks to the countless number of domestic leagues which have formed across the globe, one tends to wonder if the ICC T20 World Cup really required. And if it is, what purpose does it serve. One of the things I feel the ICC is trying to achieve with a T20 world cup is to globalize the game. Cricket on a whole is played seriously by very few nations and to spread the game, T20 seems to be the most viable option. Also being such a short tournament, number of mismatches between the top teams and the minnows won’t be much of an issue as it is in the case of the 50 overs World Cup.

But one wonders, what happens to the associate teams after the world cup is over. Fair enough, the ICC have tried giving these teams an insight how things work at the international level, but the point is does anyone track their progress once the tournament gets over. Let’s take the case of Kenya. After the unexpected but remarkable performance of them during the World Cup in 2003 where they eventually reached the semi-finals, there were calls for Kenya to get a test status. In the end they weren’t even close to playing a Test match and are now completely out of the international scene. Similarly Ireland performed above expectations and reached the Super 8 stage in the 2007 World Cup. They have improved from then on, but their opportunities at the international level have been very limited. I am very curious to know what is the status of associates like Namibia and Bermuda who have played at the highest level but are no longer to be seen.  More or less everyone has been touched how players from the war-torn nation of Afghanistan have put up a spirited performance. But once again the question arises, what lies for them after the World Cup? Will the ICC ensure that these teams don’t just make headlines only during the main events or will they fade into the oblivion?

Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan are two cricketers who have switched their international allegiance from Ireland to England to pursue their dreams of playing test cricket. One could easily blame them for changing loyalties, but is it their fault? They feel they have got the game to compete with top international cricketers, but unfortunately are restricted since their country isn’t competent enough.

This is where I feel the ICC and the other cricket boards should take up the responsibility to foresee the larger interests of the game. To begin with top associate teams must be given opportunities to take part in domestic first class tournaments of established cricketing nations. Let them have a taste of how cricket is played in different parts of the world. Apart from giving them the right exposure it will also help them improve their cricketing standards. This can be applied to even teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe who have been in the international circuit for a reasonably long duration. Another suggestion, though highly improbable that it will be practical is that each domestic T20 team must have a player from an associate team. It will give them the experience of playing in front of packed stadiums, quality oppositions and also develop their game by spending time with the international stars.

With most T20 teams owned by a franchisee system and monetary gains being the prime objective, it will be pretty hard to convince them. However they must realize what the game is giving to them and it is their moral responsibility to ensure that the game attracts a global audience. Sometimes life’s not all about a profit or loss statement, one must do things for the greater good!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Suresh Raina and the Test Conundrum

Ever since the retirement of Sourav Ganguly from test matches in late 2008, India have been looking for a reliable replacement for him. Four years have passed but India still haven’t got a player who has sealed the spot. Now with the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the numbers of vacant spots have increased. There are a lot of contenders for the 3 spots mainly Virat Kohli, Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Badrinath, Tiwary and Suresh Raina. Raina’s case is the most interesting. He has been around in the one day squad for around 5 years now and has become a very valuable player in the ODI team. It was natural that the selectors gave him an opportunity in Test matches after Yuvraj Singh couldn’t come up with consistent performances. Raina made a spectacular start to his Test career with a 100 on debut and a counter attacking 41 in a difficult chase in his 2nd test. It looked as though India finally found someone who could fill in the number 6 spot in the Test side. That’s when all the problems began for him. Bowlers around the world realized his weakness for short pitched bowling and heavily exposed him. He hasn’t found a way yet to counter such type of bowling which has resulted in his extremely poor performances in Tests.

A bouncer when in whites, Suresh Raina lands in all sorts of trouble
One of the things I have noticed with Raina is that he struggles a lot against short pitch bowling more in Tests than the limited overs. Agreed that in tests, since there is no limit on number of overs per bowler, he will be tested for a longer time and with attacking fields set, a slight miscalculation can result him in becoming out. It has got him in a state where he has been expecting a short ball every time a fast bowler comes on to bowl. As a result, it generally isn’t the short ball which gets him out, but the balls pitched on a good length area which gets him in trouble as he is waiting on the backfoot. A classic example was during the 1st test in Centurion during India’s tour to South Africa in late 2010, Kallis kept catching Raina neither forward or backwards, and eventually Raina just ended up guiding the ball to the slip cordon! But what I have observed is that in the limited overs, if there is a short ball he either ducks it or just smashes it out of the park, whereas in Tests he really gets confused. When he decides to pull, he is not really sure whether to keep it down or just smash it out of the ground, which more or less results in him ending up in awkward positions. With the amount of limited overs cricket India have been playing recently (including IPL), one gets the feeling that Raina hasn’t really had much time to work out his flaws in the longer format of the game. With a packed schedule he hasn’t been able to go back to the domestic scene and play few first class games to iron out the chinks in his batting technique.

When in the blues, a short ball is heading only in one direction
A quick glance at the Future Tours Program (FTP) as listed by the ICC (FTP Calender), we can see that India aren’t slotted to play any games during the months April to September 2013. Obviously the Indian Premier League (IPL) will take place in April and May, but I feel a county season for Raina will do a world of good for him. It will not only help him improve his batting skills, but also give him an exposure to a better set of fast bowlers in conditions which aren’t really conducive to batting.

Temperament at the highest level has never been an issue with Raina, he has helped India win in a number of games from tight situations. It’s just more of an adaptation to the longer format which he needs to get used to, which can be done by only playing more and more first class games.

Let us hope that he sorts out his issues soon and start entertaining us in the longest format of the game too!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

UDRS (Umpire Decision Review System) Yes or No !

The big thing circling around in the cricket world these days is whether the DRS i.e. the Decision Review System (or Dravid Removal System as some of the Indian fans call it) should be made compulsory for all cricket matches or not. First things first, whatever the ICC decides, it must be uniform and must be applied to all the matches. It’s just ridiculous that you have one series played with DRS and another without DRS. Mind you even the series which play with the DRS rules implemented are applied in different forms. Some have Hawkeye as one of the judging criteria some have only Hotspot! It’s really bizarre and silly that you have a game which is being played with different rules in different continents.

Many feel that BCCI is being the main detractor of the DRS because of the teams failing to use the DRS effectively (as well as the controversies which occurred in England mainly with Dravid’s dismissals). Since nowadays most administrators are more concerned more about the commercial aspects rather than the game itself, the first thing they must look into is how will the smaller boards like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka be able to bear the costs for the equipment’s required for the DRS. The more powerful boards such as BCCI, ECB or CA have enough funds to cover the costs or have a large enough market to find a sponsor. The first thing the ICC has to do is if the DRS has to be implemented either they find a common sponsor for all the matches being played (the payment varying depending on the intensity of the series) or the ICC themselves sponsor the same.

Now coming to the point of the DRS. The first thing the ICC should clarify to everyone is the system they are trying to implement is not going to be 100% but a system which can remove the howlers away. The BCCI has to stop being adamant in saying that the two umpires on the field alone can do the job. Yes they can improve their standards, but with growing technology it would obviously be better if they are assisted. I would really like asking N Srinivasan what if India were to face the Sydney fiasco once again. Will they threaten to boycott the series once more?

Sanjay Manjrekar has been saying avoid the DRS and no need to talk about it, the series will be played without any controversy. Luckily for him after India’s tour of England, India never faced any major umpiring mistakes. What about the low profile series like Pakistan vs Sri Lanka? Pakistan were on the wrong side around 10 times!! Many of them were howlers which could have been easily overturned.

Hotspot was considered to 100% foolproof before the India England series happened. It is dependent on the weather conditions and hence until that condition is eradicated it cannot be used as a judging criterion for all the decisions. Hawkeye too has its flaws which is easily demonstrated by Phil Hughes dismissal in Sri Lanka which was later explained to be due to the difference in frame rates between the cameras used in Sri Lanka and those in England. Forget about uniformity in using DRS all around the world, there has to be uniformity in the equipment’s being used as well to allow DRS to be a successful venture.

As Harsha Bhogle recently pointed out in his article if you give the number of decisions to be made by the players, then as a batsman you are giving priority only to the top 1-7 usually to help themselves escape a wrong decision. What if your tail ender is winning you a match with the bat and then gets a wrong decision? He may not get the chance to review it!

My suggestion is to give the decision of the review in the hands of the umpire. He can use it when he feels there is a doubt and use the help of the television replays to make the correct decision. No need of the hotspot, just use the replays to check if a there was a genuine edge or not. Use hawkeye just to see where the ball has pitched and see that the impact of the ball on pad is within the line of the stumps. The third umpire shouldn’t take more than a minute to make his decision and if the replays are inconclusive till then, he should make his own decision. If a third umpire can’t make a decision in one minute after many replays it definitely can’t be any worse than what an onfield umpire will do. Yes this is not the most perfect system, it may cast more doubts on the umpires mind, yes the players may feel cheated that one decision is reviewed but a similar case isn’t but they should man up and not complain as after all cricket is a gentleman’s game ! , but what it can do is remove the howlers. It can help cricket avoid another Sydney fiasco.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tale of Rohit Sharma

Sachin Tendulkar feels Rohit Sharma has it in him to be India’s best batsman. Ian Chappell says Rohit should be preferred over Virat Kohli in tests; Gambhir too feels Rohit has all the talent in the world to be the world’s best batsman. Moreover Kohli himself believes Rohit belongs to another league and it would not be right to compare him with other upcoming youngsters ( When everyone is praising Rohit about his talent how come he is not performing yet? 

Rohit’s first international innings was against South Africa on a seaming Durban during the T20 World Cup in 2007. In that very innings one could notice the special talent in him which everyone keeps talking about. The class, the grace, the art of playing the ball late – all of it was on display- he showed he has immense potential. In the hit and miss world of T20, he showed that one can play a well-paced knock by playing conventional shots. Here was a man who was so easy on the eye, no brashness about him. Sachin Tendulkar, Damien Martyn, Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman they all had one thing in common. When they batted they were a sight to watch. Rohit showed that he too had the potential to be in that league.

It was in the 2008 tour to Australia when it looked like that he’s living upto his potential with a wonderful knock in the finals to guide India to victory in the best of 3 finals. He wasn’t really consistent in that series, but he had shown signs of improvement as the games went along and he performed as per expectations from a young kid.  But from then on it has been a downhill journey for him. It’s almost 5 years since he started his career and he still hasn’t earned a permanent fixture in the side. Compare him to Virat Kohli who started his career a year after Rohit. Kohli has not only become one of the leading batsmen in ODI cricket but has earned his way to become the vice-captain of India. Four years ago few would have imagined this would have happened.

What could be the reason for Rohits continuous failure? Many cricketers believe that Rohit is better than Kohli when it comes to talent but it’s the latter who is performing. With Rohit one gets the impression he is just not hardworking and serious about his game. When you look at someone like Virat Kohli or Gautum Gambhir you can see it in their eyes that they want to do well. When cricketers talk about Kohli they talk about his work ethic, the effort he puts into his game during the practice sessions. Yuvraj Singh had stated that he wished he had worked as hard as Kohli during his younger days. We all know with the talent Yuvraj possesses he has really underachieved in international cricket. One can only hope that the same doesn’t happen with Rohit. This is something Rohit has to really look into, for all the talent in the world he has, he just will have to put in the required hard yards to become a successful player at the top most level.

One thing I have noticed is that Rohit’s List A record isn’t really worth taking note of whereas his first class performances is top notch. Probably he’s someone who is suited to the longer format of the game and is just finding his way through the limited version. Hes a wonderful T20 player but I think what happens to him is that hes not able to judge rightly at what pace he must play in an ODI game. Probably that’s something the selectors must look into before all together leaving him.

Anil Kumble wasn’t the most talented spinner going around in world cricket. People criticized him for not turning the ball. Some said he wasn’t a spinner, just a medium pacer who was very accurate. But he showed the world that if you have the passion and determination to succeed you will always do well. How well he fared is there for everyone to see.

Rohit’s continuous failure reminds me of one popular saying, no matter how much innate talent you have, the right attitude can make a difference in your career. Let’s hope for India’s sake and moreover for all cricket lovers around the world, Rohit starts performing and lead the light among the next generation of cricketers.

Online MarketingAdd blog to our directory.