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Friday, May 18, 2007

In better days, it would have been a happy problem

Nayan Mongia, Rahul Dravid, Ajay Jadeja, VVS Laxman, Deep Dasgupta, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag.....
The list is long and illustrious - Indian cricket's opening jinx seems to have no end. Why is it that a nation which keeps producing high quality middle order batsmen struggles to come up with two good openers? Later today, Dinesh Karthik looks likely to join this unending list of make-shift Indian openers. We have specialised in this art of converting middle order batsmen now, so much so that some of them aren't so obvious anymore - Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs and Virender Sehwag in tests. Even Saurav Ganguly, for that matter.
Funnily enough - in the just concluded World Cup the problem was of exactly the other type: we had as many as four openers playing in a single one-dayer: Sehwag, Ganguly, Tendulkar and Uthappa.
Dravid's selection problems will be two-fold: while he will be struggling to promote one of the middle-order bats to top of the order, there is a problem of plenty in the middle order. For Sachin Tendulkar, yesterday's god, the fall has been disgraceful: Cricinfo goes on to say that "Were Karthik to open, the only other sureties for the match are Jaffer and Dravid." It will be unfortunate if Yuvraj is dropped to accomodate Laxman, Sachin and Ganguly. With the media abuzz with the news of "5 bowlers likely for 1st test against Bangladesh" and "3 spinners may me fielded", Dravid's selection problems will only increase, if that indeed turns out to be the case.
In an Indian team, divided into camps, Dravid will have to play his cards very carefully. There ain't much to be gained by a victory, but anything less, and the call for a change in captaincy may only gain momentum. Yet again, in a cricket match involving India, it's the activities outside the cricket field that seem to be looking more important. Unfortunately for Indian cricket, the current state of affairs don't look bright, and the future bleak. I'm just hoping that Indian cricket doesn't go the way Indian hockey has...


Homer said...


For Cricket to go the hockey way, cricket will have to fall spectacularly while an alternate sport will have to rise just as quickly to fill the void.

We lost the Asiad 7-1 to Pakistan in 82. In 83 we won the World Cup.

Nothing of the sort is going to happen in the near future. And if India can find its bearings and continue to win just enough to keep public interest alive, cricket will do just fine :)


Amit Bajaj said...

I wish you turn out to be right and me wrong..though i don't believe in the concept of 'spectacular falls'...the decline is mostly gradual, and not necessarily linear..making sure that it becomes most difficult to arrest it, because you don't notice it that easily.

Homer said...


the decline may be non linear. but nature abhors a vacuum.

F1 and football are spectator sports in India and are not played as passionately as they are watched.

Given that, a contender for cricket;s position in the Indian psyche is hard to find at the present time.

Amit Bajaj said...

agree about the vacuum bit, but is it necessary for the vacuum to be filled up by one biggie? maybe a mix of various sports, x-box interests, rise in interest in bollywood or hollywood etc etc may fill that up..ultimately cricket for the fan is a mode of entertainment and as such it competes with everything..including Shahrukh Khan and Jay Leno.