One for Rahul Dravid

Did you see how Wasim Jaffer got out in the fourth SA ODI? Ball outside off stump, Jaffer aimed to push it square. Feet weren’t close to line of the ball, that meant the bat couldn’t have been straight. Don’t worry, these shots are common in ODIs, the bat was about 75 degrees to the ground when he swung it. Now, if the pitch was to be a regular Indian one, Jaffer would have middled the ball. But the place being SA, the ball bounced higher. As the bat wasn’t swung straight, that resulted in an edge. Caught in the slips, and out.

We have seen endless number of Indian batsmen get out in that fashion on tours to Aus and SA. And I have seen Aus and SA batsmen treating these same balls with similar shots to perfection.

Purists say that is cricket. It is a test! You got to be able to play on all types of pitches. I say bull s**t and high hopes! How the hell do you expect them to adjust when they tour SA only once in about three years, and play just about 2 or 3 innings before the action begins? Only super good players can do that. And a team usually has only 1 or 2 super good players at a time. Look back in time to see who all have beaten SA in SA recently. Only Aus, part because they have more super humans these days, and part because they know bounce.

Us not doing well abroad, and tourists struggling here has more or less been the theme. Slight variations (us doing okay at Warne McGrath-less Aus in 2003, and Aus/SA beating us once each at home) have been a function of form at the time.

Now, you would say dude, why don’t we produce bouncy pitches at home. That way, we would be ready even before we land at SA or Aus. The logic sounds good.

But tell me why exactly should we? We play well on slower tracks and turners. Paying public likes turning up to watch dramas on turners. And I certainly enjoy those 550-600 run ODIs on flat tracks at home.

They say international teams make 9 to 10 times more money when they play India. That financial strength comes from the paying and watching Indian public. Economics and common sense dictates you want to give customers more of what they want. Don’t we want tracks on which our team stands better chances of winning or contesting?

Next thing you would say, “hey, so how do we stop losing at Aus and SA?” An answer – not a commonly obvious one I promise – in the next post.

2 Comments so far

  1. anasuya (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

    Well said, Pranav (now that you’re finally unveiled)! Can’t wait for the next post.

  2. silkboard (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    Thanks for the support Anasuya! I had saved the next post till after the SA Twenty20, pushed it out just now.

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