Friday, June 4, 2010
Zimbabwean spinners choke Indian batsmen
To start with, when was the last time we saw the Indian batsmen look clueless against spin? I have seen the Indian batsmen being bounced out by the opposition, some have been exposed on pitches that have a bit of sideways movement in it, but I have hardly seen or heard Indian batsmen being at sixes and sevens against spin. In yesterday's game that is what exactly happened as the Indian batsmen could score just 165 runs of 40 overs overs against spin. In modern times, scores of 300 can be easily chased down as there are 20 overs of field restrictions, pitches are flat and of course, the batsmen use some fantastic bats, but India got a score of only 194. Even if a time machine brings back bowlers like Holding, Marshall, Garner and co. they may struggle to defend it.
The problem for India started at the top itself as Vijay went at a snail's pace and scored 21 of 56 balls which is just unacceptable. Having watched a bit of Vijay, I feel that he is one of the most overrated batsmen going around. Vijay has to remember that he won't get to bat all the time on a batting paradise like Madras. The problem though, wasn't just Vijay as none of the Indian batsmen scored at a strike rate of even 75+ which is hard to fathom as the pitch was good for batting. Jadeja scored a half century and took a few cheap wickets in the end, but I'm not convinced that Jadeja or Pathan can succeed against better teams as both seem to be bits and pieces players.
As far as Zimbabwe's team was concerned , spin again did the trick for them as they used four spinners, who just went for a touch over 4 runs per over and more importantly the four spinners shared six wickets between them. Nowadays, one expects Price and Utseya to come good as both are good spinners, but it was a bit surprising to see Lamb getting three wickets as he usually has been ordinary as a spinner. Cremer too is developing into a fine leg spinner. Zimbabwe may have a small talent pool to choose from, but unlike their big brother South Africa, have been able to produce leg spinners like Strang, Huckle, Murphy and now they have Cremer in the side. It was also good to see the talented, but the temperamental Blignaut able to bowl his quota of 10 overs for just 22 runs. Blignaut can swing the new ball, when he bats, can hit it into the orbit and has a rocket arm. He is a natural talent, but due to the political situation in Zimbabwe has suffered. He also tried his hand at modeling, but thankfully he is back and has started to do well.
Once India scored only 194, they were always in trouble and the pitch at both Harare and Bulawayo being good for batting meant that Zimbabwe won the match in a canter as they lost only three wickets and got the runs with almost 12 overs to spare. It was even more embarrassing for India that Zimbabwe got a bonus point! Among the Indian bowlers, I thought Ojha bowled well and I still can't understand why he didn't play in the T/20 world cup as he is a good attacking spinner. India though, would be worried about their quicker bowlers. Yes, the pitch didn't have much in it for the quicker bowlers, but if Dinda continues to bowl as full as he is doing now and him being very skiddy through the air means that batsmen would make merry against him. I do like swing bowlers, but he bowls too full and the batsmen won't miss out on such juicy half volleys. For Zimbabwe, Taylor and Mazakadza were again impressive and it looks like they would become pillars of Zimbabwe's batting in the future.
For India to reach the finals, they need to improve big time and as far as Zimbabwe are concerned, they are progressing well as they have a good opening pair, good spinners, all-rounders like Blignaut and the captain Chiggy himself. Actually, if they find another decent seamer, they can even look to comeback into test cricket.