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whymuds

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Narain, in all fairness, Kohli is perhaps one of the more gracious captains in defeat in world cricket. Read / watch post-match interviews after the WTC final, the test they lost to England in England, the test NZ narrowly drew in India, and yesterday’s match. He’s effusive in his praise of the opposition, far more than Kane, Joe and Tim P (Oz hasn’t lost with Pat in charge). Not excusing the on-field behaviour (read my post above) but some of the posts on here bagging Kohli as the worst bloke in world cricket are taking it a bit far given the sportsmanship he showed towards Smith at the ODI world cup. He also seems to get along very well with a lot of opposition players so I doubt he’s actually that much of a flog on the field as the media portrays him.

Also, no way does SA beating us at home compare with Gabba, not even on the same planet! SA playing at home with a strong bowling line up and emerging batting line up against a good Indian team with huge middle order issues in very foreign conditions.

'That's disgraceful': Vaughan calls for Kohli sanction after Indians' meltdown reaction to 'impossible' Hawkeye decision

I’m not sure of the rules but this isn’t a good look for the game. I hope Dravid is be livid. Also, standards have changed a lot since Haydos was playing. You can’t yell into a stump mic accusing the host broadcaster of systemic cheating.

'That's disgraceful': Vaughan calls for Kohli sanction after Indians' meltdown reaction to 'impossible' Hawkeye decision

As a massive Indian fan, so disappointed to see this. Clearly a tense and pivotal moment and the players did not meet the standard in their response to the controversial DRS. Just gotta accept it. Fines, and potentially a ban for the captain, must be in order. Possibly even a loss of WTC points… though I’m not sure of the rules on this stuff.

'That's disgraceful': Vaughan calls for Kohli sanction after Indians' meltdown reaction to 'impossible' Hawkeye decision

Have to agree with this. Which is why we need to give some of the emerging players a crack in the middle order otherwise the floodgates may open against a good team like the Aussies when they tour India. In my view, multiple transitions will (or should) happen in the Indian test team over the next 2 years – Che, Rahane, Kohli, I Sharma and Shami out, and possibly Ashwin. It will be interesting to see if India can stay in the top 3.

Proteas breach India's Johannesburg fortress

Wow, what a result that adds to the growing list of classic test matches and results in recent years. Perera’s lone hand in Sth Africa, Stokes’ heroics in the Ashes, Pant shredding the Aussies at the Gabba… so many more. Long live test cricket, the greatest game on Earth.

Bangladesh Tigers pounce to beat New Zealand: How the world reacted to monumental upset

Hi Paul, good write-up on Cricinfo on batting options. The key takeaway is that Vihari has mostly played overseas, and in those overseas tests he has averaged better than Che, Kohli, and about the same as Rahane.
https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/india-in-sa-202122-shreyas-iyer-hanuma-vihari-neither-or-both-1293789

'Blockbuster series': Can India conquer South Africa?

Thanks Tsat. This article brought up PTSD thinking about the bad old days of Indian cricket. That line about the relay throws from the boundary takes the cake! I have to say though, that this English bowling lineup is world-class, bar the absence of a top-line spinner. Robinson, Broad and Anderson are as good as any pace attack right now.

This English side is reminiscent of the '90s Indian teams

Ease up Kailash, I support India. I get tired of people criticising Indian pitches when visiting teams don’t score well (and even if India does well on the same pitch). Just saying watch this space for a lot of pitch criticism if India crumbles in their second dig.

'WHAT'S JUST HAPPENED?' Cricket world in disbelief as NZ spinner stuns India with TEN-wicket haul

I’ve already praised Patel in another article, and I’ll double that here. I hope India can post a decent score in their second dig otherwise we might start hearing a lot of criticism of this pitch.

'WHAT'S JUST HAPPENED?' Cricket world in disbelief as NZ spinner stuns India with TEN-wicket haul

The local lad! An amazing achievement and nice to see the Indian dressing room applauding.

Agarwal ton rescues India against Black Caps

Appreciate the clarification, Tempo. However, I prefer not to extrapolate the actions of one or two individuals and draw conclusions to the manner in which entire nations (or cultures) conduct themselves with regards to the spirit of the game – good or bad. On Ashwin’s mankad, a lot of Indian commentators and former players didn’t support it, and some did. Not a scientific study, just me reading articles and trawling through tweets. So my view is that his actions do not define India’s approach to playing the game. If it were, wouldn’t Sir Ravi, Yadav and Axar have attempted a few by now? Nor do I think Kohli’s plea to supporters to stop booing Smith reflects on the entire nation. Individuals and teams are so diverse, let alone entire cricketing nations. Players and teams don’t abide by some consistent spirit of the game standard which then establishes a culture. Conduct is variable, inconsistent and evolves over time.

Agree with Nics that perhaps rules need to be updated if teams are pushing boundaries and we want more consistency. Like India resting keepers so they are fresh for a stint at the crease.

Back to the game, there is already some anticipation that the pitch for the 2nd test will be a rank turner. Whatever it is, if India can score 500+ runs on it, it’s only fair the opposition can do the same (or thereabouts). If they can’t, then it’s down to ability and application, not pitch doctoring. And it’s ability and application that NZ brought in spades in the 1st test.

Agar's 2022 prospects, India-NZ draw: Talking points from the world of cricket

Yes, the first 100 years were virtuous bliss when players walked when they knicked it, never ran out the non-striker for leaving their crease, never ran off deflections. Ah, the good old English way. Only seeing all this for the first time in recent months. India ruining it again for everyone! Lucky MS is retired so there is no risk of anyone doing silly things like recalling batsmen but I will need to have a word with Punam Raut for not playing the Indian way.

Agar's 2022 prospects, India-NZ draw: Talking points from the world of cricket

Doff my hat to the Kiwis – great effort. I’ve seen many more high profile visiting teams collapse in a 4th innings heap when faced with quality spin bowling.

I called 1-1 at the start. Anything but a series win for India is a failure for India. The Kiwis look like they have come prepared for the grind. Maybe India needs to bring back those 5 players we’ve rested, especially Shami and Boom Boom.

I wonder how the pitch will rate. People were describing it as one of the slowest pitches in India in recent memory. Apparently, there wasn’t a single bat pad dismissal and only one to slip. But it was also a pitch that gave both teams the ascendency at various points in the match, had all 4 results possible at the start of day 5 and created a thriller.

Why on earth isn’t this a 4 or 5 match series?!

Nerve-wracking scenes as dodgy light, NZ debutant and number eleven star in thrilling Test climax

Stokes gets more press, he’s a big game winner, but surely Sir Ravi is the best all rounder in tests over the past few years! He’s done pretty well recently in Aus and Eng too.

India vs New Zealand: Test series preview

Thoughts on par score? A few balls keeping low and NZ pace getting some movement – not sure Umesh and Ishant will generate as much. Batting 4th innings on this pitch will be bloody tough.

India vs New Zealand: Test series preview

Nice one, Arj. Though I’m a bit surprised with the huge names on our bench for a 2 test series against the world’s top ranked team.

1-1 for me. India always starts slow and our batting line up looks vulnerable.

India vs New Zealand: Test series preview

Every bilateral T20 series is pretty meaningless. This tour should never have had any T20s, and instead had 3 tests… minimum. The top 2 ranked teams going at it deserved a 3 match series.

India vs Kiwis 2021: Three key factors in India's emphatic win

Jacko – removing any good fortune NZ may have had in the WTC final, based purely on results, you can’t conclude that NZ is the definitive best team in the world (I’m talking tests here, not limited overs). They haven’t won in India (yet), they drew last time in Lanka and are yet to beat Aus on their home soil. And the last time they played SA in 2017, they lost the 3 test series.

Ind has had the best W/L ratio in tests over the past 5 years or so but never during that time would I consider them to be the outright top team, because of their inability to win in NZ, SA and Eng. Right now, NZ is amongst a pack of 3 top teams. Perhaps that can change if they win the series in Ind. No team dominates world cricket like Aus under Waugh and Ponting. And this close competition is a bloody good thing for cricket and it’s produced some classic test matches in recent times.

Why astute cricket analysts cannot call the Kiwis the best in the business

Sound analysis, Tsat. Anyone who knows the game would find it hard to dismiss anything you said. Rather than call it luck I think they have used good fortune at key moments to their advantage and made the most of it. And they’ve had a lot of obvious, rather than subtle, good fortune. Almost everything went in their favour in the WTC final – toss, overhead conditions, the timing of rain interruptions – and they made the most of it and beat Ind, fair and square. Also worth pointing out that a really important achievement is missing from their resume. They have not won a series in Aus – one of the toughest places to tour for test match cricket. NZ is a wonderful team, no doubt, and supremely hard-working. They go deep in almost every international tournament but for me, in test match cricket, the jury is still out on them being outright no.1 in the world. I think they are amongst a pack of the 3 best currently with Ind and Aus and any one of these teams could beat the other on any given day. Such a shame the series coming up is only 2 tests; it should be 4. Perfect chance for NZ to win their first series in Ind given the hosts are notoriously slow starters in bilateral test series and our captain missing the first game.

Why astute cricket analysts cannot call the Kiwis the best in the business

As an Indian supporter, it’s hard to get upset about crashing out of T20 WCs given the success we’ve had in the test arena (proper cricket) over the past 5 years or so. Ritually smashing teams at home, 2 series wins in Oz and on the brink of an away series win in England. I hazard a guess that there would be a few teams that would swap limited overs trophies for 2 test series wins in India. The only blemish is losing the WTC Final to a very good Kiwi team. T20 is a great leveller, and this time around it’s not ours to win. In saying all this, we’ve clearly fallen behind in ODI cricket which to me is slightly more concerning. Way less room for luck in ODI and perhaps it’s time for a change in captaincy and approach here.

'Kohli doesn't know how to win tournaments': Why India need a rethink

Appreciate the effort to pump up a bilateral, and let’s face it, none are more over-hyped than the ashes for what it delivers, but this one is going to be an uphill slog for the Poms. Recent form is not positive – smashed in India and at home lost to the Kiwis and struggling against India. Save for weather, going into the last test they would have been 3-1 down. Also, I wouldn’t read too much into India’s once-in-a-generation stupendously amazing achievement last summer. That will be near impossible to replicate. Aussies are ridiculously strong at home. Their pace bowlers are aggressive and always at you and there is enough in the batting led by Smith and Marnus to score big enough totals. I also can’t see Warner having another low-key series. As a neutral though I’m hoping for a close series. If it’s half as good as last summer I’d be happy.

How this 'battle hardened' England squad can reclaim the Ashes down under

Well written, Tsat. The issue of persisting with legends / excellent players past their prime isn’t unique to the Indian cricket team, there are examples of it across all sports. One of my favourite athletes of all time is Tim Duncan. His stats were well down the last few years of his career. But he was also regarded as one of the sharpest basketball thinkers and finest on-court leaders in modern NBA. So he added value in other ways. Then there are examples that surprise you, like Brady to the Buccaneers.
I’m still on the fence about Che. He brings such a different style to the lineup and he’s put in some performances lately that have helped us either win or draw games from dire positions. Jinx, on the other hand, looks cooked. It’s not that he’s just had a lean run, but he’s looked completely out of sorts at the crease in India and England against all types of bowlers. In saying all this, a lot of fans were calling for his head years ago. If they got their wish, we don’t win at the MCG, thanks to his runs, and probably get different results at the SCG and Gabba, for his leadership.
I mentioned in another comment that the next few years will be interesting for India as we transition in some new players. It can sometimes take a long time to mature into a good test player (see R Sharma and I Sharma) and I hope India gets the timing right. But I see us at serious risk of losing the next home series against Australia. They generally tend to play well in India and if they catch us at a time when we have 3 or 4 new young players, it could be very interesting.

Nobody's place in the Indian team should be taken for granted

Excellent piece, really enjoyed the read.
In recent times India has swung from the stupendous (you’ve highlighted the main examples) to the plain stupid. I’d love to see a bit more consistency away from home to go from just a top team to a great team.
For the first time in my life, I have confidence in our bowling attack in all conditions. But our batting lineup has some gaps, and it may struggle in the near term as we transition in some of our younger players like Gill, Shaw and SKY.
A win or draw in Manchester and I think the tour of England will be a success. In any case, we go home with the trophy and in the event of a draw, a little unlucky not to have wrapped up the series given rain the in 1st test.

'These magnificent men': Takeaways from the fourth England-India Test

Paul, thanks for taking the time to respond. Always enjoy some cricket banter. I’ll address your points individually.
Re the top side comment. Kohli’s W/L ratio as captain is 2.37 with a total of 38 wins from 65 matches. I’d hazard a guess that in the past 5 years India has been ranked #1 or near that consistently. We’ve won 2 away series in Australia and looking at at least drawing this one in England (though it should be wrapped up if the rain didn’t help England in the 1st test). And in that time we have completely dominated at home. So yes, by many measures we are a top side. We are not the best followed by daylight. But Kohli never said we are the undisputed champs.
Re recent capitulations, it happens to all teams. It’s happened to England and Australia. And in my post, I did acknowledge we are flawed. But if you are going to selectively use those 2 innings only in a body of work stretching 7 years of captaincy, and ignore what happened after Adelaide and Headingly, then your argument is based on selective evidence.
Re pitches, yes our batters averages were down. They were tough batting conditions. But in no series does every batter average 45 and every bowler 22. It never happens. But we still averaged more than England’s batters and averaged less than England’s bowlers, so we won. So my argument stands true – be better at bowling spin and playing spin. Look at Hayden when he toured India – he bossed it by disrupting lengths with the sweep and using his feet and big stride forward.
Another way to look at it is this. In Kohli’s time in charge, we have won more games in SENA countries (and series) than all SENA countries combined have won in India. Surely all this pitch doctoring (those devilish pitches that turn square only when visiting teams bat) should bite us in the bum at some stage and India start losing more games at home…?

Virat Kohli should be a politician

What an abjectly poor lop-sided analysis of a fighting Indian team which has, in recent times, shaded Australia at home twice and has retained the Pataudi Trophy, away from home. Kohli’s test record as captain speaks for itself – most wins only behind some of the greats in Ponting, Waugh and G Smith. The culture he has instilled in the larger playing group is the reason we’ve conquered Australia in their den in the past two series. The series a few years ago could have easily been 3-1 if rain didn’t intervene in Sydney and in the most recent series, we fielded a 2nd string team so besieged by injury that our data analyst was close to padding up. And now, again playing away from home, we are 2-1 up and probably should be 3-1 if it wasn’t for rain saving England in the first test.
Kohli never said this team was perfect and not many India fans would say that. It is flawed, it doesn’t dominate like the great Aussie and Windies teams of the past, and we are still going to lose matches in SENA countries. But it is talented and tough – mentally and physically – and we’ve achieved some great things in SENA countries in recent times and Indian fans are rightfully celebrating.
NZ did well to win the WTC final with two warm up games against England, winning the toss and enjoying conditions that far more closely resembled Christchurch than Chennai. They are a solid team that plays well in familiar conditions. Congrats to the Kiwis and I can’t wait to play them again on their home soil.
On the tired whinge of doctored pitches, the same 22 blokes play on the same pitch. It doesn’t magically spit fire when the visiting team is batting. Learn how to play spin, learn how to bowl spin, fix your deficiencies and you’ll have a better chance of beating India at home. It’s what India did with their weakness in the pace department and recent results show for it.

Virat Kohli should be a politician

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