Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Sports and Games

Turning track backfires

Mahendra Singh Dhoni grumbled too much. He grumbled after winning two Tests against New Zealand. He grumbled after winning Ahmedabad Test against England by nine wickets. For him the tracks were not good enough. He wanted tracks that turned from day one and toss should be out of equation.
At Wankhede Stadium there was the desired track. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat. English batsmen were supposed to struggle against Indian spin. Indian batsmen are supposed to great players of spin. However Indian batsmen struggled against English spin. At one time India were 169/6. At that time 250 runs looked difficult. Cheteshwar Pujara and tailenders batted well. India were all out for 327.
English batsmen countered Indian spin. They scored 86 runs more than India. In its second Innings India lost five wickets before reaching 86. India ended the day 117/7. On fourth day India were all out for 142. England scored 58 runs without loss of wicket, won the Test, and levelled the series. India had fallen in the grave dug for England.
Questions are raised about Dhoni’s captaincy. He still wants rank turners for remaining Tests. May be 10 wickets defeat is not enough. He wants Innings defeat.
Some have put the question whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire. The question should be whether selectors should select him. His defenders say others have not done well. That is not true. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara have scored runs. Virat Kohli did not do well in two Tests. He has done well against New Zealand.
Some say there is no one to replace Sachin. There are many batsmen who can replace Sachin starting from Ajinkya Rahane.
Two Tests remain. The series can go anyway.

T20 World Cup rules

There are people who say T20 World Cup rules were not fair, India won four out of their five matches but could not make it to semi-finals while West Indies who had two victories out five made it to semi-finals. They are wrong.

In the first round every group had three teams and two could go to the next round i.e., Super 8. Once the teams made it Super 8, victories in the first round did not count. In Super 8 India won two matches, lost one match, so also Australia and Pakistan. South Africa lost all three matches in Super 8. India, Pakistan and Australia had four points each. On the basis of net run rate Pakistan and Australia made it to semi-finals. India was in a favourable position as its match against South Africa was the last one in Super 8 and knew what to do to make it to semi-finals. India failed to achieve that. India’s loss to Australia was a huge one and that made a difference in net run rate.

West Indies did not play any full match in first round. The match against Australia was marred by rain and Australia were declared winners based on Duckworth-Lewis rules. The match against Ireland was a wash out. Ireland had lost to Australia. West Indies made it to Super 8 on net run rate. They could have won both matches.

In Super 8, West Indies won against England by 15 runs, lost to Sri Lanka by 9 wickets, won against New Zealand in super over. So in Super 8 they won two matches and lost one match. In semi-final they won against Australia by 74 runs and in final against Sri Lanka by 36 runs.

New Zealand lost two matches in super overs in Super 8, one to Sri Lanka, one to West Indies. Both Sri Lanka and West Indies made it to final. Now some want to split points if a match is tied in a non-knock out match, instead of deciding the winner in super over. New Zealand coach Michael Hesson said “I can’t work out why, in a non-elimination game, you have to have a super over. I’ve never worked that out.” In football and hockey, points are split if a group match ends in a draw. There is no harm in doing away with super overs in group matches in T20. But what would have been the reaction if New Zealand had won one match and lost another or won both matches?

India out of T20 World Cup

On 2/10/2012 India defeated South Africa by 1 run with 1 ball to spare. On an ordinary day there would have been joy and celebration. But this was not an ordinary day and there was sadness and loss of interest before the match was over.

There were two matches on 2/10/2012 and there were many permutations and combinations before the matches began as to who could make it to semi-finals. First match was between Australia and Pakistan. Australia were expected to win. Second match was between India and South Africa. If Australia had beaten Pakistan and South Africa had beaten India it would have been a contest between India, Pakistan and South Africa for the second place in the group.

The unexpected happened. Pakistan defeated Australia by 32 runs. In spite of the defeat Australia finished first in the group. India had to defeat South Africa by 31 runs and 24 balls to spare to make it to semi-finals. South Africa won toss and elected to field and India scored 152 runs. India had to restrict South Africa to 121 runs. When South Africa surpassed 121 runs in 16.5 overs it was gloom for India.

Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies are in semi-finals. Pakistan have won the T20 Cup before. For others it will be first time.

With Gary Kirsten as coach South Africa had attained No. 1 rank in all three formats. Now they lost all three Super 8 matches. New Zealand lost their matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies in super overs.

Some want a separate captain for T20 team. They want removal of Dhoni as he did not lead the team to victory in T20 after 2007.

Sri Lanka made Kumar Sangakkara captain for one match to avoid Mahela Jayawardene getting punishment for slow over rate. Kumar Sangakkara went for toss. Mahela Jayawardene took decisions on the field. ICC should plug this loophole. Once someone is a captain for a tournament he should play all matches as captain and not as a player under another captain.

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