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Things Beyond Rohit Sharma’s Centuries

January 16, 2016

Australia v India - Game 2

The anticipation builds, the atmosphere electrifies, the crowd roars and all the cricket fans around the globe are left at the edge of their seats as India play Australia. Looking at the newspapers of four days ago and you will find this forecasted as one of the most thrilling contests of the year as the top two ODI teams clash with each other. But as the time flies by and so do the fortunes, the Asian Giants who fetched great results in the warm up games can suddenly find their back against the wall. The world champions got their opponents down on one knee at Perth and on another at Brisbane. The next punch can surely knock the visitors down and out with no way back. The men in blues thus have some serious work to do from here if they need to stay alive in this contest.

From Australia’s perspective: Need to chase down a record total at the WACA? “Well, no problem at all! Smith and Bailey will ease us through”. Need to chase another record score at the Gabba? “No problem either! Openers will join the party this time around”. That’s right; the Aussies shined their way with such a classic display of limited over batting and never looked like missing any trick. But was that the only thing to discriminate the two sides? Of course it wasn’t. There are certain small things that often go unnoticed and end up evolving as decisive factors. I could find a few of those which I will try to unfold over the remainder of this article.

Like I said, we have witnessed some unusual happenings of raining runs at the likes of Perth and Brisbane during the first two ODIs, I wonder these things might just start turning up more often than not from here on with the drastically changed pitches. If you talk about carry and bounce, you are in with no surprise. But if you see the flatness of these pitches then having carry and bounce on it doesn’t cause any harm, rather makes life easy for the stroke-makers who enjoy the balls coming onto their bats. Any team having solid batting lineup is hence expected to score big runs on these sorts of wickets but the one who bowls with a greater deal of accuracy can draw a huge impact and that’s exactly what the Aussie bowlers did.

Discipline is the key to bowl on the wickets that don’t offer too much to the bowlers. It’s important that the bowlers get their rhythm going and bowl to a tight line, something what we could hardly see from the Indians. At times they bowled too short on the wickets that were too flat. Their wayward line cost them a lot of extras as well. They tried slower stuffs where there was hardly any grip on the surface. As far as the spinners are concerned, they could not restrict the batsmen at all. They were ever so vulnerable against the use of feet. Where they should have looked to bowl close to the batsmen they bowled away from them and vice versa. Both the Indian spinners could have tried the variations, neither did. On the other hand, although the Aussies didn’t pick up many wickets but one thing they made sure that they make the opponents work hard for their runs by bowling the right length. Talking about variations, Maxwell bowling with the both flatter and higher trajectories in tandem was not easy to be picked and go against.

Now if you are not picking up wickets then fielding becomes the key. Not only you have to field well, but you have to push yourself an extra yard or two to get something out of nothing. Indians on contrast could not even grab the opportunities that were there for the taking. At times the body language clearly suggests that whether a fielder is able to get that missed opportunity away from his mind or not. As a result it gives the batsman an impression that he can take on him in order to convert the ones into twos and twos into threes. And that’s how the Aussies eased their way to victory in Perth. Despite the loss of early wickets they never panicked, just nudged the short runs around their bats and within the gaps, put pressure on fielders and scored the boundaries as well. Indian middle over bowling was poor nevertheless, but the way Smith and Bailey guided their team in an effortless manner actually deserves a big hand. Australia have been by far the better of the two teams in terms of ground fielding, catching and converting the run out opportunities.

As we head to MCG for the third ODI, which is of course a do-or-die game for India; their concerns at the top with Shikhar Dhawan continues. They are lacking firepower at the death as Dhoni is struggling to get the big shots away. This is a department where they are badly missing someone like Suresh Raina. However the worst feature of their performance has been their bowling in the middle overs. The way they have allowed their opponents to score freely with wickets in hand while the players to come pose greater threat of clearing the ropes is the last thing that India want at this stage.

Now with so many things to look after almost in no time, where does Team India look to find an inspiration? Well, there is a guy who had been an in-and-out player for a long time. People used to say that his talent is good for nothing and he will never perform. Then he started to be amongst the most consistent run scorers in IPL. People then kept saying that he will only perform in IPL. Thereafter he clinched the double ton mark twice in ODIs as the first player in the history of the game, yet people were like he will only perform in Indian pitches. And now slowly but surely over the last 3 years he has transformed himself into a monster of limited over’s format and become one of the most prolific run scorers at the top in world cricket. And now the people who can actually never keep their mouth shut will say that whenever this guy scores a century his team loses the match! Isn’t this a real shame? Come on Team India! Just don’t let this happen all too easily. Do it for the hero of your nation. Do it for Rohit Sharma.

  1. Ayan Kumar Roy permalink

    Rohit’s centuries and India’s defeat. I have found a similarity between master blaster and him..!!!

    • Still 75% of Sachin’s centuries were at the winning cause or drawn games. Rohit also has quite a few of such hundreds. But it is the last four that are creating the mess.

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