Sunday, March 13, 2011

World Cup 2011 - Indian Cricket Steyned

It was a boisterous and packed out Vidarbha Stadium, Nagpur. The Sehwag and Tendulkar train had taken off and the bollywood star-studded crowd created a cyclonic storm of noise and support. The obviously thrilled Indian commentators spoke of a 400 plus score, and things looked as bleak as ever for South Africa, in theory anyway.

Ah but then...
I can recall explicitly saying this game plan can fall apart with good bowling. I'm not always right, but I love it when I am. The axe finally came crashing down, at 267-1 in the 40th over, the most spectacularly mindless batting performance unfolded. They lost nine wickets for 29 runs. The first team in the world cup to truly meet the wrath of Dale Steyn.

2-267 (Tendulkar, 39.4 ov)3-268 (Gambhir, 40.1 ov)4-268 (Pathan, 40.3 ov),5-283 (Yuvraj Singh, 42.6 ov)
6-286 (Kohli, 43.6 ov)7-293 (Harbhajan Singh, 46.5 ov)8-294 (Khan, 47.4 ov),
9-296 (Nehra, 48.3 ov)10-296 (Patel, 48.4 ov)

And these numbers don't even tell the full story. Six of those were poor slogs straight to fielders, four came in the atrocity known as the batting powerplay, and during that period there was only solitary six, no other boundaries. The crowd was reduced to making Akmal faces in funeral silence.

Pictured: One seriously sick worm ©

Now I am not a cynic, I don't want the Indians to crash and burn just for the heck of it, and I do feel sympathetic for Tendulkar. If they learn from their mistakes and become a better team for it, then I will rightfully praise them. Here is my advice to the team.

1. Ones And Twos
Especially at the death, you cannot 'Ross Taylor' every innings. When things are not going right, don't try and smash your way out of it, find the gaps and look for twos, they really do add up. India jogs the first run, therefore never capitalize on misfields. Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke are two prime examples of how it should be done, the odd boundary plus excellent running fetches eight an over without that same risk.

2. Stop Acting
Enough with the dancing in the dressing rooms, the exaggerated dives when taking simple catches, the noses-up walking with style. And don't even get me started on the body painting. Why not get the results first, and act 'cool' later. Unlike Bollywood, the lines are not rehearsed and there are no out-takes. If you mess up, you look like a clown, plain and simple.

Bollywood Brokeback? © Getty Images

3. Stop Trying To Be Australia
Especially with the tough guy stares, the sledges and the big talk. Australia back up their tenacity with the utmost skill, a culture developed over years of hard work. Last night especially I saw a few profanities being mouthed off. Its very easy to lose respect. At least New Zealand, when at times lacking anything else, get credit for playing with humility. The Australian attitude is not the aspiration, try the 70's West Indies instead.

4. Enough Worship And Bias
This is one is aimed at the spectators and the commentators.
  • Sachin is not god.
  • Munaf Patel is not McGrath (!).
  • How many times can you say "outstanding shot" or "incredible batting" to a hoick over the infield?
  • Seems every member of the top seven is "dangerous", "a class player" and a "big wicket".
  • Rather than say "holed out to mid on", maybe give credit to the excellent Steyn slower ball bowled at Gambhir's body.
  • You conveniently ignore the bad Indian fielding, full tosses or glory slogs, and sound depressed when it does happen.
Did I just say biased commentary, sounds very Australian! (The exception is Ravi Shastri). Without doubt the best commentators in world cricket are the English, bring on Bumble, not these bumblers. 


  1. I find the articles on cricinfo by indian writers are as biased as the TV commentary. There's way too much team india praise going around, and not enough criticism....

    and with the TV commentary it really gets to me how they say things like "they're the superstars of world cricket" as the team walks out. To me South Africa has the stars in guys like Amla, Kallis, AB Devilliers, Steyn....guys who get it done consistently as opposed to lazy players with inflated batting records buoyed by their dead wickets at home

  2. Sad to say but the so called Indian 'studs'cum players seem to forget that 'our' culture is one of respect and humility.

    Outbursts of profanity does not make the man but shows the lack of class of some of the players for the world to see including their own kith and kin.

    As for the cricket, poor Sachin must at times wonder why he slaves away for his runs only for his team to give their wickets away like dominos. The fielding at district level in NZ and Australia would put the Indian national side to shame