Wednesday, March 01, 2006

India vs England: T1D1

This has to be the weakest commentary team ever assembled. I thought the combination of Rameez, Siva, Deano, Waqar and Arun Lal in Pakistan was quite poor, but now that Rameez, Waqar and Arun Lal have been replaced by Botham, Nasser Hussain, Atherton and Srinath, I'm having a rethink. The only saving grace is David Gower, but you can almost feel him pining for Boycott, Blofeld, Richie and Harsha. Now that would be worth listening to. Perhaps I ought to tune into TMS instead.

On the cricket field there was a lot of contrast - a little bit of everything and nothing.

Two excellent catches, paired with a poor drop by Laxman, and an incredible self-inflicted nutmeg by Suresh Raina - not the first act he would have hoped for in the Test match arena.

Some incisive reverse-swing, in both directions, with the old ball, and some extremely pedestrian rubbish with the new ball.

Turn and bounce, on occasion, for Harbhajan, and no turn and no bounce, for Kumble.

Some top-drawer strokeplay from Ian Bell, and a fighting innings, as ever, from Paul Collingwood; and rash batsmanship from Strauss and Pietersen, and very little fight from Ian Bell.

A superb piece of umpiring by Aleem Dar, to give Jones lbw, and a rather poor decision from Ian Howell to send Flintoff packing.

Amidst all those contrasts, the two captains can be proud of their days work. Rahul Dravid marshalled his troops intelligently, and took a blinder at first slip, and Andrew Flintoff won the toss, and himself did everything right with the bat, dismissed only by a weak decision from the umpire.

Beyond that, it was two debutants who left a lasting impression. Once he overcame his early nerves, Sreesanth was able to hit the 85mph mark consistently, and showed an ability to reverse the ball in either direction. What's more, the former national breakdance champion (yes, that's for real) spared us the booty-shake that he will forever be remembered for.

For England, Alistair Cook quite simply looked as if he belonged. Much has been written about him over the last 5 or 6 years - another FEC (future england captain) if you will. It's too early to pass judgement, but as Nasser Hussain said, the lad appears to have it sorted out between the ears. Should Michael Vaughan's injury curtail his career, Cook looks well capable of filling those shoes.

On to Day 2, and India will be hoping to bowl England out for about 275. I'm looking forward to seeing Monty Panesar bat - by all accounts he's the rabbit's rabbit, as such. More than that though, I'm hoping that Harmison will be able to extract at least a hint of bounce at 90mph, and that Flintoff and Hoggard will swing and reverse the ball at a similar pace. If they can do that, things might yet get interesting. Frankly, anything that stops Nasser Hussain, of all people, passing judgement on batting technique, would keep me happy.

1 comment:

spicehut said...

Hi,

First time on your blog. I am interested in cricket but dont know much about the technicalities. But I second what you said :
"Rameez, Siva, Deano, Waqar and Arun Lal in Pakistan was quite poor"

Well I would leave Dean Jones out (he's cute) and I liked Arun Lal's commentary.

But Rameez Raja is the worst commentator ever...in this series he atleast appreciated the Indian players to a certain degree but before this he used to just clam up whenever a Indian did well...except for Tendulkar, for whom he has always been quite eloquent in his praise.

Secondly Rameez is very pessimistic in his commentary. Same goes for Sanjay Manjrekar. Both commentating together can send even Ray Romano into a depression.

Siva is just ... dunno ... naive or dumb-like.

Where are Ravi Shastri, Harsha Bhogle etc ??