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'there Will Be A Few Guys Under Pressure'

, Chappel at Press conference

 
 
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> 'there Will Be A Few Guys Under Pressure', Chappel at Press conference
zashakeel
post Jan 7 2007, 01:46 PM
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Dileep Premachandran in Cape town

January 6, 2007

Greg Chappell, the coach, was candid in his assessment of the gains and losses after yet another Indian campaign overseas ended with the bitter taste of defeat. Chappell addressed India's batting failures in the last two Tests, while praising the likes of Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and Sourav Ganguly for their contributions. And though he didn't say it in so many words, a few major changes are likely ahead of the eight one-day internationals at home in January and February.

After having much the better of the first three days, India surrendered the initiative on the fourth afternoon when they could add only 48 runs for the loss of four wickets before tea. "We lost momentum during that middle session," said Chappell. "That certainly didn't help the situation, and was a significant contribution to not winning the game. I also think we failed to get as many as we should have got in the first innings [the last five wickets contributed 19].

"The bowlers have done a pretty good job through the series and to miss out on the opportunity to win it is a little disappointing. I don't want to overstate things but I think it's fair to say that our batting was disappointing in the last two Test matches, having won the first Test."

Asked about the mood in the dressing room after South Africa knocked off the 211 needed with five wickets still standing, Chappell said: "We are a little bit flat, disappointed in the fact that we got away to such a good start and then let it get away from us. You have got to look at the positives as well. We have won [a Test] for the first time in South Africa and that in itself is something to be enjoyed. But the edge has been taken off it a little bit by the disappointing batting in the last two Test matches."

While South Africa's big-name players came back with a vengeance in the final two Tests, Graeme Smith leading the way, India's big guns never boomed. "It's hard to escape, but that's the case," he said. "I don't want to make too big a point at this stage. It's posed quite a few questions for us and there are things we are going to discuss over the next week or so.

"The positive side of it is that some of the young boys performed very well. They showed they have got some skill, some temperament and good personalities for international cricket. Sree's bowling has been outstanding, Zaheer has been very good as well. Kumble has done a pretty good job for us, I don't think he can be criticised for today. It just wasn't a wicket that gave any of the bowlers a great deal of assistance which probably highlights how disappointing our batting was yesterday."

One man whose lack of form has come under most scrutiny is Virender Sehwag. After dropping down to the middle order in the first innings, where he scored 40, Sehwag continued his dismal run at the top with a second-innings failure. "He's certainly a concern but I don't think he is our only batting concern at the moment," said Chappell. "We are just not getting enough consistent runs. We seem to be losing wickets in batches, which is something you try and avoid in international cricket, particularly in a Test match.

"Looking at the tour as a whole, there are more questions than answers. Over the next week or so, when we get back to India and have a chance to digest what's happened and discuss and debrief, we're going to have to make some decisions on which direction we go. There will be a few guys under a bit of pressure, there's no doubt."

At the same time, Chappell refused to accept that the decision to open with Sehwag was the wrong option. "I don't know that you can say that any decision is a wrong decision," he said. "It was a calculated decision. He has been an opening batsman, he made 40 in the first innings, and it was a pretty slow, Indian-type wicket. We felt that if any wicket in South Africa was going to suit him, this one would. With a lead of 40, if we had got an hour or so of Virender playing the way he can, all of a sudden that lead would have been 100, and the whole game would have changed.

"The other thing you have to take into consideration is that Karthik did a fabulous job in the first innings, and then kept for 130 overs. I don't think we can ask too much of a young man. We asked a lot of him in the first innings and he delivered as well as anyone could. But you don't necessarily expect a stop-gap opener to be able to do the job continuously."

Even then, India were still in the game when South Africa went off on the fourth evening with 156 still needed. But Smith and Shaun Pollock came out and flayed the bowling, making the most of many gaps in the field and some atrocious ground-fielding. "What Rahul [Dravid] was trying to do was minimise the number of boundaries to try and stretch that 211 as far as possible," said Chappell. "Obviously, we didn't need them to get away with a string of boundaries early in the day. But to be fair, the wicket didn't deteriorate like a lot of people expected, including ourselves.

"I'm not sure it changed greatly. There were some targets for the spin bowlers but it wasn't a minefield by any stretch of the imagination. The centre areas, the major landing areas, were still pretty good, so I suppose it makes our batting performance of yesterday that much more disappointing. There weren't that many gremlins in the wicket, there weren't that many balls flying around. It wasn't up and down, or staying down. If you were prepared to get in and not do anything silly, then batting was not that difficult."

The team management will no doubt attract considerable flak for selecting Munaf Patel, who bowled just one over in the second innings, ahead of Harbhajan Singh, though there were no indicators that the pitch would prove to be so spin-friendly. "It was never a choice between Munaf and Harbhajan," said Chappell. "We wanted the batting that we had and we wanted the balance of the bowling that we had. To be fair, Harbhajan hasn't bowled for a month, so it was going to be a big ask to push him into the team as well.

"It's very easy to look at things in hindsight and say what if, what if. We made the choices based on what we saw and what we had. It wasn't a fitness thing at all."

One of the stories of the tour was the return of Sourav Ganguly, who turned out to be the senior batsman who acquitted himself best. Ganguly started with a vital half-century in the Johannesburg win, and was India's leading scorer in the series with 214 runs. "He has done what he was chosen to do, which is to get in there and get runs," said Chappell. "I thought his performance yesterday in the difficult circumstance of having to be rushed in at the last minute was exceptional."

The same couldn't be said of most of his compatriots. Even as Australia's version of Dad's Army signed off with an epic Ashes triumph, India's appears to be on its last legs. Thankfully, the likes of Sreesanth and Karthik should ensure that the future isn't as grey as the Cape Town skies were this morning.

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo

Cricinfo



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Mandrake
post Jan 7 2007, 02:18 PM
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Tendulkar better be under pressure. He seems to be only a name now. Of late, he seems to be the favourite bunny of debutant bowlers.
Sehwag - if he doesn't go even now, there's something seriously fishy going on there.
Munaf Patel - out.
Harbhajan Singh - they said he wasn't bowling well, and hadn't bowled for A MONTH!!! If that is true, he too better go back to the drawing board.

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zashakeel
post Jan 7 2007, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE(Mandrake @ Jan 7 2007, 02:18 PM) *

Tendulkar better be under pressure. He seems to be only a name now. Of late, he seems to be the favourite bunny of debutant bowlers.
Sehwag - if he doesn't go even now, there's something seriously fishy going on there.
Harbhajan Singh - they said he wasn't bowling well, and hadn't bowled for A MONTH!!! If that is true, he too better go back to the drawing board.


blink.gif

Mr. Bedi will kill us if we dare to THINK so

wub.gif



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Mandrake
post Jan 7 2007, 08:42 PM
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Don't worry.... Bedi would dunk the entire team in the Indian Ocean before we can even utter 'Sach..' biggrin.gif

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balajigade
post Jan 7 2007, 10:19 PM
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A tame surrender by the Indians. I agree with the tea time comment--perhaps it was Wilkinson or Symcox--" I wonder how India could manage to win the 1st Test." Pathan was dropped from the team so that he can play some domestic cricket and improve his form; and maybe Sehwag and Munaf to follow him. I think the whole of the Indian team should play a few matches with teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to get back to the winning streak. The senior batsmen fail every time---unlucky to get out to the most difficult ball; and the junior players to masha allah; the less said the better. Sehwag gives a statement that he would only play his natural game; if it clicks it is ok otherwise he wouldn't mind getting dropped. Such a reckless statement from a opening bat which the entire of innings of the team has to build upon is something to be looked into. It is pity that on a good wicket the team cannot even survive 3 sessions. Only Ganguly and Laxman showed some application and determination to stay at the wicket with some consistency.

Now the world cup tie approaching fast we are back to square one--whom to take? Better we see it from a different angle whom we should drop?

--Balaji

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Mandrake
post Jan 8 2007, 08:03 AM
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And the Indian commentators make it worse!! If someone is dropped, they make a hullaballoo about it, saying 'what will it do to the player's confidence and psyche?' He should be persisted with endlessly till he gets his confidence back?
Even about Sehwag, the constant refrain is 'he is a matchwinner. Even if he fires once in 10 games, he can take the game away from the opposition.' The opposition is only too happy to let the Indians win that ONE game out of TEN laugh.gif
My favourite Tendulkar is living on past glory. Too bad. Ganguly was so right when he said last month that 'all can be dropped, but Sachin will never be dropped.' Look at his last 25 scores. He should have been sent back to domestic cricket long time back!!
If they can do it to Ganguly who was the captain who scored a century before he was dropped, they should apply the same rule to everybody.

...And stop looking for a coach to blame it on.

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zashakeel
post Jan 8 2007, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE(Mandrake @ Jan 8 2007, 08:03 AM) *

If they can do it to Ganguly who was the captain who scored a century before he was dropped, they should apply the same rule to everybody.

...And stop looking for a coach to blame it on.


It is much difficult with our selection committee.

Members of committee should be replaced with some realy good cricketers, then only we can THINK about.




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Mandrake
post Jan 8 2007, 04:27 PM
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Shakeel bhai, we keep hoping that ex-cricketers are the solutions to all woes. This isn't really so.
Kapil Dev was put in charge of the pitches. What happened? Have we got even ONE sporting wicket (because of him)?
Sunil Gavaskar has been put in charge of all possible things. Mention one thing that improved because of him.
Gavaskar, after retirement, had wanted to set up a cricket academy at Mumbai to produce world-class cricketers under his eye. He was provided free land for this. But after 7 years, when nothing came of it, the land was taken back.
Kiran More, who's gone on record saying 'Ganguly will never be picked till we are the selectors' making it so personal, was a cricketer.
Bedi was the coach who famously thundered 'the Indian team should be dunked in the Indian Ocean' after an overseas defeat.

To my mind, the only guy who really brought more repute to India after retiring is S. Venkataraghavan. He was a truly world class umpire.

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balajigade
post Jan 9 2007, 01:56 AM
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Well said Mandrake, by the time the Indian team come out of the euphoria of victory of one-in-ten celebration in the dressing room, the writing is already on the wall(s) !! We have failed a no. of times in the opening stand except a few Gavaskar-Chauhan or Tendulkar-Ganguly combos. But somebody in the middle order and maybe one in the lower order used to dig in and see that the innings ends up in a decent and fighting score...like Jimmy Amaranth, V'sarkar, Ravi Shastri, Azhar or even Robin Singh. Where is such application these days? The bowling has always been a weak point for India but there has been no dearth of batting---particularly in the recent times. After the concluding test match at Cape Town there were certain comments about not giving the ball to Sachin a few overs earlier and to Ganguly. Then I would argue for the batting abilities of Harbhajan or Pathan which we badly missed. !!

Poor Chappel has to face the music. He was praised for his idea of sending Pathan in the one-down and Rahul in the opening slots when they clicked. And when they failed mud is being thrown on him for experimenting too much. Some harsh decisions are to be taken, as Chappel rightly said. When it was Ganguly there was some reaction from a certain part of the country, but tomorrow if it is Sachin, the whole country will be after him. And lo ! somebody was favouring reservation, I don't know on what basis.

Since the days of Kapil & Ghavri the necessity of preparing fast & sporting pitches at home was felt but no serious attempts were made in this directions. If our batsmen are not able to play on fast bouncy tracks abroad, it is the Indian cricket management which is to be blamed. The axe only falls on poor cricketers--when the officials are sacked they go to the court. But at the same time what happened to our spin wizards? Is there any one of this department who can walk into the team straightaway?

Hopefully, our team puts up a better show in the forthcoming ties.

--Balaji
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Mirch Masala
post Feb 11 2007, 05:17 PM
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[Live: India on the verge of victory; 245/7
INDIATIMES CRICKET HEADLINE
With three wickets in hand, India needed 13 more runs in 9 balls to beat Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International at the Madhavrao Scindia ground in Rajkot.

Shortly afterwards India had lost by 5 runs !!!!!!!!
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balajigade
post Feb 11 2007, 09:43 PM
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A very interesting & absorbing match till the end. A well deserved victory for Sri Lanka. It could have been a well deserved victory for India also had they won---looking at the bowling resources it had.

--Balaji
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Nikita Choudhary
post Feb 11 2007, 09:49 PM
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Well, another example of losing a match which we shoud have won convincingly

i am not a cricket expert but its but obvious is that the loss has to do with veeru's inclusion despite his poor form

Niki
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Mirch Masala
post Feb 12 2007, 03:27 PM
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QUOTE(Mandrake @ Jan 8 2007, 09:57 PM) *

Kiran More, who's gone on record saying 'Ganguly will never be picked till we are the selectors'



Bhaiyya Suhas, Ram Ram


Not only has Ganguly been picked but has almost certianly cemented his place on both the Test team and the one dayers.

Not only has he been playing well but also seems to have got rid of his "Maharaja" tendencies, and I think he'll be around for a while now.

Good luck to him.


MM
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