“Ask tough questions to Rahul Dravid, sir,” said the KSCA staffer who provides microphone service at the press conference hall. “What kind of cricket are they playing? Losing one after another. I will assemble four foreigners and they will perform better than the players.” His frustration was understandable. Bangalore are nowhere near making the knockout stage, unless you believe in miracles.
Halfway through their campaign and with two wins from seven games, Bangalore look lost. And that is understating the obvious. Folding up for only 126 on Monday night against Mohali on a pitch visiting coach Tom Moody reckoned was worth 175-180, Bangalore seem to have failed the test in this format of cricket.
For only Dravid and Virat Kohli to measure up to the opposition on a pitch that the home team captain rated as “the best pitch we played in five matches in Bangalore”, the rest of the team should feel ashamed. Dravid was merely stating the obvious when he said: “We have not played well in the first half. That is why we are in a position from where it is tough to get to the semis.”
From the evening, Brendon McCullum caused mayhem in their backyard, Bangalore have struggled with their combination. They chopped and changed and gave no one a fair, long run. They sent Kohli at number three, then to seven and finally at number two. They tried local lad Bharath Chipli who looked like a fish out of water.
Wasim Jaffer was left out after only one game before Dravid reposed faith in him again and Cameron White, whose experience in the T20 cricket is almost peerless, was given only two games (he did carry a niggle but was fit for more matches).
Dravid's dependence on Jacques Kallis seems to have more to do with reputation than current form.
And barring a half-century against the Delhi team, Kallis has been a huge disappointment. It is an embarrassment that after seven games, Ross Taylor is the second leading scorer for Bangalore (149 runs from four matches), 15 lesser than Dravid, who got them in seven innings.
The bowling of Dale Steyn, Praveen Kumar (8 wickets) and Zaheer Khan (12 wickets) has been the only positive for Bangalore but even that department hasn't been at full throttle following Anil Kumble's groin playing up. “We need to have a run like the Mohali team had (five straight wins after beginning with two losses),” Dravid said. “The batting hasn't just clicked. We lost wickets up front and in the end as well.” The second half of the league stage for Bangalore will be just as difficult, if not worse.
Jaffer out of IPL
Bangalore opener Wasim Jaffer has been ruled out of the IPL because of a fracture in the little finger of his left hand. Sources told HT that Jaffer was hit on an already-injured hand during the match against Chennai. Bangalore's double whammy was complete when team CEO Charu Sharma resigned on Tuesday.