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Back him in his hour of need

Too much cricket, fatigue, injury, change in action, confidence, familiarity could be their bane. Ishant Sharma, for instance, is one of the brightest fast bowling hopes of the cricketing world.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2009 02:10 IST

The rain hurt India badly at Centurion. Now, Pakistan have to oblige India by gunning down the in-form Australia on Wednesday and then India have to roll over the West Indies without mercy.

Any other result to would make the evening’s contest a non-event. Bowling was India’s ulcer against Pakistan and it clearly needed intervention. That India chose two new bowlers, two spinners and five men to complement the attack reflected the panic that had seized the camp.

Fortunately, both Praveen Kumar and Amit Mishra looked the part. There is enough pressure when you are not the first choice for the eleven. It only multiplies if the game is of sudden-death variety. Fortunately, the two young men are tough cookies.

Bowlers are a precious breed and a clear-cut policy is needed for these thoroughbreds.

Too much cricket, fatigue, injury, change in action, confidence, familiarity could be their bane. Ishant Sharma, for instance, is one of the brightest fast bowling hopes of the cricketing world.

But he now needs help. If we can gloat when he touches 140 kmph, we owe a similar responsibility if this young man is undergoing a low phase.

He deserves support not contempt for his present travails. India had applied the brakes on Monday, just 12 runs had come from five overs when Ishant conceded 16 from his first visit to the bowling crease. And Australia never looked back. With three half centuries and eight overs still remaining, Ricky Ponting’s men looked good for 300. It’s pointless to ponder if India could have managed the chase. The truth is India were gasping when rain intervened.

It’s now in the hands of cricketing gods. India’s win against the West Indies might matter little.

They could look at the absence of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan and feel sorry for themselves. Or they could paint rain as the villain. But if this bunch is honest, it would seriously look for answers to its bowling and fielding ills.

This tournament has been full of surprises. England have made the cut while South Africa have fallen by the wayside.

The fate of Sri Lanka and India hangs by the thread. Australia too aren’t comfortable either.

It is good for one-day cricket. As for whether it’s good for the crowd and advertisers if South Africa and India are missing, your guess is as good as mine. TCM