Tales from a trail
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Tales from a trail

It was time someone of authority conveyed Powar - get into shape if you want to stay in the team, writes Akshay Sawai.

cricket Updated: Oct 07, 2007 03:56 IST
Hindustan Times

Having spent the last eight days following the Indian team in its series against Australia, here are a few random thoughts on matters cricketing, travelling, eating, etcetering, etcetering. The knives are out for India following sobering defeats in two matches. That's a good thing, but only up to a point. It shows that we don't rest on our laurels. That said, experts and the media shouldn't be harsh and preachy towards the players.

India are competing against the world's best side, Australia. Besides, we have been playing without a proper break since August. India beat South Africa in the One-dayers, England in Tests and won the World Twenty20. That's more success in one season than many managed in their whole careers. After India won the 1983 World Cup, the West Indies came here for a long tour. They caught hold of us, hung us to dry, ground us into powder, sprinkled us on their dinner, belched and laughed. Some players from that team perhaps still live in a salt-and-pepper shaker. Three-nil in the Tests. Five-nil or something in the One-day Internationals. That was the result.

So, let's be sensible here.

The bad thing about Hyderabad: even Bournvita tastes like biryani. The good thing about Hyderabad: even Bournvita tastes like biryani. I have a fear. Someday, India will see a stadium disaster.

When India play, stadiums are packed. That is great. But, there is no order. There is no sense of control. The police are busy gaping at the players or throwing their weight around. The exits are narrow. Else, as was the case in Hyderabad, they are not well-lit. The disaster management at some venues is next to nil.

The spectators make it worse. Most refuse to behave in a civilised fashion. If at all there is a panic situation, a stampede is inevitable. The Board has to look at this area seriously.

Dilip Vengsarkar was right in hauling up Ramesh Powar for his weight. We've been indulgent of his bulk at times, like a mother whose child sneaks into the kitchen and eats eleven laddoos. It was time someone of authority gave the message to Powar - get into shape if you want to stay in the team. Or become a laughing Buddha in one of the many Chinese restaurants opening in the city.

Is something the matter with Rahul Dravid? He is seemed out of it in the series so far, particularly while fielding. In the first match in Bangalore, there was an embarrassing misfield at cover point. But you thought he was enjoying the unbearable lightness of being… ex-captain. You forgave him. He was more visible in Kochi, where his 49-run stand with Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave the team a chance while chasing Australia's 306. But he had a wan game again in Hyderabad. Whatever it is, we hope it's not serious and long-lasting.

India didn't bowl a single no-ball in the last two matches. So the free hit rule has some indirect benefits for bowlers. It makes them watch their step, no?

First Published: Oct 07, 2007 03:01 IST