A team on the upward curve
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A team on the upward curve

The Indian one-day batting is increasingly looking like a demolition squad. To beat England by eight wickets in 39.3 overs, chasing 269 runs, is an incredible performance.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2007 16:35 IST
Binoo K. John
Binoo K. John

The Indian one-day batting is increasingly looking like a demolition squad. To beat England by eight wickets in 39.3 overs, chasing 269 runs, is an incredible performance and carries on from the NatWest final where too there was an element of the supernatural in India’s win.

Well, England is not the best of the bowling sides, but not so bad that they should let an opening partnership put on 192 runs. It is just that Virender Sehwag played strokes that stumped the bowlers and made them look so ordinary. He was dropped by Nick Knight at slips but that was the only chance he gave. Now the only way to get him out in one-day matches seems to be at the slip since Shewag still is not sure of some balls pitched on the off and going away a bit late.

The blistering innings of Viru as he is aptly called these days, overshadowed the century by his captain Sourav Ganguly who for the most part stood admiring the Sehwag pyrotechnics and then lethargically run out VVS Laxman. Ganguly opened up towards the end but by that time, England was in tatters and he was enjoying himself thoroughly.

This opening partnership holds out ominous warning for South Africa whom India meet in the semi-finals on Wednesday. The Indian team is on the upward curve and as this reporter mentioned earlier has already set itself up as major contender for the World Cup. Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan are improving with every outing. For the first 15 overs the England batter did not know what was happening. After two early wickets, it was going to be difficult. It may be argued that the fast bowlers set up the victory.

The team had a luxury of glittering batsmen in the line-up with the return of Laxman. If the top order plays well, there is a case for including one bowler or all-rounder in the playing eleven. In a one-day match where there is time for one or two batsmen to do their act in full, one more all-rounder might help matters.

Rahul Dravid’s wicket-keeping continues to be an embarrassment and he cannot be blamed for it. He is going beyond the call of duty. Alternating between Laxman and Dravid and taking a wicket-keeper is an option worth thinking about.

Occasionally just to confuse the opposition bowlers, it might be a good idea to open with Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag. The very sight of both of them walking out to open will give a psychological edge. In any case the team has an embarrassment of riches in terms of batting. The broad smile of John Wright’s face after the match reflected the happiness of the gatekeeper of great treasures.

Nasser Hussain’s men go back to face the horror of another Ashes series. England stands no chance against Australia as Mark Waugh said in an interview last week to a British paper. So, the pre-World Cup scenario looks rather bleak for Hussain. It will need all his skills as a good captain to take a confident team to South Africa for the World Cup.

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First Published: Sep 23, 2002 12:05 IST