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Essence of game will be lost

This series has been hyped so much that the build-up I thought, had reached unnatural proportions, writes Arun Lal.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2004 18:09 IST
Arun Lal
Arun Lal

This series has been hyped so much that the build-up I thought, had reached unnatural proportions. The match miraculously surpassed all the hype. We were really privileged to watch some phenomenal batting. Normally there is a man of the match but if ever there was a case for having more awards, it was in this game.

It was great team effort on both sides and Pakistan paid the penalty for the 38 extras conceded. It was great to have India win but one can't help feeling for the gallant Pakistani chase. Having said that, no team that is so indisciplined in it's bowling deserves to win. I am sure they realise that and now that the first match is out of the way, the nerves would have had time to settle on both sides.

There has been so much hype about the Pakistani bowling and I am sure it is a hangover from the Akram -Waqar days. There is nothing extraordinary about the bowling effort except for pace. There is definite talent but requires time. I do expect them to tighten up but they are far from being threatening just yet.

A lot is being made about Inzamam fielding after winning the toss. On these extraordinary batting tracks, the toss is actually quite irrelevant. In fact, in day games, in case there is even a hint of moisture, it's not such a bad idea to field first. The wicket if anything, improves during the afternoon and you have a target and so can plan your chase.

Sehwag was just too good on the day. I have always maintained that he is an exceptional talent and one of the most dangerous in modern cricket. Thank God he is on our side. He has to learn however, to convert blistering starts into fast hundreds, which after the first ten overs are there for the taking. I guess the penny will drop one of these days.

I get the impression that Tendulkar is being influenced by Sehwag rather than the reverse, which could then not only make them even more difficult to handle but also far more consistent.

This was indeed one of the finest contests and will endure in memory. We were treated to a fabulous display of batting particularly by Sehwag, Dravid, Youhana and Inzamam. The only disturbing feature is that all the bowlers were annihilated. Once the euphoria settles, we will realize that the bowlers didn't have a chance. In case such wickets are given regularly, not only will we have to revise targets upwards of 300 but also bowling will suffer.

As it is, the bat is dominating the ball in world cricket and it's the bowlers who have to be encouraged, otherwise very few youngsters will take to bowling. Moreover, everyone likes runs to be scored, but not so unrealistically as to be predictable. Ideally, 250 should win more than lose otherwise the essence of the sport, which is bat versus ball, will be in lost.

First Published: Mar 15, 2004 23:36 IST