India's 'grey matters' needs lustre
The grey areas of a misfiring top order and floundering pace attack will have to be quickly mopped up if India wants to complete the job half done when they meet the indomitable Bangladeshis for the second ODI of the Grameenphone one-day series in Mirpur on Saturday.
India won the first ODI by five wickets alright, but a most unconvincing one. Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed character and discipline enroute with his undefeated 91. Dinesh Kaarthick is rising in stature as a bastman with each match. There was a lot of camaraderie on and off the field.
But one cannot forget the hara-kiri created by the top order with some irresponsible and wayward batting. One has to introspect into the hanging shoulders and look-away action of the pacers first up.
One has also to look into some unimaginative field setting while the Bangladeshi rookies were making merry in the park.
Forever an eye sore will be Munaf Patel running alongside the ball all the way to the long on boundary. So much for fielding standards.
Despite Ravi Shastri's tall claims that India will be unstoppable in the series after the hard fought victory in the opening tie, he slipped in the worries of the grey areas.
Talking to the media for the first time on tour, Shastri said, "At one point I was also nervous about the outcome, but the boys showed tremendous character and fighting spirit."
"It will be difficult to defeat us now. Bangladesh better beware," he warned.
Shastri, however, admitted that there were grey areas. "There is work to be done in a couple of areas, but I would rather take a win in this fashion. It was a tough game and I am really proud of the way the guys responded."
"But I would look at the positives than dwell on the negatives," he quickly added.
But the grey areas are growing just too big to be ignored anymore. It's hard to remember when Gautam Gambhir last played an innings of responsibility. Virender Sehwag has shown he is not out of form completely but even after eight years of international cricket, the rugged J
does not know when to put a stop. Sehwag could have finished off Bangladesh alone had he been more selective in his strokemaking, but he again flattered to deceive.
Yuvraj Singh looked out of sorts and Rahul Dravid, usually a solid slayer of spin, found the left-armers handful.
Yet, Dhoni and Kaarthick with their limited array of strokes showed the opposition was not of the highest quality.
On the top order coming a cropper, Rahul said, "We need to bat a little well at the top. We should not have lost as many wickets as we did, but I am quite happy and I am sure as the games go on, the top order will fire."
Asked whether he found the victory satisfying, the skipper said, "Yes. But there are some areas we can get better at and do better at."
Now comes the bowling part. Zaheer's seven overs cost him 54 runs, Sreeshanth began well for 14 runs for his five overs, but a cramp left him out of action. Munaf Patel was impressive in bursts. If the bowler doesn't improve, he is a burden as he is a pathetic fielder and a non-starter with the willow.