Pakistan fell to Dravid's captaincy
Each and every Pakistan dismissal looked very well scripted, writes Javagal Srinath.india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 18:02 IST
At times, captaincy is just not all about picking the right eleven or doing the right moves on the field. It is also important of captains winning the right toss at the right time. To translate the strategies discussed in the team meeting into realities on the field, winning the toss sometimes become a highly crucial factor.
Rahul winning the toss at Multan on Thursday certainly did not make the host skipper any more comfortable as he was already leading a depleted side. Throughout the tour, Shoaib Akthar's pace and Shahid Afridi's flamboyant batting were the main threats to the tourists.
The absence of this dangerous duo created a big void in the Pakistan team. Hence, the belief of winning the match was certainly low on the host side. Losing two key players and then the toss was a double blow for Pakistan.
For India, the performance of the youngsters was a treat to watch. The three relatively new fast bowlers -- Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and RP Singh -- looked a formidable lot under the given conditions. Three fast bowlers operating for Indian is not new but the trio bowling in tandem with a common purpose is a rare sight.
Kamran Akmal's dismissal was meticulously executed. When such plans fetch desired results, it automatically helps to build a tremendous understanding between the captain and the bowler.
Sreesanth caught the eyes with better pace and attitude, but this time it was RP Singh who proved to be the dark horse. He was simply outstanding. A bouncer that rattled Shoaib Malik was followed by an intelligent spot on inswinger to pack Younis Khan back to the Pavilion. An unassuming character, RP Singh, in fact, is the sharpest of the lot. His easy run up to the wicket with a deceptive quick arm delivery can bemuse batsmen.
Pakistan batsmen are natural stroke players. And in one-dayers, the idea of settling down at the wicket does not exist. But in this game, the hosts went about defending the first few overs, which looked completely out of sorts. They curtailed their natural instinct and fell for the tourists' ploy.
Salman Butt's tentative footwork for the away balls was worked out very well. Shoaib Malik got out on a well directed short-pitch. Time and again he has exposed his vulnerability to such deliveries. Akram Kamal was a victim of good a piece of captaincy by Dravid.
Younis Khan and Mohammed Yousuf again got out on good balls. On the whole it was not the batsmen who gave the wickets but the bowlers literally bowled them out working on their weaknesses.
I cannot imagine if Yuvraj Singh had ever been so consistent in his career. Yuvraj's shots were powered with his high back lift and Rahul's dogged determination did not allow Pakistan to make an impact.
Suresh Raina exhibited top class maturity in his approach towards the game. He not only has a great technique to play fast bowling but has a good cricketing acumen especially while picking the right bowlers to play shots. Rotating the strike and good running between the wickets can bail the batsmen out of any difficult situation.
Rahul captaincy was remarkable. Each and every Pakistan dismissal looked very well scripted. This series win is an important achievement in his career as a leader. It's never an easy beginning for him. Even in his own career, he took time to settle down in the shorter version of the game.
Here, after taking the reigns over from Ganguly, which was again not under best circumstances, Rahul had to make a lot of efforts to reach the stage where he is now today.
The usual practice in the one day format is to win the toss and elect to bat. Invariably, the team that bats second tends to succumb under the pressure of chasing the runs on board.
But in this series, while the team batting second has suffered mostly, the team bowling first has always driven the team to an advantageous position. It proves the pitches in this series did have a definitive role for the bowlers.