They lack vision for the future
It is an ill-omen to see a fox lick the lamb. India made mincemeat of minnows Namibia in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday and while the thumping 181-run win has its pluses, it also could be said that it was poor preparation for the big games ahead.india Updated: Feb 25, 2003 12:54 IST
It is an ill-omen to see a fox lick the lamb. India made mincemeat of minnows Namibia in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday and while the thumping 181-run win has its pluses, it also could be said that it was poor preparation for the big games ahead.
The game itself was like swindling a credulous victim, plucking a pigeon, but the moot point is that India betrayed a sense apprehension when approaching matters of team selection. It appeared as if India were not keen to have an eye on the sterner test ahead, against England and Pakistan. There was no vision, no foresight. The message sent out to bowlers like Ajit Agarkar and even Anil Kumble, was one of rejection.
South Africa, despite their woes, have shown the courage to give all their bowlers a workout, picking Andrew Hall ahead of Allan Donald for the game against Bangladesh. It means all their bowlers have been tested. You cannot say that of India, who convey the impression that they are undecided about their attack going into the last two big games.
This game against Namibia was the ideal platform to rest Javagal Srinath, keeping him fresh for the game against England.
It was absurd to keep Agarkar out of this match. He should have been allowed to bowl along with Nehra so both could be assessed for their rhythm. With 10 overs from this game, Agarkar would have sharpened his skills.
As cruel irony would have it, Nehra's ankle injury now means that India may have to pull Agarkar out of hibernation and play him against England on a Durban track that is known to favour the quicker bowlers. Agarkar is bound to be rusty. The vision was conspicuous in its absence. Remember, minds are like parachutes; they only function when they are open.
India's big gain from the outing at Pietermaritzburg was skipper Sourav Ganguly's return to form. Namibia's pedestrian attack, with its dibbly-dobbly bowlers, may be branded popatwadi in Indian terms but Ganguly will be a relieved man, a fresh spirit infused in his veins after leaving behind a horror run of 17 straight innings with a top-score of 24.
The knock, which showcased his prime assets --- timing and placement --- will only have propped up his self-belief. Having finally slotted himself to bat at No. 3, he beavered away at the start before unleashing his characteristic strokeplay. More than the runs, the authority with which he made them will have increased his confidence.