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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sehwag revisited

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So after having a really good time since his comeback to the Test side which even saw his appointment as the vice-captain after Kumble's retirement, Sehwag had a quite series and failed to cross 50 in the Test series against New Zealand. His highest score was 48 came in the final test.

He suffered a lot of criticism for his expansive and irresponsible shots in the second Test match where the home team had scored over 600 runs and India was trying to save the match. Interestingly, he was also the captain in that very match as Dhoni sat out because of an injury. Even Rahul Dravid issued a statement saying that "You cannot your natural game all the time". It is quite obvious for former players and media to call for the axe when a player fails, particularly in a cricket mad country like ours. So is the present criticism justified?

Sehwag fans might say that this is the way he play and this is the way he has won many matches. True, what Sehwag brings to the table is a bit of variety as opens up newer possibilities with his approach. For instance, India recently chased 387 in the fourth innings, courtesy Sehwag. So does that mean, we should pack our side with 5 or 6 Sehwags. The answers is a simple no.

A team is not selected merely by statistics. Otherwise the Indian team would have been selected by a Computer Software who would collate all statistics of bowling and batting and then announce the team. A team is one which has the maximum possibility of winning. So a team would like to have a mix of both right handers and left handers to create problems for fielding sides. Similarly, a left-armer is often preffered to bring in a variety unless a the right-armer to miles ahead of him. Moreover, you need good specialist fielders who have fielded in slips and gully in the past. A spinner is also important to help the overrate and aso take off load of fast bowlers. Morever, he can come to use in the second innings.

A team packed with Sehwags is not guaranteed to succeed. In the IPL last year, Deccan Chargers had Afridi, Gibbs, Gilchrist, Symonds and yet their batting struggled. Similarly a team of Dravids won't work either. Bangalore had Dravid, Jaffer, Kallis, Chandarpaul and they too didn't do well.

It is the right mix that we need. So yes, Sehwag must stay. But one point on which I agree with the critics is that Sehwag is not a captaincy material. He does not convey the right message to a newcomer because of the way he throws his wicket. He should be removed immediately from vice-captaincy. Problem is that then who should be the vice-captain.

Dravid and Tendulkar are too old. Laxman is 34 and is a possible candidate but only in short term. Assuming that we don't want a bowling Test captain, only candidates that are left are Yuvraj and Gambhir. Yuvraj hasn't still istablished himself while Gambhir is just beginning to. In my opinion, selector should go Laxman for the next 2 years and then go for Gambhir. Its high time that Yuvraj should be dropped all together from Tests as he has failed to establish himself even after 8-9 years. He has scored three centuries all in sub-continent against Pakistan. He failed miserably in Australia and so also in New Zealand whose attack can at best be called average. His only half-century on the final day of the second Test match against a tired bowling attack which had been kept on the field for the last 2 days.

Badrinath, who has consistently scored in domestic Ranji Trophy for last 3-4 season and has emerged among the leading scorers deserves a better treatment. He is a more othodox player and could be a possible replacement of Rahul whenever the Wall decides to hang his boots. But the selectors so far have prefered Yuvraj primarily because of his one-day exploits.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why Aren’t India and Bangladesh the Best of Friends?

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I came across an excellent article on Vinod's blog by the same title. I heard most of the points that we were put forward, for the first time and the article gave fresh perspective.

I am mentioning some of the points. But do read the entire article.

  • Indians tend to (wrongly) assume that because East Pakistan revolted against West Pakistani domination, it has given up its aspiration to be an Islamic country. Bangladesh is doubtless proud of its Bengali culture, but it never gave up its Islamic character either.
  • Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman, the father of the Bangladeshi nation, was a member of the All India Muslim Students Federation since 1940. Mujib-ur Rahman was very close to Huseyn Suhrawardy, a leading member of the Bengal Muslim League, who worked actively for the cause of Pakistan. Mujib-ur Rahman was based in Kolkata in 1946, working under Suhrawardy’s guidance, when the Muslim League organised Direct Action Day, leading to large scale communal violence and deaths.
  • Even in 1965 when India and Pakistan went to war, East Pakistan stood fast with West Pakistan though they complained that the Pakistani army was not present in strength in East Pakistan to defend it in case of an attack by India.
  • Even when the Pakistani army was systematically murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians, many thousands of Bengalis collaborated with the Pakistani army. Doubtless such people were fired by their Islamic zeal, which made them want Pakistan to remain unified as a single Islamic nation.
  • Soon after independence, Bangladesh sought membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank.
  • In 1974, less than 3 years after independence, Mujib-ur Rahman made a trip to Lahore to attend an OIC conference and patch up ties with Pakistan. After Zia-ur Rahman came to power, Bangladesh moved much further into the Islamic camp.
  • Even now, Bangladesh has an Islamic fundamentalist base which fights for stronger ties with Pakistan and other Islamic states, rather than with India.It is wrong to assume that this core group of Islamic fundamentalists is something new. Bangladesh always had this hardcore chunk, for without them, East Bengal would not have voted to break off from West Bengal and the rest of India.
  • Disaproportionate number of victims of the pogrom in East Pakistan were Hindus. Currently Hindus account for around 10% of Bangladesh’s population, as opposed to around 28% in 1941 and approximately 15% before the Pakistani army pogrom.
  • Another reason for the average Bangladeshi on the street to hate India is India’s treatment of Bangladeshi immigrants. As we all know, immigrant inflows and outflows are dictated largely by supply and demand. Poverty stricken Bangladesh has a large number of people willing to work very hard just to make enough to eat two square meals a day. India, despite its poverty and other problems, has many areas where an individual willing to work hard can make an honest living.