Sunday, April 02, 2006

India - England - 3rd ODI - Preview


As we start the daylight savings time here in the US, and move an hour ahead, its going to get late by an hour to see the 3rd ODI being played between India and England. At the moment though, India sit pretty well leading the series 2-0. Not an unassailable lead, but definitely a lead that would make them feel more comfortable and confident. The one other thing that this lead has done is that it has made Englad lose all the momentum (if any) that they would have generated for themselves by winning the 3rd Test match.

Although India seem to have won both the matches, there are a lot of areas that India could do to improve upon. Firstly of course if their catching. The catching was good in the first ODI, but the slips by Ramesh Powar and Suresh Raina let India down again in that department. I still cannot believe that Ramesh Powar could have dropped the catch that he did.

Secondly of course is their top order batting. Sehwag really needs to come up with a class act soon, otherwise he may also have to sit out of the team. His over-weight is now starting to cause a lot of worry for him and for the team -- it is really looking like excessive baggage. The balance in the shots that he plays is missing and so is his confidence. Gautam Gambhir on the other hand has looked in both the outings, but has failed to convert the starts into a big innings. These two and the number 3 and 4 batsmen really have to put up their hands and come up with much better performances, if India are to continue winning their matches.

It is also interesting to see that there has not been any experimentation in both these games so far. The batting order has come up with no surprises, and there have been no shuffling. Makes me think, if Dravid and Guru Greg had had enough of it, or if not experimenting with the batting line-up is also an experiment in itself? It would be worth to try someone else at the top of the innings and let sehwag come down the order for a couple of innings till he gets his momentum going.

The pitch at the Nehru Stadium in Goa will be a new one - re-laid out ( See the photo at the beginning of the blog). Only time will tell whether the Indian batsmen will get their act together or not. We are also waiting for the more traditional (now) ODI - the one with high scores and large number of boundaries. Will that be the case in tomorrow's game?

But one thing is for sure, that if India does not improve their two shortcomings, they may well see England convert their periods of domination into a positive result. Will Goa be that venue? Well, its not been a very good hunting ground for the Indians, having lost all the 4 games that they have played here so far. Lets wait and watch ....

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