Posted by: nestaquin | January 15, 2009

Pataudi Trophy 2008: A Retrospective

pataudi-2008Imagine my horror discovering unopened reviews of the Second Pataudi Test deep within my inbox by not only The Tooting Trumpet but Rajesh Kanaan as well. Seldom do you get the chance to right life’s wrongs yet that should not prevent an attempt, however clumsy. So with a penitent spirit let’s rewind a few weeks to a time when Kevin Pietersen was England skipper, David Warner was washing cars and South Africa had yet to break their series duck in Australia.

The Indian Perspective by RK

Fate was always going to cock a snook at us for our declarations of impassioned love for Test cricket after the Chennai and Perth spectacles. Sure enough, along came sport’s equivalent of the snooze button – only the wretchedly masochistic could have derived any delight from this match; the rest of us just elected to sleep on. England are happy to go home for Christmas, and India are happy to bask in their glow as the no. 1 team in the world while the southern hemisphere-ites battle for second place. (India are not no. 1? Have you seen TV in India? We are all democratic, so let us agree, by sheer weight of public opinion, that India are no. 1, and have been since 1932)

Ratings

Virender Sehwag – Oh come on, it’s Christmas – who’s going to flay him for twin failures after that innings in Chennai. Not me, I know what I signed up for with Viru.

Gautam Gambhir – Eight tests this year and more than 1100 runs at 70. There’s a saying in India  “bhagwan jab deta hai, chappar phad ke deta hai – “when God gives, he gives a deluge”. India have lamented the lack of openers since Sunny Gavaskar retired, and along come two of the highest order.

Rahul Dravid – It’d be churlish to nitpick after his resuscitation, wouldn’t it? It’d be wrong to point out the 40 strike rate, wouldn’t it? Fine, I won’t. He’s saved his Test career, but he’s done it by revisiting pre-1999 Dravid – the strokeless wonder.

I may come off as Christopher-Hitchens-vs-the-Clintons, ranting against Dravid at all times, but let me assure you, 2 months ago, I rated him as India’s 2nd greatest player ever after Gavaskar and ahead of Sachin – that’s the regard I hold him in, and the standards he’s set himself demand more. Out of the spotlight, and away from home, I fully expect him to thrive in New Zealand in March.

Sachin Tendulkar – Move along, nothing to see here.

VVS Laxman – See above

Yuvraj Singh – n. [paɪ chuhk-er] Someone who chucks cricket balls for fun, slang for a bad bowler. Not a bad batsman though.

MS Dhoni – 4 out of 5 ain’t so bad, MS – I’m sure you’ll live to fight another day.

The Bowling – I’m sorry, I really can’t be bothered any more. If our highly paid and revered cricketers can have a laugh on day 5, so can I, and all I’ll say about the bowling is – you did ok, especially with the skittling out of the last 6 English wickets. There, now that’s done, I’m sure we all have better stuff to do than read cricket blogs. Happy holidays, and don’t forget to watch the Boxing Day test, or the “the battle for no. 2”, as I call it.

The English Perspective by TTT

Andrew Strauss – After his heroics at Chennai, inevitably got a good one from Zaheer to bag a first innings duck. Avoided the dreaded pair in the inconsequential second innings and will look forward to the West Indies as a rejuvenated player.

Alastair Cook – Looked fluent in reaching fifty in the first innings before getting another good ball from the outstanding Zaheer. But that write-up rather masks his growing problem of getting out when set. Is fortunate that other batsmen are not even getting set, or his place would be more questioned. Fielding is still poor for such a young man, missing too many simple chances – is his eyesight 20/20?

Ian Bell – Lost his furniture in the first innings and may well lose his place to centrally contracted Michael Vaughan for the West Indies tour. Delivers too infrequently under pressure to bat 3 and may well fail too often to bat 6. Another crossroads awaits the fragile Warwickshire man.

KP – Played dazzlingly well unveiling every shot in the book and plenty that aren’t, before missing a straight one from Harbhajan. Had a bit of fun with Yuvraj that stayed on the right side of the banter / sledging divide. Underlined his status as the best Number 4 in the world right now – well, level with his opposite number.

Colly – Undone by a piece of Test class bowling by Mishra, which did not nothing to quiet the voices whom claim that his technique cannot cope at the highest level. Needs runs in the West Indies if he is to play in The Ashes.

Andrew Flintoff – Fell yet again to a forward prop and an inside edge to short leg, but had batted responsibly in support of his captain to lead England to relative safety. Bowled with heart and hostility, but needs to convert pressure into wickets more regularly. Looked fit, and needed to be, such was his workload.

Matt Prior – Continued his infuriating knack of looking settled as a Test keeper – batsman in one match, then a county journeyman in the next. Did nothing to dispel the belief that the package he offers is not much more than any one of six or so keepers currently at work in England.

Graeme Swann – Bowled with consistency and heart throughout and carried a threat at all times, with the invaluable skill of taking a wicket with his personality. Certain to tour the West Indies, probably as first choice spinner.

Stuart Broad – Bowled with pace and fire and will enjoy seeing Sehwag and Dravid in the book as his wickets, but lacked the nous required to take wickets in India. Getting quicker and stronger all the time and will be hard to leave out in the future.

Jimmy Anderson – Swung the ball at last, but was completely outbowled by India’s two seamers. After 31 Tests, still lacks the threat of his debut season. Brainlessly took a run as nightwatchman to expose Flintoff to the last three balls of Day Three, which cost England Flintoff’s wicket and any chance of forcing a result.

Monty – Has lost his élan and, possibly, the confidence of his captain. Once his stock delivery has been countered, batsmen feel safe to milk him for runs. Needs intensive, high quality coaching more than a trip to the West Indies in the Spring.

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Responses

  1. Nesta! No problem!!

    Rajesh – to the victors the spoils!

  2. Great stuff. This page, by the way, ranks 4th on Google for a search on “Pataudi Trophy” for me.


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