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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Selectors should be ready to ruffle feathers, drop under-performers after World Cup heartbreak

Makarand Waingankar

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Now that India have lost in the World Cup semifinals, post-mortem of the team’s performance would be a national pastime and criticism would be rampant.

Whether you are an expert or not, you will have an opinion. Some want coach Ravi Shastri out and others want MS Dhoni to retire, forgetting that in their professions they have been carrying on despite failures.

India were unlucky at the toss, which was always going to be a crucial factor because of the weather conditions the match was played in.

Indian bowlers on the first day (when New Zealand won the toss and batted till rain pushed the match to the reserve day) bowled a tight length till the 30th over. They bowled on one side of the stumps and showed exemplary discipline.

The ball swung but more than that the line and length that they bowled, the batsman could not take advantage of. Later on, Yuzvendra Chahal went for runs but he kept it tight in his first six overs.

While NZ struggled at around 200/5, someone had to take chances for them. The vastly experienced Ross Taylor did the job.

But it was after his innings that the match took another course. Steady rain for four-five hours pushed the match onto the reserve day.

As per the rule, the match continues from the point it stops. But this is where the problem lies and the ICC should take a fresh look at it.

The match was stopped in the 46th over. Next day the match should have started from the time the match got stopped. After the heavy spell of rain, moisture crept into the pitch and the ball started to swing. In such favourable overcast conditions, Trent Boult and Matt Henry were always going to be handful.

They exploited the moisture by bowling a very good line. Our top three batsman had no clue.

For the past eight matches of the tournament, India’s No. 1 to 3 batsmen had contributed 69% of the team’s runs. Batsmen from 4 to 7 contributed only 30% of the runs. But against NZ, they failed collectively.

Most cricket experts, from Sachin Tendulkar to Sunil Gavaskar kept saying India shouldn’t rely only on their top order for runs all the time. The others have to chip in. Several experiments were conducted in the middle-order but with little luck.

There was utter confusion about Dhoni’s number. It’s easy to comment on hindsight but the team management has to take a call after considering all options.

There has been too much talk about M.S. Dhoni’s retirement after India’s exit.

India were technically exposed by NZ because they play most of their domestic matches on covered pitches, where there is no moisture, including the Under-16 level too. Only local cricket matches are played on uncovered pitches.

Covered pitches give a free reign to the batsman to plant their front foot forward and hit the ball through the line. It gives Indian batsmen a sense of false confidence.

The earlier the BCCI changes this rule and ensures that matches are played on uncovered pitches, the better. Else, our batsmen’s technical deficiencies will be exposed whenever they go abroad to play.

A lot was expected of Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya. But these two greenhorns are absolutely immature. Things were going so nicely for them in the match. But both got out to irresponsible lofted shots.

Kapil Dev and Sandip Patil played similar horrendous shots against David Gower’s England in 1984. India lost the match. Kapil was dropped from the next Test on disciplinary grounds. Patil never played for India again.

But nowadays, the players’ lobby is so strong that selectors don’t have the guts to drop any of these players.

There was a lot of hue and cry about Sanjay Manjrekar’s “bits and pieces” tweet about Ravindra Jadeja.

Sanjay Manjrekar’s “bits and pieces” comment spurred on Ravindra Jadeja, who brought India within touching distance of victory.

Manjrekar is not the first to say that. It is a prevalent cricket parlance for 50-60 years. India and England have, over the years, had lots of such cricketers.

Manjrekar’s comment stemmed out of Jadeja’s modest ODI statistics. But cricket is not a game of mere statistics. Had that been the case, a committee of statisticians would have been asked to select teams.

Manjrekar though had the guts to speak his mind but many didn’t have the courage to ask Kohli and the team management why Jadeja was benched for the first eight matches at the World Cup.

His exclusion from the first eight matches means the team management had more confidence in Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal.

They didn’t do that well to warrant that kind of confidence. Manjrekar’s comments surely provoked the under-utilised talent of Jadeja.

Sunil Gavaskar once utilised this tactic successfully to spur on Kapil Dev after the latter had thrown away his wicket in the first two matches against Pakistan in 1979.

Just before the third Test at Bombay, the shrewd Gavaskar wrote an article in a magazine, chiding Kapil, saying he won’t call him an all-rounder anymore after his callous strokes.

Kapil was livid after reading the article and said “Main Dikhaunga” (I will show him).

India struggled against the spin of Iqbal Qasim and Tausif Ahmed. Kapil played a brilliant knock of 69 in the first innings, paving the way for India’s 131-run victory.

If that was Manjrekar’s scheme then it worked, for the left-hander was in his elements. He fielded like a panther.

India might have lost in the semis, but they fought valiantly. From 92/6 India staged a comeback and were on the cusp of victory.

One can’t always win in cricket but it’s the intent that matters. India showed that in plenty.

 

Cricket Lounge

BCCI begins hunt for new coach, incumbent Shastri eligible as auto entry

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Ravi Shastri and Co. have been given an extension of 45 days beyond the World Cup.

New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday invited applications for the positions of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physio, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager for the Indian team. Current head coach Ravi Shastri and his team will get an automatic entry into the recruitment process.

The release from the BCCI said: “The interested candidates have to send in their application(s) on or before July 30, 2019, by 5 p.m. at recruitment@bcci.tv.

“Pertinent to note, that the decision of the BCCI for the said position, will remain final and binding.”

It will be interesting to note that the last time, the deadline had to be extended as final choice — Shastri — had not applied for the position till the deadline got over. In fact, it was believed that former India opener Virender Sehwag was among the most eligible candidates from the new set of applicants apart from then coach Anil Kumble. Like Shastri this time, Kumble had an auto entry into the process.

Speaking to , a BCCI functionary confirmed the same. “Yeah, we did extend the deadline last time due to certain reasons. Hopefully the same won”t be required this time.”

The current coaching staff were handed a 45-day extension after their tenure ended with the World Cup. Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar is under the scanner after India”s exit in the World Cup and the inability to find a number four batsmen over the last two seasons.

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Cricket Lounge

No one lost, yet there was a winner in World Cup final: Williamson

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Kane Williammson has been named the player of the tournament.

London: Coming to terms with the heart-wrenching defeat against England in the World Cup title clash, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that “no one lost the final but there was a crowned winner”.

On Sunday, Black Caps missed an opportunity to win their first World Cup after losing on boundary count to England in the finals as the match as well as the Super Over ended in ties.

England scored 26 boundaries in total in the entire duration of the match as compared to 17 by the Black Caps and were thus crowned as champions.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” Williamson told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday.

He said the World Cup final was “pretty tough to get your head around – I think it will take time to reflect with a rational mind”.

He said that it was a real good effort from his team to get to the knockout stage. New Zealand, who were cruising at one stage, lost their last three round-robin games and it was on superior net run-rate that they managed to book a place in the semifinals.

They then went on defeat India in the semifinals to set up a title date with England.

“It was a really good effort to get knockout stages,” he said.

“We were forced to play a style of game because of the conditions and adopted that really well. We thought it took us all the way but it was not to be.

“The rules are the rules and we all try and play by them as did England who also had a very good campaign,” the Black Caps skipper added.

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Cricket Lounge

ICC should consider ‘sharing’ World Cup, says New Zealand coach

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Englnd beat New Zealand on boundary count after the match was tied after the Super Over.

London: New Zealand head coach Gary Stead believes the possibility of sharing the World Cup is something that “should be considered” by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the Black Caps lost to England in the finals of the 2019 World Cup at Lord”s.

On Sunday, two dramatic run-outs in the final over of England”s innings took the game into a Super Over with the scores tied on 241 after the end of 50 overs against New Zealand. However, with the Super Over also ending in a tie, the winner of the showpiece event was decided by the number of boundaries scored.

England scored 26 boundaries in total in the entire duration of the match as compared to 17 by the Black Caps and were thus crowned as champions.

Asked during a media interaction at the team hotel whether he would have preferred New Zealand being declared joint winners, Stead was open to the suggestion.

“Perhaps when you play over a seven-week period and can’t be separated on the final day, that is something should be considered as well,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Stead as saying.

“But again that’s one consideration over a whole lot of things that went on over the World Cup. Everything will be reviewed, and I think that it”s a good time to do it now. But probably just let the dust settle for a while.”

However, Craig McMillan, New Zealand’s batting coach believed that sharing the trophy would have been the “right thing” to do.

“It is not going to change yesterday’s result. But what is probably fair to say at the end of seven weeks in a big tournament like this, when you have two teams can’t be separated after a 50-over match and then a Super Over and neither team did actually lose in many ways in terms of runs scored,” said McMillan.

“Then perhaps sharing the trophy would be the right thing to do. It wasn’t to be yesterday, which we all are disappointed with. But it is sport and those were the rules.”

Earlier, many former cricketers like Gautam Gambhir, Dean Jones, Brett Lee, Yuvraj Singh and others criticised the ICC for the boundary rule.

Both Stead and McMillan were confident the ICC would review whether the Super Over was indeed the best way to deal with the scenario like a tie in a World Cup final.

“Small margin this, isn’t it? I don”t know that rule to be perfectly honest. I have played a lot of games of cricket, watched a lot of cricket — overthrows have just been added to what has been run as opposed to the point of the throw coming in. So, again, it will be something that will be something debated, discussed, but again it doesn’t change the result,” said McMillan.

Speaking after the match, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson had also said that it was a “real shame” that the final of the showpiece event was decided in such a way.

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