India play Pakistan in a high intensity dead rubber


Cricket Exclusive

CT13 India vs. PakistanHow is this for a dead rubber, India vs. Pakistan in an ICC tournament. Dead rubber? You kidding me! Whatever be the stage or situation, this is mother of all clashes.

It really doesn’t matter if one team has qualified for the semis and the other is already out of the tournament. This one is not about qualification or otherwise, they play for pride and all is at stake.

For starters, India has been at their best throughout till now and Pakistan’s batting has failed miserably. Clearly the odds favour Indians but you never know which Pakistan side turns up on Saturday and then odds suddenly look so lame. Primarily it’s going to be Indian batting against the Pakistan bowling and whichever triumphs will emerge match winner.

The most exiting part of any India-Pakistan game is the energy that is on display from each of the 22 players. Everyone brings on their A-game and the atmosphere is all charged up. And trust me it would be full team this time around as well, no team will test their bench strength, not at least in a ‘dead rubber’ 🙂

Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik have done particularly well in this tournament and so have some of the other guys. The Pakistan bowlers, both fast and spin also have bowled pretty well, just that their batsmen have let them down and thus it is going to be a good contest.

Also probably for the first time in this tournament there would be a balance in the crowd in terms of fans cheering for their sides. Till now whenever India or Pakistan played against other teams their fans have always outnumbered the others. So much so that in the Pakistan’s game against South Africa at Oval, London 95% of the spectators were Pakistan fans. Also at Edgbaston particularly, Pakistan always have had a huge no. of fans come in to support their team and that’s unlikely to change.

So let’s set ourselves for a high intensity ODI where one of the best sporting rivalry would be on showcase. Its going to be a treat. Its no dead rubber. But let’s just pray to the rain gods that it doesn’t come down on the ‘Super Saturday’.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Pakistan batsmen living with the fear of ‘Unknown’


CT13 Pakistan vs. South AfricaPakistan batsmen for a while now are living with some fear which is so deep rooted in their hearts and minds that it would take a huge psychological counseling effort from someone for this fear to be conquered. Nobody really knows what is this fear of theirs and thus we are calling it the fear of ‘unknown’.

This fear has been haunting them for a good no. of years now. It roughly started around the time when Inzamam-ul-Haq retired from International cricket and since then has gone on to scare almost all the Pakistan batsmen of the current generation. And in the past few years it has become hugely grave.

More that anything else, what this fear has done is that it is killing their bowlers. Pakistan bowlers try their level best each time they take field, they are hard to face, they get good sides out for modest totals and they are a highly respected attack. But invariably Pakistan’s batsmen have failed theirs bowlers and if this continues any longer it shouldn’t be surprising if we see these bowlers burn out and not perform as well. The reality is, there is only as much one can do to keep the morale going and for Pakistan bowlers its been a little too much.

Pakistan side is loved by their fans around the world for their signature attitude. An attitude which is about natural raw talent expressing itself and that is the very reason that all these batting mishaps are so much more disheartening. Pakistan batsmen aren’t expressing themselves. There is a mental block, there is fear of failure and there is a burden of not looking casual while batting. If Pakistan has to do well, all that has to go away. There has to be an expression of that famous attitude and there has to be an acknowledgment that bowlers cannot do it all.

235 is all they were chasing against the South Africans last night and with all the caution in the world, they could only accumulate 167. There was no reason for the way they approached this modest South African target but its not the first time they took this approach, they have done it in the past as well.

Without Steyn and Morkel, the South African attack was not as sharp, but right from the word go Pakistan batsmen went into their shell and were overly defensive. There was no intent to keep the score ticking over and thus a lot was left to be done towards the end. Misbah cannot do it all, always.

The Pakistan batsmen must learn that it is time they change the way they approach batting. They must let go this fear, whatever it is. Pakistan cricket otherwise, isn’t heading anywhere.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

At CT13, Australians yet to show intent, intensity and hunger


CT13 Ian BellIt was supposed to be a ‘Super Saturday‘, but didn’t turn out one.

England and Australia were playing their first Group A round-robin league match against each other and given their rivalry (Ashes and otherwise) it promised to be one cracker of a game. But for some reason, the Aussie side that turned up for this clash was far from what we are accustomed to see for last so many years. They simply lacked fire.

England sporting their new red jerseys, looking fresh in new colors batted first and posted 269/6 with Ian Bell playing a superb innings of 91. This was a decent score on that track but nothing of the size that can seemingly intimidate the Australians. But it did.

When the Aussies came out to chase, there was no intent to go about it. Batting included, during the whole match, one just didn’t find the glimpse of aggression that is so native to Australian. They went about their business in a manner that is so unlike them. The zeal, the hunger to win was somewhat missing. Yes, the Haydens, the Gilchrists, the McGrawths and the Warnes don’t play the game anymore but the Australian body language has to have successors who can keep the attitude of these champion cricketers alive.

More than the loss, it was disappointing to see the manner in which they lost. They sure can fight better than this.

Australia play New Zealand next in Edgbaston on Wednesday and this is a good opportunity for them to come in their own. More so because these are two sides who have always been fighting it out against each other and thus aggression naturally makes its way into the contest. This may well be the catalyst that Australia need to get going.

They are a strong side, with multiple match winners. It’s only the famous Aussie attitude that they need to rediscover and there on they’ll be a side to watch out for.

Photo Credit: Nick Boalch