The trouble with strategery

Writing this from Chandigarh airport [ain’t technology wonderful], where — story of my life — there seems to be a wait for the flight to Bombay, which will lead to a flight to Bangalore.

Thoughts about the play on day two can wait till sometime tomorrow post noon, when I am back at my desk. This post is prompted by what I am seeing just now — Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris bowling to overnight not outs Amit Mishra and VVS Laxman.

This morning, I read in the papers noises from the South African camp that the team on day two failed to “implement the strategy”. Err — what strategy? Bowling so wide outside leg, on the second day of a Test after having won the previous one by an innings and plenty, is not strategy, it is idiocy. Bowling a spinner first up on the third morning — when you have three genuine quicks capable of going at 150k-plus, and the opposition has a tailender at bat — after having been allowed a foot in the door the previous evening and with gloomy conditions adding an edge, is not strategy — it is surrender.

The question is not whether the team implemented its strategy — the real question, as far as I can see, is whether the team at least in this Test has one. [Unless it is: We won the first Test, a draw gives us the series, so let’s play safe].

Right — later; power running out on my laptop. See you tomorrow, from work.

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26 thoughts on “The trouble with strategery

  1. India won! But someone like Kumble had to tele-conference the bowlers HS & AM on what line to bowl and where to pitch the ball.Still I think India won because SA batted badly. At any point none of our bowlers looked threatening and close in fielders not helped their cause either.
    Zaheer khan injury is a mystery…In the past when fast bowlers were injured they did not sit in the pavilion .Someone like Kapil dev bowled off-spinners and Karshan Ghavri bowled left arm slow, recently Kubmle bowled with plasters on in the face in West Indies. I was expecting ZK to come to the field and bowl with short run up. Ohh..IPL is coming up and some of these players do not want to risk injury.

    • oh, come on. I wonder if there is any other place in the whole world where people does not appreciate achievements of their own people.

      SA batted very good in the second innings. Our bowlers maintained continuous pressure, except in a few overs (thats all what they could do, as the pitch wasn’t assisting them in anyway) and the pressure did the trick for us. You are right in saying that our bowlers did not look like threatening. But tell me which bowler look threatening in a batsmen-friendly surface? Not even Glen Mcgrath.

      Again, in a crucial final day of the test, it is quite understandable why it is better for Zaheer to sit out if he cant bowl his medium pace rather than show macho. An extra over from tired Bhajji is far better than an offspinner from Khan.

      There are people who want to run down the team everytime they make mistakes. Prem did it after the first test, saying that India got to No1 because they played Bangladesh and SriLanka. Now, here you are, instead of appreciating their effort, coming up with weird arguments. Lets admit it: India is a very good side in Test Cricket, and there are some class players who has delivered more often than not. In any case, these guys are much more respected by the opposition than their own people.

      • Jazzy – I completely agree with you.
        However, we need to understand from where BeemSen sir is coming:-). He mentioned in an earlier post that he can land all 6 balls in an over wherever he wants to and will also get lot of turn. Hence, he is upset with lesser mortals like Amit Mishra who is still trying to settle in the Tests. You can blame the selectors for never giving a chance to spin prodigy BeemSen who feels that he can be better than Shane Warne because I doubt that even Warney can claim such an immaculate control.

        • Good one! But I thought you’re bit disappointed to know that Beemsen is a spinner:-) . Imagine Beemsen as a fast bowler and playing for India.

          • BeemSen: It is very easy to comment on a blog. But how on earth do you know in what state Zaheer’s body was on 5th day? I am sure he would have surely liked to bowl and earn victory for the team. I simply see it very unfair to comment about players when we have no idea about the injury. I can bet that a mixture of everything possible from Sachin would be any day better than asking ZK to bowl spin. There are very few bowlers who can bowl both pace and spin. Sobers and Ghavri were good at this, but I don’t remember Kapil bowling spin. In 1981 test in Melbourne, Kapil took injections and tablets on last day to claim 5 wickets when Australia was bowled out for 80 odd, but he bowled his regular medium pace. Other than that I don’t remember Kapil, the natural athlete ever getting injured or sick. Do you remember Paki pacers Gul and others trying to bowl with couple of yards run-up after a tie in 20-20 world cup game against india? Result was no control for them and India winning. Please try to understand the limitations of international bowlers. Not all can as talented as you are…

            • I agree …not many are as talented…

              As for ZK’s injury, I go by the reports. People have seen him training on the 5th day morning. Also If ZK’s injury was so bad, MSD and others would not have even persuaded him to play during lunch break. I do not expect MSD or team management to issue any kind of statement on this matter because ZK’s been a good performer whole season and they won’t put him down in public. If the match result was a draw then there would have been some questions on his commitment. Public still do not know the exact nature of his injury and no one seems to care! Also do not expect media to blow this up because matter is very delicate and Khan’s get more support than Sen.’s:-) With all these scenes behind the dressing room,pitch and umpire controversy India still won the game that is very remarkable.So Let’s move on..

      • Yes,we should appreciate the team efforts when we win but we should also look at improving so that we keep winning. We were lucky that St. Davis finger went up on that last LBW who was under pressure from SMG, media & public because of his decision not play one hour on the 4th day.
        When Kumble bowled with plasters on, he not only picked up few wickets but inspired the whole team to perform even more…same case when KD & KS bowled with injuries. The argument that other bowlers were there does not hold good. ZK is a leading bowler this season and he was not bedridden..He could walk, bend & run. For that matter HS bowled with injury…even AM was hit on the arm while batting but he continued with pain killers. Morkel batted with high fever,Amla took a painful blow but he was fighting till the end. I read reports that Dhoni persuaded ZK during lunch break but he was advised rest by one unknown..

        • beemsen, i dont know if india need any inspirational stuff on that day other than what was obvious to perform better…worldno1 spot is there to take and a series to be drawn and lot of pride at stake, if the team requires any further inspiration, then theres a deeper problem…

          what india needed was effectiveness and i dont know how ZK offspinners could provide that…if you think ZK could bowl his usual stuff, then thats a different debate all together…

          and that final LBW was indeed an LBW, okay?

  2. Nicely done, India. Time and again this team has managed to come from behind to surprise us. I am happy with the result. Lots of work still to be done, especially in the bowling department. But, there is hope! 🙂

  3. A trouble with not-Blogging!

    Prem,
    I would like your comment on this series specially come from behind win for India. You know last time Kanpur was dust bowl and many anticipated same this time around but I think this was even better pitch than Nagpur. Nagpur is more of batting beauty and India lost on deficit.
    Though there is lot to improve when comes to bowling for india but no one can question there win here. SA was beaten on both batting/bowling.

  4. The day started with nearly 100 minutes of play lost and lunch was taken for 40 minutes one hour of the play starting. During the 40 minutes players took lunch, the rain held, light was good. This is bizarre. The objective of any sport is to get as much play as possible. Lunch could have been coverted to one tea time of 20 minutes half way through the day and we could have had another 10-12 overs of the game. Instead of starting 15 minutes early, ICC should think in terms of cutting lunch time in the event of play being lost due to rain or badlight

    • Yes this has happened time and again – but the ‘authorities’ dont seem to care. I think it cannot be a case by case thing ‘cos the team that is losing will protest. There needs to be a law from up above to take care of this – so that all matches are treated equal.

  5. offtopic:

    Prem! Panic strikes. where is your ‘On fathers, books and Chaim Potok’ article on rediff. the link doesn’t work. i googled and i see that the result is leading to a ‘link doesnt exist’ kind of page.

    just wondering if all your articles in rediff are deleted or something. well, atleast this one. can you provide me the correct link of the ‘On fathers, books and Chaim Potok’ article of yours please.

    regards,
    Arvind

  6. I predict that SA will be all out for 341 in their second innings. Two tests and identical results in both of them. The winning team doing so by an innings and 6 runs. 🙂

  7. Batting collapses from both teams just goes to show how important Gilchrist was to the Aussies’ success. Don’t have any stats to back it up, but going from memory, there were many times when the Aussie top or middle order collapsed with Gilchrist riding in for the rescue. Dramatic collapses for India in test #1 and now for SA just shows the new top dogs in the world are not yet the super dominant force that Aus was. And neither team has the complete bowling package of lethal pace/swing bowlers followed by a even more lethal spin bowler.

  8. Is that a rare spelling mistake that one can spot in the title? Strategy it is, isnt it? Unless a new word has been coined for the cricket lexicon!!

    -s

  9. I think you completely misunderstood what SA were trying to do this morning. When they started, the new ball was pretty close. They first started with Steyn from one end to see if he can get some reverse going. Had he done that, they’d have continued with the old ball for some more time with Steyn and perhaps Morkel bowling in tandem. Steyn bowled two overs which was enough for them to decide that the old ball isn’t working. So, they gave Steyn a 15-20 min break (getting Kallis to bowl from his end till the new ball could be taken) so that he can take the new ball and bowl 6-7 overs on the trot if needed. And that’s what they did. took new ball after 84th/85th over and gave it to Steyn/Morkel.

    Seems you’d rather have Steyn and Morkel bowl with a non-reversing old ball before taking the new ball, and having your main pacers already spent by then so they can only use the new ball for 2 overs each before throwing it to harris?

    I guess the only question is why didn’t they get Parnell to bowl in place of Harris. Perhaps Smith has more confidence in Harris right now than Parnell? I’m not saying he should, but perhaps he did… specially when the ball is nearly 80 overs old, that can’t be a horribly wrong strategy, can it?

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