My friend Vishwanath and I had a challenge on Dravid’s strike rate and average in the recently concluded tri series in Sri Lanka. My prediction was a strike rate less than 65 and an average less than 25. His strike rate in the series ended up at around 63 and the average at 33. I now produce Cricinfo’s commentary for three consecutive overs in which Dravid faced Bond at one end.
5.1 Bond to Dravid, no run, ooh .. nasty little bouncer on this slow track, Dravid was on the hop, realised the ball was climbing higher than he thought it would, manages to drop his wrists and get the bat out of the way. Gem from Bondy
5.2 Bond to Dravid, no run, full pitched delivery this time, dug out to covers
5.3 Bond to Dravid, no run, full in length, outside off, around 139 kmph, Dravid edges the off drive to the on side .. good bowling this
5.4 Bond to Dravid, no run, aha! the slower one this time, ends up as a dipping full toss outside off, Dravid kills his initial thought to drive and pushes it out to the off side
5.5 Bond to Dravid, no run, short in length outside off, guided to backward point
5.6 Bond to Dravid, no run, bursts from short of length outside off, Dravid looks to defend and gets a bottom edge on it. He swings around, worried whether the ball would run back to the stumps but the ball rolls outside off
7.1 Bond to Dravid, no run, from wide of the crease, 143.2 kmph length delivery tilting in towards middle and off, Dravid gets behind the line to nudge it to the on side
7.2 Bond to Dravid, no run, 143.1 bouncing delivery from short of length, lovely delivery, Dravid does well to get on top of the bounce and punches it away to backward point.
7.3 Bond to Dravid, no run, 139.1 kmph fuller delivery, well outside off , Dravid tries to reach out and gets an
inner nick but falls well short of the keeper.
7.4 Bond to Dravid, no run, short and wide, slapped hard but can’t beat cover point.
7.5 Bond to Dravid, no run, a sharp bouncer on the middle, Dravid shapes to pull but ducks at the end. Wonder how the likes of Raina and co would have handled this hostile spell from Bond.
7.6 Bond to Dravid, no run, gets forward and behind the line of a fast length delivery to defend it to the off side
9.1 Bond to Dravid, no run, 123.5 slower one, fullish,. Dravid tries to adjust to the lack of pace by wristing it but mistimes it towards mid-off
9.2 Bond to Dravid, no run, 136.4 kmph short of length delivery bouncing in towards the off stump – he has bowled really really good on this slow track – Dravid gets behind the line to defend it to the on side. Dravid has played
him very well too.
9.3 Bond to Dravid, no run, full pitched outside off, Dravid walks across to drive it hard, well timed shot, but can’t beat the cover-point fielder
9.4 Bond to Dravid, no run, length delivery homing in on the off stump, around 140 kmph, Dravid gets solidly behind
the line to defend
9.5 Bond to Dravid, no run, the bouncer arrives and Dravid allows it to pass over him.
9.6 Bond to Dravid, FOUR, ooh unlucky Bond. It was the slower one and he lured Dravid into the drive early but Dravid got an inside edge that took the ball past the stumps and to the fine-leg boundary. Lovely contest between the two.
So the first two overs were maidens and the last ball of the third over ( probably Bond’s last over of that spell)produced a shot which helps me conclude Dravid is not really required in the one day set up.
When you have 150 odd to chase in 50 overs, you have all the time in the world. You just need to protect your wickets all the way. Someone like Dravid was selected to see off such hostile spells. There was pace, variation, bounce, accuracy and it was a big treat to fans of fast bowling. I don’t remember when I last witnessed such a fiery spell in one day cricket. Dravid did survive 17 balls but those 17 balls forced a loose and near fatal shot off the 18th. Someone else would have got out in those first 17 balls but Dravid should have played all 18 balls to safety.He didn’t.That’s why Im picking Gambhir in his place. Today, Gambhir has a very tight technique and better shot making ability than Dravid.
Prior to this series, I was thinking hard on why Dravid was picked ahead of Badrinath. Badri was in the reserves and he should have been picked ahead of Dravid. It is one day cricket that we’re talking about and can’t Badri play bouncers to safety in short one day spells? He has a good enough temperament and surely a better shot making capacity than Dravid.
As far as the openers are concerned, it’s Sehwag and Sachin, without doubt. Now that Sehwag is injured and considering Karthik’s inconsistency, it’s time to go back to Robin Uthappa.He’s a pure and regular top order bat and deserves his chance now.
Yuvraj picks himself at No. 4. Rohit is too talented to be out of the team. He should be back as soon as possible at No.5. Raina at 6 and Dhoni at 7. It’s No. 7 AND THERE ALONE.No self promotions. He can pick Dravid instead of promoting himself up the order and playing unattractive and ordinary cricket.
Ishant and RP followed by Harbhajan. There’s little doubt there. My fourth bowler would be Munaf. Someone like
Praveen Kumar would be thrashed all over the park once the shine of the ball is gone. Munaf to me is better both with the new ball and at the death. Amit Mishra has been picked based on his recent performances but Ramesh Powar is my personal choice for this slot. I won’t complain on Mishra’s selection but No Pragyan Ojha please. He is far from international class.
Nehra has made a good comeback but he’s another fragile quick bowler.He’s going to lose form and rythm any time and
he’s already been thrashed in the Compaq cup.Hence Sidharth Trivedi for Nehra. Yusuf Pathan again is not upto
international standards. Raina, Rohit and Sehwag have good enough offies to compensate for him.
Let us start reaping benefits out of Badrinath’s batting abilities in the middle order. Abishek Nayar completes my 15.Fine pick.
Here goes SJK’s Indian ODI squad of 15