T4; Sydney

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T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Wed 31 Dec 2014, 5:28 am

First topic message reminder :

well there is hope now and life back in test cricket.
We drew T3 because of one act of postiivity on D5 of T1....by Kohli wanting to and nearly chasing down.
and that is what delayed Smith's declaration yesterday.

and Shastri said I don't care whether we go down 2-0 or 3-0........we will try to win....as defiant as one can get to Dhoni's ways......in the BCCI culture of gagged mouths.

India may ( and should) play 2 spinners.....throw Patel in, now that he has arrived and both spinners can bat a bit.

added cushion can come in the form of batsman WK Naman Ojha

so Patel for Rahul
Ojha for Dhoni
and if Bhuvi is fit then he is in for someone like shami
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by ShankyCricket on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 11:35 am

There is no point wasting time on Jadeja in Test cricket. I'd rather invest in Axar and Karn alongside maybe Ashwin at home, with one of Axar or Karn playing overseas.

My squad for the Test series in Bangladesh

Vijay
Rahul
Rahane
Kohli
Pujara
M Tiwary
N Ojha
Axar
Bhuvi
Karn
Yadav

Ishant
Shardul
Uthappa/Another opener (not Dhawan/GG/Sehwag)
Jadhav/Rayudu (if he has a good WC)
Ashwin

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by guildfordbat on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 11:38 am

ShankyCricket wrote:

... Still think we need 6 proper batsmen, 3 proper seamers and a proper spinner (not Ashwin).

Shanky - you though of course have to play with the cards you've got.

You know India much better than me but they don't have that option available to them now, do they?

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by ShankyCricket on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 11:57 am

Axar Patel

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 2:19 pm

msp83 wrote:Ishwar Pandey is injured and has been out since the first round of Ranji. Sandeep has gone on record that he wants to increase his pace so that he can have an edge at the top level.

pandey was dumped even when he was not yet injured.
sandeep is defnitely a potential in the league of Bhuvi....but i do not see him on Punjab's Ranji score cards now....so something is wrong with him.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 5:40 pm

Sandeep did play the last 2 games, KPF, he too was returning from injury.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 5:44 pm

Shanky, are we talking about the same Ravindra Jadeja who took 27 wickets from 5 home tests at a very solid economy rate? Will be among the first names for me in home tests, particularly if the track has something for the spinner.
Karn Sharma didn't look all that classy before his squad selection and changed no impression after his debut test, his record is average in domestic cricket, he's not a 21 year old youngster who can be picked on potential. Dumping a proven home performer for such an alternative!, well, I just can't understand.......

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 5:46 pm

Rishi Dhawan for me, has to be the 3rd seamer/all-rounder option. He's miles better than the parttimer Binny.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 5:53 pm

Akshar Patel has had a nice start to his international career. But in my view, he's closer to the Jadeja mold rather than the Bedi style classical mold as a left-arm spinner. He certainly is a prospect, but if people are expecting him to just run through sides just like that on any and every track, must say I do have my doubts.......
Lets see how he stand in for Jadeja during the 3-nation tournament in Australia.......

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 6:10 pm

msp83 wrote:Shanky, are we talking about the same Ravindra Jadeja who took 27 wickets from 5 home tests at a very solid economy rate? Will be among the first names for me in home tests, particularly if the track has something for the spinner.
Karn Sharma didn't look all that classy before his squad selection and changed no impression after his debut test, his record is average in domestic cricket, he's not a 21 year old youngster who can be picked on potential. Dumping a proven home performer for such an alternative!, well, I just can't understand.......

i think shanky's point is anyone can take wickets at home.......we must use 2 slots home games to groom spinners who can be potent overseas also.
Jadeja will go nowhere overseas as a match winning spinner.
don't you think he has a point ?
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 6:12 pm

msp83 wrote:Akshar Patel has had a nice start to his international career. But in my view, he's closer to the Jadeja mold rather than the Bedi style classical mold as a left-arm spinner. He certainly is a prospect, but if people are expecting him to just run through sides just like that on any and every track, must say I do have my doubts.......
Lets see how he stand in for Jadeja during the 3-nation tournament in Australia.......

patel on his own doesn't look like an overseas game changing spinner.......only Karn is groomed and given a run and Kuldeep yadav are in that category

but we'll see what Patel is made of when he plays tomm
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 6:28 pm

KP_fan wrote:
msp83 wrote:Shanky, are we talking about the same Ravindra Jadeja who took 27 wickets from 5 home tests at a very solid economy rate? Will be among the first names for me in home tests, particularly if the track has something for the spinner.
Karn Sharma didn't look all that classy before his squad selection and changed no impression after his debut test, his record is average in domestic cricket, he's not a 21 year old youngster who can be picked on potential. Dumping a proven home performer for such an alternative!, well, I just can't understand.......

i think shanky's point is anyone can take wickets at home.......we must use 2 slots home games to groom spinners who can be potent overseas also.
Jadeja will go nowhere overseas as a match winning spinner.
don't you think he has a point ?
Amit Mishra? Piyush Chawla, the latter day Harbhajan Singh? No, I don't think anyone can take wickets in home tests just like that.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 6:32 pm

Karn Sharma should first have some sustained success in First Class cricket before being given another chance in tests. He's not test class really. He's almost 28, how long are we going to have him groomed?

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 7:10 pm

So I see Yuvraj got another ton during the "boxing day" round of matches. He isn't *that* old... Give him a go dammit.

As for the sledging, from my perspective, I've never been a huge fan of sledging, though I'm sure past teammates will tell you I wasn't a shrinking violet either. Just think, like everyone else, there is a line. There's absolutely no cause to behave like an ogre for the sake of it. The Aussies have certainly taken a rather odd stance on Kohli's ability to stand up to sledging. Not to many teams would reckon they have a player who smacked their premier bowler at five an over right where they want him. No coincidence that the two games which have been very heated, he's scored three centuries and a half century. From a personal view, the sledges also haven't seemed like particularly inspiring literary works... "Come on" and "it's all about you" will probably not live long in the memory.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 7:16 pm

msp83 wrote:Karn Sharma should first have some sustained success in First Class cricket before being given another chance in tests. He's not test class really. He's almost 28, how long are we going to have him groomed?
there are times when people are picked on potential/ X Factor and I do see the potential .....he turns it BIG on any surface.........one game where he took 4 out of 12 fallen wickets..........first test for him and his captain in completely alien conditions.....you have to give the guy a run.....he can't be worse than Mishra, Jadeja and Ashwins.
even if he takes a year and 4 tests to settle, he still has 6 to 7 years minimum of service to offer


Last edited by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 7:19 pm

msp83 wrote:
KP_fan wrote:
msp83 wrote:Shanky, are we talking about the same Ravindra Jadeja who took 27 wickets from 5 home tests at a very solid economy rate? Will be among the first names for me in home tests, particularly if the track has something for the spinner.
Karn Sharma didn't look all that classy before his squad selection and changed no impression after his debut test, his record is average in domestic cricket, he's not a 21 year old youngster who can be picked on potential. Dumping a proven home performer for such an alternative!, well, I just can't understand.......

i think shanky's point is anyone can take wickets at home.......we must use 2 slots home games to groom spinners who can be potent overseas also.
Jadeja will go nowhere overseas as a match winning spinner.
don't you think he has a point ?
Amit Mishra? Piyush Chawla, the latter day Harbhajan Singh? No, I don't think anyone can take wickets in home tests just like that.

Ojha , ashwin , jadeja were picking bucketloads of wickets......and Mishra defnitely will in home conditions
Jalaj, dharekar, gopal, Rasool all of them will pick wickets in India.....and those who look like having X-factor and can pick wickets in Eng, Aus, SA and NZ should be groomed
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 10:23 pm

http://www.cricket.com.au/news/mitchell-johnson-ruled-out-of-fourth-test-v-india-in-sydney-with-hamstring-injury/2015-01-04

CA says pitch has a green tinge.......so that will keep agar out and will make it an interesting contest to select india's only spinnwer
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Sat 03 Jan 2015, 10:38 pm

Quite interesting. First Siddle and now Starc have taken the opportunity to talk themselves up in little presentations to the gathering media.
I'm sure they are both ready to give their utmost but I think the selectors will go with the young leftie.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Sun 04 Jan 2015, 6:39 am

this is so different from India where speaking out and selling yourself thru the media would be held against the player by either BCCi or captain.

between Siddle and Starc, I would go for Siddle steady, clever and good fast medium mid 80s.

Starc inspite of the reputation of being faster bowls a lot of stock bowling not too much faster than Siddle, erratic, lacking control, but a Akram like game changer with the bat if he clicks.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 7:13 am

So Starc gets the nod over Siddle... unless someone else breaks down.
There was talk of Hazelwood being "tired" but I believe someone must have had a quiet word in his ear.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 7:16 am

The rumour going around is that Raina might get another go at the expense of Rohit Sharma.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by guildfordbat on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 10:21 am

The Loaded Dog wrote:So Starc gets the nod over Siddle... unless someone else breaks down.
There was talk of Hazelwood being "tired" but I believe someone must have had a quiet word in his ear.

When Fred Trueman became the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets, he was asked if he thought anyone else would ever much that feat. He replied, ''If he does, he'll be bl**dy tired''.

Josh Hazlewood has 9 Test wickets to date.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 10:49 am

guildfordbat wrote:
The Loaded Dog wrote:So Starc gets the nod over Siddle... unless someone else breaks down.
There was talk of Hazelwood being "tired" but I believe someone must have had a quiet word in his ear.

When Fred Trueman became the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets, he was asked if he thought anyone else would ever much that feat. He replied, ''If he does, he'll be bl**dy tired''.

Josh Hazlewood has 9 Test wickets to date.

Not a bad start at all. He needs to keep pushing on.

Starc needs to improve his strike rate and Test average though. Warne's "compliments" should help fire him up a bit more!

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 1:52 pm

I think on deeper analysis team management will look at raina and rahul as a package.

Rahul is nervous but offers potential..........you can't have him as one of 5 batsmen......but yes one of 6 batsmen......gives you a cushion.

Raina if he gets to play.....must bat fearlessly....like he would do in an ODI inning....if he got in early enough and had a chance to build an inning in a ODI.

positive aggressive cricket is what India should play.....all the time
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Mike Selig on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 5:36 pm

Happy new year everyone.

Am I the only one who thought Ashwin bowled really well in the last test? As in not just OK, not just well, but really well... on a pitch not offering much for the finger spinner, he bowled with very nice variety and intelligence. By far the pick of the Indian bowlers overall, and I thought India should have started up with him after tea on day 4.

Like msp I think Jadeja would have made a huge difference at Adelaide. If nothing else, there is no way Aus would have scored 5 an over off him in the 2nd innings, so they would have had to delay their declaration. For the moment, both Ashwin and Jadeja are far better bets than Karn Sharma, who looked out of his depth - leg-spin is so difficult nowadays in international cricket unfortunately.

As for Aus, I do think there is something about Agar, although hard to put into words. In a way he reminds me of a young Steve Smith - there are loads and loads of technical issues, but there are raw components and he just seems to GET cricket. I'm afraid I can't really express myself any better, but it's not the worst idea to have him around the squad. On the other hand, I think India are likely to take his bowling apart, so I'm not sure he's a viable option for this game.

Burns looked understandably nervous on debut, and there is something a bit "jumpy" about him at the crease which doesn't look right (how much of this is down to nerves and how much his actual technique I don't know). But it would be harsh to drop him after one game, and I think Aus will persevere.

Not entirely sold on Starc as a test bowler as things stand - a bit too inconsistent for me. Suspect Pattinson not up for test cricket yet, and Cummins too much of a risk with the world cup around the corner, but both of those (and Hazlewood) strike me as better long-term options.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by freemo on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 5:51 pm

So Saha will get his chance tonight, waited a long time for his chance, and hopefully he takes it.....how far away is Dinesh Karthik from this test side nowadays?

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by guildfordbat on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 8:03 pm

Mike Selig wrote:Happy new year everyone.

Am I the only one who thought Ashwin bowled really well in the last test? As in not just OK, not just well, but really well... on a pitch not offering much for the finger spinner, he bowled with very nice variety and intelligence. By far the pick of the Indian bowlers overall, and I thought India should have started up with him after tea on day 4.

Like msp I think Jadeja would have made a huge difference at Adelaide. If nothing else, there is no way Aus would have scored 5 an over off him in the 2nd innings, so they would have had to delay their declaration. For the moment, both Ashwin and Jadeja are far better bets than Karn Sharma, who looked out of his depth - leg-spin is so difficult nowadays in international cricket unfortunately.

As for Aus, I do think there is something about Agar, although hard to put into words. In a way he reminds me of a young Steve Smith - there are loads and loads of technical issues, but there are raw components and he just seems to GET cricket. I'm afraid I can't really express myself any better, but it's not the worst idea to have him around the squad. On the other hand, I think India are likely to take his bowling apart, so I'm not sure he's a viable option for this game.

....

A happy new year to you too, Mike, and all.

My earlier post that Ashwin ''did ok'' was lazily worded and did him something of a disservice. Rather than damning him with faint praise, I meant it more positively along the football lines of ''the boy done good''. I didn't see that much of the last Test but, of what I did, he kept it tight, bowling with intelligence and variety as you say. Maybe even shades of Swann there. However, unlike Swann, he rarely gave me the impression that a wicket was just round the corner. Due to what I perceived as the lack of a penetrative threat makes me more guarded than you in (what is still) my praise and a key factor in my suggestion that Ashwin would be better suited to a 5 man attack, if feasible. Although I didn't say it at the time, possibly in the manner of Giles for England a decade ago, albeit England then and India now are two very different teams.

Totally agree with you concerning Agar. I've thought of the Smith comparison before. In my view the Australian selectors' approach at the moment is spot on - show he's in their thoughts and build his self-belief by including him in the squad, having him mix and practice with the players but, as I guess will happen, also recognising he's still too raw and so not including him in the eleven again just now.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 9:34 pm

The SCG Trust are about to unveil a commemorative plaque for Phillip Hughes - which is a very nice gesture.

It is located in a discreet location at the Members Pavilion; just outside the dressing rooms. It looks like it's made of bronze but maybe it's just me... I don't think it bears much of a resemblance to him... or doesn't properly capture his character/countenance... nor any of his youthful exuberance. I suppose that is due to the material used though. Still, it's a very kind gesture as I say.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 11:46 pm

Australia:
CJL Rogers, DA Warner, SR Watson, SPD Smith*, SE Marsh, JA Burns,
BJ Haddin†, MA Starc, RJ Harris, NM Lyon, JR Hazlewood

India:
M Vijay, KL Rahul, RG Sharma, V Kohli*, AM Rahane, SK Raina,
WP Saha†, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, UT Yadav, B Kumar

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 11:48 pm

Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma have been left out.

In comes Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Wriddhiman Saha for Dhoni.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by JDizzle on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 11:52 pm

Shocked they've left Pujara out. I know he's on a bad trot, but at least he's getting starts. And he can't be worse than Raina or Rohit, who has done exactly what to get back in the team?

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 1:34 am

I don't know, JD, it defies all logic.

So 123/0 at lunch.
Warner has just kissed the spot on 63 and Rogers has just passed 50.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by guildfordbat on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 1:51 am

Lunch. 123/0, Warner on 63 and Rogers, with his fifth successive Test fifty, on 52.

Good and aggressive batting from the opening pair with unsurprisingly Warner in the forefront. That's something you just didn't see on the opening morning of a Test in years gone by - a 100 plus on the board before lunch putting the batting side in the ascendancy at such an early match stage. Both the openers here have had a life though thanks to poor fielding from Rahul. Missed Rogers at slip off Shami when he rather snatched at the ball rather than waiting it come to him and towards lunch reacted too slowly when at backward point to get to a chance from Warner.

Mind you, not only Rahul at fault. Too much filth, particularly early on, from India's seamers. Never properly challenging the batsmen. One ball from Yadav which went for 5 wides reminded me of a recent prudent Angus Fraser comment when discussing England's potential fast men (I'm pretty sure he had Tymal Mills in mind although he didn't name him him), ''Pace is no use if you're only testing the wicket keeper''.

Ashwin at least has kept things tidy and, with some good use of flight and variation plus one bit of noticeable turn, done more than ok. Wink He's almost certainly going to have a large part to play if India are to turn things round today. Australia are already in a more than decent position.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 3:21 am

Warner finally out for 101, caught Vijay bowled Ashwin. A couple of missed chances just prior with Rogers deflecting the ball up onto his helmet. Saha unable to get to the catch. He was also dropped on 19 by Rahul... an absolute sitter of a catch in the slips.

200/1... plus another 4 for Rogers who moves onto 95. Then chops the next ball onto his stumps!
204/2

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 3:30 am

Think I'll give posting a break for a little while now. It seems to have brought on a brace of wickets. Wink

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 5:30 am

So Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the "one and only reason" for all our failings on the field is not there any more. Yet, the opposition is 300-2 with more than 15 overs to go to stumps on day one!!.
Its not so much about Dhoni, its not so much about Kohli, so long as our bowling is ordinary, we will continue to have these results.......
At least with experience, Dhoni knew it and would set more defensive fields and slow the game down as much as possible, not that it would make a lot of difference in the end, at least that would give the side a bit of life in the game for the first 3 days.......
All down to the batsmen now to make something out of this one, as always.......

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Pal Joey on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 8:27 am

Not easy for India at all when the bowlers are faced with such good batting conditions. They did their best but not much can be achieved when simple catches are dropped. I thought Kohli was struggling for a while; swapping bowlers around too much thus preventing the opportunity to try and build up some sort of bowling rhythm. Changing Ashwin from the end where he took his wicket (for no apparent reason?) was symptomatic of this but perhaps he was just desperate to disrupt the Australian batting? If so, he wasn't very successful.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Mike Selig on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 8:42 am

Didn't watch any of the cricket, but judging on reports and the scorecard India didn't bowl or field well enough.

I agree with msp that the narrative from some quarters that it was all Dhoni's fault was nonsense, however I maintain that he became a large part of the problem over the last year and a bit: there were too many baffling decisions made, and he went defensive too quickly and for too long far too often. I think we have to allow Kohli some time to get the team gelled and playing the type of cricket which reflects him as a captain - it will be a big change for some of them.

In fact some of the criticism of Kohli's captaincy has been beyond daft IMO. In particular reading comments that Rahul shouldn't have been at slip as he was only playing his 2nd test - I'm sorry but what? There may be good reasons why Rahul shouldn't have been at slip (I don't know if he fields there usually) but playing his 2nd test is not one of them - if he is a regular slip fielder then he should be there from the start, that is obvious...

The one thing I hope Kohli helps sort out is India's outcricket which is appalling. I do wonder how much of an influence Fletcher has, because it's hard to imagine a side coached by him fielding (both ground fielding and catching) so poorly and with tail-enders who simply don't value their wickets. I hope Kohli demands (and gets) higher standards. Fitness also.

A word on team selection. I don't mind dropping Dhawan at all, and perhaps Rahul will be played as an opener which I think is where he bats usually? Condemning Rahul's temperament for all eternity on the basis of his debut test always struck me as daft, so I'm happy to see him get another go. I'm more perplexed about dropping Pujara who whilst on a lean trot has made the odd score and looked OK; perhaps it is about having another look at Raina, and perhaps even having a fight-off between him and Sharma, but even so that seems a bit unfair to do that on just one test, and it won't do Pujara's confidence much good either.

Rohit Sharma seems to come in for a disproportionate amount of stick on here I have to say. The guy has only played 9 tests, and hasn't ever had a real run of games in test cricket. I'm not saying all the criticism is unwarranted, but I do think it's harsh to say somebody won't make it ever after just 9 games.

Another selection which hasn't been talked about that much is dropping Ishant. Whilst he hasn't bowled all that well, IMO he has outbowled Shami who is lucky to stay in. Also, I thought Ishant bowled better in the 2nd innings at Melbourne than he has all tour. Strange time to drop him.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 8:44 am

msp83 wrote:So Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the "one and only reason" for all our failings on the field is not there any more. Yet, the opposition is 300-2 with more than 15 overs to go to stumps on day one!!.
Its not so much about Dhoni, its not so much about Kohli, so long as our bowling is ordinary, we will continue to have these results.......
At least with experience, Dhoni knew it and would set more defensive fields and slow the game down as much as possible, not that it would make a lot of difference in the end, at least that would give the side a bit of life in the game for the first 3 days.......
All down to the batsmen now to make something out of this one, as always.......

yes correct msp.....the new captain gets 2 sessions to prove himself after the old one captained a mere 60 odd tests and created a deep rooted culture.

It is a white board, come clean in a few minutes and draw new pictures Rolling Eyes

My own take......reading Kohli's mind

Kohli doesn't want to accept non-performance or mediocrity.....

Pujara , Dhawan haven't delievred they go out( atleast for now).......for now he is stuck with who is in the squad as replacements , for next series Rayadu, Tiwary etal will come in .

Ishant's medium pace will not win tests.....so look beyond and see if other combinations can deliver more.........at worst we will lose like we were losing....

More seamers like Shardul, Pandey ; Sandeep will definitely get a break through in the coming year ahead.


Aggression for the sake of it.........is what Kohli needs to avoid......and the first hour going at 6RPO it did appear Indian bowlers were trying too hard to be aggressive

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 11:31 am

an apt observation on rahul

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-india-2014-15/content/story/817131.html

Rahul's six disastrous days of Test cricketSIDHARTH MONGA IN SYDNEY 10 Share on FacebookShare on Twitter By all accounts it has been a horrendous start to Test cricket for KL Rahul, both with the bat and in the field 28 shares
10

'KL Rahul under pressure'
Eighty-first over of Australia's innings…
The new ball has been taken. R Ashwin and Suresh Raina are the two slips, Ajinkya Rahane is at gully, and KL Rahul at backward point.

Twenty-fourth over of Australia's innings…
Rahul is fielding at point. He doesn't move in as R Ashwin delivers. His preparation is sideways steps either way. David Warner looks to push at a shortish ball, which gets a little big on him. It sort of flies off the shoulder of the trunk that he carries for a bat. It flies towards point. Rahul is on his heels. He is late to move in. He dives forward. It is too late. He catches it on the half-volley. He looks down, doesn't look up for a few seconds. This is not technically a drop, but Rahul knows he should have caught it.

Eleven overs ago…
Rahul is alone, looking lost, standing next to the pitch, rubbing his hands on it, trying to get rid of the sweat. He doesn't know where he has to field with R Ashwin being introduced. Suresh Raina moves into first slip. Rahul looks at captain Virat Kohli, who sends him to point.

Minutes ago…
The first drinks break of the Test. Australia have galloped along to 0 for 72 in 13 overs. All the India players stand in a circle, eating chocolates, drinking their energy drinks and water. Trying to encourage each other. The extras are on the field. Rahul is not to be seen. Towards the end of the break he emerges from behind the drinks truck. He has been standing there alone. Now Shikhar Dhawan, whom he has replaced as opener and as second slip, offers him a drink. He doesn't need it.

Five overs ago…
Rahul is second at slip. Relaxed in his stance. Hands on his knees. Knees neither too wide nor too close. As the bowler enters his delivery stride, he prepares for a catch, elbows inches away from the knees, hands cupped for a catch. After the ball is delivered, his hands move low and then give as if plucking one inches from the ground. Except that the ball has been middled, and he is just visualising what might have been.

Two balls ago…
Rahul is moving from second slip at one end to second slip at the other. Players are patting Mohammed Shami's back, consoling him, encouraging him. Rahul is all alone. He stops by the wicket, and goes down on the pitch. Rubs his hands on it. It's sweaty palms. Ajinkya Rahane jogs up to him, and gives him a low-five, as if to say, "It's all right, happens to the best of us."

Rahane should know. He was nervous on debut himself, scratching around for 7 before playing a horrible shot. Even the usually judicious Harsha Bhogle tweeted doubts over Rahane's Test credentials then.

Two minutes ago…
Shami has been bowling well, perhaps the best he has this series. He has come on to bowl at 0 for 39 after five overs. He is not bowling short, he is not bowling on the pads. He has had an edge fly between the wide third slip and gully. He has asked questions of Chris Rogers. In his second over, he gets some extra bounce off a short-of-a-length delivery. Rogers is not quite behind it, and edges it to second slip.

Rahul looks relaxed, he is ready, he is in a good position to take this calf high, but his hands don't give. There is no time for him to absorb the impact. The ball hits the hands, and pops out. For what looks like an age Rahul doesn't look up. He doesn't want to know what looks he is getting from his team-mates. He has dropped Rogers, who has scored four fifties in four previous innings, on 19. On a road of a pitch. On a hot unforgiving day. After Australia have raced away. There aren't going to be many more opportunities. Rogers will get out on 95, Warner on 101.

Rahul is not an expressive one. Ravindra Jadeja once dropped Alastair Cook in Southampton, a series-turning event, and came up smiling. Rahul looks like the one who will let this eat him up inside.

December 27…
Someone has found a KL Rahul tweet, and responded thusly: "WTF!! was that? brain freeze"

Nearly two months ago…
The original tweet by Rahul, the day India's Test squad for Australia is announced: "Words can't explain how I feel at the moment. Very excited n looking forward to starting a new innings in my career." The first response to his tweet: "All the best Smile I am pretty sure we have found a replacement for The Wall Smile"

****

Oh how Rahul must hate cricket at this time of his life. Carrying the weight of the name - Rahul, from Karnataka, touted as a proper technical Test batsman by all his coaches including the IPL one in Tom Moody, a name accidentally given to him because his father wanted to name him after Sunil Gavaskar's son but got it wrong… Rahul went into the biggest stage of them all for his Test debut: a Boxing Day Test. An opener for his state, he was not slated to bat at No. 6.

While India were in the field, he would have seen fellow debutant Joe Burns get a rousing reception when he came out to bat, when he scored his first run, when he hit his first boundary. He walked in at 4 for 409 on a flat drop-in pitch. He couldn't have asked for a better situation to start his Test career in.

Rahul had a personal battle to fight, though. He was doing what everyone has been saying he was equipped to do. He had scored 1158 runs in the first-class season leading up to his Test selection. But that's all he had had. One bumper season. At 22 he was in the Test side. His namesake, Rahul Dravid, liked him. His IPL coach Moody liked him. His captain liked what he saw in the nets. Surely so many people can't be wrong? But a Test debut can do strange things to people. That too a Test debut in an unfamiliar slot.

Rahul was clearly nervous. He stepped out to Nathan Lyon, was beaten in the flight, and chipped one straight up. He was dropped. Then he tried a slog sweep. This time Rahul was caught, for 3 off 8. Gone for 1.

In the second innings, with India needing to bat two sessions to save the Test, they sent Rahul up at No. 3. Two reasons for it: they wanted to send in Rahul closer to his natural batting slot, and wanted to save Cheteshwar Pujara should the need arise for a block-for-your-life session. Mitchell Johnson bowled one short, and brought a forward short leg in for the next. You could see Rahul had made his mind up. He saw four easy runs on the pull. He was going to go after the next ball that was pitched marginally short. He didn't have to wait. The next one was short, but not short enough. He top-edged it. Shane Watson took an excellent catch over his shoulder, running back from first slip.

Sweaty palms, hard hands, stiff at point, premeditated boundary shots, by all accounts it has been six disastrous days for Rahul as a Test cricketer. Four runs in two innings, two catches muffed. And we haven't really had a chance to see how good or bad his game is. He never got himself into a position where he could play his game. What we see is just a bundle of nerves. Not a batsman, not a fielder. We don't know how he would have gone had he got that first confident shot in. We don't know if he - a slips fielder for his state side Karnataka - would have taken blinders had his hands given a little and that catch had stuck. Chances are, we might never.

The beauty of cricket is, Rahul still has a chance. Two actually. On what is right now a flat pitch. He can still make amends. This evening, though, he could do with a hug and an arm around his shoulder. Somebody to beat into his head that life will go on regardless, when in fact it won't quite.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 7:09 pm

If Kohli doesn't want mediocrity, then perhaps he'll have to go in without specialist bowlers in away tests!!.
My comment above was not so much about Kohli as such, but against putting all the blame on Dhoni and running away from real issues.
The bowling yet again was sub-standards, only the much maligned Ravichandran Ashwin just about holding his head and the returning Bhuvneshwar Kumar stopping the flow of runs somewhat. The fielding was absolutely awful.
As for the selections, Rohit Sharma is back yet again, and Kohli doesn't want mediocrity!. Or perhaps it would be Dhoni's doing? Perhaps MSD retired on the assurance that Rohit and Raina will be picked for every test that India play for the next 10 years?
Ishant was dropped but Shami retained despite being the most inconsistent of the seamers to have played in this series?
The dropping of Pujara is the strangest of all. Yes I can understand if they are thinking on the lines of a bit of a kick up the back for Pujara, but replacing him with Rohit Sharma? Outright insult!. Now Rohit will score a big double ton and stay on in the side for the next 10 test spreading mediocrity all around!.
A lot of action, but for the sake of it rather than based on a clear thought-process or substance.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by msp83 on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 7:16 pm

Real struggle so far for KL Rahul, test cricket is called so not without reasons.......
Hope he comes out and rewrite the scripts sooner rather than later though

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by KP_fan on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 7:42 pm

msp83 wrote:If Kohli doesn't want mediocrity, then perhaps he'll have to go in without specialist bowlers in away tests!!.
My comment above was not so much about Kohli as such, but against putting all the blame on Dhoni and running away from real issues.
The bowling yet again was sub-standards, only the much maligned Ravichandran Ashwin just about holding his head and the returning Bhuvneshwar Kumar stopping the flow of runs  somewhat. The fielding was absolutely awful.
As for the selections, Rohit Sharma is back yet again, and Kohli doesn't want mediocrity!. Or perhaps it would be Dhoni's doing?  Perhaps MSD retired on the assurance that Rohit and Raina will be picked for every test that India play for the next 10 years?
Ishant was dropped but Shami retained despite being the most inconsistent of the seamers to have played in this series?
The dropping of Pujara is the strangest of all. Yes I can understand if they are thinking on the lines of a bit of a kick up the back for Pujara, but replacing him with Rohit Sharma? Outright insult!. Now Rohit will score a big double ton and stay on in the side for the next 10 test spreading mediocrity all around!.
A lot of action, but for the sake of it rather than based on a clear thought-process or substance.


here are my thoughts

1) Spinelessness in tests was largely because of Dhoni.....poor team selections, based on favoritism and not merit, dead defensive morose approach to tests....not clever enuf....not hungry enuf, not enterprising enuf....ddin't get hurt enuf by the defeats

the bowlers didn't bowl well....because the best ones in country were not picked...even those picked were not encouraged to be attacking / aggressive.....so they turned into radarless, defensive confused ODI mentality bowling unit dysfunctional in tests.

2) Dhoni was the super king of Indian cricket, with the hand of the super boss on his head.....ruled with an iron hand, selectors who openly scorned at him were fired.....built a system ( the dysfunctional one) over 60 tests.....and then walked out in a huff, with no notice with 3/4th of the series over....and over night the messy monkey falls on Kohli's back.

Now let's read what Kohli wants to do:

3) Wants to make a diffrence ...wants to set a message....if you don't perform ...you don't play.......so out goes Dhawan and Pujara and incomes the only 2 spare batsman availbale. ( and I made a comment on Pujara last test he is taking his place for granted)

Rohit and Raina would probably not be his first choices...but are the only ones available as replacement in the squad....so what can he do.

he is using them to deliver the message if you don't perform ...you don't play which he considers more important than carrying the marginally better Pujara ( in current form) than Rohit

4) And I can bet ya..if he is not willing to carry Pujara he will not be carrying dead loads of Rohit or Raina when he has a say in presumably the next test side selections.

it will take him a while to figure out the power equations with coach with team director with selectors and the powerful board......to find a way to get the players he want in the squad and in the 11.

Read again No.2 put into perspective...even Modi has other than delivering messages and showing good intention hasn't made any tangible differences in 7 months after inhering from 10 years of Manmohan singh

PS* for those not aware of the Indian political system Modi is the dynamic , young(er) new PM and Manmohan the one gone out
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by Mike Selig on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 10:48 pm

msp I guess you're finding out how those of us who tried to argue that Flower (then Cook) wasn't the root of all evil felt like eh?

I will be interested to see how India fare under Kohli, but those expecting an overnight turn-around are kidding themselves.

Having said that msp I remain confused what you have against Rohit in tests. You talk about him securing the next 10 tests on the basis of a pointless innings, but he hasn't played 10 test matches yet, yet alone 10 consecutive ones. Still think it is too early to write off his test career completely.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 11:28 pm

Looking at the highlights, the SCG looked a little empty. The move to the sixth has probably cost them a seven figure amount. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

LD - if and when Clarke comes back, and he's reinstated as captain (?), who becomes VC?
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 11:38 pm

Regarding Rohit Sharma, funny enough had a discussion with my best mate about him, this is one of the few times we've disagreed on a player. The exceptions were Philander and Du Plessis (I was wrong), so don't bet on me being right, but I do tend to agree with msp. Having watched Sharma in South Africa, I thought he was rathe abject. There is an argument for him not having played enough, but I've always wondered how a guy with two double centuries in ODI's averaged less than 40, well having looked it up, he averages 27 in away series, which confirms my suspicion that he isn't too hot away from home comforts (in fact it's a 40 run drop in average, nearly 30 run drop in strike rate.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 11:51 pm

Watson up to 64, hope he doesn't get a nosebleed being this high up.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 11:54 pm

Keep hearing that Smith's trigger is similar to AB's. I don't see it. AB doesn't really shuffle that far across, more Amlaesque.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by guildfordbat on Wed 07 Jan 2015, 12:32 am

That's me done as Australia and Smith continue to advance. They're now on 395/2 with the new captain on 109, his fourth in the series and third as skipper. Watson less assured but still there and has now moved on to 78. If Watson can get three figures, I would expect the inhibitions to go and for him to really open up - could just be fun!

India's bowling has been better than the first hour yesterday although that isn't saying much. Fielding again sloppy.

Night, folks.

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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Wed 07 Jan 2015, 12:48 am

Lol... The commentators spent the last fifteen minutes questioning Kohli's midwicket, he wasn't deep enough they said. It doesn't make sense, that's not a real position, what is Kohli trying to do... Poor Watson's holed out to the three quarter midwicket way too far in front of square.
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Re: T4; Sydney

Post by kingraf on Wed 07 Jan 2015, 12:54 am

it was actually a decent position. Players tend to play in front of square when the pace is a little slower, because they play the shot a little earlier than if it's quicker. Good thinking by Kohli.
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