Dull start to this match. No wicket for Umesh Yadav, economy of five. The only wicket to fall was that of the wicketkeeper, wide gapbetween bat and pad, castled by a slow swing bowler.
I hope Delhi wins the Challenger Trophy. It will be a more positive result. Delhi's a strong team. The Red and Blue teams are weak mish-mash assemblies of India hopefuls not playing for a win.
Yusuf Pathan's bowling is now beyond dire. There's no way he can make it back to the Indian team with bowling that poor. Nayar's a decent batsman, but, there are plenty of exceptionally good batsmen (Jaggi, Jadhav, to name a few), and his bowling is now just occasional relief for the batsmen, without relief for the bowlers. Rajat Bhatia's the one bloke whom we'd have over all the others, but when the pitches are flat, this doesn't work out at all.
Suraj Yadav is right-arm medium-slow. He couldn't cut it against decent batsmen with decent technique, and it's meat and drink for them. He won't survive one over of the IPL, and that he picked up 43 wickets in 10 games in Ranji goes to show that the IPL can't be ignored as an indicator for national selection, no matter how prestigious Ranji Trophy is.
While a fan's comment on Cricinfo commentary says he's yet to find a complete Indian fast bowler, Cricinfo's assessment of India yet to find a complete spinner is rather harsh. Both Amit Mishra and Murali Kartik are the next best thing after Cricinfo's idea of a complete spinner. They were never given a fair try, often sidelined in favour of lobby-backed and age-cheating spinners. It's one thing to complain about the lack of complete spinners (or fast bowlers) and another to sideline those good enough in favour of those backed by boards, stars, sponsors or dubious age certificates. Besides, the overseas spinners having success in India are hardly 'complete', but still good enough for their sides, so why complain?
Expect India Red to get flattened out of this silly tournament. Absolutely flimsy bowling attack. Plenty are being tonked off Suraj Yadav, Yusuf Pathan and Gurkee Mann, and somehow, gone easy on Nadeem, who's offered single after single. I'd even expect Delhi to win at least by a whisker against this team.
Cricinfo says decibel levels are rising at the ground. Apparently the ground (I can't watch TV) is packed. That's a good sign, even for a completely irrelevant tournament that's no more than a warm-up or workout for some players.
Yuvraj is enjoying his workout, but he's missed the first game with back spasms, and his bowling is still not enough. His team will still win comfortably, though.
Both Yuvraj and Nayar are in red-hot form right now, having scored rapid-fire half-centuries going over 80 and 70, at T20 strike rates. What can we make of this? Flat pitch, poor bowling, neither of them bowl much these days, fitness an issue, and in the Indian team's best interests, five full bowlers is the way to go. Yuvraj may make his way back to the national side, even as a bowler (with the Jadeja gamble now coming unstuck in the CLT20), but I'm not so sure Nayar can add much to the side.
Still, seeing Indian bowling prospects fall apart on a flat deck is rather distressing.
Close, poorly-played match. Average batting, poor bowling, flat pitch. Yusuf has been out of form throughout his recall, while Kage and Jaggi have proved that they're ready for ODIs, after a few more games. There is, however, a question mark on how Bhuvneshwar Kumar can handle the final overs- it's been an area of concern when the ball doesn't move as much as it does when he has it new. Someone with decent pace would have decent returns. Bhuvi, though, will struggle unless he can add those wicket-taking variations, and some pace.
Umesh Yadav's incompetence in the limited overs format is always criminally overlooked. Almost Dindaesque.
Umesh's limited-overs (flat-pitch?) struggles are a matter of concern. None of the ODI-ready bowlers (read Shami, JDU, Awana) really stand a chance on a batting-friendly pitch against decent batsmen. The sooner Umesh is brought back in form, the better.
In other news, Rajat Bhatia takes his seventh wicket in the series, apart from chipping in with useful runs. A little too old, but still very fit. Can follow up to two strike seamers nicely, and fit in two proper spinners.
Pawan Suyal, I've heard, is decently fast. He hasn't had much experience even at the domestic level, though. If he can play more, he'll get better. He'll struggle to get a game for Delhi with so much competition, from Nehra, Ishant, Awana and Narwal.
Awana picks up his fourth wicket. I'd rather have Pawan Suyal or (in that other team) Umesh Yadav running through teams than these ODI-ready blokes scraping easy wickets left and right.
Yeah, he's decently quick for an Indian. Averages in the high 130s, hits 140+ regularly.
There's no running and hiding for Sehwag. Hiding in the middle order, he's been shown up again when he's out of his comfort zone. Ian Chappell's right about him hiding in the middle-order, where his own weaknesses will eventually be exploited by fielding sides. Now it's Vinay Kumar's turn.
India Blue win, after a few scares from Milind, Bhatia, Bhisht and Nehra. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got back some of his early-overs bite, and wasn't tested much here. Vinay Kumar also nicked a few in this final. However, we'd prefer folks like Umesh and Suyal picking up buckets of wickets, because they're the more effective and more useful bowlers at a bigger stage.
In other news, the Indian team for the ODI/T20I series against the visiting Aussies has been announced. It's good (in a way) to have Umesh Yadav dropped. I'd prefer he blitz through batting lineups in Ranji before he gets back in the national team. If he's been sidelined for ODI specialists, he's been sidelined for weak bowlers who happen to be ODI specialists. Unadkat's a decent OD bowler, but on flat decks, he too goes for Umesh Yadav economy rates. Shami's economy touches Umesh Yadav levels, but picks up less than a wicket a game. Vinay Kumar, though a veteran, seems to stay at Umesh Yadav economy levels most of the time, with not so many wickets- and we see batsmen stepping down the track and hoisting him like a flat spinner. So much for ODI specialists.
What more does Pankaj Singh have to do? He's left out again!
Robin Uthappa is injured and will miss the Duleep Trophy. South Zone, still, raked up 213/3, with big fifties by Manish Pandey and Baba Aparajith. Though Pandey is struggling in T20s and some ODs, he's thriving in FC cricket. We may have one more Test specialist. Baba Aparajith is a lot less of a specialist since he can roll down several overs, but he's batted well and looks the part in scoring a hundred. In a comical end to opener-at-one-down Lokesh Rahul's innings of six, he was out leg-before to Yusuf Pathan, who's bowled the most overs by a West bowler. Turning track it may be at Chepauk, with three spinners in either side.
Baba and Pandey scored doubles. South scored over 600. Not much (actually, none at all) strength in this West Zone bowling.