It was a relief to see India notch up their first win of the Aussie tour in the second T20. And what made it even more satisfying was that the win was setup by the fielding. If the BCCI or the selectors needed any more proof that youth is the way forward, even in tests, this T20 provided that in ample measure. The fielding was truly athletic and it was great to see very good fielders with accurate throws posted in the inner ring by Dhoni. Players like Jadeja, Rohit, Raina put a lot of pressure on the Aussie batsmen and as the game went on, you could see the hesitation that crept in to their minds regarding the running between wickets. That is the ultimate goal that this team should achieve - doubt in the minds of opposition batsmen when it comes to taking sharp singles and running twos. Once we achieve that consistently, we will automatically save runs in every game and make things easier for the batting line up. Teams like NZ, Australia and South Africa do this in every game and that is why they can never be taken lightly as opposition.
In the first ODI, India lost but I am not putting too much importance to that since it was a truncated game. However, the strategy of going in with 3 spinners on an MCG pitch, especially when they knew that rain was forecast, was a little absurd. I am not too convinced with Dhoni's explanation that having Irfan play would mean that we had no variety in the pace department with all of them bowling in the upper 120s. The variety in my opinion is with the fact that Irfan is a left-arm bowler and would have posed different questions to the batsmen. We could see clearly that when the rain stopped and India had almost exhausted their pace options, they struggled to contain the batsmen with their 3 spinners. One more pacer would have been handy at that stage. This is what worries me with Dhoni's captaincy these days. He seems too rigid in his thinking and appears reluctant to have and use plan B and plan C. I hope they dont go in with 3 spinners in Perth :)
Since we have some part-timers who are all spinners (Sehwag, Raina, Rohit), we should look to play with 3 pacers in most of the games. And at this time, the best person to be swapped with a pace bowler appears to be Ashwin. I agree with the friend who commented on my previous post. Ashwin seems in need of a break and needs to go back to the drawing board a bit to re-think his strategy and resort to a slightly defensive line and length if he is being hit too easily and frequently.
I also hope that Sachin gets his 100 in this series and then is given the option to choose one format over the other. Looking ahead in the ODI series, the team management should look to give Gambhir and Kohli a rest at some stage. It is a long series (I think 10 matches for each side before finals), so it would not be fair to expect them to play all matches. We have a large squad and should look to give everyone a fair run in this series. Players like Manoj Tiwary and Irfan Pathan definitely deserve to be tried out for a few games at least. Lets hope the team management uses all the available options sensibly and rotates the players properly.
One more update for all of you is that I now have a Twitter account that I created exclusively for cricket. I want to post tweets during India games and hope to interact with you guys instantly during matches. My twitter account is drinks_break. Please 'follow' me and I will try to post comments as I watch the games. Lets hope for a good performance from our young Indian team in the ODIs. I will continue to post on this blog during the ODIs, but not after every game. Maybe a post after every 3 India games or so. Lets make our conversation more interactive with Twitter. It will almost feel like we are watching the game sitting together in one room and I am excited about that.