Posts Tagged ‘anil kumble’

The contrast between the moods of the two sides going into this series. India are on a high following their Test triumph over Australia, whilst England have compounded their failure in the Stanford Super Series with an embarrassing warm-up defeat by a Mumbai Cricket Association XI.

Although it seems an age since England last played an ODI, their recent form is impressive. Kevin Pietersen‘s honeymoon period seems to be over now, though, and this tour will be a real test for the likes of Samit Patel and Graeme Swann.

The tourists may be particularly pensive given the wealth of young talent available to India, not least amongst them a certain Virat Kohli. Many of these players will have an eye on the Test spots vacated by Ganguly and Kumble‘s retirements, and hence will have plenty of incentive to perform.

The first ODI starts at 9am local time (3:30am UK time), and you can follow it here, or here.

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Anil Kumble has bowled in a Test match for the final time (see his final over here), more than 18 years after doing do for the first time. His retirement comes at a convenient time for India, with MS Dhoni and Amit Mishra seemingly ready to take over his captaincy and bowling commitments respectively, and questions being raised about his place in the team.

Kumble’s inestimable contribution to Indian cricket will be well remembered, and feats such as his 10 wickets in a single innings against Pakistan will be part of the sport’s folklore for years to come.

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When was the last time Australia lost by 320 runs? When was the last time they (and Ponting in particular) looked so disconsolate? Where do they go from here (apart from Dehli, obviously)?

As for India, the only question is what to do about Kumble. His replacement as captain (Dhoni) was man of the match, his replacement in the side (Mishra) took 7 wickets. Will he be be encouraged to step down and retire?

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Yesterday, I wrote that Australia might find it hard to dismiss India cheaply. It turns out I wasn’t too far wrong on that front, but “the experience of their top order” didn’t have as much to do with it as I predicted. Dravid made 51 (youtube here), and there were notable contributions from Sehwag and Ganguly, but it was – of all people – Harbhajan Singh who steadied the ship, making 54 thrilling runs (youtube here) after Mitchell Johnson had taken a number of key wickets.

Australia will have been frustrated by the lower order’s resistance, and need to mop up the tail early tomorrow. Zaheer Khan is still there on 35 not out, and Anil Kumble has five test 50s and an unbeaten century to his name, so this won’t necessarily be a simple task.

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Even though it’s just a few short months since the last Test series between these two sides, so much has happened since that it seems like years have passed. The IPL, retirements and retirement announcements, India’s spot of difficulty with Mendis, that whole ICC Champions Trophy business, and even the possibility of the end of the world have all ensured that this things weren’t too dull in the absence of Monkeygate.

For India, much still rests on the shoulders of the old guard, who Australia will be looking to put under pressure right from the start of the series. With the exception of Sehwag, the batsmen were disappointing against Sri Lanka, but home advantage and a reasonably settled bowling attack will definitely count in India’s favour.

Australia, meanwhile, are fielding a young side, are without a ‘proper’ experienced spin bowler in one of the few places left where spin bowling reigns supreme, and are arguably the weakest they have been for some time. Even so, the bowling of Stuart Clark and the run-making abilities of their established top-order players will still be enough to give Anil Kumble’s men plenty to worry about.

I can’t see India winning comfortably, but they will certainly be more fired up than they were against Sri Lanka. Likewise, I can’t see Australia rolling over (when have they ever done that, except in some sort of rolling over competition?), but they aren’t the side they were even three years ago.

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India are going through a bit of a rough patch. They’ve just been convincingly beaten by Sri Lanka, their middle order is failing badly (despite decent scores from Dravid and Laxman today), and their next Test series is against Australia. Do the selectors need to ring the changes, or keep the faith and hope that the experienced players will come good against the Aussies?

At least some radical changes to the batting line-up seem unavoidable. Laxman‘s place doesn’t seem under threat, and the openers had a good series, but the rest are struggling. The likes of Ganguly, Dravid and even Tendulkar are not justifying their place in the team with series averages in the teens and early twenties, but at least one (I would say Tendulkar, but I’m biased) should probably be retained for the sake of experience.

As for the bowlers, Anil Kumble has the most explaining to do. Whether there’s anyone to replace him (assuming India want to keep two spinners) is another question entirely, as is the fate of the captaincy if he is dropped.

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Ryan Sidebottom has has taken a hat-trick against New Zealand to finish the 4th day with second-innings figures of 5-37.

Even if he takes both of New Zealand’s remaining wickets with the first two balls of the 5th day, he’ll still be some way short of Curtly Ambrose’s 7 for 1 against Australia.

Other top-notch bowling performances which deserve another airing are Beefy’s 5-11 (including a spell of 5 for 1), and Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket haul against Pakistan.

Oh, and Jim Laker’s 19 wickets in a Test merits another view.

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