I know, I know… we all want India to win the world cup, and like millions others… I will NEVER bet against India. However, being a strong team doesn’t mean that we can’t be aware of our weaknesses. (Of course our assessment makes no difference… but when did that stop the common Indian fan from speaking!) See also Cricinfo’s much better (though later) analysis of batting/bowling strength/weaknesses of the Indian cricket team here.
We are currently familiar with this story of the batting performance of the Indian cricket team…
Opening Pair partnership…20-30 (in three/four overs)
Score at 15 overs about 80/2 (Uthappa is already out after making 20-30 quick runs)
Partnership between Ganguly-Tendulkar-Dravid: 120 (all three make 50s)
Score at 40 overs… 200-210 for 5 wickets
All down to Yuvraj and Dhoni… to bring the score up to 300!
Our tail (read Agarkar, Zak, Bhajji and Patel)… are probably worthy of a collective 20-30 runs.
And so, heavens forbid, if Dhoni fails… regardless of how good Tendulkar, Dravid batted… we may not even make it to 250!
Thus, as I see it, our weakness are as follows:
Lack of stable opening partner to Ganguly.
Sehwag, Sehwag, whereforth are thou Sewhag? If Sehwag can guarantee about 35-40 runs per innings (not 10-20) then that is stable enough.
Lack of stable (read Ponting) number three
Uthappa is a strike batsman, not a pinch hitter. If we want a pinch hitter, we can recall Pathan and he might just bowl out 5 overs with a wicket! Uthappa has to plan to make a 100 at least twice this world cup…
Over-reliance on Dhoni
Let’s face it… if we were to choose between the batsman Dhoni and the batsman Yuvraj, Dhoni would clearly walk away the favourite. He has been more destructive and yet more consistent than the ‘senior’ partner… and we look to Dhoni, not Yuvraj, to finish well. If only Yuvraj can compete with Hussey, aim at high-score consistency… the pressure on Dhoni would be less, and the lower order a little more stable. Right now… Yuvraj is still a little too unpredictable.
Without Pathan, our bowlers are just not consistent with the willow. On average, my feeling is that our tail is worth 20-30 runs tops… if someone is with them… without guidance and time… they may just collapse. As always… we need Agarkar… to shake things up… become the batsman who is worth 25-30 runs consistently by himself.
Ganguly… keep up the good work… hopefully you will stay in the middle overs to hit the spinners around…
Sewhag… get to 40 Runs!!! (not total World Cup score but in EACH INNINGS!)
Uthappa… you are not a pinch hitter! Remember you are batting in the same position as Ponting!
Tendulkar… please be the highest scorer in the tournament… please, please, please!!!
Dravid… don’t get bogged down in the middle overs… try to keep the run rate around 6 when you bat.
Yuvraj… more consistency please… be not-out… strike rate 100!
Dhoni… you are our big cricket’ hope… DON’T GET INJURED!!!
Agarkar… 30 runs please
Zak… 18runs… 2 sixes…
Harbhajan… 15 runs…
Patel… don’t get injured… and learn to take singles fast!!! give the strike to the other batsman.