10 October 2010

Indian running between the wickets

I watched much of the final session today and there were a few things to note. First Ponting started to Sehwag with a field of slip, gully, third man, deep point, extra cover, mid on, short leg, leg gully, fine leg. What a field to go with when you've put 478 on the board in the first innings! It meant that the occasional good balls on off stump tended to be fended away for one to cover, while wider balls were dispatched. One short ball was put just wide and over the 3rd man for 6 by Sehwag.

But Australia clearly had a plan and Sehwag was occasionally troubled by balls into his ribs. And eventually he tried to tuck into a slower ball bouncer from Hilfenhaus. The crowd went wild but the ball came down just inside the boundary at deep square, exactly where Mitchell Johnson was standing to take an easy catch.

30 off 28 for Sehwag then and perhaps vindication for Ponting's tactics, although I have to say they seem very strange to me. But one aspect of Sehwag's innings worried me - his running. It was truly appalling and while he's never been a great runner, I've not noticed him being so poor before. As some of you on Facebook noticed, I recently selected him in my all-time XI which was a very marginal call and his running may even make me rethink!

Gavaskar on commentary was talking nonsense when he twice criticised Vijay's running. When you're batting with Sehwag, rotating the strike is ideal and someone coming back into the team can't be expected to turn down singles because his better known opening partner isn't switched on. Twice Vijay pushed defensively into the covers for regulation singles and twice Sehwag was nearly caught short. Once the Australian's hit and Sehwag was considered in as the video frames couldn't quite show where his bat was when the bails first came off - far to close for comfort but if he'd been backing up and lunged in as all cricketers at club and pro level do, he'd have been past the stumps. And then he would have been out had the second Aussie throw hit, as he seemed too lazy to sprint past the stumps - as the ball whistled across the stumps he was slowing up so as to not go far past the stumps.

India's out cricket has often been criticised, but I'm not sure how they'll improve with the likes of the much respected Gavaskar suggesting that Vijay was at fault for risking Sehwag's wicket. Sehwag simply needed to wake up a bit. While regulation singles are being turned down and the likes of Gavaskar are being kept happy, India may well lose those tight matches. I hope Vijay isn't unnerved by those near-misses.

Tomorrow morning he'll be batting with Tendulkar who was the first person to go past 14,000 Test runs during his 44 not out. There's only one person Indian's would be even more annoyed about being run out then Sehwag, and that's the little master himself. Fingers crossed that it isn't a run out that splits the two up tomorrow morning!

1 comment:

Dhiraj said...

I've always thought Sehwag to be the most overrated player in the game right now. So it doesn't surprise me to see Gavaskar spare Sehwag of any criticism for his running or even his ridiculous dismissal. I expect plenty of Indian supporters burning effigies of Vijay as we speak.

With two men on the boundary at fine leg and deep backward square-leg, having got out to a short ball in the first test, hit on the helmet the ball before and with 440 runs behind with gaps in the field on the off-side due to Ponting's generosity, the one shot not to play was the pull. For all the talent he possesses he lacks a brain.