Indian Summers

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Having been shivering my way through England and Scotland these past couple of weeks, with the only cricket news being that monumentally cool (if on another level ineffably sad) Stanford scandal all across the front pages – one I’m gonna try and approach that this weekend – it was something of a culture shock to arrive back to last night’s Twenty20.

Our friends over at Short of A Length have challenged us to something of a blog war over the course of the series, so I suppose it would be remiss of me not to have a good long gloat at the result of the match, one which went decidedly against forecast, and hopefully sets up a fine battle over the coming weeks. The thing I find most pleasurable about the outcome, from a very parochial perspective at least, is the extent to which I see the same gnawing issues in India’s play that plagued them during that infamous series last time they toured here.Obviously this is a vastly different outfit, one with depth, backbone and determination in spades over Ganguly’s bad-attitude glory boys, who admittedly had to play on some of the worst pitches ever prepared for international cricket. But there was an arrogance to their approach, one that suggested that not only were they too good to be playing these antipodean oiks, that they were beneath exerting themselves in this environment.

There were all those stories of internal dissent, or Ganguly traveling in his own luxurious RV with his family, in blatant contravention of team protocol, and of a team gorging itself on the fame and the power, without pausing to consider the results. The tour was significant in more ways than one, as Snedden used it to precipitate a review of our appalling pitches, which have been largely fixed, and I’m of the belief that the batting talent which has sprung up in the past few years is directly descended from that one calamitous debacle of a tour in 02-03.

In any case, returning to last night’s match, it seems the Indians just got greedy. Can you blame them? Playing on a postage stamp, with one of the more hittable attacks in world cricket trundling innocuously in… You’d have a lash, right? Sehwag’s terrorising 26 off 1o kinda sums the whole thing up, incredible hitting halted too soon. As a result they fell far short of a defendable total, on a ground which would concede more sixes than ever before hit in an international Twenty20. The Indians seemed just pumped to be playing a side they should be dismantling, and got to work a little too industriously. By comparison New Zealand were positively restrained, maybe even clinical in their approach.

The way McCullum went about his business was particularly gratifying, a strike rate of 114 in Twenty20 is almost a crawl by his standards, but it was exactly the innings required, and the way he and Oram waited and pounced through the closing overs was exquisite.

Ultimately it’s only a game of comedy-pyjama-party hit-and-giggle, meaningless save for the messages it sends for each side heading into the more important fixtures. Whether it is a blip on the way to expected transimission being resumed or a portent of a cracking series to come remains to be seen, but either way New Zealand have drawn first blood in what has the makings of a worthwhile war.

– Duncan

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Indian Summers

  1. I can’t remember looking forward so much to a 20/20 game before. Just to see these guys out there with the weight of money and star power oozing out of them was just a bit exciting.

    Best bit was when Sewag hit those first three balls for six. Sure thre was short boundaries and Southee delivered short powder puffs but still just as a statement of intent for the whole tour, it was quite breathtaking. Its not like he took a couple of balls to get his eye in then had a go- nope he backed himself to just smash right from ths first ball.

    Turns out this was also the Indians downfall. Isn’t that a good strategy? When I play someone in tennis I reckon the best thing that can happen is when the other player hits some miraculous Federer like winner in the first game or so. You act all astonished and awestruck and they try for the rest of the match to hit the same shot, ending up hitting most of your gentle returns out or into the net, losing the game in the process.

    Also Sharma helped a bit. We defintely looked psyched out for the first three overs but then he gave away all those free hits which I think helped a lot. Our umpires aslo seemed out of their depth. Ryder def. not out outside legstump or close enough to give the benifit, then the next one wrong as well with Guptill gone. Looked like they were standing there telling themselves to “Be brave and fair and hopefully those nice Rich men will still be nice to us. ”

    What am i saying?

    I do not know.

  2. Tom

    I only saw the highlights of this game, basically half an hour of sixes arranged around 11 wickets, but spent that whole time marveling at the beauty of the Indian uniforms. A great change up with the deeper, richer blue offset by the bright orange – sensuous. Cricket seems to be doing quite well in the uniform stakes these days with our ones being quite nice with the gold bits and the Aussies looking real good in the dark green.

  3. I’m quite liking Twenty20, though of course when one has the time to watch the longer forms of the game it’s a treat – but when you’re flat out it’s a cool way to chill out and watch a fast game of cricket.
    And wow, great start NZ! Who’d have thought after the last “comedy-pyjama-party hit-and-giggle” result in Aussie that NZ could be so commanding?

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