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India players' pen sketches
March 22, 2003 19:50 IST
India's probable line-up for Sunday's World Cup final against Australia (in batting order):
Tendulkar Mark II. Explosive right-hander who has wisely modelled himself on the best batsman in the world, so well that they are difficult to tell apart. Sehwag's greater height and lesser statistics give him away. Has failed to fire at the World Cup, with one half-century and average of 21.70. But scores at almost a run a ball and is hugely dangerous, with five one-day hundreds.
Known as 'The Little Master'. Nothing appears beyond him, perhaps not even a World Cup final century. More one-day centuries and runs than anybody else, as well as more World Cup runs. Also a true gentleman. Returned to the top of the India order for the Cup and has been unstoppable. His personal duel with Brett Lee may be the key to The Wanderers game. Scored 34th one-day hundred came against Namibia, since when he has had a string of near misses, including a scintillating 98 against Pakistan, 97 against Sri Lanka and 83 in the semi-final against Kenya. A World Cup final would be incomplete without him. Averages 44.58 in one-dayers, 48.66 against the world champions.
One man's villain, another's hero, but largely credited for giving India a tougher edge since taking over as captain. Attacking left-hander with marvellous shots but an occasionally loose technique. Hit three undefeated World Cup centuries against Namibia and Kenya (twice) and is averaging 338 against non-Test status sides. Average against the Test teams is 17.16. Made nine before being dismissed by Lee in first-round nine-wicket defeat to Australia. Averages 43.04 in 228 one-dayers, only 22.61 against the Australians.
Aged 22, came to the World Cup with an growing reputation as an innings 'finisher' in Michael Bevan mould. However, moved up the order, has disappointed in South Africa apart from a cautious, crucial 68 not out against New Zealand. Averaging 22.75 with a modest strike rate of 58.14. Best fielder in the side. Best one-day innings was 111 not out off 112 balls against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy. Played four Tests without distinction.
Best batting technician in the side apart from Tendulkar. Asked to keep in one-dayers to help lengthen the batting order. Plays at three or four in Tests but relegated to five for the World Cup to cement middle order. Done that brilliantly, averaging 67.75, even more than Tendulkar, with five not outs. Once regarded as too slow a scorer for one-dayers. Scored a classic 145 in the 1999 World Cup against Sri Lanka in a world record 318-run stand with Ganguly (183).
Another young 'finisher' in the making, aged 21. Good left-handed hitter, particularly strong on the drive. Good temperament. Has played a couple of important innings at the World Cup, including a run-a-ball undefeated 50 against Pakistan and 58 not out against Kenya. Not yet played a Test. Bowls slow left arm but went for 43 runs off six overs in the semi-final against Kenya after taking four for six against Namibia in his first bowl.
Left-handed batsman, part-time left-arm spinner. Selected for World Cup ahead of Vangipurappu Laxman. Has not looked like contributing much from number seven. Played in every game, averaging 21.60 in five innings at strike rate of 54.54. Not scored a half-century in his last 21 one-day innings. One hundred and two fifties in 37 ODI knocks.
Off spinner, nicknamed 'The Turbanator' after a superb Test series against Australia in 2001, taking 32 wickets in three matches (including India's only Test hat-trick). Selected ahead of leg spinner Anil Kumble for most of the World Cup but largely reduced to a supporting role after success of the pace bowlers. Nine wickets at 31.77. Hit for 49 off 7.2 wicketless overs in last meeting with Australia.
Left-armer, with a lovely action. Bowls a fine yorker and swings the ball late back into right-handers. Planned to become an engineer before honing skills under former Australia bowler Dennis Lillee. Aged 24 and has taken 18 wickets at 17.05 even if, by own admission, not bowling quite as well as his fellow pacemen. 4-42 v New Zealand in Super Sixes a career-best.
Mild-mannered, undemonstrative and one of India's greats. Bowling spearhead for a decade, has been genuinely quick but now concentrates on accuracy. Aged 33, seemed set to be lost to India last year after announcing Test retirement but persuaded back by Ganguly. Sixteen World Cup wickets at 17.62 and, like Khan and Nehra, conceding fewer than four an over. Passed 300 wickets earlier in tournament. Also 256 Test victims.
Improving with every match. Regarded as the team's eccentric. Like Khan, a left-armer who has exposed many batsmen's technical deficiencies. Loping run-up, looks almost lazy, but added a vital metre of pace over last year. Fifteen wickets at 15.46. Exploited day-night conditions perfectly against England to take 6-23, the sixth best figures in World Cup history. A 23-year-old, axed for two years after poor Test debut in 1999.
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