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India's seniors have to stand up and be counted

By Dean Jones
July 27, 2004 01:05 IST
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Well, it comes down to this match to find out who will qualify for the Asia Cup final. Sri Lanka are certainties already, but at least India knows that their destiny is in their own hands. Pakistan, on the other, does not have the same luxury and will be hoping for Sri Lanka to keep up with their very impressive form by defeating this inconsistent Indian team.

Let's have a look at the SWAT [strengths, weaknesses and tactics] analysis for this match.


STRENGTHS: Playing at home at the Ranasinghe Premadasa stadium gives the locals a huge advantage. Sri Lanka knows when to bat, they know what ends to bowl certain bowlers and what fields should be set. Then add a huge screaming crowd behind their team and you have a fantastic recipe for success.

Previous column

India will have to weather fast-bowling storm

It was good to see Jayasuriya back to his normal good form. I was so happy for the Sri Lankan team that they did not give Bangladesh even one wicket in their recent match. That shows me this team is really having some pride in their work and they have shown Pakistan and India that they will have to play out of their skins to beat them.

WEAKNESS: Psychologically, Sri Lanka has the wood over both teams by beating them already in this tournament. But the absence of Muralitharan from tomorrow's match could make all the difference.

Sri Lanka is showing no real weakness in any department at the moment. But please do not be complacent now Sri Lanka.

TACTICS: Make sure you beat India in this match to throw them out of the tournament. You would rather play Pakistan than India. Pakistan has the tendency to live on a lot of luck. India don't.


STRENGTHS: The strengths for India in the bowling department are Pathan, Nehra and Tendulkar. In the batting department only Dravid has gone on from a fifty to make a century. Tendulkar and Ganguly are getting close to their normal selves but they are still 15-20 per cent off their required output.

India won't have to face Murali, at least for this crucial match.

WEAKNESS: The bowling technique of Balaji is now badly flawed. He needs to go see Kapil Dev or someone to sort his action out. The injury to Zaheer is still a little worrying. If Zaheer breaks down in this match then he has pulled the wool over too many guys and will cop the full brunt of his actions if India lose in the process.

The form of Sehwag both with bat and in the field has been really disappointing. I love watching him play. Yes, he is a frustrating cricketer who will not play the percentages, and in doing so can look awful at times. His fielding effort against Pakistan was very shoddy indeed.

TACTICS: Play all the left arm quicks and leave out Balaji. The batsmen must attack Vaas. I would instruct Sehwag and Tendulkar to bat five feet out of the batting crease while facing Vaas. Bat on off-stump and look to hit everything through mid-on and mid-wicket.

Poor fielding suggests there is a slight change in team harmony and team spirit. It will take 95-100 overs to break this confident Sri Lankan team, so India must be ready for a dog fight.

India has to win this one. With Sri Lanka without the services of Murali, I will put my money on India. They have a good chance of winning this one. Win the toss and bat first India and see how Sri Lanka like it chasing a decent total.

If they want to earn respect around the world, then the senior players have to stand up and be counted in these situations. One good tour to Pakistan does not constitute a great career! When teams win these tough matches it helps them learn to win major games for other series down the road.

Also read:

Bob Woolmer's column: Pakistan face a herculean task

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Dean Jones

Asian Games 2023

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