|HOME | WORLD CUP 99 | INDIA | NEWS | REPORT|
|June 5, 1999||
Many stars, few Robin Singhs and Jadejas
It is not the end of the world, but it could well be the end of the World Cup for India. Having lost to three of five competitors in the Ssuper Six or in the preliminary league, India have virtually eliminated themselves.
The chances of surviving the second cut into semi-finals do exist in theory, as in a possible multiple tie for the fourth spot, or the third and fourth spots on four points each, but in practice, they may have gone for six.
The consolation, however, is the individual honours are still India's in the batting department. A typically resourceful innings by Ajay Jadeja makes him the fourth century maker in an Indians only list. But are such individual honours worth anything when compared to faring well in a team game?
The point is, there are too many stars and too few Jadejas and Robin Singhs in the Indian team. Given Azhar's form with the bat, the team may also be carrying a specialist captain, a Mike Brearley in the making.
To suspect a lack of commitment is wrong, because no team in the world would take a World Cup lightly. The one cricketing reason why under pressure India fails in one department or the other is they are not a side consistent enough at this level to be a world beater.
There is no lack of stars though. The batting stars were all shining brightly until it came to the crunch situation in the do-or-die Super Six. The excuse they could hold out is they were done in by a great performance by a great fast bowler in Glenn McGrath.
McGrath put into execution the simple plan to counter Indian batsmen who are not that hot when it comes to negotiating bounce. They may have come across faster bowlers than McGgrath (clocked at 88 mph on the Fedex radar yesterday). They faced Allan Donald at Hove, but he even may not have combined pace, lift and movement in such an adroit mixture as McGrath did on Friday.
They played Henry Olonga, who bowled fast and straight in one destructive spell in the 49th over. But he is hardly in the class of McGrath when it comes to gaining lift off the pitch.
The smile on Jadeja's face as he played and missed an early indipper that left him off the seam from McGrath said it all. Here was a bowler who was performing twice as well as any supporting bowler. There was a change of trajectory to a virtual West Indian mode as McGrath dug it in more than let the ball swing and get to the other end.
By that time Robin began timing the ball well enough to be the first one to defy the bowling which had been placed right on top in McGrath's opening spell. If only some others imbibe the spirit of Robin Singh, India might fare well enough in the remaining two engagements.
No one has been placed under more pressure to keep his place than Robin Singh. The moment any game is lost, he becomes the scapegoat. He has been through this experience many times before but it must be disheartening for a particular player to be dropped on the grounds of team composition while the specialists keep their place irrespective of performance.
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