I am so angry at Bhajji right now that I am writing this offline on Notepad. It’s 1:45 a.m and it’s been about 15 mins since Bhajji robbed Dravid of an innings that would have re-defined the way ignorant Desi fans looked at him. Any keen cricket observer will know, that Dravid is India’s one of the most efficient batsman in the last 10 overs, and what good chance India had even after Pathan’s dismissal.
The fact that there were 4 overs of powerplay remaining adds to the anguish. Of course all this would have been not coming hadn’t Raina played that gem of an innings. After that onslaught on Malik, all that was required was 100 from 16 overs with 6 wickets in hand! Even the Indian team of the ‘90s would have fancied that. Ok Raina went soon after, but still 5 wickets should be plenty in this era when teams boast of batsmen like Johnson coming down at no. 8
When was the last time Yusuf Pathan dug India out of a hole with his batting? India desperately needs a more reliable batsman at no.7. Bhajji at no.8 is ok but the remaining 3 are once again hopeless. Compare us with Pakistan who have Rana Naved and Umar Gul, RSA who have Van der merwe and Steyn, Australia who have Hauritz and Lee, New Zealand who have Mills, and even England who have got the likes of Broad and Swann coming in at after no.8. RP Singh and Ishant Sharma making contact with the ball is an occasion to celebrate for us on the other hand. With the unreliable Yusuf at no.7, India can ill-afford to not have either a Praveen Kumar or a Irfan Pathan to come in later.
If India fail to make it through to the next round, then all blame squarely lies on Bhajji. Not to mention his bowling which was uncharacteristically short and wide and provided Malik with the dolliest of jobs to cut behind square for a four every single over. Still, 300 was chaseable and the way Gambhir was going about it no one missed either Sachin or Sehwag. The way he gave up on getting back to his crease even though there was time, smacks of his time spent with Sehwag 😛
Meanwhile, Delhi Daredevils seem to be on fire everywhere in the tournament. Shoaib Malik, Gautam Gambhir, Nehra, Dilshan, Collingwood and AB have stood out already!
p.s:- Originally written (as already stated) immediately after India vs Pakistan. South Africa weren’t eliminated by then. They will be dealt with in due time in another post. So please don’t unleash your horses on the Proteas as yet.