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Friday, January 9, 2015

Was Steven Smith invincible or India's think-tank thoughtless?

As the India-Australia Test series is coming to an end for now, the splendour of Steven Smith would surely be missed. 

The way he batted in the entire series, especially when chips were down, no adjectives are sufficient to revere that.

To some extent, it was scary, and of course phenomenal in terms of lust and lustre what Smith brought into his batting, as if batting is nothing but a child's play. 

One second, dancing down the track against spinners to send the ball into the stands and the next moment, rocking back into the crease to play horizontal shots against pacers, well, to be precise, couldn't have been more sublime... manifesting sheer confidence and utter disdain with a matchless confluence. 

Worth mentioning, that too, almost giving no chance or getting beaten rarely throughout an innings. On that count, Smith definitely remained ahead of Kohli in light of batsmanship in this series. 

However, under pressure Kohli perhaps overtook Smith time to time in phases.

Even if talent, temperament, and technique are put aside, the number of runs Smith amassed in only four tests did not only humble Ponting but also surpassed the legend Don Bradman, adding more pride to the Aussies' glory!

162* + 52* = 214 in Adelaide 
133 + 28 = 161 in Brisbane
192 + 14 = 206 in Melbourne
117 + 71 = 188 in Sydney 

'769' runs, simply incredible! Gorgeously magical to believe. 

But, as no magic is magic in real sense, similarly Steven Smith's batting technique was not, and still is not, free from flaws. 

In fact, if India's think-tank or the so-called (technical) director afforded to use the brain a bit, they could have helped the clueless and hopeless pace attack get an idea on how to get Smith out early without being hammered by him all over the ground, as a consequence of mindless short balls. 

Looking at the ludicrous bowling by all Indian pacers, following a pathetic game-plan, I couldn't help but writing a Facebook status on December 31st, 2014, as follows: 

"Since, Steven Smith hardly commits on the front-foot but keeps waiting on the back-foot, so pitching anything even a fraction short will actually help him 'stand and deliver'. More so, as the batting stance he uses that practically lets his waist and hips remain very flexible. In fact, that also allows him to play as late as possible, while generating massive power in strokes, using his bottom-hand even in drives on the rise. But, as his front leg doesn't come forward or go across, and the front knee doesn't bend that way during drives, so anything nipping back to him constantly from good-length, even if 'slightly over-pitched' to reduce the rise of the ball, is likely to put him into trouble. In fact, that's the ploy 'Shami should keep trying, relentlessly, given his natural off-cutter and in-swing'. Five balls in an over got to be there, while an odd one should hold its line or out-swing or leg-cut off the same spot. Otherwise, stopping Smith is almost impossible, when he has been in such a good nick."  

Whether I was right or wrong got evident from the delivery, bowling which Shami sent Smith back to pavilion in the Sydney Test, getting the LBW decision in his favour, while Steven was looking ominously invincible once again during Australia's second innings.   

If you look at the picture below (click on it to enlarge), you will get to know how, in the entire series, India's think-tank has planned to have no plan to get Smith out by letting the pacers understand his weakness in batting, so as to encourage them to capitalise on it. 

In case, Shami did swing it reverse, instead of a genuine in-swing, then also the pitch of the delivery duly suggests what has been, and should be, the ideal length to dismiss Smith, which the coveted, hyped, and media-fied think-tank was reluctant identify to let the bowlers exploit that in the process.

Frankly, if this is the condition of Indian dressing room and their cricketing intelligence then India should keep playing only T20s ad ODIs overseas, for they are not mentally fit enough to play Test cricket, where it's imperative to get 20 wickets in a match. 


Anonymous said...

Grt comments Sushovan. I honestly think that India is not at all interested in playing test cricket and also no attention paid to improve bowlers. Our bowlers are always 2nd class citizens. No wonder our bowlers never try to learn or strive for excellence.

Sushovan Chaudhuri said...

Thanks! The fact of the matter is, since, our bowlers never try to learn or strive for excellence, so little surprise no attention is paid to them. In a classroom, if some students are not interested in learning, teachers automatically consider them hopeless and ignore.