Irani Trophy September 24, 2008

Nightmare becomes dream

The first day of Irani Cup started off badly for Delhi, but at the end of the day they are not complaining
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The day didn't quite start the way we would've liked it to. We lost the toss on a typical win-the-toss-and-bat-first wicket. Though the conditions favour playing two spinners, the lack of a quality spinner among our ranks meant that we went in with our four best bowlers: three seam bowlers and Chetanya Nanda, the lone spinner.

On the other side, the ROI team opted to play five bowlers, which meant playing only five batsmen. But with MS Dhoni as the wicket-keeper, one could afford to play with one less batsman. I've played quite a few games for the ROI, and one thing has always been in common: playing five bowlers. Considering the quality of batting at their disposal, five batsmen are normally more than enough.

ROI started the day strongly, and looked in command. The ball wasn't doing anything in the air, nor off the surface. We were forced to play the waiting game, and maintaining a disciplined line and length, hoping that the batsman would commit a mistake. Even though the ball wasn't doing anything alarming off the surface, it wasn't easy to hit the ball square: the ball wasn't coming on to the bat too well, and the bounce was on the lower side. The track looked very dry on top, but perhaps there's a lot of moisture underneath and hence the ball is coming on slowly after pitching.

Once the ROI started losing wickets, we managed to tighten the noose with some inspired bowling from Ishant Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan and Nanda. All of them bowled with a lot of discipline, and maintained a tight leash. One disadvantage of playing five bowlers is that if a couple of your top-order batsmen fail and the ones who get the starts don't score big, the longish tail gets exposed a little too soon. That's exactly what happened with the ROI today, and once we saw the backs of Dhoni and Mohammad Kaif, we knew we were in with a good chance. The tail might wag for a while on surfaces like this, but when grinding is the mantra they struggle to inflict substantial damage.

Looking back at the way the day panned out, we are very satisfied with our efforts. At one stage, we were having nightmares of spending a day and half in the field waiting for the ROI to declare, but little did we know that we would be batting on the first day itself. Now the onus is on us to capitalise on our excellent bowling performance, and pile on a big score to bat the ROI out of this game.

We know that this won't be easy by any stretch of the imagination as they have a very competent attack at their disposal. The track has assisted the spinners today, which means that it will only get tougher to bat on as we come out to chase in the last innings against Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. We must seize the initiative on the second day because they have enough quality bowling and batting in their ranks to get back into the match.

But right now, it's advantage Delhi. :)

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fahad on September 25, 2008, 18:43 GMT

    But right now, it's advantage Delhi. :)

  • Shekhar Kale on September 25, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    Aakash, I liked the way you played your short innings. I expected you to stay longer with Sehwag. Sehwag has ability to change the game in few overs, agreed, but he always gives chances to the bowler. I love him for his shots, but I like your batting because it offers solidity. Top 3 batsman of Delhi team are test batsmen and I expect them to put more runs than mere 80-90. I like your article and I am a follower of your writings. Please keep on giving us all the insights that makes you different from other cricket writers. Best luck for 2nd innings. I know you all need to fight it out. I would like to see Delhi team fight till the end in bowling as well as batting and not just give up. regards.

  • Homer on September 25, 2008, 17:05 GMT

    Dream turned into nightmare yet or will this get added to the "Not a damaging loss" category?

  • Ms. Robin on September 25, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Way to go, ROI!!!! Day 2- advantage ROI. Good match, like to see that it will probably be suspenseful.

  • Srijith on September 25, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    It's nice to see Ishant finding nick and getting wickets as he would be playing a key role in the match against Aussies. Go India go!!!! :) :)

  • Jose on September 25, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    We love to see you and Sehwag open for India.

  • Biju on September 25, 2008, 9:38 GMT

    An optimistic and sensible one.Good luck Akash.I wish delhi beat ROI and prove that there better cricketers who are waiting for chances while this veterans are not giving you a way.I wish you score a double hundred in the 2 nd innings.Good luck

  • George on September 25, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    WEll said Akash.. Infact i would say well played considering the condition of the match at this moment. But the thing is that u have ROI has been underestimated a bit more considering "We lost the toss on a typical win-the-toss-and-bat-first wicket". Anywayz all the best 4 the rest of the match.

  • Manhar Patel (Toronto) on September 25, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    It is looks like not so easy to bat on this track. You have done very well in the first innings. You went little too fast, your strike rate 62 bit higher. Some how most cricket loving Indian suddenly care about you and like you. Good luck in second inning, wish you hit TON and open your test door with a big bang. I am egger to see you paying next TEST match. Hard work and talent is there but need a little blessing from all mighty, may God bless you. Vengsarkar are you watching my man!

  • Mumsy on September 25, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    well said Akash..Ur blog is very good. I think ROI made a huge mistake. They had to send Kaif as onedown .I dont think Badri is agood choice as firstdown. this mach would be tough one for your team.ny wqy all the best

  • Fahad on September 25, 2008, 18:43 GMT

    But right now, it's advantage Delhi. :)

  • Shekhar Kale on September 25, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    Aakash, I liked the way you played your short innings. I expected you to stay longer with Sehwag. Sehwag has ability to change the game in few overs, agreed, but he always gives chances to the bowler. I love him for his shots, but I like your batting because it offers solidity. Top 3 batsman of Delhi team are test batsmen and I expect them to put more runs than mere 80-90. I like your article and I am a follower of your writings. Please keep on giving us all the insights that makes you different from other cricket writers. Best luck for 2nd innings. I know you all need to fight it out. I would like to see Delhi team fight till the end in bowling as well as batting and not just give up. regards.

  • Homer on September 25, 2008, 17:05 GMT

    Dream turned into nightmare yet or will this get added to the "Not a damaging loss" category?

  • Ms. Robin on September 25, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Way to go, ROI!!!! Day 2- advantage ROI. Good match, like to see that it will probably be suspenseful.

  • Srijith on September 25, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    It's nice to see Ishant finding nick and getting wickets as he would be playing a key role in the match against Aussies. Go India go!!!! :) :)

  • Jose on September 25, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    We love to see you and Sehwag open for India.

  • Biju on September 25, 2008, 9:38 GMT

    An optimistic and sensible one.Good luck Akash.I wish delhi beat ROI and prove that there better cricketers who are waiting for chances while this veterans are not giving you a way.I wish you score a double hundred in the 2 nd innings.Good luck

  • George on September 25, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    WEll said Akash.. Infact i would say well played considering the condition of the match at this moment. But the thing is that u have ROI has been underestimated a bit more considering "We lost the toss on a typical win-the-toss-and-bat-first wicket". Anywayz all the best 4 the rest of the match.

  • Manhar Patel (Toronto) on September 25, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    It is looks like not so easy to bat on this track. You have done very well in the first innings. You went little too fast, your strike rate 62 bit higher. Some how most cricket loving Indian suddenly care about you and like you. Good luck in second inning, wish you hit TON and open your test door with a big bang. I am egger to see you paying next TEST match. Hard work and talent is there but need a little blessing from all mighty, may God bless you. Vengsarkar are you watching my man!

  • Mumsy on September 25, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    well said Akash..Ur blog is very good. I think ROI made a huge mistake. They had to send Kaif as onedown .I dont think Badri is agood choice as firstdown. this mach would be tough one for your team.ny wqy all the best

  • tuhina on September 25, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    Yesterday's comeback was fantastic. Think that the ROI were a bit laid back.But watch out for a strike back full force tomorrow.Keep going guys.Hope to see you donning Indian colours once again. Must admit that your blogs are great to go through. Very humane and feel like personal conversations. Keep up the good work. Best of luck.

  • Sidharth Madhav on September 25, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    Hey there Aakash! It's been wonderful reading your blogs. Very articulate and well written. I watched a bit of the game yesterday and thought the ROI batsmen didnt apply themselves too well. Ofcourse, the Delhi lads bowled superbly, especially Nanda. Its very rare to see a leggie with very good control! Coming back to your batting, I guess you're in top form with the numerous big scores under your belt. Keep going! This pitch is suited to your kind of play-grafting!..have fun and score big!..all the best!

  • vibhanshu on September 25, 2008, 5:11 GMT

    Hi Its not very common seeing internatioal cricketers maintaining blogs. I really like your insightful writing, especially the column you wrote as an overseas professional for the HT. I hope you do really well in this match so we can see you opening at Bangalore and at forward short leg taking those great reflex catches. All the best

  • Yogesh on September 25, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Hi Aakash, I want you to score one more double hundred and still Delhi too loose :) Simlarly, I want Kaifu to score double hundred and want ROI to win :) Have Fun. Best Of Luck, Looking forward to see you in playing 11. Best Luck again. Regards, #! /Yogesh.

  • Akash on September 25, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    you said it, Aakash. the ball is on Delhi's side of the pitch now, time for you and Viroo to hit it out of the park! the Chopra-Sehwag opening combo should return to the Test side with Gauti at 3.

  • Deepak on September 25, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    A 150 for you today ??

  • Anil on September 25, 2008, 3:55 GMT

    hi well done for the first day personally you started brilliantly have a good hit . all would like to see you hitting a double ton. i am sure we will see you in national cap shortly. i would like to remind you one thing that sourav dada stated when he was selected " I will hit as many centuries for bengal in domestic that national selectors wants for me to get back to national duty". you can resolve to hit as many double centuries that the selectors wants. dont be panic that there is no opening slot. there is still slots in middle due to Sourav and sachin. good luck and waits to see you live in television anil from kerala cs.anilkumar.g@gmail.com

  • naren on September 25, 2008, 3:41 GMT

    as a normal fan of cricket we dont genrally get any information about domestic cricket,infact this is the 1st time i am hearing about irani trophy.This is the third article of yours( i have read only three of your articles) which i am reading and its becoming more and more intresting.Thanks for your work inspite being busy with the match.Keep doing this ....it will give gud couple of minutes to all cricketing fans..once again thanks for your work.. and wishing luck for team delhi....

  • Nitin Sharma on September 25, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Hi Aakash Read your interview on cricinfo , the quote by Michael atherton was really inspiring and you following that has really increased your respect among cricket fans like me..Must say that I really like your compact style of batting and fielding . Anyways do well in the Irani trophy match and hope you score a double hundred again. ALL THE BEST!!!

  • prakash on September 25, 2008, 2:53 GMT

    well said akash, i did watch the match and intially thought this is bad sign for delhi, but great to see you guys stuck to the basics and eventually rooted out the rest. No sweats over jumbo and bhajji. You guys look like more of team whereas rest looked like team of individuals, well atleast on day 1. As you say, continue sticking to the basics and grind the rest out of the game. ROCK ON......

  • Srinu on September 25, 2008, 2:09 GMT

    I too agree with you akash that playing 5 bowlers is always a risky on the Indian tracks in particular.I could not understand why Kumble has gone with 5 bowlers as he and Bhajji itself are more than enough on the Indian tracks.But certainly this match will help Kumble to think about 5 bowlers strategy as we know Aussies have a strong pace bowling attack and India could not dare to go just with 5 speacialist batsmen as Dhoni still has to prove himself in Test cricket arena. Coming to Viru's captaincy,he has not utilised Ishant for long spells today as he can wrpa up the lower order with his pace attack but i guess he preferred Sangwan and Nanda in prior to Ishanth.Anyways now ball is in Delhi's court to capitalise on your bowlers excellent performance.Best of luck to you to score as many runs as you can and make it to the Indian squad.I love ur batting along with Viru bhai and ur partnership in making the series draw on Aussies soil r unforgettable.Rt now,guess is Delhi wins for sure!!

  • Surajit on September 25, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder how most of the matches are becoming low scoring nowadays. We dont see 500 plus scores as often as we used to see in 90s. It could be because of we have lot more one days and 20-20 now which making the batsmen more attacking and hence more chances of getting out. Some might argue that its because of good bowling or the pitches in India changing its nature. But if we see the stats more closely, we can see a general lack in patience of most batsmen and when scoring runs is diffcult instead of grafting they try to play more shots to ease the situation. It could work sometime for some players but backfires in most occassions. Irani Trophy itself shows a lot of low scores in last 6-8 years. I want to point out one more thing that BCCI is not able to nurture the talents properly. What happened to VRV Singh,M.Tiwari,Murali Kartik,Romesh Powar? Why they are not in picture at all? Why Gagandeep Singh,Ranadeb Bose,SS Paul dont get chance?Hope v dont loose'em & they keep playin

  • Rafiq on September 24, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Aakash man, go for a broke. This is your last chance to get in the Indian Cric Team. You take tooooooooo many balls to score a run. We have seen how it was in IPL, so please do all the calculations and try to get in the team if thats ur ultimate goal is. Thanks. Rafiq

    PS: Your well wisher

  • Harsha on September 24, 2008, 23:44 GMT

    Hope you go on to make a significant contribution and get back into the Indian team. Like your blog very much. Hope you find time to keep posting everyday.Good luck......

  • Rajat on September 24, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    Stick 2 the basics. Guyz go out take a big first innings lead n then knock them out in the second!!!!!!!!!!! Go Delhi Go!!!!!!!

  • Devang on September 24, 2008, 22:17 GMT

    Wow is this really Aakash Chopra? That is awesome! Didn't think professional cricketers maintained blogs. Very well written article Aakash and i wish you luck, hopefully the the selectors will call soon. Good luck with the match, i look forward to a magical innings from you. Devang Pandya

  • Aniruddha Samanta on September 24, 2008, 22:07 GMT

    Hey Aakash, good luck and ensure that you guys land the killer punch tomorrow. It would be very interesting to see who all make the cut on the 29th...The ROI team is representing the TEST team and what conspired today does not hold good for the upcoming series. Hope you do well...

  • naveen on September 24, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    Kudos to Delhi for restricting ROi having 10 test players in their ranks to 252. With some good hitters of ball in their ranks it is advantage Delhi at the end of day 1.

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  • naveen on September 24, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    Kudos to Delhi for restricting ROi having 10 test players in their ranks to 252. With some good hitters of ball in their ranks it is advantage Delhi at the end of day 1.

  • Aniruddha Samanta on September 24, 2008, 22:07 GMT

    Hey Aakash, good luck and ensure that you guys land the killer punch tomorrow. It would be very interesting to see who all make the cut on the 29th...The ROI team is representing the TEST team and what conspired today does not hold good for the upcoming series. Hope you do well...

  • Devang on September 24, 2008, 22:17 GMT

    Wow is this really Aakash Chopra? That is awesome! Didn't think professional cricketers maintained blogs. Very well written article Aakash and i wish you luck, hopefully the the selectors will call soon. Good luck with the match, i look forward to a magical innings from you. Devang Pandya

  • Rajat on September 24, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    Stick 2 the basics. Guyz go out take a big first innings lead n then knock them out in the second!!!!!!!!!!! Go Delhi Go!!!!!!!

  • Harsha on September 24, 2008, 23:44 GMT

    Hope you go on to make a significant contribution and get back into the Indian team. Like your blog very much. Hope you find time to keep posting everyday.Good luck......

  • Rafiq on September 24, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Aakash man, go for a broke. This is your last chance to get in the Indian Cric Team. You take tooooooooo many balls to score a run. We have seen how it was in IPL, so please do all the calculations and try to get in the team if thats ur ultimate goal is. Thanks. Rafiq

    PS: Your well wisher

  • Surajit on September 25, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder how most of the matches are becoming low scoring nowadays. We dont see 500 plus scores as often as we used to see in 90s. It could be because of we have lot more one days and 20-20 now which making the batsmen more attacking and hence more chances of getting out. Some might argue that its because of good bowling or the pitches in India changing its nature. But if we see the stats more closely, we can see a general lack in patience of most batsmen and when scoring runs is diffcult instead of grafting they try to play more shots to ease the situation. It could work sometime for some players but backfires in most occassions. Irani Trophy itself shows a lot of low scores in last 6-8 years. I want to point out one more thing that BCCI is not able to nurture the talents properly. What happened to VRV Singh,M.Tiwari,Murali Kartik,Romesh Powar? Why they are not in picture at all? Why Gagandeep Singh,Ranadeb Bose,SS Paul dont get chance?Hope v dont loose'em & they keep playin

  • Srinu on September 25, 2008, 2:09 GMT

    I too agree with you akash that playing 5 bowlers is always a risky on the Indian tracks in particular.I could not understand why Kumble has gone with 5 bowlers as he and Bhajji itself are more than enough on the Indian tracks.But certainly this match will help Kumble to think about 5 bowlers strategy as we know Aussies have a strong pace bowling attack and India could not dare to go just with 5 speacialist batsmen as Dhoni still has to prove himself in Test cricket arena. Coming to Viru's captaincy,he has not utilised Ishant for long spells today as he can wrpa up the lower order with his pace attack but i guess he preferred Sangwan and Nanda in prior to Ishanth.Anyways now ball is in Delhi's court to capitalise on your bowlers excellent performance.Best of luck to you to score as many runs as you can and make it to the Indian squad.I love ur batting along with Viru bhai and ur partnership in making the series draw on Aussies soil r unforgettable.Rt now,guess is Delhi wins for sure!!

  • prakash on September 25, 2008, 2:53 GMT

    well said akash, i did watch the match and intially thought this is bad sign for delhi, but great to see you guys stuck to the basics and eventually rooted out the rest. No sweats over jumbo and bhajji. You guys look like more of team whereas rest looked like team of individuals, well atleast on day 1. As you say, continue sticking to the basics and grind the rest out of the game. ROCK ON......

  • Nitin Sharma on September 25, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Hi Aakash Read your interview on cricinfo , the quote by Michael atherton was really inspiring and you following that has really increased your respect among cricket fans like me..Must say that I really like your compact style of batting and fielding . Anyways do well in the Irani trophy match and hope you score a double hundred again. ALL THE BEST!!!