Pakistan in India / Features

India v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day

Kumble the captain let down Kumble the bowler

Anil Kumble should have perhaps backed himself, and the rest of the bowlers, and declared half-an-hour earlier

George Binoy at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

December 12, 2007

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A



After tea, Anil Kumble discarded his legbreaks and resorted to bowling seam-up © AFP
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A Test that seemed destined to a draw at tea ended with Anil Kumble bowling seam-up with nine men close in as India strove to beat fading light and pick up the three Pakistan wickets that would have given them a 2-0 series win. They failed to pick up those wickets when Pakistan were offered the light with 11 overs left in the day. The immediate, and thoroughly appropriate, reaction would be to commend India and Kumble on a spectacular sprint for victory in the final session. A more considered opinion would be that Kumble the captain let down Kumble the bowler by leaving the declaration too late.

The timing of the declaration will have its share of supporters and detractors. Those in favour will echo Kumble, who said India "had to get to a situation where we could absolutely ensure a series victory." India were, after all, defending a 1-0 lead and were justified in wanting to shut the door completely. Another argument is that the poor light was unforeseen and, but for it, they would probably have comfortably picked up those last three wickets given the speed with which the first seven fell.

Convincing, but not as emphatic as the counter to those arguments. India's lead was 310 by lunch and the probability of Pakistan chasing a target of such magnitude, on a pitch where the bounce was getting lower by the over, was almost zero. Importantly, had the declaration come ten overs earlier, at the cost of 35-40 runs to the target, India would have had a buffer against the weather. The timing of the eventual declaration, little more than an hour after lunch, leaving Pakistan 374 to chase and 48 overs to save the Test, betrayed a defensive mindset.

It was the second time this year that India settled for 1-0 when a little more aggression and confidence would have secured a 2-0 scoreline. At The Oval in August, India left the declaration until an hour after tea on the fourth day, when they had accumulated a lead of 500, after having earlier decided not to enforce the follow-on. England finished the fifth day 131 short of their target with four wickets in hand.

 
"In hindsight I probably should have bowled medium-pace in the first innings," Kumble said after the draw. In hindsight, he should have perhaps backed himself, and the rest of the bowlers, and declared half-an-hour earlier
 

This aversion to risk becomes more significant in the context of India's next opponents. What if India are faced with a similar situation on the final day of the first Test in Melbourne in December? Will they sit back and ensure the match is completely safe first and give themselves a smaller chance of bowling out Australia? Or will they be brave and back themselves to overcome the challenge? Australia cannot be beaten by playing conservative cricket and the clever gamble could be the difference between a draw and a win.

Kumble the bowler was outstanding in the final session. Pakistan went in to tea at 23 for no loss. After tea, he discarded his legbreaks and resorted to bowling seam-up, a masterstroke on such a wicket. "Yes, it was planned before I went out," Kumble revealed. "There was no spin or bounce on the wicket and the only way to get people out was through balls that kept low and you had to bowl a bit quicker so that the batsmen didn't have enough time to adjust."

When Kumble brought Yuvraj Singh into the attack, replacing Harbhajan, with seven wickets to get it appeared that India were running out of options. However, Yuvraj's left-arm spin and his arm-ball made for a deadly combination on the track. The fields employed created immense pressure on the batsmen for it told them that the runs they scored and the boundaries they hit mattered not a jot.

"In hindsight I probably should have bowled medium-pace in the first innings," Kumble said. In hindsight too, he should have perhaps backed himself, and the rest of the bowlers, and declared earlier.

George Binoy is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AlokJoshi on (December 13, 2007, 10:03 GMT)

Right, a series win is a series win. Right, it does not matter if it is 2-0 or 1-0. However, we must play with an attitude which only wants to win, if we wish to be the 'Numero Uno' team. A genuine effort in this regard mostly prevails. We upfront announced our intention to draw. We were defensive, unwilling to win hence without ambition, and maybe even doubted our ability to win - all too bad before the trip 'Down Under'. So, the delayed declaration has no justification! A team game, where a nation is being represented, deserves keener intensity to win, and lesser individual laurels. Sadly, test match cricket was toyed with and test match #1852 has gone down as a draw, with the usual few lessons to learn from ...

Posted by Srinisekar on (December 13, 2007, 8:29 GMT)

It is easier to make comments after the sunset. Look it from his angle. His newball bowlers are as new and not so were not effective in the first innings. Harbhajan is no longer the turbanator, the threat. The pitch was behaving well and not that much demons were visible when India was batting second. So why to give a chance? Atlease now we are able to talk with confidence. It is always easier said than done.

Posted by JayPadia on (December 13, 2007, 8:27 GMT)

India has always had a series ideology. I guess it comes from history as India had very often had series victory more than 2 decades back. It is the same story for India every time a situation like this arises in the last test when a series victory has already been secured. What contributed more to the decision was opportunity to Karthik. If the skipper really wanted to give Karthik the opportunity, he could have sent him earlier. Summing up, when the series starts, the mindset is for a series win and a big margin. With this mindset, India will never be able to go all out for a big series win. Forget about being number 1, number 2 looks a distant possiblity.

Posted by Suraj_srk on (December 13, 2007, 8:00 GMT)

Well critizing and cricket are two things which always come in a package. Here we are talking about Kumble declaring a few overs earlier, lets leave this and take another example once, the famous shot of Misbah in the 20-20 final. He as well was critisized for getting out on that shot, but what if he did hit it for six? The same goes here, as AugiTh said, with nothing to loose, what if Pakistan went for a slam-bang situation. Kumble was right on his side for going for safety first but with proper calculation he should have left it at when the required rate was around 6. It is a 5th day wicket afterall and is not that easy. Overall i think that from now on India should take each and every game for itself but not the series as a whole. Same thing they do in the ODI where after winning the series they weaken the team for the last game and most of the time loose the game and the winning streak. Well, anyways, its India after all. What can we say...

Posted by anything on (December 13, 2007, 7:59 GMT)

i don t think kumble was a bit late in declaring the inning s he played it safe,374 run s was the target for pakistan which i think was a very safe score for india to defend knowing what our fast-medium bowler s are,the declaration score was the rigth score but it was just the time which our batsmen took to get those 276 run s of 76 over s i think dravid ganguly and even karthik n pathan they all played too slow and i think that s the only reason why kumble had to delay the declaration

Posted by Shashank_Tripathi on (December 13, 2007, 6:36 GMT)

Hindsight is 20/20.

Indian bowlers in the first innings weren't exactly of a caliber that would inspire confidence. Kumble played to his strengths and weaknesses, and it seems many don't notice that in doing so, he very generously gave Karthik enough time to make his half century. What an astute and kind captain, and a fantastic cricketer to boot.

The rapidity with which the Pakistani batsmen disappeared from the field when offered bad light was an eloquent demonstration of who "won" this game. Well done, India!

Posted by ankit-jn on (December 13, 2007, 6:22 GMT)

330 in 60 overs would have left a zero chance for Pakistan, and about 50% for India. So really no point defending Kumble's decision.

Posted by NavalPatel on (December 13, 2007, 6:19 GMT)

It's not only in hindsight that the delayed declaration can be criticised. The situation clearly required just a little courage, not that there was the least real chance that Pakistan could make anything above 275 on such a wicket with the team they have at present, but to repel criticism of timid members of the public. Read similar views from Mr Gavaskar in the Times of India today.

Posted by rajachandra on (December 13, 2007, 6:16 GMT)

Compare the situation with Rahul Dravid's case in England, he was pilloried from all and sundry for not going for jugular , where as Anil is being dealt with kid gloves ! Who was behind Rahul's ouster from the helm ? There was such wide spread cacophony for everything Rahul did whether opting to bat first or chasing - everything was wrong according to Experts ! This has resulted in checking the captaincy and inconsistent form which appears to be more due to his mental make up. He stays at the wicket longer (EX: At Bangalore he faced more balls then dada) but fails to make head way after that.

Posted by FanofSauravDadaMumbai on (December 13, 2007, 6:06 GMT)

The Declaration delay was there...He defended his decision in order to win the series...That is not good...We have enough runs on the board, we could have asked Pakistan to chase at least when 60 overs left...then they could have chase 321 in 60 overs @ 5.35 per over, which is impossible for Pakistan. It is very difficult to bat on any Indian wicket on Session II. Kumble should have declared the Innings when Ganguly out for 91 and Karthik was playing then on 27...He waited and waited for Karthik to Hit a fifty atleast...Because He want him in the team bound to Australia instead of Parthiv Patel...as the selection for the Test team was around the corner. Kumble's captaincy overall was very good...But he is defensive captain like Dravid, Gavaskar, etc...To win a match you should take courageous decisions...It is very important for Australian Series...

Posted by apurba_das on (December 13, 2007, 5:43 GMT)

Let us look at it this way: 1. In Kolkata and in this test Pakistan batted well. 2. There is not much to take from the Indian bowling in the first innings. 3. Not to forget the extras we conceded, particularly behind the stumps. 3. Pitch apeared OK (if not best) for batting even in the fifth morning. Ganguly, Karthik and others showed it. Ganguly fell to a loose shot (i wsihed he completed his century) and Karthik to his apparent weakness. 4. India is one up in the series.Pakistan did not have anything to lose and would have gone for it had they been offered any chance. 5.At the end of the day this declaration looked ok except for the light.The situation Pakistan was in, at the colse of the day,who knows the eleven over left would have been sufficient.

What would have been the ideal decision for Kumble to take? Ensure the series and at the same time give Pakistan some overs to bat and then try if they cab be bowled out. This is exactly what Kumble or team India did.

Posted by thomas_ab on (December 13, 2007, 5:36 GMT)

We could blame the timing of the declaration, we could blame the umpiring both in Kolkata and Bangalore, we could blame the weather. The timing is a subjective matter, and the rest are not in the players' control. But one thing that is in their control is to take catches. Butt was dropped by Dravid and Hameed by Kumble before lunch, and between them the two played out an additional ten overs. If Pak had gone into lunch at 20-odd for 2, they would have come out in a much more defensive mindset. Add the ten overs saved, and we could have had a result. If India takes 95% catches or more of those on offer, suddenly all other criteria will seem to pale in significance.

Posted by pacchhu on (December 13, 2007, 5:28 GMT)

Well, the debate over the decision will certainly capture its space in the upcoming articles of several people who follow the game closely n affectionately, both, in news papers as well in their respective columns/blogs ! Kumble, keeping in mind the fact that the series win is being acheived by his team after a span of 27 years on an indian soil, had preferred to nail down completely, any thin hopes of a win for the pakistan team, without giving any sort of room to even dare a chase of such magnitude and level the series. No matter, Kumble erred in the declaration decision, both in the first & second innings, a series win is a series win ( 1-0/2-0 doesn't matter). Agree, no one would have expected a bad light situation after a bright four and half days of play, so did kumble. After watching the series, i have the feeling, Kumble - the bowler was over used and Harbhajan - the bowler was under used. It might take another series or probably few more matches for Kumble to get under it !!

Posted by sahilsahil on (December 13, 2007, 5:07 GMT)

well all you people! let us not forget that any win against pakistan is huge for india, SO TARGET ACHIEVED, but let us not forget that pakistan bowling was just so weak and if we start praising our batsmen too much then we might be in for a serious shock in australia,if pakistan had to save the last two tests that doesnt mean that india were superior, THAT MEANS PAKISTAN FOUGHT HARD and india couldnt penetrate pakistani batting line up! so imagaine what we are into when we face australian line up! i think we should actually praise pakistan for there effort virtually without there best bowlers they still managed to draw two games which india had upper hand throughout due to there weaker option..that being there BATTING! so why are we so happy! it is serious going down under and we might actually find ourselves going really UNDER! all the saurav heroics might fade and we might look just ordinary! TIME TO WAKE UP AND PREPARE BIG TIME!

Posted by AugiTh on (December 13, 2007, 4:56 GMT)

tut tut Geroge, you have written an article (in my opinion) that is entirely speculative. YOu wrote "India's lead was 310 by lunch and the probability of Pakistan chasing a target of such magnitude, on a pitch where the bounce was getting lower by the over, was almost zero.". I ask you what if pakistan when in with a "nothing to lose" philosophy and tried to "slam-bang" back into the game? Food for thought!

Posted by thesoccergod on (December 13, 2007, 4:52 GMT)

Alas! but this little defensive strategy has always been the case with our Indian teams, regardless of whether they are touring or they are playing at home. England at The Oval, Australia in the 4th test on the 2003-04 tour [where an early decision to terminate Sachin's "ultra slow masterpiece" might have helped us pick up the last 4 wickets we needed for a famous series victory and the current one at Bangalore. And it appears that we do not learn from ANY of these debacles. We still insist on the "safety first" approach--with the captain's desire to save his skin being the primary reason on nearly every occasion; that or the fact that "a series win is a series win:1-0 or 2-0". Rotten I say. We need to buck up and learn to become aggressive. Else, another mauling in Australia is writ large. Note: To the people who say that Pak could have gone for the chase whether it was 374 in 48 or 310 in 62, you people are missing the point. It's our diffidence to declare that is the central issue.

Posted by Anshu1982 on (December 13, 2007, 4:44 GMT)

One of the reason for delaying the declaration could have been that Karthik was playing at that time and given the disastrous series he has had, Kumble did not wanted to take away, his possibly last chance, by declaring the innings at lunch time. Also given the fact that Kumble supported Karthik during the test matches (by giving him chance to open the innings rather than shuffle the batting order to accommodate Yuvraj in middle order at the expense of Karthik) makes it seemingly possible that this thought might have come across Kumble's minds. And quite possibly Karthik owes his ticket to Australia to this half century and Kumble's delayed declaration, which in my opinion was a good decision.

Posted by Aubarla on (December 13, 2007, 4:41 GMT)

Those who criticize Kumble should understand few things - How good are our bowlers to defend the 300 total - What about the fitness of seamers - Weather factor played its role. We would not have got the wicket if weather had not become gloomy. There was no use even if we declared early if weather had not changed.

Posted by vamc on (December 13, 2007, 4:29 GMT)

it was a good decision by kumble...if india would have given 60 overs and 310 runs to chase i think they would have gone for it..if we see the batting of karthik itself we can understand that if u take l;ittle risk runs will cum easily...they dont loose anything by going for agreesive chase as they are already lost in the series...so i praise kumble decesion and congratulate him for his first series win....

Posted by DevSaha on (December 13, 2007, 4:18 GMT)

Kumble was extra careful...and rightly so. How can he have faith in the bowlers who struggled to get Pakistanis out in the first innings and hope they will get 10 wickets in half a day? One bird in hand is better than two in the bush!!!! However a more aggressive captain like Ganguly MAY have taken the chance and declared when Indians reached 300.

Posted by DevSaha on (December 13, 2007, 4:18 GMT)

Kumble was extra careful...and rightly so. How can he have faith in the bowlers who struggled to get Pakistanis out in the first innings and hope they will get 10 wickets in half a day? One bird in hand is better than two in the bush!!!! However a more aggressive captain like Ganguly MAY have taken the chance and declared when Indians reached 300.

Posted by Henley on (December 13, 2007, 4:01 GMT)

Anybody's captaincy is subjective to criticism and there is no perfect captain ever in the world. Kumble, as an experienced campaigner is very impressive with his capataincy. He kept cool headed in making decisions and the strategy he have with the given players are very impressive. But the declaration timing seems to be a bit defensive as he might thought as like a lot of people usually do think - "Why to threaten a serious victory on Hand?". But for me a match is a match by anymeans , "If the primary objective of kumble us to win the series, it also implies the rule that the primary objective is to win matches. India seems to be a very good side now, especially in india , but if it require to be a champion side it requires to be more confident. If the thinking is towards that direction, kumble's declaration timing is late and wrong!

Posted by kaidi_420 on (December 13, 2007, 3:40 GMT)

Nah, Kumble made a mistake. Please do not compare 20/20 with Test cricket. Pitches are made slow and by the last day, even getting 250 is a big challenge. The ball just doesn't come to the bat. Had Kumble declared earlier, it would have been 2-0. Think about it, if getting around 300 on the first day of Test is a very good score, then chasing around 300 on the Last day should be impossible.

Posted by apyboutit on (December 13, 2007, 3:35 GMT)

C'mmon George! Give it a break. In safe-sight I (even you would) prefer the present to the otherwise could have been situations - like: "Indian fail again - should Kumble quit?" - Anand Vasu "The pressures of captaining India" - Sambit Bal "K the bowler let down K the captain" - George Binoy "Pakistan never lost this series" - Osman Samiuddin "The new ul Haq smoothly slides into the old one's shoes" - Kamran Abbasi "We would have won the previous two matches also" - Malik and Younis "Awey think that Kumble made a big mistake" - Ian Chappell "India will face a thorough beating down under" - Tony Greg. "How Srilanka would have handled the same situation differently" - Austin / Sangakkara "Test cricket's chokers" - Neil Mckenzie "Teams that kept loosing series after winning them" - Ask Steven "How the big four have failed to win series" - S. Rajesh and the BEST of all, "Series was FULL of FIZZ, Pakistan showed class" - Rameez Raja So, ... Chill, else join Star News!

Posted by jsolo on (December 13, 2007, 3:20 GMT)

Kumble did the right thing to insure a series victory of a team with a decidedly ordinary attack over a decidedly ordinary Pakistan side. On tracks like these, where it is almost impossible to get batsmen out, what else could he do but protect his hard fought 1-0 lead. This is, however, just as Dravid's decision in England before it, the result of a negative mind set. This kind of attitude will be insufficient in Australia, where IND will have to play on hard, fast, bouncy surfaces against an AUS attack featuring at least two, and possibly three bowlers who can move the ball at over 90mph. The batting will be not be able to cope with this, the IND attack will be taken to the cleaners, and there will be no issues with declarations, early, late, or otherwise, so far as IND is concerned. They will be crushed, so I think they should enjoy this victory.

Posted by suhrid on (December 13, 2007, 3:14 GMT)

He could not have done better in the given circumstances where the feverish fan only asks for wins and could not accept defeats. He made it almost possible to win by 2-0 margin and was being blamed for not declaring earlier. Not good. Congrats to Cap. Anil and his team mates.

Posted by suhrid on (December 13, 2007, 2:53 GMT)

Congrats to Cap. Anil Kumble & his team for fantastic performance througout all one dayers & three tests. He couldn't have done better. I can feel feverity of Indian cricket fans in India. Their appetite for winning was so strong that on the 4th day I read all commentators and news caster or reporters of the view that why India should take a chance. They're complecent on winning after 28 years. Nobody dare to say India should try to win it by 2-0 margin. So scared of losing. Cap.Kumble & Yv made it possible, and only weather was the culprit. Strangley Kumble was now being blamed for not declaring before. He was resposible to make it possible, which was seemed to a draw match before it started on 5th day. Those who dare to win by larger margin'ld have hearts to accept defeats also. Should not think of always winning. Cheaply blaminig in the end is not sportsmanship. For better result yes Kumble'ld have asked batsmen to score quickly. For that he needs strong supports of fans & experts.

Posted by desi_red on (December 13, 2007, 2:06 GMT)

I believe that fans and journalists alike want more excitement and want india to play more of an Australian brand of cricket. The Aussies have set the bar high in terms of dynamic cricket but lets not kid ourselves - Australia we ain't. Teams around the world should learn from them not try to play like them when it doesn't suit our style. Part of the charm of cricket is the vagries of style between teams - what we don't want are 11 teams just like Australia!! And all this nonsense that conservative cricket can't beat Australia - not true.

Kumble was bang on today, just as Dravid was in England. Bowling isn't our strength, even on a dying wicket. Pakistan have proved difficult to dislodge and a calculated move would have been to bat them out and ensure the series. After all, how often does India rely on our bowlers to win games? We aren't the Aussies, lets accept it. With the lack of any precedent behind him, Kumble made the right call!

Posted by Kilat on (December 13, 2007, 1:41 GMT)

Kumble was right, as was Dravid at The Oval. If you're going to win 1-0, why take a risk to win 2-0 when it could backfire and cost you a series win? Pakistan have excellent batsmen (Younis, Yousuf, Misbah, even Akmal recently in this series), and the vagaries of the pitch did not necessarily make slow scoring and short innings inevitable.

I don't see how the mindset can make any difference in Australia. It only occurs when India is 1-0 up on the final day of a series - if India are 1-0 up before the last day at Adelaide, there is nothing wrong with conservatism. If they are 1-0 down, they will go for it.

Posted by PraveenK on (December 13, 2007, 1:30 GMT)

Kumble did the absolutely right thing, imagine if the openers gave a good start, and chasing 5-6 per over is not an issue at all, we need to be defensive on some occasions that too when we have a chance to win the series. We need to blame the pitches prepared for these test matches, not the captain. He is a great bowler India ever produced and won more matches for India than any one.

Posted by vikas_vikky on (December 13, 2007, 1:16 GMT)

When something wrong happens everyone points out at it but put yourself in the situation then you will really understand the reason behind that decision of Kumble. He is no God to know it in advance that light would do its foul play on the final day. Especially after we have seen that all four days we had full light till the end of days play. And another 3 or 4 overs would have finished th match with a win for India. So if you see this, Kumble was perfectly right. We had total control over the proceedings. Firstly there was no chance they can win and secondly the attacking bowling and the fielding put so much pressure on the Pakistani team that they were unable to handle it. They were never relaxed although they were getting easy boundaries with 9 fielders around them watching into their eyes. And if at the close of play today we still had 11 overs to go. Even with bad light at other venues it only cut short around 3 to 4 overs not 11. This is unexpected.

Posted by Bernie on (December 13, 2007, 1:03 GMT)

Kumble missed a the chance to give himself and his bowlers a chance to bowl Pakistan out a second time. A 2-0 win at home against Pakistan would have set the tone for a cracking series Down Under! It would have laid to rest some of the mind games the Aussies play before the start of a series. It would have put the Indians in the driver's seat. But credit to him for scalping five in Pakistan's second dig.

Bernard Devaraj

Posted by jollyjugg on (December 13, 2007, 0:57 GMT)

Kumble did the right thing. We have to be rational and understand that india is winning the series against pakis after 30 years. Same was the case in england. Winning is a habit, which india is getting in to slowly. Winning in westindies, almost in south africa, winning in england and now against pakistan. Even in australia we have to have realistic hope. If india wins either two of melbourne, sydney or adelaide and draws in perth (which i think is unlikely and we are sure to get defeated there by how it looked in latest T-20 then we can test series. It is a very optimistic view. Considering the state of our fast bowling we can at the most draw the series. But with no less than 4 australian batsmen rookies (though with good record) in tests, we can sneak a win with little luck in our side. Kumble should have lots of patience and play his card well for victory.

Posted by finimits on (December 13, 2007, 0:39 GMT)

It's always the cases isn't it? India afraid to declare their innings, the fear of being too aggresive always looming in their minds. It is the way they are brought up to think. Always be over-cautious better safe than sorry, no risk when all's well. These values are good, but I jut think the Indian cricket team has done it too often. I can think of instances when comentators would cry out saying "why are they still batting?" and after unsuccesful attempts to influence the team through the television would give up by talking cricket techniques and the like. The indian team is obsessed with batting. They have flashy and stylish batsmen who bring cheer to the crowd, so why not entertain the crowd? There is no confidence in the bowling even after seeing a dead pitch where surving was proving to be a chore let alone knocking off 200 odd runs! There is nothing sporting about a sporting declaration, it is a reflection of the confidence you have in your bowling and the desire to win.

Posted by ACMsg on (December 13, 2007, 0:35 GMT)

I find a commentary of this nature offensive! Binoy, just because you can string a few words with some elegance, have a deadline to meet, and need to be somewhat controversial to increase readership - does not absolve you from living up to a basic code of personal values. What would you have done in the context is moot! and once we use this lens of personal judgement, Kumble's decision appears a prudent one. Imagine if we had lost the test, and drawn the series - peole like you would have been licking their chops at the thought of writing withering prose for your benefit - and attempting killing off another career in the process. Case in point: Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman and countless others. How do you guys look yourself in the mirror in the morning?

Posted by prajayindia on (December 13, 2007, 0:06 GMT)

In the 2nd inns, apart from Ganguly and Karthik there seemed to be no urgency at all. The plan I believe was not to give Paks enough overs to reach whatever target score India put up rather than putting up a competitive total quick enough to give Indians enough overs to bowl out the Paks. This is exactly the type of mindset that sets apart a team like Aus from all others. They go for the kill no matter what the series status is. They go into a series aiming for whitewashes not a 1-0 Series victory. Ind has the talent, skill and experience to establish itself as the world champions but the fear they have of losing, hinders them on achieving great victories. The Aussies have been so dominant in test cricket because they are keen to get records like most consecutive wins (16 and now 14*) whereas India seems happy infact jubiliant at times when they draw a series or win by a less margin. I not only want Ind to stop Aus in its tracks in the upcoming series but aim to whitewash. Goodluck Ind

Posted by Mohammad.Ashraful on (December 12, 2007, 23:36 GMT)

I believe Kumble should have been a little more courageous. He should have declared with 320/325 on the board and the asking rate around 5.5 for Pakistan to chase. Let's not forget, Pakistan being one down in the series definitely would have given it a shot. And once you try to bat aggressive during the last two sessions on this sort of pitch you are bound to lose wickets. Despite, all the Pakistani batsmen were trying, was to survive and ensure the draw, they almost choked to death if not for the bad light. One should be able to imagine what would have possibly happened if they were pursuing after the runs. India were already in a secured position half an hour after lunch from where it was very unlikely for them to lose the match. It just shows Kumble's reluctance to go for a win given the situation where the series has already been won. It will be tough to enforce a victory against Australia with this kind of mind set.

Posted by Cellinis on (December 12, 2007, 23:18 GMT)

I think George Binoy is missing the true meaning of aggressive captaincy. It doesn't mean winning every match, it means showing your opponents that they can't defeat you. If the series was 0-0, then yes, I would agree that it was a poor decision. But 1-0, the first thing you need to do is kill any hope the opposition might have. And that's exactly what Kumble and India did here, just as Dravid had done against England. This is not about backing your bowlers, it is about shutting the door on your opponents. It shouldn't be done on the first/second test of a series. But if you are one up, and it's the last match, it's a wonderful strategy.

Posted by Vkarthik on (December 12, 2007, 23:15 GMT)

Did you really predict Yuvraj would pick two wickets that too Misbha? Give us a break. Their approach would have been different. All those wickets may not have even fallen.

Posted by CaliDesi on (December 12, 2007, 22:42 GMT)

Kumble DID NOT do the right thing. For those of you saying that he got a chance after 20 yrs and blah blah, you all, along with Kumble are pussies. I would have saluted Kumble had he declared at Lunch. But now, all my life I'll think of him as a scared helpless calf, thinking just about himself and his miserable attempt of being a good captain. Mind you, I am a great fan of him as a bowler but as a captain, he just kicked his own ass. My thoughts are just mine, everybody has their own say in it and I appreciate others' values.

Posted by gillbart on (December 12, 2007, 22:29 GMT)

Thank God Kumble did not make the costly mistake of choosing the field on the first day...Paks would have ripped us apart on the fifth day! Kumble who studied the nature of the pitch failed to study the nature of the weather.

Just because Delhi did not have lights, should Bangalore & Kolkata be deprived of technology? It is just like having the facility of third umpire but the two boards do not want to use it! It would have easily been 2-0 had Kumble declared when 350 was the target...anyhow Bangalore jinx prevailed in the end!

Best of Luck Kumble & Co., for the tour down under.

Posted by SaaRee on (December 12, 2007, 21:59 GMT)

The truth is Kumble proved to be a "Chicken", like the rest of the Indian Captains before.

We are going to be Walloped by the Aussies, because of lack of ticker

Posted by ANAND_CRIC on (December 12, 2007, 21:35 GMT)

Kumble did the right thing. India has won a Test Series after 27 yrs. Pakistan had nothing to lose, if they start playing like 20-20 and we dont know what will happen. Now just think that India has won a one day and Test series against pakistan and continue the good work in Australia. The batting has been excellent and some improvement in bowling is required.

Posted by Master Blaster on (December 12, 2007, 21:22 GMT)

This tooo too late declaration finally reminded me of the days before ganguly was captain... the days where india never used to make sporting declarations or play aggressive by giving the opponent some chance!! had it been australia, the declaration wud have come 30-40 min before lunch & had it been ganguly as captain, it wud have been at least at lunch! 65 ov 310 runs was more than enough for india's security!! the only reason i saw kumble not declaring was... to try & get kartik back in form with a hundred! N i dont think kumble wud have declared had it not been for kartik's dismissal! But i dont think kumble is the only 1 to blame for it..the usually so indulgent team management shud have also tried to persuade him. It is decisions like these that make test cricket boring (even though it is not)! WIth the type of very very low bounce on the pitch, kumble should have surely declared, at least at lunch. Anyways Congrats to team India & Kumble & Best Wishes to them for Australian tour

Posted by subhajit on (December 12, 2007, 20:54 GMT)

In the first hour, the in-form Ganguly clearly struggled to cope with the uneven bounce from Shoaib. Laxman was retired hurt. Karthik played a good innings, however, he was shaky in the beginning as well. It was a breaking pitch close to its worst and scoring over 300 would have been impossible in 60 overs. If not earlier, India should have definitely declared at lunch. Another ten overs were enough to get the Pak tailenders.

The draw won't hurt India much for sure, but they probably would have been more confident before leaving for Australia, specially the bowlers, if they could snatch a win in this occasion. Kumble recently said he doesn't believe in moral victory. I don't either. But I do believe a real win definitely boosts up your moral than a draw, and that was indeed needed if they really want to do what they are saying for a long time now that they will be positive against the Aussies and win.

Posted by usb_1 on (December 12, 2007, 20:37 GMT)

Come on, whining seems to be second nature to us Indians....instead of rejoicing in winning a series after 27 years, we have to quibble about whether a 1-0 is better or 2-0 is better. Would the writer have declared if he were in Kumble's shoes? As far as Australia goes, I am sure if the scenario does happen, Kumble will take the right decision. Congrats Kumble & team India, such moments make cricket what it is & makes us all keep coming back for more.

Posted by VTrumper on (December 12, 2007, 20:20 GMT)

Kumble did the right thing. Let's not forget this test match:

http://usa.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1960S/1967-68/ENG_IN_WI/ENG_WI_T4_14-19MAR1968.html

where West Indies, under Sobers, let England win the match AND thus the series, through a premature declaration. India had beaten Pakistan at home for the first time in 27 years. He would have been thought stupid at best, and a match-fixer otherwise, had he allowed Pakistan a chance at winning. 374 runs in 48 overs is a 20/20 cricket run rate -- Pakistan could have gone for it. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Why didn't they?

Well done India, and well done, Anil Kumble. You have made us proud. Enjoy the moment but keep up the good work in Australia.

Posted by Manuu on (December 12, 2007, 20:01 GMT)

Its easy to comment in hindsight. Let me put the following to those who say he should have decalred earlier. Probably amongst things playing on his mind and the enitre senior players were winning first time in 27 years, winning first series as captain, the pitch in the last game not breaking up and this one showed no sign of breaking up despite some balls going up and down. Risks should be taken when there is something to gain not just for the sake of it. I dont buy into playing for the crowd because I can already imagine the headlines and screams in tv channels arguing the decision to make him captain if by chance pakistan would have chased a smaller target. Overall its the smart decision and the only useful decision under the circumstances. When the opposition is down, keep them down, dont give them a sniff because weird things can happen in cricket. The series is in the bag and by taking seven quick wickets for not many everyone knows which was the better team. Well done team India.

Posted by deepdawg on (December 12, 2007, 19:53 GMT)

Absolutely, team India needs to have faith in our bowlers. This does not set a good precedent for the upcoming series in Australia where the bowlers may have to toil alot.

Posted by Krishna_Hariharan on (December 12, 2007, 19:47 GMT)

In hindsight, it is easy to criticize Kumble for the delayed declaration. But give the man with a lion's heart a thought. After nearly 2 decades of slogging, he had the opportunity to become a captain and win his first series as captain against arch foes Pakistan, whom, incidentally, we have not beaten at home for some 28 years. The Indian bowling in the third test was not all that strong, we were missing our primary pacers and the spinners were not getting much purchase from the wicket. Had we set Pakistan a target of 5 per over and they had started brightly we would have been immediately forced to have a defensive field, hardly ideal for forcing a win. And finally, Dinesh Karthik, who will most probably open the batting against Australia later this month, was finally looking confident in this series and stroking the ball well. I am sure all these considerations would have gone through Kumble's mind before he decided on a declaration. Kudos to him and team India!!!!

Posted by philco on (December 12, 2007, 19:43 GMT)

I'm not too unhappy with Kumbe's tactics today but that isn't to say that a 2-0 result wouldn't have been more pleasing. I'm sure that Kumble's late (in hindsight)declaration must have been a team decision in the absence of a head coach. Much the same must have happened at the Oval in the English summer. Team India would point to series wins after a long absence as ample justification. Maybe after a few more series wins (say in SA)an Indian captain might perhaps be emboldened to declare sportingly. But which captain having done precisely this would escape a severe mauling by the Indian press in the event of a failure? Perhaps a Dhoni could contemplate and maybe get away it. Only time will tell. However, there is no escaping the fact that Indian captains of the future will need to contemple taking risks if they are going to win more tests and challenge OZ.

Many thanks for an excellen tarticle Gearge. Have also enjoyed your Plays of the Day.

Posted by AlternateJones on (December 12, 2007, 19:35 GMT)

The objective for Kumble was to secure the series. That means he would have to eliminate all chance of pakistan putting up a successful chase here. All that he could have done, as some say, was to declare 10 to 15 overs earlier. Thus giving Pakistan say 62 overs to score around 320 runs. In 48 overs we grabbed 7 wickets. I would say the wickets of Younis and Faisal were lucky ones for India and Pakistan did not get any partnerships going. Further no one expected the pitch to deteriorate to such an extent. Thus a single good partnership would have made sure that those extra 15 overs would have been consumed. Thus, Practically India did not have much chance to bowl them out. The Best they could do was to shut the door completely on Pakistan and that is what kumble did. Cheers!

Posted by Shrescs on (December 12, 2007, 19:31 GMT)

I dont understand why he declared at all? If you are declaring, declare with just enough score to defend. What is 'just enough'? 18 years of experience should have given him some confidence to declare a bit earlier. It did not happen, unfortunately. Why did he delcare without having much of a chance to win the match?

Posted by AftabU on (December 12, 2007, 19:13 GMT)

It was very defensive declaration by Kumble.Some blame can also go to Pakistanis. If they were serious to get a result and they should be as they were the one trailing in sereis, then Yunis should have decalred around 500 in his first inning. He needed to do an Asif-Iqbal-act. But they he also acted safe. Although I can understand Kumble's intent of not taking chances and close the series 1-0. But, he could have speeded up before lunch( By sending Yuvi and Irfan after all fall of Dravid and Ganguly) and decalred with lead of 320-330. Chase of 330 in 2 session on 5th day would have been impossible even for mighty Aussies. India was guaranteed to not lose the test match and would have fair amount of time to push for 2-0 lead. Having said that hindsight is always 20/20. :)

Posted by ShammyBoy on (December 12, 2007, 19:10 GMT)

Nope! Kumble did the right thing. There is always a chance that Pakistani's could have scored at a little better rate to get easily to 310-320 score if they even smell a little victory. They did not have anything to lose, a series lost is lost whether it is one game or two, but it is not the same case with India. Also, Kumble did not have have any thing from the last 4 innings that India bowled to consider that even as a slight hope that bowlers are showing.......

Did Anil Kumble err by not declaring earlier?
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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
Related Links
Match home : India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore
Players/Officials: Anil Kumble
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of India
Teams: India | Pakistan
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