November 28, 2009

Gambhir is India's best batsman

Right from the toss things went right for India in Kanpur, leaving Sri Lanka with plenty of thinking to do, especially on the bowling front
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India won the second Test convincingly in Kanpur. MS Dhoni and the boys will be surprised with the ease with which they won, specially after the resistance Sri Lanka put up in Ahmedabad. They dominated the Test there but it was an absolute no-show here; it was a soft performance from them and I'm sure Kumar Sangakkara will be disappointed with that.

Winning the toss will always be an advantage in India, and Dhoni has done that job well in the two Test matches. The Indians once again batted brilliantly, which is so important on the first day of a Test as it just sets up the game for the team.

Virender Sehwag must be a satisfied man after the hundred - his last Test century was nearly 15 months ago, which is not something you associate with him in Tests. His success rate is superb and it amazes me why he doesn't replicate it in one-dayers. Every time he bats, he scores at such a pace that it puts the team in a winning position, and it was the reason India got to 400 on day one in Kanpur. He played some breathtaking shots against the spinners and that's where he is so good. He has to learn to do that in one-day cricket as he has not performed to his potential in that format.

Gautam Gambhir once again batted beautifully. He is in the form of his life and just doesn't look like getting out. He said that the reason he is playing well is because he feels secure in the team. This is true, and this should be applied to every player; the captain's faith is very important in a player's career, and Dhoni has given Gambhir that. He just gets better and better every day, and is the best Indian batsman at the moment.

I also admire his mental state. He decided to take the final Test off for his sister's wedding. A lot of people will jump off their seats on hearing that, but I think he has done the right thing. Family is always first and sisters' weddings are special for their brothers.

Sri Lanka will have a lot to worry about before the next Test in Mumbai. They will have to rethink their combination, as playing three spinners is a luxury against India. They must remember that if two can't deliver the third one won't. The extra spinner will always be under-bowled. The best combination for Sri Lanka on Indian soil is two spinners and two fast bowlers.

Sri Lanka need to rethink their fast bowling attack as well. Winning a Test in India with Angelo Mathews taking the new ball is absolutely impossible. Sri Lanka may want to think of Dilhara Fernando in place of Mathews in their side for the third Test. The track at the Cricket Club of India will be helpful for fast bowlers and Dilhara would be the better option with his extra pace and bounce.

I am also eagerly waiting to watch Muttiah Muralitharan at his best in Mumbai, because it is probably his last series in India. That fact should provide some extra motivation for him to mark the Test with an extraordinary performance. To do that he needs proper bowling support from the other end. Here Ajantha Mendis comes into the picture. I strongly believe that Mendis is a class bowler and class is always permanent.

Sri Lanka need to rethink their fast bowling attack. Winning a Test in India with Angelo Mathews taking the new ball is absolutely impossible

I think he lacks confidence, but he can bring out his excellent bouquet of variations any day. The reason for Mendis' success has been his accuracy and of late he has lost that. He needs to spend some time in the nets and it will come back soon. He must also remember that with the start he has had in his career, he will go through a phase like the one at present, and he needs to hold his head high. Players around the world will work him out and he needs to get it right so that he again becomes the threat he used to be. His and Murali's performances will be key in the final Test, on a pitch that will assist them.

As for India, I am very happy with Sreesanth's performances. I have always had huge faith in his talent. He is one of the rare fast bowlers who can use the seam properly both ways. I hope Sree will not look back from here and will justify his talent properly. He can do everything else for the rest of his life but he cannot get back this golden time of his cricket career. I strongly feel that the Indian fast bowling attack with Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma can do well both home and abroad. Now it's Sree's turn to take this opportunity and become a permanent member of the team.

It will be a good Test in Mumbai as the pitch will provide a fair contest between bat and ball. The Sri Lankans will have to improve their performance or it will be an uphill task for them right till the end of the one-day series.

Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests between 2000 and 2005, winning 21

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on December 2, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    One a fine morning in 1996, i wokeup early to watch the Lords test without knowing that I would be doing the same thing manymore times and Dada you really glued me to the TV.Along with sachin you really smashed em with disdain and it was an awesome experience to watch you bat.Another fine morning in banagalore in 2008, I had the previlege to watch you from the Mid on stands, hitting a double . You were amazing and your words carry lots of wait now.. Thanks sreekanth,bangalore

  • lynds on December 2, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    I'm surprised there hasn't been any criticism of Gambhir for choosing his sister's wedding over the 3rd Test, considering the storm of outrage when Dhoni opted out of the Test series in Sri Lanka last year because of exhaustion. India will undoubtedly miss Gambhir; if you compare his record in tests over the last 18 months to all the other Indian batsmen he is inarguably the best performed in the team. Sehwag is more explosive, Dravid and VVS more classical and Sachin in full flight is still the second greatest batsman of all time after Bradman, but I bet currently Gambhir is the one MS Dhoni relies on the most.

  • Ankit_Agarwal on December 1, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    Hi Sourav...dear dada will be more apt...not a bong actually but dada has this warmth.... I don't know the techniques of cricket...am juss an avid fan...like rest of the indians(for the latter part)...100s of opinions... Don't know whether ya gonna read this or not...But dada the way team is playing... it's bcoz of ya...ya taught the team to fight... tht agression... ya took the battle to the enemy's territory...ya stood and faught... tht t-shirt waving in England... it made me feel proud... the way ya used to step out...and hit them for those big sixes over the pointed roof in Sharjah...when ya used to step on the field with Sachin...it made the adernalin flow...That confidence with which ya talked at the presentations... Men rise and fall like winter wheat...but some names will never die... If they ever tell my story... Let them say i lived in the times of Saurav the tamer of bowlers, Sachin...whom the Aussies feared...

  • Ankit_Agarwal on December 1, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    Hi Sourav...dear dada will be more apt...not a bong actually but dada has this warmth.... I don't know the techniques of cricket...am juss an avid fan...like rest of the indians(for the latter part)...100s of opinions... Don't know whether ya gonna read this or not...But dada the way team is playing... it's bcoz of ya...ya taught the team to fight... tht agression... ya took the battle to the enemy's territory...ya stood and faught... tht t-shirt waving in England... it made me feel proud... the way ya used to step out...and hit them for those big sixes over the pointed roof in Sharjah...when ya used to step on the field with Sachin...it made the adernalin flow...That confidence with which ya talked at the presentations... Men rise and fall like winter wheat...but some names will never die... If they ever tell my story... Let them say i lived in the times of Saurav the tamer of bowlers, Sachin...whom the Aussies feared...

  • rlefti on December 1, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    Its not surprising to see so many reactions and comments just for a article after the match when the name is Sourav..he always have been one such person when he was on the field or now off the field evoked strong reactions...The matter of fact is he has been a war time captain took India from the lowest to the highest and transformed youngsters like bhajji,yuvi,sehwag,dhoni,zaheer,nehra, Gautam who also made debut under him and many in to world beaters...every one in India think they analyse cricket as good as anyone else but the fact is only few opinions count and sourav can be the best one along with sunil or ravi...For me the biggest contributor for Indian cricket is sourav for his Odis and captaincy and rahul dravid for all his test innings if you see the era they played together even numbers prove that from jun 1996 to nov 2008...but we in india always look at numbers of all time and say sachin sachin thats the problem....I Hope to see sehwag and gambhir reach rahul and sourav...

  • TeamGame on December 1, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    This is a team effort. We do not need to single out any player for win or lose. We saw lots of matches were also lost even with very great opening partnership.If Ganguly like to comment or do article about the Indian team , he should mention all the players effort without neglecting a single one. It will cause lot of misunderstandings.

  • Unbiased-views on December 1, 2009, 10:36 GMT

    @vasu16 & most of the people who have asked why Dravid is not mentioned ?. No need to mention as the foundation was laid out by Gambhir & sehwag. Once openers give a start of 200+, it's basically a piece of cake for anyone coming after 200+ start. Not only dravid, everyone scored runs after that including sachin 40, laxman 50+, yuvraj 50+. Please don't go overboard on one player. I don't think Dravid's factor was as important as sehwag-gambhir partnership. Ultimately it's the bowlers win you TEST matches not batsmen & in ODI it's other way around.

  • vasu16 on December 1, 2009, 3:37 GMT

    Very surprising that Rahul Dravid is not even mentioned once in this article as his innings of 144 played an important role in India's win.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on November 30, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    Dear SatyajitM notwithstanding your somewhat prudish obsession (perhaps even prurient fascination?) with indecent language, which I am not going to entertain any further, I think you are right to suggest that Ganguly can never hope to attain the luminous summits of cricketing accomplishment that Chapelli has. Nevertheless no man (not even "Mr Snooty") is an island and we all stand on the shoulders of giants (such as Chappelli) in our everyday lives. It is only commodity fetishism and some rather outdated intellectual property laws which inculcate myths of the "self made man" and make us forget the collective interweaving of all our lives. I repeat - Ganguly, the greatest Indian captain and an undoubted divinity of offside play, is an anodyne, tedious, somewhat "buttoned up" commentator on the game. He needs to take a chill pilll, relax, and say what he wants to say without worrying about what other people think - exactly what he used to do, in fact, on the cricket field.

  • SatyajitM on November 30, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    @bis_d, well nobody can say Sourav 'invented' sledging. He probably gave back what he got, but I don't remember an occasion when he actually used abusive words (a la McGrath - Sarwan incident). Lot of people say Chappell did it (he actually doesn't deny, just says it used to be prompt and not premeditated), so I am ok to be one of the majority ignorant people. However, I am really not discussing about merits of sledging here. What I am saying is that Ganguly is an experienced and mature individual and he himself can decide who to follow and who not to. I think Chappell himself has been pretty clear on that in his life. Who am I to tell Ian that he should have followed Don Bradman in cricket and life? (And he would have given a damn if you or I did that!) Similarly suggesting Ganguly has to follow x or y is an insult to his intelligence. Believe me if he has to follow somebody, he will do that without asking you and I.

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