March 4, 2011

Give bowlers a chance

Pitches in the World Cup have not exactly been sporting. Bowlers have been marginalised - and no team exemplifies this better than India
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Teams are mismatched, bat and ball are not loved equally, and the quarter-finals are looked forward to like school vacations once were. I know the Associates and the qualifiers have a right to dream of sitting at the high table but we need to see whether being the best of the rest is a sufficient qualification. Ireland may have struck a mighty blow in favour of the non-Test playing nations, but I'm afraid they stand alone. They must earn a World Cup place not just because of the result against England but because they have a structure that is producing young home-bred cricketers. And even they will suffer while we allow the practice of established teams pinching the best players from the Associates.

There is word that George Dockrell, the impressive 18-year-old from Ireland, is on the England radar. It must be fought tooth and nail. If the best of the non-Test-playing nations, which Ireland is, exists as a feeder for England and has to accept those that big brother rejects, they cannot progress.

And so it comes as no surprise that most of the qualifiers have been embarrassingly weak and are a real concern for the product quality that the World Cup seeks to deliver. I have been in the studio every day of the World Cup and decide I am going to root for the underdog. I don't have much artillery on my side. It is difficult to be a believer in the idea that everyone should get the opportunity to play a World Cup. When India played England or when Pakistan played Sri Lanka, you didn't know who was going to win. That is how it must be.

The more immediate concern at this World Cup is that pitches are conspiring against bowlers. It cannot be so. If 338 is easily scored and scarcely defended, and 327 isn't enough, nobody will want to be a bowler. It is reflected in India's bowling reserves too. It is easier to bring down the price of petrol, maybe even to bring peace to troubled lands, than it is to spot a quality bowler now. In politics and business and public life we talk of the need for equal opportunity, but in a showpiece event like the World Cup we bury bowlers in public.

Teams like India, who haven't really worried too much about developing fast bowlers - dropping pace is the more fashionable thing to do here - are struggling therefore to take wickets. England chased 338 and Bangladesh might have embarrassed India if they had batted first and ignored the dew, the fear of which, like that of weapons of mass destruction, was ill-founded. Indeed it is not only the absence of quality fast bowling, or just simple quality bowling, that is hurting India. It is also the fact that they do not have the fielding that can give the bowling teeth. Harbhajan Singh should have caught Andrew Strauss every day of the week, something put into perspective by the catch Paul Stirling took to end an innings by Ian Bell.

MS Dhoni admits there is little he can do about his team's fielding. But the BCCI can, once it gives itself a bit of a respite from finance, its favourite preoccupation, and switches to cricket. Currently I get the feeling there is a sub-clause in the constitution somewhere that says fast - oops, new-ball - bowlers must be bad fielders. India might still go far at this World Cup, but they will do so in spite of the fielding.

I also wish tickets for the India games were easier to get. Sometimes when riches visit a kingdom you forget that the subjects are simple folk who have to work hard for a living. The strength of cricket in India comes from middle-class people who give loyalty and expect little in return. We have to allow them to visit a stadium and see their heroes perform in flesh and blood. They cannot be priced out; we cannot make a hole in their pockets every time they want to watch cricket. The game exists because of them. I fear sometimes that cricket will become a privileged man's sport and lose touch with reality. If stadium seats are limited maybe free public screenings is the way out, but watching cricket has to be a pleasant community event.

Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar scored century No. 98 in international cricket. With which other player in history would that have been mentioned as an afterthought in an article?

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Swampy5 on March 5, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    Easy to 'blame' the associate nations and the pitches for a dull world cup Harsha, but as a TV man you studiously avoid the main problem with this tedious WC - it's a television event dressed up as a cricket tournament. Hence only one game is played on most days and the group stage stretches on far too long. A 7 week CWC is a joke and is the reason there is little engagement with the WC outside of the subcontinent. Ireland and Holland, far from being the problem, have given some fine to outstanding performances so far, and yet you'd get rid of them? Instead of two groups of 7 teams, it should be 3 groups of 4 (maybe, possibly even 5). The first round will be much shorter, then you can have a finals series (not super 6) with the top 2 from each group. It probably won't happen because it'll mean a 4 or 5 week world cup with less games to show on TV and less TV revenue, and that's really what this whole tournament is all about, isn't it?

  • cricketlover80 on March 5, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    May be we need services of Kumble. Afridis bowling is similar to Kumble which is bowling spin with pace and Afridi seems to be on more wickets than pacemen or quality spinners like Murali or Bhajji. Kumble always used to be successful whenever the paceman fail during field restrictions and he used to get that wicket which was needed for the occasion. If only the bowling reserves yusuf, yuvraj or sehwag try spin with pace, I think it might work for India in the wickets department. Successful or not depends on the quality but its worth a shot.

  • Vilander on March 5, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    good article Harsha, being genuine is the way to go. Bangalore pitch is a shame, totals of 340-330 being chased its ridiculous. In a proper wicket i do not think the Irish would defeat the English.

  • vijaysun1 on March 5, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    if india's bowling is so poor (based on 2 games on flat pitches) then england's is probably worse by the same reasoning.only problem with that theory is that india and england are 2 of the top test teams at the moment.wonder how they got there harsha?note that the "poor" indian bowling attack went toe to toe with south africa only a month back in their backyard.if the pitches used for the 2 india games were bad for cricket then how come those 2 india games have been some of the most exciting so far in this world cup.harsha loves highlighting shortcomings in the indian team and after reading his articles u feel no other team has any weaknesses except india.as usual,he slants against india in the name of "fairness"...something that has long since become annoying.manjrekar,shastri,arun lal etc. are all much more balanced in comparison.

  • vedanthy2 on March 5, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Give Bowler's a Chance!!!. That is a joke.The modern day bowlers lack intelligence. Formula bowling does not work when bats are nearly like 5 lb.hammer bottom heavy.balls have inner core a round small golf ball(may be) which enables even Mural to hit the ball with a scythe shot 80-90 meters.Yester years on uncovered pitches men have faced bowlers with brain and guile batsmen were pleasant to watch.Pitches lasted 5 days. The pitch that was prepared for warm up at B'lore for Aus-India match was a shabby dirt track.Unworthy showed men streak of the curator to see Aus struggle. Not Cricket.Cricket real died in 1980.Long live Cricket. You are too much obsessed with Sachin tendulkar!! Carry on with "after thoughts!!!

  • zuber21886 on March 5, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Why there has been a lack of some star bowlers in India since so many years? like the one SA, Pakistan, Australia have.

  • Sheela on March 5, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    One suggestion for limited overs games - Though eleven players per team should be allowed but at the same time (1) for 50 over matches if eight wickets are down, the team should be considered all out and (2) similarly (inT20 match)if six wickets are down then the team should be considered all out. In base ball, after three batsmen are out, the innings is over and where the fields are extremely big compared to cricket. Of course there are nine innings in baseball, but with 3 batters getting out rather too often there is lot of interest. This will make the cricket matches of limited overs more interesting not totally loaded in favour of the batsmen.

  • batfry on March 5, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    @RaviMathur: That's quite an idea there! Would certainly be worth a try. Rather tragic, though, that India's World Cup 15 doesn't contain 11 full-fledged batsmen.

  • batfry on March 5, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    No matter what India might do in this World Cup, it must be conceded that this team's bowling lacks the class of a world beater. Zaheer Khan apart, no Indian bowler has performed at a consistently outstanding level for the last couple of years. And Zak had just about enough gas left in the tank for another couple of years of international cricket. What then? Difficult to see any of the current crop filling his shoes. If India nurtures ambitions of being the world's top cricket team over a reasonable period, then it needs at least two outstanding bowlers each in the pace and spin categories. That's an improbable ask!

  • on March 5, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    Glad u mentioned the price of tickets, Harsha ! Tickets in Chennai for England-South Africa match cost Rs.2500 plus internet booking charges for the lower tier of the stand, straight opposite to the pavillion. This lower tier doesn't have a roof over it and u are exposed to the harshest sun in the country throughout the game(Whoever designed these new stands in Chepauk had only artistic beauty and not the paying spectators in his mind). There is also no difference in pricing between India and this non-India match.

  • Swampy5 on March 5, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    Easy to 'blame' the associate nations and the pitches for a dull world cup Harsha, but as a TV man you studiously avoid the main problem with this tedious WC - it's a television event dressed up as a cricket tournament. Hence only one game is played on most days and the group stage stretches on far too long. A 7 week CWC is a joke and is the reason there is little engagement with the WC outside of the subcontinent. Ireland and Holland, far from being the problem, have given some fine to outstanding performances so far, and yet you'd get rid of them? Instead of two groups of 7 teams, it should be 3 groups of 4 (maybe, possibly even 5). The first round will be much shorter, then you can have a finals series (not super 6) with the top 2 from each group. It probably won't happen because it'll mean a 4 or 5 week world cup with less games to show on TV and less TV revenue, and that's really what this whole tournament is all about, isn't it?

  • cricketlover80 on March 5, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    May be we need services of Kumble. Afridis bowling is similar to Kumble which is bowling spin with pace and Afridi seems to be on more wickets than pacemen or quality spinners like Murali or Bhajji. Kumble always used to be successful whenever the paceman fail during field restrictions and he used to get that wicket which was needed for the occasion. If only the bowling reserves yusuf, yuvraj or sehwag try spin with pace, I think it might work for India in the wickets department. Successful or not depends on the quality but its worth a shot.

  • Vilander on March 5, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    good article Harsha, being genuine is the way to go. Bangalore pitch is a shame, totals of 340-330 being chased its ridiculous. In a proper wicket i do not think the Irish would defeat the English.

  • vijaysun1 on March 5, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    if india's bowling is so poor (based on 2 games on flat pitches) then england's is probably worse by the same reasoning.only problem with that theory is that india and england are 2 of the top test teams at the moment.wonder how they got there harsha?note that the "poor" indian bowling attack went toe to toe with south africa only a month back in their backyard.if the pitches used for the 2 india games were bad for cricket then how come those 2 india games have been some of the most exciting so far in this world cup.harsha loves highlighting shortcomings in the indian team and after reading his articles u feel no other team has any weaknesses except india.as usual,he slants against india in the name of "fairness"...something that has long since become annoying.manjrekar,shastri,arun lal etc. are all much more balanced in comparison.

  • vedanthy2 on March 5, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Give Bowler's a Chance!!!. That is a joke.The modern day bowlers lack intelligence. Formula bowling does not work when bats are nearly like 5 lb.hammer bottom heavy.balls have inner core a round small golf ball(may be) which enables even Mural to hit the ball with a scythe shot 80-90 meters.Yester years on uncovered pitches men have faced bowlers with brain and guile batsmen were pleasant to watch.Pitches lasted 5 days. The pitch that was prepared for warm up at B'lore for Aus-India match was a shabby dirt track.Unworthy showed men streak of the curator to see Aus struggle. Not Cricket.Cricket real died in 1980.Long live Cricket. You are too much obsessed with Sachin tendulkar!! Carry on with "after thoughts!!!

  • zuber21886 on March 5, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Why there has been a lack of some star bowlers in India since so many years? like the one SA, Pakistan, Australia have.

  • Sheela on March 5, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    One suggestion for limited overs games - Though eleven players per team should be allowed but at the same time (1) for 50 over matches if eight wickets are down, the team should be considered all out and (2) similarly (inT20 match)if six wickets are down then the team should be considered all out. In base ball, after three batsmen are out, the innings is over and where the fields are extremely big compared to cricket. Of course there are nine innings in baseball, but with 3 batters getting out rather too often there is lot of interest. This will make the cricket matches of limited overs more interesting not totally loaded in favour of the batsmen.

  • batfry on March 5, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    @RaviMathur: That's quite an idea there! Would certainly be worth a try. Rather tragic, though, that India's World Cup 15 doesn't contain 11 full-fledged batsmen.

  • batfry on March 5, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    No matter what India might do in this World Cup, it must be conceded that this team's bowling lacks the class of a world beater. Zaheer Khan apart, no Indian bowler has performed at a consistently outstanding level for the last couple of years. And Zak had just about enough gas left in the tank for another couple of years of international cricket. What then? Difficult to see any of the current crop filling his shoes. If India nurtures ambitions of being the world's top cricket team over a reasonable period, then it needs at least two outstanding bowlers each in the pace and spin categories. That's an improbable ask!

  • on March 5, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    Glad u mentioned the price of tickets, Harsha ! Tickets in Chennai for England-South Africa match cost Rs.2500 plus internet booking charges for the lower tier of the stand, straight opposite to the pavillion. This lower tier doesn't have a roof over it and u are exposed to the harshest sun in the country throughout the game(Whoever designed these new stands in Chepauk had only artistic beauty and not the paying spectators in his mind). There is also no difference in pricing between India and this non-India match.

  • pappu63 on March 5, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    Hello !!! why players need friendly pitches (say bowling or batting). If somebody need to have friendly pitches, anyone can go and play. Then, what is the difference between international players and ordinary ones.

  • on March 5, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Wow, talk about copying Osman Samiudding style of writing...

  • on March 5, 2011, 2:27 GMT

    as much as i agree with harsha, i feel HE has no business talking about bowlers getting their due, for he never raised those concerns during the IPL. and why would he, with IPL being his main source of income,have a problem with run fest, which is what IPL is all about?

  • Indiasmells on March 5, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    Once again Harsh Bhoglelalsdi, you act as if India is the ONLY team in this world cup. You fail to consider that Pakistan, SA, Sri Lanka, and Austrailia do not seem to have a problem restricting the opposition to a score below 300.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 5, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    Ireland is not the best of the rest. It is Afghanistan today. Ireland didn't just win a big game by chance. They did it in last WC too. Are you really sure that India is gonna win on sunday. Do india dare to rest Zahir as they liked to? no they can't. Which other sport do know Harsha where WCs are only played among equally talented teams. Have you never seen football matches between Italy vs Japan, Spain vs Saudi Arabia or Brazil vs Camroon. ONLY thing one should do is to cut it from 14 to 12 and chose a formate where weaker teams go out after playing 3 games and not as we have it now where they play 6 games each. About wickets, worst of them are in India, flat like a pancack. They want to win at any cost and when they never have a fast bowler then they make wickets which are graveyards for fast bowlers. The cricket is not cricket any more. It's one sided affair where teams with better bats win over better bowlers.

  • Sheela on March 5, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    In India as log as one remembers for the last 50 years or more pitches have been a heatrbreak for bowlers as pitches are the graeyards for the bowlers. This started to allow a socalled great to perform well and has since continued more than a half century back.

    Another joke to be stopped by BCCI. Sacking of bowling and fielding coaches. Has such acst ever lifted the level of India bowling or fielding.

    High time better wickets to suit bowlers to some extent is prepared, need not necessarily to favour teams like South Africa and Australia who because of their physique are more equipped for fast bowling than Indians.

    As a past great player recently stated while batsmen have shown innovations, bowlers have not kept pace with this trend.

  • on March 5, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    Frankly speaking there is nothing wrong with the pitches (The pirches in India, pak, Sri and Bang are always like this) its the same pitches where india played test matches and holding the Number 1 position. Current bowling line-up of india doesnt use their brain at all with the exception of Zaheer. As A.AK@ mentioned PK and Ashwin are smart cricketers but one is injured and one is wasted in the bench. We need to seriously think about selecting bajji/Ashiwn. bajji Did well but I dont see him taking wkts. Similarly we dont need Sachin, Gambhir and Kohli in the palying 11 instead pick only 2 b/c these 3 players can hold one end of the wkt but we dont need 3 specialists. For example with ENG kohli has to come in the 6th down to face few balls where Bajji/Zaheer could have done the same. If we say indian batting line-up is the world best then we dont require 7 batsmans we can survive with 6 but i dont think we have that confidence with our batsmans also. Still My heart is with INDIA BOL.

  • mohsin9975 on March 5, 2011, 0:18 GMT

    By the end of this world cup ,it will be evident to all that india's bowling attack on their home grounds is the worst among all test playing nations and second worst in this world cup(worst being kenya);there isnt much wrong with the pitches.pitches in india hav traditionally been flat and low.no change ther at all.also,by april 2 harbhajan & dhoni wil stop blaming pitches and work harder in their respective fields of interest i.e bowling(lack of flight, turn & guile) and captaincy(setting aggressive fields)

  • on March 4, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    its nothing logical !!! sachin scores a century and india lose !! or least tie the match !!! lol....dats become a kinda sure thing !!! not for evry match tho !!!

  • on March 4, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    The absence of a bowling coach, like Prasad, is really felt in this Indian team. They made a big mistake by removing him.

  • on March 4, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    India uses lot of part time bowlers to complete their quota of 50 overs (Yuvraj, Yousuf, Sehwag, Tendulkar, etc). This is very defensive approach and would not yield the desired results consistently - you may win a few matches here and there but no one would be afraid of the Indian bowling. The only way India can dominate ODIs is that they ask ICC to change the rules - have 7 bowlers bowl instead of 5 (6 bowlers to bowl7 overs and 1 to bowl 8). Considering India's dominance of cricket these days (influence wise) they might be able to convince ICC and then they can rule ODIs. Good luck...

  • on March 4, 2011, 22:34 GMT

    @ Andy Gandhi I am sick of people criticizing Munaf Patel he was amongst the wickets against New Zealand and was the top wicket taker for India in South Africa and has been performing consistently in the domestic circuit and IPL for the past couple of years. "I would love to see Sreesanth instead of Munaf" any one who says that does not have enough cricketing brains to fill a teacup Munaf is not Mcgrath well Sreesanth is not Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar every time he bowls he goes for runs . Against Bangladesh he took no wickets and gave runs at an economy of more than 10

    Consider giving a thought to what u are going to write before writing it next time

  • on March 4, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    first of all india dont have a weak bowling zaheer is the best ,munaf is more or less equal to broad,tsotsobe,mathews,sammy,pollard (u get it?), then harbajan is the the second best spinner to murli so theres no problem,swans good but not even close to bajji ,pls dont say tahir he s just a jerk who run from teams to teams for a spot, the problem is the next one if india fields ishanth then he is a unpredictable bowler like anderson who might make big impact or a complete stupid game,FINALLY BRING IN ASWIN he bowls with a better brain and can add teeth to the attack , the problem is india uses more batsmen indian bowlers are second to none for it is the bowling attack which took 20 wickets in many matches to keep india in 1st from seaming to spinning conditions cheers

  • dilipm on March 4, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    Harsha is right. BCCI should stop counting money like Uncle Scrooge and look around to improve the game which has allowed it to amass such wealth.The 1983 World Cup team had bowlers who were great fielders-Kapil,Binny,Madanlal & Mohinder. This team has" octogenarians" in its possession. Zaheer,Munaf,Harbhajan,Nehra are pedestarian and generally amble after the ball. There is no sense of anticipation or effort to prevent quick rotation of strike. Opposing teams can steal runs easily and keep the scoreboard moving without any risk or effort. Sreesanth, among the bowlers, seems to be the only one who can move. But even he does not anticipate a shot in his direction and waits for it to arrive! Even the bowlers not playing like Ishant, Praveen,Ashwin ,Ojha & Mishra field leisurely when an opportunity is given!Fielding should be one of the criteria for selection especially in ODIs!

  • Sunny_kumar on March 4, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    With the pitch being so flat it is not easy for our Indian bowlers...However they play on these wickets more than anyone else and therefore they should know how to bowl on these wickets...Everyone knows how weak the Indian bowling can be but then there are times when the bowlers can perform and bowl any side out easily..Its just a matter of them being consistant...Yes PK is a big miss and Sreesanth is not the ideal replacement as is leaks runs in ODI's...Nehra has lost form but has experience and should be drafted back into the side...I think they should go with 5 bowlers as the top 6 is more than good enough to put a big score on the flat wickets...Fielding must be worked on more...Againts England they were poor until wickets started falling and all of a sudden more enthusiam was shown in the field...Some players realy need to put extra effort in throughout the 50 overs on the field as every run counts...I just hope they can up their game for the remainder of the tournament...

  • cricarch on March 4, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Well, I have to disagree. Cricket is a batsman's game! We want to see big runs scored. We cheer everytime our player hit big and shout in distress when opposite player hits us. Hitting is what evokes emotions in the game. Who wants to see the game like today's, which ends in a blink of an eye! Though its a fight for survival for the bowlers, the game is ultimately heading where we want it to be. But, but there is a blessing in disguise too, for the bowlers. Remember that pressure of hitting makes a batsman more vulnurable. So if you're good, no one is stopping you from taking wickets!

  • on March 4, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    On the same flat beds good bowlers did well in 96 WC because these wickets really distinguish average bowlers like James Anderson and Indian bowlers from skillful bowlers. Guys like Murali, Warne could even spin on glass. Bowlers like McGrath Ambrose Morkel can produce chin breakers on even the deadest wickets. Wasim swung the ball of the pitch on Indian flat beds and demolished India's top notch batting order every time Pk visited India. Above all as lee has said recently that a yorker remains the same even on deadest pitch, swing in the air has nothing to do at all with pitch and Genuine pace is also not affected a great deal by belters. Low wickets even help genuine skillful bowlers in following ways. 1). Ball remains low hence more chances on lbw if you beat the batsman with pace/spin 2) Big spinners are disadvanged by spinning tracks because lbw virtually goes out of equation 3) On seaming wickets genuine swing bowlers tend to swing too much to get and edge, avg ones get wickets.

  • Warrior78 on March 4, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    Agreed that Indian pitches needs to have something in it for the bowlers. But we have been saying this for years now. Given with what we have, Indian bowlers need to come up with a better show if they have to make a mark in this WC. Look at bowlers like Malinga, Umar Gul, Kemar Roach, Steyn, Shoab Akhtar they are all getting wickets on placid pitches. I know indian bowlers don't have pace on their side, but I don't see an attempt being made to bowl yorkers & change of pace(up & down) to keep batsmen guessing and taking wickets. If 4 front line Indian bowlers are not capable of getting lower order batsmen out or atleast keep them in check then I don't see going further in the tournament. Bowlers need to develops skills to adapt to demands of the game. Our pitches have always been batsmen friendly and our bowlers have always brought up from grass roots level on it so how come our bowlers don't learn skills like bowling yorkers, change of pace knowing its a must to succeed at int. level?

  • AsherCA on March 4, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    Gnana Murugan, you are right. through flat pitches, BCCI is reducing the difference between Sehwag & a mediocre batsman, highlighting the difference between the Munaf we have & the Dale Steyn that bowls for SA. Add to that, Dhoni like some of his predecessors has chosen to crib about the bowlers, rather than take the Ranatunga stand - yes my bowlers are not the best, but batsmen are brilliant, they just have to score 1 run more than the opposition every time & we have the WC. But that would require the batsmen, including Dhoni himself to do something called work. Why worry if just pointing a finger at someone else is sufficient ?

  • spb24 on March 4, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    Nice Harsha.1)When smaller nations producing such a worlds greatest fast bowlers one after another..With more than billon population ...not even a single one for couple of decades...Seriously we should pluck the Power House System(PHS) tongue,sorry.I cant find better words.All the vacany is filled in PHS , but not RF / LF bowling positions.There is a serious flaw in the SYSTEMM.Even a lay man can plan better (2)Secondly blocking the tickets..you spot on about the middle class should get benefit....Seriously how stupid/Mad/Crazy we people are..These scences can only happen in India.Whole world is watching...People are getting hurted, who just came to get the " DAMN tickets"...Im very glad that you raised your voice in your style. Fuuny thought : " PHS Proclamation: INDIAN YOUTHS COME ON!!! 1MILLION DOLLARS AWAITS IF YOU CAN BOWL CONSISTENT LINE/LENGTH > 155KMPH ... (no no our guys will drop pace).. > 165 KMPH for 5 Overs.IMMEDIATE RECURITMENT START BEFORE IPL / WORLDCUP FINAL.

  • on March 4, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    india is lacking a strike bowler such as steyn or shoaib. someone like sreesanth who actually has some pace should be brought into the team because the day india's batting flops. they will lose the match horribly

  • on March 4, 2011, 20:21 GMT

    Noone realises one thing here.. everyone is crying about how bad india's bowling is.. Actually all the bowlers in all the teams are suffering with the flat wickets they are provided with.. And jus look, ireland scored 300+ and wont the match.. that shows, anyone can score on these tracks.. If thats the case, the famous Indian batters should've scored more than 350 in both the matches India have played.. So its the batsmen who have failed India, not the bowlers.. Evryone forgot about the start India have got in the match against England.. 3rd wicket fell only in the 39th over..RR was 6.2 that time.. And at the end, RR was 6.7 which was very poor.. 7 wickets for 33 runs in the last 4 overs.. Someone needs to write an article about indian middle order batting too..

  • jrjegon on March 4, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    Dear Harsha,

    Thanks for your wonderful article and is worth a read as usual. I bet with the inclusion of 20-20 & IPL, we will never ever produce a quality bowler in India. Who wants to be a bowler when "Anil Kumble" vented his opinion in a popular media channel that he never wants his son to be a bowler. I am pretty sure we were able to replace Dravid, we were able to replace Ganguly and I am sure we would be able to replace VVS (and the everpresent Tendulkar) but we couldn't find a player half good as Kumble/Srinath today (except Zaheer).... Wake up india... Cricket is a game of both Bat & Ball. If we continue to ignore one we may get hundreds of tendulkars (may be not) but definitely not one good kumble/srinath...

  • on March 4, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    The Indian batting lineup is the most grossly overhyped lineup in history...Kind of reminds me of the perplexing delusional pride that the English sometimes take in their substandard players.

    Who in the Indian lineup with the exception of Sachin, last for 10 overs on a bouncy wicket in Perth against bowlers like Bollinger, Lee, Tait and Johnson ? It is indeed unfortunate that we are unable to produce batsmen of true class like Sachin and Dravid , while heralding flat pitch bullies like Pathan, Raina and Dhoni as heroes.

  • nutter-whosane on March 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    English commentators/ex-cricketers who themselves have very ordinary records to their name, are so loud and boastfull of their team.... English are crap at sports and the cricket team also comprise of mediocre players, except the ones they have hunted from elsewhere like Peterson,Trott, Morgan etc....O'brien may be next.....but I bet they still wouldn't win a major tournament....I think they only play Ashes. They have luckily played against a week Aussie test team and some how won ( 2nd win in 40 odd yrs after so many drubbings from the hands of aussiee over the years) and they will go on talking about this stupid Ashes win for next 10 yrs...and by then they may win another tounament.....its laughable

  • on March 4, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    Did you not see Afrdi's bowling so far or did you write this well before that. Or are you talking about not spin bowling, in Afridi's case, deceptive medium pacers.

  • Petey on March 4, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Another note, if ICC is really keep on expanding the Cricket to other countries, they need to find a way to telecast these major cricket events with country specific tv channels and not just have this for free in India. I mean, look, in America there is huge Indian immigrant population that would watch Cricket world cup and might (and I say might) pay to watch it. However if it is not reached to the major population without additional cost for watching, how will it even gain popularity? Check the ESPN live feed, that is only available in India. Is there any merit on expanding the game all over the world talk then?

  • on March 4, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    couldnt agree more with Arjun Silva. I think its unfair to lash out at pictches just because a team doesnt have a good bowling attack.

  • on March 4, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I completely agree with Mr. Bhogle. Indian Cricket board must get in touch with common people. Money will come to the board no matter what. However, if they do the right thing by providing affordable tickets and organizing community events then the board will be befitted by getting more future talents. I wonder why the ICC did not do what the FIFA did with the soccer world cup 2010 in South Africa? Whey didn't ICC give out more affordable tickets as lottery?

  • RoshanF on March 4, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    The Indians have prepared pitches to suit their main strength ie. batting and hence astronimical scoring and brokenhearted bowlers. But down south in Sri Lanka is the place to be in this world cup if you want to see a lot more sporting wickets which has help for batting and bowling (both swing and spin)

  • likuray on March 4, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    indian batting will falter someday against teams like AUS & SA WHERE THEY BOWL A DANGEROUS LINE AND LENGTH AND PACE> Watch out india, Big matches are yet to come in the knock out phase. Dhoni is not using his brain properly these days too.

  • Balijaa on March 4, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    I think there are 2 main reasons for India's poor fast bowling resources. Again this is just my opinion and I am not preaching to everyone that I am correct..1) among the first few generations of Indian greats, we did not produce a legendary fast bowler, but we produced extremely talented bunch of batsmen. So the next generations picking up cricket as their sport obviously took up some Indian batting great as their hero and tried to become like their Hero - as in become a batting great! So we have had endless supply of batting greats and its becoming an endless loop. 2) Bowling performances rarely get the kind of admiration and appreciation that batting does in our country (again talking about general public and not a specific sections who definitely appreciate good bowling). So all the money, advertising, marketing and star status revolves around Batsmen and not bowlers. So it becomes apparent to any youngster learning the game that in order to be called successful, u got to BAT!

  • Harsha_Reddy on March 4, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    I still want to believe captains shud take more responsibility of winning a game, understood our fielding was weak but we did not make batsman try to go over the top during our game against england. bowlers did not change/fielders did not change and only thing that was changed was PP3 where batsman had to pierce the field and that brought in a mistake. No use giving bhajji/zak ball and having 4 fielders inside the circle and expecting a wkt Pitches are flat so is our captains thinking

  • Nampally on March 4, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    Harsha, that is a very accurate summary of the WC & pitches at various venues. Both Bangalore & Colombo pitches are batsmen paradise. On the present Bangalore pitch, batting second would give the powerful indian batting a chance to chase the total successfully. On the batting friendly pitches, the seam bowlers will have to bowl accurate yorkers and slow bowlers focus on length , direction & clever variation of pace. Afridi, Tahir, Malinga & Roach are good examples.It is sad that Indian fielding is poor coupled with average bowling. Harbhajan dropped an easy catch of Strauss which cost India the match. On batting wickets fielders must take their chances.One way to develop good fielders is to mandate their sprinting to at least 11 seconds for 100M - None in Indian team match this. India were always strong on leg spinners - from SP Gupte to Kumble- but have an inexperienced Chawla now.WC is not won on batting alone and if India does it, it will be a miracle.Good Luck against Ireland.

  • TamilIndian on March 4, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    If we think we have the best batting line up why are we not choosing to field first? - I mean if we are so confident batters will win it for us we should choose to chase every time like the Srilankans did during WC96.

  • rohandb on March 4, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    OK, the pitch has something to do with it, but on the same pitch where we let Bangladesh get 290+, West Indies routed them for 59. Our bowlers must learn to adjust and be accurate in the Powerplay overs. And ODI pitches will rarely be bowler-friendly, because people love to watch boundaries.

  • Mahesh4811 on March 4, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    "Teams like India, who haven't really worried too much about developing fast bowlers - dropping pace is the more fashionable thing to do here - " :-):-):-):-)

  • Shrikar_11 on March 4, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    There are a lot of judgments being passed but people forget that Zaheer is one of the best bowlers in the world, both with the new and old ball and Harbajhan has been bowling well too. The problem arises due to the lack of an effective bowler at the other end, zaheer can't be expected to be very threatening if munaf is getting smacked around like its his job. I think this problem will be solved once ashish comes in, but we definitely could've done with praveen here. India also need to give ashwin a shot, piyush while he can take wickets, is just too slow, once you play a few deliveries he's not really a challenge.

  • sony_sr on March 4, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    70% of the matches are meaningless where either both or one of the team is a minnow and the result is already known. Ireland made an exception, but that is going to be a rare happening. On top of that we have the worst pitches in the world were 400+ is definitely not safe. This world cup is flop unless something out of the world happens from QF onwards.

  • on March 4, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    when it come to slogging indian pitches are favourite for batsman. but why poor bowler suffer ? being a bowler i do not like at all most indian pitches which favours batsmen only. harsha has easily argue and pin point this problem , where actually he is already aware of such facts . why doesn't he do something about it as being physically and actively present in indian cricketing system. he should deliver this message to BCCI who has been the Big brother of World `Cricket , just because they are richest board. cricket has been gone from a sports to a money making machine for few boards. this is the only way i can deliver my thoughts and message via you(harsha) to BCCI or one who administer pitches. regards!

  • on March 4, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    BCCI see cricket as a commodity, they feel cricket in India could be sold only if you have high scores. There is a false idea among BCCI administrators that Indian fans love only to see batting.There are still fans who enjoy cricket for it's bouncers and yorkers. Stumps going for a walk is as exciting as a seeing the ball clearing the stadiums. Even young kids has started to consume these myths and i could see very few kids like to do the hard job "the bowling",fielding is also a hard job for most of the young kids. We need to view cricket differently from now on, let's enjoy fast bowling and exciting spinners, let's ignore bowlers who compromise pace for long career. We need bowlers who are ready to bend their back even in flat tracks. For god sake let's learn to see bowlers too as our cricketing role models and try to build a fast bowling culture in Indian cricket. Lastly,let's stop selecting players today remembering his one match or a series heroics some years ago.

  • trueanalyst on March 4, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    It is such a shame due to these useless batting pitches fun of watching cricket has diminished significantly.it is ridiculous a team with 3 of the world's best test bowlers & which has dismissed Australia & other teams below 100 in so many recent test matches is leaking runs in bucketful due to these sleeping beauties.I enjoyed Bangladesh's demolition more than England-India tie which really was a headache with so many runs hit.

  • on March 4, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Too much hype is created for POOR indian bowling. They are highly underrated, rightly mentioned by "justk". It was just a bad day for them against England. Don't forget Strus was out couple of times but went un-noticed. Bell's decision too was doubt ful. Harbhajan dropped a catch. All these were wicket taking balls. And again it was bowlers who brought India back into the game from a situation were most teams would have lost it.Bowling unit is not as strong as some other units but not that bad also. Gone are the days when you used to switch off the TV assuming that India will easly when and you use to hear it from others and india just lost the game. These days when you switch of the TV assuming that India will lose the game and you hear from others that INDIA just won the game. Few examples,Game against NZ (yousuf 100),Recent Game against SA , Recent warm-up game aginst AUS, Recent tie agains ENG. This team believes that they can win from any situation. Support them!! GO India GO!!

  • abhi_cricinfo on March 4, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    It is hard to be an Indian bowler. Recently on South African tour Zaheer , Munaf & Harbhajan were excellent only because those were bowler friendly pitches. Even blower like Dale Steyn & Jacques Kallis conceded runs at econ. of 9 without taking wicket at Gwalior ODI. Pitches should be at least Spinner friendly .....

  • on March 4, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Harshaji, i am big fan of your articles and this as well is rightly written. Its more of the attitude in India team abt opponents cannot chase 300+ runs is killing us. Look at the fielding of Bhaji, Virat present very team good fielders dropping catches. In my opinion our bowling was adequate but its the fielding and the attitude that needs a make over. Its a good think that it happened now and many are now writing about India might lose against Ireland.

  • on March 4, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Completely agree with Freakygs. Sound observations. we had a very good One day series in Australia in 2008. Who was in that team and is not playing here?

  • Stumpvision on March 4, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    @greenshah When did a Strike rate of 100+ become slow? I think this kind of thinking is what driving the Indian pitches to be flat. Put yourself in bowlers shoes and think. they are suffering.

  • x2dazee on March 4, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Other bowling teams have been doing fine namely, South Africa, Aus, WI, Pak, its just that India's pace attack is ordinary to say the least. Also is it possible for yourself to write an article that doesn't have India plastered around.

    Harsha's known as a neutral commentator but its just a farce, in his tweets his was repremanding Shehzad and Gul for agitating Rao but what about Sreenath his half the size of Hayden and his mouthing his head off, don't see an eyelid being bat there.

  • phenix on March 4, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    well india knows their bowling attack is weak, this can been seen in by looking at the type of pitches that have been prepared in india, which favour the batsman alot. However if you look at the Sri lankan pitches you will notice that they are more balanced, but actually favour spin more, perfect for Murlitharan.

    The thing is that every side has not one but a few good hitting batsman and this strategy will not help India, but either way a good bowling track won't help them either, unless they can produce some good bowlers.

  • StatisticsRocks on March 4, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    Really Mr. Harsha, Now u r realising that India has a weak bowling unit. Glad that you woke up and had the guts to write something that has substance and not just singing praise of the Indian batting lineup. As a nation we r growing and yet instead of doing something back to this great nation, the politicians and the officers of Power are bringing disgrace. I thought we were a democratic country, look again. 60-70% of the tickets are being used by the BCCI or some ICC officials. No need to point fingers at anyone but ourselves. Stop treating our cricket players like gods. This has led to the arrogance and the attitude problems in this team. No respect for opponents at all. Being aggressive is one thing but being disrespectful is not acceptable. We need gentlemen to play this great game of cricket. As an Indian I want us to win this WC, but I just dont see how they are going to do it with batting alone. Dhoni is commiting basic mistakes. He is running out of ideas.

  • on March 4, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    With arguably the best battling line up in the competition the Indian team should be backing themselves to score runs against any bowling attack in any conditions (or at least more than the par score). Are we really playing to our strengths by preparing dead flat pitches?

  • Vishwaskatti on March 4, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    First of all Harsha .... HATS OFF to your article! One couldnt have put it in a more succinct manner. There have always been questions raised about how BCCI conducts cricket in India. Being the richest board in the world, I dont see why we shouldnt have the best stadiums in the world. As far as fitness aspects are concerned things should change at the school and ranji level for quality to improve. Apart from that the mindset towards cricket ( though it has moved a lot towards sensibility) needs to be honed even further, especially since we are the best side on paper in the world.

  • Haleos on March 4, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    @santi77 - no dear Canada can not score to save their lives. They could have easily won yesterday but gave it away.

  • AbAdvani on March 4, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Where is the platform for fast bowlers to excel in India -they cannot excel on dodo pitches played out for Ranji Trophy. The IPL has also waylaid India's search for genuine fast bowlers as the focus is invariably on batting -Dhoni's Chennai team won because he packed his team with all fast bowlers from overseas -Kamran Khan showed lot of promise but his dubious action promised he won't be back. Sudeep Tyagi showed that he could get a lot of swing but the chairman of selectors doesn't happen to be from the same zone. Umesh Yadav showed he has pace but with no swing or seam, he proved to be cannon fodder for even Zimbabwe. One way forward is for former pace bowlers like Srinath, Prasad with the active support of BCCI to come forward to open an academy (on the lines of MRF) and give a lot of opportunities to their wards to benchmark themselves against the best - otherwise Indian pace attack will continue to resemble a one-legged pony (totally dependent on Zaheer).

  • on March 4, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    The pitch has nothing to do with the performance of the Indian bowlers. We just don't have someone who can bowl 6 lethal yorkers like Malinga, or bowl some actual turning deliveries like Afridi or Tahir, or even the discipline of Morkel and Steyn. @justk - we let Bangladesh score 280 and we couldnt even defend 335+... I think that says enough. We dont need to "wait and watch"!

  • on March 4, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    India cannot go far with this bowling unit and i am surprised indians are not using the allout spin option with Ashwin Chawla and Harbhajan playing together, Spinners are india's key to the wicket taking success India should repeat the Srilankan strategy of 1996 and should opt to bowl first and then they should back them selves to chase whatever target is set for them. Otherwise i dont see a big hope with this indian team maximum they can do is to reach the semis.

  • on March 4, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    @ greenshah - he finished with strike rate over 100. lower order failed to fire after "he got out" else score should have been at least 350. Its not how one starts, its how one ends.

  • AHDesai on March 4, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Absolutely agree you Harsha - cricket cannot be outpriced in our country. I hope this is more an aberration! Also - hats off to Sachin as always. I hope he plays on and on and on.....

  • lsd123 on March 4, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    I like if Tendulakar scores more runs, bcz India definitely loss if Sachin scored century.

  • A.Ak on March 4, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    Indian have two bowlers who uses their brains and sadly both are not playing. One is Praveen Kumar, another one is RAshwin.

  • gargi_vizag on March 4, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    as usual Harsha is spot on with his thoughts. BCCI is a body that is thinking only about money and everything else comes next, the paying public and the common man because of whom the money comes in is ignored. Being a huge fan of cricket for years now, I sincerely pray that BCCI realise their mistakes and make changes fast for good. There should be a law which will prevent established teams from poaching players from Associate nations--England have been the biggest beneficiaries from this, it is only than can the smaller teams make any progress.

  • Srinath. on March 4, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    hey,greenshah...Why are you criticizing sachin???he played a super innings...the lower & middle order batsmen got out pretty cheaply..that's why we cant get past 350..also we couldn't win because of our bowlers performance..Sachin has a strike rate of 105,remember.he played cautiously at the beginning..if he hadn't we wouldn't have reached that total...Whatever Sachin does for India,people like you criticize him...very pity...

  • Pratik007 on March 4, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    There is no doubt that the pitches in the subcontinet have favoured batsmen for a while but i get the feeling pundits and bowlers have almost decided "You cant bowl in the subcontinent" n I feel this attitude is hurting their chances of doing well than anything else. A batsman is expected to score runs in tough conditions to be considered a great batsman so why are bowlers expected to have help from the pitches all the time? Sure the pitches in India in this WC are tough to bowl on but its not impossible to do well. If a bowler can be smart surely they can control the run rate and hence create pressure and the possibility of wkts. How many times do you see bowlers bowling yorkers for example? Or bowling straight to their field consistently? These are basics that a international bowler should be able to do. I feel the attitude of not being able to bowl in the subcontinent is a negative approach. Being smart and n skillful can still get you wkts!

  • KiwiRocker- on March 4, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Harsha has started to sound like Dhoni..lets blame Pitches...Toss and DRS....Mate, I have been writng this for months that Indian bowling is very poor. India or any other team can not win unless and until there is a balanced side. problem with Indian team is its selection and India is doomed from start. Ishant Sharma is only real fast bowler India has and he should have been in team. India has tried, failed chawla ahead of Ohja..makes no sense. Harsha has correctly pointed out Indian fiedling and there is a reasoning behind it. Tendulkar, Harbhajan,Zaheer, Sehwag, Pate,Nehral and even now Yuvraj are a liability in the field. That is mix of the team. It seems bit like Pakistan team of 2003 with aging stars in twilight of their career. Fielding should be part of selection criteria. Pakistan dropped Yousaf who was poor fielder although he probably is still a very good batsman in any format. Indian seniors need to lead the fielding unit and sadly currently I do not see leaders in the field

  • Jeetender on March 4, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    This is the same bowling attack who took 20 wickets in test matches and kept us Number 1 test team from last 2 years...

  • chook83 on March 4, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    It's difficult to agree with the notion that bowlers need a chance. This is what makes one-day cricket different from test matches. Bowlers should be looking for a place to hide. The India-England has to be lauded as a showpiece of this form of the game. There are ways that bowlers can impose themselves on this form of the game, though there not too many great ones at the moment!

  • TheUq7 on March 4, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    The Day Indian Batting Flop,they will Loose that Matcch

  • Aussasinator on March 4, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Genuine quicks and genuine spinners are a vanishing stock in India thanks to the compulsions of grooming oneself to the T20 format in order to have a prolonged earning span as a cricketer.Indians lack physical strength compared to say the Australians and hence the rigours of fast bowling are bound to take an early toll, like say Munaf Patel. But there seems little justification for not producing a genuine spinner, other than the 'safety first' principle. I now feel , after Sachin Tendulkar retires in a year or two, it should be a retirement from batting alone. He can continue as a genuine leg spinner for a few more years. He's the biggest turner of the ball, we never could use to the full , for various reasons.

  • Vijay_P_S on March 4, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    Harsha, you should've also mentioned about small grounds which are becoming more common in India. No score looks defendable on these grounds where even a top edge can easily go for a six. I heard experts saying that people in India love to see high scores with more boundaries. If that is so, the taste of average Indian fan has degraded and we who want to see a good contest between bat and ball are in minority.

  • on March 4, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    It is true that Zaheer and Munaf bowling is good. But they are not at top all the times. But definitely they can come for all time bowlers. If india tried hard, it can get the cup. this team has spirit to have the world cup.

  • indianzen on March 4, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Good one Harsha... Zaheer can't bend himself to pickup the ball, neither he is an athlete. Nehra having some sight issues. Munaf cant grasp the ball. the entire fielding depends only on Virat, Raina, Dhoni and Yuvi. 4/11 will not suffice to win any match...

  • on March 4, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    I don't like munaf .........the reason for dislike is not his bowling, batting or fielding........the reason being the worst attitude that you can expect of a sportsman.......he seems like at most a joker (a comedian) who is simply out of sorts in the cricket field.....cricketing ability and skills can be improved if you work hard at it.........he is there in the pack for almost 10 years and still he hasn't improved a bit....this me to preceive him as lazy man

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on March 4, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    "Teams like India, who haven't really worried too much about developing fast bowlers" - What an unbelievably absurd statement to make and one that is factually incorrect. India has tried like no other nation over the past decade to develop fast bowlers and even implemented fast bowling institutions like the MRF Pace academy to help them. The fact is they FAILED to develop fast bowlers, not because of lack of trying, but because pace is not something that can be taught, you either have it or you don't. Your statement presupposes that if India tried they could develop fast bowlers, pretty easily, which is completely false.

  • on March 4, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    i think indian team is lacking in the bowlling department at the 2nd spinner's slot.... i think yusuf and sehwag are the gamble for us.... chalo sehwag to opening karta hai, isiliye chance jyada milta hai aur wo deliver v karta hai.... lekin yusuf is jus occupying the space..... he should be bowling good..... as far as fast bowling is concerned, jak and munaf is doing good.... when nehra will come we'll have the best competitive bowling attack, hope he recover soon..... apart from that our team is best in all respect like captainship, batting, experience, fielding is also good yaar, and the spirit.... WE JUST NEED TO BE AT OUR BEST WHEN WE R PLAYING......DONT WORRY THIS CUP IS OURSSSSSSSSSSSS:)

  • on March 4, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Without Zak and Harbajan, Indias attack would be similar to an associate attack. Two world class bowlers. If India had Injury problems like Oz or England and these two were out (it could happen) then India might struggle to win a game - never mind the tournament. The depth in bowling for India looks terrible. Sreesanth swings the ball without control and is a "hot or cold" bowler at best, and that's about it. The batsmen look unfit in the field and the backup bowling looks village. The best batting line up in the world is getting them through this tourny - but failing to win when you post almost 340 is a pretty poor show.

  • spiritwithin on March 4, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    unless bcci tries to prepare sporting pitches in domestic league we wont see quality fast bowlers and tearway fasy bowlers in the country...

  • justk on March 4, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    in my opinion, the bowling of india is underrated..and this is being done by the pundits and nothing else..at the end of the day, no one can match the skills of zaheer khan and munaf patel is not an easy bet..and also, even though south africa may have two best new ball bowlers, there story ends with that..imran tahir trashing a windies team which is even ranked below bangladesh at this moment of time and walopping an holland team, who are really taking the world cup as a learning opporutunity does not make him a great bowler..let us see how he fares against india,pakistan and sri lanka. and then we will decide..

  • lxmngdr on March 4, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    Not a time to give chance now i.e World cup. India team and management don't know where will India play and what type of pitches are they. Bowlers performance is very poor, not able to take wkts but try to control runs flow.

    Very Very Poor Performance by India bowlers and Harsha want to give one chance.

    This is World cup not a single or tri-series.

  • Girishiyer on March 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    India can win the CUP even with its feeble fielding and piteous bowling. Shame!!! They should learn from Ireland who is an immaculate fielding side.

  • on March 4, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    Well said...i was wondering why no one is coming to support bowlers (i said bowlers bcz now not only indian bowlers but from other countries as well are going for runs) definitely the way indian pitches are supporting batting one should be ready for another surprise...hope it will not come against we indians...!!

  • greenshah on March 4, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    harsha why aintt you critisizing sachins slow century......india is not utilising the first 15 overs and hence loosing

  • chidimaar on March 4, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    I think it has more to do with culture than anything.We don't need to look very far beyond our friendly neighbour in the north.Despite having same pitch, conditions and climate, they seem to come up with very good pacers at regular interval.We, on other hand even when playing cricket in our backyard insist to bat rather than bowl.We have Sunny Gavaskar/Sachin Tendulkar as our icon, they have Imran Khan as their idol.So its not difficult to guess which art we Indians prefer to.

  • on March 4, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Seems like you're banking on bowlers in your fantasy team... :D

  • on March 4, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    I don't understand why dhoni keep supporting munaf patel, the guy has lost his pace (to be precise he cut his pace himself) to be accurate bowler, in the process he's lost his sting....he's not McGrath...nothing great about his fielding or batting...I would love to see Sreesanth instead of Munaf...

  • freakygs on March 4, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Excellent Observation Harsha, India has not been producing fast bowlers from a long long time now, our prime Spinner is too afraid to be hit for six, so he bowls flat and fast. We have only a couple of good fielders since last decade or so, it was Jadeja, Azhar and Robin in 90's... Kaif and Yuvi in early 2000's... and Raina and Kohli now... Yuvi as a fielder has declined considerably ... What we are producing is batsman who can hit long distances against medium and slow bowling... we are too vulnerable against genuine quick bowling too, except a couple of geniouses, and rookies

  • addiemanav on March 4, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    i agree with jarsha on both the two statements!!one,the pitches need to offer something to the bowlers so that contests are more even and result is independent of the toss!!secondly,the irish team should not let their best to go in search of test dreams and play for england!!this cannot go on like this..eng should not take away plyrs fromthe smaller nations.it surely hampers the growth of that team!!eng wc dream is in doldrums just bcoz their newest star eoin morgan is injured!!and this guy played for ireland last wc!!a major plyr for eng who was their trump card,imagine what kind of role he would hav played in ireland!i hav high hopes of this team,even bfore the game they won i was expecting a fight and they proved me right!!icc should make sure this transfer of players doesnt happen,assure the irish of greater role in world cricket,atleast permanent one day status for now and help them!!surely ireland is better than zim and even bngdsh in most places in the world if not the sub-cont!

  • ram_sachin on March 4, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Well said Harsha .. Praveen Kumar has been solely missed. We've to pull up the sock to produce next set of Kumble's or Harbhajan's or may be a Srinath. Its high time we stop depending on Zak alone. We need some quality fast bowlers and fast

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    You Mr., bowlers already have a chance in cricket. If Indian bowlers are below par as compared to other nations, that does not mean we need to change the game itself. See Afridi's performance for instance; or see Pakistani bowler's performance in ANY world cup and you will see the difference. It's all about quality. So please stop whining like a puppy and play the game.

  • Jan on March 4, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Rightly said Harsha. Pitches should be prepared so that atleast at some point of time in an inning the bowler gets to prove he is also one among the best in business. If a pitch constanly produces 300+ then it is termed as good and if 10 wickets fall in a hurry then they say pitch has crumbled and its unfit for playing. And also ticket sales are poorly planned in India. Leaving away India games, you see just empty stands which spoil the mood of the world cup. BCCI must have reduced or given it for free to school children so that you get some crowd for non-India matches.

  • santi77 on March 4, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    spot on Harsha.. even though Bangalore produced two of the most memorable matches,the quality of the pitch is disappointing though most people may not agree..poor bowlers..there should be even contest between the bat and the ball.. on a pitch like this,even Canada can chase 350 against any team..

  • Vinod on March 4, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Harsha, good article. As for the minnows (Associates) ICC is not doing enough. In the last 4 years these qualified countries should have played more Cricket matches. Unless they play more Cricket, it will be difficult to excel at this top level. The teams which gain one-day status because of the World cup qualification must be subject to an ICC Future Tours Programme, wherein all test playing nations honour an obligation of sending their 'A' teams to play 4 -day cricket against them. I was just taking a look at the Future Tours Programme - 2011, it is so crowded that these deserved qualified teams have no chance of playing against superior teams. I think as Cricket grows, it is better to abolish this Future Tours Programme and develop a new structure for World Cricket. I propose a One-Day Cricket League, where all teams play against each other and there is a winner every year for World One-Day Cricket league. The league has to be structured in such way that Associate teams particpate

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Many cricket expert says Cricket became a batting game I still have question about it.Once I read a comments from Great Glenn McGrath that "Its takes just one ball to dismiss a batsman throughany of the various way Inspite of how good he is".Means It takes some time for a Batsman to score century but it takes no time to get him out and there are so many ways (Bold,Caught behind,Caught other,stump,LBW,runout etc etc).So modern theory of being cricket is only a batters came is not True to certain extent....

  • srini1088 on March 4, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    I feel givin flat wickets lik this is a better option than giving wickets which behave differently in 2 innings .tat makes toss a crucial factor which is even more worse than givin flat wickets.Yes there shd be somethin in it for the bowleres...we have notion that only pacy wickets lik the ones in aus or sa are good pitches ..even the ones which take turn through out the game are good cricketing wickets which poses a diff challenge to the batsman...but onethin it shd be the same throughout the 100 overs so that both teams compete on a level cricketing field.....

  • Sulaimaan91 on March 4, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Well this is only for Indian bowlers.No one else is having a problem.So please dont include everyone.Cry over your problems on your own.

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    i have a theory when the pitches are so flat why dont play 11 batsman who can go hammer and tongs and can roll there arm over bcoz the main bowlers are also performing the same task

  • Taplu on March 4, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    WG Grace? First man to reach a hundred First Class Centuries?? Or Sir Jack Hobbs with 199 First Class Centuries to his name?

  • BULTY on March 4, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    The second observation that Harsha has made in this article is about the tickets being available for the general public. In a country like India, cricket is a religion and the public go all the way to watch the game passionately. If, to such public, tickets are going to be rare, then is there a meaning in conducting Cricket WC in India. We get to world cup matches even in India played to empty galleries. Is this what WC is all about? Better sense should prevail on the powers to be in this regard and it is sooner the better.

  • BULTY on March 4, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    Well Harsha, quite a few genuine observations & concern for the game of cricket. I have been watching the cricket extra on ESPN almost every night and could sense your genuine sense of concern for cricket in general & bowlers in particular. Yes, it is a pity that the bowlers are not being given the place they deserve in the game of cricket. The Mirpur pitch in Bangladesh has been one which helped bowlers one day & back to batsmen the very next day. It is no use if minnows like Ireland can play spoil sport by defeating an established side like England, when particularly they have set a total of 327 for the Irish to chase; totals like 338 attempted & almost won by playing all sorts of shots. Yes, the thrill of bat dominating the ball is all there. The contest becomes even more thrilling when there is an even contest between the bat & the ball. We can only hope that bowlers of all participating countries atleast from the knockout stages get better pitches to show case their talent.l

  • venkatesh018 on March 4, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    Thanks Harsha, for pointing out the ultra-high price of World cup tickets. Really sad are the times when for an England-South Africa match in Chennai, the lowest price charged for the stands straight behind the batsman (opposite to the pavilion), is Rs.2500 plus internet charges. Mind u, this is an uncovered open stand and it is a non-India match.(Whoever authorised the design of this new Chepauk stadium, with all the lower tier left uncovered in the harshest sun in the land must get a medal in sadism). Really if this is the way modern Indian stadiums are going to built giving prominence for plush AC corporate boxes, where will the ordinary cricket lover go?

  • KhuMir on March 4, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    You can't be blaming pitches. Blame the BCCI and Tendulkar, if anyone is at fault. Tendulkar scores a couple of centuries, becomes a national hero, next thing you know India is only playing home matches in the flattest pitches on the planet, with Tendulkar scoring tons against the likes of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe every other day. Why would you bowl if you can be a Tendulkar? The BCCI has brainwashed the Indian fans, and they've fallen for it hook, line and sinker. If you want more bowlers, first you need a good bowler to actually play in the team.

  • zero_knowledge on March 4, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    but then when has an indian bowler performed well.. except zaheer the attack is very much pedestrian.. pitch has nothing to do with the inability to bowl intelligently or to bowl two long hops per over.. even if the wicket is sporting you'll get hit if you bowl continuously like this.. isn't afridi getting wickets? isn't imran tahir and kulasekara getting wickets?

  • on March 4, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Good Picture comment, ya, the bowler is known for his negative attitude towards fielding when he has ball in his hand, so it was a shock and surpirse that he is congratulated for his bowling, but i would also like to remind the person who wrote the comment that, it was not brilliance of bowler for that fielding, but is reflex action... he was taking evasive action and ball stuck his hand and ballonned for an easy catch.. anyway, as the topic, yes, when a cricket match where more than 600 run is scored and chasing team wins, it means the cricket match is dead. more of these matches, and we can celebrate death of cricket as fans will lose interest on the game, as it will be BATSMENS game only

  • Sagay-Ed on March 4, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Once there were teams which didnt have any star players, but its not the case now. Current players are very good compared players who were 10 years back. Once reaching 300 runs was a rare case in any part of the world, but its not the same now. We cant just keep on looking for bowler friendly wickets, but it happens sometimes...

  • on March 4, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Good Picture comment, ya, the bowler is known for his negative attitude towards fielding when he has ball in his hand, so it was a shock and surpirse that he is congratulated for his bowling, but i would also like to remind the person who wrote the comment that, it was not brilliance of bowler for that fielding, but is reflex action... he was taking evasive action and ball stuck his hand and ballonned for an easy catch.. anyway, as the topic, yes, when a cricket match where more than 600 run is scored and chasing team wins, it means the cricket match is dead. more of these matches, and we can celebrate death of cricket as fans will lose interest on the game, as it will be BATSMENS game only

  • D206 on March 4, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    Might sound a bit crazy but cant the ICC allow test playing nations to play Dockrell in test and then allow him to represent Ireland in ODIs and T20s .... shud help the associates improve too ... comments anyone??

  • on March 4, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Completely agree with the tickets thing, I mean I wish a kid interested in cricket gets to watch a match rather than a Bollywood actress flashing smiles or a politician just sitting...I spent "some" money to go and watch the Ind Eng one at Bangalore and it took months of planning and jugaad...you could notice it in the stands, the stand which makes the least hulla gulla or kills a mexican wave is mostly the VVIP stand...

    and I hope gendbaazi becomes a much better thing to watch, if not the fast ones, atleast the spinners...its too much of runs at the time...

  • Killhuman on March 4, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    Wonder why every team scores better than 300 in matches played in India? Must have something to do with the current composition of the Indian XI. Since they have good batters and only awful to average bowlers, playing to their strength dictates killing the fun for EVERYBODY. not fair, eh? the WC is not played on a no-man's-land. In India, it looks as if they think a cricket XI comprises all batters. one of the outcomes of a tradition for strong batting icons culminating in SRTendulkar. Things are better in sri lanka though

  • sujith.77 on March 4, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    As always Harsha gets it spot-on. He has and will always be well respected and admired by us fans. Keep it going Harsha.

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on March 4, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    A typical article by Harsha..always blind to the facts and over-rate India. Everyone wants to be a good and great bowler like Afridi, Shoaib,Waqar,Waseem,Gul and Imran Khan. But no one wants to be bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan.

  • Balumekka on March 4, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    Good point Harsha. I think this indeed a vicious cycle for India. Batsmen are more encouraged and bowlers are underrated, so chances are high to produce quality batsman and chances are less to produce quality bowlers. This leads to have lot of quality batsman and ordinary bowlers in the national team. To entertain the home team (which any country would do), pitches are batsman friendly and no chance for bowlers. This encourage more batsman and discourage bowlers. So the cycle continues..... Just think if India had the bowling line up of their neighbors Sr Lanka or Pakistan... OMG Indian team would have been unbeatable. I can't see any improvement in Indian fielding during last 15 years. But look at the Sri Lankans and their improvement...Just by looking at the physical appearances of the players in two teams would tell the story. Cricket is not only Batting. Until Indians begin to think that bowling and fielding also are important in cricket, cycle will go like that!!!!!

  • on March 4, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    " Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar scored century No. 98 in international cricket. With which other player in history would that have been mentioned as an afterthought in an article? " HA HA HA HA....tht was funny, especially when it comes from harsha bogle..

  • on March 4, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Very nice and importnat article...but unfortunately the BIG GUNS of BCCI wont b ehaving time to read such articles, too busy in using players like race horses. Flat Pitches in India is huge concern, excpet Sreesanth, every bowler how has seen some potential in his first internation season, has cut down his pace and lets say the "x" factor he ad in his first two seasons....for en Ishant Sharma, Munaft Patel...i dont know what to say abt Irfan Pathan, Rp Sing......list goes on....and there is nothing from the officials/adminstrators who run this game in India... As far as world cup is concerned, India has a change...but its bowling is poor when compared to the attack of Austrlia, Pakistan and Srilanka, and fielding lets say the worst in 14 teams. Still With the batting power lets hope for better results going ahead....as nothing will staisfy us more than India Winning the World Cup...

  • KKSid on March 4, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    Harsha, Although agreeing to your comment on pitches but this is what the team wanted. Two host nations are banking on their batting and not their bowling. further they are also scared to loose wickets at all. I think this would come and haunt them against Pakistan or Sri lanka as they have a lot of experience playing in such conditions. India would hope that they should not meet pakistan or Sri Lanka. in the quarters or their dream of reaching a semi final or final might fade away. You cannot score 338 against them. It would be a score at par with 300 and the way the pitches have been made their bowling would not be able to stop it.

  • on March 4, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    harsha - it took this long for india to realize the pitches arent seam friendly?

    good grief. its got nothing to do with pitches man - its attitude.

    pakistan has the same pitches and even worse facilities and even an 1/8th of the talent of india's batting but we continue to create top notch bowling talent over and over.

    pakistani's like to bowl and they like to bowl fast. the indians love their bat and do they ever bat.

    its simple.

  • shrikanthk on March 4, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Also, your rather uncharacteristic statement regarding Dockrell puzzles me. "Poaching" cricketers is not a new-fangled thing. It is as old as Test cricket itself. Clarrie Grimmett is arguably the greatest cricketer New Zealand ever produced. He wisely moved to Australia in the 20s and became a legend for all time (quickest to reach 200 wickets in Tests)

    Had he stayed on in New Zealand, he would've played in a handful of Tests, but there is no way he would have gotten anywhere near the 200 mark. The cricket world would've been poorer for it.

  • timelord24 on March 4, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    well harsha.well written,as always. india does have a dearth of fast bowling talent. its quite amazing to me that in a country of 1.2 billion we cant find 10 genuine fast bowling prospects. the BCCI , as you correctly point out i sonly interested in making money.. when zaheer retires in a couple of years, wonder who is going to be there to take up the reigns. unless our bowling improves dramatically i dont see india progressing beyond the quarter finals

  • RussDegnan on March 4, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    @Harsha, until late in the game you didn't know the result of Ned-Eng or Pak-Can or Ire-Ban, but NZ-Aus and WI-RSA were blowouts - can you derive meaning from that? Inequality is a part of sport; there is no line above which all teams are equal or competitive, and never will be. Small groups and fewer games stops there being too many mismatches, and creates more to play for. Lots of stages lets every team create a narrative of success or failure, even if they have little chance of winning the whole tournament. The ICC fail to create these structures for test cricket, and despite their tinkering they've failed in 2007, 2011 and eventually 2015. How many teams you do or don't include is largely irrelevant, what matters is making sure that whatever the result the game has some point to it.

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    I liked the article although I think the link you tried to make between Ireland & the associates was a bit sketchy. (Maybe the way I read it), SOME of the Associates have developed from taking 1st class cricketers from Test nations to bolster their own performance. I do agree Morgan should of played for Ireland @ the W/Cup, but I suppose the question would then be asked why would English selectors pick him if he couldn't play for them in the WC???? Hopefully IF Ireland gain Test status in the near future, Morgan WON'T have to re-qualify for IRELAND!!! Bat v Ball, I look back fondly in Oz when ODIs were hard fought contests & sides stood a reasonably good chance of defending 150+ scores. I KNOW I would tire of this if it became the norm though. I think what is key is a VARIETY of pitches. Some BOUNCY, others FLAT & LOW, some SPIN or SEAM, others are ROADS. I think that would INSTANTLY spike up the interest of Cricket fans around the world!!!!!

  • ambsmams on March 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    We have successfully banished 'pace' bowling from our cricket. Our grounds too conspire in negating any venom that the pace bowler may bring in their younger days. Moreover, the bowlers lack scientific training and fitness regime during their younger days and 'abuse' their body. Smaller grounds, ill maintained, don't help too. As you rightly pointed out, BCCI is focused on matters financial and refuses to look 360 degrees. Any comments on matters not related to money may even escape attention of the bigwigs in BCCI - just as in companies, anything that the executives say about technical matters without putting it in financial perspective will not be given a 'look-in' by the CEOs.

  • waman76 on March 4, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Really??? I do agree the pitches do favor the batsmen a bit, BUT if the bowlers are good they can restrict the batsmen. Look at Dockrell, Price, Harbhajan Singh, Roach, Murali, Herath, the way Canada-Pakistan match wentDo I need to list further? The cake goes to Shahid Afridi in the whole tournament (28-3-73-14) so far. This is for the man who got his initial fame from his Booming Bat! If anything the pitches favor quality spinners. Do not blame the pitches for India's toothless bowling attack.

  • on March 4, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle worried about "aam admi" of India. You must be kidding. Cricket is no longer followed by masses. Its only Mumbai-Bengaluru-Covai-Kerala region people who are following Cricket.

  • mritunjai on March 4, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Great article Harsha!!!! But it becomes imminent by each day, the way both ICC and BCCI are functioning, our generation will have the ignominy of watching cricket die during our lifetimes.

  • shrikanthk on March 4, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    It is cliched to talk about the demise of the bowler as a force in ODIs. I've always believed ODIs to be a bowler's game. Unlike Tests, batsmen don't have time to settle down, whereas bowlers are more likely to strike more often given that batsmen take more chances. It's not surprising at all that most great bowlers of our time have better averages and strike rates in ODIs than in Tests.

    Yes, economy rates have worsened for strike bowlers over the past few years. That doesn't mean bowlers aren't enjoying it anymore. 55 runs for 2 wickets pleases a bowler today far more than 50 runs for 1 wicket did 10 years ago.

    To draw an analogy from economics, printing more money doesn't make the country richer or poorer. All it does is raise the level of prices. Everything else is the same as before. Why bother.

    Btw, in the first 10 days of this WC, we've seen some brilliant performances from Afridi, Tahir, Malinga, Roach, Bresnan, Johnson. Yet, we are discussing the demise of the bowler

  • Kunal-Talgeri on March 4, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    The coverage of the associate-nations needs to be done more imaginatively. Chappelli, Bhogle and those who cover the Test nations may not be the right fit, because they raise viewer-expectations. I think, the trick is to localise TV-talent from associate nations: get commentators/TV presenters who are familiar with the cricketers from Holland. They can bring in the fan-following. Tony Greig is an exception -- a truly global commentator who cares for unknown talent. He got the world excited about 'Little Kalu' (Kaluwitharane), Jayasuriya and Murali. The rest are pompous, parochial commentators.

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  • Kunal-Talgeri on March 4, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    The coverage of the associate-nations needs to be done more imaginatively. Chappelli, Bhogle and those who cover the Test nations may not be the right fit, because they raise viewer-expectations. I think, the trick is to localise TV-talent from associate nations: get commentators/TV presenters who are familiar with the cricketers from Holland. They can bring in the fan-following. Tony Greig is an exception -- a truly global commentator who cares for unknown talent. He got the world excited about 'Little Kalu' (Kaluwitharane), Jayasuriya and Murali. The rest are pompous, parochial commentators.

  • shrikanthk on March 4, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    It is cliched to talk about the demise of the bowler as a force in ODIs. I've always believed ODIs to be a bowler's game. Unlike Tests, batsmen don't have time to settle down, whereas bowlers are more likely to strike more often given that batsmen take more chances. It's not surprising at all that most great bowlers of our time have better averages and strike rates in ODIs than in Tests.

    Yes, economy rates have worsened for strike bowlers over the past few years. That doesn't mean bowlers aren't enjoying it anymore. 55 runs for 2 wickets pleases a bowler today far more than 50 runs for 1 wicket did 10 years ago.

    To draw an analogy from economics, printing more money doesn't make the country richer or poorer. All it does is raise the level of prices. Everything else is the same as before. Why bother.

    Btw, in the first 10 days of this WC, we've seen some brilliant performances from Afridi, Tahir, Malinga, Roach, Bresnan, Johnson. Yet, we are discussing the demise of the bowler

  • mritunjai on March 4, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Great article Harsha!!!! But it becomes imminent by each day, the way both ICC and BCCI are functioning, our generation will have the ignominy of watching cricket die during our lifetimes.

  • on March 4, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle worried about "aam admi" of India. You must be kidding. Cricket is no longer followed by masses. Its only Mumbai-Bengaluru-Covai-Kerala region people who are following Cricket.

  • waman76 on March 4, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Really??? I do agree the pitches do favor the batsmen a bit, BUT if the bowlers are good they can restrict the batsmen. Look at Dockrell, Price, Harbhajan Singh, Roach, Murali, Herath, the way Canada-Pakistan match wentDo I need to list further? The cake goes to Shahid Afridi in the whole tournament (28-3-73-14) so far. This is for the man who got his initial fame from his Booming Bat! If anything the pitches favor quality spinners. Do not blame the pitches for India's toothless bowling attack.

  • ambsmams on March 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    We have successfully banished 'pace' bowling from our cricket. Our grounds too conspire in negating any venom that the pace bowler may bring in their younger days. Moreover, the bowlers lack scientific training and fitness regime during their younger days and 'abuse' their body. Smaller grounds, ill maintained, don't help too. As you rightly pointed out, BCCI is focused on matters financial and refuses to look 360 degrees. Any comments on matters not related to money may even escape attention of the bigwigs in BCCI - just as in companies, anything that the executives say about technical matters without putting it in financial perspective will not be given a 'look-in' by the CEOs.

  • Meety on March 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    I liked the article although I think the link you tried to make between Ireland & the associates was a bit sketchy. (Maybe the way I read it), SOME of the Associates have developed from taking 1st class cricketers from Test nations to bolster their own performance. I do agree Morgan should of played for Ireland @ the W/Cup, but I suppose the question would then be asked why would English selectors pick him if he couldn't play for them in the WC???? Hopefully IF Ireland gain Test status in the near future, Morgan WON'T have to re-qualify for IRELAND!!! Bat v Ball, I look back fondly in Oz when ODIs were hard fought contests & sides stood a reasonably good chance of defending 150+ scores. I KNOW I would tire of this if it became the norm though. I think what is key is a VARIETY of pitches. Some BOUNCY, others FLAT & LOW, some SPIN or SEAM, others are ROADS. I think that would INSTANTLY spike up the interest of Cricket fans around the world!!!!!

  • RussDegnan on March 4, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    @Harsha, until late in the game you didn't know the result of Ned-Eng or Pak-Can or Ire-Ban, but NZ-Aus and WI-RSA were blowouts - can you derive meaning from that? Inequality is a part of sport; there is no line above which all teams are equal or competitive, and never will be. Small groups and fewer games stops there being too many mismatches, and creates more to play for. Lots of stages lets every team create a narrative of success or failure, even if they have little chance of winning the whole tournament. The ICC fail to create these structures for test cricket, and despite their tinkering they've failed in 2007, 2011 and eventually 2015. How many teams you do or don't include is largely irrelevant, what matters is making sure that whatever the result the game has some point to it.

  • timelord24 on March 4, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    well harsha.well written,as always. india does have a dearth of fast bowling talent. its quite amazing to me that in a country of 1.2 billion we cant find 10 genuine fast bowling prospects. the BCCI , as you correctly point out i sonly interested in making money.. when zaheer retires in a couple of years, wonder who is going to be there to take up the reigns. unless our bowling improves dramatically i dont see india progressing beyond the quarter finals

  • shrikanthk on March 4, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Also, your rather uncharacteristic statement regarding Dockrell puzzles me. "Poaching" cricketers is not a new-fangled thing. It is as old as Test cricket itself. Clarrie Grimmett is arguably the greatest cricketer New Zealand ever produced. He wisely moved to Australia in the 20s and became a legend for all time (quickest to reach 200 wickets in Tests)

    Had he stayed on in New Zealand, he would've played in a handful of Tests, but there is no way he would have gotten anywhere near the 200 mark. The cricket world would've been poorer for it.