Cricket: Just getting back into the swing of things after a truly lazy vacation, I noticed that a reader (named Murali!), in a recent comment, asked me what I thought about the recent Indian “collapse” in the first ODI versus Sri Lanka. Once I realised that the match had taken place in Dambulla, I became less concerned about the result. Here’s why, as told by Cricinfo:
Over the last 10 years, the team batting first has scored less than 200 runs more often than not, 12 times out of 21. Eight different teams have managed to “achieve” this, and they lost 9 times out of 12. The Indian total of 146, therefore, does not represent as abject a collapse as it would appear on the surface, despite the magic and mystique wielded by the spin pair of Mendis and Muralitharan.
So I will follow the next game with bridled optimism, even though I hear Sehwag has gone and gotten himself injured.
There was a separate comment made about the “carrom ball”, where Mendis’s action has been compared to that of John Gleeson. I never saw Gleeson play; when he visited India with the Australians in 1969, he didn’t play in the Calcutta Test. With his unusual action, Mendis is sure difficult to read; sometimes I get the impression that even Mendis doesn’t know what the ball is going to do when it leaves his hand. But batsmen can take heart from the Australian tour of South Africa with Gleeson. Nobody could read Gleeson either…except for a young Barry Richards, who didn’t care, and who never became one of Gleeson’s victims.