Monday, October 15, 2007


When concept of a free-hit was introduced by the ICC to penalise a bowler bowling a no-ball, it was believed that this novel idea would be a great hit among the spectators. With no fear of getting out, batsman can hit the ball out of the ground. However this new idea has not lived upto the hype it generated. In the six games of this India-Australia series so far nine free-hits have been seen. On four occasions the batsmen could not score any run of the free-hit (Tendulkar missed the opportunity not once but twice).On one occasion just a single was scored and on three occasions a couple of runs were scored. Only one boundary has come off a free-hit so far in the series and interestingly it came against a no-ball, which actually was NOT a no-ball. Umpire Suresh Shastri got it all wrong in declaring a delivery from James Hopes a no-ball at Kochi when he had part of his foot clearly behind the crease. The next delivery, a free-hit, was promptly sent out of boundary by Yuvraj Singh.

Australian batsmen and the free-hits

Venue Date Bowler Batsman Runs
Bangalore 29-Sep-07 Sreesanth Haddin 0
Bangalore 29-Sep-07 Zaheer Hopes 2
Nagpur 14-Oct-07 Kartik Haddin 2

Indian batsmen and the free-hits

Venue Date Bowler Batsman Runs
Kochi 02-Oct-07 Lee Tendulkar 0
Kochi 02-Oct-07 Hopes Yuvraj 6
Kochi 02-Oct-07 Lee Powar 0
Hyderabad 05-Oct-07 Lee Tendulkar 0
Baroda 11-Oct-07 Lee Zaheer 2
Nagpur 14-Oct-07 Lee Ganguly 1

Yet another series defeat

Chasing a huge victory target at Nagpur to remain in the series, Indians would have fancied their chances when Ganguly and Tendulkar put on a solid century opening partnership, which was followed by another useful partnership for the second wicket between Ganguly and Pathan. India should have pulled off a memorable victory from this position, however some inexplicable captaincy from Dhoni (which saw totally out of form Dravid being sent at number four) coupled with totally defensive attitude of Ganguly, Yuvraj and Dravid put the asking rate out of the reach.

Between 34th and 42nd overs Indians scored only 33 runs in 9 overs. Indian batsmen played as many as 30 dot balls during this period and could hit only one boundary. It was a collective failure and any particular batsman cannot be singled out, as even Dhoni and Uthappa failed to up the scoring rate. Dhoni and Uthappa made amends thereafter, but by then the asking rate had become too high to be achieved.

Indian innings
Overs Runs Wkts Run-Rate
1-33 189 2 5.72
34-42 33 3 3.66
43-50 77 2 9.62

....and this is how various batsmen played during this phase of nine overs

Balls Dots Runs 4s SR
Ganguly 13 6 8 0 61.53
Dravid 13 6 7 0 53.84
Yuvraj 11 8 6 1 54.54
Dhoni 11 7 4 0 36.36
Uthappa 6 3 3 0 50.00

The approach of some of the Indian batsmen today was baffling to say the least. It was as if the match was being played on two different strips. India needed to score at a rate of 106 (runs per 100 balls) to win the match. While the combination of Sachin,Pathan,Dhoni and Uthappa even bettered the required scoring-rate, the three senior most guys in Ganguly, Dravid and Yuvraj managed to score at a rate of only 73, which made all the difference in the end.

Balls Runs SR
Sachin + Pathan + Dhoni + Uthappa 158 171 108.23
Ganguly + Dravid + Yuvraj 135 99 73.33