The Cricket world cup 2007 in West Indies took an interesting turn on Saturday with India and Pakistan the two cricket crazy countires of Asia suffering setbacks. While Pakistan was eliminated from the tournament by the first time entrants Ireland, India bit the dust against the much lesser fancied team, Bangladesh into a situation where they are threatened of elimination.
Looking back at the India match it appeared as if the team lost through strategic failures in team selection and decision on winning the toss. Captain Dravid chose to bat after winning the toss and signed his death warrant himself. Earlier he had committed a selection blunder of relying on Sehwag who has become more of a villain in the recent past with repeated failures at the top of the batting order putting the team under great pressure. It happenned once again on Saturday and India could not recover. A further mistake committed by Dravid was to leave out the experienced Anil Kumble from the team in preference to Harbhajan Singh which meant that India could not defend a total of 191 runs.
Thus three fatal mistakes by the captain cost the match to India.
On the other hand Pakistan going thorugh a political turmoil back home inexplicably went down to the minnows Ireland by getting all out for a lowly 132. Having already lost to West Indies, Pakistan are already eliminated from the tournament while Ireland are more or less sure of their entry to the next level of the tournament.
India still have a chance of qualifying if they can beat Sri Lanka and Bermuda in the next encounters. It would not be easy to beat Sri Lanka but it is not impossible.
But, to have a reasonable chance against Sri Lanka, India needs to avoid the kind of mistakes that they made in their Bangladesh match. Of course toss is a matter of luck. But team selection and batting order are within its control and they need to play Kumble and drop Sehwag to find a better combination.
We must remember that World Cup is unlike other tournaments. There is no place for sentiments. India  must chose the best eleven to have any chance of salvaging their  pride.
To understand the real performance of different players, we need to  follow the Naavi Cricket Rating at and analyse why players like Styris are more valuable here than the Tendulkars and Laras.


March 18, 2007

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