I'm confused. Maybe I've lost all my critical faculties. Not hard to do in the company of Jarrod and Hendo, I grant you. But I actually enjoyed yesterday's 2nd (but really 1st) ODI between India and Australia. It was the same buzz I got from watching the English amateur clubs T20 finals day.
Both India and Australia have "rested" most of their test players for what is an inconsequential series of games. Basically two development squads with individuals fighting for a place at the World Cup next February. But lots emerged and at the very real risk of looking like an idiot in 5 months time here are my 10 lessons learnt.
Sourabh Tiwary is.....is.....is.....garbage. There, I said it. He fields like a mid-operative male to female transexual before the breasts have fully developed. He may be OK for 21 balls in an IPL match but he's hopelessly out of his depth in an international. No amount winning smiles and lustrous hair can help him. He must go. Now.
If Australia has such a wondrous array of reserve batting talent why does it open with Sean Marsh and Tim Paine? Paine looks a decent bat. Very decent at number 7 in a test side. As an ODI opener he is as out of place as Lalit Modi on a "fit and proper person" test. And Marsh holds his bat more limply than Quentin Crisp with a fever. It's wrong I tell you.
Aussies know how to bat the middle overs. But they don't know when the middle overs stop. At 153-2 after 35 overs they should have gone berserk. With White and Smith waiting in the hutch they should have targetted 310 but instead kept pushing singles. Clarke will take the blame, which is tough on a guy with a century, but look at Kohli. So tough, pup.
Australia should have taken the power play much earlier. But no one knows how to take the power play. Paralysed with fear of losing wickets, batting sides delay it until they think it can't harm them. This is ridiculous. And if bringing the field in is what causes batting sides to implode, isn't it time captains set power play fields outside of power play overs?
Virat Kohli is the ODI real deal. He paced his innings contemptuously, as if the bowlers would never trouble him. He's composed, assured, and the Sofa's very own Aatif was seduced by his eyes. No idea how he'd fare against proper quick bowling to test match fields but he should be in the World Cup starting XI.
Yuvraj Singh is terminally grumpy. Surrounded by young, fitter and more stylish batsmen in Vijay, Kohli and Raina he resembles a menopausal mother taking her three early 20s daughters to a coming out ball. And everything wrong is someone else's fault. Well news for you pal; it's your fault. One last crack at a high fibre diet and if that doesn't work it's adios humungous.
Billy Bowden can get away with being a myopic poppinjay in ODIs. No one really notices the LBWs he fails to give because we move swiftly to the next ball. I want the UDRS in ODIs as a means of purging the rotten core of the ICC elite panel. Otherwise they will lurk forever waiting to screw up big time off the last ball of the World Cup final. Mark my words.
Hopes, Hastings and Hauritz will only be known as "the three Aitches" to a dribbling suicidal mentalist on an island prison. They are desperate. Beautifully desperate. It used to be like this for England. Lewis, Austin, Capel, Ian Greig, Watkinson, Alex Wharf. Alex Wharf? The Aussies have an inexhaustible supply of Alex Wharfs (whom I liked incidentally, but in the manner of a man liking Forrest Gump 'cos he thinks he might become president one day). Isn't it great?
Mitchell Starc might be rather good. Not scary yet, but good action, fine composure, control of length and a reasonable haircut. All things missing from that other black aired Aussie pace left armer called Mitchell.
Barring a challenging minefield of a pitch, the final game of Australia's so far winless tour will yield a lot of runs. Neither side has any bowlers. Chuck a fortune on 280+ in the 1st innings.
But don't blame me if things go wrong. I'm deluded enough to think there any lessons to be learnt from a meaningless ODI between two 2nd XIs.