by Nitesh Mathur | May 26, 2022 | Analysis, India
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 5/26/2022
India bowed out of the 2021 T20 World Cup without putting up a proper fight. A lot has changed since then.
Rohit Sharma is now the all-format Indian captain, Rahul Dravid the new coach after Ravi Shastri’s departure, and a new-look India’s T20 tour of South Africa squad is announced.
Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, comeback kid Dinesh Karthik, Deepak Hooda, Kuldeep Yadav, and Hardik Pandya all made deserving entries or returns to the T20 side.
IPL performances have been duly rewarded, selectors have displayed some positive thinking, but is the selection aggressive enough?
Also Read: 54 Contenders for the Indian 2022 T20 World Cup Squad — Do Rohit & Virat Deserve a Spot?
3 Indian Cricketers Who Deserve More Chances in T20I
Despite rests for Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and injuries to Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, and Suryakumar Yadav, three players could not find a spot in the 18-man squad. It is hard for anyone to break into the Indian team these days, but team India is making a huge mistake by not giving them a chance at all.
Also Read: Indian Cricket’s Abundance of Talent: A Blessing or a Curse?
1. Prithvi Shaw
Eight years ago, Prithvi Shaw burst onto the scene by scoring 546 (330) in a school competition. Comparisons to Sachin Tendulkar were inevitable (and even Sehwag & Lara for that matter). He then won the U-19 WC as captain and has produced runs at the domestic circuit and IPL level.
Things looked bright, but he has only played 5 Tests (1 century, 2 50s), 6 ODIs, and a sole T20I (debut golden duck by the way).
History of fitness issues has not helped advance Shaw’s case, and he has often been depicted as ‘careless’ or ‘carefree’ in his batting approach. However, this is exactly the need of the hour for Indian cricket in T20Is.
Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, and even Ishan Kishan play a similar brand of cricket as openers, but Shaw is a breath of fresh air. This season he has produced knocks of
38 (24) – 2 Sixes/4 Fours, 61 (34) – 2/9, 51 (29) – 7/2, 41 (20) – 7/1, 37 (27) – 1/5
And when he has not gone big, he has knocked singles and made sure the partnership with David Warner flourishes. Prithvi Shaw might not rack up the running charts and stay till the end, but what he provides is worth much more – an impetus to the team from Ball One of the match.
The real question is, will he even get an audition for the T20 WC squad?
IPL 2022: 10 matches, 283 runs, 152.97 SR, 37 fours, 10 sixes, 28.3 average
Embed from Getty Images
2. Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi was always considered one of those key Indian uncapped players who ‘punches above his weight’ and ‘provides a bit of spark and energy in the field,’ but has always been seen a level below international quality (like a Swapnil Asnodkar, Manvinder Bisla, Nitish Rana, and now Rajat Patidar).
But has Rahul Tripathi been unfairly pigeonholed? He batted with flair this year at SRH (413 Runs, 3 50s, 158.24 SR) and was the catalyst behind KKR’s run to the final last year (397 runs, 2 50s, 140.28 SR). His highest score in each of the last 6 IPLs read
93, 80*, 50, 81, 74*, 76
This means that when he is in the mood, he goes big. But more than the stats, it is Tripathi’s infectious attitude while batting. He starts hitting from ball 1, can float anywhere in the batting lineup, and adapts to any situation. Fast bowlers, spinners, doesn’t matter. 120/2 or 0/1 – he comes in with the same aggression and mindset as a modern day #3 batter should.
Mitchell Marsh, Moeen Ali, Dawid Malan, Mohammad Hafeez, and Devon Conway are the template to bat at #3 these days. Gone are the days of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli steadying the pace.
Tripathi has done all in his power to showcase his ability, but will he ever get a chance?
It is now or maybe never for him.
IPL 2022: 14 matches, 413 runs, 158.23 SR, 40 fours, 20 sixes, 37.54 average
3. Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson has been the most ill-treated of them all. Samson has barely received any chances at the international level since his debut in 2015:
1 T20 Vs Zimbabwe (2015), 1 Vs SL (Jan 2020), 2 Vs NZ (Jan-Feb 2020), 3 Vs Aus (Dec 2020), 3 Vs SL (Jul 2021), 3 Vs SL (Feb 2022).
There is barely any continuity. In his last series in February, he did not bat in the first T20I and scored his personal best – a crucial 39 (25) with 2 fours & 3 sixes at #4. Yet, he has been dropped while the likes of Ishan Kishan & Venkatesh Iyer have been retained despite poor IPL form. What message are the selectors and coach sending?
In Qualifier 1 of IPL 2022, Samson gave an apt reply with the bat.
First ball he faced – SIX! What followed was carnage. His next scoring shots were 4,4,4,6,6. He scored 30 (13) before he even took a single. Now, that is T20 mentality!
That 47 (26) was a more impactful innings than Jos Buttler’s 89 (56).
Sanju Samson and the IPL Inconsistency Myth
He has been on the IPL scene since 2013 but has always carried the perception of ‘inconsistency’, ‘not enough domestic runs’, or ‘throws his wicket away.’
Let us dig a bit deeper. This may have been true from 2013-2016 (where his average hovered between 20.4-26.45 & SR between 112.35-125.15). In each of those years, he would make one or two sparkling fifties and then fall off.
However, from 2017-2022, he has scored 3 hundreds, 12 fifties, striking it between 136.72-150.36 and averaging between 30.07-40.33. Runs in these five years?
386, 441, 342, 375, 484, 421*
His numbers might not be KL Rahul-esque (659, 593, 670, 626, 616) whose SR hovers around 135. Rahul plays an opener/anchor role, while Samson is the middle order intent batter who can keep the game moving and hit spinners out of the attack.
In essence, Sanju Samson has become more consistent, more lethal, and a true match winner.
IPL 2022: 15* matches, 421 runs, 150.35 SR, 40 fours, 24 sixes, 30.07 average
Embed from Getty Images
Why India Need to Select At Least One of Them?
Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tripathi, and Sanju Samson, literally the only three Indian batters with a modern day T20 batting mindset, were omitted from the South Africa squad list. Although India has about 24 T20Is to try out new players before the 2022 T20 World Cup later this year, their exclusion reveals India’s reluctance to play ultra-aggressive cricket.
Among Indian players, only Dinesh Karthik (187. 28), Rajat Patidar (156.25), Shivam Dube (156.21), Rishabh Pant (151.78) have comparable Strike Rates. Samson, Tripathi, and Shaw have taken the leap of faith with risk & reward. The real question is, will Indian selectors?
Samson’s own words summarizes the Shaw-Tripathi-Samson Paradox beautifully. At Breakfast with Champions, he stated that
“When you’re doing a role like this. In T20s, when you are there to hit sixes…you need to have guts inside yourself, you need to be brave enough to do that role…failures will happen…If I get to play, I play. If I don’t, I don’t.”
“I am not here to score lots and lots of runs…I am here to score a small amount of runs which are very effective for the team.”
India Need to Revive the Memories of 2007
India last won a T20 World Cup way back in 2007. It was the inaugural edition, nobody knew what this beast T20 cricket would come, and the IPL had yet to be announced.
Stalwarts Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sourav Ganguly stepped aside to give youngsters a chance. Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Joginder Sharma, RP Singh, and even the timeless Dinesh Karthik would make the squad. The Pathan brothers, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, and Virender Sehwag were the ‘seniors’ in the side lead under a certain captain MS Dhoni.
And guess what happened? India won—a young team with nothing to lose who just went out there, took risks, and expressed themselves.
Fast forward 15 years and 6 T20 World Cups later, India has yet to win another trophy. What’s worse? They have not even played close to their potential (Virat Kohli dragged into the finals and semi-finals of the 2014 & 2016 editions).
It might be time for a couple of seniors to step aside and give a free reign to players who can go there and play their natural, free-flowing, expressive cricket.
© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 05/26/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).
Photo Courtesy: IPLT20.com Indian Premier League Official Website (iplt20.com)
by Nitesh Mathur | Mar 23, 2021 | Analysis, India
All that glitters is gold, at least for this Indian cricket team.
36 All out? Bruised bodies? Losing the first match of a series? No matter the obstacle, this team has risen to the challenge. Grit, fearlessness, and resilience all on display in the Australia & England series.
One of the hallmarks of this success has been India’s marvelous bench strength. Yet, too much of anything is bad. Michael Atherton sums it up perfectly—“Depths of talent can be both a blessing and a curse.”
Ishan Kishan hits a 50 on debut. Suryakumar Yadav pulls his first ball for a one-legged six and scores a 50 as well. Rahul Chahar impresses. Prasidh Krishna picks 4 wickets on ODI debut. Krunal Pandya caps it off with the fastest debutant half century.
Sundar, Gill, Thakur, Natarajan, and Siraj all came to the party in Australia. The list goes on and on.
It seems that for every Ravindra Jadeja, there is an Axar Patel & Krunal Pandya. In fact, India has a production line of 75 players & can even field four teams at the same time. They are reaping rewards of systems created by the IPL, India U-19, & India A (courtesy Rahul Dravid).
Recent successes cannot hide the cracks beneath the surface.
The selection mismanagement (or ‘rejection’ as Ajay Jadeja calls it) of Ambati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Dube, & Sanju Samson is well known. Dropping players after a couple of games & constant experimentation instills a lack of confidence, instability, & insecurity within the team. India needs to make sure they do not repeat this mistake with the likes of KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer.
Because if similar management continues, India’s upcoming T20 World Cup campaign will be in jeopardy.
There is no dearth of talent in Indian cricket, but how it is utilized is key.
Gone are the days where teams carry players across formats for an entire decade. Except for the occasional Kohlis, Rabadas, & Williamsons, we will not see the all-format player again.
India is amidst an experimentation phase where any newcomer fits into the team environment & performs. In order to sustain this way of playing, a paradigm shift is required not only among the selectors & captain but also in the thought process of each player that is selected on the particular day.
Is flexibility the new stability? Only time will tell, but remember—some change is good, but too much change can create chaos.
Copyright (2021: 3/25/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – email@example.com
Image Courtesy: lensbug.chandru, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, John M. Hawkins quote.
by Nitesh Mathur | Aug 7, 2020 | Featured, India, Tributes: Cricketing Heroes
Rahul Dravid, the Wall as he is affectionately known, has been my cricketing hero—my role model for as long as I can remember.
My favorite memory of the great Indian legend—Rahul Dravid, was when he carried his bat in England at The Oval. In that series, when all the chips were down, he fought for the team until the very end.
At the end of his career, it was a reminder of what he stood for. Today I discuss my favorite Rahul Dravid memories and what he taught me.
My First Memory of Rahul Dravid
My first memory of watching cricket was Dravid’s roar and fist celebration in that famous 2003 Adelaide victory with a trademark square cut to Stuart MacGill after scoring 233 and 72*. Early next year, the 2004 ODI series versus Pakistan sealed my love for cricket and my awe for the dashing wicket-keeper batsman with sunglasses, as his image was in those days.
Embed from Getty Images
Also Read: An Open Letter From a Cricket Fan to Those In Charge of Indian Cricket, My Favorite Player from Each Country: Unity In Diversity XI – #5 Will Shock You
Rahul Dravid Stats & Highlights
Before we get into the philosophy, let us get the stats out of the way.
- 164 Test Matches and 344 ODIs, 48 international centuries, a 17 year international career, over 10,000 runs in each format
- Holds the world record for the most number of catches in Test matches
- Most balls played in a Test career (31,258)
- Indian Team captain (Led them to first Test victory in South Africa along with series victories in West Indies and England. Also was the captain during India’s 2007 World Cup).
- Holds the Test record for most number of runs in a partnerships (6921 with Sachin Tendulkar)
- With VVS Laxman, Dravid shared a 376-run partnership (2001) & 303-run partnership (2003), both vs Australia
Dravid in England
In England, his record even more stellar:
- Dravid’s first international match was a Test match in Lord’s against England, where he made 95, missing his century by just five runs (He would eventually get on the Lord’s Honours Boards fifteen years later in 2011).
- Twice Man of the Series (with 3 tons each) – 2002 and 2011
- Test series win as a captain – 2007
On the other end of the spectrum in limited overs cricket:
- Highest Run Scorer – 1999 Cricket World Cup
- 92* (63) – Man of the Match performance – 2007
- Even three sixes in a row in his T20 debut, or shall I say, retirement match.
Embed from Getty Images
Rahul Dravid Head Coach
After Dravid retired as a player, he tried commentary and coaching. Well, the commentary stint did not last that long. As a coach, Dravid took over as a player-mentor with the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 and later with the Delhi Daredevils.
The Under-19 & NCA Stint
National recognition in the coaching setup came when Dravid was selected as the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and the Under-19/A Teams. This is where Rahul Dravid had the most success as a coach. Training the next generation of Indian cricketers, helping them technically & mentally, and giving them confidence was what India needed at the time. Additionally, setting up A tours paid India dividends with the future overseas Test victories.
The rise of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw & the contributions of Shardul Thakur & Washington Thakur in the historic Gabba Test could be traced back to this stint.
Also Read: India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?
The National Side
After India crashed from defeat in the first round of the 2021 T20 World Cup, Dravid was handed over the reins as the coach of the national side. Rohit Sharma replaced Virat Kohli as captain.
During the year, several players were given opportunities, a change of mindset was promised and even delivered. However, inconsistency in selection, multiple captains, overkill of cricket, injuries, & inability to play modern-day T20 cricket meant India crashed out in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal against England.
So, how can we judge Dravid’s coaching career so far? Not great, not bad, somewhere in the middle. Sort of like his captaincy career.
Numbers aside, it was how he carried himself on and off the field that shone through. Whether it was the ability to contribute to victories in tough overseas conditions, the consistency throughout his career, or the adaptability to suit the needs of the team, Dravid was always there. Opening the batting, donning the gloves to accommodate an extra batsman, stepping away for the youngsters in the 2007 T20 World Cup, and even bowling handy off-spin, he was a perfect team player.
Navjot Singh Sidhu summarized it perfectly, “Rahul Dravid is a player who would walk on broken glass if his team asks him to.”
Even in tough phases of his career, examples of perseverance and resilience were aplenty, like his 40-ball stay for a single against Australia. During days of batting collapses, or in the case of the 2011 tour of England- an entire series of collapses, we could depend on him. Grinding opposition bowlers down, building partnerships after partnerships, and staying in the game were his forte. For the highlight reels, his innings may not be the most flamboyant, but probably the most essential. As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Off the field, mentoring youngsters in the U-19, India A, or the IPL, delivering the Don Bradman Oration lecture, being an example of Fair Play as Rajasthan Royals’ captain, and avoiding controversies, Dravid’s genuine and graceful demeanor complemented his skills on the ground.
The combination of perseverance and resilience, determination and discipline, as well as humility and team-before-self attitude — that is what Rahul Dravid has taught me.
What We Can Learn from Rahul Dravid?
Challenges will come throughout life, but as long as we have the determination to face and overcome the obstacles, things will be get better. Giving up is not an option, but improving is. We should always strive for excellence without sacrificing morals. Even if we do succeed in achieving our goals once or twice, that is not enough. Being consistent with the process, adapting with time, repeating the good and learning from the bad, that is what matters. In the long run, the results do not matter as much as the journey. Finally, regardless if we are a member of a company, a leadership group, a sports team, or a band, interests of the team always outweigh individual glory.
These lessons can be applied to any aspect of life, not just cricket, and that for me is why Rahul Dravid is my cricketing role model.
I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes on Rahul Dravid:
“If you really want to see aggression, look into Dravid’s eyes”—Matthew Hayden
“The wolf who lived for the pack” — Harsha Bhogle
“If you can’t get along with Dravid, you’re struggling in life”—Brett Lee
Rahul Dravid – Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Rahul Dravid?
Rahul Dravid was an Indian cricketer and is Team India’s current men’s head coach. From 1996-2013, he was India’s top batters. He is arguably India’s Best #3 batter, scored in numerous important overseas victories, and served as India’s captain.
What is the middle name of Rahul Dravid?
Rahul Dravid’s middle name is Sharad. His full name is Rahul Sharad Dravid.
When did Rahul Dravid retire?
Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket in 2013. He retired from T20Is and ODIs in the horror series against England in 2011. He continued to play Test cricket, but retired after the tour of Australia in the next year. Finally, Rahul Dravid retired from T20 league after Champions League 2014, when he captained the Rajasthan Royals.
Why is Rahul Dravid called the Wall?
Rahul Dravid is called the ‘Wall’ due to his ability to survive tough sessions for long periods. Dravid has been the architect of several of India’s key overseas victories – Headingly 2002, Adelaide 2013, Rawalpindi 2004, Kingston 2006, and the disastrous England tour of 2011 (where India lost 0-4). Overall, Rahul Dravid faced 31,258 balls in Test cricket, more than any cricketer in history.
How many balls did Rahul Dravid play in international cricket?
Rahul Dravid played a mammoth total of 46,591 balls in international cricket (31,285 Test, 15,285 ODI, and 21 T20I)
Which IPL teams did Rahul Dravid play for?
Rahul Dravid played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2008-2010 and the Rajasthan Royals from 2011-2014.
Did Rahul Dravid play for Scotland?
Yes, Rahul Dravid represented Scotland as an overseas player. He played for Scotland in the national Cricket League against teams like Hampshire, Scotland, Lancashire, etc.
What are Rahul Dravid’s nicknames?
Dravid has had a couple of nicknames, The Wall and Jammy.
Also Read: If enjoyed reading this article, enjoy the others from Life Lessons category and Cricketing Heroes linked below.
Image Courtesy of Chubby Chandru / CC BY creative commons license, some rights reserved.