Friday, September 22, 2006

Brett Lee returned figures of 8.5-0-38-5 to secure Australia's place in the DLF Cup final with the West Indies. Austalia's fast bowlers are all looking in good touch as competition for Ashes places heats up.

India are now out of the DLF triangular tournament, their batsmen are out of form and apart from Tendulkar have spent precious little time at the crease. As predicted yesterday, Dravid dropped himself down to the number 4 slot. After yet another shuffle Dinesh Mongia was the only batsman to perform today, he was left stranded on 63 not out, India 19 runs short of victory.
Indias bowlers have all performed well through the tournament, today they bowled out the Aussies for just 213. Dravid will be pleased with his bowlers but will be worrying about his out of sorts batting line up.
It is difficult to decide what the attribute Indias fall from grace to. The form of their batsman is the obvious culprit, but how did they sink this low? Dravid has been tinkering and shuffling his line up ever since he was made one-day captain. Perhaps now he should stop doing so and decide on his best team in order to start building confidence for the World Cup.
Tendulkar is the only Indian batsman that can be sure what number he will be batting at in the World Cup, now only 6 months or so away. Dravid should stick with his decision to bat at 4 and decide who opens with Tendulkar. This will probably be Sehwag, however Dravid has experimented with pinch hitters Dhoni and Pathan in the opening berth, and with some success. However neither have made one-day centuries and Sehway has 7 to his name, all made when opening. Sehwag should open for India from now until he World Cup.
India has competition for middle order places as Mongia showed today. Dravid needs to decide who bats where and stick with it until a player fails so often he is dropped and replaced. If he keeps on shuffling and changing his line up every game India's players will not be ready for the World Cup, they will not know where they stand, be unsure of their role and will come home from the Carribean upstaged and disappointed.

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