Red defeated Blue by 20 runs. Gambhir scored what should be a morale-boosting century after a shaky start and a reprieve (from Dravid of all people) when he was on 8. However, most of the scribes have been hell-bent on writing about Tendulkar and his 60-odd - apparently he was in "one of those moods". Yuvraj Singh also had a decent hit out, making a half century. I simply fail to understand how Venugopal Rao is classed a one-day specialist. He made 67 off a painfully slow 101 balls, continuing on from his turgid performances in ODIs last season. Don't even bother getting me started on Virender Sehwag's run-out when he was just getting set. Aaarrggghh.
Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth got hammered early by Tendulkar, especially. I'm not sure what happens to Khan each time he is in contention for an India spot - he just fails to deliver. Reminds me of Kasprowicz and Bichel when they were brought into the Aussie team early in their careers. We'll just have to keep an eye on him. Irfan Pathan picked up three top-order wickets, but I have not heard anything about the quality or pace of his bowling. A useful start, nonetheless.
In another event that makes me question how serious some rejected players are about really making the ODI squad, VVS Laxman has been replaced by Mithun Manhas. You would think that Laxman and all others in his position would have taken every necessary precaution to ensure they are fit, health and in decent nick before the tournament begins. It really is not that hard to spend 45-60 mintues warming up and 30 minutes warming down before and after each practice session. These guys are professional cricketers and should know the drill by now.
With a List A average exceeding 50, Manhas seems to have a decent ability in the shorter version of the game. However, we will have to reserve judgement at this time.
Anand Vasu reports on a feel-good story of the passion for the game in India. As Vasu rightly notes, Yuvraj Singh has a reputation of being one of the more arrogant members of the team (he is, after all, his father's son). However, Yuvraj decided to make a polio-stricken boy's dream come true by asking him throw a couple of balls while he was batting in the nets. Nice touch and something that I feel our players could do a lot more of.
This may be another avenue for Sharad Pawar and his men to get some good press. What says you?
Sourav Ganguly will be strutting his stuff in the next match. I am sure we will all have our eyes peeled to see what he can make of his innings. However, I can confidently say the first match has thrown up more of the same and nothing much more. The same offenders are scoring the runs, taking the wickets and getting injured before what should be their launchpad back to the national team.
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