Jam-Packed crowds; Electric buzz around the stadium; waves of "saffron-green" and "green-white". You would think that this was a setting for a World cup final between India and Pakistan. Sorry folks, you are mistaken. This was the setting for a practice match( or as my lady friend who hosts the game show "stumped" called it " A sizzling hot Warm up Match"!!!) between the arch rivals at the Oval yesterday.
India steam-rollered pakistan in the seriously contested match, but before you indian fans run your imaginations wild, let me remind you about 2 things i noticed in yesterday's match.
NUMBER ONE: The least scathing word i caould use to describe the indian bowling and fielding yesterday would be "Lazy". If it wasnt for an inspired spell from Ishant, aptly supported by a tight spell by harbhajan, pakistan would have run away witht he match in the first half itself. As it is they ended up scoring 158 runs in 20 overs and were in a position to score 200 easily. Indian bowling looks weak, RP singh and Irfan Pathan are serious liabilities.
NUMBER TWO: Pakistan look like the most confused team on the planet at the moment. Younus Khan comes out for toss... one would think he is the captain, but no, you see him stand like an innocent child at mid on for most of the indian innings. Shahid afridi is all action at covers as he flays his arm about, moving the fielders here and there. just as you think afridi is in charge, Kamran akmal starts shouting out instructions from behind the wicket in that irritaing "trapped-mouse" like voice of his. is John Buchananan secretly working for pakistan?? whats up with this multiple captaincy??
All said and done, if India are to defend their title, they have a sereious threat... their own bowling. On a happier note, Rohit sharma's Blitskrieg yesterday showed that he is in the form of his life... and gambhir seems to be regaining his touch as well. so the batting is shaping up... only if the bowling does india can look anywhere close to a semi final spot... fingers crossed!!!