I remember the day when Sachin and Sehwag hit sixes of Shoaib Akhtar in that 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan, and India easily chased down the target of over 270..... Me and my friends got so mad that we went to roam around our Pune city at 12 midnight.. only to find thousands others doing the same.. Enjoying that special win..!!
So what exactly is there in cricket that drives us insane... Answer is the REALITY OF THE SHOW. You can get sick of a movie or a TV serial, because you know within yourself that whatever they are showing is just acting, not real but when it comes to a cricket match, or any sport for that matter, you know that the actor is really doing his best. With no retakes..!!
If you have read carefully till now, you must have noticed that I called cricket - A show. And that is because, just like movie's or TV serial's, cricket match also contain the Villain's - playing against our team and the Hero's - playing for us. Before any cricket series, just like up coming Tri-series in Sri Lanka, involving India and South Africa, each team managment pays close attention to some particular "Villians" and try to make a game plan against him..... Just like India had in that 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan - Attack Shoaib Akhtar initally.
This is an article of mine where I have tried to point out few Villain for our Indian team - trying to find methods to counter them. And even though I love whole of my "Team India", I've tried to pick some Hero's as well, for the tri-series in Sri Lanka. All in all, my motive is to craft an interesting read on cricket....
Villains for India vs South Africa matches..
1. AB de Villiers - With a test average of 40 with three 100's and ODI average of 21.15 with not even a single century, "Abraham Benjamin de Villiers" is not a full name that most of India will know. Moreso when he is yet to play a single game against us. But ask the Australians, ask the Englishmen and now ask the Sri Lankan's about who is AB de Villiers and they will tell you - the future of International cricket..
At the age of 21, his stroke making abilities keep him apart from others of his age in International cricket. And now after being the best batsman in South African ranks during the test series against Sri Lanka, de Villiers has proved that he can make runs on any pitch.... And the most dangerous thing about him is he is young. Whenever he goes out to bat, South African team allows him to go for his shots - Just like Sachin Tendulkar used to do in his early ODI's.
Just to tell you one more thing about AB de Villiers - he is a wicketkeeper as well and one of the best upcoming fielders in International cricket right now. All in all, he was a kid born to play international sport as he was equally good in Tennis, Golf and Rugby.
Game plan against Villain AB de Villiers - He loves pull/hook shots. So no short pitched balls to him and bowl Harbhajan or Powar when he comes out to bat. South African's never play off spin that well.
2. Mark Boucher - South African team is without captain Greame Smith and master batsman Jacques Kallis. And that makes their wicket keeper - Mark Boucher one of the most experienced player. And now after being given the captainship for this Sri Lanka Tri-Series, he will be hungry to perform with gloves, bat and brain. And his test match form against Sri Lanka before this tri-series has been brilliant. He has the ability to play cool and waiting game when team needs him, and also strikes the ball hard when needed. We must watch out for him.
Game plan against Villain Mark Boucher - He is the wicketkeeper and also the captain fro Tri Series.... he surely will be tired when he comes out to bat. Don't give him early boundaries... MAKE THIS VILLAIN RUN.
3. Shaun Pollock - Well, this man is the fourth best all rounder the world of cricket has ever seen, after take 400 wickets and making over 300 runs. Pollock is a steady seam bowler now, who bowls in the mid overs rather than opening the bowling for South Africa. Before the tri-series, he played the second test against Sri Lanka and his performance was more like inspiration for the whole team, who chased the lather in the first test at SSC.
Shaun Pollock is a role model for his team now and he seems to enjoy the responsibility, after leaving the captainship.
Game plan against Villian Shaun Pollock - As I said he doesn't have too much pace in his bowling anymore.... so hit him over the midon initially... very similar to what Sourav Ganguly used to do in ODI's.
Well, whole South African team will be our Villan during India vs South Africa (RSA) matches in this 2006 tri series, SO I feel why not I write the full South African squad here, just for the information - Mark Boucher (Captain), Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Loots Bosman, Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippenaar, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel, Robin Peterson, Ashwell Prince, Roger Telemachus, Thandi Tshabalala, Johan van der Wath.
A special hero for India in India vs South African matches :-
Although I wanted to write about heroes in this article later on, but I feel like adding my first hero here only because I feel again South Africa, Harbhajan Singh is the best option we have got. I included him in my hero list during the West Indies tour and he didn't disappoint me. I am again feeling that Harbhajan will spin our Villains around in this Sri Lanka tri-series , specially South Africa.
Villains for India vs Sri Lanka Matches :-
1. Muthiah Muralitharan - I am not really sure of what to write about this spin wizard that you don't know. So let me share a strategy that Sri Lankan captains uses with Muralithanran against all teams in ODI matches - bowl him in short spells of 3,3,4 or 4,4,2 overs. Whenever Sri Lanka needs wickets or just have to stop the flow of runs - they call Muralitharan. I have never seen any Sri Lankan captain bowling Muralitharan for straight 10 overs.
Game plan against Villain Muthaih Muralitharan - He will come to take wickets. DON'T GIVE HIM THAT, even if it means less than 3 runs per over from him. He will be out of attack if he doesn't get wicket soon, then start attacking other bowlers.
2. Lasith Malinga - When it comes to playing fast bowling, our Indian team struggles. But this time, we are talking about AWKWARD FAST BOWLING from Lasith Malinga who has most unusual arm action for a fast bowler. He bowls at least 4 short pitched balls in an over, something that our batsman hate. Malinga also has a hair style that not too many Indian will like.
Game plan against Villain Lasith Malinga - This tri series is played in Sri Lanka where the ball doesn't really bounce too much, specially in one day matches. So stay calm. And the most important thing is Malinga is an wayward bowler. He will give you wides balls and wide deliveries to hit...wait for them.
3. Dilhara Fernando - Well, only the name is "DILHARA" but this tall fast bowler of height 6 feet's and 3 inches has never lost his heart for India. And these days he has been bowling very well. Fernando used to be a short pitch bowler but now has becomes more of a bowler who targets the wickets, and tries to bowled the batsmen. He was also given rest in the second test against South Africa recently... so he will be fresh and hungry. Watch out for him.
Game plan against Villain Dilhara Fernando - Our Indian batsmen are very good at playing the balls on stumps through the leg side. DO THAT.
Now finally, let me add some Hero's into this bunch of Villains that Indian cricket team will face at the show called India vs South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2006 TriSeries in Sri Lanka in August.
Sachin Tendulkar - Hungry for making a comeback and has been good whenever comes back after an injury..isn't it??
Agit Agarkar - Now this one is a surprise. All of my readers hate Agarkar, all of my friends debate with me on Agarkar but they all know this man has special talents. I, somehow, always feel he can deliver for us.
Yuvraj Singh - Well, everyone knows Indian team has been playing better ODI cricket these days. And that is because of this man. Yuvraj has been in scintillating form of late... and when a no. 5 makes runs for a team, it nearly always wins. I am sure same will happen again... if Kim Sharma and Shamita Shetty is not there in Colombo during the Tri Series... NOT AT THE SAME PLACE AT THE TIME AT LEAST...!!!