There are enough distractions to take the spotlight away from cricket this time around-what with Ganguly's retirement, talks about the Fab-four and of course Sachin's land mark feat.
But, a grave issue confronting India is the form of Anil Kumble. He has looked very pedestrian in the last few series and showed no indications of returning to form in the first test. His average has risen dangerously close to 30.00 and by almost a point since the beginning of 2008.
Picking up new batsmen, debutantes, tail enders, used to come naturally to Kumble and unfortunately for India, Kumble and the viewer, this quality seems to have deserted him, hopefully for the time being.
Very uncharacteristically, he was bowling to much on the pads of the batsmen and the likes of Watson, Haddin and White (who used to be his "staple diet" in his prime) had an easy outing against him. He was not very economical as well and that is also a huge cause for concern since he is also a stock bowler for India.
His captaincy has drawn a lot of flak from experts. From what little I saw of the first test, it appeared as though he was being very defensive and unimaginative, much like Rahul Dravid. For a short time, when Dhoni was leading, on the fourth day, suddenly there was a buzz all over the stadium and always looked like something was going to happen. Ponting's dismissal in the second innings is a classic case in point. As soon as Kumble came back, field placing was very conservative (on a dead track) and there was never a moment again when it seemed the bowling was on top. He delayed his introduction into the attack too much (after he had to wait for not being on the field). He never troubled the Aussie batsmen one bit and looked to contain more than picking up wickets, which he did not.
With what may well be his swan song, I just hope Kumble comes back strongly at his favourite ground. He wouldn't want to go on a low (and I certainly don't) after serving the country so well.
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