The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bangar a surprise package

Sanjay Bangar has surprised us immensely. He certainly looks to be the allrounder India have been praying for all this while. If he played a blinder of an innings in the fourth one-day match between the West Indies and India, he worked up a fair bit of pace in Jodhpur.

It was a bowlers’ day for a change in Jodhpur on Thursday. In a one-day series where top batters haven’t allowed much look-in at the lower half, not only we were dismissed completely in the 47th over but even the Indians were not left with much batting by the end. The bowlers have come to their own at last.

It was not a bad one-day wicket. Certainly not the type where you could explain away a total of 201 runs. We couldn’t bat as well as we should have considering the fact that we went into the match with seven specialist batsmen.

If one takes into account the potential of stumper Ridley Jacobs and Vasbert Drakes, our batting actually extended till number nine. Still we could not last our overs and missed out on critical 20-30 runs.

It was also a game where our openers failed. Chris Gayle and Wavell Hinds have been such a force in this one-day series that it is easy to blame our batting debacle on their failure. But a batting line-up cannot run on a couple of batsmen alone. Gayle and Hinds have set the pace of our batting but they can’t succeed always.

I was hopeful of a positive outcome till the very end. Even with 10-15 runs left to defend our meagre total, anything could have happened had we broken through. India were only left with Jawagal Srinath and Murali Kartik on the bench.

We were left to rue the missed chance of Bangar when Powell put him down at midwicket. We missed a couple of chances in the field but honestly I was pleased with our bowling effort. We bowled straighter and were more consistent than in previous games.

Bangar certainly is a cricketer who can adapt his game to situations. We only saw him hold his end up in Tests but he is a man transformed in one-dayers. He has thrown his name in the hat for selection in India’s World Cup team.

It just makes me ponder of India’s chances in the coming World Cup. Their batting surely looks good enough but to win a competition of this magnitude, a team must wear a well-rounded look.

At present Australia seem to be a side to beat. They keep coming at you from all directions and squeeze you dry whether in the field or at the crease.

Rahul Dravid bore his responsibility well which included the extra burden of leading the side in a do-or-die game. His batting was absolutely crucial for India as was the flamboyance of left-hander Yuvraj Singh.

The youngster edged me through the vacant slips on more than a couple of occasions but I couldn’t post an attacking field because of the modest total we were defending.

Yuvraj’s was a timely knock for India and he and Dravid showed this wicket could suit a batsman if one was willing to get his eye in and adjust to its somewhat inconsistent pace and bounce.

We arrived in the capital in midnight on the same day the match finished in Jodhpur. The travelling in this one-day series has been tiring. On occasions, we have travelled for 11 hours between two venues.

In a series as long as this, which involves seven one-dayers, back-to-back matches at one venue would have been a help. Still, the only thought which occupies my mind now is to finish the series the same way we began in Jamshedpur — on a winning note.

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