Friday, March 31, 2006

The Raina reign

I find it hard to report on one-day internationals. They seem insubstantial to me (compared to test cricket), and I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm over-analyzing when I delve into the details of one. And given that I'm still smarting from losses in tests to both Pakistan and England, its even harder to get worked up about India having taken a 2-0 lead in this series. But some digging around is useful. For instance, armed with the news that Sachin Tendulkar is going to miss the West Indian tour, that Laxman has been dropped from the test team, and that Ganguly is gone, one could take a closer look at the Indian middle-order to see who makes a mark, and gets into the race for the middle-order spots that seem destined to open up in the near future. Raina's cool and collected innings will have done much to place him front and center of these contenders. Whats more, he presents an attractive mixture of defense and stylish aggression. In many ways, he is an archetypal modern batsman: he bats very straight, uses a heavy bat (or appears to) and hits the ball with little follow-through. But the icing on the cake is that the Dravid-Chappell combine view him as a test prospect as well despite his starting off as a one-day specialist.

PS: And I wonder if Dhoni's new-found cautious style is in response to the Mumbai meltdown?

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