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Inconsistency, not incompetence

It was disheartening to watch our team lose to Mumbai Indians last evening. Even more disappointing was the one-sided manner in which we lost.

After the delayed start, the crucial match did start and we failed to get a grip on the proceedings from very early in the game. Despite a scratchy Mclaren at one end and Sachin's early departure, we just couldn't stifle the MI batting and later on a terrible batting display put us out of the game.


 


Such a display brought up the question that is hotly debated after every RCB defeat. "What ails RCB?"


 


We have a real deep and star studded batting line up. The likes of Dravid, Kallis, Virat, Uthappa, Pieterson, Taylor and the very talented Manish Pandey, are amply talented to destroy any bowling attack and they have done the destruction on more than one occassion. However, at the same time, they have collectively failed to get going on an equal number of occassions. So, what should we think? It certainly is not the lack of fire power. I would not criticize any player of the team in particular, but, it is visible that very often the players seemed to approach the game from their own mindset and that proved their own undoing. Whether it is the much criticized slow batting approach of Jacques Kallis or the ill timed reverse sweep attempt of Robin Uthappa or the reckless shots of some batsmen that cost us the game against DC, it all comes down to only one thing and that is 'inconsistency.'


 


We have not been showing the workmen like approach, the relentless clinical precision that the MI has shown game after game. Their performance in the league stage has been by far, the best so far in the three IPL editions and they seem to back themselves to win a game from any situation.


 


The DC who were almost down and out, resting at the bottom of the table in the company of KXIP, have suddenly revived themselves. Their batting order is clicking, their bowlers are bowling superbly and we have contributed quite a lot to their resurgence by giving them two wins in five days. Why are we not performing to the best of our abilities at this business end of the tournament. We have lost five out of the last 8 games in the league stage. This has resulted in our fate now hanging in balance and dependent on how the other teams fare in their games today. MI are through to the SF and at least one out of DD vs DC today will be there. We have a hope of making it through as the 3rd or 4th team based on the NRR, but, the issue of inconsistency has to be addressed immediately as we can't afford to play SF like this. If CSK win their game against KXIP today, then we will be heading into the SF as the fourth place team or if they lose then we will be third and will play the winner of DD vs DC. We have lost to DD and DC on both occassions in the league stage so they will have the psychological advantage over us and even MI beat us comprehensively yesterday so they will be on a high too.


 


We also seem to have not got a settled team combination till now. Ross Taylor, though, is a great player and an amazing striker of the ball, still, he is playing on past reputation. In the games since his arrival, he has terribly failed to get going and that has been one of the reasons for our debacles. We can all criticize Kallis, but, we should remember that we have lost many a matches where the other batsmen were in a very good position to win it. A player sitting in the middle order and failing to score match after match is a really big burden. Manish Pandey was going very well until he was rested and ever since his comeback, he seems to have forgotten his class.


 


I love RCB and anything less than an RCB win this season will disappoint me. I don't want the disappointment and I hope there will be a champion performance up next and consistently, enabling us to win the SF and the Finals. Go RCB!

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Dear Mahesh,

I agree to you. The roles are defined to the players, but, their execution has been inconsistent and erratic. Kallis has been given the sheet anchor's role, but, that doesn't mean he can play in a ODI style. Even a sheet anchor in T20 needs to have a strike rate of atleast 140, if his team has to score a good total. Ditto, for Uthappa, Taylor and other hitters. They are in form and their hitting abilities are superb, but, they need to play strokes with care. I remember that game against MI, where Uthappa got a boundary by reverse sweep, again tried the same shot and got another boundary and yet again he tried the same shot a third time and perished.

Thought has to be given to the game plan and execution has to be spot on. It is SF against a very strong and in form MI and probably we will have a final against the resurgent DC or the formidable batting line up of CSK.

WP
Wizardprince on 20 Apr 2010, 01:47 AM
Dear Karthik,

I agree to you completely. There is a SF up next and we need to have the best combination, role definitions and performances. Dravid should open and Pandey is doing ok. He just needs to concentrate a little more.
Wizardprince on 20 Apr 2010, 01:42 AM
Dear Prasad,

I am not surprized by your disagreement as I didn't expect everyone to agree with me. However, you have missed a couple of things and failed to capture the essence of my blog in your haste to criticize Kallis or defend Robin.

First, let me reproduce a line of mine to tell you that my blog is not criticizing Robin "I would not criticize any player of the team in particular,whether it is the much criticized slow batting approach of Jacques Kallis or the ill timed reverse sweep attempt of Robin Uthappa or the reckless shots of some batsmen that cost us the game against DC, it all comes down to only one thing and that is ‘inconsistency.’

Now, coming to the next thing you mentioned about Pandey and Kallis costing us matches, if you really spend some time in analyzing the results of RCB's games in the recent IPL, every time the duo had strung a good partnership together, it had resulted in an RCB win. They might not be blasting the bowling in the initial overs, but, they were instrumental in the four straight wins that we had witnessed, in the first half of the tournament and any denial of that fact would be blind obsession.

The next thing is about Uthappa being the poor fellow, who saves the games for us. I am sure you understand that it is a team game and no individual can do everything together. A good strategy always has a particular role for a particular player and that's the norm in all sports, not just cricket.

Kallis is a grafter and he has been tasked with holding one end up, while the other batsmen attack the bowling. A steady start without losing many wickets is according to me, the brief that would have been given to Kallis and Pandey. 70/1 after ten overs and then slamming 100+ in other ten is not at all unusual in T20 and teams have more often than not, have defended totals of 180 or above. Uthappa is in great form and is a clean striker of the ball. That's his role, to go out there and send the ball into the stands. When he has been dispatching deliveries into the crowd at midwicket or widish long on then why does he really need to do fancy things which are far more riskier than his straight hitting? Dale Steyn's role is to bowl fast at 150kmph and he has to do it every game. There is nothing like 'what the poor fella will do if he gets a run-rate of 9.98?' That's his task and for that matter the task of Ross Taylor, KP etc too. If you expect, Uthappa to be given a run rate of 6-7 to chase down, then what will be the difference between him or Kallis?

It's true that Kallis has been terribly and inexplicably slow in some games, but, to attribute the team's losses only to him, would be unfair. There have been several games which have been lost due to other batsmen or bowlers failing to do their job.

Last, please make note that I am not writing this in support of Kallis, in criticizm of Uthappa or for that matter anyone in particular. I believe that the team has collectively been inconsistent and until they regularly play the champion level of cricket, they are going to find it difficult to win. The competence is there, but, the consistency is missing.

WP
Wizardprince on 20 Apr 2010, 01:39 AM
i think plyng of roles r misunderstood fr ex
1.kallis,since he is an anchor, wht evr the demand is r e1 if he is well set he will not ply big shorts n keeps wasting balls
2.uthappa,pandey,taylor(since they r hitters)they go for shots e1 b4 get thr set
i thnk its btr to b flexible(like dravid )n ply acrdng to situation
ymahesh on 19 Apr 2010, 01:50 AM
Kallis is a very important player in the team atleast for his bowling (he has bowled well last two matches), but please dont send him to open the innings, please try Dravid to open the innings. Manish can't be rested, not because he is playing well, but only because we dont have a replacement for him.
Karthik-C1 on 19 Apr 2010, 12:58 AM
Boy, I do not agree with you that Manish Pandey was going very well until he was rested. Remember in the pool of inconsistency, we have only one consistant factor. RCB has the lowest average score in the first 6 overs when field restrictions apply. So any time when RCB has to chase 170+, Pandey-Kallis duo is enough for us to lose the match. It is easy to criticise Utappa. But if you see carefully, more often than not, when he comes in, the asking rate is kissing the double digit. Even when the opposition scores 151, Utappa was presented with the asking rate of 9.98. What will the poor fella do, if either way RCB is losing the match? At least he tries something and loses his wicket. Kallis on the other hand is the only batsman in the T20 cricket who leaves balls outside the off stump which all others pounce upon. Let us see the facts. With Pandey and Kallis at the top, RCB needs no great oppositions to taste defeats. With friends like those (and a captain who is obsessed with the duo) who needs enemies anyway?
DPRASAD on 18 Apr 2010, 11:51 PM