A Champion Side


[tweetmeme source=”akhilsethi” only_single=false] It has been a long time since I have written a blog post, courtesy to my job and the fact of not able to find a relevant topic to write a post. At last I decided to write on a topic or a field that I like the most. It’s Cricket, the game that each and every one loves in India, it’s a kind of religion & if I am not wrong Sachin is the God in India. But this post is not about the nation’s love for Cricket or either Sachin or the Lalit Modi Saga that is going on and on……..!!

What makes a team to be a  champion

This post is about a simple question i.e. whom do you think the best team in the world. Cricket purists will argue that it’s not the right question as Cricket itself has 3 versions now. The tests, the ODIs and thanks to Englishmen & Modi jee, T20s. But my point is why there has to be three best teams in respective formats, why can’t there be a single one coz to be best you have to prove that you are the best in the game irrespective of the format of the game. Yes, the players of the team should be talented/able enough to change their style of play according to the format to become the part of best team in the world.

Yesterday I watched two T20 world cup matches, one was the highlights between Australia vs SriLanka and the other one was the Semi-final between Australia vs Pakistan. In the first match (Aus vs SRL), Australia were 5 down for just 67 runs at the end of 11th over and when I looked the last score, it was 168/5 at the end of 20 overs. It means they scored 101 runs in the last 9 overs without losing a single wicket, courtesy Cameroon white & Mike Hussey and when I checked the last score, it was a heavy 81 run heavy defeat that was being handed over by Australia (SriLanka all out at 87 in the 17th over).

Then there was the Semi final match in which Pakistan batted really well to score 191, all thanks to Akmal brothers & Salman Butt. I thought Australia would not be able to chase this big score considering the wickets are on a slow side in WestIndies, but as they say…..Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and here I was visiting yet another turnaround by Australians. They needed 70 runs from last 5 overs and then 48 runs from the last 18 balls, (for every ball 3runs) which I thought would be next to impossible, but Mike Hussey had some other plans……..!! Then came the last over in which Australia needed 18 runs, but thanks to 3 big sixes and a four by Hussey, the match ended with a ball to spare. In the end he made 60 runs of just 24 deliveries (or I can say 15runs per 6 balls) which is something extraordinarily remarkable and Australia chased the score with one ball to spare. That is what a champion side is, which can bounce back from this kind of situation. This hasn’t happened for a single time, we all know how good the Australian side is..!! After the retirement of Warne & McGrath, I thought Australians have lost all the firepower to be a champion side, but they proved me wrong……..with the cricketers like Hussey (Mike not David :P), White, Jhonson, they are a side which still hold the firepower to become no. 1 in all formats of the game.

Friends, we all know that Australia has that image problem, (in)famous for all the sledging that they do, but still as far as playing the game is concerned, (in my opinion) they are the best…..!!

What do you think, will Australia be able to reach the no.1 position in all formats of the game or not..? They are still third in the test rankings and first in the ODI rankings.

Another important thing that I want you to contemplate upon is what makes a champion side, what ingredients are required, the domestic infrastructure or the selection criteria, what determines the success, what’s your opinion…??

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9 thoughts on “A Champion Side

  1. Certainly Australia has best possible chances to be at No, 1 in all 3 Cricket formates. For becoming a champion side in any sports, a team requires full collective commitment to the game by all of its players,integrity, courage and all virtues and skill required for the particular game along with a big slice of luck.

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  2. I would love to say that India will keep its position in atleast one format of the game. But unfortunately, no other team in the world has the attitude or the thirst for win which aussies displays. Not only the feeling, but the way they execute their plans as well. Imagine indian team at the same position (48 runs from the last 18 balls) I can definitely say that India will lose the match for not less than 20 runs.
    At this juncture, I remember one match at cochin, against australia which India lost. The game was already lost, and india needed more than 12rpo when dhoni (not captain then) came to bat. We, at galleries wanted to see atleast a few boundaries or sixers, and were roaring. Dhoni started taking singles and doubles, defending even loose balls, added to the fury of the audiences. Our keralites started tantrums.. dhoni… tha***… Finally when india lost, he was not out on one side with a good strike rate of just over 100.
    This is the difference in the approach between Indians and aussies. Indians consider any strike rate above 100 to be fair, eventhough team needs >200. Aussies consider anything more than its team’s requirement as a fair rate(look at the innings of mike yesterday).

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  3. Two Things strike me from your write-up

    1. Why cannot there be a single specialist team for all three formats of the game? and

    2. What makes a champion side?

    To answer one, simply put – it’s a Utopian dream. can’t be done. For years I thought – why cannot there be all all-rounders in a team. I realize now (may be I’m wrong) that (a) such individuals are rare and (b) we still need specialists – those who put maximum efforts in honing a particular skill – be it balling or batting. Since we cannot have every player as an all-rounder in a team, we can never have one specialist team. This argument can be extended further, but I’m stopping short to portray just the crux only.

    As for question two – one has to see the domestic Australian cricket. Even though I do not religiously follow cricket now, I find that the most grueling cricketing is seen only in Australia. Did you ever realize many Australian cricketers we fancy are nearing 30s and in many cases are plus 30. While here in the sub-continent regions we fancy on youngest entrant, only those Australians who have proved their mettle in domestic cricket are put in national team. That is what differentiates Australians in cricket and in my opinion constitutes a winning team

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    • Thank you very much for sharing your opinion Nitin.

      I would somewhat disagree with you on this Nitin, as I think a single team can be good at all three formats of the game and that was also a reason of writing this post. Probably a team like Australia which in past has shown its dominance in both Tests as well as ODIs could be your answer. There were no T20s in the past, if they would have been, Aussies might be no.1 in that also.

      Secondly, yes would agree with you on that specialists are required by each and every team to excel in a particular department, selecting all all-rounders would make a situation like “jack of all trades and master of none” and yes the selection procedure is really rigorous their, cricketers coming to the national side have played so many domestic matches that they find it easy to adapt to the international competition in terms of difficulty level.

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  4. Well Akhil, first of all not ‘each and every one loves in India’ loves Cricket. In fact there are some that just ‘hate’ it. 🙂

    I am not one of them. But neither is Sachin my god i.e. I am not fanatic of the game. So I cannot give any valuable opinion on this. Sorry buddy. 🙂

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  5. Three answers..money..money n more money… whichever country has the most money in criket.. will b the best.. tat was australia a while back… n now itz india shining in all aspects.. discounting the T20 wc.. India has had money in the game for only abt 5-7 years now.. money at the domestic level for less tan tat time.. give it a lill more time.. itz not abt wht skills ur players have..wit the coachin n study ..most would surpass a basic tech level..after tat it is abt motivation n zeal.. n tat motivation comes frm money mainly..fame is only enjoyed for a few years in a players career..then they also start running frm crowds n fans.. money is always enjoyed..no matter how rich they get..:)
    Australia are a champion side.. the ratings have been invented to make marketing simpler..i.e. the numero uno side vs the underdogs..or the challengers..makes the adverts a lill more attractive.. very few know how the ratings are calculated..n quantitative results in a qualitative game..well difficult to interpret..The best team on the day is the champion side..
    according to me a sure shot way of becoming the best team..by tat i mean the team which wins most consistantly.. (now the q wil come as win where..against whom..etc)..is by investing or giving out more money at the lower levels.. people should be able to sustain themselves financially by playing even at club or district levels..only then will you c our degree carring engg. or MBA’s lolz.. shine where they should..n not b a burden on the corporate world..:)

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    • Heeheeee, i liked the way you ended abhishek. Well i want to share this thing with you that my first love was Cricket, doing an mba was my 2nd choice because i was not get selected for the University side. In my Bachelors college, i was the captain there & used to love this game a lot (still love it). But things sometimes (or most of the times) don’t go they way u want…….!!

      Anyways, i agree with you that money is very important for the development of the game within a country, but what I feel is that this money should be channelized properly. If I take your point, I think India will take ages to become the no.1 team in the world as the money here is not channelized properly because of the high corruption & the bureaucracy. My point is that even if a cricket board is earning a hell lot of money it has to properly allocate that money to different departments/fields and for this they also need people who can manage/administrate this effectively. Only then I think the state of the game/sport will reach to the highest level.

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  6. For me I directly say It’s Australia that deserves to be the No1. It may be easy to get that spot but much difficult to maintain it. As Australians have made it possible for a quite long time, So undoubtedly They are the Best. 3 times consecutive World Cup Winner and just only one time a captain changed. Look at the Team Spirit. I agree that In the absence of Ricky Ponting, many have taken his place for sometimes but not permanently. Now I would say Why they are the best ?
    -> Due to the selection of right players at the right time.
    -> Rotation policy does help the players to utilize their potentiality at the given opportunity.
    -> The rules are rules for them. They sacrificed the player like Andrew Symonds, One of the best All rounder in the world, due to violation of rules.
    -> The team is united at any position.
    -> They are so charged that Andy Bichel and even if Brett Lee can bat at the lower order to help the middle order bats man.
    -> Michel Bevan,Holds the best Avg in ODI, has played Tests just countable times. Look at the selection. He’s permanent for the ODIs but substituted in Test …
    -> They dont believe on Names rather on Performance & situation.
    -> Many of Australia players debut at the age of 28-29. Where they are topped in the domestic levels. They play for Maximum 5-7 years and then retire. But those period must be the Golden Periods for them as well as for the Team…
    & Many More …

    Now, I would say Team India has the guts to replace the Aussies, if performs according to the level constantly … India’s got good Batting Line up, Fielding is ok, But lacks in Bowling Dept. Dhoni cant move with luck every time … But I hope India is going to be the No1 in all the formats of the game. It’s too long reply Bhai … But Your post was an awesome one and I came to learn lots out of that … Have a nice time…

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    • Thank you very much for the appreciation buddy 🙂

      Yes i agree with you that its the selection policy as well as the rotation policy that makes them play with such high standards.
      Rotation policy indeed makes sure that players don’t get injured for long time and should be available for selection when time & need arises.

      Another interesting point that you mentioned is that the age at which most of the players get selected in the national side is on a higher side, these players are already so much experienced at the domestic level and are high on confidence, that they straight start performing from the first few games itself.

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