A Steyn on India’s Character

10 02 2010

India fold to Steyn and Harris

Disappointment. That is the major feeling that has emerged from India over the past few days. Billed as the ‘Battle of the Champions’, the first test match was more akin to a match between a top 5 side and Bangladesh. Ineffective bowling, high speed but ultimately useless batting, a couple of pleasant cameos in the form of Sehwag and Tendulkar’s hundreds and all the time South Africa simply being a ruthless and effective cricketing machine. And this was a home game for India too!

South Africa should be praised of course as they were truly excellent. When they play like this they look like a genuine number one side, although the fact that in their last 5 games 3 matches have been won or lost by an innings, suggests almost English levels of inconsistency.

The same problems of Prince, Duminy and a top draw first change seamer remain although when these are resolved the rest of the world had better look out.

Interestingly going into this game Smith had repeatedly called the Proteas underdogs which perhaps suggests a discomfort with being the number one side. Last year having beaten Australia away, the Proteas then lost at home after being newly installed as favourites and the number one side. Similarly with England recently they were expected to comfortably win the series, only scraping over the line to snatch a draw at the last possible opportunity.

In India they have now won against the (still relatively evenly stacked, it must be said) odds. Factor in the South African cricket teams reputation for choking and suddenly it is possible to see a mindset that has more in common with the English than Australian one. If this is real and not simply some amateur armchair psychology, it doesn’t bode well for South Africa retaining the number one crown if gained this series.

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Dale Steyn YM.jpg

Dale Steyn

What a pleasure it has been for cricket fans (if not opposing batsmen) to see Dale Steyn bowling so brilliantly over the past England series and now in India. Steyn currently has 195 wickets from 37 games at an average of 23.05 which is right out of the top draw. It made us think think about fast bowling and the relative barren patch that test cricket is going through right now in producing truly world class and great fast bowlers.

80’s: Holding, Garner, Marshall, Hadlee, Lillee, Botham, Dev, Khan

90’s: Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, McGrath, Pollock

00’s: Steyn

The ’80’s of course were something of a golden age for fast bowling with the West Indies in particular having some immense bowlers. However these riches were not restricted to the Caribbean only with even minnows like New Zealand producing a great fast bowler. The 90’s continued this trend with a number emerging, some like McGrath and Pollock played well into the next decade but what is apparent is that after that flowering of talent very little has come forth since. Since 2000 we cannot think of a bowler emerging who truly threatens to break into the top class of fast bowlers other than Steyn. Some people may argue the merits of Zaheer Khan, Brett Lee, Chaminda Vaas or Makhaya Ntini for example, but all of these bowlers whilst undoubtedly very good, do not stand comparison with the greats of another era.

We have no idea with regard to why this should be so; but the increase in batting averages and the numbers of players averaging over 50 increasing dramatically seems to suggest that there is something in this argument.

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5 responses

10 02 2010
Bradders

Thank you Pol for the idea regarding today’s post!

10 02 2010
James Parrett

Agree India were rubbish and S Africa were efficient / ruthless for the win. I think Parnell will come good once he has a few more 4-5 day games under the belt. He has raw talent and provides some excellent variation from the opening quicks.

SAF are also without a coach at the moment, which again makes this impressive.

On the great bowlers, think you’ve overlooked Waqar and Wasim in the 90s, they were pioneers of reverse swing at rapid pace. I think Ntini took the most wickets in the 00s amoung the quicks, but yeah, is he great? Hoggard took the most for Eng in the 00s, what a legend.

11 02 2010
Bradders

Parnell certainly looks like he is made of the right stuff. If he does then SA will have an awesome bowling attack.

Completely missed Waqar and Wasim, not quite sure how. One of the best bowling partnerships of all time.

Always felt Hoggard got a raw deal with England. One bad game in NZ and that was it, a much underrated bowler I think.

12 02 2010
Dingo

I was just about to mention Wasim and Waqar, so now instead i’ll just tell you how much i love mexican food, soooo good.

16 02 2010
Bradders

Random Dingo – but thanks! Good to know…

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