India’s younger hopes – Frontline

The infusion of proficient younger gamers to help the outdated warriors is anticipated to present India the suitable mix to ascend as soon as once more the heights of cricketing glory.

THE magic of youth, with its uninhibited aptitude, vitality, sprint and enthusiasm, has the facility to obliterate the whole lot else from sight. Therein lies the hazard for Indian cricket.

The triumphant chase of 326 at Lord’s on July 13, when India so sensationally lifted the NatWest Trophy, was each stirring and soul-lifting. The hectic ‘race to the tape’ was orchestrated by kids Yuveraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif from a ‘Demise or Glory’ scenario.

Mohammed Kaif.-N. SRIDHARAN

It’s great that India has discovered some proficient younger batsmen in Yuveraj, Kaif, and Virender Sehwag. Now, not less than in batting, India has a great mix of youth and expertise, which is a wholesome signal for the massive battles forward.

Over time, most profitable sides have possessed the suitable mix of younger turks and outdated warriors, complementing one another in a ‘staff’ effort. With these vivid new gamers coming in, India now has a chance to perform simply that. Kaif & Co. can present the facet the much-needed thrust, with their quick operating between the wickets and swiftness on the sphere, to not converse of their expertise with the willow.

The 21-year-old Kaif is a specific favorite with coach John Wright for his work ethics. He works arduous on his cricket and health, and his dedication to the sport and his staff is whole.

Throughout a current chat present in Chennai, Aussie Check captain Steve Waugh threw mild on ‘psychological toughness,’ the hallmark of his recreation, and probably the most important attribute for a global cricketer. In response to Steve, psychological toughness was not solely about strolling out in a stress scenario and taking over the quicks. It was additionally about getting easy issues proper, equivalent to “batting or bowling on the nets as you do in a match, doing the issues finest again and again on the nets earlier than it turns into a behavior, and by no means taking simple choices by skipping a session.”

Steve was driving dwelling the purpose that apply makes good, offering a cricketer with the required self-belief and ultimately psychological toughness. Kaif is a primary instance. Simply, the fittest Indian cricketer right this moment, the Allahabad lad is a product of the system, regularly rising from the ranks. Kaif was a member of the Indian Below-15 and Below-19 World Cup winnings sides, and excelled for India ‘A’. In different phrases, he was not rushed into ‘huge time’ cricket.

A pleasant, likable individual with a prepared smile, Kaif is respectful in the direction of his seniors and is a keen listener. Mentioned Wright about Kaif late final 12 months: “His ardour for the sport is sure to take him far.”

Wright is correct. From the dusty lanes of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh to superstar standing, Kaif’s rise has not been with out its share of disappointments, however he has displayed the self-discipline to tide over them.

A wristy participant with a penchant to coax the ball into the empty areas, Kaif does convey the oriental class into play, whether or not driving the ball by the covers, flicking within the arc between mid-wicket and square-leg, or chopping and sweeping. His refined contact additionally permits him to rotate the strike, an asset in any type of cricket. And his razor-sharp thoughts is all the time alert to the potential for a ‘pinched’ single.

In current occasions, he has labored on the pull stroke as properly, along with his eager eye and reflexes enabling him to tug in entrance of sq.. One thing that he did to good impact throughout that dramatic run chase at Lord’s staying till the top and scoring 87 off 75 balls amidst excruciating rigidity.

Aside from his back-foot play and his hare-like operating between the wickets, what shone by Kaif’s recreation was his equanimity in a disaster scenario. He has a cool head, is seldom ruffled or intimidated, and will, within the years to return, develop right into a positive Check batsman within the middle-order.

It’s within the Exams that Kaif might be itching to enhance his report. He’s nonetheless in the hunt for his first 50, regardless of enjoying 4 Exams – one in opposition to South Africa at dwelling and three in opposition to Sri Lanka, all in 2000.

A easy religious Muslim, Kaif has acquired nice help from his household; his father Mohammed Tarif performed the Ranji Trophy for Uttar Pradesh, whereas brother Saif, a pace-bowling all-rounder, was within the nationwide reckoning in the course of the mid-1990s. Every time Kaif walks into the sphere carrying the India cap, he carries with him their hopes.


YUVERAJ too resides his father Yograj’s unfulfilled cricketing desires. Yograj, a quick medium bowler from Haryana, represented India in only one Check in the course of the early 1980s, however Yuveraj’s profession guarantees to be a extra fulfilling one.

A flamboyant left-hander, 20-year-old Yuveraj, has already gone by an entire gamut of feelings within the rollercoaster trip that worldwide cricket is. A smashing begin within the ICC Knock-out match in Kenya in 2000, the place he destroyed the highly effective Australian and South African assaults, was adopted by a barren, irritating part the place he was discovered wanting in each temperament and footwork in opposition to spinners. His earlier adulation now a distant reminiscence, Yuveraj discovered himself out within the chilly. Was he only a taking pictures star?

He labored on his footwork, piled up runs in home cricket, and compelled the selectors to choose him once more. He made a ‘headline-grabbing’ comeback within the Hyderabad one-day worldwide in opposition to the Zimbabweans this 12 months, scripting a victory from a precarious scenario, together with Kaif. A simple striker of the ball with the flexibility to clear the bottom with ease, Yuveraj is a uncommon match-winner. There could also be days when he fails, however on the events that he comes good, he offers his facet victory or takes it inside placing distance, as he did along with his 63-ball 69 on that momentous day at Lord’s.

His innings-building expertise have improved, a side seen even within the all-action world of one-day cricket. He builds up the tempo regularly, and is a extra mature participant lately. What stands out in Yuveraj’s batting is the velocity with which he is ready to decide the size and launch into an aggressive stroke in opposition to the pacemen. Not less than within the ODIs, he has seemed a a lot better participant of spin.

Yuveraj’s left-arm spin has proved useful within the ODIs, however it’s his razor-sharp fielding that actually enhances his worth to the facet. The quickness with which he’s prepared for a throw after flinging himself to cease the dashing ball is astonishing. Prowling on the ‘most probably’ areas, he additionally has the behavior of hitting the stumps.

Kaif too is a gifted fielder along with his anticipation and velocity, all the time striving to transform half-chances, and it goes with out saying that Kaif and Yuveraj have lifted the usual of Indian fielding.

THERE can be Virender Sehwag, whose explosive strokeplay can change the course of a match in a rush, with pictures of superior energy. The Delhi batsman’s ‘thrill-a-minute’ 70-ball effort in opposition to New Zealand in an important closing league recreation of the triangular ODI sequence in Sri Lanka in 2001 thrust him into the forefront. Runs flowed in a cascade from his blade that day, and shortly a Sri Lankan journalist tapped this author’s shoulder asking “Would not he remind you of Sachin Tendulkar?”

Whereas comparisons at this stage are far-fetched, Sehwag has miles to go earlier than he can match Sachin. He’s a quiet, no-nonsense cricketer, who has consolidated on the possibilities which have come his method.

A stroke-filled century in opposition to South Africa in Bloemfontein final 12 months was a great begin to his Check profession; he does have the temperament to match his stroke-play. When the function of a Check opener was thrust on him in the course of the current India-England match, he responded with a sometimes hard-hitting 84.

Nevertheless, it’s within the ODIs that he has made his mark along with his booming strokes. His footwork is enough, and he hits by the road as a rule.

Accidents have haunted 23-year-old Sehwag, however the setbacks had been short-term. Throw in his useful off-spin and above-average fielding, and you’ve got a helpful performer for India.

Yuveraj Singh.-MAX NASH/AP

Punjab’s Dinesh Mongia could lack Sehwag’s dazzling stroke-play, however he’s a gentle, reliable middle-order batsman, who is aware of the artwork of constructing and pacing an innings. Mongia excelled within the opening slot in the course of the ODIs in opposition to the Zimbabweans, and has been unfortunate to be pushed up and down the order. Given his urge for food for runs and arduous work, a chance may come his method sooner slightly than later. Mumbai’s Wasim Jaffer, a younger opener with sound back-foot play, has the temperament and the flexibility for a long-distance ‘trip’ in Exams.

On the bowling entrance, the Indian tempo quartet in England – Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Tinu Yohannan – is a younger bunch, and on this pack, left-armers Nehra and Zaheer, do maintain out promise. They displayed a abdomen for battle in the course of the Caribbean marketing campaign, working at a brisk tempo and transferring the ball tellingly every so often. Nevertheless, the 2, together with the erratic Agarkar, must work on their consistency, an element that made Kapil such an excellent bowler. As for Yohannan, the Kerala teen has the suitable construct for a paceman, bowls a imply off-stump line, and if he provides a yard of tempo, may need a particular future for India. With Javagal Srinath now not out there for Check cricket, the comparatively inexperienced tempo assault must reply to the large problem within the days to return.

Among the many spinners, 22-year-old Harbhajan Singh already has 100 Check scalps regardless of the ups and downs, and will clearly be the chief of the Indian spin assault within the years to return. He could possibly be supported by left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, a reliable younger bowler, slightly shabbily handled by the selectors to date.

On the wicket-keeping entrance, the pugnacious Ajay Ratra is simply 21, and his understudy, Parthiv Patel, simply 17. It’s evident that youth has now discovered a agency place in Indian cricket.

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