West Indies Tri-Nation Series
India, Sri Lanka, West Indies
While Batman and Superman ponder over what the world needs and deserves, they could be unanimous in agreeing that the world does not need another India v/s Sri Lanka cricket
match. In any form of the game. Anywhere. Ever again.
The two teams have faced each other the maximum number of times in ODI cricket, and now face another 2 games in a pointless tri-series contest in West Indies- the land of Sun, Sand and annoying Vuvuzela horns.
This time, both teams have something in common: Both of them lost their opening game to a resurgent Home West Indian team in the space of 3 days- in contrasting fashions. Sri Lanka went back to being lambs in an overseas slaughter house, being creamed by Gayle
and co. in the opening game by 6 wickets. India almost continued their ‘invincible’ winning streak, eventually going down to a fearless (almost daft) West Indian team by 1 wicket. The tournament format makes each team play the other team twice- with West Indies already having one foot in the final halfway through their series. They are really the only team with anything to gain here, with India trying hard to channel the energy during their immediate post World Cup tour in the West Indies- where signs of their downfall began to surface.
The Champions Trophy stars- Dhawan
and Jadeja- failed together at Kingston, leaving a rusty unconvincing middle order to battle it out on a belter of a slow moist pitch. The West Indian batsmen showed that there were no real demons in the pitch except lack of pace (and lack of swing, seam, energy, life etc.), but proved that the real demons were always in their heads- taking it down to the last wicket of Roach and Best to rescue them from an embarrassing collapse.
India now faces Sri Lanka in what could be a must-win game for SL, considering their bonus-point loss to WI. The only reason this series has gained substantial viewership is because Indian fans expect a lot more from this young ambitious side- similar to what they expected from a jaded World Cup team just a month after the World Cup and a week after IPL4. There is something about Caribbean tours and India- they just don’t click, and they never play their most attractive cricket in the islands. Their labored innings against Roach and co. was an example, with Rohit Sharma
playing prime criminal by throwing away his wicket once again after another start.
One almost expects Malinga
and Kulasekara to sit down at the corner of the room and refuse to bowl to Dhoni and Kohli- for fear of abuse and another dip in ‘form’. It is only a matter of time before Dhawan wakes up again, and before a struggling Karthik is omitted from the side for a struggling Vijay. With Dhoni’s injury though, DK will be handed a series to play- and the management should give Rohit Sharma (http://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/mega-monday-the-final-countdown-4/10622 )the leadership reigns for a change, with Kohli needing to concentrate on his current batting form.
The conditions clearly suit Sri Lanka more than India, as do the horns in the crowd and the relaxed atmosphere in the stands. Maybe the Islanders have decided that the best way to stop choking in finals or getting knocked out late in the tournament is by not reaching those stages anymore. South Africa should take cue.