Cricket · Management gyan · Peelasophy

Ashes – a strategic perspective

As the Ashes cricket series comes to an end, it is interesting to see how the media is now only focusing on how great the English win was. Stuart Broad bowled so beautifully that Miss Universe 2009, in an ideal world is just a runner up. The actual winner would have been the beauty of Broad’s bowling. At last, the media claims, Flintoff’s successor has been found. They are now so Broad minded, I see. They even praise how well the English selectors have excelled in succession planning exercise over the years. Yeah, a win can make the wiring in the brain say anything, I suppose. In reality the English selectors are only better than Pakistani selectors, my feeble brain protests. Who cares for my analysis, though!

This is so different from tossing improbable situations at the world for considerations just ten days ago. Different perspectives arise from the discussion around recalling Mark Ramprakash and Marcus Trescothick for the final test.

Let us consider a situation where the US is planning to regain their hold on the 100 & 200 meters track events. They are currently struck by a giant Jamaican bolt and even the Americans discovered that running the third fastest time in history is also not good enough. Bolt hurls thunderbolts at world records again and again. Hmm … so let us get Carl Lewis back! What an idea? Or, maybe hold the next event at any place that doesn’t start with B like Berlin or Beijing. B for Bolt – that’s favorable lettering advantage for Usain, huh! Heights (or depths) of lateral thinking, I must say.

What about Tennis? How can Americas win all Slams and Davis Cups? Oh, that, just get McEnroe and Connors to beat the other nations, they were the best anyways. Or Sampras and Agassi, if they are available. If you are wondering that is preposterous, in my opinion, Mark Ramprakash coming back to play for England for the 5th test was an equally outrageous proposition. Trescothick is not in the team due to his nervous breakdowns and to bring him into a situation like the Ashes decider test would have been impossible. But naughty Trescos made it interesting by having a good record this season.

Consider that it was just a fantastic strategy! The Aussies were always proud of their mind games, arrogant talk and dismissive attitude. They did win the 4th test convincingly. The Aussies were laughing at how England was finished, desperate (even more desperate than Warne ever was trying to find the right barmaid) and had to be totally out of their minds to seriously consider such old warriors for modern day wars. They should be showing faith in their current bunch of guns, they said, instead of using rusted swords. But of course how could England, when their middle order together could not muster a quarter century in both innings of the previous test cumulatively. Over confidence once again began to creep in slowly into the Aussie minds. On top of that, there was immense self inflicted pressure on the Australians. They began to talk about this being the mother of all tests ever played, particularly for star players, Ponting and Hussey. While the former had to exact revenge, the latter had to play well and keep his place in the side. Before they knew what hit them, a slump from 80 odd for 1 to 160 all out and then, 2 brilliant run outs, a weak bowling display, an amazing century on debut by Trott and the media as always, did a U turn, forgot everything about the past and started focusing on what went wrong for the Australians. No Hauritz, 4 pacemen strategy, Ponting’s leadership, Johnson’s form – well, all of that could be possible reasons, but the trap was laid before the first ball was bowled.

In war, distracting an enemy is an effective strategy – distract, make the opponent feel they will win and in the actual battlefield, hit them so hard that they don’t recover from the killer punch. Well done England, it is probably the first time in many years that I have seen English cricket plot a recovery and hit at a depleted Australia side like this. They did it even without KP’s services for most part of the series, and that is truly amazing! It was a good series – few great performances, but overall keenly fought between two equally strong (or teams with long term strategy to get stronger and stronger) sides. Before I say bye, looks like the ODIs are starting. This is an over overdose of cricket.


One thought on “Ashes – a strategic perspective

  1. From an Indian perspective,the ‘recalling’ of Rahul Dravid into the Indian one-day side was indeed refreshing…can’t ‘recall’when the selectors last showed such spirit!If you are aware of Dravid’s exploits in the IPL,then you simply have to accept the selectors’ decision.But now that he has been recalled, he should be in the team for the World Cup!

    Ranga: I was exactly thinking of Dravid when I started the post. But it is a very different scenario than Trescothik or Ramprakash. I agree, Dravid has to now be there until the inexperienced players are more stable. He will be 36-37 when WC happens. Lets see how he also shapes up. With Dravid, one never knows in ODIs, kya karega woh. but at least he is a fighter and has the right spirit

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