Away Series at Huntsville - A Challenge of sorts...

    To celebrate one year of its explosive existence, the MSU Cricket Club has set up one of its most intriguing away series. Expect mayhem when the cricket dawgs of MSU travel to the city of Huntsville, Alabama to take part in a three match tournament with the Chargers of the University of Alabama Huntsville.

    The Chargers at UAH are no strangers to the dawgs. The series between the two teams goes a long way with each team having had tours in the other's home grounds. The last time these two teams met in a head-to-head series was when UAH came down to Starkville in March this year. If you were there to witness those games, you would probably know the intense rivalry and mutual respect that these teams have for each other. MSU won that series but the UAH team showed its substance in all the matches and gave a tough fight. Inexperience both on playing conditions and basics of cricket probably cost UAH the series, but make no mistake of it, they are one hell of a team to beat even away from home. So you can expect what will be awaiting the MSU team when they battle the UAH team on their own turf.

    The last time MSU went down to Huntsville to play cricket was way back in January of 2001. Both teams matched each other in skills and talent, but it was the dawgs of MSU who had an upper edge and they won the series 2-1. Back then it was the batting of Satyendra Kallur and Krishnendu Chandra (Kris) that stood out, along with with some notable performances with the ball by both teams.

    This time around Kris has been given the responsibility of leading a pretty new team. The Committee announced recently the list of 21 probables and as I look at it one thought occurs to me..."how does one go about selecting 14 from this list of 21???"...I mean whom do you leave out ?? All of the 21 have shown in the past that they are capable of winning matches single-handedly...so how do you decide who is less valuable ???...Given a choice I would rather field two brilliant teams from this list and get away with it...any of the teams will be equally capable of demolishing any opposition !!!

    Lets see who I would have in my final 14 list based on their speciality...trust me this was no easy job to do...but hey someone needs to do it...lets see if the committee thinks on the same lines...the final 14 are to be announced on saturday...I just can't wait to see who gets the nod...

Batting:
1. Jayaram
2. Kris
3. Nabeel
4. Dale Moorhouse
5. Abdud

Allrounders:
6. Arun (wicketkeeper+bowler+batsman)
7. Khurram (wicketkeeper+bowler+batsman)
8. Pramod (Dodda) (wicketkeeper+batsman)

Bowlers:
9. Leathen
10. Stephen Malchi
11. Deepesh Patel
12. Prashanth Buchi
13. Junaid
14. Kalyan

In Detail:

    Jayaram...one word summarizes his batting skill..."Explosive"...he has shown time and again that he is capable of hitting over the boundary with ease and demoralizing any bowling attack...Kris...hitter par excellence...mostly comes down the order and accelerates the run-rate with his quick hitting...Nabeel...one of the most consistent run getters at MSU...is able to get runs no matter what the situation might be or however tough the bowling is...Dale...the fastest guy on the team...can take singles at the speed of light !!!...and when singles don't do the job, he can swing his bat pretty good...Abdud...the ideal southpaw on the team...takes singles and doubles and eases into a groove...and then goes for his mighty heaves...

    Arun...can you have an allrounder better than this guy ??? rotates the strike when needed, clears the ropes with his mighty swings, bowls yorker length deliveries in the slog overs and can keep wickets as good as any I have seen...what else would you expect an allrounder to have ???...Khurram...more known for his deadly bowling, he is one cool customer to have on the team...reflexes par excellence that make him great behind the stumps and good judger of runs between the wickets...Pramod (Dodda)...the man everybody calls the 'little powermaster'...don't let his size fool you...he can clear the ropes with a flick of his wrist...all the shots he plays can be found in any coaching manual...he is also quick as lightning behind the stumps...one of the better wicketkeepers I have seen at MSU...

    Lethal Leathen...that's what they call him...one of the most experienced bowlers in MSU...consistently bowls good length balls to trouble any batsman and is successfull in bogging down the opposition...Stephen Malchi...the swinger...is able to get swing from almost any kind of ball...is accurate to the core and rarely allows batsmen to play their shots against him...Deepesh Patel...the man lovingly called...Jolar...opens the bowling and is known to open the batting as well for his team here in the MSU league...he delievers consistent good length balls making him invaluable as a bowler...Prashanth Buchi and Junaid... two tear-away fast bowlers...a treat to watch when they bowl, they complement each other and when they bowl in tandem form one of the most lethal combinations I have seen in a long time...both have great speeds to their advantage, but sometimes can get carried away and vary in their lengths and lines...but they have matured now and take equal responsibility of their ends...Kalyan...the spiderman of the team...the lone genuine spinner...casts his web across batsmen of any caliber and takes wickets like they were his own....

The Ommissions:

    I know you must be wondering as to how i selected my 14...well it was more out of seeing these players play well...but make no mistake of it...the guys I left out are equally talented...

    Vasanth  is a great guy to have in the team...I like to call him to utility man...he is lightening quick when taking runs and uses his speed to produce great fielding displays...Venkat is probably the most under-rated guy in the 21...his batting has shown time and again that he is good at it...he only needs to be more consistent...Dakshesh...probably the one guy I regret leaving out...bowls great with consistent line,length and speed...but where can you find a place for him in a team filled with bowling talents already???...Rajeev...is known for his consistent bowling and utility batting skills...a good allrounder....Pramod Jain, Chandru and Jignesh...all three new talents...probably need to be more consistent and need more exposure before they are chosen but all three are a delight to watch...Pramod with his quick run-getting shots...Chandru with his consistency with the bat and Jignesh with his great bowling....

In Summary:

    The tour itself will be a big challenge because this will be the first time most of the players will be visiting another playing turf and it can be mighty unnerving to play in alien conditions. But I expect Kris to do a great job of using all the raw talent on the team to his advantage. He is an invaluable player and a great leader as he has shown over the years. Good luck to you Kris and the team (whoever the committee selects and decides to send)...I am sure you guys will make MSU proud and play the game to its true spirit. You are our ambassadors out there and whatever you do remember we are always behind you.

    Good luck and have fun...GO DAWGS !!! GET THAT TROPHY...
 
- Vikram Venkatesh
14th October 2003
http://www.msstate.edu/~vv24