Home > Features >

Shane Warne’s tweet about Gautam Gambhir’s pathetic show on the final day is fully justified

Shane Warne's tweet about Gautam Gambhir's pathetic show on the final day is fully justified

What’s more important: Carrying the bat, or carrying the interests of the team? © Getty Images

After the eighth Indian wicket went down, Gautam Gambhir faced 27 deliveries with defensive prods to score six runs, showing no inclination to farm the strike or attempt some quick runs. Arunabha Sengupta does an over by over analysis of the fourth morning at Wankhede to argue that it was a pathetic display, deserving a slap on the wrist.

At the end of the 41st over of India’s second innings in the second Test at the Wankhede, Shane Warne was exasperated enough to tweet: “Surely Ghambir should not be taking singles??? I think as he has been in poor form he wants a not out!!!!! Team first please…..”

Was the legendary leggie being a bit too harsh on the Indian opening batsman? Australians have been known to be overly critical about the Indian approach to cricket.

On the other hand, Gambhir has indeed been struggling in the longest format of the game for over two years – in recent times he has tried to hide behind inane comments, quoting some mathematically imbecilic numbers. He had got to a fifty after quite a while and a not out would surely do wonders for his plummeting average.

And besides, he was on the verge of joining Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid as the only openers to carry their bats for India. Was that fact playing on his mind as well? Obsession for records is not really a well-kept secret in this country.

If asked candidly, Gambhir will of course have a lot of arguments to defend himself. First of all, the situation was hopeless. Secondly, he may have looked for singles and could not find the gaps in the field in spite of his best efforts.

Well, let us take an objective look at the situation and the response of the Indians.

An over by over analysis

The eighth Indian went down when Harbhajan Singh was snapped up in the slips off Graeme Swann. The man with two hundreds in Test cricket had lasted five balls, with a lofted boundary over mid-off to show for his efforts. Another Test centurion, Ravinchandran Ashwin, had fallen while trying to drive Monty Panesar over the covers, with just a few minutes to go for stumps to be drawn on the third evening.

It was 128 for eight in the 35th over – a sorry tale. India was ahead by just 42 runs. Zaheer Khan was the new man in. Gambhir was batting on 59.

Three decades ago, when the seventh second innings wicket had gone down and Ian Botham had been joined at the wicket by Graham Dilley, England had needed 92 more to make Australia bat again. When Terry Alderman had bowled Dilley, England were ahead by just 25. The rest is history.

True, a miracle did take place that day. Botham kept hooking and the balls flew off the middle and also off top edges to vacant areas in the outfield. Dilley kept slashing and often found the middle of the bat; and if that did not happen, edges flew to the third man boundary. Rod Marsh later said that luck had a huge role to play. Reasoning along the same lines, we can perhaps just about justify the bravado shown by Harbhajan and Ashwin. But, what about the show of Gambhir after Zaheer joined him?

The wicket had proven to be treacherous. Panesar and Swann had managed to tie the Indian batsmen into knots. At least on paper India had three front-line spinners. A fourth innings target of 150 or thereabouts could have given them an outside chance. Was it a mathematical impossibility push the lead to that region? At least an attempt could have been made, with Gambhir– chiselled by One-Day Internationals and Twenty 20– showing some intent.

This is what he chose to do.

Over No. 35 – Zaheer defended the last of the over and Gambhir wanted to scamper across for a single! Zaheer would have kept the strike if that had been taken, but he sent the opener back.

Over No. 36 – Gambhir defended two balls and took a single off the third.

Over No. 37 – Gambhir took a run off the first ball! As Zaheer took strike, four men crowded the bat. He managed a single off the third ball. Gambhir padded the fourth ball and defended the last two.

Over No. 38 – Zaheer slogged the fourth ball of the over from Panesar, top edging it for Matt Prior to gobble up a skier. The batsmen crossed over. So Pragyan Ojha stood at the non-striker end while Gambhir solidly defended the two remaining balls.

Over No. 39 – Ojha played out a maiden over. The last ball was pushed into the gap on the off-side, but for a change Gambhir decided to keep the strike.

Over No. 40 – After the noble act of refusing a single off the last ball of the previous over, Gambhir drove the first ball down to long on for one! Ojha lived through a rousing lbw appeal, a hoicked boundary and a clear bat-pad catch which was for some reason turned down by Aleem Dar.

Over No. 41 – Gambhir defended every ball diligently. It was at this juncture that Shane Warne  tweeted his vexation.

Shane Warne's tweet about Gautam Gambhir's pathetic show on the final day is fully justified

Shane Warne’s tweet on Gautam Gambhir.

Over No. 42 – Ojha heaved the first ball to get an inside edge for a single. Gambhir stoutly defended the next three. He pushed the fifth ball to the off trudged out for a single. On second thoughts, he came back for two. Ojha, miles out of his crease, survived as the throw was wide. Having managed to retain strike for the last ball, Gambhir presented a dead bat to it.

Over No. 43 – Ojha managed a single off the second ball, and Gambhir defended the remaining four.

Over No. 44 – A leg bye off the fourth ball gave Gambhir the strike. He turned the next one for a single.

Over No. 45 – Gambhir was out, adjudged leg before off an inside edge.

So, he could not carry his bat after all, scoring 65 runs in just over three hours. The Indians were all out for 142.

On the fourth morning, after the eighth wicket went down, Gambhir scored six from 27 deliveries.
All the 27 balls were either left alone, deliberately padded or defensive prods and pushes. There was one drive which went to long-on for a single. Apart from that there was no drive, cut, pull, steer or even – strange given two spinners were in operation – an attempted sweep.

Based on this 27-ball evidence, is it indeed very difficult for one to believe that he was trying to set a decent  target for the Indian bowlers to bowl at. It was nothing but a pathetic attempt at self-survival –for the inflation of his own numbers, to have that not out against his name in the final card, to go down as the fourth man to have carried his bat for India. Even his demise – a wrong decision – came off a defensive prod. In many ways, the umpiring error was poetic justice. This disgusting display was in no way fit to be bracketed with the valiant efforts of Gavaskar, Sehwag and Dravid.

In 1984, after a similar defeat to England in what was also the second Test of the series, two players lost their places in the side due to callous shot selection. Strangely, the two men to get the axe were Sandeep Patil, the current chief selector, and Kapil Dev, a man who has been voicing his opinions increasingly loudly.
The show by Gambhir on the fourth morning was in sharp contrast to their acts. Every stroke was a percentage, zero-risk shot with minimum chance of dismissal. But, it was right up there in being exactly what the team did not want. Based on the evidence provided above, the Indian opener is as – or even more – guilty of putting himself way ahead of the team.

But will a similar punitive measure be taken?

The selectors have already made themselves a meaningless group by insisting that a player has the right to decide when to go, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has stood firmly behind this view to underline their worth as a laughing stock.

One wonders if the wise men even realised that Gambhir’s cautious crawl that morning was deplorable

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

David Warner feels lucky to have equalled Don Bradman’s record

Kapil Dev’s Dev Musco Lighting accused of inflated costs by GCA

VVS Laxman advises budding batsmen to score big hundreds

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

West Indies women not distracted by controversy in men’s team

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here