The second-last prediction I made (about Punjab getting relegated), in hindsight, looks fundamentally flawed. After Orissa made 300 in their first innings, I assumed that Punjab wouldn’t be able to face Mohanty in Mohali. Instead it was VRV who cracked in Orissa’s second innings, taking four wickets with five balls as they folded up for 76, with the only decent resistance coming from SS Das.
If you look at day cricket at Mohali, it has always been supportive of the hit the deck types, rather than the swingers. If you recall the first ever test there,? Walsh broke Prabhakar’s nose, and along with Kenny Benjamin, finished off the Indians for a little over a 100. Munaf, on his debut here in 2006, had destroyed England, with help from Anil Kumble (and back then, Munaf was fast). If you discount bowling under lights (when dew makes the ball play tricks, and thus assists the swingers), Mohali doesn’t have much swing. It’s more about the hard deck, and the bounce, and ideally suited for the hit the deck types.
It’s the kind of pitch which is best exploited by a tall and fast bowler with a high arm action who can pitch it at a back of a length, and in that department VRV is one of the best we have in India. Face it, but that’s the truth. Ishant has the height and bounce but lacks pace, and I don’t really know about Pankaj Singh. Another exponent of this kind of bowling is Agarkar, who, despite his lack of height, gets excellent bounce when in form. And there is Munaf. The left armers are all swingers, as is Sreesanth.
Anyways, the point is that Mohali would always be more conducive to someone like VRV rather than a swinger like Mohanty. Hence the bet was flawed.