Mhambrey - loong ( was Re: [News] India 'A' team for the First 'Test'

Mhambrey - loong ( was Re: [News] India 'A' team for the First 'Test'

Post by Sadiq Yus » Sat, 21 Jan 1995 14:50:10


>Mambray. Mr Sadiq did watch him first hand and was not that impressed by this
>young medium pacer. But his bowling figures for Bombay are very very
>impressive. If stats do count this guy is the most talented medium pacer in

        Heh. I get back, and the first article I read on rsc mentions my
old silly opinion about Mhambrey :-)
        Actually, I dont believe I ever said he wasnt good :-) I last
saw him 2 and a half years ago, when he had not even made the Bombay
Ranji 14 - he was a young medium pacer playing in a club game as the 3rd
seamer of which the 2 main prongs were Kuruvilla and Ankola. I saw him
get a couple of wickets and was pretty impressed - asked around and
found out his name. I felt he was a good bowler and might do OK for
Bombay sometime.
        Well, I just saw him again, 2 and a half years later :-) And he
has improved by leaps and bounds - he's nowhere near the same bowler he
was when I last saw him. He's currently a darn good seamer, and a
genuine prospect for the national side - something that I hadnt really
thought of the last time I saw him.

        First off, saw the OD game between England A and CCI at the
Brabourne - the first game England A played on tour. Bahutule dominated
this game, taking 5 wickets in 10 overs for probably around 20 odd runs,
and looking fantastic (more of which anon, if time permits :-) It
finally came down to England A needing 22 to win off 3 overs, with 4
wickets in hand. First ball, Zubin Barucha (easily the best fielder I
saw on my trip - the guy is fantastic) hits the stumps from point
with one stump to aim at, and Paul Weekes is run out. Dominic Cork was
the next man in I think (no scorecards available, we were going on
physical appearances under helmets). Paras Mhambrey promptly bowls
*five* consecutive dot balls to Cork - all 5 swinging and in the
block-hole, perfect deliveries. It was a 48th over maiden, in a 50 over
game ! England A then needed 12 to win off the final over I think, and
Mhambrey's first ball was a full-toss (overpitched the yorker attempt
:-) and was crashed for 4. It came down to needing 8 off 5 balls with the
batsmen running for everything at that stage. Mhambrey did hold his
nerve, though, giving nothing away and conceding just 6 off the next 5
balls (at least a few of those coming off sprinted leg byes), and CCI
won by 1 run :-)

        The big game, though, was the India Youth vs England A 4 day
game at ***hede, which I got to see in its entirety (20 bucks a day,
Garware Pavilion seats :-) No crowd to speak of. At times it felt like
just Vishy, Sandy and me watching it :-) )
        The India A bowling attack was Mhambrey, Obaid Kamal, Iqbal
Siddiqui, Bharti Vij and Balaji Rao. And it was a terrific pitch for
cricket - it swung and seamed all over on the first day, there was turn
and bounce for the spinners (and the all-important "bite" that Amre
would mention :-) . The only problem is, the pitch slows up with time
and batting probably gets easier. Still.
        Basically, one can only compare the pacemen. Mhambrey was
clearly the best paceman in the side - he outbowled the other 2 by
miles. (I'll try to find a piece on it, if I still have it, but other
than that Iam going on memory).
        The first day, England A ended at 221/6 in 91 overs. They went
on the next day to get 283. The pacemen figures were :

Bowling         O       M       R       W
Mhambrey        24      9       46      2
Siddiqui        21      3       46      1
Kamal           22      3       55      The

        The figures are close, but Mhambrey was the best bowler of the
bunch in this innning - better than Kamal and Siddiqui, in that order.
The attack was opened by Mhambrey and Siddiqui, and Paras was clearly
the more dangerous of the two. He brought one back sharply and clean
bowled Jason Gallian in his first spell. He then had a 2 over break
while the spinners came on - then Dighe immediately realized the pitch
had more in it for the pacemen, and he brought Mhambrey back right away.
It was, however, Paras' third spell of the day, the one after lunch,
that really caught the eye. England A had progressed to 125/3, when
Paras brought one back sharply and trapped David Hemp in front. He
looked genuinely hostile in this spell - the next over he had a catch go
down in the slips (Dominic Cork, before he had scored), and then
appeared to have him caught behind by Dighe to all on the field but the
umpire :-) At the end of the day, Mhambrey and Kamal had 2 wickets each,
while Siddiqui had 1. The next morning, Kamal picked up the 9th wicket
to fall (Salisbury) and ended with 3 - I missed the first 15 odd minutes
of the day and so cant comment on most of Mhambrey's bowling in the
early morning spell.
        General impressions on the seamers : Mhambrey was clearly the
best of the three, though I suppose Kamal's 3 wickets have to help his
rating a bit :-) Siddiqui, I suppose, is a prospect - but he still needs
to learn a bit.
        Kamal's action is very like that of Richard Hadlee's -
he's clearly used him as a model :-) And Kamal moves the ball both ways
- always a useful trait. However, Obaid is slow, very much the medium
pacer. At the highest level, that will probably make him slightly less
effective than at the A team level I suppose.
        Mhambrey surprised me with his pace - I had seen him so long
ago, I sort of always felt he was a medium pacer. He's a little faster
than that - he is sort of nippy, surprises batsmen with his pace. Iam
not saying that he's fast - Kuruvilla and Ankola clearly look faster (I
didnt see them in person, only on TV). However, Paras is clearly faster
than Obaid Kamal and, but for one spell in the match, looked as fast if
not faster than Siddiqui.
        Mhambrey also, of course, moves it both ways - in a most
impressive manner too. He looked really hostile in that afternoon spell,
and was moving it around and mixing it up very well - and the ball must
have been over 50 overs old at that stage. The reason he was clearly
better than Kamal, for example, was because he moved it as well as
Kamal, was faster, and actually appeared to have better control - as, I
suppose, the figures demonstrate.
        As for Siddiqui - I dont know. A friend was distinctly
unimpressed (we watched it together). I personally am still hopeful - at
the moment Mhambrey is clearly better, but that doesnt mean Siddiqui
isnt a prospect. He's young (only 19) and has good instincts - always
wants to attack, to be aggressive. I hope he will be nutured by the
selectors. He didnt look much faster than Mhambrey for most of the match -
they often bowled in tandem. However, nearing the end of the first day
when the 2nd new ball was taken, he seemed to pick up in pace a bit -
that was the only time in the game he did seem a little faster than
Mhambrey. He also lost a bit of control at this stage (probably not
coincidentally ? :-). His control in general isnt up to Mhambrey's (or
even Kamal's), and neither is his swing yet, though I did see a bit of
an out*** and all (so he's not like Srinath :-). But, as I said,
attacking instincts - he bowled consecutive bouncers to end the first
day :-) One reporter (rather uncharitably I thought) suggested that the
one wicket he claimed (Ramprakash, a very good wicket to get) was mostly
due to his unpredictability - thats probably a little harsh, though he
had lost a bit of control in that spell and was tossing in a mixed bag.
He had bowled a few shortish balls and finally got a couple pitched up -
Ramprakash missed a straightish, well pitched up ball that kept a bit
low, and was lbw. One thing though - Siddiqui's build is probably a
little better than the other guys, at 19 he might have the potential to
get more meat on his shoulders. Maybe he can pick up in pace. But, as I
said, he's not ready yet.

        Anyway. That was just the first innings :-) The reason I've paid
that much attention to it is simple - the pacemen didnt bowl as much in
the 2nd, the ball wasnt doing as much for the seamers as it was on
the first day. The 2nd inning figures were :

Bowling         O       M       R       W
Mhambrey        11.2    5       26      3
Siddiqui        4       0       24      0
Kamal           6       1       17      0

        As one can see, not much of a sample size in the 2nd knock.
Siddiqui lost his line a little and was hit for a couple of boundaries
by Gallian and Knight early. He was taken off after 4 overs, and there
was never a need to bring him back.
        Kamal bowled just 6 very ordinary overs for 17 runs - there was
less movement and he never looked very threatening in those 6 overs - he
was much better in the first innings, really.
        Mhambrey, in conditions that didnt help seam bowling at all, was
magnificent. This was the performance that really sold me on him - it
was after watching this performance that it's no surprise to me that he
was picked for the India A team. He had bowled a few overs early and
looked better than the other 2 pacemen, but hadnt made the breakthrough.
The spinners then came on bowling in tandem (with the ball turning all
over the place) and were very effective - England A were reduced to
132/6. Then, Paul Weekes (determined cricketer and nice guy :-) and Paul
Nixon started getting runs and took the score to 170 odd - a lead of
about 250. Thats when Mhambrey was brought back, and he was terrific. He
ripped through the rest in a wonderful spell - in the last stretch, he
bowled 14 balls and took 3 wickets without conceding a run. The last
wicket was especially fun to watch - inswinging yorker, went right
through Stemp and took middle stump, sending it cartwheeling. Pretty
picture :-)

        Basically, I only got to see these 3 guys competing head to head
in this game. Never did get to see Ankola and Kuruvilla at the ground,
so its hard for me to compare Mhambrey to them. All one can really say
is that Mhambrey looked a good prospect, on the evidence of this game at
least, clearly superior to Kamal and Siddiqui. His performance in the
first "test" v/s England A confirms this for me - on a track where most
of the Indian bowling load was shouldered by the spinners, Mhambrey's
figures were :

Bowling         O       M       R       W
Mhambrey        14.3    1       42      3
Mhambrey        6       1       14      1

        He bowled more than Kuruvilla in both innings. At least on the
sort of tracks that are currently being prepared, Mhambrey is being seen
as very effective - he will bowl intelligently, keep the pressure on,
and take wickets too. They seem to be afraid that Kuruvilla might go for
too many runs.
        Basically, I've always been an Ankola fan (was that ever
apparent on rsc ? :-). I still think Ankola is a heck of a bowler - saw
him in the SAARC on TV, and he was very good. However, I dont believe
Ankola will be picked for India again. He received step-motherly
treatment from the selectors, IMHO, but thats done - unless he takes
like 10 in a game v/s England A, he probably will never be picked again.
That's partly also because it will come down to the zonal or BCA
selectors to push for him, in the face of possible opposition. And,
IMHO, they wont - they will probably push for Mhambrey instead, if he
gives them the performances to push him with :-) . The fact that he's
younger (and a fresh face) helps him too.
        All in all, it will be fascinating to watch his performances in
the next couple of tests.

>>Tittu Mathew [Waiting for the 1st test;
>>             hey, you lucky Sadiq, keep us posted !]

        Sorry, I couldnt get on email but for that one time while in
Bombay - and that after travelling a couple hours via train to IIT (the
Kanjormarg station :-) Now, though, Iam back here - its up to Mohan and
Gautam and all to keep us updated :-)

                Sadiq [ who enjoyed himself immensely :-) ] Yusuf

>>>[ Source : The Hindu, 11th Jan'95 ]


>>>Amit                        |   HP-India Software Operation, Bangalore

Sadiq Yusuf