× Close

The Field

Sports news and scores

New Zealand in India

Preview: Ahead of 2nd ODI, another chance for the usually inflexible MS Dhoni to experiment

A spat of injuries has forced the captain to look beyond his first-team players. It could bode well for India.

Whenever illness or injury has struck off late, Indian cricket has been spoilt for choices this season. First, Ishant Sharma was laid low as the Test season kicked off. But Virat Kohli as Test skipper did not have to worry as he juggled his pace options between Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

And now, illness has now seen Suresh Raina sidelined for this second One-Day International at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday as well. When he was ruled out in Dharamsala, Kedar Jadhav came into the eleven, and impressed in his limited outing. Raina’s continued absence means that Jadhav will feature in the Indian first eleven for a second match running, a healthy sign for the experimentation MS Dhoni wanted before the Champions Trophy.

It allows for Jadhav to play consecutive matches, a chance not often afforded to fringe players. It allows for Hardik Pandya to continue in his progressive all-rounder role. It allows Ajinkya Rahane to continue to open in ODI cricket, his preferable batting position.

Horses for courses?

Why is this important, though? Dhoni is not used to experimentation in his team selections. He is someone who looks for comfort in the players he has known over time. Winning is important, for you are playing for India, and this is the reasoning behind his focus on one particular player for one particular role. Raina is the enforcer that Jadhav can be, while Dhawan is the explosive opener that Rahane can be. Form, crucially enough, is of little value at times.

How else is Raina’s inclusion in this ODI squad explained? He had a poor series against South Africa, and was not considered for the Australia tour. He was even left out of the Zimbabwe tour, which is usually a chance for discards as much as it is for those warming the bench. Leaving him out was the final conclusion of the previous selection committee. They wanted to look ahead, and search for other options in the middle order.

And yet, with the new selection committee just settling in, Raina is back in the team without having done much to prove his wares in recent times. Barring illness, he would have obviously made the first eleven in Dharamsala as well. Such is the confidence Dhoni places in his past record.

It is akin to the manner Dhawan had previously enjoyed this run of confidence. It was in 2014 when injury last put him out of reckoning for the ODI eleven, and Rahane opened the innings against England, West Indies and Sri Lanka. In 11 matches, he scored 435 runs (averaging 39.54), with two hundreds and a fifty, and yet when the 2015 ODI World Cup came around, he was shifted down the order once again to make space for the left-hander.

Delhi will offer a new challenge to Hardik Pandya

However, while it cannot be denied that Dhoni remains inflexible in selection when his first-choice players are available, his hand is now forced to try out different options with the main bowlers rested. It was the same in Australia, when with Raina missing, he had to try out Gurkeerat Mann and Rishi Dhawan. Sadly enough, they did not come through in tough conditions against tougher opposition. This is where the Hardik Pandya experiment in the last ODI assumes significance.

His success in Dharamsala becomes a precursor to the conditions the all-rounder will find in England next summer. Maybe he will not find as much success in the coming matches at home, as pitches will be very different, moving to different, drier parts of the country. But even an iota of realisation that Pandya can do the job consistently in helpful climes, whilst under pressure, is vital.

“He is someone who gives us right balance, because he cannot only bowl but he bowls at a pretty decent pace. It was nice that he really bowled well in his first game with the new ball. That was certainly a strategy that MS wanted Hardik to try. And it’s really heartening that he came up with the man of the match in his first game. So that should give him a lot of confidence. All-rounders who can run in and bowl quick, and bat, are certainly an asset and he is someone we’ll closely monitor and see how he progresses,” said coach Anil Kumble in Delhi on Wednesday.

New Zealand await a Kane special

Meanwhile, New Zealand will be hoping to reverse the ill form that they have sustained for so long on this tour. Through the Test series they were able to put pressure on India with the ball, but failed to do with the bat. It could have been the same had they put up 250-280 in Dharamsala. Then again, this is the vital ingredient missing from their mix at the moment – runs.

It is at this juncture the spotlight shines brightest on Kane Williamson, their best batsman and leader. Despite contrasting personalities, many see in him the same inspiration that Brendon McCullum possessed. In reality, they are missing his swagger more. If he were in a similar situation, McCullum would have grabbed the next game by the neck and wringed it. That alone would have inspired life back into this side.

So the question remains if, for all his calm and composure, and the ranking among the best batsmen in the world, can Williamson do so in Delhi?

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BULLETIN BY 

“Doctors have it easier than us. Their mistakes get buried, our mistakes will be there for everyone to see”

Celebrated architect Hadi Teherani tells us what luxury in the living space means to him.

Hadi Teherani is best known for designing iconic buildings in Germany including the famous Dockland office in Hamburg and the Kranhaus in Cologne. But he’s also left his mark on the landscape of Abu Dhabi with the Zayed University, and has designed a luxury residence that will soon grace the skyline of Mumbai—Lodha Altamount. We spoke to him about the challenges of designing luxury living spaces in India.

Q. In your opinion, what is the definition of luxury specifically in the area of private residences? Is it a lot of fresh air, space and daylight? Is it the room composition? Or is luxury something completely different?

Hadi Teherani (HT): For me, luxury is first and foremost to have space, not just enough for what you need but enough space to really thrive. And luxury has always been defined that way. If you look at Art Nouveau houses, those rooms have incredible heights. So yes, space is definitely an important factor when it comes to luxury. In Europe people pay attention to every square metre and here in Mumbai it is the same. There are slums where 4 people live in one room and just across the street somebody is living by himself on 1000 square metres. Once you have space, luxury can be in the features, in using certain materials, and there is no limit. Some things, of course, are simply not available here: the luxury of fresh air and a clean sea. No matter how much money you are willing to spend, you cannot get those. Therefore, you are limited to what is available.

Q. Have you incorporated this concept of space into previous projects?

HT: Yes, in different ways, no matter if you are working on government-sponsored housing projects or in the luxury segment. Usually our projects are more in the luxury segment, where space is crucial. We are currently designing a building where luxury can already be sensed at the parking level. You reach with your car and you are already supposed to have the feeling that you’ve arrived at a hotel lobby. This is how far luxury has come. That the arrival in a garage already gives you the feeling as if you are coming to a palace—you get out of your limousine into this stunning lobby and this feeling continues as you go up into the apartment where you have a bathroom that is 20-30 square metres and not just 5-10. The idea of really designing your bathroom or kitchen has not yet reached India. Bathrooms are still rather compact and practical since the idea of spending quality time in your bathroom doesn’t seem to exist yet. Customers definitely do not request a spacious bathroom when we discuss their projects. For me, personally, a great bathroom is extremely important, as it is the first thing you use in the morning. Afterwards you go to work, and you come back home. But I believe the areas that you use most need to have enough space for you to move and thrive in.

Q. Do you have any role model in the field of architecture? Maybe a building or a person?

HT: The Bauhaus is still my role model. Back then they designed products for day-to-day life, affordable for the general population. But those products have become classics today like the lounge chair by Le Corbusier. Those were project works but Bauhaus thought further ahead. The idea was to give people light, air and space, and to free them from elements that were poorly designed and uncomfortable like big stucco ceilings. The focus needs to be light, air and sun. For them, architecture and product design were always very fluent concepts. Le Corbusier, for instance, designed fantastic buildings as well as whole cities, but on the other hand also designed furniture. Gropius had even designed a car once and furniture, too. This school of thinking has influenced me, and once you have all those “tools” and this way of thinking, you get very far. With this “toolbox” of modern design, you can create anything and influence society. The times back then aided this development; everyone was opening up, living in and with nature, not hiding away in little holes. And the world evolved from there. And today you can see they are daring even more spectacular things in Asia than they used to in Old Europe.

Q. You have already gained quite some experience in India. Is there something that you would define as a typical “Indian palate”, and if so, how does it differ from the international projects? You already mentioned the differences in bath and kitchen design, but are there, for instance, taboos like colours you wouldn’t use or something in room composition?

HT: I haven’t encountered anything like that. What I do experience is that many projects are influenced by religious thoughts and by Vaastu, something like Feng shui. So the master bedroom has to be in the south-west and the kitchen has to have a certain location. Those rules need to be followed exactly, no matter if it makes sense for the building or not. Here in Mumbai it’s a little more liberal but in other regions, Hyderabad for instance, every centimetre has to be exact as per Vaastu. Sometimes they want a dedicated room for pujas. All this changes while designing a project, of course. But overall the ground plans are not that different. The families might be bigger so houses and apartments are bigger as well, or they are trying to utilize each and every square metre and avoid hallways, for example.

Those projects are also in the centre of a lot of marketing. We are not used to that in Europe but here in Mumbai or even more in other cities like Bangalore, along the entire highway from the airport into the city you only see 50-metre-high billboards announcing new real estate projects. You don’t see anything else! And it’s very creative marketing with catchy headlines and slogans. That isn’t happening in Germany. One more difference: when designing upper class buildings in India, they require a maid or servant room, maybe a separate entrance from the staircase and so forth. Here, you can still afford having a maid. In Europe you might have someone coming by for three hours once a week but certainly not living in.

Q. Let’s talk about the Lodha Altamount. What was the challenge?

HT: The design of Altamount was strongly influenced by being a Lodha project and by its location. Next to Altamount stands a luxury highlight of architecture, the Ambani tower, the most expensive home in the world. How do you want to top that? The Ambani tower is very structural. It shoots through the air, it combines all sorts of crafts and structural design elements with gaps and open spaces. You can’t top that and definitely not with our type of design. That’s why we decided to hold back and instead develop a dark and sleek building. That type of building doesn’t exist a lot here in India. Usually buildings have many structural elements like beams and balconies. By creating a calm building in the skyline of Mumbai, we will make Altamount stand out. Plus, the top of the building is very unique. Many structures are either simply cut off straight or completed by a dome. We have two geometric pointy tops so that the building is properly completed and doesn’t look as if it could grow further. It has a head and feet and is finished. So for us to hold back was our way to stand out. It doesn’t devalue the building design in anyway. It is meant expressively in the sense of “less is more”. And the interior is of course very luxurious: it is designed through and through, there is the green car parking podium, each balcony has a mini pool. So all those luxury features are present but the architectural design is based on the idea of “less is more”.

Lodha Altamount (Mumbai) designed by Hadi Teherani.
Lodha Altamount (Mumbai) designed by Hadi Teherani.

Q. Luxury can drift into the eccentric, depending on the client. Have there been any projects that were very eccentric which you still accepted or projects that you had to turn down because they were too eccentric?

HT: As architects, we create a space. What happens, of course, is that people buy an apartment in a great contemporary building and then furnish it in a baroque style. But that freedom has to be there, of course, because we can’t also tell the client which curtains to use or clothes to wear. At a certain point our job is done. However, when it comes to public buildings, the public is supposed to benefit from, so I have to be strict and dictate. In private buildings you can leave it up to the individual but publicly I have a responsibility and cannot consider each and every taste. I have to do a clean job so that in the end every individual can find himself or herself in my design. Anyway, taste always stems from a certain upbringing, culture and environment, so I also have the duty to educate and that’s what I do with my projects. When a small child walks by a building, she recognizes when the proportions are right even if she has no idea about architecture. But if the proportions are off, the child will pick that up too, because every building also exudes energy, either of unease or comfort. So we have quite a big responsibility as well. I always say doctors have it easier than us. Their mistakes get buried, but our mistakes will always be there for everyone to see.

With one residence per floor and a host of bespoke luxury services, Lodha Altamount is the epitome of unrestricted luxury. Designed by Hadi Teherani, and a part of the Lodha group’s Luxury Collection that has homes present at only the globe’s most-coveted locations, Lodha Altamount is the last word in luxury in India. For more information about Lodha Altamount, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Lodha by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff

× Close