Share the Passion

To exchange links with me, please send mail to madhusudan (dot) gr (at)
Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CLT20 2014 - CSK lose against KKR

Links to this post
Thanks to Ryan Ten Doeschate and Andre Russell, KKR managed to overcome a shaky start to defeat the powerful CSK team.

The R-B graph says a lot!

The chase was stuttering (where KKR lost four wickets) and till the 8th over, the difference keeps increasing! In the eleventh over, there is a big plunge in the chart followed by three overs of consolidation. Similarly, another plunge follows in the 16th over which meant  that the KKR could chase the target with an over to spare.

Monday, September 08, 2014

England Tour 2014 T20I - India lose a thriller

Links to this post
It was a thriller because one man (MS Dhoni) decided to take the equation down from 18 off 9 balls to 17 off 6 all by himself. Confidence in himself has been always a great factor in such situations but MSD failed yesterday - by three runs!

The graph below shows where the match turned - in a chase that was finally orchestrated by Virat Kohli (it helped that his nemesis Anderson was missing this game), the Indian innings were on track by over 15. The R-B line met the ideal scenario - just then, Kohli fell, followed by Raina...and then Jadeja. All this while Dhoni was warming up.

17 was scored off the first over of England innings - before the final over began, India needed that many runs to win! The Indian death-bowling once again leaked runs so much that it was a flood at the end. Full-tosses were handed out as though it was Christmas - Mohit Sharma's persistence with slower balls were exposed badly. What it meant was a target that was 61 runs more than the number of balls available to play!

What next for India? The Champions League starts soon and T20 mayhem will be all over the country. It makes sense for India to start planning for the next T20 World Cup with Virat Kohli as the captain (and Raina as the deputy). India need to bring back the spirit with which they played the inaugural T20 World Cup where a number of T20 specialists were selected.

Along tour comes to an end where India won the ODIs 3-1 while losing the test series by same margin and the lone T20. One hopes the next tour will be a progressive step forward - let us wait and watch!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - 3-1 it is

Links to this post

The image says it all (though one wonders where Stuart Binny is) changes to the side but India lost.

Call it better English play but it was the dead-rubber syndrome if you ask me.

Emotion on players faces (especially those who had played in the test series as well) while champagne bottles are empty!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - India win series after 1990

Links to this post
Despite calls to experiment, India took the field today in a mood to dominate the series like never before. There were few points remaining to be ticked from the Indian perspective - the opening combination in both batting and bowling were the key areas. The players responded in telling fashion at Birmingham. The match was finished with 117 balls and 9 wickets to spare. Imagine what had happened just before the ODI series had started. Obviously, colored clothing transforms the Indians into tigers!

The match started with Bhuvneshwar Kumar making use of conditions that are favorable to him. Dhawal Kulkarni, making his debut, was given the new ball but probably nerves got the better of him. He gave away runs at the other end that were releasing the pressure to some extent. MSD immediately made changes to ensure that Shami and Bhuvi not only regained control but took three quick wickets. It was as though Indian bowlers could do no wrong. Just when they were tiring came the lengthy partnership between Root and Morgan.

The Indian spinners then took over and struck regularly. Suresh Raina excelled both with the ball as well as catching to ensure that the pressure continued to remain on the England side. But for some attacking batting by Moeen, the English should have bowled out for a paltry score. The boundaries were dried up by some pointed bowling coupled with smart fielding (the fielding was probably the best in recent ODIs). 173 dot balls out of 297 bowled reflects the stranglehold the Indian bowlers had over their rivals. Similarly, the entire innings saw 16 boundaries (3 sixes in them) - the English could neither rotate the strike nor hit the long boundaries. The result was an easily chasable 207.

Rahane used to open but plays in the middle-order. Rohit Sharma's injury has given him the option to play higher in the order - a good move for India by which they could spot a replacement opener in case Rohit or Dhawan continue to fail. Today, Dhawan came good as well (to be fair, the pitch did not do anything at all) with an almost-century. Rahane's silken touches were great to see but what would have made the Indian fan the most happy would have been the four boundaries off Anderson. Anderson's failure (because of continuous matches in the summer) is one of the reasons why England have not been able to put pressure on the Indians. Once the new balls were seen off, the Indians just changed gears and never looked back. At the end, it was just embarrassing for the English fans to watch. The Indians won a bilateral ODI series in England after 1990 with MSD becoming the best Indian captain (with highest number of wins).

In the next match, these are the changes that India should go with

  1. Sanju Samson for MS Dhoni
  2. Virat Kohli as captain, Suresh Raina as vice-captain
  3. Karn Sharma for Ravindra Jadeja
  4. Umesh Yadav for Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Will they do this and tick another box in testing their bench-strength? I think they will try this. What do you say?

Monday, September 01, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - Time to experiment now

Links to this post
Win by six wickets with more than seven overs to spare. Wow! What a turnaround? If one looks at the last seven matches played by India in UK, they are on a roll (after incorporating the lessons learnt during the disastrous 2011 tour). The 3rd ODI was no different with the bowlers setting up a low target for the batsmen to chase down comfortably.

Even though the English openers started well, the part-time bowlers as well as the specialist spinners were able to put the brakes on the scoring by picking up wickets regularly. Rayudu provides MSD with yet another part-time option like Suresh Raina. On this day, he provided the breakthrough to the team by some smart bowling. England has been very fruitful to Rayudu right from his younger days - remember this match early in his career. Couple of ironies here - Rayudu was Raina's captain during the under-19 days while Rayudu's initial days in Ranji tournament went topsy-turvy when he had a spat with the son of current BCCI acting Chairman (Shivlal Yadav) - he still does not play for Hyderabad! Hopefully, those days are behind him and Rayudu should be ready to fire for his country.

Ashwin took three wickets - this should have given him the necessary encouragement for the future especially when his performance had taken a downward turn. His variations have taken a backseat (for the good) while his line and length have made a comeback to ensure the opposition was on the ropes continually. He and Jadeja will continue to form the backbone of the attack in the forthcoming ODIs - again, when there is a hint of turn, they become lethal. MSD loves this combination for just this aspect alone - he is able to put the right field to put pressure on the batsmen and choke them further. The opening bowlers are not able to dent the opposition so far - with two more matches, Dhoni will be trying to get this sorted. Just like the opening batsmen combination. Dhawan will be getting desperate every match - with Kohli getting some semblance of runs, Dhawan will face further introspection in the next match. Will he able to hit his way out?

Coming back to this series, the two wins have given India an unbeatable lead in the series - good opportunity for the Management to experiment with the squad. Sanju Samson (in place of MSD), Dhawal Kulkarni/Umesh Yadav (replacing Mohit Sharma), Karn Sharma (instead of Ravindra Jadeja) can be played in this match. This will help India identify options for the World Cup instead of focusing only on the current series.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

England Tour 2014 ODIs - Convincing win for India

Links to this post
304 runs. 133 runs. 10 wickets. Those were the total India scored in their 50 overs, the margin of win in the 2nd ODI (after the 1st ODI was washed out) as well as the number of England wickets taken correspondingly. Based on the latest performance in the test series, these numbers were music for Indian fans not just at Cardiff but across the globe.

The opening batsmen were different from the last two that opened in the test series (Old Trafford and Oval) to their credit, they did spend some time to gauge the pace at the beginning of the innings (even though the pitch was no way comparable to those tests). Dhawan threw it away edging to the keeper but Rohit Sharma carried on - he will be under pressure to retain his place not just for this series but also the West Indies ODIs. Virat Kohli tried to be aggressive by running down the pitch to the third ball he faced (not sure what he was thinking) - this move also failed just like the other shots he manufactured during the tests. It might be good for Kohli to take a break in the next ODI to take his mind off. This might actually help him better than continuing to play all games (as he has done - not  just the international games but also the warm-up matches).

Rahane, even though he could not convert his score to a bigger one, seems to be a good choice to play at No. 4 - a batsmen strong in technique who can be the bedrock of the innings in case of a collapse. Especially when Cheteshwara Pujara has not been able to replicate his successes in the shorter format, Rahane is the perfect choice to have in the batting lineup. Just like Suresh Raina is at home where he played yesterday - this gives him the opportunity to rotate strike initially and then go for the big hits in the  last 15 overs. The Indian team now have their strategy clear - ensure that wickets are saved during the first 10 overs, start rotating strike with occasional risk during overs 11-35 and then launch into all-out attack from 36 over (when the PowerPlay overs start again). This seemed to work during the second ODI and there is no reason why they should change this method.

Ashwin and Jadeja have been getting the quick runs in the  two-three overs they get at  the end of the innings while turning their arm for useful wickets. Against teams who are weak against spin, these bowlers were a handful. How they will fare on unresponsive (for them) wickets and stronger (against spin) batsmen remains to be seen. As of now, they will continue for the rest of the matches (unless India win another ODI and the think-tank decide to give Karn Sharma a chance). The pace bowlers did well, especially Mohit Sharma even though he did not get any wicket. There will be days when he will get wickets by the bucket but in this ODI, Shami reaped the benefits. After the poor form in the tests, Shami kind-of redeemed himself but it will be good for him to continue the performance for the rest of the matches. Is the Indian team trying to tire Bhuvi out by playing him for all the matches? Isn't it time he is rested?

Overall, the Indian team ticked all the boxes in this ODI but the series is not over. It is resembling the test series in that there was no decision in the first test and ODI, India won the 2nd match (in both series). What should happen now that the Indian team continue to win instead of going the route the test series ended up. Lets hope the think-tank can guide the team to victory. First ODI win in the third overseas series is a good start but the game is not over.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

World Cup 2015 - Is India prepared?

Links to this post
The 2015 World Cup is around the corner - the schedule has been announced and preparations are ongoing for the next extravaganza. The big question on everyone's mind is whether the Indian team is prepared for the event in terms of personnel identified, adequate preparation (matches played on similar surfaces) and any injury concerns.

Let us try to get some statistics right.

Since the last World Cup (if you have forgotten, India won it at home), what has been the performance of the Indian team?

There have been 6 series in all that have been held in India (all bilateral ones) and India have won all of them (England, West Indies and Australia) except the one against Pakistan (lost 1-2). They have played in England twice (before the current series) and won the Champions Trophy while losing the other bilateral series. The team has won overseas series in West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. In between they have lost few tournaments (Asia Cup twice, CB series in Australia) as well as the last two bilateral series (in South Africa and New Zealand where they have not won a single match). The last two have been a sticky point in the Indian think-tank for various reasons. The performance has been so poor that it puts the recent test loss to shame!

Let us slice and dice the numbers more carefully to see what has happened so far.

 This shows the matches played in different countries since the last World Cup. India's performance has been poor in places where the pitch and opposition have been tough (Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England). Performance in England has been decent thanks to the Champions Trophy win. If not, it would have been as bad as SAF and NZ. Proof that the Indian team have been poor travellers.
Is it due to poor scheduling? Is the team not playing the right number of ODIs? What do the stats say?

 No. 2013 saw the team play a high number of ODIs (and a good win % as well). This year, the number has dipped considerably with the focus being test matches and performance overseas. The two series (SAF and NZ) have contributed to the poor win percentage again.

 Very few ODIs against South Africa overall (4) and New Zealand (5) in the last three years. A number of them played against lowly West Indies and favorites Sri Lanka! England feature highly because of the home and return series that have been conducted. This is reflective of the BCCI standoff against different countries which has resulted in this skewed scheduling.
How did the Indians fare in Australia during the last tour?

 This was the tour that highlighted Virat Kohli's emergence to the international ODI scene (with his majestic 183 against Sri Lanka in the final ODI). India won once against Australia while they won twice against Sri Lanka (other than a tie) - not reaching the final of the tri-series. Most of the players who were part of that tour are present but will they make the squad to the World Cup?

What is the schedule for the Indian team during the World Cup?

Matches are scheduled in Adelaide, MCG, Perth, Hamilton and Auckland (initial phase) before the qualified teams play the quarterfinal. Will the Indian team have adequate practice in the Australian pitches before the World Cup starts? They are part of the Tri-series after the tests later this year.

The ODI schedule for the Indians from now till the World Cup looks like this:

Five matches in England and India (against West Indies) before they move Down Under for the tri-series which seems to be skeletal compared to the previous years. Each team plays the other only twice before the finals. The Indians do play in MCG and Perth thereby giving good practice to their players before the World Cup starts.

Let us turn our attention to the players now. Again, dividing the players by different positions and roles, we find startling insights from the data.

This is a clear problem area especially with the lack of form with Shikhar Dhawan (and to an extent, Rohit Sharma). 14 ODIs remain and the team can possibly turn upon Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane as back-up openers. It is not possible to blood any other player in this short time. What is the Team Management thinking about this? Any ideas? Will Virat Kohli be asked to open in a pressure situation?

Middle-Order batsmen

Four choices seem to be clear here - Kohli, Raina, Rahane and Rayudu (unless he drops in form very badly) have made enough to take the ticket to Australia. Rayudu has recently been on the India-A tour (and performed well) to Australia. Not much of a problem here.

The Pathan brothers have dropped off the radar and there is not much time (and opportunities) for them to make a comeback to the squad. Maybe the Champions League could be a possible stage for them to show their mettle. Otherwise, it will be Ashwin, Jadeja and Bhuvi. There could be a toss between Binny and Karn Sharma in the coming days and weeks. One of them might be picked for selection.

With Jadeja and Ashwin already part of the previous group, I expect Amit Mishra to be the only option possible (with close competition from Karn due to his batting).

Pace Bowlers
This is another area of concern for the Indian team with 15 bowlers tried out in three years and few of them falling off the radar for different reasons (poor form, injuries, international ban). Ishant Sharma could make a comeback with the flip-flop performance of the current crop of bowlers. Along with Bhuvi, Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma seem to be the favorites to make the trip. Ishant could definitely give the edge (provided he is injury-free).

Wicket Keeper batsmen
There is no doubt that this group contains a player who will fill in when MSD is injured or banned (for bowling slow). Sanju Samson is the latest choice after the selectors tried out Karthik and Parthiv Patel.

So, overall, the preparation from the Indian team point of view can be summarised as follows:

  1. 14 matches remain to tinker with the combination and selecting the 2-3 slots required for World Cup
  2. There seems to be no  problem for the Indian team to go to the knockout part of the World Cup. After then, what is the plan?
  3. The opening combination is a worry (just like test matches) and the Indian team would do well to prepare Plan B now (no time to create Plan A).
  4. The pace bowlers are also inexperienced and do not seem to be improving with matches. What is the fallback option?
Do the team management have answers to these and much more questions? They would do well to start finding some. I will be very happy to see this image again - I am sure as an Indian fan, you will as well.

Would love to listen to your thoughts.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

England Tour 2014 - India starts its ODI what?

Links to this post
The Indian team for the ODI leg of its English tour was announced during the test series. Quite a few new faces, which in hindsight (after the test series), is a good idea so that fresh energy can be inducted into a squad that is feeling the effects of a long series.

The squad is as follows:
Openers - Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane (in case Dhawan's poor form continues). From the current thinking, I feel that Dhawan will be given the warm-up match (on 22nd against Middlesex) as well as first two ODI's to prove his form. If he continues to fail, Rahane will open the batting with Rohit. I feel that Rohit will get all the five matches, especially as he received only one opportunity in the test series. The openers will have their technique tested against the in-form English bowlers (even though Stuart Broad has been rested from this series). Rahane will get a chance to play in the opening position only, as there are other options in the middle.

Middle-order batsmen - Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson, MS Dhoni. Kohli will be the focus of all during this series, especially since this is a format he has excelled in recent times - an average of 50+ in ODI's and 45+ in England ODI's (though it has been helped by the matches during Champions Trophy) will be tested thoroughly. If he can regain some of his image that he lost during the test series, he will end the tour a relieved man. Raina will bring in the energy and fielding expertise into the squad that was missing in the last few matches (as well as bowling few key overs during the slog). It will be interesting to see Rayudu and Anderson against each other (for they are built of the same cloth!). Samson should get few chances to test him against high-quality bowlers but at the moment, the Indian team's motive is to win the series (which means that he might be on the reserves mostly).

Bits and pieces players (not exactly all-rounders) - Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (on the basis of the just concluded test series). Bhuvi should be brought back (if required) only after the first three matches - he should be merely a tourist till then. That is the minimum the Indian team management can reward him with. Jadeja and Ashwin will start while Karn and Binny will be the back-up after the initial set of matches for poor form.

Pace bowlers - Mohammed Shami(29 ODIs), Mohit Sharma (8 ODIs), Umesh Yadav (31 ODIs), Dhawal Kulkarni. Inexperience is written all over this squad, especially the bowlers (even in ODI scenario). Shami seems to be struggling (based on reports) and hence he might not star in the lineup. Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma will be the likely duo who will open the bowling based on their exploits in recent days. Kulkarni can be a handful in these conditions but his pace will be almost the same as Bhuvi (35 ODIs). Umesh will provide the extra pace but will it be enough?

Based on the pitches and weather conditions (Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds will host the matches), the Indian team's performance will vary. Of course, Ravi Shastri's recent appointment will see the Indian team in a different light (hopefully better one). Dhoni will be back in his best form in a format that he relishes - revenge will definitely be on his mind but does he have the arsenal to attack as well as the mind to challenge? That will dictate the results of the ODI series.

Monday, August 18, 2014

England Tour 2014 - Stop the focus on Dhoni alone!

Links to this post
During the last few tests of the disastrous 2014 test series against England, the Indian team has been facing a lot of criticism - none more than its captain MS Dhoni. Is Dhoni the only person to be blamed? What about the others? Who is to be blamed for the debacle? Let us take a unbiased review of what transpired before and during this series?
  • Let us look at the experience of the Indian team that toured England. The overall experience of the team is shown below - Batting charts of the Indian team shown below (Remember that these are numbers on their entire test career so far, after Oval test)
    Note that these numbers include the performances of the latest test series. Chet Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane stand out in this list with an average of 55+ during their first class career (49+ and 39+ in their test career). Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir average 47+ in their First-class career(39+ and 42+ in tests). There do not exist any other Indian batsmen who can replace them. There were no issues in selecting them - they had performed well in recent tours and tournaments (Gambhir in IPL). Everyone was happy with the team (and so far I have not heard about anyone asking these folks to be removed, Gambhir being the exception). If you look at the tests played by the Indian team overall, 61% of the tests have been played by MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma. Ishant missed two tests and Gambhir three - that means that Dhoni was the lone experienced player in the Indian team. In this team, how many had played tests in England earlier? None other than these!
    Bowling charts 
    The bowling attack is much less experienced compared to the batting. Zaheer Khan was missing from the team after being dropped from the New Zealand squad. Ishant and Ashwin contribute to 89% of the wickets taken by the Indian team overall! Again, Ishant didnt play in two matches while Ashwin missed three. At Southampton, Bhuvi was the most experienced bowler from the Indian team - how many tests has he played? 11 including the 5 tests from this series! 
  • Now, consider the performances during this test series:  How did the Indian players fare?
    Batting charts of the Indian team during the five-test series
    Overall, the team faced a grand 5000 balls during the 5 test series (10 innings to be precise) averaging 500 balls per innings. This means that on average, the team collapsed after the second new ball was picked up. The number is high thanks to the first two tests - the last three tests were what we all know - disastrous. A princely total of 17 scores were made (hundreds and fifties combined) with Dhoni, Vijay, Rahane and Bhuvi being the most impressive. Rahane's form deserted altogether in last two tests! 
    Bowling charts from the Investec Series - Other than Bhuvi and Ishant, no one impressed in this series. Jadeja picked up wickets in four tests but did not match the exploits of Moeen Ali (against supposedly better batsmen of spin). Pankaj Singh and Shami picked up few wickets but their averages and strike rates did not help the Indian team's cause (with Bhuvi at one end).
    Typically, one notices that 2-3 team members have a great series outperforming their colleagues as well as their own overall form. Nothing of that sort happened here other than Bhuvi and Ishant with the ball. What was the end-result? Losses by an innings, 3rd continuous test series lost, Bowled out for 90+, five continuous scores of less than 200. More such statistics can be found here.
  • There was a good announcement of Rahul Dravid being made the batting consultant but that was limited only till the start of the first test match. Why? Dravid had a commitment to do commentary for Star Sports (who are the sponsors for the Indian attire). Could there have been no compromise done to ensure that Dravid could continue being the consultant with the Indian team? Can this arrangement be thought of earlier to the Aussie tour so that there is someone throughout the series? Doubtful!
  • When was the last time India played a five-test series? Long, long ago! It is very harsh to expect the team to play a five test series over the span of 42 days without any break on overseas swinging conditions when they have been playing three test series (or even two-tests) in recent days! Why was such a series planned in the first place? To fill ECB coffers?
  • How many players have experience of English conditions? How many players from the Indian team play county cricket? After Murali Karthik, none! Why? They do not have permission from the Indian board, not only in England but also in any of the other T20 leagues as well. What are the juniors doing when the senior team is away in summer? Why can they not contract to play with English counties and gain experience? Why cant a Murali Vijay get a contract to continue in England after the test series? Will the team have a similar experience during the next tour as well as they would not have any exposure to such conditions for the next 2-3 years? Sachin, Rahul and VVS have gone on record stating the help such county stints helped with their careers. If it helped them, why are the current crop of players not provided such opportunities?
  • Luck also played its part in this series. When the pitch was good for batting (3rd test), Dhoni lost the toss and Cook & Co. made the Indians pay. The 4th test when he had to insert the opposition after winning the toss (or losing the toss so that Cook would have batted), he made the decision to bat. What happened? In the 47th over, India were all out for 152. It was downhill from there. Similarly, in the same test, the Indians could not last the final session on third day and it rained for two days in Manchester. If only the session had been saved, the Indians could have reached Oval even in the series.
  • Catches were dropped in the slip-cordon. A number of dropped chances meant that the bowlers were not getting rewarded for their toils. Remember that the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman used to man this cordon and they are hard to replace overnight. Players have been tried out and shuffled around but very clearly it is not working. Ravindra Jadeja not only helped Anderson focus better with his altercation but also helped Cook recover his batting form (by dropping him in the first hour on a flat track) and guided his team make a remarkable comeback in the series.
  • DRS factor. While the Indian team is against the DRS, it does not justify the umpiring howlers that have been witnessed in this series. It does not mean that if you dont support DRS, you should suffer the injustice from the umpires? Two wrongs is definitely not the answer, right?
  • Dhoni, the batsman. Dhoni was the best batsman on view in terms of runs scored and retaining the team's composure during the series many times. He came to the crease at 112-5 (2nd innings in 3rd test), 8-4 and 61-4 (4th test), 28-4 and 45-4 (5th test). He was not elegant but made his best with his technique and temperament to guide the team to decent, if not respectable scores.
  • Dhoni, the wicket-keeper. Other than couple of chances where MSD did not go for the ball when it went between him and Dhawan at first slip, there was hardly an opportunity that he let go. His keeping was never been remarkable but always effective. Obviously, there is no thought of replacing him as a keeper.
  • Dhoni, the captain. Agreed that there were few areas where Dhoni slipped as a captain. His reluctance to keep a third-man was baffling (though he was not alone - Cook did the same mistake). His captaincy was questionable in terms of selection of bowling attack at critical moments in the test (but just remember the experience of his attack that we described above in this post). Dhoni had an inexperienced team that did not have much experience with conditions (even the ball used was new to the team) - what he could do with the team is what was the final outcome. But, blaming him for the debacle is not right. There were other factors that affected the series as well - not Dhoni alone. MSD also has to be given credit for the victory at Lords when he pushed Ishant to bowl the short balls. Also, he is supportive of his players in public - he keeps repeating the term that the team is learning by its experience and the focus on process continues. Though the scene in dressing room might be different, it is good management skills on MSD to keep the 'bashings' private!
After the last tour, I had written my own post-mortem here. If you read this, the first comment you will have is that nothing much has changed from then to now. I think we will not make any changes now also. What then will happen in Australia later this year? More of the same? Afraid so. Till then, let us stop Dhoni-bashing - I am not a fan of Dhoni but I just wanted to ensure that we take a holistic picture rather than an individual. Give him and his team some time and the performances will start. Hope you agree.

England Tour 2014 - 3-1 for England

Links to this post
After Manchester, I had a doubt whether this Indian team was similar to the one that toured last time. The Oval test proved that the current team's performance mirrored that of the previous one, especially in this test match. The team could not play 90 overs in 2 innings put together. It was time, they thought, to give wickets not just to Broad, Anderson and Moeen alone. Jordan and Woakes would be the beneficiaries this time. The result was that the bowlers themselves were feeling odd that wickets that were hard to come by were being thrown away like candies.

Agreed that the toss was lost on a wicket that helped the bowlers quite a bit on the first day. The batsmen were guilty of not gutsing it out in the tough conditions. The captain showed the way with the help of Ishant Sharma on the first day that a decent score could have been knocked up if the team had shown some application. The procession continued as though the team was in a hurry to finish this test series as early as possible. Five tests were two too much for a team that would have drawn the series if it was a typical three match series. The BCCI wanted to increase its coffers by making the players play five - the players have no role to refuse. They were relative greenhorns on these pitches and the difference in capability and reality showed up so badly!

The bowlers did relatively better but the combination of umpiring howlers (in the absence of DRS) as well as poor slip catching meant that the English batsmen could continue their run-scoring. The runs were conceded at a high run-rate that there was enough time to skittle out the Indian team by tea even including a rain-break in between. No more words can be used to explain the performance in the last innings of the match. The team perished in 30 overs with two run-outs! What were the batsmen thinking?

Anyway, the test series ends and the teams will now play an ODI series. The Indian ODI teams have not won anything on their previous overseas tours and hopefully they will open their accounts here purely because England will opt to rest some of their star players after the five match test series.