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Friday, October 28, 2011

India-English Return ODI series - Revenge

Yet another English team visited the Indian shores to leave empty-handed. Of course, the Indians were complaining (even though the stands were not so filled up as the organizers had thought). The change of fortune for the English team started with the final T20I against West Indies when the young team was humbled by a even-younger spin attack. The lack of technique (against spin especially) was visible clearly in the match – something that would not have missed the attention of Duncan Fletcher.

The Indian team thrashed the visitors in every match except the 3rd where the margin of defeat was narrow. If one remembers the ODI series in England, the matches were won by England in a monotonous manner (chasing a reduced D/L score in weather that was not kind on the Indians after bowling on conditions that helped the swingers). Even then, the difference between the two teams was not so stark. Agreed that the English team missed Anderson and Broad in the bowling department as well as Morgan and Strauss (now retired) in the batting but the Indians were also missing their super-stars.

Rahane proved that he was not a one-series wonder but did not take the opportunity to shut the door on others who might fancy their chances to get into the Indian line-up. Parthiv Patel couldn’t step up to the expectation which meant that regular opener, Gautam Gambhir, was arriving at the crease earlier than he expected. The presence of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in the playing eleven has given India two players who can bat aggressively (while taking the quick singles/doubles), field menacingly and roll their arm over to cover up for a bowler’s bad day. The English tour must have given MSD the idea of trying out Kohli’s arm so that he can perform the role of Ganguly on overseas tours. Ravinder Jadeja continued his comeback in a manner that must have made the selection committee members happy and worried. Now, they would have to think how to fit in Yusuf Pathan in the line-up – that is a good headache to have.

Ashwin’s bowling caused enough headaches to keep the English guessing – his next tryst has to be the tests against West Indies at home. This will be an ideal series to try out Ashwin while giving Harbhajan the option to ply his wares against better batsmen (the Indian domestic trophy). Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav performed well in the opportunities given – early days but there is a lot of promise. If they can sustain their pace and bring in control and variation, Indian cricket can think of regaining their No.1 slot in tests. Vinay kumar did well in couple of ODIs but has to be given further chances to test his effectiveness on different wickets – brings in a variation to the attack with his bag of tricks.

MS Dhoni, though he didn’t say it anywhere, took his revenge on the drubbing his team received in England. Even after this emphatic win, he must be surely thinking on the Tour Down Under and how he needs to tweak the team to ensure that the tour doesn’t end up on a sour note. Rest must be the first thing on his mind after several continuous weeks of travel and play. Wish the Indian team management preserve him in cotton wool more than required.
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