FB Group

Share the Passion

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

England Tour 2014 - A win at Lords

28 years. That is the time it took India to repeat its World Cup win and now another win at Lords. Lords cricket ground - the Mecca of cricket and MSD chalked out a victory plan that his team could implement. Not that everything went his way though but the fact he was the winner meant a lot to him, his team and the fans.

The Indian team has been one without a lot of earlier superstars but the current team has benefited quite a lot by reduced expectations. They were expected to lose this series after the 8-0 drubbing earlier. Retirements have come and gone but the core of the team has not changed. Except Rohit Sharma's replacement by Stuart Binny, the top five have been consistent and same. Binny's debut was also necessitated by a change in Dhoni's strategy to play 6 batsmen (including himself). Not that Duncan Fletcher's inputs were far behind. Picking six pace (not fast) bowlers for this tour was probably Fletcher's suggestion but he may not get too much credit for this.

The batsmen have been improving and best of all, covering up for one another. Rahane scored in the first innings after the top order had seen off the worst of the track. Vijay and Pujara did the right thing by occupying the crease to an extent that the English bowlers were not only physically tired but mentally worried. Back-to-back test matches are going to test Anderson and Broad. In fact, Anderson might be secretly wishing for a two-test ban so that he can put his feet up. The support bowlers are not stepping up for England just like the new batsmen are.

Vijay has been an enigma for most of the Indian fans - someone who can bash the bowling in T20 shows utmost patience in test matches, leaving the balls outside the off stump with good decision-making ability. Pujara has been solid as well but without the scores (that one expects from him) to back up the stature of his innings. It has been Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan who have not been upto mark so far - Kohli will be given a run for all five tests but MSD will start thinking of Gambhir if Dhawan fails in the next test too.

Stuart Binny was unlucky that in the first innings Dhoni didnt go for the catch of Ballance of his bowling and while batting, he was given a bad decision. He will get another chance, if Dhoni's pattern is to repeat (of not changing a winning team) and that is where he has a good opportunity to perform again.

What can one say of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar! He has scored runs whenever he had a chance to bat, picked wickets mostly (except the last innings) and remains active on the field throughout. One of the most unassuming person on the ground, Bhuvi is a star for the Indian management to preserve. His swing is great and he should not be lost just like the Praveen Kumars and Irfan Pathans. He should be given more chances like the other star of the moment - Ishant Sharma!

Ishant has been getting wickets by the bunch in the last few tests - a sign that he has been less unlucky (a familiar explanation for his high bowling average). But, jokes apart, his forte has been his physical strength (despite a lanky frame), stamina and willingness to go on and on as per his captain's demands. Of course, execution of Dhoni's plan was the key highlight for Ishant - if not, one could have imagined another loss for India (at the hands of Root and Ali). One recalls the match against Australia where Ishant was asked to bowl at a 7-2 field and how he succeeded! The average is looking better already but he has a long way to go before he can fill Zaheer's boots.

Overall, a good victory for India with the master strategists Dhoni and Duncan plotting the rivals fall in detail. From now onward, it is India's series to lose. England seems to be on a downward spiral and the rest of the series can quickly go downhill for them.
Post a Comment