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.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

England Tour 2014 - Is it the India of 2011 Tour?

8 for 4. What more can you expect from a team that few weeks ago, won a test match at Lords. The new opening replacement has failed as well as the other who had been scoring well. Add to it, the two batsmen who were supposed to be the future of Indian test cricket. MSD didnt realize that a small fact of winning the toss would have such a big impact on the test match. This was within the first six overs of the test match - must have been quite a shock to the incoming batsmen. Anderson and Broad were running amok but the other English bowlers were definitely at the same level of excellence. Add to the fact that this was the fourth test match in as many weeks and Broad was in doubt of playing this test (due to his knee problems). If only the Indian team had managed to play out a few overs more, the score would have been much better. Dhoni and Ashwin showed their colleagues how normal batting can indeed be enacted on this surface by their partnership. But, they couldnt continue for long.

This is where the test match was lost.

The bowlers put in a good show but the fielders could not support them as much as one would have expected. Pankaj Singh for all his height is not able to extract pace and bounce out of the pitch that one would have thought so. It was refreshing to see Varun Aaron trouble the English with his pace and bounce. Aaron and Ishant bowling together at Oval would be a good sight to watch, from an Indian perspective. Bhuvneshwar Kumar did well to get wickets and keep the scoring down but the Indians seemed to be going through the motions. From an Indian fan, it was a perverse delight to see Broad being hit by a bouncer from Aaron. But, lets not go there.

The second innings, when it started, seemed to be going normally and there was talk that the fourth day had the hurricane in town. The Indians had to bat through an extended session against an attack that missed Broad and a tired Anderson. Easy, right? The batsmen didn't think so. They decided to play Santa to the likes of Jordan and Moeen Ali (again). It was a disappointing end on the third day when the Indian team had somehow managed to mirror the performances of the previous team during the 2011 tour. Batsmen were coming in and out without any thinking or strategy in their mind. Is the team having too many problems in their mind? Is it the fatigue factor?

Kohli and Pujara haven't scored during this tour and this must be troubling them the most. Whether they have a weakness outside the off stump or given a bad decision, the truth is that both these players can feast on these bowlers during their heyday. They need to put these bad days out of their mind and concentrate on getting their form back.

Giving wickets to Moeen seems to be unforgiving for those players who are bred on such attacks in domestic cricket. Maybe Aakash Chopra's view here is right. Jadeja's batting (other than Lords) doesn't seem to be going anywhere - Dhoni's explanation to justify his presence in the squad is okay but how long can this continue?

On Dhoni himself, I would say that we cannot blame him alone for the debacle. MSD has done well but his team is not backing him with the right performance. If he had a Dale Steyn or AB De Viliers to call upon, his record outside India would have been better - alas, he doesnt have anyone in that calibre. What does he do? Try to become defensive. A wonderful insight into his captaincy comes from Guru Greg Chappell during his interview here.
The difficulty is when he goes overseas he doesn’t have the personal at his disposal to do well in those conditions. We saw in the second Test (against England at Lord’s) Ishant (Sharma) bowling and it made a difference.  
Outside of the sub-continent if you don’t have a potent pace attack, it’s very hard to succeed. By and large during his time as Test captain, he hasn’t had a potent pace attack consistently.
Off to Oval next. The verdict seems to be 3-1 in England favor but Oval is known for its high run-scoring matches as well as assistance to spin. Will the Indian team recover their form and get going again? London is where they won and they are back at the same place (though a different ground). Will the familiarity of location inspire them to jump back and square the series? Not impossible.
Post a Comment