India Tour of England: Perspective Visiting Camp

Posted: July 20, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
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 Goutham Chakravarthi

 2o July 2011 

Bangalore

2011 was always going to be an important year in the annals of Indian test cricket. With tours to South Africa, England and Australia, this year was going to be the judging yardstick for this MS Dhoni’s team. The British media has already billed the summer to be its best cricket-wise since the Ashes summer of 2005. Dhoni’s men recognize this and more. They will look to keep their reputation and ranking intact come 13th of August – and also of not having lost a series to England since 1996.

Zaheer and Ishanth have a huge part to play for India to win

The media hype surrounding the Lord’s test is nothing short of that around the last Harry Potter movie world-wide premier earlier this month. With all the frenzy around Tendulkar’s imminent 100th hundred, India quietly will be confident of doing well. We hear the same stories of Indians struggling with pace and bounce, but this team for all its Asian inadequacies has won tests in Perth, Durban, Johannesburg, Trent Bridge, Kingston and Hamilton in the last five years. If anything, they have proved to be a better batting side than most give them credit for. They weren’t given much chance in South Africa earlier this year but came within a Kallis masterpiece of winning the series there. Also that they have been a settled unit for a number of years means that they have toured a lot and are not alien to English conditions as some would like us to believe. They will know what to expect when Strauss flips the coin on Thursday morning.

Englandhave had a great run under Flower. So have India under Dhoni so much so his win-record at this stage of his career puts him among the game’s elite. Englandwith its seemingly endless pool of fast-bowling riches and a very strong top 7 will test the Indians all round. But it takes only one strong batting performance for theories to be questioned and doubts to creep in. India has a history of batting for long time when they go well which will seriously test England’s four bowler theory at some point or the other over the next four Tests.

Which brings us to pitches. Pitches with life can make this a memorable series. Two strong batting sides playing high-scoring dull draws on flat tracks will be a terrible waste of the skill on display. Anderson and Tremlett will want to put their skills to test with a bit of help from the wicket against the seemingly impenetrable batting techniques of Dravid and Tendulkar. Laxman has had a remarkable last couple of years and will want to leave a mark on this series. He is the man India turns to, to get difficult runs and he seems to relish scoring them when most needed. And on the most difficult of wickets.

The bowling team would also prefer result oriented wickets as it will bring all its bowlers into equation which is largely Zaheer Khan dependent otherwise. It will be series where Ishanth Sharma is expected lend solid support to Zaheer with the new ball following a renaissance of sorts in the Caribbean. The third seamer, like withEngland, is a hard nut to crack. While Munaf would be ideal to follow behind Zaheer and Ishanth with his steady guile, Sreeshanth and Praveen Kumar offer wicket taking options. Indiawill do well not to forget Sreeshanth bowling them to victories in Johannesburg and Durban. And Harbhajan will want to out do Swann.

Even with all the experience India are often caught cold in the first test of a series –Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa in the last few years. They were found wanting in the first Test at Jamaica last month only to be saved the embarrassment by Harbhajan and Rain. Almost tellingly, Charl Willoughby caught them cold at Taunton in the practice game last week. How India fares in the first Test will perhaps play a huge part in the overall outcome of the series.

While cricket will celebrate a huge landmark by turning 2000 test matches old, it is apt that the various skills that make it remarkable will be on display – Rahul Dravid, Trott and Cook with patience; Tendulkar and Pietersen with aggression; Laxman and Bell with grace and flair; Strauss and Gambhir with grit; Dhoni and Morgan with raw power; Anderson and Zaheer with craft and bend, Tremlett and Ishanth with steep bounce; Swann and Harbhajan with loop, guile and deceit. These people have shown that you can be a world beater by doing your deed your own way which is a credit to game of test cricket itself.

Romance of the occasion aside, I pick India to pip England2-1.

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Comments
  1. Good. You have covered the top batsmen and bowler on both sides in the post. The advantage of India is experience batsmen who played crucial innings under tough pitch conditions and situation. For England, it’s a home conditions along with a recent series win over Srilanka gives the boost. The contest is wide open and chance is of 60 (India): 40 IEngland).

  2. the series ultimately will be decided on the best bowling. going to be an epic series .I pick India to pip England2-0

  3. thecognitivenomad says:

    I can’t see England winning a test. I’ll go 1-0 India, with rain playing spoilsport.

  4. Prasad Moyarath says:

    Indians have something to prove again.A new opener, A wall with cracks, An attacking No. 6 who still has to prove in testing conditions, An inconsistent captain, A bowling spearhead coming back after an injury, A bowling attack which struggles when the pitch stops offering help. We cannot be so overconfident about the outcome this time.

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