The fight for No. 1 spot: Will India bounce back?

Posted: August 2, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
Tags: , , , ,


 Eniyan V

 2 August 2011


The ongoing England India Test series is one of closely followed and much anticipated in the recent past. It’s expected to be a fierce battle between two strong teams, in their prime form, for the top spot in Test cricket. But, has the contest lived up to the expectation so far? Unfortunately, it hasn’t. To the exasperation of the Indian fans, bliss of English fans and disappointment of the neutral fans expecting close contest, the first two tests have been utterly one-sided – England winning by margins of 196 and 319 runs respectively.

Unlike the ODI ranking, test ranking is not officially updated after each match. It’s updated only at the end of the test series. So, India is still the No. 1 team. But, England is pretty much on course to become the No. 1 team at the end of the series. All they need is one more win or draw the remaining two matches to topple India.

Quality players are mandate for a top class team. But that is not adequate. Characters such as never-say-die and go-for-the-kill are required to stamp the authority. England has shown the characters so far in this series, in coming back from 124-8 in the first innings and scoring 544 in just 120 overs in their second innings and ruthlessly dismissing India for 158 in the fourth innings of the Trent Bridge test. England’s 7 wins (including those two glorious Ashes victories) and one draw in their last 8 test series is not just a coincidence. Indeed, England is a serious contender for the No. 1 test spot.

Time India showed their ranking was not an accident

But, what does India hold? After the annihilating defeat, India could feel shattered. Team India could be wondering what led to this. May be lack of preparation, may be the unfortunate injuries, may be poor captaincy, may be the tiring IPL, but definitely not lack of quality and character. India is not the No. 1 team without a reason. In the last 3 years, India faced all the Test playing nations except Pakistan and didn’t lose any test series, winning 8 and drawing level in 3 test series in this period. India defeated Australia twice, New Zealand twice, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh once. That’s a remarkable achievement, worthy to be No. 1 in test cricket.

India might go on to lose this series and the remarkable streak could be broken here in England. But, that shouldn’t happen without a fight. The last time India lost two test matches in a row in a series was when India toured Australia in 2007-08. But, India fought back bravely to win the third test at Perth. Such character was fundamental in the rise of India to the summit.

India should show more of such character in the next two tests. Individually, many Indian players have done well in parts. Dravid is amongst runs; Laxman has got couple of fifties; Tendulkar has got into form in the last innings; Praveen is getting wickets; Ishant and Sreeshant have done well in parts. Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer could be back in the eleven for the next match. All India needs to do is to regain the focus and hunger for success to stage a comeback in this series. Let’s hope the remainder of the series is closely contested and lives up to the expectation of the clash for the summit.

  1. thecognitivenomad says:

    I guess India has very little choice, for anything more damaging than what has already happened will leave the BCCI, and MSD of course, plenty of questions to answer once they touch base in India.

    We’ve got more than a week’s time to brainstorm before the 3rd test at Birmingham. I guess, in all likelihood, Sehwag will be fit by August 10. He could be a game changer, however, that doesn’t discount the fact that the English bowlers have been nothing short of brilliant this series.

    Only a 2-2 result will add ammo to the fact that we are indeed World Number 1. Hopefully, the return of Zak and Viru can help India achieve this.

  2. Big runs, which is generally the norm from our players, is missing since West Indies.Only Rahul Dravid has been getting hundreds. No one else is getting runs by the hundreds – which is critical to put big totals. Till that happens, we’ll be outplayed in this series. Our bowling needs all the help from the batsmen to put big enough totals to empower them to bowl oppositions out for less.

  3. muthumra says:

    Eni – a great start. Indeed an article to keep the morale of the fans of India to stand by the team and not lose hope. It’s necessary to be with them, support and encourage them to prove the world that #1 isn’t by choice or luck but by sheer hardwork.

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