Old Trafford T20I Preview: A Glorified Practice Game

Posted: August 31, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
Tags: , , , ,

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 31 August 2011

A one-match T20 series sandwiched between four Tests and five one-dayers hardly serves any purpose. With also the accepted norm of there not being more than three T20I games in any country each year, perhaps it is a reflection of it being just a world cup format at the top level.

Rahul Dravid will make his T20I debut

India, as can be understood, have not picked a separate team for the lone T20I game. With Dravid and Tendulkar having expressed their disinterest to partake in international T20I games, it was expected to be left to the young guns who have had a good time of it in the three warm-up games, to take charge. With Gambir, expectedly going back home, and BCCI, expectedly not having someone on stand-by, Rahul Dravid, Indian cricket’s most abused cricketer, will make his T20I debut in a couple of hours’ time.

It must be a tough one for the Englishmen as well. Stuart Broad, the T20 captain for England, will want to try out some of the cricketers in his pool in preparation for the world cup in Sri Lanka next year. Some of the young guns like Jos Buttler were on display on the domestic T20 finals day over the weekend. The inclination is clear from the Flower camp that this game (and the two additional games at the end of the summer against West Indies) will be used as a testing ground in the quest for arriving at the best combination for next year’s world cup.

India will use this as game to test their combination ahead of the one-dayers. It is quite incredible to think that they had picked a squad where it is difficult to fathom who would bowl the fifth bowler’s quota unless they wanted to play five bowlers, which isn’t how India plays its cricket. Ravindra Jadeja’s call-up will ensure that India play four bowlers plus Jadeja.

Also will be interesting to see India’s batting order for tonight’s game. With Tendulkar opting out and Dhoni returning to the XI after opting out of the warm-up game against Leicestershire, one of Rahane or Parthiv Patel, who opened the batting in that game, will have to sit out of this game. This might mean, Rahul Dravid will have to open the innings on his T20I debut! Perhaps he would prefer opening in this format than having to bat at 5 or 6.

A lot of the Indian bowlers are used to playing a whole lot of T20 cricket. Expect India to use a lot of spin to counter what the young English batsmen might have to throw at them. Ashwin will bowl a lot with the new ball and late in the innings. He is a clever bowler who relishes a fight. A good show in the remaining leg of this tour might earn him a berth in the Test squad against the West Indies in October. Scratch your head as you might wondering how limited overs’ performance can sew a Test spot, but then, that is the Indian way.

The weather coming to September in England will also be a big factor. The wickets, India will hope, be tired at the end of the season and will aide spin. Night cricket in the north of England might be quite a challenge for the Indians who are used to the warmth of the Indian sun.

England will hope the scars from Tests will still linger and India will hope the arrival of a new set of players will change their fortunes. Both teams will use this match as a stage for two separate reasons – England to test their pool for the world cup and India for the one-dayers – which begs the question if this will just be a glorified practice game?

  1. thecognitivenomad says:

    Irrespective of the result, we fans will end up remembering this game for the sole purpose of it being Dravid’s debut and last T20I.

  2. […] Ancient Trafford T20I Preview: A Glorified Practice Game « Th&#1077 … […]

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