Archive for the ‘India in England 2011’ Category

Srikrishnan Chandrasekharan

Indian team will be very much pleased with their performance over the last 3 weeks against England in the ODIs. Even though the series score tell us that England beat India 3-0, the psychological feeling of players reveal that the team India played much better cricket than England. The Indian team was fooled by ICC / ECB / BCCI in awarding the shorter format cricket through D/L method as 50 Overs One Day international Tournament. England captain won the toss for five consecutive games reveals that there is fair amount of good time / luck surrounds him and his team.

ICC cheated fans across the globe by completing a 50 over ODI series without a single match completing the quota of 50 overs by both the sides. This is ridiculous act by ICC and shame on them on not utilizing the basic technology available to them in framing the fixtures of the series. When there was a clear indication of weather issues before start of the ODI series ICC either would have called off ODI series or changed to a format of 35 over new International format for the 5 games scheduled for the tour. One should not measure the performance of Indian bowlers during this series as none of the match played the quota of 50 overs.

A series that will be remembered as much for the rains as anything else.

Injuries to several key players during the tour, the Indian team shown exemplary performance on their batting and improved show in the bowling with the resources at their disposal. The weakness of England bowlers was exposed during so called the ODI series. Except Swann, every other English bowler failed to make any impact against this young and inexperienced Indian lineup. Indian bowlers tried their best but it was really hard for them to bowl in English conditions where the match format changed after every rain interruption. India would have ended up with a more respectable series scoreline if any of the match been played the quota of 50 overs on both sides.

Parthiv making a comeback, Rahane on other hand making his debut, Rahul inclusion to the side after to ODI format and these 3 players formed the most critical batting position and made a reasonable contribution to the team in the series. On the other hand, Dhoni and Raina, short of runs in Tests, came back strongly and played some wonderful cricket. Jadeja played some good cricket when the team needed. India made a commendable total against tough bowling attack in English soil [274 (50) – 1st ODI, 187 (23) – 2nd ODI, 234 (50) – 3rd ODI, 280 (50) – 4th ODI, 304 (50) -5th ODI]. Once the top players are fit and make a comeback to the side, team India might easily score 300 to 350 against this English attack on Indian soil.

The team management and BCCI should look at the positives from the tour and build the stronger team for the future. The focus of BCCI should be picking right talent and framing a team that can play for next 5 to 8 years. Also BCCI should not make any hasty decision on players / captain / coach of the team based on one or two series failures. India needs to have backup players and use them effectively in the case of injuries to their main players. They need to be given fair chance to play in every series by resting the main players.

The team management should keep focus on these players and enhance their skills both in Test and shorter variants (Kohli, Raina, Rahane, Rohit, Manoj Tiwary, Jadeja, Ashwin, Praveen, Munaf, Varun, Parthiv, Ishant, RP Singh). In the recent series Indian pace bowling lacked line, length, mixing of deliveries and pace. Former fast bowlers should come forward and guide the young bowlers to scale up to the next level. Also, the batsmen should stay at the crease for longer duration and convert their scores in to bigger ones.

The truth of life was revealed during this series. The team which is World No. 1 on Test International and World Champion on ODI’s failed to win a single match on the tour with their class players who helped the team to win plenty of series for India at home and abroad. Before start of the series, fans, reporters and former players across the globe predicted that India will beat England on their home soil comprehensively. The reality is different of course and may there be enough steps taken to get the team back on track. And quickly.


Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

16 September 2011

Had it not been for image, power and charisma, Indian cricket’s state of affairs would be contracting even more than it has over this English summer. By not turning up for the ICC awards ceremony in London, deliberate or not, the force of the critics’ arguments have carried on in to the abyss.

The indications, thus far, are that Team India is unwilling to acknowledge mistakes on its part. The focus on their absence might have temporarily found some of the underperformers’ relief from being a part of obscure passages in tabloids, but the road away from London towards Wales will finally put an end to what has been nothing short of a disastrous series for India.

The Indians will certainly be hoping that crossing the English border would hopefully see a turn in their fortunes as batting stalwart Rahul Dravid, under strange circumstances, gets ready to wear the Indian blue outfit for the last time in his limited-overs career. That Graeme Swann had to openly admit that seeing Dravid for the last time would make the bowlers around the world heave a sigh of relief is a testament to his wonderful, illustrious career.

Rahul Dravid will bow out of the ODI arena at Sophia Gardens on Friday

Dravid has been the most perfect iteration of the textbook approach candidate. At various instances, during an era ruled by the hard hitters and shorter formats, a serene eye would squint as it witnessed Dravid attempt an odd slog, so unnatural of him, in the middle: open-chested, sweat-laded shirt, high elbowed, and ramrod straight – he could have so easily been the strict disciplinarian amidst pampered souls, lost in a world ruled by chaos.

The next-gen fan seems to have a primal need for watching the ball travel high and afar; cricket has become the modern day equivalent of The Epic of Gilgamesh. It is common wisdom among great cricketers that there are preconditions for attaining success at the very highest level – they key factor being mastering the basics. It is a trait that even fetched two of England’s top three batsmen, batting-order wise, highest honours during the ICC Awards ceremony in London a few days ago. The icing on the cake for both Cook and Trott would be to send the visitors back home without a win all summer.

History-making is rarely free, and the Englishmen are on a roll with the momentum backing them as they approach Cardiff. Broad’s injury would definitely deprive them of their star performer this summer, but the manner in which the replacements have slotted in and performed would give Andy Flower little headache.

India’s addiction to picking youngsters on tours outside the subcontinent and not giving them a run is very much like American addiction to Oil. Why Varun Aaron hasn’t been given a look in yet is a question that beats most of us. If they thought he was ready before he boarded the flight to London, one can’t seem to concretize on a reason why he wouldn’t be ready now. Even if Cardiff were to script a remitting horror story so reflective of this summer, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to witness what this youngster has in store.

Plenty of words have been written, both supportive and critical of the visiting team on and off the field. A victory in Cardiff wouldn’t alter the writing on the wall to an extent that the scars will heal effortlessly. But certainly, a win over the current World Number One would offer some credibility to a unit that has appeared as dry as dates with a loyal fan base slowly swallowing the bitter seed that they never would have imagined to have germinated after a memorable world cup win earlier this year.

As the curtains are about to close on a series that has been haplessly one-sided, a war hero from the victimized camp will slowly, and humbly, walk away from the arena in which he has amassed over 10000 runs at an average close to 40. As he bows out, so will an integral part of the art of classical batsmanship, from the shorter format of the game!

Give India another chance to prove themselves

Posted: September 14, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011, Opinion

Srikrishnan Chandrasekharan

There have been plenty of comments against team India’s performance in the ongoing tour of England. Fans, press reporters, journalists, former players across the cricket world have spoken about the Indian players’ lack of preparation and their involvement towards Test cricket is below par. Some of them commented Indian team can go back home if they are not willing put up a fight against their team.

Across the globe many feel that India’s interest in T20 has spoiled their chances in Tests against England. Some of them blame the players, the BCCI, the IPL and ICC. Are these the real reasons for India’s loss against England?

The answer is a very simple NO! Let’s look closer as to what has happened since the year 2011 for team India. As like other teams, India participated in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and played 9 matches starting from 19th Feb to 2nd Apr. Generally there is a 2 day intervals period between ODI matches these days which is mandated by ICC. The world cup lasted for 43 days and India had match on 9 days out of that. Instead of 2 days per match, on an average there were 4-5 days between matches.

It is unfair to blame all our shortcomings in England on IPL alone.

Next is the IPL 2011 wherein many players who were part of World Cup team also participated in the IPL. The tournament lasted from 8th April to 28th May (close to 51 days). Players from Indian team have played 16 days out of 51 days. Since IPL matches are half of the ODI time frame, the tournament still give sufficient time frame for the players to have rest. There is really no great deal of tough schedule to the players other than the peak summer that takes it toll. Many would argue that the post-match parties take out more than the games themselves. It is a player discipline issue here. Most owners want them to show their faces to the fans who buy into these parties. No one is expected to party late into the night.

When compare the Cricket with Tennis, the cricket players get more time to relax than the others. This clearly depicts the team had a reasonable schedule to relax and get ready for the next tournament. One cannot blame the players, the IPL tournament, the BCCI and ICC on the scheduling front.

Let’s move on to the T20 format which has been reported by several senior players stating spoiling the cricket environment on longer formats. Certain things need to look from a different perspective as T20 format has transformed the cricket fever in the individuals across countries. It has given plenty of opportunity to the players to explore their talent and in the young age to play unbelievable cricket of smashing great bowlers out of park and take their team to glory. There have been plenty of talented individuals who are now known to the world through this and they have also got opportunity to play for their country not just stop at the level of some T20 tournaments.

These T20 formats should happen frequently in a year so that the emerging players will get opportunity to make their mark at national level. Some of the senior players from other countries have declared that their focus is towards longer version of cricket and not on T20.

Also there have been comments from senior players stating players shouldn’t look for money and choose T20, but need to focus towards serving their country in longer versions. The comment is valid, but a country like India wherein you have 1.2 billion people wherein only 14 to 17 members will be chosen to play in the national team. The players who spend their life starting at the age of 12 to 25 or 30 should rely on cricket to survive their life as they may not have any other choice of making an entry into other fields for livelihood post their cricketing days.

In every field, victory and defeat is but natural. It is not possible to always end up victorious or otherwise. Sport isn’t supposed meant to be that way. Nadal isn’t a bad player because he’s been cleaned up by Djokovic on all occasions this year. When a good team ends up losing matches in a tour, those are real tough times for the players to learn and move forward. The current series lost against England in Tests is one such incident and this team will really come back stronger and show the world how powerful they are. You will see the same critics waxing eloquence of the same players when they get back to winning ways.

Let’s not judge team / players who are on top of the world based on a single tour of failure. India has managed to put a good fight in the test matches wherein nothing went their way. Yes, England was the biggest Test challenge of the year. In a way, it is really good to see the team fail after the World cup. It would really have been hard for players and fans of India to have digested failure in the world cup.

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan
12 September, 2011

It is hard to decide whether to laugh or frown after witnessing the scenes at The Lord’s on Sunday. While the result was clearly unexpected, the belligerence within was revealing through the body language of players from both camps, during different instances.

Dhoni’s frustration is understandable – the battle has gone bonkers with every route to success having brick walls with loaded artillery. Once again, the D/L method proved as hard to comprehend as The Grand Unified Theory, and as ruthless as terrorists as both camps underwent nervy moments when the rain gods intervened towards the end. A neutral, whole heartedly would state that a tie was a fair result. Not before both camps showed their reluctance to enter the field when the numbers were inclined to their side.

Quantitatively, India got off to a good start by weathering the new ball in order to prevent a repeat of what happened at The Oval. Qualitatively though, Rahane’s rather slow start to his innings witnessed moments of lunatic madness as he tried to whack the leather out of the white ball as frustration seeped in. Rahane would have completed an entire team’s innings had he been playing baseball instead of cricket.

Parthiv, at the other end, dismissed anything that was short of length by quickly shifting his weight on to the back foot and pulling the ball with confidence. Both the openers had luck on their side and trudged along at close to five-an-over. While the numbers seemed convincing, the approach, especially from Rahane, wasn’t. He’d have done well to learn from this innings on how to approach the game when shots keep finding the fielders.

Raina and Dhoni unleashed the pyrotechnics to get India up to 280

Another miniature collapse, following the dismissal of Dravid and Kohli almost immediately after one and other, saw the Indian skipper work on rebuilding the innings once again. With Raina, heart in sleeve, hoping to become a part of the reconstruction, a solid partnership was built to suitably daunt the English attack.

The run rate during the last ten overs headed towards the stratosphere, as over a hundred runs were gathered in a passage of play that helped India reach a more-than-respectable total of 280. It seemed as though the world had absorbed a lesson on Indian resolve, a characteristic that had made them world champions a few months ago.

The English reply was an unpredictable scatter of method and madness. Only Ian Bell’s fifty stood out amongst the top four batsmen, after the openers had departed in search of quick runs. Ravi Bopara, one of the heroes from The Oval, played an innings of undoubted steadfastness by building valuable partnerships with Bell, Bresnan and Swann. Signs of sloppiness on the field from the Indians were vivid once again with RP Singh being the culprit for a chance that he left begging at long on. Another instance of a frustrated Jadeja’s overthrow, way off radar, would surely have brought a smile on to the face of Steve Harmison, who definitely needed chaffing after publicly expressing his disgust over Durham CC when they had released his brother Ben.

At 173-5, bearing in mind Broad’s injury, the game seemed India’s to lose, with less than fifteen overs remaining. However, Bopara played intelligent cricket – strokes that demonstrated the work put in by a man who is clearly trying to cement a place in the current English setup. He targeted gaps, and slow fielders, to convert ones into twos and keep the rate ticking. The consequences of the Indian bowlers’ inability to walk through the lower order batsmen may become more apparent once the series is over, but England, no doubt, have enjoyed their role in the melodrama of lower order batting.

Ravi Bopara played a crucial innings for the second time in two games this series.

When rain intervened, the story had two parts to it: one, when the Indians were on the driving seat, and another, after another over, when the Englishmen took charge. With the score at 242, when the second spell of heavier rain hit the city, it seemed as though that England had clinched the game with the demanded D/L score at that juncture reading 240. Earlier, the Indians had a brief advantage but the spell of rain vanished by the time the teams could leave the ground.

But play resumed, much to the delight of the sport, to witness a spell of wickets falling in quick succession. Bopara departed by holing out to deep mid-wicket for a well constructed 96, but rain played spoil-sport again and used the D/L tenets do declare that the game was tied with England, at that time, further requiring 11 runs from 7 balls with a couple of wickets in hand. D/L doesn’t take into account the case of injured players who can’t bat.

Just like how an organization’s balance sheet doesn’t capture the true costs and risks of business activities, The Lord’s scorecard did likewise. The verdict would simply pose that England clinched the series with India yet to record a victory this summer. As the focus shifts to Cardiff, there is still no ballast to raise any hopes within the Indian camp.

Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket – The CouchExpert

11 September, 2011

With just a day’s gap between the two ODIs in London, the drive from Kennington to St. John’s Wood have had the players reflecting over a result that is yet to witness a tilt in scales. In an awful collision between hope and reality, the Indians finally came through a game that witnessed their best chance to finally rope in a result to their favour.

The Indian top order crumbled by the time ten overs were bowled in the day, with vice-captain Suresh Raina falling to a heinous shot which, given the situation, was way out of bounds. In an act that reacted to insistence on largely relevant public opinions, featuring MSD’s determination and Ravindra Jadeja’s place, the innings was laudably rebuilt on a weak foundation by the two.

Jadeja's Man-of-the-Match performance wasn't enough to hand India its first victory this series

There are many who’ve voiced their mistrust over Jadeja’s place in the squad. For the youngster to respond the way he did speaks a lot on his temperament, a trait that is worth its weight in gold. Sure, there are a few glitches already in his relatively short career so far, but even the best sportsmen have had their share of mistakes committed when young.

India, yet again, finds itself in a conspicuously difficult situation; even if it seems apparent that the previous ODI showcased their ability down the order. Ashwin, with his intelligent innings late in the game, surprised many with his cheeky approach.

The Englishmen, on the other hand, just do not seem to run out of fuel. Bopara, a player who has been under the scanner since his return, steered England to victory. Munaf’s bowling, with an economy rate that would have sent a shiver down one’s spine had it been recorded on a Ritcher Scale, did no favours to an already depleted Indian morale. RP Singh, thankfully, looked a much quicker (and fitter) bowler than the one witnessed at The Oval a few weeks ago.

But nothing seemed enough to stop the Kieswetter cannon ball from firing explosives to give England the start that they needed. A charge down the track against Praveen to heave the ball into the midwicket boundary was a shot that would have had the heads of NY Mets coaches turn towards the youngster. Bopara and Bresnan, towards the end, acted as able catalysts to help England add another win to their tally this series.

As the game moves in to the Lord’s, it is only memories from the past that would shed any light into India’s hopes. England will look to play an unchanged squad, whereas the Indians, hopefully, might consider handing Varun Aaron his debut. That he might be raw and inexperienced doesn’t matter, his very inclusion could see an increase in the number of viewers who would turn on their TV sets on Sunday.

This may tell us something about the state of Indian fans around the world: the romantics are a tiny minority, the ones with oil of vitriol up their opinion glasses are high in number, but there may not be enough to lend energy to effect a turnaround at Lord’s. Righteous contempt seems called for, but it is never within the Indian nature to do so. You just have to ask the cold-blooded criminals who’re yet to be tried by the government – they could narrate tales longer than Navjot Sidhu on how fortunate they are.

If the Indians have to do something, they’ll have to do it without an iota of sympathy from the enraged fan.