Posts Tagged ‘RP Singh’

Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, The CouchExpert

19 August 2011


The only sign of aggression from the Indian bowlers on a rain-marred day, which lasted until lunch, was the quick bouncer from Ishant Sharma that took a piece of Strauss’ helmet on its way.

Humbly reluctant as I am to obtrude the lack of venom in the Indian pace attack, as I’ve already done during the most part of this series, signs of amelioration were hardly visible. There was more crowd movement behind the side screen at the start of the day than the movement extracted by the Indian seamers using the new ball.

Trapped in these webs of clueless lines and length was India’s newest addition RP Singh, who hasn’t played a test in a while. Like Praveen, his lack of pace does him no good but unlike the former, he didn’t appear intelligent enough. He had a great series in England back in 2007, and his Harmison-esque start to this test made one wonder whether he’s played any cricket at all during those four years.

India's only sign of aggression was a vicious bouncer from Ishant that damaged Strauss' hemlet

Cook and Strauss continued to grind the runs until the rain gods opened up to play spoilsport on an overcast day, conditions under which the Indian bowlers failed to shine. Barring the bouncer from Ishant, the Englishmen weren’t troubled as they continued to do what they did all series. And James Anderson, who was declared fit prior to the start of the game, will have more time to rest and have a go at the Indians – something that isn’t likely to happen before the 3rd day.

At 75-0, England will continue to pile on the runs, hopefully at a decent rate to annul the lost time on Day One. For India, a colossal change in approach, and performance, is needed.


 Goutham Chakravarthi

 18 August 2011

India scored over 500 runs in the first-innings at the Oval in their last two Tests here. Anil Kumble scored a Test hundred last time around! This time, however, Indian batting, has been a collective failure. In four Tests in 2007, not one top-order batsman got to a hundred though all but Dravid got close to it on multiple occasions. They were strong as a unit. This time, barring Dravid, hardly any one else seems capable of wielding the willow.

Still, it is hard to give up on this batting side. It is a far cry from the last time India were subjected to losing three Tests in a row – in Australia back in 1999-00. That was a team never expected to win and here is a team, which after three successive defeats, each progressively bigger than the previous one, there is still hope of a turn around. Only just.

Will the smiles return?

The break between the second Test and the third was expected to give them time to clear their thoughts as individuals and as a unit. Instead, they were handed a mauling by an impressive England unit with no apparent chinks. As the prospect of a whitewash looms large, India, with its perceivably wafer-thin bowling attack and a batting side equally thin on confidence, will need a remarkable turn around to stop England.

They are a team of impressive individuals made of the right stuff. Things that have defined them over the last decade – resilience, doggedness, scrap – have gone missing. Big runs have eluded their batsmen. In fact, they have been deprived of any runs at all. It has left the players and the fans stumped.

English bowlers have shown enormous precision in carrying out their plans. Their quick-bowling reserves seem to run deeper than the mental scars they have inflicted on Indian batsmen. Their lengths have been fuller, none more so than Broad, and they have managed to move the ball late both ways to make life suffocating for the Indians.

It is in this cauldron of relentless pressure that India’s batsmen have been found wanting. Rahul Dravid has been the lone exception. He has shown exceptional skill in handling the conditions and bowling. Tendulkar and Laxman have not been allowed to get away. The younger batsmen have been found out and must be wondering if they are good enough at this level.

It will take enormous discipline, grit and patience to wear such a potent bowling side. You would have expected this Indian batting side to do just that for they are good at it. For starters, they would, for a change want the openers to grind and battle conditions. Sehwag has had his success overseas giving this first session to the bowlers. He can make for lost time better than most. Gambhir needs a score. That both are coming back from injuries hasn’t helped India’s cause.

Tendulkar’s last average series came against a rampant Ajanta Mendis in Sri Lanka back in 2008. He looked unsure there like he has often done here. When he has been positive, like in the first innings at Lord’s, second innings at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston, he has hardly looked troubled. India will hope for a big innings from him and from another pillar of strength, Laxman, as it looks to pick up the pieces and put them back together.

Expect Kohli, R.P. Singh and Pragyan Ojha to be given a look in. Ojha is a tidy bowler with potential. He should exploit any spin and bounce available and R.P. Singh is a steady swing bowler who might trouble the English openers. India will sweat on the fitness of Praveen Kumar and will hope that he is available. Ishant has blown hot and cold. May be, the bounce at the Oval will be to his liking.

India needs big runs from the batsmen for its bowlers to pose a challenge to a rampant English top-order. It will be interesting to see their approach to this Test. One would think that holds the key to their success.