Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Tests Begin

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A depleted India and a struggling West Indies team gather to play India's first test match World Champions. The one day series showcased India's depth in ODIs. India didn't sweep the West Indies, but did enough to demonstrate that they were the reigning experts of the ODI art form.

The tests are an altogether different ball game as the cliche goes. India have a tough game on their hands at Sabina Park. Right off the bat, I would give West Indies the advantage in this test match. Test matches always offer an advantage to the home side. India will miss Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth in test matches. Both have the ability to gain surprise breakthroughs and make the batsmen think. Munaf and Ishant can be good, but they are not going to consistently put pressure on batsmen. Praveen Kumar could surprise us due to his street-smart bowling, but his lack of pace means that decent batsmen can play him out. The only thing that could work for Praveen and perhaps other Indian pacers is the assistance from the Sabina Park wicket.

India go into this test match with an untested batting line up. Laxman is the only one that could be carrying along some confidence from the long past tour of South Africa. Dravid is not his old self yet, but his belief and mere presence is a huge boost. He may be able to put some runs on board against this West Indies team.

Vijay, Mukund, Dravid, Laxman, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Praveen, Munaf and Ishant would be the likely eleven, unless India plays Parthiv as an opener. I think it would not be a bad idea to do this, given that Parthiv has some test experience. This would only be a minor gain though. I'm generally in favor of letting openers open and giving Mukund a go would be my gut call. Perhaps, Vijay has enough opening experience that he can guide Mukund through his early jitters.

The big event that I am looking forward to is Kohli's debut. He has impressed in the ODIs and T20s and seems to have the hunger to succeed. I would not be surprised if he scores a debut hundred.


Golandaaz said...

In some ways this is the first test of the post IPL era for India. Although the IPL has been around for long and other countries have been impacted by it, India's complete preference to the IPL over this series has me lamenting what Test cricket has come down to.

I hold Virendra Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir all responsible.

It doesn't matter what the relative strength of this WI side is. Some tours should be eternally precious. WI in my books should be one of it. Not so for our WC winning IPL happy stars.

I think WI are favorites because as you said a tour to the WI is tough. It has the potential to throw India's subsequent tour to England in turmoil.

Dravid and VVS can draw it, I don't know who can win it. Harbhajan, Mishra perhaps

RS Radio said...

I agree that this game is going to be a test for this weakened India side. I still, however, feel that the Windies will struggle to take advantage.

Their batting line-up remains fragile. In particular, many of the West Indian batsman look very uncomfortable against spin.

At any rate, let's hope for a good contest.

Vidooshak said...

West Indies had devalued cricket as a whole long before the IPL came to be.

I agree that India's preparation for the slugfest against England will be poor.

If West Indies can't beat this Indian test team, then their hope for recovery is over.

Vaibhav Sharma said...

both teams lack a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets. india's batting is the only thing that can win them the series.