Tuesday, August 9, 2011

India has a small chance

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The heading isn't misleading. I actually do believe India has a chance. Both England and India are missing some first choice players. In India's case, it's Zaheer and Harbhajan, whereas in England's case it's Trott and Tremlett.

It appears that the English reserves have stepped into the breach and filled the void admirably. Bresnan replaced Tremlett in style and England didn't miss a beat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Sreesanth who replaced Zaheer. India become a completely different bowling unit in Zaheer's absence. Whereas, Zaheer leads from the front and the rest of the bowlers play subordinate roles, in his absence, India have hunted as a pack. In the second test, this aspect of the attack so evident in the West Indies was missing. The bowlers appeared to be somewhat rudderless.

I have always felt that Mishra is a much better test match bowler than he gets credit for. He is a wicket taking bowler and unfortunately struggles to switch to containment mode. Harbhajan usually switches into containment mode quite easily and perhaps that's why he plays ahead of Mishra even on pitches with a potential for turn. With Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan down the order, Mishra's inclusion might expose a vulnerable under-belly.

On the batting side, England will miss Trott big time. He brings the sort stability that Dravid and Kallis bring to their teams. In his absence, Strauss and Cook will have no room to fail. If the Indian seamers get their heads straight, they might manage to exploit this pressure to their favor. Pietersen and Bell remain huge threats and with Prior and Broad in form, England definitely look menacing.

India on the other hand have to figure out how to combine better. VVS' promotion up the order has not worked. Perhaps he needs to go back to batting at number six and let Raina bat at number five. This way, Raina will have the confidence of being sandwiched between two greats and the pressure of performing will likely ease. With Sehwag, Gambhir and Dravid at the top and Tendulkar to follow, India look as formidable as England on the batting stakes. It will take only one of Sehwag or Gambhir to come good for India to take control of a game. However, both are somewhat rusty and will have play out of their skins to come good.

A Tendulkar special is round the corner. Given the way he has been stiking the ball, it seems that he's been out more to lapses of concentration, rather than bowlers getting him out with unplayable balls. Dhoni remains in poor form, but India can afford to carry him if they play to script.

The optimism stems from the fact that this batting order for India is much more familiar and normal than the last five tests that India have played. The bowling becomes much more potent if the batting comes good and hopefully, Dhoni will have the sense to bat first should he win the toss.

England are favorites with their formidable bowling, but India have a slight chance at Birmingham. Hoping for a slugfest at Edgbaston.


Vaibhav Sharma said...

correct! A Tendulkar special is due!

Golandaaz said...


I don't share your optimism. India's problems are far too deep than you suggest.

I think we should count ourselves lucky to have seen this team reach the top.

India are not as formidable as England in batting. Its an illusion. The last time India scored 400+ outside the subcontinent was 2009. Thats more that 2 years ago. England have scored 400+ in 90% of their innings in that period.

Technically, India did score 400 in SA but SA had put of 650+ and we needed match that.

India's recent successes outside the subcontinent have been driven by bowling not by batting.

And lastly, May be a 0-4 trashing will get them out of their IPL induced hangover. But on second thoughts I don't think anyone will care. Every one will turn up prim and proper for the Champions League, some Indian franchise will win and Dhoni will be king again.