Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Home Season has begun

You can paper over the cracks all you want, but the sporting wicket at Bangalore showed that the Indian Test team still has some weaknesses in the batting department. Don’t get me wrong here, when I use “sporting wicket” to describe the 22 yards in Bangalore, I don’t mean to imply that the Hyderabad wicket was un-sporting or any such thing. It’s just that I find it extremely hard to enjoy cricket where conditions are tailored in such a manner to nullify one aspect of the game itself.

The wicket in Bangalore on the other hand, was an example of where, spinners took wickets, fast bowlers took wickets, and each team had a batsman going on to score a century. The old cliché applied perfectly, “there was something for everyone”. This test match literally tested all aspects of a side’s game.

Now keep that in context when you consider that this was an inexperienced New Zealand side coming off a loss at the hands of the West Indies, and having lost their captain, and arguably their best spinner, Daniel Vettori, due to injury, they did manage to stretch the Indian side quite considerably during this Test. The upcoming opposition during the course of the home season are England and Australia, sides that recently white-washed us at their home grounds, and cannot be classified as “pushovers”.

However a lot has happened in World Cricket since those disastrous away tours of 2011, and England are not the side they were when they Played India “last summer”. England currently are not selecting their best batsman, Kevin Petersen. Their most successful captain, Andrew Strauss, recently retired, they will need a new opening batsman as well as middle order player, however Johnny Bairstow has definitely pitched his tent on that middle order spot. The form of their fast bowlers is a worry, as they have been undone by a superior batting line-up, at the places where our Indian team capitulated. However the biggest worry for the English team, in the context of their upcoming tour to India will be their not –so - recent capitulations against spin in the U.A.E against Pakistan. The No. 1 test ranking turned out to be a slightly poisoned chalice for the English side, and they lost their spot within a year, India lasted for 18 months.

So when it comes to England, I think our team is up for it and that it will be an evenly matched series. What could tilt the balance in favor of the Indian team are the pitches. If rank turners are prepared, I think MSD and Co. will coast, with a few hiccups here and there. However, if wickets like the one at Bangalore are more the norm, then we may be in for a few surprises and a few shocks along the way.    

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