Can India Comeback In Npower Test Series?




You didn’t even have to be there to know what was being said to explain the India loss… The long held fact that they are slow starters in series coupled by the injuries they experienced during the match. That essentially made it 11 fit English players against 8 fit Indian players.

Can India comeback in npower Test Series?

Can India comeback in npower Test Series?

So taking away from the English excellence and domination in this 1st Test for the sake of this article…

Let’s dissect Team India in its current state and its prospects going forward.

The slow starters excuse smacks of amateurish preparation in a ruthlessly professional game, that should in no way be deemed acceptable.

Conversely the injured players as a way to excuse the lose has merit. Especially when you look at the players stricken in India’s spearhead of it attack Zaheer Khan and then two diamonds from its stellar batting line up in Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir. This accentuated by their master mauler Virender Sehwag being out too.

In the wake of the injuries you can justify India’s performance, but if you dig a bit deeper into the state of the Team. You start to worry about their potential of being able to come back into the series.

The key concern naturally is the injuries and the fact that the next Test is 3 days away. This accentuated by the meaning of the players in question and what the Team would lose through having to replace them. Whatever way you look at it, there is little sense in playing Zaheer Khan and as such he won’t be involved in the 2nd Test. So India losing the leader of its attack is already a killer blow, but a comparison of him and his possible replacements quite literally puts salt in a gaping wound.

Zaheer Khan 79 Tests, 273 wickets, average 31.78 (In England, 8 Tests, 31 wickets, average 27.96).

Munaf Patel 13 Tests, 35 wickets, average 38.54 (No experience in England).

Sreesanth 24 Tests, 79 wickets, average 35.16 (In England, 3 Tests, 9 wickets, average 37.55).

Huge loss for India in so many ways, as embodied in the experience of the length of his career and the consistent excellence of his figures. Plus Zaheer’s lethal effect against left hand batsmen will be lost, and what are three key members of the English batting line up in Strauss, Cook and Morgan… lefties…

Then there is also the possibility of Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar being absent from Trent Bridge. In truth the injury to Virender Sehwag and being 1 nil down in the series would mean that even if both are stricken. They would still be forced to play for the Team.

Though if this was deemed impossible it would be cataclysmic for India…

For in Gambhir’s case it would mean India would enter a 2nd Test being 1 nil down without an established opener. So they’d have to put a patch work quilt arrangement up at the top which is never a recipe for success. Then in Sachin’s case, what Team wouldn’t miss a batsman likened to the immortal Don Bradman?

If we divert away from the things we have no control over in terms of injuries. There are issues on the field that don’t promise good things in this series as we go forward either.

The key points of concern are crucial players in the lineup in Harbhajan Singh and MS Dhoni.

Firstly on Harbhajan, his performances have been on the wane for a while and after this insipid performance. Where his match total was 1/218, he was impotent in the extreme and then on top of this the English batsmen just milked him. So he wasn’t even successful in a defensive bowling role. Then his valued batting at 8 was neutralised too.

All this considered Harbhajan should be dropped from the Team…

It  is likely that India will just brush this off as a bad performance and retain Harbhajan. In the knowledge that his replacement Amit Mishra, though a very promising leg spin bowler is very much unproven at Test level. Also without a defensive side to his bowling that is so valued. His non selection would be assured by the fact that he lacks the added dimension of skill in batting, that for some reason India values in selecting bowlers in Tests.

As for MS Dhoni, the Indian’s Skippers performance was summed up by viewing his part time bowling as being the highlight of his Test. In his main roles as keeper, Captain and batsmen, the first two were complete rubbish and the latter very average. Dhoni has been very average for most of 2011 with a batting average of just over 17 highlighting this fact. We will show faith in his ability to rise as a player.

Crucially though for India, now they are down in the series, we don’t extend the same faith in his Captaincy to facilitate a turnaround in the series. His acutely defensive mannerisms won’t allow a proactive thought in Team changes or more attack minded tactics on the field. So India as such will always be at a disadvantage.

I’m in no way painting a promising picture for Team India am I?

Duly I am being incompetent in not mentioning the promising aspects that came out of the match, namely the excellent bowling of Praveen, the lethal spell of Ishant, the mature and accomplished batting of Suresh Raina and a typical Rahul Dravid classic.

In a small sense silver lining for foreboding gloomy clouds.

That might be cold comfort for a harsh reality as the series goes forward…

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Tim Holt

Author:

Hi All, I’m an old gent having been born in 1953 in Derry, Nth Ireland. I learnt my love for cricket during my time in South Africa in between 1964-66. My hero as you can see by my profile picture is 'Chandra'! I am a qualified journalist having worked in Radio and papers across the Globe. Though I’m currently a teacher, who is on extended medical leave due to my heart not agreeing with the Irish past time of drinking copious amounts of Whisky! I have many tales to tell in regards to a lot of sports having played both Football and Cricket professionally. I hope you enjoy a few I share with you! Regards and Peace to All Tim

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