The No. 1 Ranking May Be Gone – But Time To Regain Some Lost Pride?




The much hyped about Test series for the top spot has gone from bad to worse for India and more one sided in favour of England with each passing day. Since Zaheer Khan limped out in the first session on the first day of the test, nothing has gone right for India. Gambhir got injured, Sachin fell ill, the bowlers looked mediocre, Harbhajan and Yuvraj joined Gambhir on the sidelines and India just didn’t look a team that deserved to be on top of the World rankings. All said and done and with the No. 1 ranking gone, the tour isn’t done yet! A test to play to avoid an embarrassing whitewash and with a T20 and ODI series to follow, Dhoni knows that all is not lost yet and there is time to regain some pride.

4th Test: Time for India to regain some lost pride

4th Test: Time for India to regain some lost pride

With a dead rubber first up, India know that their best chance to turnaround the tour lies here. For this the much vaunted batting line-up needs to click, and click big time! While a lot was expected from Sehwag who returned to take his place at the top of the order at Edgbaston, his stay at the centre over the two innings lasted only eight minutes in contrast to Alastair Cook, who grinded his way for thirteen hours on the way to an astounding 294. Gambhir’s first tour to England has been highly disappointing while Laxman has so far failed to capitalize on good starts. Likewise Sachin has got to 56 and 40 in two of his last three innings and a big hundred is just around the corner. Raina has been a sitting duck to the English pacers and in all probability will make way for Kohli at the Oval.

All of England’s batsmen (including Broad and Bresnan) barring Bopara have scored big so far while Dravid has been the lone standout performer for the visitors. Broad has led the bowling attack responsibly with Anderson and Bresnan playing the supporting role to perfection while the Indian bowlers have failed to make use of the helpful conditions. Praveen Kumar has been economical and amongst the wickets but without a strike partner, it is difficult to imagine India picking up 20 wickets in the series. Amit Mishra replaced Harbhajan at Edgbaston but was guilty of leaking too many runs and Ojha may well be picked ahead of him at the Oval. RP Singh was flown in from India as a replacement for Zaheer and he may well be the variety that India would be looking for in their pace attack.

The hosts themselves are faced with a couple of injury concerns going into the Oval. While Trott and Tremlett remain ruled out, question marks surround the availability of Anderson. While Bopara will just about hang on to the No.6 spot, Graeme Onions and Steven Finn will fancy their chances in Anderson’s absence. Swann, who played with a shoulder injury at Edgbaston, has been declared fit to play.

The pitch is expected to be a typical Oval pitch with runs in it for the batsmen. Showers are expected on the first day of the test but the clouds are expected to stay away for the rest of the Test thus providing us an opportunity to watch some gripping action over the next five days.

Probable Squads:

India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha.

England: Andrew Strauss (Captain), Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (Wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Finn.

Live Telecast: Star Cricket (15:30 Local Time, 9:30 GMT)

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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