31 runs that made the difference

Posted on: 06 Aug 2018

Category: English Blog

Blog Views: 739

"Virat was exceptional with the bat, no doubt, it was a treat to watch him bat. It’s time the other bats started talking. It was disappointing to see Vijay and Rahane fail, arguably best batsmen after Virat. Dhawan and Rahul simply do not have the temperament required for test cricket. Dinesh Karthik looked lost with the ball behind as well in front of his stumps."

      The recently concluded first test match between India and England (http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18018/scorecard/1119549/england-vs-india-1st-test-ind-in-eng-2018proved that Test matches can still be alive, there can still be a fair contest between bat and ball, it can still bring spectators to the ground. As much a close contest it was, I felt India has yet again let go a golden opportunity to win a test match outside the subcontinent after being in a winning position. India does not get into such situations when playing outside the subcontinent. As much a good player Kohli is, he still has some distance to cover before being called as a good test match captain. 

     Virat is repeating the same mistake that he committed in the South Africa tour. The plethora of home test matches he won, does not weigh up as much as one test match or a series win in England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. The biggest problem according to me is even before the first ball of the match is bowled. The playing eleven. You need to have all specialists for test matches, 6 specialist batters, 4 specialist bowlers and a specialist wicket keeper. Gone are the era of genuine all-rounders of the caliber of Kapil, Imran or Botham. An ODI all-rounder cannot be a test match all-rounder, Hardik and Indian think tank must have started to realize by now. Virat seems to choose the same formula that won us so many test matches at home. 5 bowlers which includes a half-cooked all-rounder who is neither a bowler nor a batsman. 3 test match batsmen plus two ODI stars along with a pinch-hitting wicket keeper who struggles to get his wicket keeping glove on the ball. A slip cordon that can only catch edges off spinners, they have no clue how much far back they must stand for pacers. I felt India had at least 4 players who were not fit to play test cricket and left out one player who is supposed to be a test match specialist and only concentrates on test format.  It was the same case in South Africa, I thought Ravi Shastri would make some difference by now. But no, it's the same end result, may be slightly better as India went down atleast with a fight until the last session of the match.  

     While the bowlers did well barring Umesh Yadav (sorry Pandya is not considered here), Virat must give his fast bowlers long spells when they beat the bat or have picked up wickets or likely going to take wickets. Shami got two wickets in the space of 5 overs, but his spell ended there, as if there was a quota of overs for the bowlers. When a new batsman comes in, have one or two fielders in close catching position in front of his eyes, a short cover, forward short leg etc. Test cricket is a mental game sometimes. As much an attacking, aggressive batsman he is, I feel Virat still needs to show the aggression of a Ganguly as a captain. Doing right things at the right time with the right set of people on the job. 

    Virat was exceptional with the bat, no doubt, it was a treat to watch him bat. But it’s time the other bats started talking and their feet moving. It was disappointing to see Vijay and Rahane fail, arguably best batsmen after Virat. Dhawan and Rahul simply do not have the temperament required for test cricket. Dinesh Karthik looked lost with the ball behind the stumps as well as infront. Ashwin bowled beautifully which was the best part after Virat's heroic innings, I was disappointed that he was removed when Sam Curran hit him for couple of sixes in the second innings. Dinesh Karthik gave away 19 byes and some leg byes which you can’t account for, the slip fielders dropped too many catches for 31 runs that made the difference between winning and losing.

     I had a look at the 16 members squad, it does look like we do not have good squad for test matches, so I guess this series will eventually turn up the same way as first test match. Creating winning situations and losing from there because of incomplete balance in the side. This England side is beatable on their home ground, but I doubt if that will happen. I predict 3-1 or 3-0 to England, nothing will make me happier if this turns out wrong.wink

 

Tags: 31 runs that made the difference, cricket blogs, England tour-2018






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