Monday, July 18, 2011

India vs England

As India head to the Blighty, a mouth-watering treat awaits us. The big news coming from India is the lack of fitness of Sehwag and the possibility of him missing the 2nd test and the entire series perhaps, rumours floated by a much favoured Hindi channel in India. Sehwag being out of the first two tests might actually do good for India. He has never been known to be a great player of the swinging ball and all the more considering the fact that he hasn’t played since his IPL injury. The first two tests will be at Lords and Trent Bridge, two historic English venues where the cricket ball performs ballets and you can expect Anderson to be the chief orchestrator. In such conditions India would need more assured openers, someone who can let the new ball go through to the keeper. If the going gets tough, Gauti is always there to counterattack and keep the English bowlers from entering into a rhythm. Imagine Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman entering after a good platform, its Doomsday for the bowlers. The number 6 and 7 could be crucial positions for India in England. As it happens more often than not in foreign conditions, the top order packs up early on a seaming wicket and a rescue act has to be done. Dhoni will sleep well knowing that Raina and Laxman are in prime form and he himself is a tough nut to crack in difficult conditions.

Graeme Swann vs Harbhajan Singh has been the contest which people are looking forward to. It could turn out to be a dampner if Harbhajan forgets to flight the ball. Recent years has turned Bhajji from a wicket taking machine to a containing bowler, T20 Effect perhaps. Swann on the other hand has never been scared to flight the ball, he generates just enough drift to keep the batsman from using his feet and is capable of giving the ball a good tweak. The differentiating factor in favour of Harbhajan is the amount of top spin he is capable of generating and on good bouncy wickets he can be a handful.

I think Praveen Kumar can be a differentiating factor in England if Sreesanth doesn’t bowl to his capabilities. England haven’t seen Praveen and his ability to swing the ball late and both ways can be crucial. Plus he has an uncanny ability to pick wickets with ordinary deliveries.

Enough has been said about Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and their batting abilities but I believe India’s challenge lies in getting Trott and Bell out. Their batting techinques date back to a more orthodox and conservative style and they lack flamboyance and elegance which has been a hallmark of great English batsmen such as Gower or Atherton. Trott is self assured on the wicket, rarely plays a bad shot and is the go to man for England in a crisis. Ian Bell never gets a chance to show his worth by virtue of him batting lower down the order but there is a sense of grittiness about him which would irritate India if they manage to rip through the top order. Raina vs Bell should be another battle to look out for.

Man for Man, India looks better but on present form England might be up a notch considering they are playing at home and have played a good series against Sri Lanka. Cant wait for it to start.

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