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Monday, July 25, 2011

Lord once again hurt India


While I am writing this post, the epic test match is in anti-climax stage and climax is more or less certain unless some drama happens before that, in anti-climax.

The first test match of 4 test match series between India and England got underway  on 21st July and four days are over with home team enjoying the distinct advantage while I.Sharmavisitors are struggling hard to save the test match. This epic test match saw brilliant display of batting from Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen and Rahul Dravid, as both  Dravid and Pietersen got brilliant hundreds on a testing surface, brilliant bowling spells from Praveen Kumar, Stuart Broad and Ishant Sharma. Misery of  great Tendulkar continued at this ground as he failed to cross the thirties on this very venue one more time and century on this ground is still far away from him.

If we talk about England I think they batted in tough conditions and also bowled in batting friendly conditions, while Indians got the best batting conditions M.Priorto bat and best bawling conditions to bowl but failed to take advantage of that and England turned the tide in their favour by battling it out in tough conditions. But Indians were unlucky to lose its premier fast bowler Zaheer Khan on the first day due to injury and other 3 bowlers failed to make any impact on Day 1. Dropped catches of Trott and Pietersen also aggravated the wounds of Indian bowlers and it is pity that, captain who dropped those chances. So far in this match captain Dhoni dropped four crucial catches and India paid dearly for that.

Tactics of Indian captain in the field were also far from the reality so far. When Ishant was bowling well on Day 4, he didn’t continue him after lunch and that’s where match slipped from the hands of India. Mistake even became more visible when Ishant returned with new spell and immediately picked up the wicket of Eoin Morgan which clearly showed that, had Ishant bowled just after lunch India must have got into the comfortable position and could have thought of winning the match but Dhoni failed to take advantage of the moment.

Moreover, in first innings Dhoni batted for 102 balls and scored just 27 runs and didn’t force the issue, as if he was out there to save the test match in first innings of the game. Had Dhoni played his natural game, Indian would have reached closer to the English score in first innings but Dhoni kept playing defensively and finally got out to he new ball. Dhoni used these defensive techniques in his batting many times but he failed often while playing defensively. He has to understand that, he is not technically sound as Rahul Dravid, so he has play his natural game and score runs which will help Indian team in winning more test matches. We all saw when wickets were falling Matt Prior played his natural game and got his team out of the trouble by scoring brilliant hundred. Dhoni has to learn that. Also there is saying offence is the best form of defence.

In the past few matches, Dhoni’s wicket-keeping standard has gone down considerably and he is out of form in batting as well. We all know, how capable Dhoni is, with the bat but only when he play his natural game. I think time has come, when Dhoni have to think about his batting and have to accept the fact that he is not a technically sound batsmen and have to play his natural game under any circumstances and I can vouch, if he will play his natural game he will certainly score more runs in his test career and if he try to kill his natural instincts then I am afraid he will not survive much in the highest format of the game for too long.

So India is on doorstep of defeat at Lords and tough times ahead for Dhoni and his team which is also struggling with disease and injuries to its premier players.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Litmus test ahead for Dhoni and his men


After reasonably successful Windies tour Team India is confident of doing well in upcoming series in England. Although Team India wonewsid_2965-team-india-west-indiesn both ODI and Test Series in West Indies but that win is not emphatic enough considering the huge gap of ranking between the two teams. India, the No.1 ranked team expected to win the series with either whitewash or at least 2-0 but they won it by 1-0 which is not considered substantial win considering  the weak opposition and sub-continental like conditions. Although win is win.

Now Indian team will face the English challenge and this tour will establish Indian team’s supremacy in world cricket, if they will win this series and victory Laxman Dravidin English summer will certainly clears all the doubts over Team India’s ranking, which has been raised by various cricket experts world over. But series is not going to be easy as England is deadly dangerous in their own backyard, also they are confident side after five series win in a row which includes victory over Australian team in famous Ashes series down-under.

So stern test ahead for Dhoni and his men.From West indies tour India gained few things and one of them is the bowling. Before this West Indies tour there were doubts about Indian bowling especially in fast bowling Dhoni233444department but those doubts are clear now and India have good fast bowlers in Ishant Sharma who grew in stature after this Windies tour, debutant Praveen Kumar impressed in batting friendly conditions and Munaf Patel also played his role. So as Zaheer Khan returned to the side,Dhoni have the option of going in with 3 quality fast bowlers and in helpful conditions of England Indian bowlers will certainly do wonders especially Praveen Kumar who has given born to lot of expectations because of his special swing bowling. So if England prepares the bowling friendly wickets then their batsmen will also go through the big test against the Indian seamers.

As far as batting is concerned, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are in good form but return of maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who is in sight of his 100th ton in International cricket and opener Gautam Gambhir will certainly boost the batting of this Indian team. Form of Raina is also good and it will going to be a difficult choice for Dhoni to go with Yuvraj or Raina. Sehwag will joiSachin Ton1n the team in 2nd or 3rd test match depending on his fitness and that will further boost the Team India’s batting but for one man this tour will going to be a very important and that man is Abhinav Mukund who had disastrous debut in West Indies but came back well in 2nd and 3rd test and hence earned the berth for England tour. If Mukund will play well in first two test then it will certainly boost his confidence as well as India will also get the new solid batsmen who will easily take the place of Rahul Dravid after his retirement.

So exciting series in prospect and Indian team have to play out of their skin to beat England in England and it will not going to be easy but also not impossible as Indian team defeated England last time when they toured under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid. India can take inspiration from that tour and that will definitely make their job easy.

Talking about success of the Indian batsmen, well they have to play  the deliveries late in English conditions and that is the only mantra to score big runs in this series. Remember No.1 ranking is on stake for Team India and win on this tour will going to shut the mouth of every person who doubts India’s No.1 ranking status on Test Cricket. Dhoni has not lost single test series so far in his career as a captain, so his reputation of no series defeat is also on stake.