Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Questions to be answered: India v England

With a four test series against England starting this Thursday, I am looking forward to it, with a mix of nervousness, curiosity and .....just a little bit of hope. After the two 4-0 defeats at England and Australia, I have become a lot less bullish about the Indian test team and despite our victory against New Zealand at home a couple of months back, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered at the start of the series. So here's my set of questions :
1) Do Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have a future as test match openers ?  Sehwag's last test century was against New Zealand at the Motera in Nov, 2010. Gambhir's last was in Jan 2010 against Bangladesh in Chittangong. It is a long time since these two have made test match 100s and there form has not really convinced anyone. While we are starting the series with these two, I am not sure whether we will end with them as openers. Sehwag might have a future as a middle order player. Gambhir needs an even bigger turnaround and for starters he could stop with his poke to third man. There are no clear cut, consensus candidates for replacement however and that is probably working in their favor.
2) Will SRT regain his form ? Tendulkar's form remains a major concern, and his Ranji Trophy 100 notwithstanding, he hasn't "looked good" at the crease in a long time in any form of cricket. India will desperately need runs from him against a good English attack.
3) Does India get a permanent fix for the number six slot ? With Dravid and Laxman retired, Pujara and Kohli have stepped up and taken their positions in the XI. Both came into the team with the vacant position left by Ganguly interestingly. The initial impressions that one gets from Pujara is that he has most of the attributes to succeed at this level, while Kohli is quite simply India's best batsman right now. He might just be among the best in the world, along with Hashim Amla. However, coming back to the point, no one really has made the number six slot his own, with Raina being the latest disappointment. Yuvraj's return from cancer and into the Indian team has an incredible story and it is Yuvi who starts the series at six. I am hoping that he succeeds and nails that slot down for the next couple of years or else the revolving doors shall continue. India does have a number of talented players in reserves with Rohit Sharma, Badrinath and Manoj Tiwary - all possible contenders, and I for one, would like this to be sorted out as soon as possible.
4) Can Ashwin and Ojha bowl out the English twice ? With India's limited pace bowling options, the onus once again in a home series will be on the spinners and it is the first time that both together will be facing a quality opposition at home. West Indies without Gayle and New Zealand were not really tough nuts to crack for these two, but England will be a lot more difficult. A home series brings its own pressures for India's spinners as they are "expected" to win games and with the likes of Cook, Trott, Bell and Pietersen in the opposition, this will be the first big test for India's new spin combination.
5) Will we have result pitches ? It is hard to say, how will the pitches play. M S Dhoni has often asked for turning tracks, but it has been a long time since we have seen vicious turners in test matches in India. Apart from Kolkata, which is generally quite placid, I have a feeling that Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Nagpur will have decent bounce, which is quite crucial for the spinners so that the edges do carry to the fielders. Will the wickets spin a lot ? On that I am less certain. It would be too much to expect results in all four matches, but at least two of them should produce results.
Chennai, 2008: An epic win
Here's hoping for a great series of test cricket and an Indian win. And if we can get a match half as good as Chennai, 2008, it would be brilliant.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. Copy Pasting from this site is allowed only if you give credits. Ok ?