Search This Blog

Labels

Thursday, August 18, 2011

India play the last Test at Oval – Is England the real No. 1 and why is India not fit to be No. 2 even as Boycott claims !!

The game is not as fickle as the critics of the game are !

Only recently, there were reports that  Indian Institute of Management Ranchi (IIM-R )  thought of brain mapping the star Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni – it was acclaimed to be a foray into neuro management by mapping the brain of Team India's most acclaimed captains and understand the reasons for Dhoni's success as a leader. Things have changed fast and today Dhoni has the unenviable task of leading the team out for the fourth outing at Oval with 3 big losses on his back and a dispirited and battered team to be led. 

No one can deny the fact that England presently are the no. 1 in ICC rating but the critics who questioned the system when Indians were on top seemingly accept the same system when it presents them on top – how weird are the Ex cricketers of England.  They now gloat over their performance but the same Q remains – has England beaten all the teams and have they done enough on away tours – the fact is totally otherwise !!

If 3 years is a long span (during 2008 – 2011) they have played 34 tests and have won 16 (excluding the present series) – looks creditable but factually it  were to be analysed – 4 of them came against the lowly Bangladesh and only 4 of them came in away matches.  Again, they have not played in the subcontinent – the last time they toured was in 2008-09 when they lost the 2 test series 1-0 to India.  So no wins in Pakisan, India, Srilanka, West Indies, Newzealand – yet they are crowned the champions !!

Team
Year
Opponent
Mat
Won
Lost
Venue
Winner
England
2010
Pakistan
4
3
1
Home
England
England
2010
Australia
5
3
1
Australia
England
England
2009
W Indies
2
2
0
Home
England
England
2009
Australia
5
2
1
Home
England
England
2009
Bangladesh
2
2
0
Bangladesh
England
England
2010
Bangladesh
2
2
0
Home
England
England
2009
S Africa
4
1
1
S Africa
drawn
England
2011
S Lanka
3
1
0
Home
England
England
2008
India
2
0
1
India
India
England
2009
W Indies
5
0
1
W Indies
West Indies



34
16
6




Indians have had a terrible tour – their batting has not clicked unable to score 300  and bowlers could not restrict the opponents to meaningful totals.  The series is being likened to 1974 loss !  English bowlers have done remarkably well though the touted Greame Swann has been able to get away with his worst performance ever in a series.   Sachin Tendulkar has been given a standing ovation every time he has walked to the crease but yet to display his caliber and complete that elusive 100th ton. 

For once who is to play in the England team hardly matters for the bruised Indian team which is looking forward to a flamboyant start from Sehwag which might well change their fortunes.  Ironically, Rudra Pratap Singh who has been wilderness for long and ha sreturned only because of injury riddled bowlers and unwilling backup Munaf, might produce a stellar performance to redeem some lost prestige, which is the only thing at stake.

Typically, the Oval pitch is a batsmen’s paradise.  Kennington Oval, is situate in London, England. Established in 1845, it has a capacity of 23500, small by Indian standards and is the home ground of Surrey.  The ends are named Pavilion end and Vauxhall end.  The first-ever Test on English soil was played here in September 1880, resulting in an England win over Australia by five wickets, with WG Grace scoring a hundred on debut, and this is where a Test series in England traditionally ends.  It is also the  historic venue where the legend of the Ashes was born a couple of years after the inaugural Test, in August 1882. England, chasing only 85 to win, slumped from 51 for 2 to 78 all out. The next morning The Sporting Times published its famous mock obituary and the legend was born.  India played here first in 1936; Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are yet to play a Test match at the venue.

A fox seen at the ground during a test match
As he is wont to Geoff Boycott in his syndicate column blobbered that Indians are not fit to be No. 2 even.   He writes that  “ Be that as it may, India are now the world’s second best Test team, but certainly not on the strength of their performance. Should they lose this Test, they will lose the second place, too. On current form, they deserve no better. It truly looks as though they are simply going through the motions, waiting for England to win the matches”   He advises Indian team that “ When you take the field, you have a responsibility to try and win, to your country, your fans, and even to yourselves. I see no sign of that here.     By contrast, England have provided a valuable demonstration of how a team without a single superstar can achieve glory, simply by executing their plans well, and depending on the unit rather than on individuals. They have a solid opening pair, a determined No. 3, a potentially destructive No. 4, a steady middle-order, and a fearless tail. ----    So, rather than panic about injuries to Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar, or look up to Virender Sehwag as saviour, perhaps it is time India focused on developing players rather than stars”

The memory often goes blank for Geoff Boycott who conveniently fails to see that England has not accomplished anything great as seen from the statistics to reach the exalted No. 1.  often he would call his Mom and Grand ma – but fails to recollects the performance of his own team when he played or in the days of his Mom and Grand ma. 

Not long ago, in 2008, England were losing every other match in India and only the Mumbai terrorism allowed to escape from a 7-0 – the scoreline remaining 5-0 when the Guwahati and Delhi one dayers had to be cancelled.

Geoff Boycott  in a test career spanning 18 years was a loner and never played for the team; he once walked away to play golf when England were playing India at Delhi and his illustrious career reads :

Mat
Runs
HS
Bat Av
100
108
8114
246*
47.72
22
20
1096
99*
28.1
0

None of his 22 centuries came when England won and perhaps most were dreary draws.  In the mid 1980s – they lost 5-0 to West Indies when they toured in 1984; fared no better – another 5-0 when West Indies toured England in 1985-86 and lost 4-0 in 1988.  In 1994, in test 1257 at Port of Spain, set a target of mere 194, lasted only 19.1 overs to be bowled out for a paltry 46 !!
When the losing vein continued coupled with injuries like Paul Terry’s broken arm and Mike Gattings bridged nose – unable to play the West Indian pacers, they curtailed them rather cunningly with a ‘one bouncer per over’ stating that the over rate was low.  Can you ever imagine ordering a batsman not to score more than a 6 in an over ?  but that became a reality clipping the wings of the pacers.  The ICC when entirely run by England and its coterie made experiments which may not occur in any laboratory even. Another classic example was the regulation on the issue of players qualification for a country other than that of their birth. 
In 1948 Ashes series England served by Len Hutton, Denis Compton and Alec Bedser lost 4-0; during the Fourth Test, England were bowled out for 52 in half a day. Australia then made 389, with Bradman making a famous duck in his final innings. England were then bowled out for 188 to lose by an innings and 149 runs in less than three days' playing time.
Boycott comes from Yorkshire and sure knows more of English history !!
Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

No comments:

Post a Comment