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Friday, October 14, 2011

England in India - One Dayers - the land of Satvahanas

Do you know the Satvahana Empire ?  India today play the first of the 5 ODIs;  It should turn out to be a new experience for the win-parched Indian Team.  Indian fans are braying for a ‘revenge performance’.  England has not done too well in the past series !!  Now there are some revised rules to be employed for the first time in One dayers.  The batting and bowling powerplays will have to be employed between 16th and 36th overs of a full game; earlier it was 11th – 46th.  Earlier, the teams chasing would have the batting power play for the last 5 overs.  The other major change to the playing conditions is the use of two new balls - one from either end - during an innings. The mandatory change of ball that took place at the end of the 34th over has been done away with. This could reduce  the amount of reverse swing because each ball will be only 25-overs-old.

The Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Hyderabad, the venue for the first ODI. Hyderabad was a prominent place of Satvahanas; presently embroiled by the heat of Telangana stir.  It is not only parts of Andhra Pradesh but the impact is felt elsewhere as well - several states are  reeling under power shortage as coal miners went on strike in Singareni Collieries of Andhra Pradesh.  The strike has blocked coal supply to power plants leaving Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka virtually in darkness for hours.

The struggle for a distinct Telangana is nothing new !  It is said to comprise of  10 districts: Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.  There have been various political movements for the  statehood of the region.   In Nov 2009, TRS president K. Chandrashekar Rao  started a fast-unto-death, demanding that the Congress party introduce a Telangana bill in Parliament.  It became a mass movement and paralysed the activities of the State and echoed in the corridors of New Delhi.  In Dec 2009,  Union Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram announced that the Indian government would start the process of forming a separate Telangana state, pending the introduction and passage of a separation resolution in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. KCR ended his 11-day fast, saying from his hospital bed that this was a "true victory of the people of Telangana." But it never translated into reality and  in July 2011,  a vast majority of legislators from the Telangana region resigned protesting the delay in formation.  From Sept. 13, administration stands paralysed due to the strike by all section of people supporting the state formation !

Now coming back to Cricket, the present squad has only 4 who were part of the victorious WC 2011 winning team.   The last time England beat India blue was in 1984-85 when they won 4-1.  That was the time, when India had many rookies and was not a very strong day in ODI though they won the WC in 1983.  Here are some players who played in that Series :

Thirumalai Anantanpillai Sekhar, a tall and well built fast bowler who did not have the benefit of a good coach, or support of the Captain or management played.  Earlier he was flown to Pakistan  as a replacement for the injured Madan Lal, Sekhar played in two Tests, bowled with hostility but was let down by poor slip catching and treated harshly thereafter.  Ashok Kurjibhai Patel, the fastish off break bowler from Gujarat played, did little of note and was discarded.  Another athletic fast bowler from Jalandhar – Rajinder Singh Ghai made his debut in the series.

Recall that in the Second Onedayer at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack, India had a grand opening partnership of 188.  Krish Srikkanth made a fine 99 before getting out to Mike Gatting !.  Gatting also removed Shastri who completed a century off 142 balls.   India made 252 for 5 in 49 overs which was an imposing total those days.   Gatting made 59; in failing lights when cows were returning home, Vick Marks, Downton and later Ellison scored some runs.  When match was halted at 46 overs England was 241 for 6  - England were 0.08 runs ahead of the required rate  and were declared winners  !  Kapil Dev did not play in this match.

England has won only one of their last 13 completed ODIs against India in India ; in the WC 2011 England were handed a crushing 10 wicket defeat in QF by Lankans. Overall, India have the edge in head-to-head clashes winning 38 matches to England's 33.

England ODI results in India

Whether the vastly inexperienced Indian attack (Praveen, Umesh / Aaron, Ashwin, Rahul & Jadeja!) will be able to contain the England is the moot Q

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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