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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spin dish - Have England started complaining already !!

‘spin’ is a staple diet dished out in India….  The idiom ‘Spin a tale’ has some negative connotation as it would mean someone telling a long and winding explanation to cook up a story.   When I grew up there was the famous quartet of Bishan singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna. In the late 70s came Dilip Doshi debuting at a ripe 32 and Shivlal Yadav – then there was Maninder Singh and Laxman Sivarama Krishnan passing on the mantle to Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and more to the present day Ravichandran Ashwin…
Chandra, Bedi, Prasanna and Venkat

There have been many tours and earlier so much was talked of the need to acclamatise to the climatic conditions and get used to the ground conditions that would prevail in the visiting country.  England is embarking on a long winding tour set to play 4 Tests, 2 T20s and 5 One dayers. 

Now a days much of cricket is played away from the turf too – and some seriousness is indeed lost when people have to talk at least 2 hours prior to the match and hours after that.  Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper, believes that winning a Test series against India in India equates to a bigger task than beating Australia away, which England did for the first time in 24 years in 2010-11.   perhaps, Prior’s concern is shared by ECB and that could explain the return of Kevin Pietersen. Remember Kevin was part of the mike wielding team when England bowed out of the T20 WC at Sri Lanka.  Their premier batsman Jonathan Trott also sounded a similar view calling India as England's 'Final Frontier'.

Team selection is entirely prerogative of the owners or so it was thought but there have been comments from the opponents too on this.  India's new bunch of selectors, headed by Sandeep Patil, announced a 14-member India 'A' squad to play the tourists in a warmup match from October 30-November 1 in Mumbai – and immediately, tweets were on air  from England, notably former England coach David Lloyd's, termed the announcement as "one totally lacking in style and class".  Why should he be worried of India showing class in a none too relevant match  !! – so even before the toss, Englishmen are trying to find excuses fearing the batting paradises and rank turners that could lay in wait for them.  This could get aggravated when in the 2nd tour game, Mumbai A may not field many many senior first-class cricketers, but provide opportunity for many youngsters of U25 and U19 too.

Indians are not well known for strategizing or marketing them properly – but is there any cold plan for the visiting English team – no spin in practice but have tweakers in the final XI. In the India A team, they should pray that Yuvraj Singh does turn his hands on. But ‘if no spin’ is a strategy, what is wrong with that……. Every time teams tour Australia, they would have a green top with a bunch of rookie pacers hurling too many bouncers to unnerve the opposition in their first tour game. Visiting teams have been beaten by Western Australia at Perth. When Pak toured India in 1979, in a tour game against South Zone, Srikkanth made a swashbuckling 90 and TE Srinivasan made a ton making merry of the visiting bowlers.. Remember the famous battle of Sachin scoring a double hitting Shane Warne at will and Ranji champ Mumbai beating touring Aussies by 10 wickets. That was in Feb 1998 - when Shane Warne went wicketless.

There is no reason to provide quality spinners during the nets to the visitors or make the former spin wizards talk and offer tips to their bowlers including Greame Swann.  The Indian skipper and some other members of the team have made no secret of their desire that India should have turning tracks prepared for Tests at home. They have a fair point when they say there is nothing to be ashamed of in building pitches to suit the home team.

The team to play England in the tour opener is : Suresh Raina (C), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Parvinder Awana, Ashok Dinda,Robin Bist, Ashok Menaria, Abhinav Mukund.

The following is the tour itinerary :
1st Test at Ahmedabad :  Thu Nov 15 - Mon Nov 19
2nd Test at Wankhede, Mumbai - Fri Nov 23 - Tue Nov 27
3rd Test at Kolkata - Wed Dec 5 - Sun Dec 9
4th Test at Nagpur - Thu Dec 13 - Mon Dec 17
1st T20 at Pune – Dec 20 -  20:00 IST
2nd T20 at Mumbai – Dec 22 - 20:00 IST
1st ODI – Rajkot – Jan 11, 2012 - 14:30 IST
2nd ODI – Kochi – Jan 15;  - 14:30 IST
3rd ODI – Ranchi – Jan 19, 14: 30 IST
4th ODI – Chandigarh, Jan 23, 12:00 IST
5th ODI – Dharmasala – 27th Jan 12 – 09:00 IST.

No Match at Chepauk………………For those who are following Champions League, the 1st Semis today will feature the only IPL team Delhi Daredevils fighting against Lions of South Africa.  Tomorrow, Sydney Sixers will play Titans at Centurion and the finals will be played at Johannesburg  on Sunday 28th Oct 2012.

Besides De Villiers and Alviro Petersen, a left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso has emerged to be a key element for Lions.  Morne Morkel,  has led Daredevils' attack admirably.  A good start from Virender Sehwag is of course expected. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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