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A nine-wicket win, or a sign of nine disasters?

MUMBAI, INDIA – OCTOBER 31: Alastair Cook of England bats during the second day of the first practice match between England and India A at the CCI (Cricket Club of India) ground, on October 31, 2012 in Mumbai, India. England will play three practice matches before the start of four test series

Yes, you read that right. This victory might have brought out many positives but as the match proceeded there emerged many things that India need to look at seriously.

The match showcased tremendous performances by the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virender Sehwag, Pragyan Ojha and Yuvraj Singh. But on the other hand, it also saw the likes of Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and a few more play the game at ease while few other players faced a nightmare at Motera.

Before getting to the disasters I’m talking about let’s try and understand where team India went right. The toss and the opening partnership put the English team on to the back foot right from the first session onward and brilliant knocks by Sehwag, Pujara and Yuvraj did the rest for England to lose hope of winning the the match. Brilliant bowling performances by Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Zaheer Khan left nothing in the match the English could play for.

Winning the match for India was just a matter of time that was delayed by a few hours.

But along with these positives there were also nine signs of disaster than shouldn’t be ignored at any cost. Let’s take a look a at them:

1. Firstly, the biggest sign of disaster that has emerged out of this match is the captain of the England team, Alastair Cook. This man has taken his captaincy seriously and his batting is getting even better. He faced the Indian bowlers as if they were no different from any other and scored lots of runs easily, but in the end no one really could support him. Ignoring him for the rest of the series can be the biggest risk the team can afford now.

2. Graeme Swann enjoyed bowling at Motera. He was the only bowler who looked likely to trouble the Indians. He dismissed India’s top four batsmen and could prove to be the man the England team will be banking on this series.

3. Monty Panesar will be roaring to fire with all three spinners doing well in the first Test. His chances of playing the next game have increased immensely and he is the best bowler the team has to partner Swann with for the next game.

4. Team selection for India could also be a point of concern when the opponents are struggling against spin and the Turbanator is just warming the benches in the dugout. Many questions need to be answered before the team begins their next match in Mumbai. Let’s just hope the team plays with the best possible combination.

5. Ashwin, who bowled well in the first innings, failed to impress in the second and that can be a cause of concern for the team management. Or it is just that the English team has solved the mysteries of the mystery bowler?

6. Fielding has always been a point of concern and dropping valuable catches this series might affect the result of the ‘revenge’ series that many are hoping ends in a whitewash.

7. The batting in the middle and lower middle order wasn’t put to test in this match but they need to come to the party and get some runs under their belt because you cannot completely rely on the top order to score every time.

8. The captaincy of Dhoni is being questioned, although he is on the verge of becoming the most successful Test captain and could surpass Sourav Ganguly. He needs to improve his decision making in tight situations and let them not affect the team’s performance in the future games.

9. Matt Prior was another player who played well against spin at Motera and could come in more than handy in the lower middle order along with Stuart Broad to get some quick runs.

If these nine signs aren’t taken care of before the next match begins, there can be a good chance that one of them can definitely become a huge disaster for the team.

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