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Andrew Strauss defies Duncan Fletcher by scoring 78 against India for Somerset

15 Jul 2011, 23:50 IST
Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss

Duncan Fletcher was an instrumental figure in England’s breakthrough Ashes victory in 2005. The Zimbabwean took over the Indian team post Gary Kirsten’s successful stint that culminated with India at top of every form of the game in a manner. India’s tour to England will be the scale on which India will be adjudged as the newly crowned champions. Fletcher has insights on a lot of key English batsman and that may benefit the inexperienced Indian pace battery. Fletcher had already initiated some mind games with former pupil Andrew Strauss.

Strauss scored 78 runs playing for Somerset in the practice match and achieved the purpose of regaining form as he missed the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Strauss was dismissed cheaply in the series against Sri Lanka and that sort of form is unlikely to propel his team’s hopes against India. His decision to take the bull by the horns shows immense confidence as well as true leadership qualities. At the same time, there is a good chance that the move may back-fire give if they get him out cheaply. Psychological points will be up for grabs in this practice match.

Zaheer Khan has been a nemesis for many left-handed batsmen over the years. Graeme Smith has been his “bunny” and Strauss struggled against him in 2007. Zaheer is coming out of an injury himself and nothing would suit him better than dead meat. Fletcher was spontaneous to point this out in the media. At the same time he distanced himself from the entire mind game in a diplomatic move. He said, “The problem lies with Straussy. If he feels he’s got a problem it’s more of a concern to him than us at this stage.”

Strauss played a stroke-filled knock of 78 before he was dismissed by Amit Mishra. His effort was reciprocated by Arul Suppiah and Nick Compton. India looked lackluster in the bowling department though the pitch had something to offer.

Meanwhile, India have their fair share of trouble as well in the opening slot. Virender Sehwag is unlikely to feature in the first two Tests and that would relieve England of many anxieties. The dashing Delhi opener has been India’s surprise weapon in many overseas tours and a quick-fire start pushes the opponents on the back-foot. The slip cordon that is so expansive in swing conducive conditions of England can be scattered by the fearless stroke-play of Virender Sehwag only.

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