Cause and the (no) effect
One of the prime acts of the recently appointed Indian selection committee, chaired by Sandeep Patil, showcased that they are not in the path of making conventional decisions for the team. Stands as an epitome, their selection of teams for England‘s practice matches. For those matches, which were supposed to aid the visiting English players in assimilating alien (bowling) conditions in India, the selection panel composed a team that will not truly serve the purpose. While the intentions of the selection were not blazoned out, what happened in reality was not in complete accord with the interpretations of a typical watcher.
The England team appears to have taken all they wanted from the matches. A very good scenario for winning a test match – one or two of their core batsmen reaching triple digits and others accentuating the score and at the other end, bowling leads taking wickets and others saving runs – is what they could do in the practice matches. This definitely should have boosted up their confidence and augmented their spirits. Preeminently, the take away from practice for the visitors is that their spinning department could account for a substantial percentage of Indian wickets that they could get. This implied that their bowling is not completely out of place.
And what happened later in the first test (in a 4 match series) to England against India XI does not seem to have been affected by the absence of spin in their earlier (practice) matches. Here, I can broach a thought about what could have happened if England players had an exposure to spin before hand, but no one can have the right answer. Despite struggling in the first innings, they had a good come-back in the second. The team made amends quickly and definitely did not crumble. The match was not as dismal to them as the earlier series (when India visited England) was to Indians. Their batsmen put up centuries and halves on the board and bowlers (Graeme Swann) could accomplish a 5-wicket haul. Their captain playing a “captain” innings will have a very positive impact on the team as a whole. As if attesting that the task of facing spin is not arduous to the visitors, they played well in the later part of the 5-day match when spin can have an amplified effect. Clearly, Indians did not win the match with zero efforts, and the fighting quality of England team should be given credits for that.
From a broader point of view, it is always auspicious that the test matches are going on till the final day and they are ending up having a result. This proves the point that the test matches are still alive. It is also great that the visitors are not just giving up and the matches will not end in favor of home team in a matter of two or three days. After all, only a team which gives tough competition to an opponent which is having home advantage will be rated world-class and English are undoubtedly a world-class team.