England - Be Careful What You Wish For Against India!
The saying ‘cats on a hot tin roof’ instantly came to mind when you watched the Sri Lankan batsmen in English conditions this season. This in the wake of the bowling friendly conditions that had them jumping and hopping around and generally looking uncomfortable and ill at ease.
For want of a better description they were ‘dead men walking’
As bowlers you take great joy in this sight, for it feeds your greatest yearn of tormenting and ruling batsmen. That feeling in these shameless batting ages is so rare and thus it not only corrupts your subliminal, but clouds your perspective
Hence as soon as the last ball was bowled in the Sri Lankan series the call went out that we want bowling friendly pitches for the Indian series…..
You could imagine a collective outburst of laughter upon this exclamation from the cricket crazy citizens of India. The tears would have been the rolling out of the eyes, due to the extent of the laughter on two counts.
Firstly this call made the assumption that a Team like India, that has excelled everywhere was susceptible to conditions. Especially from a batting perspective. Rather absurd, when you look at the class in the Indian batting line up and then dig a bit further. Looking at their figures away from home and in particular in England.
Gautam Gambir: Home average 43.84, Away average 63.5 (Hasn’t played in England)
Rahul Dravid: Home average 50.75, Away average 53.7 (Average in England: 65.35)
Sachin Tendulkar: Home average 56.93, Away average 56.95 (Average in England: 62)
VVS Laxman: Home average 48.09, Away average 50.25 (Average in England: 44.88)
Interesting reading isn’t it with all the key men in the top four having better figures away from home. Then of the three out of the 4 who have played in England. Both Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have dominated with VVS Laxman figures suffering a little bit, but still being very respectable.
Then from a bowling viewpoint it is a double edged sword too. For don’t you think that India’s bowlers might also benefit in not playing on thankless roads? That they are sadly, so used to being subjected to at home for the most part. Spice being in the pitches would firstly take India’s spearhead in Zaheer Khan from being a very fine bowler into a lethal one. Then the rest of the attack, who are precociously talented, but plagued by inconsistency would have this cloaked by a few wickets aided to them by the conditions.
Thus the consequence of all this would be the setting up of a series dominated by bowling and decided by whose batting line up performs the best in these circumstances
Pitting the very accomplished English batting line up against an Indian one considered in many quarters as being one of the best in the games history…..
So on that thought, it might be wiser that the English save their thoughts of ‘green’ for St Patrick’s Day and Ireland in March, rather than India and pitches in July!