Reflections on the India-England test series
The much hyped revenge series is done and dusted. In the end, there was no revenge. No band was bajaya-ed. England won a test series on Indian soil after 28 years of trying. The Indian team was shown in its true form. A lot of questions have been raised. Even more are yet to be answered.
People have questioned the pedigree of the Indian team and its fitness for use, so to speak. Many are appalled, baffled even by the fall from grace that has been almost as meteoric as the rise to the top. How can a team that was number one in the world hardly a year and a half ago have sunk to these depths, most people seem to be asking.
Well, in honesty, at the outset, let us give credit where it is due. England played a masterful game. After being beaten hollow in the first test, they showed unbelievable skill and attitude to come back and not only square the series but to go on and win it comfortably. So, as badly as India have played, England have played that much better.
India’s much vaunted batting has simply not clicked. It is well known that when Sehwag clicks, inevitably, India clicks. Sehwag has always been hit-and-miss. However, Sehwag has been way too many misses and way too few hits in the recent past, hasn’t he? Everyone agrees that he is a game changer but to change a game, one must be in the game.
A whole lot of people jump to Sehwag’s defence by saying that it is his natural game and only if he plays that way will he be effective. Fair enough. However, for a player as senior in the ranks as Sehwag, doesn’t the term responsibility ring any bells? I mean, just because it is Sehwag and just because ‘he always plays that way’, is it alright to not give a damn to the situation? Come rain or shine, he adopts the same cavalier way. Well, fair enough but if it clearly is not working, isn’t it time for reassessment? Food for thought.
Gautam Gambhir seems to be hung up on his IPL success, it seems. He has had a worse average than Wasim Jaffer in the same number of innings prior to Wasim Jaffer’s dropping from the team. Why then should Gambhir be given a more extended run? Past glory? Ha! He seems to be fixated on captaincy of the Indian team, according to some reports but all of these may not necessarily be hearsay. He might well harbor intentions of captaining the side but to become captain, one must perform consistently first. Just saying.
The youngsters, Pujara and Kohli will come good. Give them some time. They can, in no way, be blamed for anything that went wrong this series. One can always argue that one can always do better. However, patience is the virtue; especially with young talent.
Tendulkar … Let’s not get into that, shall we?
The captain, well, he is Indian captain and, in my view, should remain Indian captain. I do not think there is anyone else better for the job right now.
The bowling. Ah! Now this is interesting. Where do India go, really? Zak seems to be past it. Ishant seems to have two good Tests followed by three bad ones. Ashwin seems to have forgotten to spin the ball. Chawla seems erratic, Ojha seems to bowl in bursts and spurts, much like his bowling action and Jadeja is relied upon as an all-rounder. Tough times indeed.
To sum the series up, it was a write-off in terms of the result. However, there were many many positives, if only one looks for them. First, Pujara. One for the future. The lad seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Fingers crossed. Next Kohli. Cut the punk. Keep the spunk. Tighten up, man. You’ll be the Indian captain soon. The bowlers did toil long and hard but toil they did. That can only build character.
Finally, India learnt a most valuable lesson – that being complacent is simply not an option, even in India. Asking for a rank turner and being given the same does not guarantee success. A great record at home counts for nothing. A batting line up with a proven track record matters not an inch. It is how the game is played in the present that counts. India are, at the moment, not playing well enough. Forget it and move on. It’s the best thing that can be done.