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Monday, 24 October 2011

England Must Play Their Best Side

Come now! Grow up and smell the leather. Neither India nor England are dominant as the sledging Aussies once were, so a lot more to emulate yet. Everyone likes a bit of banter, certainly lots of intensity, but not consistent chatter, screaming abuse and being chastised by the umpires time and again. The ICC might charge the two boards a school head-teacher's fee!

Back to the game then, shall we?

The Indians with a fresh look side have played good cricket, dominating in all three departments so far. They have had a few good finds in Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, athletic speedsters. Long may their fitness last.

Another good omen for India is that they have found a new dependable middle order, at least in home conditions. Although the opening spot does beckon one Mr. Sehwag. This Indian side re-charged with the return of the experienced campaigners, will give the selectors some good headaches.

One does need to spare a thought for the workload of skipper Dhoni. Should he hand over reigns in the limited over format to a younger deputy?

The English have struggled to compete in this series, barring a few good individual performances and one close finish at Mohali. It does appear that the think tank is going into each game without much of a plan. It is a bunch of very skilled cricketers this lot. However, with all the experience, video footage, etc. not much evidence of application, adapting to the conditions or even picking the best side for the conditions!

The lowlight for me was the dropping of Swann, the best spinner in the game, on a spinning slow track at Mumbai! So was it just a gamble or "lost cause, let's experiment", or worse still, a mind-block to playing three spinners irrespective of conditions, despite one being a proven all rounder?

Admittedly it has also been a shock to see Ian Bell, the most gifted English stroke-player, sit out the series so far. With big runs against India recently, his presence in the middle was certainly deserved and possible, especially with two middle order batsmen failing in the first three games. Again, can't really find an explanation.

With a 5-0 result in the series now looking imminent, Eden Gardens could be another one way street. The track there slows down dramatically as the game progresses. The temperature and humidity will not be much help either to the England lads. Hopefully they will field their best eleven to try and avoid the indignity of a white wash.

Are there Indian fans wishing there were four test matches against England to follow the T20 encounter at the Eden Gardens?

How the tables have reversed in a few short weeks? Maybe the rhetoric about England world domination will have to take a short break, despite their recent climb to rank one of the ICC Test and T20 chart. Dominant teams dominate in all conditions, so the task ahead is cut out clearly, for Andy Flower and his band of English captains.

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