Later this week England arrive in India to play 5 ODIs and a solitary T20 in
the second half of Oct 2011, starting at Hyderabad on the 14th of Oct. Short and sweet, this return tour will miss Test matches. Not a series really, but a real test for both sides.
We all recall the drubbing India received at the hands of the English this summer, not so long ago. The domination was complete, in all internationals and in all formats.
England proved that they have well and truly arrived. Displacing the number one test side, and thrashing the world champs of the ODI format, convincingly, game after game.
But then cricket is one sport that has much to do with conditions. And the conditions, the pitches and the weather, did work to England's advantage during the home series. While the weather was not the primary cause for India's debacle, it was certainly a big factor. Wish the late September weather was around during the series, but let's just blame that on global warming, shall we?
For England to prove it's mettle and justify their top billing, the subcontinent conditions will be a true test. The pitches will be slow and low, with more turn than any pitch played on, during the summer.
Full credit to the England team management, who preferred the curators prepare a slow turner at the Oval for the 23 Sept T20 tie against the West Indies. It was certainly an effort to prepare for the subcontinent conditions. The result was unfavorable, which is not bad news. It highlighted the challenge of the subcontinent visit ahead. And it's one thing we know about Andy Flower, he will ensure complete preparation.
It is heartening that despite their detractors, selectors on both sides have worked on exploring new options, futuristic and specialist. New names on both sides will be exciting talents to watch. Look out for Jonathan Bairstow, Scott Borthwick, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker, Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Varon Aaron, Umesh Yadav, S Aravind, Rahul Sharma and Manoj Tiwary. That is one long list!
Go on young men, make use of the opportunity and give us a great contest!!
Having said all that, I do believe that the limited overs formats, a curtailed ODI and particularly the T20 format does not truly reflect the real game. What with the D/L method limiting a T20 game to 9 overs. Seriously? That's more like "Tukkaa" 20 cricket. To explain, "Tukkaa" means "Fluke"!
It will definitely be a different kind of contest, with conditions changing a 180 degrees. Heat and humidity, bald slow low turners - that's a tad different from Trent Bridge, me thinks.
Expect a better contest than the recently concluded series in England, but don't you go and write off England, not this hungry bunch of fighters.
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