While many may claim that India could have gone on to win the 1st test against England, it is a moot point as to whether it would have actually happened. Anderson and Broad are still around and able to assert themselves on the batsmen in helpful conditions, which would mean that one session where the ball did a lot could have sunk the Indians. In the World Test Championship game, that is what happened.
From the selection to the performance, there is a lot to be desired. Only in India will we see the best bowler in the last World Test Championship, Ashwin Ravichandran get dropped! 68 wickets, head and shoulders above everyone else in the WTC and this is how we treat our best bowler? Did Kohli or the Coach offer any explanation as to why they did this? No! There are some in the present setup who ride roughshod on anyone and everyone and if anyone dares to question them, they side-line them. Very, very regrettable.
Even the Left Lumpens will admit that perhaps the only place where one finds meritocracy in India is in Cricket, but the recent exclusion of Ashwin raises eyebrows. Heck, mine disappeared into my receding hairline! So, what could have been the reason for dropping him? His batting? Or his hugely popular vlogs? Come out and say it! They won’t – they can’t! To know more, read my Red Book. It is available in eBook, Paperback, or Hardbound forms.
Now let us look at the batting – the knight in shining armor was K L Rahul, who wasn’t even expected to play the test! So, if Mayank Agarwal is fit for the Second test on the 12th, will India drop Rahul, the best batsman in the previous test? And what could be the reason for the below-par performances of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane? I looked at their body language when they were in the middle and this is my opinion. They looked scared, confused, and confounded.
Is it because they are nervous as heck about their spot in the playing XI? Who wouldn’t be, when the best bowler in the world today does not get a place? England team would have high-fived around when they came to know that Ashwin was not playing.
THE NEXT FOUR TESTS
You can expect England to dish out similar tracks for the next four tests too – swing and seam friendly. The weather in London is expected to be cloudy on all five days – so that would almost guarantee that the pitch will be green.
Who will India play in the Lord’s test? Will they continue to drop Ashwin because Jadeja is a better batsman? Wait! Is he not in the team as a bowler? By allowing Root to score so many runs, has India dug itself into a hole for the remainder of the series? More importantly, if Ashwin had played, would he have allowed Root to score so many? Remember how he took care of Australia’s best batsman Steve Smith in the series that India went on to win 2-1.
The middle order is looking fragile with the slump in the form of Pujara, Kohli and Rahane. King Kohli is not exactly asserting himself on the opposition – go back and look over the last two years. Then why is India giving him such a long rope? What is the yardstick used to select a player? No answers. The BCCI is full of hubris and acts as a power of its own – to the Social Media companies, one can add BCCI too.
Because this test was a draw, let us assume that all three play. Why has the Board ignored a triple centurion? Only questions – no answers.
What about the bowling? Will Jadeja continue to play because he got a 50-odd and caught a few catches? Don’t the captain and the coach know that 20 wickets have to be taken to win a test match? And that they need to score more runs than England? As for the four pacers, only Bumrah came through in flying colors. For Shardul Thakur to be an Anderson or a Broad, he needs to crank his speed up to 140s and still swing as well as he does at his current speeds. Otherwise, at the test level, he will not be able to run through the sides.
Swing-it-like-Shami, for all his beating the bat, has only one wicket to show for his efforts. Then one will hear the argument that he was creating pressure from one end which resulted in wickets falling from the other! Young India, don’t look surprised at me asking all these tough questions? Sports journalists used to do so in India too, until… well you know what happened. I have no brief to carry for anyone and I speak my mind. If you don’t like it, then you are being blind to some things that demand an explanation.
Siraj is quick but he too needs to crank up his pace to the 140s in order to keep the batsman in check. At the test level, once they figure you out, they will dismantle you. This is why it is a mystery to me as to why India keeps dropping Ashwin, who continues to evolve as a bowler.
If India goes with the same XI, don’t be surprised if they lose. I hate to be right on this, but there is a use-by-date for every player. And guess who said this! The current coach. Maybe he thinks he is excluded from his own rule.
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