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India’s Nightmare Continues at Old Trafford T20

September 1, 2011

It was almost certain after two back to back defeats in tests and with the kind of attitude Indians showed after that it was only a matter of time that England would snip in a comprehensive series victory. One could realize easily that the so called defending champions got away from the game and looked like as if they are not willing to play the tests and wanted to have a change. Well, after that massive whitewash the colors have changed from white to blue, but the men in blue are yet to taste their first win against England in the tour.

Yes, this time around India did try to put up some fight, but the luck and the momentum just not tend to shift from England’s way. After winning the toss Dhoni decided to have a bat. The new opening pair Parthiv and Rahane gave India a decent start as well. If one thing that India can take out of it as positive is the batting of Ajinkya Rahane, the boy making his debut. He came in with a very positive frame of mind, no half measures and played some fine shots all over the ground. During the field restrictions he infact showed that how to play the short ball actually in this format of the game. One of the reasons that the short balls worked so well for the English in tests that there you are allowed to have fielders for such balls. But here it’s a different ball game all together. He picked the length of the ball so early, not only played the pull shot on a regular basis but also played some good cricketing shots through the off side as well. It was great to see the young man taking against the spinners, going inside out against the turn and connecting well. To make a half century at debut for his country is something that all the cricketers dream about which came true for Rahane last evening.

The man watching him from the other may have been thinking that what place to use this guy when he plays for the Rajasthan Royals in the next IPL..but it is not that he kept thinking all these being a spectator from the non striker’s end. The surprise debutante of 39 hammered Samit Patel thrice in three deliveries into the stands. To see Dravid batting in this fashion is something you won’t see very often. But just goes to show that what can be the definition of  a perfect team-man who even in this age is coping up with the challenges of not playing his natural game. Since then it was absolutely fine for the men in blue. But as soon as Rahul Dravid find the fielder at covers England lead by their new captain Stuart Broad started to make a very strong statement to the batters. Rahane gave it away with a slash to third man soon after followed by poor shot selection of Kohli and Sharma being beaten by the flighted straighter one and got stumped.

Suddenly they were one down to half of there side lost. In this format you don’t need the partnerships of 50-60 but even a 20 run partnership seems to be quite handy here. If we can have a look at the Indian card we’ll find that only 3 such partnerships exceeding the single figure mark. The last one of those was between the CSK teammates Raina along with his skipper. Raina was troubled luminous number of occasions in the tests with the short balls, but here it was amazing to see just how one can convert his weaknesses to the strengths as he had the license to go after the bowling. His three sixes mattered the most to the construction of the score that India ended up with. And two of them were along the longest boundary of Bresnan at deep mid wicket.

But the things of concern have remained the things of concern and at times are appearing as even bigger. To lose wickets at regular intervals have been one of those throughout the tour, and happens all over again. Telling just one factor will be enough, India scored just 61 runs of their last 49 balls losing 9 wickets and even didn’t complete their full quota of 20 overs. The could have tried to add 10-12 at run a ball at the end of their innings but nobody could put bat into ball and rotate the strike! Just amazing how can one give away the total control and allow the opposition to get into the match again.

And once batsmen did this, bowlers had the extra responsibility to make up for those 15-20 runs that they fell short so as the fielders. India do have two or three outstanding fielders but the ground fielding has been a matter of headache for a long long time now, infact they had it always. Time to put some serious thinking behind this. Also at times we have seen that they are not having there best fielders in the proper place. At slog overs a single is always going to be taken, so you should have fielders like Munaf Patel inside the circle rather that having him at the cow corner. What it has resulted that two drop chances have gone for four.

Bowling as a whole looked quite ordinary too. Ashwin,the most effective T20 bowler in the squad failed to strike even once. He seemed to be helpless against Morgan when he was taken for boundaries with those reverse sweeps of real power generating from the very high backlift that Morgan has as he continues his dream run for England in this format. Gamble of Dhoni of bowling Kohli paid of, but in case of Rohit it didn’t. He probably would have thought to use the men who were unseen so far to the English batsman, but that’s how gambles are..sometimes they come off, and sometimes they don’t.

Morgan and Pietersen took the attack to the opposition and almost without being in any trouble what so ever kept scoring runs. Whenever India tried to recover the luck went against them as the top edges went for six, inside edges going pass the keeper for four and mistimed lofted shots falling at no man’s land. For more of a similar reason what could have been the over of the evening from Munaf, the 19th over, had gone all in vain as Vinay Kumar could not stop Samit Patel from getting 10 from the last over as England cross the target with 3 balls left as Stuart Broad puts the first win against his name as captain preventing India from getting their 5th consecutive T20 victory. Now all eyes will be on the upcoming ODI series. Can they make justice to their name? Yes, they are indeed capable of doing so, for now it looks like that they have forgotten their own potential. Probably they need more commitment and energy from the youth. And most importantly what they have not been doing so far is to go back, look and work on their mistakes. They haven’t corrected one, but the things have looked even worse as the time progressed. I wonder what Duncan Fletcher is doing with this side!!

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