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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New face of Indian Cricket - 4

Indian cricket team is on the verge of playing England in the middle of grueling home season. To go back to the famous Ashis Nandy line, "Cricket is an Indian game accidentally discovered by the English." England have won their last three Test series against India, but this time they are branding themselves as “massive underdogs”. Despite of many pundits writing England off, one must look for Captain Cook leading from the front for a tough duel. Grit, Aggression and looking for results will be the highlights of the series.

Coaching job went in the hands of Anil Kumble mid of this year. It's unreasonable to expect extraordinary work from someone who isn't trusted to create it. Indian camp has highest regard for Ravi Shastri as a professional cricketers and wanted to be transition to be smooth as possible.  It is argued that the game comes easier to the greats, making coach job of solving problems of an average or even good players much more difficult. There is an counter argument in case of bowlers on because they have more understanding of cricket to survive in the batsman friendly era. Indians hope that Kumble Kohli partnership can go for establishing India in good records in abroad too. Both of them has forged relationship, mentored the team sensibly and had taken decisions under pressure in the right manner in all the tours.

There is ongoing state of conflict between the philosophy of aggressive dominant style and playing the match scenario. The parameter for the judgement was fixated on the strike rate of batsman. With Kumble in coach position, the debate of batsman around grafter and entertainer in test match is quite settled limited on positive approach only. Any team in subcontinent did not need to score at a rate deemed attractive to the public, but in their understated way can decide the outcome of the series. Batting seems counterintuitive in nature on day 4-5 in India. With the turning tracks in the picture, the batting unit need to use their feet and manoeuvre the ball and get more singles and twos before going for boundaries.

Test cricket is not a finishing school for the players but a first time series in subcontinent for English cricketers will be baptism by spin and reverse swing. As a debutant every player want to feel belonged on their first days at work. Ben Duckett, Haseeb Hameed, Hardik Pandya & Karun Nair will catch the eyes of public with their intent and performance in this series. The selection woes continues with the search of and fast bowling allrounder. We waited for the system to produce, rather than for us to actively promote. Sometimes, selectors pick players depending on what future tours are in mind.  Amid great negative reaction on the selection of Hardik Pandya, let us recall a quote by John Wright - “The key is to identify the right players to back. They must have reasonable ability and technique, but you must understand that there are certain players who might not be as talented as others, but boy, they have big hearts and a huge desire to succeed. Those guys, and teams with that attitude, will always surprise you.” In the dynamic of the selection, selectors must explain why certain players have been taken on the basis of potential and why few else have been subjected to limited chance. All players possess basic levels of natural talent to reach at the highest level and then it becomes a question of temperament and self belief. The self-belief to turn it on when it really mattered was the trademark of Kevin Pietersen.

Let us applaud Indians for using the Decision Review System (DRS) in the test series. Stars are born in the tough situations & qualities like character, holding up under pressure, putting your hand up to do the tough task will be scrutinised in this tour.  For too long, however, India has been a story mostly of potential. Turning possibility into reality will demand a greater focus on winning test matches in a ruthless way. India should be ready enough in international cricket to start dominating Test matches and win those crucial situations and sessions. That’s how India can become a better team.

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