30.7.07

Getting it Wrong, Getting it Right

Well, now. I got it a little bit wrong, but India, ultimately, got it very right.

I fell into the trap of assuming that if India were going to bowl a side out in the second half of a Test match to set up a victory, the man to do it had to be Kumble. An indolent reading of history suggested as much but in England? In the monsoon summer of 2007? At a lush Trent Bridge - which has gained an increasing reputation as a swinging ground in recent years - it was always more likely to be a seamer. And, with the way he's been bowling since his first spell at Lord's, it was always likely to be Zaheer Khan.

The fact that they only took a single wicket in the first session didn't matter at all either, with most of the side - Sreesanth excepted - patiently biding their time through a warm afternoon and the majestic quality of Michael Vaughan's century in the knowledge that the new ball could change things quickly. With Zaheer and RP using it beautifully and the below-par Kumble seeing to the tail, it did, and only a further 63 are now needed to secure a deserved victory.

India have flattered to deceive many times over the years, but, if they can win tomorrow and repel England at The Oval (and England will really come at them hard there), perhaps we can start thinking about a future in which the side can start to get a bit nearer to fulfilling the perenially disappointed hopes of its millions of followers.

The middle-order is certain to need some re-stocking before long but the bowling looks good. In Zaheer you have as mature and skilled a left-arm swing bowler as there is in the world, in RP Singh as promising a left-arm swing bowler as there is in the world and in Sreesanth as contradictory and potentially dangerous (in many senses) a right-arm seamer as there is in the world. And Pathan and Harbhajan to come back in.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now the onus is on Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik at 11 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Everything else comes later.

4 comments:

Homer said...

Brian,

Between now and the Oval test, the English press will do enough to sap the life blood out of the English team.

It would have been us and our press but thankfully,that will not happen.

Given that, I am not sure how hard England will come at India ( also that the Oval has traditionally been favorable to spin and India )

Brian Carpenter said...

I'm not sure the press will have that much effect - the tabloids are far more interested in football, even during the cricket season. Of course you're right in saying that The Oval tends to favour India's strengths, which is why, assuming the victory is wrapped up later, India will be strong favourites to win the series.

Sfx said...

Thats where I think Vaughan's skill lies - if Ashes 2005 and his record as captain is any indication. Brian's view and that of his fan's is based on the fact that as they did after the Lords mauling in 2005 (press and all) they have the capacity to come back.

Not sure if that will stop the press though.

Also, I am amazed at how kind the press (and bloggers) in the UK have been to Sreesanth in this game. England's own gamesmanship (uh-oh) is hardly an excuse for his behaviour...

Brian Carpenter said...

I certainly wasn't impressed with the behaviour of Sreesanth (or England). I think I'll let the dust settle a bit before writing something about it later in the week.

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