With rain preventing any play at Leeds yesterday I took the first opportunity I've had to take any notice of the Bangladesh-India Test series. Not a lot, mind, as it ended pretty quickly, but it's clear that Bangladesh still have a lot to do to bring their Test performances up to a level where they can consistently challenge the better sides. In their case, more Tests and many fewer ODIs would help them develop, but the market forces of Asian cricket and commerce will probably dictate otherwise.

India are one of those better sides but many uncertainties remain ahead of their tour of England - no coach, the core of the side ageing, continuing uncertainties about their openers and seam attack - but at least they'll travel with a victory under their belt after the disappointments of the World Cup.

At the top of the order Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik have been shaping up well, but you have to have doubts about how they'll do in England, especially if the weather doesn't improve by July. I'd like to see Sehwag back in the side - perhaps reinvented as a middle order player - but I expect to see Jaffer and Karthik walking out at Lord's.

The seam attack could be capable of matching England's if Zaheer, Sreesanth and Patel all show up fit, but how likely is that? It was interesting to see Ishant Sharma, who looked so good on the under-19 tour last year, but his real time will have to wait, while one has to feel that more will be heard from Irfan Pathan. He's surely too talented and still too young for that not to be the case. But what's the key?

And, when it comes to spinners, although you know that Kumble will always be there (at least until he isn't), there's the question of support in a department which will be important in exposing England's vulnerabilities. Powar seems to have done okay in Bangladesh, but a Test off-spinner in preference to Harbhajan? Doubtful.

England have looked good in the first two Tests against the West Indies but they're playing a poor side. India should be capable of much better and it could be a decent series if India get their players fit and their selections right.

We'll see.


Anonymous said...

No Munaf and Karthick on England tour. karthick is way too slow and so is Jaffer, you can expect the kind of starts they would give. And so the return of Sehwag is must.

Munaf is at best a stock bowler. He cannot be hoped to take a wkt or 2 with his style of bowling. And moreover he lacks intensity and is most prone to injury.

Pace attack should be : Zaheer, Sreesanth and RPSingh.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree about Sehwag.

I liked the look of Patel a lot when he debuted against England last year but agree that he's gone downhill in terms of form and fitness since. I haven't seen much of R.P.Singh although he looked useful against Bangladesh. Sreesanth must be a cert if fit and I'm looking forward to seeing him live for the first time.

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