Time in the Sun

The modern cricket world moves on quickly, and England - even if it wasn't quite the same team - were in Dublin yesterday. For them, of necessity, the recent dismantling of India lies in the past. The future is what matters.

For me, coming late to it, it's impossible to be original about the Pataudi Trophy. My take, though, is that for all England's excellence, the series lacked something.


After the first session of the second day at Trent Bridge all we had was a slow, inexorable, tediously smooth ride towards a 4-0 scoreline. Individual and collective achievement, yes, but no suspense. If it stayed dry, England - better, stronger, faster, more skilful and more purposeful in every area - were always going to win by a mile. For large parts of the series India were a pitiful shambles.

In some ways, the performances of two players can be viewed as a microcosm of their team's collective efforts, and of their cultures.

The rigour, precision, elegance and consistency of Ian Bell's strokeplay summed up England. A team developing some of the machine-like quality which Australia once had, while Sachin Tendulkar, deified by repeated standing ovations which eventually descended into cliche, was, for much of the series, a shadow of his usual self: uneasy, scratchily uncertain and ultimately left without answers by a superior foe.

For all the visceral thrill provided by Tim Bresnan belting the ball into the Edgbaston crowd to bring up England's first total over 700 since 1930, or the spirited combativeness of Praveen Kumar, the lasting memory of the series will be the batting of Rahul Dravid. A reminder that batting based on defence and judgement, with strokeplay of style and grace when applicable, can be as enjoyable to watch as anything else the game can produce.

Dravid has been a great player for a very long time. This, with Tendulkar struggling, was his time in the sun.


diogenes said...

would be interested on your views as to whether, when/if the history books get written, Dravid will overshadow Tendulkar. In many ages, there is an acknowledged greatest batsman. From Silver Billy Beldham, to Daft, Grace, Trumper, Hobbs, Bradman, Hutton, Sobers, Richards, Tendulkar. And yet, wss Trumper really so much better than Ranji or Maclaren? Was Hobbs better than Herby Taylor or Ponsford? Was Bradman better than Headley or McCabe? At all times, on all wickets? Maybe I prefer the people who lie just outside the canon - so I want to hear about George Gunn rather than Hobbs or Sutcliffe, about Compton or Weekes rather than Hutton, about Graveney rather than Sobers.

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

Excellent points about Dravid, he showed in this series just what a complete test batsman he is.

VVS has shown similar attributes in the past, it was a shame he didn't really turn up.

Although it could be that he just has a weakness when the ball swings. If someone had told me prior to the series that VVS would get taken apart as he did, I would never have believed them.

Although it was a great performance from England, the series did lack something at times and was a bit boring - like my day at Edgbaston which I wrote about on my blog.

The 2nd test was the killer for India really. They should have won that from the position they were in, they never really recovered from that 1st innings collapse when in a strong, match winning position.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, both, for the comments.

Of course, the question of what constitutes greatness is a topic which has occupied cricket tragics for ever and will continue to do so. Best just to leave it that Tendulkar and Dravid are both great players, and, this summer, Dravid looked the better of the two. Tendulkar was obviously out of form, but then his strengths have always been different to Dravid's: his dominance has always been based on brilliant strokes first and foremost, rather than defence. Against the current England attack, Dravid's game was more appropriate.

Whisper it, but personally I feel Tendulkar has become over-rated. A great player, but not the best there's ever been by a long chalk. From the modern era I always thought Lara was better and Ponting just as good, while Dravid is every bit as good in a different way.

You're right, Dean, VVS didn't really cut it. He got some very good balls but played some bad shots too. Gambler was also poor and Sehwag never really stood a chance, despite his genius - probably not fully fit, no real record in England and up against a superb attack.

England were just better, but India, after the second day at TB never seemed to really have the commitment and fight needed, with the exceptions of Dravid and Tendulkar/Mishra at The Oval. Kumar was great, too.

Fletcher has his hands full (how long will he last?), but some fitness training and fielding work would be a start.

diogenes said...

Fletcher has no chance unless the captain really commits to working with him and dragging his team with him....I cannot see this Indian squad being prepared to get fit for modern cricket.

Cricket Gossips said...

Hi Brian

Very Nice blog, Keep on updating.

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