We Could Be Heroes

With India again dismantled and humiliated in an away Test series, questions, changes and further problems will surely follow. Duncan Fletcher, for one, must be wondering what the hell he's got himself into.

All the greats, suddenly and not so suddenly, appear to be slipping. Tendulkar looks good but can't make a century; Dravid, last summer's form increasingly looking like a mirage, has his stumps broken almost every time he goes to the wicket; Laxman is a prisoner of his own hesitancy and Sehwag is going through one of those periods - and they've always been there - when he looks a simplistic, shallow player, without footwork or runs.

With changes now certain other questions will be prompted, the most obvious of all being to ask how a country with a population of more than a billion people, where cricket is followed with ultimate fanaticism, can't produce a better team than this.

In time, new heroes - Yadav, Kohli, perhaps Pujara and Raina - will emerge, but things, for India, may well get worse before they get better.

Australia, meanwhile, go forward. They have a bowling attack which is adhering to the basics with persistence and skill (and they haven't required much more against these opponents), they have a captain who is a magnificent batsman and is in the runs, and they have Warner.

Warner who will soon assume Sehwag's mantle - in fact perhaps he already has - as the greatest attacking opener in the world. Warner who, with insouciant logic, pointed out that there often aren't many fielders in front of the wicket in Test cricket. Warner who, as someone said on the television yesterday, is changing the game. Warner who is the first world-class cricketer to graduate to Test cricket from the game's shortest form.

Warner is this week's all-Australian hero. For English cricket, even without its national team in action, this has been a challenging week. Its hero is a man that I saw bowl with impressive pace and verve for Derbyshire last season at a time when nobody knew anything about his role in the most concerning story to hit the county game in many years.

This week's English cricket hero is Tony Palladino.


coffeesnob said...

the great (and greatly selfish) indian batsmen you mention aren't too keen to make way for a younger set as that would entail saying 'cheerio' to millions of dollars they siphon off from cricket and cricket-related marketing every year. is it any wonder they aren't for retiring? as you know, in india it's all about money, old man.

michael clarke is respected as a batsman (though he still cuts the ball off the front foot) but, not quite, as a man. he's too small and too equable to satisfy (our) australian requirements of a leader. not tough enough, what? also, to translate it in english terms, he has just enough "ashley cole" about him to put people off, however successful he might be... if you follow?

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks. Good to have an Aussie perspective.

I don't agree with your first point - while there's obviously a lot of money in Indian cricket I don't think anyone's delaying their retirement because of it - but interesting stuff about Clarke.

'Too small and too equable'. Hmmm...

And yes, I follow the Ashley Cole point very well.

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