Do Indian cricketers care about Test cricket and will England win?

Despite occasional accusations of journalism, we do not consider ourself part of the British press. We’d like to take this opportunity to distance ourself from two specific themes that are currently appearing in the cricket pages.

Indian players don’t care about Test cricket

This is a fairly regular subtext to articles and Vic Marks finishes his latest piece for the Guardian rather more explicitly:

“The future of Test cricket needs all of India to be enthralled by the longest form of the game. A good start would be some evidence that the Indian players themselves are excited by the five-day format.”

This seems a cheap shot – and an unnecessary one at that.

If that sentiment arises from India’s abbreviated preparation before the series, the players don’t get a say in that. If it’s because of their demeanour in the first two Tests, they were being soundly beaten. It’s hard to be all ‘Test cricket! Hell yeah!’ when Tim Bresnan’s flapping you to the boundary again and again.

Marks (who we’re sorry to pick on, but his piece was the last we read this morning) also points to India’s fairly insipid efforts in their last match against Northampton. One, that match was very far removed from Test cricket, even if it did constitute preparation. Two, this tour isn’t going well. That’s probably the main reason why Indian players appear less than enamoured with Test cricket right now.

They’re two-nil down, they’ve the weight of a sixth of their world on their shoulders and half their senior players are injured. In short, they’re having a shit time. Never mind Test cricket, they’re probably struggling to enjoy YouTube footage of fat people falling over.

They have Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman in their party. They care about Test cricket. They’re just struggling with life.

England will become the top-ranked Test side

This is another media theme we take issue with. There’s a small gap between ‘being reasonably confident based on the evidence’ and ‘let’s see how many chickens we’ve got!’ A few people are hopping over it.

If you ask which team we would bet on in the third Test, we’d say England, so in a sense we expect England to become the top-ranked Test side. At the same time, one of the defining qualities of sport is that you never know what’s going to happen.

We enjoy not knowing. It’s a fundamental part of the experience. Assumptions irritate us because by their nature they don’t acknowledge this fact. Let’s just watch and find out. Live in the moment. It’s England v India – enjoy it.

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18 Appeals

  1. Are you betting on England to win this test? I have taken a look at the weather forecast and I will take that bet. Drawsville.

  2. When a journalist says England will become the #1 ranked team, he means that HE THINKS England will become the #1 ranked team. It isn’t some sort of plot spoiler. He hasn’t gone to CricFutureInfo, turned to Day 5, had a look at the result and spoiled it for everyone. But it would be a bit tedious if every opinion had to have “…I think” written afterwards.

    And that’s from someone who can predict hat-tricks with unerring (50%) accuracy.

    • King Cricket

      August 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

      That’s not really our point. Our point is that the media are part of the entertainment and reading ‘this will happen’ is boring, even if they do turn out to be wrong.

    • King Cricket

      August 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Lunch on TMS: Is this England’s finest ever Test team?

      On day one of a Test match? Seriously?

    • They were talking about this possibly being England’s finest ever Test team on Sky pre-match too. Nasser said yes, at least since he started watching, Plastic Ken Doll would only say they’re a very good side. He clearly misunderstood the question and should replaced. Damned Aussies…

  3. This is bullshit. All of India cares about test cricket, including its cricketers. My cricket-hating sister in law watched the (admittedly truncated) first day at Lord’s in its entirety, because she *got* that this was a big test series. No one could concentrate on the big meeting we had on the first day of the Trent Bridge test because their blackberries would beep every time Sreesanth took another wicket. Despite people’s jobs were on the line at this meeting.

    Indians are not stupid. We get the fact that the IPL is a tamasha (circus), and that ODIs are boring outside of the world cup. I would be willing to wager that more people are following this test match, even 2-0 down, than were following the entire IPL this year.

    To claim that the people who are the most passionate about cricket don’t care about its highest form is plain insulting.

    • King Cricket

      August 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Hope that’s not directed at us, because that’s most definitely not what we said.

  4. No KC, it is directed at the mainstream English media. 🙂

  5. I’m guessing the Indian team are disliking life a little bit more right now compared to when you wrote this.

  6. Oh, I say this when they are 123-7. When they are 400-7 tomorrow lunchtime I might be made to look a little silly.

    • Looking silly is the best bit. Make a prediction, then stick with it NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, up to (and maybe beyond) the point at which it becomes actually impossible. You might need to re-jig your argument a fraction, say by having Superman fly backwards round the world to reverse time so that a particular bowler was never born, but so what.

      Dandy Dan says that India WILL BE 400 for 7 at lunch tomorrow.

      Best of luck.

    • Dear Bert

      That’s not what I meant and I sincerley hope you realise that.

      Kind regards

      Dandy Dan

    • I wasn’t being sarcastic, or critical. I like predictions. I think everyone should make them – it’s much more fun than just waiting and seeing. It’s a bit like having a bet, but without using money. The only reason I can think of for not making predictions is because you might not want to seem less than an expert, but who the hell cares about that. And with India currently 191 for 7, yours (even if you didn’t actually make it) is looking better by the minute.

      I’m not sure if that clarifies, but here’s hoping 🙂

      My prediction is that Cricinfo will start working again during tea, as it has currently gone off. My second prediction is that India lost a wicket in the few balls that I must have missed, and so are 191 for 8 (Dhoni, 50-odd, b Bresnan, c deep midwicket).

  7. There was this one time I was playing a chess game against this eight year old Chinese kid with a bunch of people watching. At some point, in a completely lost position, I offered him a draw, hoping, wishing. He smiled at me casually and continued to emasculate me.

    It was hard to feel good about chess for the next few weeks.

    • King Cricket

      August 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      That’s a great story for many reasons. The line “It was hard to feel good about chess for the next few weeks” is funny even in isolation.

      Perhaps funnier, in fact.

  8. Ofcourse they care. At the moment England are better than them, simple as that.
    Though the scoreline suggests otherwise, it hasn’t been all one way traffic. At Lords Ishant was leading a stirring fightback till Prior & Broad intervened and in the second test, they and England at 124/8 and then they themselves were 41 ahead with 6 wickets in hand but England were good enough to turn things around both times.
    Sometimes you have to put your hand up and say well played to the other side.
    Keeping things simple will make job of the “experts” redundant so guys like Marks keep thinking up some dumb theories.

  9. So what you’re saying is that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties?

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