Playing England is no fun for India

VVS Laxman is definitely out

It is like being in a broken submarine at the bottom of the sea. England are the water.

England don’t hammer to get in. They just apply constant force. Every now and again, one of the Indian crew wonders whether they’ve somehow floated to the surface and opens the door a crack to have a look. The water is still there. Some of it gets in.

The water will always be there. Whether someone throws the door wide open straight away or whether people open it once a day for five days, it makes little difference. At no point will the water have gone away.

England won’t always be able to do this, but they’ve done it so frequently of late that we can say this is the best England side we’ve seen. It’s not the hat tricks or the batting counter attacks that make us say that, so much as the fact that at their worst they never fall too far behind, so they’re always THERE when the opposition slip up. They blather on about consistency interminably, but to be fair, they are delivering in that regard.

The second Test win was a case in point. It is ridiculous to concede a first-innings deficit, have your most consistent batsman get injured and then win by 310 runs. Just ridiculous. It is ‘give me half an hour and I will find you the Ark of the Covenant’ ridiculous.

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38 Appeals

  1. “we can say this is the best England side we’ve seen”

    Is this a statement that you temporarily lost your sight in 2005? How unfortunate.

    • King Cricket

      August 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      We think this one might be better. Certainly when taken over a period of time.

      We’re not keen to compare though. Different circumstances and all that.

    • How do you plan to determine the “best England side we’ve seen” without “comparing”? Just asking.

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

      We’re just not keen to examine it in any detail. We’re going to vaguely state it and subject the sentiment to no scrutiny whatsoever.

  2. At the risk of being serious, I’d certainly agree that this side is better. Especially when you consider the depth the team has as well.

  3. incredible scenes

  4. WARNING: India are not dead, they may have 2 reinforcements coming in – and be getting their eye in. Possibly. Maybe.

    I love the long England tail; it must be very dispiriting for India.

    With Trott likely to miss out next week and Tremlett presumably coming back … how about keeping Bresnan as an all-rounder and going with 5 bowlers?

    Too many changes I suppose.

    Cook
    Strauss
    Bell (up 2)
    Pietersen (as usual)
    Morgan (up 1)
    Prior (up 1)
    Bresnan
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Tremlett

  5. True, one of the best England sides I have seen.

    From an Indian point of view, it is quite alarming how quickly and easily they let go of the control whenever they are in a commanding position. Nasser Hussain was screaming on air about why Sree was trying to bounce out lower order batsmen than sticking to the off-stump line that had worked so well.

    India’s problems with England’s tail has been exacerbated with Zaheer’s absence. It has to be said Dhoni, in spite of all his successes, is not really a bowler’s captain. No surprises there, of course.

    It is quite clear that the current England side is much superior to India. But England should be careful, though. All that might change in the one-off T20 these sides are playing. That, really, is the true test of character.

  6. For those who haven’t noticed, India hasn’t done great without Sehwag.

    Just saying.

    • Missing one first choice player ? Try losing atleast 3. Add to that, neither Raina nor Yuvraj wouldn’t be playing if someone with less than half their experience was not injured (pujara).

      *We Indians, unlike the English, are a pretty optimistic bunch. To an extent that makes us oblivious to ridiculousity of the loss*

    • Some teams can be lucky and achieve a degree of greatness through 11 players only (see England 2005). But in general, a side that can still win when they’ve got a couple of front-liners missing is better.

      This last team is not England’s first choice (Tremlett). For most of the last Ashes we didn’t play with our first choice (Broad). For the previous Ashes we didn’t play with our first choice (KP). And you can add the 33 year-old Andrew Flintoff to all of that, a world-class player who is only not playing because he is injured.

      There are the seeds of something very powerful in English cricket right now.

    • England stated this Test with 10 first choice players and ended it with eight.

  7. England are a good team but this is practically an Indian B team. At the risk of sounding like some of the Indian fanboys on cricinfo if they had their first choice team fully fit it would be a different series. Any time you have Raina AND Yuvi in the same team you know you’re in trouble.
    At least they haven’t resorted to selecting Steven Smith.
    India grafted their way to number 1 by not losing series – a lot of their series this year have finished 1-0 or 1-1. However looking at the age of their players they’re at risk of going the way of Australia and having to find a new team.
    Where they have been good is blooding new players which gives them an incredible amount of depth but those players are not quite up to the level of their first team.
    Yes England have played well and tests are a marathon but I was looking forward to seeing two of the top three teams in cricket slugging it out. Only one of those teams turned up.
    I won’t congratulate you on your number one ranking just yet as technically there are 2 tests left and if the Indian medical staff manage to gaffer tape up some of their ageing stars into a shape that resembles a cricketer then there may yet be a game worth watching. However, since India have looked to be a bowler short all series you can probably pencil in my congratulations to you for mid August sometime.

  8. The thing is, if you’re the number one side in the world then you don’t need excuses: you keep winning even when you’ve got a couple of players out, or your captain’s out of form, or you lose the toss, or the conditions fall in the other teams favour.

    I’ve gotta be honest I’ve been suprised how poor India have been. Admittedly, Zaheer is a big loss but if you’re the best team in the world losing one bowler should still leave you with a reasonably potent attack. The batting lineup is undoubtedly full of some of the greatest players to have graced the game, and four innings of poor scores (Dravid excepted) won’t change that, but it’s hardly been the juggernaut we expected. And as for the fielding…

    Having rambled somewhat, my point was that you’d expect the best team in the world to be strong in at least three of the four facets of the game: batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy. India’s most feted strength has being their batting – and hasn’t turned up. Their bowling, when shorn of Zaheer, hasn’t looked threatening. Their fielding has been comical and Dhoni’s captaincy has been okay – nothing more.

    None of this is to devalue what has been a brilliant England performance, just saying that there’s only been one team out there that looked like world number one’s and it wasn’t India.

    • “The thing is, if you’re the number one side in the world then you don’t need excuses: you keep winning even when you’ve got a couple of players out, or your captain’s out of form, or you lose the toss, or the conditions fall in the other teams favour. ”
      I love this. ‘The Legend of the Number 1’! The number one side in the world is the side that plays better than the 8 other sides. Nothing more.

    • “The thing is, if you’re the number one side in the world then you don’t need excuses: you keep winning even when you’ve got a couple of players out, or your captain’s out of form, or you lose the toss, or the conditions fall in the other teams favour.”

      That wouldn’t mean that you are the best team in the world, it means every other team is shit. Even Australia at their peak couldn’t do it (they were about 60-40 against India). And technically England still needs win the series by a margin of 2 to get the title. Hang on to your boots sir.

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

      Have we told you about the vegetable growing competition where there was one entrant and they were given second place, because the judges didn’t think the vegetable warranted first place.

      Rankings are not value judgements. They are rankings.

    • Still upset about your Ladies Fingers, KC?

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Second-best of one entrant. That’s a slap in the face and no mistake.

  9. India’s recent successes were all based on Sehwag and Gambhir’s opening pair. That being said this English side is playing some great cricket.

  10. The #1 ranking is meaningless, unless you hold onto it for a complete cycle of tests (4 or 5 years). Clearly this Indian team isn’t as good as they were last year, but England didn’t have the opportunity to play them last year, so that’s irrelevant. And apparently, right now it’s between England and SA for top spot, but we don’t play till next year, by which time things might be different again. All that we learn from this series is that England are better than India right now, and that India were better than others last year.

    Australia were a proper #1 side, and we know that because they held onto it for ages. Ditto the West Indies of my youth. Who knows, maybe England will do the same, but also, maybe they won’t.

    • The series isn’t over yet; we could still win the next two Tests.
      (Yeah, Pavan is right about Indian fans)

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

      It is not meaningless, there are just different degrees of dominance. In many ways, the points on which the rankings are based are more important.

      When Australia were at their peak, they were top by a country mile and they remained there for ages. When South Africa were top, it was by a point and it lasted about a fortnight. Number one is not one particular thing.

      Also, one of the great things about cricket is that there are always more challenges. Even when you’re number one, you still might not be favourite in half your away series.

    • The trouble is that any system isn’t complete, fair or accurate until all the teams have played each other, and in test cricket the time-scale over which that cycle becomes complete is too long. There is too much time for sides to peak and fade. #1 team India turned up to play challengers England, but they played so poorly (so far) that everyone assumes that the real #1 team is the saffers. By next year, when a series between England and SA is actually on, who knows what will have happened to the form and players of those teams? So what will it all mean? Will England’s impending #1 status just be a trick of the schedules – played India when they’d faded, played SA when they’d faded maybe, never played anyone at their peak?

      The essential question that any rankings system has to answer is “Which is the hardest team to beat RIGHT NOW?” I just don’t think that the ICC Rankings give the answer to that. In fact, I don’t know that a system exists that can answer this question for test cricket, which is why I think the #1 tag is meaningless. If it doesn’t mean “Hardest team to beat”, what does it mean?

      You might argue that it means “Team with the highest number of ranking points at any given moment”, which is true. In which case, use that phrase instead of the confusing #1 Team-in-the-World phrase.

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

      But then different teams are more or less difficult to beat depending on where you play them as well, so even ‘hardest team to beat’ is a bit of a moveable feast.

  11. Mrs String and I were driving back from Ikea last night (Monday nights at Ikea are where it’s at), and I was reaching for an analogy to explain quite how impressive this England win was. If only my mind had stretched to the submariner!

    I don’t really like talking about test rankings; they’re a little superfluous in my mind. What I do know is that we’ve just trashed an India side containing Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Harbhajan (third highest test wicket taker in the last ten years, by the by) twice in a row.

    And yes, on gut instinct, I’d say they’re better than 05, probably because of the variety and depth of the batting and the presence of a quality spinner (all due deference to the King of Spain).

  12. So many wise words, so little time with which to read them all.

  13. Can the Test World Cup give an answer?

  14. I’m not sure I agree with ‘Deep Cower’
    [02/08/11 at 00:17]

    that ‘the one-off T20 these sides are playing’ .. ‘is the true test of character’.

    Why do you think a one-off T20 is a test of character and not a 4 test match series? May I very politely say I think you are clutching at straws there.

    India can come back in this test series and should not put all their hopes on the almost complete irrelevance of a single T20 no one will remember (I didn’t even know it was happening).

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      That may not have been totally earnest, Peter Day.

    • Peter – that was sarcasm. As has been pointed out to me many times, I don’t really fare well in this area. But that’s no reason for not trying, right?

    • Apologies, Deep Cower. I took your comment at face value. I shall go out into the woods and thrash myself with some twigs in repentance.

  15. On Cricinfo a poster suggested that India should not be able to lose their no.1 ranking as they had quality players who weren’t there!

    Imagine the fuss there would be if Dravid, Laxman or Tendulkar were injured or absent! “It’s almost the India B team” – “If only x,y,z were here then it would be a fair comparison”.

    That said I think India will come back and win at least one test – plus beating India in India will be very, very difficult. I’m talking about test cricket, as I’m not interested in the other formats.

  16. Lady fingers for supper??

  17. I think England should be awarded extra raking points because Marcus Trescothick is unable to play (psychologcal issues) and Andrew Flintoff is injured.

  18. For ‘raking points’ (above) read ‘ranking points’ – oops.

    • King Cricket

      August 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      That’s a body blow to England’s bid to be number one ranked raking side in the world.

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