Having extracted our face from the dent in our desk, we did manage to catch much of today’s play, our view unobscured by tears of frustration.
What we saw was India’s bowling attack and it looks a damn sight better than it had in England. Bizarrely, the man who emerged with most credit from that tour, Praveen Kumar, is no longer on show.
Our efforts to find out where he was initially led us to believe that he’d obtained a doctorate and taken a role with the Haryana Urban Development Authority. However, it turns out he’s just been playing for Uttar Pradesh against Saurashtra, so maybe his absence is a Fletcher thing.
It’s hard to say how much influence Duncan Fletcher has over selection of Indian teams. It may be very little, but at the very least he’ll voice an opinion and for all his attributes, Praveen Kumar isn’t a Fletcher bowler. Fletch likes his fast bowlers to be just that.
Umesh Yadav is a Fletcher bowler and we’ll doubtless be seeing more of him after he took 3-23 in West Indies’ first innings. As England coach, Fletcher erred towards the workmanlike spinner, but he’s blessed with more options in India and both Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin have done enough to justify Harbhajan Singh’s exclusion. Was that another Fletcher move?
All in all, the Indian team is looking a little more adaptable and should hopefully travel a bit better. Not sure whether Yuvraj is a Fletcher player though and we’ve an inkling that Virat Kohli is.