Press Esc to close
Saturday 03 December 2016
News updated at 2:28 AM IST
Weather
Max: 26.9°C
Min : 17.6°C
In Bengaluru
Generally cloudy

India face stiff test as English odyssey begins

Last updated: 12 July, 2011
From Madhu Jawali, Taunton, July 12, DHNS:

Somerset first stop for Dhonis men in arduous two-month tour

In a strangely-coincidental way, Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes here as a captain with an accent on safety-first approach, an accusation Rahul Dravid had to face before he bowed out of captaincy after settling for a 1-0 series win over England when India toured here last.

With a chance to enforce follow-on, Dravid instead opted to bat again in the final Test which eventually ended in a draw, drawing heavy flak from all and sundry for the cautious tactic. Dhoni too followed similar logic against the West Indies to maintain the 1-0 lead intact, a decision that has not gone down well with many former cricketers and critics alike.

Knowing Dhoni, he will be least perturbed by all the criticism that is going on about his move, but against England, ranked third in Test rankings with only one point separating them from the second-placed South Africa, he knows his side will have to play out of its skin to tame the opponents in their own den.

Having wrapped up another series win against the West Indies, Dhoni and company arrived here on Tuesday afternoon but more than the victory, despite which they had to lose two ranking points, what will gladden the Indian skipper is the arrival of reinforcements in some of the key players who were missing in the Caribbean for various reasons.

Despite Ishant Sharma’s splendid show, India’s attack often looked directionless in the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.

While the left-armer’s addition will add more teeth and experience to the bowling, the batting will wear a much stronger cloak with the return of Gautam Gambhir at the top and Sachin Tendulkar in the middle.

Mukund show


Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, still recuperating from the shoulder operation, would have made a devastating pair at the top of the three but Abhinav Mukund has shown that he can hold his own at the highest level.

Along with Suresh Raina and Ishant, both under pressure to perform, Abhinav made the most of the opportunity provided to him.

After the initial diffidence, the left-hander knuckled down and played two grinding innings. He may not have impressed with the kind of strokeplay he dishes out at the domestic level, but the Chennai lad proved that he can hang in there and make significant contributions. He couldn’t build on the start in the first Test and missed a fifty in the second by a whisker. The half-century in the third Test only showed his consistent growth.

On the other hand, his State-mate M Vijay was a big let-down as was Virat Kohli. While Vijay, who is probably more talented than Abhinav, missed out on a big chance to make the third opener's spot his own, Kohli lost the race to seal the place in the Test middle order.

Where Kohli floundered Raina once again installed himself as the top contender in the middle order.

He was patient and to a great extent negated the weakness against the short-ball. With English bowlers sure to target his rib-cage, the success, even if it came against the lesser bowlers, in the Caribbean should hold him in good stead against England.

The three-day match tour here against Somerset, which will also boast England Test skipper Andrew Strauss, from July 15 will sure throw up some pointers as to how the series will shape up.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
The sunset in Kalaburgi on Friday...

The sunset in Kalaburgi on Friday...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech during their marriage with Hindu rituals in Goa...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech during their marriage with Hindu rituals in Goa...

Protesters throwing stones on police and CRPF amid tear smoke during a clash after Friday...

Protesters throwing stones on police and CRPF amid tear smoke during a clash after Friday...

A CRPF officer firing teargas shell at protesters throwing stones on them during a clash...

A CRPF officer firing teargas shell at protesters throwing stones on them during a clash...

A man with his son holding Kannada flag during the grand procession of 82nd Kannada Sahitya...

A man with his son holding Kannada flag during the grand procession of 82nd Kannada Sahitya...

Indias first indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant which was undocked on completion...

Indias first indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant which was undocked on completion...

A plane on board INS Vikramaditya during the Navy week celebrations in Mumbai...

A plane on board INS Vikramaditya during the Navy week celebrations in Mumbai...

A man transports sacks of rice in a horse-drawn cart amid the heavy fog in Allahabad...

A man transports sacks of rice in a horse-drawn cart amid the heavy fog in Allahabad...

Collecot of Nagpur Sachin Kurwe paying his last respect to the mortal remains of Nagrota martyr...

Collecot of Nagpur Sachin Kurwe paying his last respect to the mortal remains of Nagrota martyr...

Greater Flamingos fly over Chandlai Lake in Jaipur on Friday morning...

Greater Flamingos fly over Chandlai Lake in Jaipur on Friday morning...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523