How long will India rely on MSD's prowess?
It was very important for India from the series' perspective to come back strong and level it. The total put up by India could have been chased, but the England batsmen didn't play well and made it look tougher than it actually was, writes Ian Botham.india Updated: Jan 19, 2013 12:34 IST
It was very important for India from the series' perspective to come back strong and level it. The total put up by India could have been chased, but the England batsmen didn't play well and made it look tougher than it actually was.
For any team, and in any format, the success of the top order is vital and that has been a concern for India. India can't rely all the time on MS Dhoni to come and finish games. Had Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja not put up the stand at the end, it could have been a different story. The top order needs to make itself count. They have a task on hand as Steve Finn is a fine bowler and would not make life easier.
Dhoni is one of the most dangerous cricketers. England need to find a way to stop him. What is impressive is that he is under so much pressure, but he has still come out strong to lead from the front.
Saturday's match at Ranchi will see Dhoni enjoying tremendous hometown support. I think the smaller zones are the way to go for limited-over cricket. The Kochi and Rajkot crowds were amazing. The game at Dharamsala would be like a home game for the English team, as the conditions would be cold and damp, something we don't see often in matches played in India.
The new rule has drawn criticism from a few captains as they feel spinners are facing the wrath, but I am fine with it. Some sort of innovation was required to keep the format going. What the new format has done is made captains think and strategise more, and it has been good to watch from the viewers' perspective.
Coming to Saturday's game, India, with a win under the belt and playing in their captain's backyard, will be favourites but don't be surprised if England come back strong, as that's what they have done throughout the season. Haven't they?
The writer is a former England skipper