The momentum created by the Test series win will certainly help set the mood in the Indian dressing room when the ODI series commences on Tuesday. However, you cannot carry the result in one form of the game into another; it will have to be a fresh start for the Indians.
Today there is an explosion of one-day cricket but that does not mean that Tests have taken a back seat. In the ODIs, you have the result by the end of the day itself and while that may be appealing, I dare say that a result obtained after five hard days out on the field, is far more appreciated. Just compare ready-to-eat packaged food to that cooked over a slow fire and you will get my point.
We have been having problems with our limited overs game lately and so it will be interesting to see how the team fares. It was the batting that went wrong in recent past (excepting on the tour of Bangladesh), with a lot of inconsistency creeping in. To my mind, only Yuvraj Singh was consistent and it was in his injury-forced absence that the team lost its way.
I know there has been a lot of discussion about the opening slots in batting and I have no hesitation in saying that the best combine we can put up is the right-left one of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. They have opened a lot together and their record speaks for itself. Also, in conditions such as we can expect in England, Sachin’s experience will come in handy. He can weather the storm in case of excess movement or take advantage of the power plays when there is none.
At number three, I would like to make a case for Robin Uthappa. He’s sat out far too long and while it is time he staked a serious claim for a permanent place in the playing eleven, perhaps he should be given a run now. The longer one is kept out, the more one tends to stagnate. Just by sitting out, Robin could suddenly find that the gap between the highest level and one level below has suddenly widened. He should be made to realise that 30s and 40s, however hard-hitting and attractive they may be, are not enough. Robin has this tendency to come out of the crease only to find himself in no position to play the shot he has committed himself to.
The bowling should be led by Zaheer again along with Agarkar. In these days of power hitting, it is mainly clever change of pace that can fool the batsmen. They will have to bring a lot of variety in their bowling. India will have to take special care in the bowling and fielding departments, shouldn’t give away too many extras. It’s surprising that Munaf still made the squad when he is not fully fit.
(Chivach Sports/Hawkeye Communications)