Winter has set in and it reminds me of those good old days when I was a boy going to Eden in jumpers and sweaters, with food packed (unfortunately that is not allowed these days). It was as if a winter carnival was on.
Over the years, although the crowd at Test venues has lessened, hopefully, with such quality players on show and the uncertainty of whether Sachin will again play a Test at Eden, there could be people turning up at the venue. There will be some quality players on show like Cook, Pietersen, Swann, Sehwag and Pujara and it's a big reason for people to come and watch.
The wicket has once again been the centre of attraction and with the curator Prabir Mukherjee making his intentions clear, the focus has again shifted from the game.
Prabir da has been a tough cookie for a while now and I realised that when I was captain and so I am not surprised with the developments. But I can bet that he will provide a good cricketing surface. He has India's terrific record at Eden as his defence, so getting him to do something different could be difficult, and to be honest it might ultimately work to India's advantage.
Tried and tested
I feel that India need to play on good surfaces. If they prepare rank turners, it might help England as their spinners are in terrific form. India will surely go back to the two seamers and two spinners combination. I would have expected Dinda to be given an opportunity but in pressure game Dhoni will go with the tried and tested Ishant Sharma.
A lot of eyes will be on Sachin, who is in a situation where he has been never before. I don't think questions have been asked of him to such an extent. All he needs to do is to answer them in style with the bat, as he has done over a long period of time.
England will be bolstered by Finn but they have to be sure that he is match fit. He has been out of match situation for a long time due to injury and to go into a Test without a first-class game is not an easy thing or the right way to go forward. I have seen fast bowlers break down in Test situations as the pressure is different.
England will also be strengthened with the return of Bell but they will have to make sure that their batting is not just about Cook, Pietersen and Prior. The rest will also have to come to the party. It will once again be a battle of spin and the side batting better will win.
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The writer is a former India skipper