“ India players are donkeys on the field “ said Nasir Hussain, “Laxman used Vaseline to save himself from DRS” said Vaughan and then there was a 4-0 whitewash of Team India by English team. Nothing seems to be more acerbic than this tour of England in 2011. This test series not only ended India’s status as number one Test team but also the euphoria of World Cup 2011 win. It brought back memories of pre Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly era when India were a pathetic overseas traveler.
Scathing comments of British commentators are etched in memory of every Indian cricket fan and they are crying out for revenge since 2011. Even home series against England inflicted pain on Indian fans as Team India again lost to England by 1-2. Dhoni eased the pain of fans by winning ICC Champions Trophy in England by beating England in finals with icing on the cake being Nasir Hussian forced to chew his comment of Indians as donkeys in the field.
A Test series win in England is still elusive for Dhoni and he would also like to improve his record as captain and player in overseas test matches. This England series is golden opportunity for Dhoni & Co. to set their record straight. Except Dhoni, Gambhir and Ishant Sharma every other team member will be playing for the first time in England in whites.
They might be lacking experience but they have youthful exuberance, passion to prove themselves and no past baggage of losses will keep them in high spirits. When they last played in England in ICC Champions Trophy, Shikhar Dhawan was exceptional with bat and bowlers also proved themselves so they must be gunning for England this time around.
In overseas series against South Africa and NewZealand, Batsmen did well and put up a strong performance but India lacked in bowling department. India didn’t have enough firepower in bowling to take 20 wickets that took away India’s chances of winning test matches on at least 2 occasions.
This time also Indian bowling attack might not be world class but bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohd Shami are natural swing bowlers and are skilled enough to exploit conditions in England. Addition of Pankaj Singh and Binny raised few eyebrows but good swing bowling by Binny in Bagladesh does offer some hope.
India’s success would depend on their openers and spinners. Indian openers need to see out new ball and play at least 25-30 overs to give its middle order chance to score runs and exploit weakness of England’s bowling in middle overs. Last time when India visited England, Indian openers failed miserably and India could not play even 100 over in an inning.
Pep talks from Rahul Dravid is welcome decision by BCCI. It would not only calm down nervousness in Indian batting camp but also give them much-needed confidence to be successful in England.
Another reason for overseas failures of India, especially in last England tour was poor performance by spinners. Indian spinners need to take wicket in middle over and put England batsmen on back foot. They need to be an attacking option for Dhoni, and not to be used just to stop flow of runs. English batsmen have been vulnerable against spinners and Indian spinners need to pitch in right areas and bowl at right speed to exploit this weakness of English batsmen.
Recent controversy after Ashes has put England on tight spot. Most of their players are new to test cricket and recent test series loss against Sri Lanka shows their vulnerability against quality side. This is high time forDhoni & Co. to up the ante and be aggressive to beat England in their den.
Indian fans are expecting revenge in form of series win. Dhoni may not be great admirer of term revenge in sports but he needs to deliver this win for sake of our fans who are in desperate need of a overseas series win to recharge themselves. So Dhoni, please give it back to English what they gave us in 2011, we should not be under debt for long.