Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Doosra’s, Demons and Departures. By Simon P Edmunds

Before dissecting and dismantling England’s woeful performance in the UAE, we must congratulate Pakistan on their series victory.
England arrived as the ICC ranked No.1 test side in the world and with some pretty big reputations in tow.
Pakistan however, arrived as a team in development, one that was re-building from the scandals that afflicted them in 2010. Coupled with the fact that teams wont tour Pakistan as it’s deemed too dangerous, they could be seen as the ‘black sheep’ of the cricketing world. Plus, their recent victories had come against lower ranked opposition or a W. Indies team in decline. So who gave Pakistan a chance against the mighty England.? Well I’ll tell you who, England did.
From the moment they stepped off the plane in the desert, in their own minds they had resigned themselves to defeat, they just didn’t know it. I’ve always said, ‘the only team that could beat England, was England. So let’s examine some of the reasons for Pakistan’s 3-0 whitewash.

The Doosra, or to give it’s literal meaning, ‘the other one’ or ‘second one’ depending on the translation. Put into plain English for the likes of Ian Bell and company, it means a ball they have no idea how to play. Ajmal lobbed them down the wicket like a grenade and rather than nullify or diffuse it, they went running for cover.
It was often akin to a scene in a Harry Potter film, every time one of Pakistan’s spinners turned his arm over, it was like the bespectacled wizard waving his wand and shouting ‘Doosra’. This left the England batsmen spellbound and before they knew it, they were returning to the safety of the dressing room wandering what had happened. Awaiting them was Dobby, the house elf, or Andy Flower as I like to call him, who would erase their memories of those awful moments and send them out again, only for the same fate to befit them again, and again, and again. Oh Dobby.!!!!

There were demons in the desert sands of Abu Dabi and Dubai, but they were not conjured up by Pakistan’s trio of spinners, Potter, Grainger and Weasley, but like all ghosts and apparitions, just figments of the imaginations in the minds of the England batsmen. Just like a mirage, one minute the ball was there in front of them, the next it had disappeared. But the truth was, it was still there, turning slower than a cross channel ferry in Portsmouth harbour.
But these are world class batsmen, guys who over the last two years or more had accumulated masses of runs against all types of opposition, and at a decent average aswell. You don’t become a bad player overnight. So what happened.? Were Pakistan that good.? No, they weren’t.
The England batsmen had got it into their minds that they couldn’t play in the sub-continent, and couldn’t play spin either, but they only have themselves to blame, they let it happen. The seed of doubt had been planted well before they departed for the middle east, and instead of quashing it, they allowed it to fester. It grew and grew, like a pus filled boil on the end of a goblins nose. ( Goblins are fictitious creatures. ) Not to Englands top order they’re not. Perhaps Voldemort inhabits the minds of Englands batsmen and Potter and Co. were just trying to exorcise him. We shall see if they succeeded when England play in Sri Lanka shortly.

This brings us nicely to my final part of this blog. As some players pack their bags and depart for home whilst others stay and new ones arrive to play in the multi coloured, pyjama clad circus that is ODI’s and T20’s, we could ask, should some players depart for good.? Absolutely not.! One swallow does not a summer make, and therefore, one poor series does not constitute the end of a test career. I do believe that a few of the top six would perhaps benefit from being ‘rested’. It worked before so why not try it again. Send them back to their counties for a while, let them play against the minor counties and university’s. The fear of having your stumps uprooted by someone who also asks you for your autograph should focus the mind sufficiently.
The true test of character comes in the form of how you react to defeat, do you come back stronger or fade away with a whimper.? Only time will tell for England’s abject failures, but they don’t have much of that to play with, Sri Lanka is on the short road ahead, with South Africa in the not too distant future. We need a reaction soon as later this year England return to the sub-continent to play in India, where the demons will surely return, if the weak minded allow them to.

Simon P Edmunds.

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