Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Can India Put England in a Spin?

Wonderfully subtle variations of pace and ability to move the ball just a little both ways, panicked the tourists like a dog running through sheep.... 

Heaven help England when they are confronted by a track that turns square....

A quote to embody how helplessly inept the previously invincible English batting was made to look by a high class trio of Pakistani spinners. The docile nature of the pitches that barely supported spin condemned them further and set up England for a future of trial by spin with pitches set up to further victimise their glaring weakness.

This revelation was hardly surprising with England being traditional bunnies in Asia with only 6 wins in their previous 26 Tests since 2001. But what the series in which none of the English top 6 failed to average above 26 showed was a true blue print to strip the previously dominant English bare.

Needless to say it opened oppositions eyes wide with Asian Nations especially being gleeful for this new found reality. With India still seething from the humiliation they felt in a 4 Test whitewash on English soil in 2011 doing everything in their power to nail England to a cross and make them feel the same legacy of pain in the upcoming 4 Test series.


The mind games have already begun with the India A squad to face the English in a crucial warm up game being symbolised by the lack of a spinner depriving them of some much needed practice. You can expect the ducks and drakes by the hosts to continue with this game likely to be played on a Road pitch whereas the Test pitches will be symbolised by traditional dust bowls with real bite.

Logically everyone is expecting a cake walk for India in the series culminating in further humiliation for the English....

Call me crazy, but this is where I disagree

Mainly because the Pakistani spin inspired mauling of England not only provided a blueprint to upend them, but then a context that accompanied it that few have paid notice too.

The reality of this was England indeed succumbed to spin but it was of the highest calibre with vast experience in the Test game expertly supported by the Masterful tactics of Misbah ul Haq's Captaincy. You saw that with him reverting to traditional fields for spinners in an age where there are more men on the fence than in close. Which not only enhanced the spinners guile and deception but suffocated the batsmen with the greatest frustration for any bowler of cheap singles to rotate the strike taking away the focus on the batsmen. With no escape route for the batsmen it not only allowed the spinners to dissect their technique with a brutal interrogation as well as destroy them in the mind with them feeling a sense of helplessness through being trapped. Ultimately leading to frustration facilitating a brain fade and demise.

Umar Gul's role in the spinners running amok also cannot be under played with him always getting early wickets throughout the series. Which neutralised England's greatest strength in their top three as well as allowing the spinners to bowl to batsmen who were always walking in under pressure.

As you look forward to India you struggle to have faith in them from a bowling point of view with them having lived or died by the unpredictability of the brilliance of the individual without ever having the support cast

Even with a precociously talented albeit inexperienced spin duo of Pragyan Ohja and Ravichandran Ashwin who in 
four Tests together have taken 60 wickets might have their threat neutralised before they even get ball in hand. Mainly through the Indian absence of a true strike bowler since the dilapidation of the previously excellent Zaheer Khan through the injuries that has plagued his career with him only taking 11 wickets at an average of 47.81 in his comeback year of 2012.
 
In the worst case scenario of the pacemen not getting earlier break throughs it becomes a double edged sword that goes against the spinners. The main point bringing a focus on Indian Captain M S Dhoni whose absurdly defensive tactics defy all logic.

As Ian Chappell cited during the ill fated Indian tour Down Under

"MS Dhoni set the tone for India's slide to oblivion on the final day at the MCG. He was extremely conservative when the situation cried out for him to attack in order to claim the final two wickets cheaply," 

The key point being is that Pakistan's success against the English batsmen was as much about the strangulation of run rates that accentuated the skills of the bowlers. With most of the English batsmen playing spin from the crease and duly relying on accumulating runs.

Take this away and they have no oxygen in their lungs for few are adept at using their feet or indeed brave enough to try.

You know with Dhoni he favours in out fields with as many as 4 or 5 on the fence for his spinners which from ball one will not only give a means to survive the spin onslaught. But also a chance to thrive by their minds getting freed up with their confidence being renewed.

The secondary fall out to this is to bring a focus on the inexperience of the Indian spin duo. Who at home have dominated against the very weak batting line ups of the West Indies and New Zealand, but have yet to put in a performance of note against a high class batting line up. The English line up might have a question mark against it against spin but only a fool would ignore the class that is so apparent in the line up

Would you doubt the likes of KP, Cook, Trott and Bell to rise if things are in their favour in the series against such an inexperienced attack backed by the abject bordering on retarded Captaincy of Dhoni?

Especially when you view the improved showing in Sri Lanka of the English against a spin attack that is superior to India's that saw England draw the 2 Test series 1 all. Backed up by the months that have led up to this Tour where you know Andy Flower and Graham Gooch would have made the English batsmen eat, sleep and dream about spin until they found a way to be adequate against it

Who are you going to back to win the battle???????????

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