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Friday, 16 November 2012

A few Englishmen India should watch out for….

The highly-awaited India vs. England Test series has sparked the cricket battle between the old rivals. England hasn’t won a series In India in 28 years. Indians have been almost invincible on their home turf in the recent past. But they still have enough firepower in their ranks to trouble the Home team in the upcoming series.  Here's my pick of those individuals that Team India need to watch out for during the four match series

  James Anderson has been the leader of the English pace attack.... but the conditions in India doesn’t suit his bowling style, though his performance in Sri Lanka against the hosts this year, where he picked up 9 wickets from 2 tests, proves he can be dangerous in the sub-continent too.  But the conditions in India are a bit different from Lanka and I doubt if Anderson would be anywhere near Lethal. But the man that Indians should watch out for is Stuart Broad.  He is very intelligent and has grown in stature.  He is one of the best new ball bowlers going around and his ability to swing the ball and nip it around at decent pace makes him very dangerous.  He may not get much assistance to do that here but he will look to reverse the ball. He has the ability to produce unplayable deliveries now and then and his battle against the Indian Batsmen will be incredible to see. The tall lean fast bowler who has a stock of variations…the variations in length and pace along with cross seam deliveries and cutters, is certainly a man who would keep trying something all the time and produce break through at the crucial junctures.

         Captain Cook must love batting in India. This is the south paw's third tour in seven years. He scored a century on debut and with 304 runs in 4 Tests appearances in India, He scored tons of runs when India travelled there and will be hoping to do the same this time. His patience and grit is phenomenal and he has the ability to handle toughest of situations. He will have to score big if England has to do well here. He also scored a magnificent knock of  119 runs in the practice match against India A.But his performance against the Pakistan team earlier this year in UAE was much disappointing. The way he played mystery spin wasn’t   particularly impressive in the early part of that series. He looked clumsy at times. Though he looked good in the latter part of that test series and I am quite sure he will be able to tackle with the conventional spin attack of the home team.

3      The Alarm Bells started ringing during India's tour to England last year, when Ian Bell tormented the visitors by scoring runs by the ton... a 100 in Nottingham followed by a double ton at the Oval resulted in Bell becoming the series' 2nd highest run scorer. He would clearly be an asset for the visitors. His solid defence and ability to hit boundaries at rapid rate would help Englishmen dictate to terms the Indian Spinners and won’t let them settle.  Thankfully for India the 'dad to be' would be missing the 2nd test to be by his wife's side for the arrival of their first child. With the Indian selectors picking three specialist spinners for the first two Tests in Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh, the decision could take an unfavourable turn for the visitors as the outcome of the series all but depends on how they tackle India’s spin doctors on slow, turning wickets.

4       Many consider him the best spinner in the world today. What he lacks in variation he makes up for it with his toss and guile.... Graeme Swann made his test debut in India 4 years ago in Chennai, when he took the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in his first over.... and has come a long way since then picking up a total of 192 test wickets. It is a treat to see him bowl and a lot will depend on him. He will get tracks that will assist turn and Swann will know that he has to deliver for England to do well.  He has troubled the most batsmen of the world. He doesn’t have a doosra yet his arm bowls are lethal because he lets his offies rip at pace. Swann is noted for being an attacking spinner, generally delivering the ball with plenty of flight and bounce. He is also capable of subtle changes of pace. Unlike many contemporary off-spinners he does not have a doosra in his armoury. Instead, his variations include a well-developed arm ball, and also a flatspinner delivery that he has nicknamed his "flying saucer ball" that rotates around its horizontal axis and generally bounces straight on. He plays cricket like a man eager for a scrap and not too bothered about the niceties. He bowls like a man expecting to take wickets and unaware that finger spin had been consigned to the dustbin (at any rate unless it was backed up by a mystery ball or curious conveyance and bewildering progress). Swann had no such weapon at his disposal and still rose to the top. He certainly will have to come good in order to help the Englishmen end 28 year drought.

      But the biggest threat for India will be England's talismanic batsman Kevin Pietersen........ the "polarising" figure of Kevin Pietersen will have a major role in what he believes can be a successful England Test side in India. Star batsman Pietersen has  made his return to the Test arena in Ahmedabad yesterday after missing the climax of England's home series against his native South Africa having been dropped for sending "provocative texts" to Protean players. But with then England captain Andrew Strauss having since retired, Pietersen has been welcomed back into a top-order that would otherwise be short on experience not to mention talent. Pietersen, in an England team now captained by Alastair Cook, showed his class with a typically aggressive 110 against Haryana in the tourists' final warm-up match. threw him a lifeline by selecting him for the India tour at the 11th hour. The way he can attack the bowlers in an form of the game pushes the opposition to back foot. He would try to boss the bowlers and toy with them which could certainly change the course of the game. Though India will have the left arm spin of Ojha and Yuvraj to trouble KP but he can come good with his destructive style of play. Recently West Indian batting legend Vivian Richards reckoned that Kevin Pietersen is cricket's answer to Muhammad Ali, and he believes the English batsman has got the "X-factor" to respond to his critics in the upcoming four-Test series in India. It will be very Interesting to see how KP will be able to respond to all these expectations.

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