After creating some hope in us fans about a possible turnaround in the limited overs series, India lost again in familiar fashion in the T20 match yesterday. The sad part was the manner of defeat that brought back all the memories of the test series. The defeat was caused once again by inept batting that could not even last 20 overs.
The England bowling attack for the T20 was not as threatening as in the tests. Bresnan and Broad did not bowl well at the start and thanks to Rahane and Dravid, India were sitting pretty at 105 for 1 after 11 overs. Once again, the downfall was not caused by good bowling, but bad batting. It almost seems as if these guys have a mental block against any bowler wearing an England shirt. If that is the case, England are going to thrash us in the ODI series as well because Anderson will be back and they will be fielding almost the same attack as in the tests.
It was so nice to see Rahane doing well in his first game in India colors. He appears to be a batsman in the classic mode, but with the modern mindset that is caused by IPL and a profusion of limited overs cricket that is the norm these days. That means, he does not hesitate to hit over the top, but his classic upbringing means that he will not hit out recklessly. In other words, he appears to be a batsman from the Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir.school of batting. This augurs well for India in the future. He needs to be kept in the rotation. I did not see him field, but since he is only 23 years old, I hope he will be a good, athletic fielder because we need such fielders in the ODI series to prevent England from controlling the middle overs.
Coming to the ODIs, Sachin will obviously walk in to the line-up and that means, Parthiv will have to go. I want to see Rahane open with Sachin as that would be an invaluable experience for the young man and will help him and India enormously in the long run. After that, we have Virat (batting at his favorite number 3 position), Rohit, Raina and Dhoni followed by the bowlers. One cause for concern is that this means we will go in with 4 regular bowlers and have to rely on Raina, Rohit and Virat for completing 10 overs. Coming to that, it was obvious that India were going to struggle with the fifth bowler quota in the T20, so it was baffling to see that Dhoni did not give Raina even 1 over, even after Rohit went for 16 runs in his only over. I dont know if Raina was injured, but if not, it is another mistake by Dhoni the captain.
Anyway, regarding the bowling, I would like to see Aaron or Mishra in the line-up instead of Vinay for the first ODI. If the track is relatively quick, Aaron should play simply to see whether he can rattle the England batsmen a bit with his pace. If it is slow and devoid of grass, then Mishra should be given a go. Mishra is a better bowler than his bowling analysis from the last test indicate. With Ashwin also playing, Mishra could be expected to up his game and challenge Ashwin for the spinner's slot since he is a competitive cricketer who likes to fight. That leaves PK and Munaf as the 2 pace bowling options. Seeing Munaf operate yesterday, especially his last 3 overs, it was another miss by Dhoni to ignore him completely for the test matches instead preferring to give 3 chances to Sreesanth and even playing RP Singh over Munaf at the Oval.
For India to win matches in the ODI series, Sachin has to bat long. When Sachin does that, we look so much better as a batting side and all the others perform above potential as well. Lets hope Sachin gets his 100th century and can win us at least 2 games on his own.
Lets hear it from you guys now. What do you think should India's lineup be for the first ODI and the others ? Do you think India will be more competitive in the shorter format ? For me, it all boils down to how they tackle the 3 England pacers in the mind. If they can throw away the demons of the test series, they will do well, otherwise I see another miserable series with the bat for India. Lets hope for the best.
My next post will be after the first ODI, so stay tuned.