Trent Bridge, Aug 4: In the cardinal series against the visitors and the current no. 1 Test team India, hosts England have played an exceptional brand of cricket in the first two Tests of the four match series. A thumping 196 runs victory at Lord"s followed up by a resounding 391 runs win at Trent Bridge, England showed that they are the superior side in all departments of the game. Team India is quite simply not playing like a number one side and no one knows this fact better than themselves.
This series was earmarked to be one of the most interesting and challenging cricket encounters in recent times. Arguably the two finest sides in the longest format of the game were to test each other. And very soon it was clear as the waste in a mountain stream as to which the better prepared side was.
Tests are all about the sessions in a day and England have maximized these sessions a lot more than India have. One of the commentators and arguably the best on offer currently, Nasser Hussain said it best when he said that India were just not ready for this all important series. Whatever be the reason, India is just not up to scratch and the third Test at Edgbaston will have to see them perform as a number one Test side.
The biggest accusation thrown at the Indians is the immense amount of cricket played lately. And the IPL is targeted as the bug bear tournament that robs cricketers of the more important and salient series in the realest format of the game. The debate of country over club and of the flippant format over the serious will go on. At the end of the day money rules, whether you like it or not. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has a lot of power in world cricket for they are the ones with the money and that is reality. Greed is but a natural phenomenon when it comes to human beings. For those who say they are not greedy must know that they are in an exclusive group.
Team India just need to apply themselves to the task and put up a fight if nothing else. This is cricket. There will be losses, but the manner in which one loses is what really matters. Ironically it is those who have been rested who have broken down or not performed. Zaheer Khan is an injury-plagued player. The pacer seems to never be quite match fit but when he is, he makes a big difference specially in countries like England. Key batsmen have not contributed or are injured and the much hyped Sachin Tendulkar is the main culprit here. Captain 'can do no wrong" MS Dhoni is now facing what could be his first Test series loss as captain. His lack of form with the gloves and the bat are just not helping his cause one bit. The Turbonator – Harbhajan Singh is now doling out gentle deliveries that are flat, refusing to turn. An abdominal injury may just be welcome for him at this stage.
Given all that is going wrong with India, the one thing that they can set right is attitude. They must show that they are hungry and ferociously protective about their status in Test cricket.
Of course, it"s easy to sit in ivory towers and throw stones, but this is no critical accusation. This is a request to the eleven who take the field at Birmingham on 10th August to give their best effort in the Test match. To triumph over mediocrity and to strive for excellence. This is Test cricket. So far there"s been drama but sadly amidst all the entertainment, the voice that"s heard has one pronounced accent which is extremely English.