In the three One-dayers so far, England have been found woefully short of all cricket logic. The absence of the main nucleus nursing injuries in England is a massive handicap and their bench strength is not much better than Bangladesh. Did I tread on some toes? I am sorry, because this was not my intention.
India are on cloud nine but are they really without constant problems from top order batsmen?! No reliable opening pair to create a faint panic in the opposition. Both Kaif and Sehwag must thank their stars they are still in the scheme of things. It would be awfully close to show them the door out of the World Cup.
Briefly speaking, India did not win the Kotla game, England lost it by poor application and commitment. At the chaotic Faridabad, once again England did not lose, India won with better grit when it counted. The third game in Goa had just a bit of the vital fight but never quite, so as Yuvraj and Raina asserted their natural ability in a huge way leaving the Poms wondering how can kids in India be born with bats in their hands.
Yes, this culture was an English gift to India, unwittingly though. Indians have made cricket their first game, almost national sport. England can still provide in-depth history of the game, but for some unknown reason are not able to raise a good enough team for international contest.
We see all the English greats (past) sitting in the commentary or press box. Not one of them is willing to take up the cudgels on behalf of English cricket. Or, maybe perhaps, no one is allowed near the dressing room. The composition of England teams have been baffling to say the least. How could you leave Vikram Solanki, Hoggard and Batty from the playing eleven? So, most of the problems of the visitors are more or less self-inflicted.
England skipper Andrew Flintoff has not blown his top off so far which means he is cool. He has not complained about the sub-standard One-day wickets, nor other off-the-field administrative goof-ups.
Let's face it. Seven One-dayers in 18 days is a bit too much for the players. Playing and travelling to unknown places can be exhausting. From this point only, I am willing to shed a few crocodile tears for the visitors, but nothing more. Something must come from within to stir up the national pride.
Wearing England colours should give goose pimples. This particular emotion is not touching many of the present lot. Where is the passion to play for England? It ought to be visible, no point keeping it close to your chest.
Admittedly, both India and England can have a common grouse, the playing surfaces in first three games have been sub-standard, not conducive for entertaining One-day cricket. The basic character of the game gets diluted if due concern is not shown to the actual playing surface. While India is making the best of whatever is available, England mindset is silently revolting. The wretched ICC had gagged players to such an extent as to kill their much wanted expressions even before they are hatched.
There is nothing we loathe more than the secret weaknesses and shortcomings of our nature.
Finally, I must confess my own folly, I had mentioned India and England in India are equal strengths, they are not. If the hot weather holds, India will make a clean sweep of 7-0 in the ODIs.
Is this a provocation? Yes, it is for our visitors to pull up their socks and for goodness sake make an effort to enjoy this game, for then only you will put your best foot forward.