In India, once you reach a high level, you stay on even if not performing .Old is gold like our decrepit and corrupt politicians. Take Harbhajan Singh, who achieved 400 wicket target in Tests while in West Indies, where his performance compared to Amit Mishra was much inferior. Or with the West Indian spinner Bishu. Bhajji now threatens to play for 600 wickets target. At the present rate it will take him another 100 Tests. He might have done well in the famous turn around Test in Kolkatta, but thanks to Laxman and Dravid. In the last few years he looks and bowls very ordinary. He talks of doosra but what amount of off spin he extracts. Look at English Swann. After the IPL format he is at best a containing bowler and that too not very successful. Earlier he and Kumble had kept out emergence of other spin bowlers.
We now play Tests like ODIs. With 7 batsman, set a target or chase a target successfully. In fact since our 7 are not enough, Bhajji is now the 8th batman , more so in Tests. No wonder we are unlikely to get 20 wickets for a Test win. The Lords test, at lunchbreak on 2nd day is very much in favour of MCC. And with Zahir Khan out (Had he really fully recovered!) it will be as in the past.
Nervousness and frustration for a billion Indians till the end. And possible humiliation self asked for. The only hope is Meerut's Praveen Kumar from Jat wrestling family. If he can overcome his awe of the Lords and its surroundings and not overswing as he has done so far.
If 5 batsman with wicketkeeper batsman cannot score enough runs to make a match of a Test, then there is no point in trying to pretend and shout around that we are number one Test team. For how long! Others are waiting to pounce back. Except for his World Cup Final 92 not out and the winning six, Dhoni does not justify himself as a batsman. Developed in the backstreets of Ranchi, his batting technique is awful. Helicopter shot in swinging swerving English conditions? Have a heart!
There was a good opportunityto groom Parthiev Patil, only 26, as 3rd opening bat and wicket keeper. He has done well in IPL and ODIs in West Indies and should have been given a chance over Mukund. Patel should have been tried in tests in West Indies and if successful taken to England. Dhoni could have then concentrated on his batting and captaincy (Is he scared that he would then be exposed?) But then with Srikkanth and powerful Chennai lobby in cricket, South India dominates. We also took a Badrinath to West Indies thus denying chance to other talented young batsmen.
In a very short time the newcoach Fletcher has shown his imprint. He looks decrepit and defensive. Recall India’s 2nd innings of 3rd and final test in West Indies. 185 or so required in over 47 overs. The pitch was quite OK. Defensiveness, an old Indian trait whether in cricket or the battle field is emerging again. Look at our history. If we lose in England and continue with the current policies, the selectors and Fletchers should go home.
Situation at Lunchtime 2nd day, First test at Lords. I am ready for brickbats.