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Austin 3:!6
India - 107/10 (35.2 overs)
 
After an exciting 1st test, all eyes were on Lords when these two top teams locked horns again. But the fun was spoiled by persistent rain on 1st day when the game got called off. Joe Root for England won the toss on 2nd day and asked India to bat in most hostile rainy overcast conditions. The duke ball swung throughout the day and Indian batsmen looked clueless against some top bowling. 
 
India made two changes which were along the expected lines. Shikar Dhawan and Umesh Yadav were dropped for Cheteshwar Pujara and an additional spinner in the form of Kuldeep Yadav. However, changing the opening combination made no difference as India were found themselves reeling with 2 wickets down with only 10 runs on board. It looked like all on King Kohli's shoulder again and he needed to carry the batting line up. A bizarre run out of Pujara just before the rain break piled on to the misery of Indians.
 
Pujara Run Out - the turning point

 
After almost 3 hours rain break, the game resumed around 5pm local time and big partnership was needed between skipper Kohli and Vice Captain Rahane. Kohli's constant struggle against Woakes finally came  to an end when he edged one to the slips for 23. He never looked comfortable against Woakes who drew him forward in the previous over with lots of plays and misses. Once the Indian captain gone, it went all downhill from there. Only Ashwin showed some resistance with a well made 29 and few late blows from Shami  ensured India went passed 100 mark. India finally got all out for 107 with lots of questions to answer.
 
Anderson 5 wicket haul

 
With only 107 runs in 1st innings, it is very tough for India to come back into this match. However with rain forecast for whole day tomorrow and monday, there is a chance this game might be washed out and India might sneak with a draw.
 

express bowling
Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
 

Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
 
 
Jasprit Bumrah
Age 24
Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


Md. Shami  
Age 28
Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


Umesh Yadav  
Age 30
Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
Bowling style - Right arm fast

He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


Ishant Sharma   
Age 29
Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
 

Shardul Thakur 
Age 26
Test average  -  Yet to debut
Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
Age 28
Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


Md. Siraj  
Age 24
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


Ankit Rajpoot  
Age 24
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


Navdeep Saini  
Age 25
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
 

G_B_
England have trashed India. These words sum up the third (and second) ODI of the three match series. India went into the game with concerns about their new ball bowlers and middle order batsman. Both of these weaknesses were exploited by England who were disciplined with the ball and ruthless with the bat.
 
India started the day by losing the toss (though they wanted to bat first) and making some questionable selections. Wicket taking bowler Umesh Yadav was dropped for Bhubaneshwar Kumar whose record on flat wickets is questionable. Most surprisingly, Lokesh Rahul was replaced by Dinesh Kartick with the much maligned Suresh Raina keeping his place and doing little to justify the vote of confidence. A decision captain Kohli will no doubt regret given the abysmal Indian performance. Selection has been a contentious issue for India under Kohli given that there appears to be no force capable of questioning his choices within the squad. One hopes that voices of dissent do manifest themselves before the start of the test series.
 
Looking forward to the world cup, the outcome of this series makes it abundantly clear that India have several gaps to fill. They cannot rely on Kuldeep Yadav to paper over the cracks with the ball given that sides will figure him out as the tournament reaches its end stages. The last two ODI’s pose serious questions of the Chinaman bowler. How he responds to the challenge will reveal if he is world class. The other elephant in the room is the form of MS Dhoni. While his keeping skills remain superhuman, he is struggling to accelerate with the bat against less than world class English bowling unit. Time is running out for a replacement to make a mark and be comfortable at an international level. Rohit Sharma is the textbook definition of a flat track bully. A five course meal when there is no swing and/or seam and two minute maggi noodles if there is little bit on the same.
 
Finally, team ICF congratulates England for the series win. Their first over India since 2011. It underlines their tag as one of the favourites for the 2019 world cup. Only time will tell if this series serves as a wakeup call or its business as usual for the boys in blue. India you have been warned.

sourab10forever
In contrast to the recent flow of things for this mighty Indian LOI team, they faced a decent-sized defeat at the hands of the three lions. Not only did this result spill life into the series and saved the 3rd ODI from becoming a dead contest, It was a vital speed-breaker that was necessary for India when looking at the larger picture i.e the upcoming WC.
 
Morgan, to the joy of his counterpart, decided to bat first after winning the coin toss. The stats and team form showed that batting second was the key and the factors that led England to decide otherwise remain unclear. Perhaps, as Gambhir pointed out, it might have something to do with negating the effectiveness of the Indian spin-duo under the lights.
 
The 1st Innings
The first 15 overs or so went as per the script. The English openers got them off to a great start, like they always do. Kuldeep came in and picked up his customary set of wickets. What changed, to the relief of the English fans, was the sight of their main ace Root back to what he does best. A well compiled century while not only making sure that he held the fort against the Indian spinners but also scoring at a decent pace. Buttler fell early and Moeen wasn't any good either. the Indian bowlers were keeping things nice and clean until David Willy decided to go bonkers and gave England what they required to get to 320, which was just about at par given the conditions.
 
The 2nd Innings
Dhawan gave the innings a great start unleashing a set of exquisite cover drives. The Hitman, on the other end, took his own sweet time. Rahul fell cheap and India's innings was already in trouble. Kohli-Raina stitched together decent partnership but the RRR was always climbing and their pace would only mean one thing-pressure on the weakest part of this Indian team, the lower middle order. Dhoni again gave a masterclass on why he is a misfit at no.6 but Kohli easily brushed away this fact in the post-match press conference with an often used brush called 'off-day'. Once Raina was out in the 32nd Over, there was but little hope. India succumbed to a 86 run defeat.
 
Not a lot of takeaways from this game for Team India. Only a couple of questions that Kohli and Shastri will have to find answers to. The series is now up for grabs and hopefully, India can pull it off and take a load of confidence going into the all-important test series.
 
 
Sourab10Forever

Ankit_sharma03
Will start with Careers that are over and ill be highly shocked if they comeback now
 
1. Raina- Said during IPL the way he was handling fast bowling he shud not play for India anymore , but i thought ENG -IReland doesnt have bowlers to trouble to my surprise IReland bounced him out n england spun him out. To comeback for any player its important how he does in domestic n most importantly how badly others fails to. Raina might do well in domestic but their is enough talent now to keep him away
 
2. Parthiv - When u drop someone its important to check has he improved n then pick him n with parthiv n even Raina selectors shud realise they didnt so what did they check??? Parthiv in SA showed that he still was an Awfull keeper. 
With karthik, Saha , pant, kishen, samson....... we dnt have to see him Again 
 
Now the careers who are on thin ice
For them what matters if they perform they keep their place, if they dnt they are on thin ICE and if others perform aiming for same role.....they can be shown the door   
1. Dhoni- Many may think he will never be dropped but no one is indispensable . The more ur perfomance goes down the more nearer u get towards getting dropped. Some one will get extra rope and some wont but that rope will end one day. Dhoni batting isnt helping him but his contribution to captaincy, fitness, wicket keeping n helping younger players is saving him. 
He is a large figure in Indian cricket so for him to be dropped now Karthik n pant has to perform. If karthik has a gr8 england tour ....dhoni place will be in bother and then possible he might be a series away from being dropped. Same is with Pant he has to perform whenever he gets a chance and he is an impact player.....but for him to secure that place he has to show gr8 consistency. So as of now m expecting karthik to be more of problem for dhoni then Pant. 
 
2. Murali Vijay- I have no doubt in my mind if vijay fails england tour .....we ll see the last of him. He hasnt had gr8 last 1-2 yrs and his age wnt help him either. With the emergance of Shaw n mayank .....i doubt selectors will back him if he fails in England . 
 
3. Dinesh Karthik- A bad series in england n it can be curtains for him. DK for all his inconsistency will always be under microscope. A failure with gloves will keep him on benches as then he ll have to compete with other batsman for the role of only batsman. If he fails with both bat n gloves .....we might not see him again for which also Pant has to perform. If pant doesnt perform n so does DK fail, DK might still live on for a series or two. 
 
Now the career which still has oxygen left in them and wud only be under threat if they do badly in england but just under threat 
 
1. Dhawan the test cricketer- he aint going anywere 
2. Ishant sharma- All he has to do is bowl that one gr8 spell n he ll be their to play his 100 test, leave ur hopes he aint going anywhere till aussie tour ends. Yes a failure on both tour will lead him to be dropped . 
3. Pujara- A failure in england wud only mean he might be only seen in subcontinent where his place cnt be questioned but cnt say with kohli. 
4. Shami- Same as Ishant sharma. Need atleast 2 bad tours 
5. Ashwin- Will have the same fate as pujara if he fails actually a lil better as his batting might come to rescue him.
6. Jadeja- If kuldeep does well he might have to compete with ashwin in future for 2nd spinner spot overseas. At home his place cnt be questioned. 

GolGappe
Virat Kohli has recently completed 50 ODI’s as skipper of India. The results are mighty impressive. They’ve won every 4 out of 5 ODI’s with Kohli as skipper. They have been dominant at home, had a great run in Champions Trophy, and treated RSA like a school team in RSA’s own backyard. Bowlers have finally figured out how to take wickets during the middle portions of the game, Captain possesses two skilled slog-over bowlers and a very confident all-rounder who brings a lot of balance to the side.
 
 
 
However, the side is far from perfect and this article highlights some of the areas that India needs to improve on before the World Cup. Normal wisdom suggests that you would want every player to have 30-50 ODI’s under their belt prior to World Cup but I disagree. Good players will shine regardless. New players bring a bit of a mystery factor and new levels of energy for high-octane tournaments. India’s IPL tournament prepares these players for big stages and selectors shouldn’t put too much emphasis on experience factor.
 
 
 
Lower/Middle order
 
India’s top 3 are arguably collectively biggest batting threat in one-day cricket but as the final of the Champions Trophy demonstrated if these three go cheaply, India’s lower middle doesn’t look capable of mastering tricky chases. To be honest, the top 3 have enjoyed the best of batting conditions and hogged the majority of the strike preventing the lower middle order from getting valuable match experience.
 
Number 4 and 5 in one-day line-ups are still up for grabs. KL Rahul is still trying to figure out his role in ODI set-up. Raina is a fighter but he is technically limited.
 
The tail is a bigger worry. With the exception of Bhuvneshwar, India has three genuine number 11 batsmen. In this era of batting deep, India over-relies on the top 7 for the bulk of heavy lifting.
 
 
 
Elephant in the room
 
Any sane selection committee would have ensured Dhoni is collecting his pension by now but he is guaranteed a spot in final XI for the World Cup. Given his street smartness, surprisingly he has been a constant no-show in recent past and has frustrated fans on several occasion by ignoring the match situation in trying to bat himself in.
 
India’s reluctance of dealing firmly with fading stars puts inexperienced selection panel in a bit of a quandary. As IPL and other tournaments showed, there are potentially 2-3 very strong wicket-keeping candidates available should Team Management desire them.
 
The entire Indian cricket fraternity worships Dhoni and you can be assured the wise old wizard will retire on his own terms.
 
6th Bowling Options
 
When fully fit, India is fortunate to have 5 genuine wicket-taking options but there will be times when 1 or 2 of these bowlers will have an off day and a 6th option will come in handy. Suresh Raina is the only certified pie-chucker in the side but India can use someone who is a bit more reliable with the ball as a 6th bowling option. Krunal Pandya offers that option to India but it’s hard to see conservative Indian panel considering someone like Krunal Pandya to fill this important role.
 
Backup Bowling Options
 
The current backup options haven’t been that impressive. I can’t imagine the Kauls, the Sirajs, the Thakurs, and the Unadkats of winning games on their own. Agreed, they have been up against brutal batting orders on very flat pitches but none of them has demonstrated that X-factor that bowlers need in this era of flat pitches, mighty bats and smaller grounds. Umesh Yadav bowled some vicious spells in IPL but lacks that consistency. Shami has fitness and personal issues to deal with. Varun Aaron is not even on selector’s radar. Under present system, Mavi, Nagarkoti, Khalil and Rajpoot will probably have to put on impressive performances for 12-18 months to get a look in.
 
Conclusion
 
The purpose of this article is not to paint an overly negative or depressing picture of the current state. Like India, all other teams are also facing their own unique set of challenges. England lacks world class bowlers and will be under massive pressure to #BringItHome. Australia has serious re-building to do after Sandpapergate disaster. RSA is dealing with ABD’s retirement and the return of Amla to a more mortal form. NZ is like Belgium (Football Team) of cricket. A guaranteed semi-final pick but lack that firepower to go all the way. Pakistan and WI possess several match winners but do blow hot and cold. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have serious issues of their own.
 
Here is hoping team management and selectors are paying attention to few of these issues and ensuring India goes well-prepared into the mighty important tournament.
 

Trichromatic
A day after England’s loss to Croatia in the FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals, a cricket match between two strongest ODI teams wasn’t expected to the hit headlines, but fireworks were always on cards given both teams have very explosive batting lineups. The match was played on the same ground where England had scored the highest ever ODI score three weeks ago. 
 
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to chase on what looked like great batting conditions. England started quickly as usual and absence of two front line bowlers - Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, meant that Indians didn’t find it easy to stop openers Roy and Bairstow. They were off to a flyer in powerplays before Kohli threw the ball to chinaman Kuldeep who has been in great form on this tour. An ill-fated reverse sweep by Jason Roy in 11th over started the downfall of the England team after that great start. 
Root looked absolutely clueless when he was caught plumb in next over of Kuldeep and a good review against Bairstow for what initially looked like ball pitching outside leg meant India had clamped down chances of a big score.
 
England needed to rebuild after 3 quick losses, however captain Morgan couldn’t check his temptation to play a big shot against Chahal, only to be caught by Raina at midwicket. Kohli removed Kuldeep from attack after a 4 over spell allowing English batsmen Stokes and Buttler to rebuild innings. Together they added 93 runs. Buttler continued his great form and was fluent throughout his innings scoring at more than run a ball. Stokes, on the other hand, was scratchy and found it difficult to get going against all bowlers. 
 
Bringing back Kuldeep brought quick rewards for Indian teams as he dismissed Buttler to a faint edge down the leg in 39th over. England 214-5 by 44th over were hoping for Stokes and Ali get them close to 280 in 50 overs. However, Stokes who had been patient for longer earlier inexplicably decided to go after Kuldeep’s last over only to see his reverse sweep caught inside the circle. Wiley fell in the same over giving 6th wicket to Kuldeep - best haul for a spinner in England.
 
Pacers failed to create much impact in good batting conditions and England were dismissed for 268 which didn’t look like a challenging score for a good chasing team at any point. Rohit and Dhawan started quickly before Dhawan fell to Moeen Ali as he tried to go after him. Once Kohli was at the crease, chase always looked in control complemented by Rohit’s unnatural attacking batting early in the inning. Sharma displayed a wide range of shots to completely annihilate the weak English bowling. He brought his 100 in just 82 balls and won the game for India in the 41st over after Kohli’s dismissal earlier.
 
It was an easy win for the Indian team, but Kuldeep was easily the biggest difference between two sides who are occupying top 2 places in the ICC ODI rankings. If England has to compete with this in-form Indian team, they have to quickly find ways to tackle Indian wrist spinners who seem to be on a different zone with their accuracy, guile, flight, pace and skills on display. English bowling will be tested again and if they have to improve their 2019 world cup preparations, they need to seriously look into this department. 
 


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