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zen
In the 2015 World Cup, the England-Bangladesh group game was a virtual pre-quarterfinal. The winner of the game was to be rewarded with a place in the knock out phase in a tournament where the top 8 sides, if they played to their potential, were guaranteed a spot in the next stage. But Bangladesh managed to go past England to secure the spot. The loss, which was 2nd against Bangladesh in World Cups in the 2010s, forced England to review its world cup game. 
 
Traditionally, England is a team that is more focused on test cricket. With only a handful of nations playing competitive cricket, England did not have to work hard to secure a spot in knockouts at the limited overs world events. It made the knock out stage in the first four world cups, playing the final in two of those four events. The 90s saw the emergence of Sri Lanka as a limited overs powerhouse, while South Africa returned to international cricket. The competitive landscape in limited overs had changed. In world events, the acceptable metric is to reach the last four. Since 1992, England has not been in the last four of the ODI World Cups. However, it should be noted that among the failures in ODI World Cups, England has won the T20 World Cup and reached the final of Champions Trophy in 2004. 
 
In 2015, the think tanks in England sat down to redraw boundaries by thinking outside the box with the goal to win the 2019 World Cup which was to be played at home. The 2010s have seen the host countries triumph. India beat the co-host Sri Lanka in 2011 final, and Australia achieved a similar feat by beating co-host New Zealand in 2015. The 2011 and 2015 finals were played in India and Australia respectively. If the trend of home teams winning the world cup in this decade is to continue, England would have a great chance in 2019 if it is able to put together a team that can play competitive cricket. 
 
In the past, England rewarded players with good performances in tests with a place in white ball cricket. Now it would need to shift its focus to ODI specialists. Among other concerns, chasing totals has been an Achilles heel. It lost three finals (1979, 1987, and 1992) while batting second. England also lacks All-Time-Great (ATG) level bowlers such as McGrath and Warne. 
 
As saying goes – If you are average, you get bad results. If you are good, you get average results. If you are great, you get good results. To get great results, you have to be excellent. While England had good bowlers, it had the opportunity to develop some excellent batsmen and all-rounders. The strategy moving forward was to concentrate on the strengths to turn the ODI team into a batting powerhouse to cover for both the lack of ATG level bowlers and account for the past failures to chase down totals. Over the last four years, England put together a team that can not only put mammoth totals on board but also pursue big totals. 
 
To develop into a batting powerhouse, England has also thrown convention out of the window. Its batsmen have revitalized cricket by playing a brand of fearless cricket. Traditionally, a wicket lost puts pressure on the batting side. By developing batting depth, England has taken that concern out of equation relatively. For example, if the top 4 batsmen fail, the opposition would need to deal with the dangerous Jos Buttler, along with a lower order that can strike big hits in at will. While the bowling is relatively weak, it is still competitive. To illustrate, players like Jofra Archer are drafted to give the attack wicket taking abilities. Bowlers like Liam Plunkett are known to create wicket-taking opportunities in the middle overs. 
 
Today (June 8th, 2019), England played its group game against Bangladesh, which was seeking to complete the hat-trick of wins in ODI World Cups against England. In its last game, England narrowly lost to the underdog Pakistan, chasing the mammoth 348. The silver lining in that loss is that not many teams would have gotten this close to such a mammoth total. The loss also highlighted the need to sharpen up the fielding.  In today’s game, England needed to bounce back from that narrow loss to take on an improved Bangladesh, which has enjoyed success against it lately in such events. Having put into bat first, England scored 386 and went on to beat Bangladesh by 106 runs. With this win, England has not only bounced back from the loss in the last game but also gone past its nemesis in World Cups this decade. England has shown the ability to learn from its mistakes and improve its game. This success and approach probably point towards the rise of "New" England in ODIs. 

While England can claim to be the strongest side in this world cup, it needs to be aware that the strongest teams do not always win the tournament. Examples of failures to get past the hurdles include West Indies in 1983 and England itself in 1987 and 1992. New Zealand played the best cricket in 1992 but failed to lift the trophy. South Africa too appeared unstoppable in 1999. In this world cup, England has cards staked in its favor. To win, England should continue to trust its game, play fearlessly, and more importantly enjoy its cricket. If it is able to achieve that it is difficult to see England not being crowned as the 2019 world champion.  
 
 
 


vvvslaxman
Here we go! The moment has arrived. World cup favorites took on World cup favorites for the last 2 decades (except this edition of course) England team managed to assemble a team that will finally win them the elusive world cup title. It is a bit like assembling a Japanese car in America. Parts from different part of the world. No rain threat. Bright sunny day. SA won the toss and elected to lose. Faf’s thought process was probably influenced by the knowledge of how effortlessly England have been chasing in recent times. They forgot to take it into account that this is a world cup where runs on the board is always a safer option.
 
Anyway, World cup kicked off in style except of course for Bairstow and the team that is going to face Bairstow in the next match. Didn’t deter Jason Roy and their resident consolidator Joe Root. They steadied the ship until Phelu got rid of Jason Roy with a short one and three balls later Rabada threw one wide which Root managed to slap it straight to point. For some teams, this is a major collapse. Not so much for England. Morgan and Stokes took the onus and raise another century partnership. With 14 overs left Morgan holed out. Butler was in. Expected carnage didn’t happen. Butler left after a brief partnership with Stokes. Soon Amla’s counterpart left the crease. It was left to the tail to take them to a decent total. Their thoughts of getting to 500 vanished thick and fast. They huffed and puffed their way to 311 on the back of Stokes’s 97. Rabada didn’t exactly provide the kind of penetration at the death. Taken for plenty. At one point they looked like getting to 400, then 350, then 325.. then 290 and ended up reaching 311. So both teams looked happy halfway stage. Bowlers did their bit in the death in the absence of Steyn
 
Response by South Africa didn’t exactly pan out well in a scary way. Amla took a blow to his helmet and ended up leaving the ground failing the concussion Test. Markram who expressed his surprise at his selection for the world cup, batted briefly and got out to Archer and showed us why he was surprised at his own selection. The onus was on the captain to resurrect the innings along with De Kock. Archer drew the second blood for his newly adopted country. Technically third blood. Faf couldn’t keep the ball down while pulling to deep square leg. The writing was pretty much on the wall for them. But defiant Van der Dussen and De Kock resurrected the innings with a counterattacking partnership. Right about the time when SA looked like they were going to pull off a miracle, they decided self-destruction is the way to go. Lost 3 quick wickets for very few runs. First De Kock couldn’t capitalize on a rubbish ball from Plunkett and managed to hole out in deep. Pretorious showed his inexperience by calling for a non-existent 2nd run and got run out. Then it was Duminy’s turn to have a brain fade. A low percentage of lofted shot to long off. That didn’t stop there. Van der dussen thought it was a great idea to take on the best bowler for England on that day. Another batsman holed out. He was followed by Phelu. Although wicket was taken by Rashid, full credit should go to Stokes who plucked the ball out of thin air in Ninja style. Implosion continued and their misery ended before 40 overs.
 
With the inclusion of Archer England looks more potent than before. Two of their top batsmen failed in this match. 4 of them got the fifties. I expect them to come out guns blazing in the next match. Looking forward to England’s next encounter.

zen
In the past, India has usually banked on the 6 Batsmen + 1 WK + 4 Bowlers combination. Depending on the pitch, India would play either 1 spinner or 2 spinners among the 4 specialist bowling slots. These 4 bowlers would be supported by batsmen who had extraordinary bowling skills such as Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly. The 6th batsman, whether it was VVS Laxman or Ganguly, was impactful and among the best talents in the country.
 
For reference, below is the talent pool available for batting slots in the 1990-2014 period: 
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 2000  and batting average greater than or equal to 40  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 10 of 10   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0   SR Tendulkar 1990-2013 180 300 28 13968 241* 51.35 43 63 13 R Dravid 1996-2012 147 261 27 11726 270 50.11 30 57 6 V Sehwag 2001-2013 96 168 4 8151 319 49.70 23 28 16 CA Pujara 2010-2014 27 48 4 2073 206* 47.11 6 6 1 VVS Laxman 1996-2012 125 213 32 8384 281 46.32 16 55 14 NS Sidhu 1990-1999 36 53 0 2450 201 46.22 7 11 5 M Azharuddin 1990-2000 62 92 6 3932 192 45.72 15 12 3 V Kohli 2011-2014 32 57 4 2354 169 44.41 9 10 4 SC Ganguly 1996-2008 99 169 16 6311 239 41.24 13 31 12 G Gambhir 2004-2014 50 91 3 3521 206 40.01 7 19 6  
 
Bowling during the 1990-2014 period:
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Qualifications wickets taken greater than or equal to 100  Ordered by bowling average (ascending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 7 of 7   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10   R Ashwin 2011-2014 23 42 1160.4 226 3403 114 7/103 12/85 29.85 2.93 61.0 9 2 PP Ojha 2009-2013 23 46 1234.1 293 3294 109 6/47 10/89 30.22 2.66 67.9 7 1 A Kumble 1990-2008 121 216 6357.0 1447 17248 566 10/74 14/149 30.47 2.71 67.3 33 8 J Srinath 1991-2002 58 103 2153.4 500 6269 203 8/86 13/132 30.88 2.91 63.6 9 1 Harbhajan Singh 1998-2013 91 166 4310.0 779 12323 376 8/84 15/217 32.77 2.85 68.7 24 5 Z Khan 2001-2014 79 139 2759.0 559 8921 259 5/29 9/134 34.44 3.23 63.9 9 0 I Sharma 2007-2014 58 101 2003.3 373 6716 177 7/74 10/108 37.94 3.35 67.9 6 1  
 
WKs during the 1990-2014 period:
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Wicketkeeper as designated wicketkeeper  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 500  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 4 of 4   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0   MS Dhoni 2005-2014 87 140 14 4683 224 37.16 6 31 10 PA Patel 2002-2008 20 30 7 683 69 29.69 0 4 4 KS More 1990-1993 20 25 5 546 73 27.30 0 5 2 NR Mongia 1994-2001 43 66 8 1441 152 24.84 1 6 5  
 
To summarize the 1990-2014 period: 
Great pool of batting talent, many of whom had good secondary skills in bowling  Bowling talent pool was relatively limited. The bowling averages are 30 or more, while the SR is 61+  Those playing as WKs averaged less than 40, which did not strengthen the batting as desired. Gilchrist, the benchmark, averaged 46 when you exclude BD and Zim    
 
Therefore in the 1990-2014, India had a strong case of playing the extra batsman, who was among the best talents in the country and when a bunch of those playing as batsmen could bowl effectively too as the 5th bowler. 
 
 
Let us look at the numbers from 2015 to Present period. 
 
Batting
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date greater than or equal to 1 Jan 2015  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 500  and batting average greater than or equal to 40  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 4 of 4   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s   V Kohli 2015-2019 43 71 4 4003 243 59.74 6768 59.14 15 10 4 425 10 CA Pujara 2015-2019 39 63 3 3181 202 53.01 7186 44.26 12 12 5 358 7 RR Pant 2018-2019 9 15 1 696 159* 49.71 943 73.80 2 2 1 70 17 RG Sharma 2015-2018 17 30 5 1009 102* 40.36 1810 55.74 1 9 1 86 25  
 
Bowling
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date greater than or equal to 1 Jan 2015  Qualifications wickets taken greater than or equal to 20  Ordered by bowling average (ascending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 9 of 9   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10   B Kumar 2015-2018 9 17 252.1 67 730 34 5/33 8/96 21.47 2.89 44.5 2 0 JJ Bumrah 2018-2019 10 20 402.4 95 1073 49 6/33 9/86 21.89 2.66 49.3 3 0 RA Jadeja 2015-2019 27 52 1259.5 316 2998 135 7/48 10/154 22.20 2.37 55.9 7 1 R Ashwin 2015-2018 39 74 1791.2 374 4972 212 7/59 13/140 23.45 2.77 50.6 16 5 Kuldeep Yadav 2017-2019 6 10 164.5 22 579 24 5/57 6/119 24.12 3.51 41.2 2 0 A Mishra 2015-2016 9 18 267.4 44 853 33 4/43 7/72 25.84 3.18 48.6 0 0 Mohammed Shami 2015-2019 29 56 848.2 160 2700 103 6/56 6/74 26.21 3.18 49.4 3 0 I Sharma 2015-2018 26 49 736.3 164 2001 73 5/51 8/86 27.41 2.71 60.5 2 0 UT Yadav 2015-2018 27 54 714.5 138 2367 70 6/88 10/133 33.81 3.31 61.2 1 1  
 
To summarize the 2015 to Present period: 
Only 4 batsmen average 40 or more. Rishabh Pant, who plays as the WK averages close to 50. Rohit Sharma's average is more condition dependent. We do not have batsmen who can serve as the 5th bowler like what some of those mentioned used to in the past  Almost all bowlers average less than 30 and also have a SR of less than 61. Though the performances of spinners and bowlers such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar are condition dependent. Unlike in the past, Bowling is the key strength for India   With Pant, we have a WK whose batting can be leveraged much like Gilchrist's   
 
Therefore, by playing the 6th batsman, who many times is more like a glorified nightwatchman, we are not necessarily strengthening our line up. The WK Pant performs better than the 6th batsman. Our bowling is more focused on picking wickets, which means that they prefer to be used in relatively shorter spells where they can bowl with all their force rather than bowling within themselves to get more overs in. To keep these bowlers relatively fresh and keep bowling them at their full force, the role of the 5th bowler gets paramount. 
 
Considering that now we have a) a WK that has the ability to average 40+, and b) batsmen who do not bowl that often and those playing as the 6th batsman produce diminishing returns, the best way to add the 5th bowler is to play an Allrounder (AR), who can add value to both bowling and batting. 
 
 
Hardik Pandya 
 
Among ARs, Hardik Pandya is unique in the sense that he not only has the ability to hit test 100s and change the game with his batting abilities, but also bowl at 140+. As a fielder, he is also among the best in the country. 
 
Below is Pandya's performance so far in Test cricket: 
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   overall 11 532 108 31.29 1 17 5/28 31.05 1 7 0 0.23  
 
Pandya in matches won:
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Match result won match  Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   unfiltered 11 532 108 31.29 1 17 5/28 31.05 1 7 0 0.23 Profile filtered 6 323 108 46.14 1 10 5/28 18.70 1 6 0 27.44  
 
For someone in his first season, the stats are good as:
Pandya has mostly played in difficult batting conditions in SA and Eng, where many specialist batsmen have averages much less. In Asia, he averages 60+ with the bat. And has a 50+ score in each of the series he has played in   Pandya, a pace bowler, has bowled mostly with a relatively soft ball to bowl overs when the new ball is around the corner. His bowling average and SR improve when he bowls with a relatively hard ball where he won India a test in Eng with a career best of 5/28   
 
With most of the other ARs, we see that they have a dominant primary skill. Pandya is also unique as he does not appear to have a dominant primary skill.  Since he is equally good at both batting and bowling, one challenge for him would be to figure out the area of his main focus. Because he would be more of a 4th or 5th bowler, my recommendation is that he focus more on his batting. Pandya could use someone like Gilchrist, who is an WK AR and a flamboyant batsman who can change the game with his batting when playing in the lower middle batting order, as a reference for performances in tests. 
 
 
Another AR who much like Pandya is equally good in both departments in Jason Holder. Below is how Jason Holder performed in his first two years: 
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Opposition team Australia  or England  or India  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka Start of match date less than or equal to 26 Jun 2016  Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   unfiltered 36 1761 202* 33.86 3 88 6/59 28.29 5 28 0 5.56 Profile filtered 13 546 103* 27.30 1 21 3/15 39.00 0 10 0 -11.69  
 
The above shows us that unique ARs need some time to develop. ARs do not always appear ready made. Once such talent is identified, teams have to make an effort to develop them. Once developed, they become a force to be reckoned with as they can win their team games both with the bat and the ball. 
 
 
Considering the various points discussed with respect to current talent pool in batting, bowling and wicket keeping, Pandya should be played in tests especially on batting friendly and sporting pitches. By playing Tests, Pandya will improve as a cricketer which will help India in LOIs as well. 
 
The Pant-Pandya combination slotted at 6-7 is impactful and has the potential to become a game changer for India. With that, India can optimize its 5 batting and 4 bowling slots. To me, an optimized Test line up for 2020s appears like the one below: 
 
Agarwal
Shaw
Pujara
Kohli
Gill
Pant
Pandya
Pacer / Spinner per conditions
Kuldeep (can be developed as a most conditions spinner) 
Shami (Wicket taking pace bowler)
Bumrah (Wicket taking pace bowler) 
 
Currently, Shaw, Gill, Pant, Panyda, Kuldeep and Bumrah are among the best talents in the country and 25 years old or less. If India invests in them, it can reap great rewards in near future  
 
 
References / Acknowledgements: 
Cricinfo for stats / numbers   
 

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


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