Tag: India

Loss at Edgbaston

India lost the Test, the series and No. 1 ranking at Edgbaston. England beat India by an Innings and 242 runs. India were 224 in the first Innings and 244 in the second Innings. This is the worst defeat since Lord’s 1974. England declared their Innings 710/7. India’s batting was average, bowling was not good enough and dropped catches made it worse. The Test was over within four days. Virender Sehwag returned to Tests to be out to first ball in both Innings, in first Innings after UDRS appeal. Hopes that he can turn things around were dashed. For India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top scorer in both Innings, 77 and 74 not out. India’s No. 1 ranking lasted 20 months.

After many years India lost three Tests in a row. With every Test the margin of defeat increased. India lost the first Test at Lord’s by 196 runs, the second at Trent Bridge by 319 runs and the third at Edgbaston by an Innings and 242 runs. However in the second Test bowlers took 20 wickets. The series that was dubbed as the champions versus the challengers proved one-sided.

What went wrong? England were a better side, a young side, they had home advantage, their bowlers were outstanding, but that does not explain the margins of defeat. Some blame IPL. Some blame Test players, especially bowlers, not playing first class matches in India. Some blame lack of preparation for the series. That is not the reason for the loss in third Test. Some say there is too much cricket and cricketers are tired. That is not the reason as cricketers who want rest are given rest. Injury to Zaheer Khan is mentioned as a reason but our bowling should not have been dependent on one bowler. There were other bowlers and sometimes they did well. Our fielding was bad and dropped catches cost matches. In the third Test India were a dejected and demoralised side as England piled up runs, there was no will to fight and players went through motions.

Some feel Gary Kirsten’s absence as coach has made the difference for India and Duncan Fletcher has failed. How much difference a coach makes is difficult to say. Under John Wright India were runners up in World Cup. Under Greg Chappell for sometime India were successful and then it was disaster. Under Gary Kirsten India achieved No. 1 ranking in Tests and won ODI World Cup. Duncan Fletcher was the coach for West Indies series and India won the ODIs 3-2 and Tests 1-0. Players who missed West Indies series did not do well in England.

BCCI is blamed for having its priorities wrong. BCCI is dominated by politicians and businessmen. Cricketers are unable to win elections. If defeats continue for India there will be no sponsors, Test, ODI and T20 matches will be less and Ranji Trophy matches will have importance.

Dethroned and disgraced, heroes to zeroes, were some of the expressions used to describe the loss. Some compared India’s bowling to county side. Some wondered how India became No. 1. India played well and that is why they became No. 1. They played bad and lost it.

There is one Test left. India can win that Test or draw it and avoid 0-4 defeat and salvage some pride.

Riots in England

The riots that began in London and spread to other cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Salford and Wolverhampton have exposed the ugly side of England. There was arson, loot, robbery and vandalism. Masked marauders rampaged. Houses, shops and vehicles were set ablaze. There was looting of shops, not all by criminal gangs. Some parents sat in cars outside the shops and sent their sons to loot. Police were attacked. Firemen who went to douse fires were attacked. In London more than 560 were arrested and there was no place in prisons. England had not seen anything like this for many decades.

Various reasons are given. Some say poverty, unemployment and economic deprivation are reasons for the looting and arson. Some blame cut in welfare measures and closing of youth centres. Unemployment benefit was cut and simmering discontent has come to the surface. Some say reduction in police force left it unprepared to face the rioters.

William Dalrymple said England has a rich tradition of rioting and thuggery. In the 16th century a French ambassador had complained of riots, extortion and robbery. England used to send its criminals to India. Now there is no empire and criminals remain in the country.

I do not know how many criminals England sent to India. England sent most of its criminals to Australia. Before that it sent its criminals to America. The criminals who landed in Australia in 1788 became its founders. In India the British sent long term prisoners to Andaman. England has Pitcairn Islands and it can send its prisoners there.

UK’s PM David Cameron and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson had to cut short their holidays and return to London. Cameron spoke of tough action against rioters. He attributed looting by young boys to lack of proper parenting and proper upbringing. He said those who are old enough to commit crime are old enough to face action. Boris Johnson was heckled. Someone said “You are too late.” Someone asked “Where were you?”

There is criticism of soft policing. There is demand for using water cannons, cage charges, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and tasers. Cameron has allowed use of rubber bullets. Curfew should have been imposed in London during the first night of riots. It is not imposed anywhere and criminals have a free run. Police have released photos of criminals and asked people to identify them.

Someone wanted the government to focus on London instead of bombing Libya. Someone wanted troops in Afghanistan and Libya recalled and blamed spending of money on useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The criminals who looted used social media sites such as Facebook and Blackberry Messenger and there is a demand to ban them. However banning something because criminals used them is unreasonable. Those who used them should be caught and punished. Some used social media sites to gather and clean the city.

London is host to Olympics 2012. There is enough time for London to beef up its security. However the riots have called into question the wisdom of hosting sporting events that cost billions while ignoring a large section of people.

India not Lords of Cricket

India lost the Lord’s Test by 196 runs on 25/7/2011. It was 2000th Test and 100th Test between England and India. Before the Test India ranked No. 1 and England No. 3. It was the first Test of a four Tests series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won the toss and should have elected to bat. Electing to field was a mistake. Many years ago Mohammed Azharuddin had won the toss and had elected to bat. In that Test Graham Gooch scored 333 runs in the first Innings and 123 runs in the second Innings and became the first person to score a triple century and single century in the same Test and that was a new world record. Before that there were some who had scored a double century and single century in the same Test. Sunil Gavaskar, Greg Chappell and Lawrence Rowe were among them.

Some things went wrong for India. After getting two wickets Zaheer Khan was out of the field. On the second day Dhoni bowled eight overs. Rahul Dravid kept wickets. In the first over the field umpire had ruled Kevin Pietersen out. Kevin Pietersen made use of UDRS and commentators said he was out and third umpire ruled him not out. He went on to make 202 not out. Kapil Dev criticized Dhoni for bowling. If there had been no UDRS the result would have been different. Dhoni could have got more wickets. Once in Pakistan Dhoni had bowled one over. His long hair was liked by Pervez Musharraf. That time Rahul Dravid was the captain.

England declared 474/8. India were all out for 286. That was 188 runs lead for England.

Sachin Tendulkar got fever. Gautam Gambhir was hit on the elbow.

On the fourth day Ishant Sharma had taken three quick wickets had before lunch and England were 62/5. After lunch Dhoni did not ask him to bowl and England consolidated. When Ishant Sharma was brought back and he took a wicket it was 107/6. After that no wicket fell and England declared 269/6. To win India had to make 458 runs or play for a draw. It was 80/1 at the end of the day.

On the fifth day the options before India were draw or defeat. India were all out for 261.

India failed to take 20 wickets in this Test. It took 14 wickets. To win a Test a team must be able to take 20 wickets. Zaheer Khan had rest after IPL. On the first day of the first Test he was out of action.

This is not a humiliating defeat. In 1974 India had done worst. In the second Test India were all out for 42 and lost the Test by an Innings and 265 runs. In the third Test England lost two wickets and won the Test by an Innings and 78 runs.