First Test whets appetite for the remaining Ashes games

The first Ashes Test that ended at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Sunday has justified the near endless build-up that preceded the series in both countries. So engrossing was the contest that fans and pundits even in these parts of the woods can’t wait for the second Test to begin at Lord’s on Thursday.

England players
England players celebrate the first Ashes Test win against Australia in Nottingham on Sunday. PIC/Getty Images

What’s more, the performance of the Decision Review System (DRS) in the Test has added that extra dash of spice to an already enticing battle. “Well, these are the kinds of matches one expects when England and Australia play each other.

We couldn’t have asked for a better start to what is going to be a long and tough series,” said former India wicketkeeper and chief of selectors, Kiran More. “The turnout at Trent Bridge and their response to proceedings on the ground was simply unbelievable, and I think the enthusiasm will only grow from here,” he added.

More had witnessed the 1981 series which came to be known as Botham Ashes. The wicketkeeper was playing club cricket in England then.  Former medium-pacer Chetan Sharma, who was a successful bowler on India’s 1986 tour to England, was on the same page as More with regards to the excitement levels that the game generated. “The Nottingham Test reinforced the fact that every Test is played only on a session-to-session basis.

Balvinder Singh Sandhu
Balvinder Singh Sandhu

Many fans believed that the game would end within three or four days, given the way events unfolded on the first day. But what we saw was a completely different game in the final analysis,” said Sharma. Balvinder Singh Sandhu who was part of India’s World Cup winning squad in 1983 felt the Test offered the best advertisement for the longest format of the sport.

“It is these kinds of games that fans want to see and I am happy that England and Australia added to the list of memorable matches they have played over the decades,” he added.

BCCI’s stand vindicated
Coming to the contentious decisions involving the DRS, More felt there’s still some way to go before the technology becomes foolproof. “From whatever transpired, it’s quite obvious that there’s a lot of work to be done before it is acceptable to everyone,” he added.

Kiran More and Chetan Sharma
Kiran More and Chetan Sharma

It must be stressed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has refused to accept DRS and More felt, there could be justification in it, given the manner in which some decisions went at Trent Bridge. “We shouldn’t confuse what happened there and what the Indian board wants. But it is clear that the BCCI will accept only technology which eliminates errors.”

Sharma on his part, felt the Indian board is needlessly criticised for not accepting DRS. “Everyone saw what happened in Nottingham. And still people will criticise the Indian captain MS Dhoni for not supporting DRS. How can he do it when the technology itself is not perfect,” he asked.

Sandhu felt it should be the prerogative of only the BCCI and the country that they are playing against as far as the implementation of DRS is concerned. “Agreed, that there is scope for a goof-up even in decisions that are made through DRS. But once the two boards have agreed to using it, then there should be no blame game. After all, both teams know in advance that it is their boards that agreed to use the technology.

“As far as India is concerned, I see merit in their opposition to the technology. But I feel with certain changes, DRS could become useful for better decision-making in the game,” he said. 

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