India ‘A’ bowlers clearly had their task cut out yesterday. The selectors’ decision to not include a specialist spinner in the team seemed to have backfired as the pacers and part-time spinners had to bowl a great deal on Day Two of the first warm-up tie against England at the Brabourne Stadium.
Skipper Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary and Murali Vijay bowled 38 overs between themselves of the 87 overs bowled on the penultimate day.
While Yuvraj and Raina got two and one wicket each respectively, others failed to taste any success. The four pacers — Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda, R Vinay Kumar and Parwinder Awana bowled 13, 16, 12 and 8 overs respectively.
With not much of variety in the attack, Alastair Cook and Co were hardly troubled. Skipper Cook scored a fine, unbeaten 112 which included 13 fours while Samit Patel surprised everyone with 82 not out to help England put up 286-4 in reply to the India ‘A’ total of 369.
The visitors trail by 83 runs with six wickets in hand. Kevin Pietersen made a quickfire 23 off 24 balls, but was dismissed by ‘pie-chucker’ Yuvraj, who had him caught and bowled.
Raina, however, defended the team’s bowling: “We bowled really well. Yuvraj and me bowled close to 40 overs. He took two and I took one, so I think we managed the spin department really well,” said Raina.
The selectors decision to not include a specialist spinner in the squad was an apparent attempt to deprive England of quality spin in practice matches.
Raina begged to differ though. “I don’t think so. All the England players play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and they have faced quite a lot of spin bowling. I don’t know what they (selectors) were thinking,” he said.
England’s offie Patel said they had come prepared for spin bowling. “We had a three-day camp and we obviously knew we won’t get anything out here.
Yuvraj and Raina are still spinners and we have to respect them. They did a good job. It’s good practice at the end of the day,” he said.
Did Suresh Raina actually mean that?
OOPS! Has Suresh Raina landed himself in another mess? After his controversial tweet when Pakistan crashed out of the World T20 recently, Raina may be asked questions about what he actually meant to say in yesterday’s press conference at the Cricket Club of India.
Commenting on England’s skipper Cook’s century, Raina said: “He (Cook) is looking solid. He will definitely score a lot of runs this season. He has been batting really well since last two years. I wish him luck. Hopefully, he will do well against India.” Now, did Raina really mean to say that? Watch this space.