India is a country known for their gods, astute thinkers and historian strategists like Chanakya. They need to go back in time and re-address their game plan. History repeats itself and they need to find a way to win back their pride.
England’s attitude has been simply marvellous. They have made an effort to enjoy their visit. This is a far cry from all the earlier visiting sides. One finds them mingling with all and sundry, praising the local cricket heroes, enjoying the cuisine and visiting charitable institutions and cultural centres. This, I feel, has given them a deeper understanding of the Indian psyche.
Furthermore, the Indian Premier League has been a great boon for some of them, as they are now much more comfortable with the playing conditions and the crowd.
They look like a side that has come with a single purpose: To conquer the last frontier.
For India, bowling and fielding are two areas of concern.
Although the English speedsters have learned the art of reverse swing by watching Zaheer Khan, our bowling seems to lack direction and speed to take advantage of that skill. One, however, does feel a trifle sorry for them, as the Indian fielders, seem to lack the enthusiasm to stop singles or snap up half chances. The spinners seem to have lost the ability to utilise the turning track. Plenty of variations and mindless bowling is the reason for the England batsmen playing them comfortably.
A plus for India is R Ashwin. He is developing into a useful all-rounder and the more I see of him, I’m reminded of India’s last successful spinning all-rounder – Ravi Shastri.
The selectors were forced to make changes after the recent debacle. Ravindra Jadeja will in all respects replace Yuvraj Singh like Ashok Dinda will do in Zaheer Khan’s case. This will improve the fielding substantially and also bring in some youthful energy, which seems to be lacking at present.
India did show some spunk in trying to protect the 41-run target for an England victory in Kolkata yesterday. They will need to reproduce it in Nagpur to salvage a series defeat. Apart from Virat Kohli, every Indian player has had some success and so a turn for the better seems imminent. Lieutenant Colonel Dhoni will need to push his team for a do-or-die effort to protect the last barrier of the frontier. General Bikram Singh (Chief of Army staff) will be proud if he does and so will 1.2 billion Indians.