Mumbai Test: Thanks Kapil Dev, our pacers are inspired
Mumbai has three Test grounds within a kilometre of each other. Bombay Gymkhana that saw Douglas Jardine (of Bodyline fame) captain England in 1933-34
Mumbai has three Test grounds within a kilometre of each other. Bombay Gymkhana that saw Douglas Jardine (of Bodyline fame) captain England in 1933-34. Brabourne Stadium which was historically Bombay cricket's home ground before the battle for tickets between the private club and the Bombay Cricket Association caused the building of the Wankhede Stadium.
It is Test match No. 25 at the Wankhede Stadium and 64 of the 98 wickets have fallen to spinners on this ground. Can history be ignored? Certainly not, but history is only indicative of what has happened not what will or could happen.
India is on a high, England not so high at the moment. The Indian bowling looks robust. Seamers Shami and Yadav have that spring in their step that is indicative of the mood of the team.
For the Indian fan, watching Indian pacers prosper is much like savouring a tikka masala at the Chutney Mary on St James Street in London. The Indian fan was craving for this experience against teams that always had the ammunition and India struggled at large till a certain Kapil Dev Nikhanj appeared in 1978.
I daresay, Shami, Umesh and their ilk have been fed on the folklore and the resurrection of Indian fast bowlers post the Kapil era. Shami and Umesh need to be applauded for making accomplished Test batsmen take them seriously. Fast bowling in India is not what it used to be.
Indian spinners at home, are a handful. More often than not they know the speeds to bowl at, the line and length to adhere to. Young Jayant Yadav's addition to the spin attack is fresh in approach, clean in action and high-spirited in attitude. Confidence at being accepted and feeling a part of the system is visible in the way Jayant approaches the game.
The Wankhede will provide movement off the deck. A fit Broad and Anderson supported by Stokes and Woakes, on a pitch that gets assistance from the tides of the Arabian sea, is always reassuring for a team that is two down in the series.
England may be down but there is a silver lining to their problems. One assumes they know for sure where they lose the plot. If that's some relief, they would also know that their strength is batting once and batting big. If that happens then this could be an absorbing Test match, if not, it could well be a reiteration of the past two Test matches. Do we want that? Not at all, England have much to showcase than what we have witnessed in the last three Tests.
The writer is a former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain
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