India v England T20 Series: Questions over Indian Team Selection

After a successful Test (4-0) and ODI (2-1) Series, Kohli’s India walked into the first T20 at Kanpur full of confidence but lost by 7 wickets. Just as we said in our preview, T20 England is an entirely different beast.

Virat Kohli has an outstanding 63% win rate in test matches (after 22 tests at the helm), an 80% win rate in ODIs (after 20 ODIs at the helm), so will want to quickly turn around his 0% success rate after his first T20 as skipper.

One key element of a skipper’s responsibility lies in team selection, and India’s 7-wicket loss in Kanpur leaves us wondering whether others would have fared better in the starting XI. Today we look at the 4 men from the 15-person squad who didn’t make the cut in Kanpur. Read More …

England’s tour of India: The Indian juggernaut rolls on in the new year

Happy new year! So it’s been over a month since we last posted on the blog. The last post was just after India were on their way to winning the fourth test against England. Predictably, the Indian team won that. And we won the next test match to end up with a 4-0 series win. Then, like the England cricket team, we took a break from the blog over the festive period. Finally, 23 days into January, we kick the 2017 edition of the blog off with a round-up of all that has gone on since we last posted.

Lots to discuss! Read More …

India v England 4th test: Day 4 Highlights at Mumbai

With a lead of 51 runs and 3 wickets in hand, India held the edge at the start of day 4 in Mumbai. By lunch, that edge had translated into a definitive advantage.

To cut a long story short, England was beyond rubbish and India outclassed them again. With Kohli moving on to a double hundred and Jayant Yadav at number 9 scoring a 100 (India’s first ever), India turned the screws on England. With a lead of 231, the last two sessions saw a familiar scenario unfold when England batted. Six down at the close of play, England still need 49 to make India bat again.

The best part for Indian fans is that England and their fans really have had nothing to whine about on this tour.

  1. England have won 3 tosses out of 4 and batted first. They have had the best of the batting conditions 75% of the time so the English conspiracy theory that winning the toss decides the result goes straight down the drain.
  2. The pitches haven’t been rank turners. No day 3 results. All the games have gone deep into the fourth and fifth days. So India have conclusively played the better cricket.
  3. All of DRS is in play. So no more whining about bad decisions. India have simply used the system better.
  4. India have had more injuries than England to key players. The Indian openers (Rahul), the wicket-keeper (Saha) and the opening bowlers (Shami) have all been injured but India’s bench strength has compensated. England’s only injury of the tour has been to the rookie opener Haseeb Hameed and the out-of-form Stuart Broad.
  5. Having gone 2-0 down, England had a nice break to re-group and make a fist of the series. India have not had such a luxury while touring the UK.

So no excuses from England, right? Wrong.

Having already hit rock bottom, someone handed England a spade and it was our old friend, Jimmy. Anderson labelled Kohli’s magnificent 235 a function of the “helpful” pitches he plays on.

Makes you wonder whether Anderson was watching the ball turn in this test? Also, it’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black – Anderson should be the last person to talk about using home advantage. Remember, Jimmy Anderson is someone with one five wicket haul in Asia in 19 test matches (as opposed to 1 every 4 tests in England). Pretty poor from England. Anderson should shut his mouth and stick to bowling (at home).

Statgasms

To add to the stats fun, let’s take a look at 5 awesome statistics from day 4 at Mumbai.

  • What more can you say about King Kohli? He was sublime on Day 4 of the Mumbai test, racing to his 3rd double century in 2016, becoming the first Indian batsman to accomplish this feat, and the 3rd captain to do so (after McCullum and Clarke). Here is one person who wishes 2016 never ends!
  • Jayant Yadav smashed several records including the first Indian #9 to score a century. In the process, Jayant and Kohli also put together the highest 8th-wicket partnership ever for India.
  • Captain Kohli now averages 50.53 in Test Cricket; along with 52.93 in ODIs and 57.13 in T20s, Virat is the first player to ever average more than 50 at the same time in all 3 formats
  • Joe Root hit a brilliant 77 in the second innings; he has now picked up at least a half-century in each of his 10 tests against India, converting 3 to centuries.
  • Keaton Jennings hit an outstanding first innings century, but followed up with a first ball duck in his second innings. He is the 4th batsman in history to have a century and duck on debut, the last 3 times being in 1969, 1992 and 1996, all more than 20 years ago.

Watch video – India v England, 4th test, day 4 highlights

In our view, the only question that remains for tomorrow is whether India will need to bat again to win the match and the series.

Let’s wrap it up nice and early tomorrow, boys!

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India V England, 4th Test: Day 2 Highlights At Mumbai

Surprising. Unsurprising. Balanced. Another superb day of test cricket at Mumbai. While India will feel they took honours on Day 2, the test match is delicately poised and could swing in either direction in the next 3 days.

Surprising

Jos Buttler, who has made his name as a limited overs batsman, was brought in after the 2nd test and managed an impressive 43 in Mohali. He continued his form in Mumbai with an excellent 76 to take England to a solid 400, before becoming the last man dismissed. Could Jos be on track to join our list of cricketers whose records may surprise you?

The other surprise today was DRS – early in the day Stokes felt hard done by the third umpire’s decision. Given not out by the on-field umpire, Kohli reviewed for the edge, and the 3rd umpire overturned the decision to send Stokes back to the pavilion. Many thought the sound was Stokes’ bat hitting the ground, but India won’t be complaining.

Watch video – England’s first innings fall of wickets

Unsurprising

Ashwin picked up another 5-wicket haul, his 23rd in just 43 test matches. He equalled the record for most 5-wicket hauls by an Indian, with Kapil Dev who had 23 in 131 tests. An excellent feat, but given his recent form, par for the course as he continues to raise the bar.

Watch video – Ashwin’s 6/112

Pujara too, came in at 39-1 after Rahul was dismissed thanks to some pretty ordinary shot selection against Moeen. He stabilized the innings, adding 47* with Vijay, to give India confidence at the end of Day 2. He has now scored at least a half-century in his last 7 test matches, converting 3 of those to centuries. Another excellent feat, but we’ve come to expect this of Chetu at #3.

Watch video – Monk Vijay and Steady Pujara lead India’s fightback

Balanced

At the end of Day 2, Kohli’s India will be feeling optimistic, with momentum starting to swing to them. They will do well to remember that England were comfortably at 230-2, before losing Ali (50) and Jennings (112) within 2 balls.

Tomorrow will be key.  India trail by 254 with 9 wickets in hand.On a Wankhede pitch that tends to deteriorate exponentially on Days 4 and 5, this means that the match is very much even at the end of Day 2. India will hope to amass a huge first innings lead and only bat once. England will be hoping to bowl India out cheaply and get a first innings lead.

You have to love test match cricket!

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1 Tip 1 Hand meets Nasser Hussain!

The Royal London One-Day Cup Final takes place at Lords on Saturday, the 17th of September. Eighteen teams have been jousting since June and the last teams standing are Warwickshire and Surrey. Warwickshire were runners-up in 2014 and Surrey came second in 2015. With this bound to be the last game of cricket for both these teams before winter sets in, the sides (featuring international players Sangakarra and Ian Bell) will be itching to get their hands on the trophy – something we have already done!

The Royal London One-Day Cup

The Royal London One-Day Cup

Allow us to explain. To celebrate the return of the Royal London One-Day Cup final at Lords, we were invited by the ECB to take part in an exclusive event at Lords last Thursday – a brief report follows of a truly special evening!

Read More …