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    February 14, 2006

    England team lands in India

    The Ashes winning England squad, a majority of them now OBEs and MBEs, landed in Mumbai yesterday to begin their two month tour of India. They will play three tests, seven one-dayers and a couple of warm-up games.

    While it may appear that without Ashley Giles, England are the weaker and inexperienced side, that is far from the truth. Only England's spinners are. The batsmen and seam bowlers aren't, unless of course you agree with Vaughan's claim that a batting line-up of Trescothick, Strauss, Vaughan himself, Flintoff and aside from Flintoff, a seam bowling line-up of Harmison, Hoggard and Simon Jones makes for an inexperienced roster.

    I definitely foresee England competing with India on all counts barring the spin bowling. That previous line would perhaps have read the same had Giles made the trip! Besides, as South Africa showed in 2000, you can win in India even if your main spin bowler's name is Nicky Boje.

    Strangely enough, Fletcher and Vaughan seem to suffer from a short-term memory loss. They both insisted that England didn't get too many runs in the first innings in Pakistan and that is what led to the losses. England's first innings total at Multan was 418, and they botched up a 200 run chase. At Faisalabad, England made 446 in the first innings and managed a draw. The only time England batted poorly in the first innings was at Lahore and lost by a huge margin.

    I think those numbers do throw their argument out of the window. Add in some number crunching from StatsGuru and you find that a 400+ first innings total is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to win in India. In the last two years, only Australia and Pakistan, both at Bangalore, have managed to win. Thankfully for India, there're no tests scheduled for Bangalore!

    Australia's series win wasn't setup by spin bowlers. While Warne did have his best series against India, the main architects were the seam bowlers. They just kept bowling wicket-to-wicket, primarily inswing and off-cutters, and shut out run-scoring options with some superb field placing by Gilchrist (aided by Ponting and Buchanan obviously!) and "strangled" India's batsmen. Those weren't negative tactics at all.

    When asked about whether he'd use negative bowling tactics, similar to Giles bowling at the Indian batsmen's arses in 2001/02, he said
    It's tough to say, we will have to wait and see. If you remember, Giles got Tendulkar stumped for the first time in Test match cricket. So it can't be that much of a negative tactic.
    I'm guessing that Vaughan was clearly traumatized when he was given out handled the ball and the umpire upheld the appeal by the Indian team, even though it allegedly wasn't in "the spirit of the game" (hmm, why does this term keep popping up?!). As a result, he wasn't even watching the cricket, made evident by his comment above. Anyone else suggesting that Giles' method of bowling was not a negative tactic?

    Reports from The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 3:30 PM |
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