The team announced for India’s 4-test series against England appeared as the best batting XI India ever had. When Yuvraj Singh could not find a place in playing XI, the batting line up must be very strong. Records prove they are the best on paper. After the series, Indian batsmen, barring Dravid, remained paper-tiger only.
The Indian Dream
After 8 innings, all thoughts of Indian batsmen ruling English bowlers remained speculations. Except Dravid none of them made a good impression. Sehwag played only last two tests and coming out of operation failed, understandably, earning a golden pair too. Gambhir was never the trusted opener of past. Tendulkar was probably still in his holiday mode, while English team claimed they worked hard to sort him. Laxman and Raina could not find rhythem. While short balls mostly resulted in Laxman’s wicket, Raina ducked them like a child in a way that even he would not like to see the replay.
What went Wrong!!
Was it English weather!! Was it the pacer-friendly pitch!! Was it fatigue as Dhoni claimed! Were English bowler too good!! or was it lack of preparation!! Or is it a case of money over nation!! Or was it something else!!
There were only two century partnerships. The batsmen could score only one 300-run team total. Even in the last innings of the series last 7 wickets fell for 25 runs to lose by an innings. So much so about star-studded Indian teams. All the stars fell and have left such a big crater open that BCCI would have to find lot of mud to hide the big hole in Indian team now.
English weather is nothing new for many of these Indian players. Fatigue can be a big issue considering the amount of Cricket these players played in the recent passt. Or was it money above nation!!
Instead of preparing for the test, the players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir were away relaxing out of their pains or with families. Ironically all three played IPL matches leading their team before deciding to get treated or realising that family needs time.
Even in England despite having enough test innings to fail and learn they could not do much even in third and fourth test, except the not-so-useful 91 by Tendulkar at The Oval test.
They and other Indian batting failures would thank their stars that Dhoni – another big failure as captain, batsman and wicketkeeper – was their captain. He never reprimanded the batsmen but chose to defend them citing reasons of fatigue, excess Cricket as the reason behind their (and his) failure.
The batting performance of Indians prove that only Dravid was successful. Tendulkar, Dhoni and Laxman were other batsmen who scored more than 150-runs. Ironically Amit Mishra and Praveen Kumar scored more than remaining 7 established batsmen of the team. Based on Indian performance result one can easily say that the Indian batsmen did not look bothered about the losses.
Here is how the Indian batsmen performed.
Dravid – The Wall
Except Edgbaston test Dravid succeeded in all other 6 innings. Lord’s, Nottingham and The Oval saw his centuries making him rub shoulders with Sir Don Bradman to become only the second player in Test history to score 3 or more centuries in two different test series, besides making him the 4th biggest centurion of Test Cricket. Even English bowler explained that the third highest scorer of the series was the only player they were worried about. Dravid scored 461 runs. He also became only the third Indian to carry his bat throughout the inning after opening the batting.
Tendulkar and Dhoni
Tendulkar and Dhoni managed to score above 200 runs. Tendulkar scored 273 and Dhoni scored 221 runs. Both scored 2 half-centuries. While Dhoni was the only successful batsman in Edgbaston test scoring twin half-centuries, when Dravid failed in both innings, Tendulkar who was expected to hit 100th century ended up registering another 90s score in England. Ironically English bowlers claimed they had sorted Tendulkar before the series during their preparation for the series, when Tendulkar was holidaying merrily with family.
Laxman, Amit Mishra and Praveen Kumar
Laxman managed to score 182 runs with two half-centuries but he was never in control. Ironically Amit Mishra was the 5th highest scorer recording 153 runs in just 4 innings with a half-century. Praveen Kumar scored 110 runs in 6 innings to become the 6th best Indian batsman of the series. He missed two chances of hitting the fastest half-century in test cricket.
Raina and Yuvraj
Yuvraj played only Nottingham test scoring 70 runs with a half-century. Raina was the biggest failure of the series. He did hit a half-century. But despite continuous failure he was not replaced. That is another big question on BCCIs preparation of last 2-3 years of future assets for Team India.
Mukund, Gambhir and Sehwag – The openers
Gambhir scored 102 runs in 6 innings. Mukund scored 64 runs in 4 innings. Both failed to help India get a good start. The much-hyped return of Sehwag went awry when Sehwag got into record books for registering the golden pair (both occasions first ball out) in the third test. Another failure in the Oval saw him return home for further healing.
The bowlers can easily claim that their performance was better than the Indian batsmen considering they at least bowled out English team twice in four tests. Two bowlers were also among runs. Probably 5 bowlers is better now.