- In Test match cricket, it is proven beyond doubt that the Indian cricket team at the familiar home conditions is simply unbeatable save for some upsets here and there in the last few decades. Such has been the domination of the home team in the recent past that none of the visiting Test match teams have matched the skills on display here. Of course, Indian cricket in general has made tremendous progress in every aspect of the game in the last two decades or so. Who will ever forget the back-from-behind spectacular win against Australia in the Calcutta Test in 2001 that simply altered the course of the Test matches in India and abroad?
- That memorable triumph propelled Team India to scale up their game several notches to become more competitive. Since then, the Team has gone from strength to strength to take on traditionally superior rivals like Australia and England while playing both at home and away. Mind you, Team India succeeded in subduing the dominant Aussies in their den twice in a row. These back-to-back series wins must rank as one of the most laudatory accomplishments by any cricket team while visiting Down Under. The reason for these triumphs is courtesy of the emergence of quality pace bowlers who are not only skillful in executing their trade but also quite adept at challenging overseas batsmen in pace-friendly conditions.
- At the same time, batsmen too have risen to the occasion presenting a formidable challenge to the overseas pace bowlers by scoring big runs. What used to be a sporadic win while touring has become a regular occurrence for Team India of late. It doesn’t surprise anymore when Team India registers an emphatic win. However, what must be causing concern for the cricket authorities is the way visiting teams to India have managed to upset the home team by winning quite comprehensively by adopting effective spin strategies to tame us. This is akin to administering the same medicine that was being dished out to the visitors vis-à-vis heavy spin-friendly pitches.
- Remember, often, visiting teams were found wanting to handle the superb spinning stalwarts who simply steamrolled the opposition team in no time. However, look at what the visiting England team dished out to Team India in the first Test at Hyderabad. Team India meekly surrendered to the guiles of the visiting spinners much to the chagrin of the supposedly more endowed and experienced cricketers representing the home side. The blame lies with the India batsmen who are proving to be inadequate in not only tackling the spin challenges thrown at them by the visiting bowlers but also found wanting in scoring with ease by using the time-tested ways.
- Indian batsmen are famed for using their feet to tackle the opposite spinners and score freely to set up big targets. But what was on display at Hyderabad was too timid showing a lack of preparations. Conversely, English batsmen not only adopted conventional sweep strokes to good effect against our famed spinners but also unleashed unconventional reverse sweeps with such panache. Hopefully, Indian batsmen will be more positive, and assertive, and use the time-tested effective methods to neutralize the England spinners. Otherwise, Team India will not only lose the series but also the assiduously built reputation.