The moment team India’s tour of England for five tests was announced; the media started highlighting the very fact that that our bowling attack is not good enough. It was said that they would simply not be able to get 20 wickets on the bouncy tracks of England. This is true to some extent. But then one cannot rule out our batting strength. Period.
It is a fact that the previous track record is favoring England, plus they are having the advantage of home conditions. But there are some small contributing factors which will have a bit of positive impact for team India. First of all the pressure is clearly visible on England’s captain Cook, who is under stress after their recent loss to Sri Lanka. Also, the management had to call back Ben Stokes to facilitate a bit of variation in their bowling attack. Perhaps Cook has assessed that if young Indian bowlers are able to make a mark, the capability of MSD and company to score big will become a challenge for English team. On the other hand since the expectations from team India are not dramatically very high, honestly, we have got not much on the stake rather our players can try their best without much of a pressure back there.
Even many of the young Indian bowlers like Varon Aaron, Shami Ahmed and Ishwar Pandey are capable of generating 135kmph speed. I have deliberately not counted Ishant Sharma. Also, with Bhuveshwar’s controlled bowling style, containing the run rates can prove to be vital as he is likely to get good swing on the tracks in England.
Another negative impact for Cook is that Kevin Pietersen is no longer there to provide his services. Also, on a positive note, team India has got exposure to weather and local conditions. The victory in the 3-day practice match will work as a booster for the young lads.
Further, the experience gained out of the earlier away tours of New Zealand and South Africa will also become helpful, especially for our bowlers who will not find these pitches totally alien. I know that it will not be fair to compare the performance of team India in the limited overs version of the game with the test format. But in any given situation, weather conditions like the ones prevailing during last year’s Champions trophy and a compact performance by team India can surely be repeated based on the earlier experience.
In any case, this is mainly a learning curve for team India and millions of the Indian fans do believe in the dynamic captaincy of MSD and the fighting spirit of our boys. Well I am a believer and miracles do happen. Amen.