India in England, 2007 July 24, 2007

Goliath's fear of the little Davids

India's big four are considered batting stars yet the bowlers who have been successful against them are the decade's half-forgotten names
57

Tim de Lisle

Cricket holds fewer mysteries than it used to, for several reasons. The commentators and their gizmos do a fine job of explaining it. One team can study another on their laptops. And they all meet more often than they once did. But some mysteries remain. Why does Geoffrey Boycott keep telling you that what he is telling you is something he told you earlier? Why does no country pick a different team for the different game of Twenty20? And why do the Indian galacticos keep getting out to English greenhorns?

At Lord's, three of the big four fell in the first innings to Jimmy Anderson and one to Ryan Sidebottom. In the second, Rahul Dravid fell cheaply to Chris Tremlett (albeit unluckily, as the commentators and their gizmos soon showed), Sachin Tendulkar managed only one great shot, and although Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman played their part in The Great Escape, neither was exactly MS Dhoni. England were missing their four first-choice seamers, yet India were bowled out for 201 in the first innings by the makeshift firm of Sidebottom, Anderson, and Tremlett, who sound more likely to draw up a man's will than to threaten his wicket.

Admittedly, the ball swung, and the bowlers controlled it well, in a way that Andrew Flintoff could have done with when he was trying to stop the flood of Aussie runs last winter. And you can't read too much into one match: the big names may well lord it in the next Test. But there is a pattern here. England have now done the same thing in four series running against India.

They have needed to, because every time they have been missing key bowlers. In 2001-02, Darren Gough and Andy Caddick both declined to tour for different reasons; they never did remotely resemble one another. Poor old Nasser Hussain was left with a new-ball attack of Matthew Hoggard (playing his third Test) and the young Flintoff (looking for his eighth wicket), backed up by Craig White (as much a batsman as a bowler in India) and, for one match, Jimmy Ormond (talented, but never given time to show it). Somehow Hussain made something out of this motley crew, and although England lost the first Test, they held their own in the other two.

In 2002, Hussain was again missing Gough for the whole series, and Caddick for the first two Tests. The new ball was again taken by Hoggard and Flintoff, supported by White and a brand-new fourth seamer: Simon Jones, who showed some raw promise (partly with the bat). This ragbag, plus Ashley Giles, somehow bowled India out for 221 on a flat Lord's pitch. England, awash with hundreds, set India 568 to win and bowled them out for 397. Ajit Agarkar made a hundred; the big four - or five, if you count Virender Sehwag - didn't.

For the rest of that series, the superstars reassserted themselves. Dravid made an immense hundred at Headingley, Tendulkar and Ganguly emulated him, Sehwag merrily blasted the shine off the new ball, only Laxman struggled, and India fought back to 1-1.

Back in India, this trend might have been expected to continue, although this time England's injuries were mainly to batsmen - their captain and vice-captain, Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick.

Flintoff took over, and he began with a decent hand of seamers - Hoggard, Harmison and himself, but no Jones. With Hoggard putting his hand up, as the players say, the galacticos mostly flopped: India were kept in the first Test only by runs from Wasim Jaffer, Mohammad Kaif and Anil Kumble, with Dravid helping secure the draw in the second innings. A match of no hundreds at Mohali was won by two bowlers, Kumble and Munaf Patel - who showed that Englishmen too could be susceptible to a debutant.

The series was India's for the taking at Mumbai, even when England made 400. Flintoff was once again forced to take the new ball with Hoggard because Harmison was now injured. Anderson was drafted in as third seamer, and did so well (4 for 40) that he opened the bowling in the second innings, when an unexpected combination of Flintoff, Anderson, Shaun Udal and the late Johnny Cash shot India out for 100.

Hoggard finished the series with 13 wickets at 17. Tendulkar averaged 20, Sehwag 19, and Laxman, who played one Test, didn't get off the mark. Ganguly was out of favour and only Dravid, who averaged 61, was himself.

It's not just England who get away with pitting understudies against these titans. The bowlers who have done best against India this decade include half-forgotten names like Daryl Tuffey (21 wickets at 16) and Cameron Cuffy (28 at 28). Nor is it just seamers. Besides Udal, Michael Vaughan has flourished against India, taking 4 for 120, while managing 2 for 417 against everyone else. In 2001-02, Richard Dawson managed a Test four-for at Mohali. And once Michael Clarke of Australia took six-for with his occasional slow left-arm.

The Indian stars are sometimes accused of being grand, but in Tests against England it is only Ashley Giles (11 wickets at 50) who has incurred their disdain. With the exception of Dravid, they seem unable to dominate. It's as if they know they are Goliaths, so they freeze when any little David comes into view. Anderson, a pie-thrower against Australia, was transformed into a world-beater at Lord's.

In their last 11 Tests against India, England have fielded 13 front-line seamers, with only Hoggard and Flintoff making more than five appearances. In the first innings at Lord's, India's big names were not just unsuccessful but tentative. With the ball moving around corners, the game was there to be won by one attacking partnership. They couldn't produce it; Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior did.

Individually, they have good-looking records against England since 2001. Dravid averages 65, Tendulkar 52, Ganguly 48, Sehwag and Laxman 32, so together they average 47. But given their class, and the bowlers' lack of it, that figure should be 57. Shane Warne never bothered these guys, but show them a journeyman county seamer and the galaxy falls to earth.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ALok on July 27, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    Well i hope todays play shuts most of you up the English wihered against our pace attack which doesnt boast Malcolm Marshall, brett lee or Shoaib Akhtar. Hope the English press grows up.

  • Deepak Azad on July 27, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    These days one can study the opposition on the laptop, but in case of newcomers there is not much information available to study. Hence the lack of enough information is probably the reason of the poor performance. And the fact that Indians do well against experienced players speaks a great deal about the homework they do!

  • rahul on July 27, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    I think media hypes and people who dont understand the game believe it. Lets have a look at how the English batsman have fared against the Indian pace attack which itself is as raw as the English pace attack. Except for Pieterson in the 2nd innings of the 1st test all the english batsman struggled...and the way english batsman have fared in the 2nd test shows that an in experienced indian attack has troubled england as much as the indian batsman have been "troubled" by the inexperienced english attack. And for fans who keep on harping that "sachin has never played a test match winning innings as ponting and lara" i would like some of them or even one of them to name the test match winning innings that Ponting and Lara have played in the last 4 yrs.I am also interested in knowing how many matches did Lara win for Windies overseas? When i last checked westindies have not won a single test overseas for the last 7 years!!!!

  • Dirghayu Vaishnav on July 26, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Indian batsmen just do not have the mental strength in Tests & ODI's (they have plenty in inconsequential matches) to stand up to any attack outside India. Also, when you look at the body language of the Indian batsmen when they are in the middle, they all are so serious and gloomy. They simply are NOT enjoying the game, perhaps always worried about losing their wicket and their corporate sponsorship.

  • Gopal S on July 26, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    The human mind is so that it likes anything to do with tough things such as Politics, Establishment etc., Most of the people in this world spend time talking about Establishment and rankings rather than speaking about science. A very good bowler who is technically very proficient need not be a sucessful bowler.If I place a successful man in front of me and say please scale up to his challenge, I readily accept and counter attack. But on the contrary if I place a good bowler in front of a batsmen, he tends to lose focus on simpler issues such as playing straight ,late to counter swing. Most of these second rung bowlers technically good bowlers even though they may not be Worlds' Number 1 which explains why Shane warne is thwarted around for the challenge of upsetting a world champion and also explains why the Sachin's of Cricket get out LBW to people such as Monty Panesar , simply because they don't pay attention to technical nuances of the game.

  • mgbpatel on July 26, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    for sake of indian cricket sachin, sourav,& laxman should retire after the england tour. rahul is good for another year or two.

  • Nishant Rama on July 26, 2007, 1:11 GMT

    The problem i feel is that indias batsmen have nothing to lose. If a tendulkar or dravid get small scores the selectors keep faith always just look at sehwag debacle he should have been outta there a long time ago. A good example is australia they dont care who you are you put together a string of poor scores and your out and have to earn your place just ook at michael slater. indias problem is too much politics if they dropped tendulkar or ganguly or sehwag or dhoni or any of their big names their would be riots and poeple would kill themselves. its only a game people try giving other batsmen the chance to shine get rid of internal politics and play for your country not your bank accounts and watch the scores rise!!

  • Pavan on July 25, 2007, 21:25 GMT

    I think its got to do with the attitude...i remember when i was a kid, while preparing for an exam i used to concentrate a lot on important topics, and skim through the not so important. and if the exam as expected concentrated more on the important topics and less on the ordinary ones, i would have done really well. but if for any reason, they decided to set a paper that had twists and turns involving the ordinary stuff, i used to struggle. i think the same for the indian batsmen. they prepare well for the big guys, but take it easy for the "understudies" and any captain that has even a bit of imagination and variation in his tactics catches on the wrong foot pretty easily. Except for Dravid, all the other indian star batsmen are to too lazy and skim through the "not so important" stuff with out concentrating. off late dravid has been failing because of the captaincy pressure else "the wall" is the only thorough batsmen that we have in our team. Instead of concentrating on the stars Rival captains should be more worried about the hardworking "Trying to make a place" kind of players who havent been bitten by the "chalta hai yaar" bug. if i was rival captain, feed the stars with conventional bowlers till they get one or two shots and make them feel good, then get the unconventional guy and watch the fun....

  • T.S. Iyengar on July 25, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    This syndrome is cultural. Let me take you through what typically goes on in an Indian batsman's mind when he sees a white man - any white man - running down the pitch to bowl to him, He is first awed that he is on the same pitch with this white man. Second he is awed even more that the white man is paying attention to him by bowling to him! Lord of lords, this can't be happening to me a darkie - product of my misdeeds in my past life. And when he finally does fall victim to this "pie-thrower" of a white man, he is actually grateful for the opportunity of being his victim. These thoughts are a product of three very powerful influences. 200 years of colonial rule, a 3rd world inferiority complex and last and the most powerful, the caste mindset. No wonder the poor batsman is actually relieved to lose his wicket to this white man and also revels in his appreciation of a few good shots made against him. Before you white wannabes and other self righteous indignants jump on me do a comparison study of India's performance against non-white teams and against white teams and see if there is some truth to what I am saying.

  • WILL on July 25, 2007, 16:48 GMT

    "I have nothing to prove"seems to be th talk of the day from the man they call THE LITTLE MASTER.Its pretty strange to hear these words from the great man.Well if he's got nothing to prove why not give way to the younger generation.India isn't still waking up to the fact that the '4' mainstay of the Indian batting is well past its best and when they retire it going to be a huge task to find replacements.Tendulkar's batting has been on a major decline for quite sometime now and well when the media comes up saying that its the age factor,wear and tear...HELLO how old is Sanath Jayasuriya,Murali,Vaas,Inzi,Hayden,Pointing,Gilly...the list cld go on..But if they dont have anything why are they still feared by bowlers all round..SACHIN TENDULKAR for the LOVE OF THE GAME sit down and give a thought or two on your form and decide whats best for you and the whole of India,and to the media "Please give these guys a break they know their job for better than you do yours"

  • ALok on July 27, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    Well i hope todays play shuts most of you up the English wihered against our pace attack which doesnt boast Malcolm Marshall, brett lee or Shoaib Akhtar. Hope the English press grows up.

  • Deepak Azad on July 27, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    These days one can study the opposition on the laptop, but in case of newcomers there is not much information available to study. Hence the lack of enough information is probably the reason of the poor performance. And the fact that Indians do well against experienced players speaks a great deal about the homework they do!

  • rahul on July 27, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    I think media hypes and people who dont understand the game believe it. Lets have a look at how the English batsman have fared against the Indian pace attack which itself is as raw as the English pace attack. Except for Pieterson in the 2nd innings of the 1st test all the english batsman struggled...and the way english batsman have fared in the 2nd test shows that an in experienced indian attack has troubled england as much as the indian batsman have been "troubled" by the inexperienced english attack. And for fans who keep on harping that "sachin has never played a test match winning innings as ponting and lara" i would like some of them or even one of them to name the test match winning innings that Ponting and Lara have played in the last 4 yrs.I am also interested in knowing how many matches did Lara win for Windies overseas? When i last checked westindies have not won a single test overseas for the last 7 years!!!!

  • Dirghayu Vaishnav on July 26, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Indian batsmen just do not have the mental strength in Tests & ODI's (they have plenty in inconsequential matches) to stand up to any attack outside India. Also, when you look at the body language of the Indian batsmen when they are in the middle, they all are so serious and gloomy. They simply are NOT enjoying the game, perhaps always worried about losing their wicket and their corporate sponsorship.

  • Gopal S on July 26, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    The human mind is so that it likes anything to do with tough things such as Politics, Establishment etc., Most of the people in this world spend time talking about Establishment and rankings rather than speaking about science. A very good bowler who is technically very proficient need not be a sucessful bowler.If I place a successful man in front of me and say please scale up to his challenge, I readily accept and counter attack. But on the contrary if I place a good bowler in front of a batsmen, he tends to lose focus on simpler issues such as playing straight ,late to counter swing. Most of these second rung bowlers technically good bowlers even though they may not be Worlds' Number 1 which explains why Shane warne is thwarted around for the challenge of upsetting a world champion and also explains why the Sachin's of Cricket get out LBW to people such as Monty Panesar , simply because they don't pay attention to technical nuances of the game.

  • mgbpatel on July 26, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    for sake of indian cricket sachin, sourav,& laxman should retire after the england tour. rahul is good for another year or two.

  • Nishant Rama on July 26, 2007, 1:11 GMT

    The problem i feel is that indias batsmen have nothing to lose. If a tendulkar or dravid get small scores the selectors keep faith always just look at sehwag debacle he should have been outta there a long time ago. A good example is australia they dont care who you are you put together a string of poor scores and your out and have to earn your place just ook at michael slater. indias problem is too much politics if they dropped tendulkar or ganguly or sehwag or dhoni or any of their big names their would be riots and poeple would kill themselves. its only a game people try giving other batsmen the chance to shine get rid of internal politics and play for your country not your bank accounts and watch the scores rise!!

  • Pavan on July 25, 2007, 21:25 GMT

    I think its got to do with the attitude...i remember when i was a kid, while preparing for an exam i used to concentrate a lot on important topics, and skim through the not so important. and if the exam as expected concentrated more on the important topics and less on the ordinary ones, i would have done really well. but if for any reason, they decided to set a paper that had twists and turns involving the ordinary stuff, i used to struggle. i think the same for the indian batsmen. they prepare well for the big guys, but take it easy for the "understudies" and any captain that has even a bit of imagination and variation in his tactics catches on the wrong foot pretty easily. Except for Dravid, all the other indian star batsmen are to too lazy and skim through the "not so important" stuff with out concentrating. off late dravid has been failing because of the captaincy pressure else "the wall" is the only thorough batsmen that we have in our team. Instead of concentrating on the stars Rival captains should be more worried about the hardworking "Trying to make a place" kind of players who havent been bitten by the "chalta hai yaar" bug. if i was rival captain, feed the stars with conventional bowlers till they get one or two shots and make them feel good, then get the unconventional guy and watch the fun....

  • T.S. Iyengar on July 25, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    This syndrome is cultural. Let me take you through what typically goes on in an Indian batsman's mind when he sees a white man - any white man - running down the pitch to bowl to him, He is first awed that he is on the same pitch with this white man. Second he is awed even more that the white man is paying attention to him by bowling to him! Lord of lords, this can't be happening to me a darkie - product of my misdeeds in my past life. And when he finally does fall victim to this "pie-thrower" of a white man, he is actually grateful for the opportunity of being his victim. These thoughts are a product of three very powerful influences. 200 years of colonial rule, a 3rd world inferiority complex and last and the most powerful, the caste mindset. No wonder the poor batsman is actually relieved to lose his wicket to this white man and also revels in his appreciation of a few good shots made against him. Before you white wannabes and other self righteous indignants jump on me do a comparison study of India's performance against non-white teams and against white teams and see if there is some truth to what I am saying.

  • WILL on July 25, 2007, 16:48 GMT

    "I have nothing to prove"seems to be th talk of the day from the man they call THE LITTLE MASTER.Its pretty strange to hear these words from the great man.Well if he's got nothing to prove why not give way to the younger generation.India isn't still waking up to the fact that the '4' mainstay of the Indian batting is well past its best and when they retire it going to be a huge task to find replacements.Tendulkar's batting has been on a major decline for quite sometime now and well when the media comes up saying that its the age factor,wear and tear...HELLO how old is Sanath Jayasuriya,Murali,Vaas,Inzi,Hayden,Pointing,Gilly...the list cld go on..But if they dont have anything why are they still feared by bowlers all round..SACHIN TENDULKAR for the LOVE OF THE GAME sit down and give a thought or two on your form and decide whats best for you and the whole of India,and to the media "Please give these guys a break they know their job for better than you do yours"

  • Viswanathan on July 25, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    How many times myself and my son watching India play in the last innings either to save or win test matches by these fabulous four (as called by many). We used to even argue with our friends that they will come good but they never did. Should the selectors continue to select them or look for youngsters on the scene?

  • Nik on July 25, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    A professional player should not count on star values of other team or proving a point or moral victories.... rather play based on winning instinct and their best ability. You can't change the levels of your own best tactics, of concentration and take it easy against ‘understudy’ opponents. PS: I think it’s a trend that any cricketer looking to return to the form, play against India, you are guaranteed success.

  • anwer jamal on July 25, 2007, 13:54 GMT

    Yes they are but when the ball swinging like lords or the pitch like Perth because they are not habitual of that let them play four or five matches on the same lords pitch then u will see that those seamers or padistrian Bring those guys(seamers) on Green Park Kanpur then even the Junior palyer of India will hit them all cornor of ground forget about the galaxy.

  • swaroop on July 25, 2007, 4:29 GMT

    There are other bowlers too - Franklyn Rose destroyed India in one tour of the West Indies. Aaqib Javed of Pakistan, Ray Price of Zimbabwe, Mortaza (albeit with the bat in the last series), Klusener to name a few. I think this is symptomatic of a larger phenomenon - India play at the level of the opposition to ensure a contest!

  • Iyer on July 25, 2007, 3:16 GMT

    Indian batsmen are never consistent. If you look at their failure against the greatest of bowling attacks as well, you can see this inconsistency. They are weak against good bowlers in a flat track, weak against mediocre bowlers in a seaming wicket. This explains the deficiency in their batting strength. ICC has done injustice to some great players like Lara, Ponting, Bradman, Gavaskar etc. by giving international status to matches played against zimbabwe, bangladesh, kenya, scotland, canada, bermuda, etc. Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly all make up their statistics by scoring runs against these weak attacks. For statistics purposes, if you consider only runs scored against australia, srilanka, pakistan, westindies, newzealand and england, then the statistics of these so called legends (sachin, sourav) would look awful. I never regard sachin as a great player. He is way behind when u compare him with greats like ponting and lara. It is a similar situation like comparing kapil dev as against botham and imran for the best allrounder of 1980's.

    cheers,

  • Bikram Bajwa on July 25, 2007, 2:09 GMT

    Simply put, indians are a legend in their own minds.

  • GOPI on July 25, 2007, 1:52 GMT

    I agree with your statement,Indians underestimate a bowler,who is new to international cricket,Take for instence FRANKLIN ROSE(WI),PEDRO COLLINS(WI),TUFFEY(NZ),CRIS CAIRNS IN 1994 SERIES,Bangladeshi bowlers in WC2007

    the problem is first they underestimate the new comer once couple of balls swing or seam or if they fortunately/unfortunately bowl couple of good balls they go under tremendous pressure,get confused thinking deep about the bowler and finally they screw it up.....Thats true indian Crickers mentality.

    Not only bowlers even the batsmen...think of HYDEN,HOOPER,JIMMY ADAMS,CHENDRAPAL,FLOWER.......once they make big one...the indians will have some internal fear which make them HEROS TO ZEROS........hope peterson,anderson,sidebottom does have no more good days in this series..... BUT I AM AFRAID THE INDAN FEAR BRING STARS OUT OF THIS SERIES(SIDEBOTTOM,TREMMLET)....I PRAY TO GOD THAT IT SHOULDNT HAPPEN.

  • andrew schulz on July 25, 2007, 1:45 GMT

    How overrated are the so-called fab four? Neither Ganguly nor Laxman could be called even Test-standard batsmen. Check Tendulkar's record over the last two years, and you'd wonder what all the fuss is about. Only Dravid should get near a world side. Yet we keep hearing that they are the best batting side in the world, remarkably from one noted commentator straight after the pathetic performance against Bangladesh at the World Cup. Get real! There's one other mystery in cricket, too, Tim. How could you have said England are favourite for the 2009 Ashes. Do you still think that? Oh, and how could a prominent commentator call the Gabba pitch last summer 'treacherous' when over 1300 runs were scored for the loss of 30 wickets. These are far bigger mysteries than your suggestions.

  • Ram (Fremont) on July 25, 2007, 0:58 GMT

    Pure lack of commitment, killer instinct and team synergy that are key root cause issues, I opine.

  • Iceman on July 25, 2007, 0:02 GMT

    Indian batsmen have always failed against understudy bowlers. They are not at all good outside their country, and especially if it is a turning pitch. Look at them while playing Bangladesh in Caribbean, and as the pitch was turning they could pose no threat to the opposition. And again when they played Bangladesh in away where the pitch condition is like India, they dominated through out the series. Even though Indian batsmen are famous because of their excessive advertisement through media, they are never threat to good teams like England, Australia, Sri Lanka.

  • Yash on July 24, 2007, 23:24 GMT

    I don't even think they are that great except perhaps Dravid. They care more about their averages, 50's and 100's. None of them are truly great and it always shows in key games and key moments. A truly great player shows his value when the team is in dire situation. These so called greats beat up minnows and boost their averages. Also they sort of feed of off each other, meaning if one performs all perform. Most Indian batsmen are selfish (exceptions Azhar, Kapil, Siddhu, Srikanth, Sehwag)-(all Bombay cricketers play for themselves - Gawaskar tops, Manjrekar, Shastri, Tendulkar - never play for the team). I have only seen Dravid deliver day in day out. When he fails, India loses. It has little to do with newby bowlers and more to do with true talent. A good ball is a good ball, whether a 18 year kid bowls it or Holding/Walsh/McGrath bowls it. The truly great players dominate the bowlers so they lose their rythm. This allows them to score freely and reduces bowlers ability to bowl difficult deliveries. No matter how great a bowler is, if the batsman starts spanking them, their frame of mind changes. A great batsman will dominate no matter what. Ex Kevin Peterson.

  • Sainath on July 24, 2007, 23:12 GMT

    It would be interesting to see how many times did tendulkar gift his wicket to a debut bowler. Perhaps he would top the chart.

  • Sharan on July 24, 2007, 23:04 GMT

    see this kind of things happen to every great person and every great person looks back at it and tries to recover... but the Indian "Goliaths" are different.. they fall but never bother to look back until they think it is high time they put up an exceptional performance.. I say that there is no difference in talent between team India and team Austrailia - the only one is that we (india) are too lazy to take up things in our hands.. why to do soo much work when the money keeps on rolling??...

  • kapil on July 24, 2007, 22:54 GMT

    tim mate u r rite. they bring out their best against the best (warneys mentioned as best). so that tell lot about the rest. in't

  • Raghul on July 24, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    I have been watching Indian cricket for the past 15 years. They are complete flat track bullies. Their overseas record speaks how good they are on a fast and swinging wicket. Unless the domestic cricket becomes competitive like Australia there is no chance for India to improve. Honestly sometimes I have thought I should stop following Indian cricket because for a die hard fan like me its mere mental pressure. I feel the 3 Indian big guns are guns without ammo on an overseas track. Its excruciatingly painful to see such an experienced and the so called One of the world's best batsmen 'Sachin' getting out consistently to Panesar. I believe he is not the same guy who was a nightmare for the greatest leg spinner of my era Shane Warne. Also Indian batsmen don’t apply themselves and adapt to the situation. They need to learn this from the way Kevin Peterson paced his innings. Well I felt that there will be a revolution in Indian cricket after the humiliation we received in 2007 World Cup. Now I have convinced myself saying wake up stop dreaming!!!!!! Finally I am not going to say anything new. Let’s change the face of Indian cricket by not preparing placid domestic pitches

  • Anonymous on July 24, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    you know what Tim, you are a typical englishman! you guys just like bashing of south asian players. So what if Andersen dint perform against Australia, for me he was the man of the match. And yes the stalwarts dint perform, but the young guys did and saved the match..thats what cricket is, a team game. And yes, Dravid was notout in the 2nd innings, everybody has seen that. I think we should stop crticising the 'big 4' and accept the fact that this is a team game and sometimes the other players also have to share the responsibility. And remember we still have a long summer in England and am still confident, we are going to kick some asses!! i shall wait for your comments on english players after that!!

  • raj on July 24, 2007, 22:17 GMT

    I believe it is pure over confidence. When they see a second line bowler all they believe in would be, "he must be easy". They are taking the second section on english bowlers for granted. India batsmen are underrating and in turn the results they show on the scorecard are underperforming. The Batting giants are victims of over-confidence and experience.

  • abrar on July 24, 2007, 21:41 GMT

    Well i do agree that Indian batsmen struggle against the understudies...infact i have always felt that a player (batsman/bowler/allrounder) struggling for form finds his form/touch/rhythm the moment they start playing against India. Any player looking to come back to form looks to play against India..

  • Anonymous on July 24, 2007, 21:39 GMT

    Kapil rightly commented that Sachin fails when his innings is needed most. I've been a sincere fan of his since his first innings and he has to win atleast 5 to 6 TESTS for India playing well in the 2nd innings againts good teams to be recognized as one of the best test players. - Raghav

  • krishna on July 24, 2007, 21:38 GMT

    Actually, this thing about the might of Indian batting is mainly a media hype.They enjoyeda purple patch for 2 years-thats all.That apart,they have always been "once in blue moon" wonders except for sachin in the previous decade, dravid in this one and sehwag for the first 3 years of his career.Bottomline,they simply are not good enough or worth the hype.

  • Anonymous on July 24, 2007, 21:35 GMT

    Yes, Indians don't handle the debutants so well. Time & again they proved it consistently. I'd say, To whitewash India all the opposition needs needs 4 or 5 new bowlers. And I can guarantee any debutant gets the wicket of Tendulkar. Sachin seems to like it as well to gift his wicket to a fresher. Bottomline, India need young batsman, time is up for all these old & cold shoulders. It sounds harsh!! But we need to find a match winning Sachin/dravid/Ganguly in under 19. BCCI would never lear lessions and it's all politics. Until they look at inform batsman instead of old records/statistics, we just play cricket, not entertaining cricket. - Raghav

  • darklion on July 24, 2007, 20:48 GMT

    My observaion is that good batsmen, whatever their nationality, find things more difficult than usual when facing a bowler they've never seen before on his home turf. It's not just Indian bats that have trouble against this sort of bowling, and God knows England have enough journeyman swing bowlers in their ranks. As a Sri Lankan fan I remember a certain Jon Lewis, who in the third test last summer troubled our batsmen on his first appearance but failed to be effective as soon as the conditions became unhelpful.

  • Balakrishna on July 24, 2007, 20:38 GMT

    It clearly exposes the quality of Indian batting. Its defintely true that we are not short of skills but its a very important fact to be realised is that we need a competitive conditions to harden the skills and muster the very basics of cricket on very competitive conditions. We do not have such conditionas at all in India at any level (School, college,university,ranaji etc..) So its a high time for Board of cricket control and so called cricket revolutionisers to help build such conditions and competitiveness and professionlism. We never dare enough to drop the out of form players right away. It all enters the politics of regional cricket.

  • PARAM on July 24, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    Indian batsman play the game in the brain and not on the field, they always have some other motive going around in their heads like the captaincy, saving their place in team, making it to the one day squad or a sponsorship. They do not play cricket to enjoy it, they play it like the world will stop if they get out. I am sick of their collapses. Time for a big time change

  • karthick on July 24, 2007, 20:09 GMT

    They are good and just need to get used to the condition, hope we will see some good runs on the board in the next test match.

    They are capable of scoring runs, they need to go little further not just 30 or 40..

  • Mahendra on July 24, 2007, 19:40 GMT

    Indian batsmen, apart from Dravid lack the desire to scrap, engage in trench warfare, etc. They are the soft underbelly of the game. They need good starts from their openers, and even then sometimes cave in. All this points to a mindset of not wanting to 'get their hands dirty'....a middle class mindset. In all other countries, everyone has access and the opportunity to play cricket - people from all backgrounds. In India it is the domain of the middle class. Here I rest my case.

  • Vince Vas on July 24, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    Mr De Lisle's comments are all valid, but this is not solely related to India; England are not immune. Take the 2001/2 series which he refers to which Caddick and Gough missed. If anyone looks at the scorecard they'll notice that India's entire seam attack (Bangar, Siddiqi and Yohannan) made their debuts in the first test which England lost. Even in the current series, with the exception of Zaheer, the seam attack i relatively inexperienced. Pathan and Munaf are back home, and with the exception of Petersen, and Vaughan in the first innings the England players were not very comfortable; Strauss was circumspect during most of his innings. The point I'm making is that struggling against rookie bowlers is not something that solely attributable to India. England too, and one or two other nations have their problems.

  • Unimpressed on July 24, 2007, 19:29 GMT

    Yet another useless article from cricinfo, forever praying on the fickle minds of the Indian masses. Any excuse for an over analysis of inane subject matter. Next you guys will be writing articles on how the label of the batsmen's bat affects their performance, or on how irregular breathing patterns coincide with a slump in form.

    Here's an idea : why don't you stop hyping up players and then blaming the players when they under perform. Oh but wait! you need to hype the players so you can knock them down! yes it all makes sense! as long as you guys have something to write about, then neither the truth nor the masses really matter.

  • bouncer on July 24, 2007, 19:13 GMT

    Time and again we have seen it happen. Some bowlers, who have been beaten the crap out of them from the rest of the world, seem to perform well against India, e.g. Aquib Javed. Apart from the fact that a swinging ball has always been a threat to Indian line up, Tendulakar has a tendency to fall to lesser known bowlers. But at the same time, some big names from the world haven't been very successful against India too, e.g. Lara, Warne. It's strange but don't think there are any clear answers to these.

  • PCZ on July 24, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    Indian team is a bunch of self-centric and no-where-near-to-kevin-pietersen players. I think the time has come for each of them, especially senior lot, to look into mirror and ask themselves whether they are justifying their reputation and their place in the team. I hope Indian Cricket Leauge would be a huge hit and extract the best ever talent that BCCI has not been able to unearth.

  • Sridhar on July 24, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    Three of the four stars are have-beens, and their handling of England's second string attack only seems to be highlighting that more. The days of dominating the likes of Shane Warne are long gone. You don't need express short pitch bowling get them out any more. On current form or ability, most international bowlers would knock them over. And that's the pity.

  • Srihari on July 24, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    The vulnerability to the understudies is actually part of a much larger trend in that the powers of these giants to deliver match-winning innings has long been on the decline. They are giants because of what they have done in the past,and certainly not because of what they are capable of doing now. They will score the odd good score, that will be reminiscent of their glorious heydays, but their skills and attitude are unlikely to be anything near majestic.

  • Vidyanath on July 24, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    In India the "Galli" mentality amplifies & copies itself onto the big field. And the Indian psyche is that its all about "me" rather than giving merit to "you". Here unfortunately, the 'you' should have been the ball, but its the bolwler instead.

  • n.p.singh on July 24, 2007, 17:50 GMT

    ya,it is samefull for us that indian batsman are unable to handle the sing of the ball and also the bounce of the pitch,

  • Surya on July 24, 2007, 17:47 GMT

    Not only understudy bowlers, they never dominated any pace attack. All they did was dominating spinners in the team, Murali and Warne are examples. Dravid is the only player who played pace bowling well on seaming and bouncing tracks. None other did at that level. Sachin and Laxman did one or two occasions. But Ganguly never did.

  • Pramod Koshy on July 24, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    What I would like to see are averages for Sachin, Saurav, Dravid and Laxman against all teams except (Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) and all matches played in countries other than India. They are tigers in India where any bowlers threat is negated with the lifeless pitches.

  • KS on July 24, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    An understudy (or less well known) bowler is not necessarily an inferior bowler. In fact, if he is any good, the fact that the batsmen haven't seen enough of him may give the bowler an advantage. Indian batsmen have done very well against inferior bowling. The recent Bangla Desh series is a case in point. Anderson et al. bowled extremely well at Lord's on a highly helpful pitch, as did the Indian bowlers, half of whom-the successful ones!- had very little international experience. Of the batsmen who scored on both sides only Pietersen seemed somewhat untroubled by the seamers, especially in the second innings.

  • Jatan on July 24, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    It is easy to talk about Indian batsmen. What happened to the English ones in the first innings? Why did they collapse to sundry medium pace? the ball was swinging a lot, and credit goes to the bowlers who could control it. Tim makes the point of quoting old figures. This match was different to previous matches. And another point is that in the practice games none of the bowlers was exposed to to the Indians. It is not easy to come to a totally different cricket condition and fire straight away.

  • Webesk on July 24, 2007, 10:55 GMT

    Indian batsman are mediocre against fast bowling and they freeze when the ball swings. They do not want to better themselves and play at the highest level to compete with the best. They live in the comfort zone as the fans blindly cheer them. As Greg Chappell stated "if you want to be like Australia, you cannot play like Zimbabwe". India is only marginally better than the so called "minnows" and it is due to lack of depth, arrogance of players, and their refusal to maintain high level of fitness to compete with the best of the best. I feel sorry for the Indian cricket fans who deserve better.

  • sohaib on July 24, 2007, 10:48 GMT

    of course i think india are weak against less well known players

    shame to them really

  • Dilip Gurjar on July 24, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    Indian Batsmen are flat pitch bullies and with little or no temperment(Dravid is an exception).So greenhorn bowlers can easily decimate them their over inflated egos.Their failures when the team needs them most is legendry.We require average batsmen with an excellent temperment than 'Talented'one with zero temeprement.

  • kash on July 24, 2007, 10:45 GMT

    It happens any one nothing so serious. All Indian batting gaints come back in the next game. They all got tons all over the world so can not judge its a matter of time and confidence.

    kash

  • Gurjot Singh Ahluwalia on July 24, 2007, 10:44 GMT

    I dont quite agree with Tim that all of India's big guns fail against the understudy bowlers. As much as I have watched Indian cricket over the past 6-7 years I can say that one man & only one Sachin Tendulkar has been fallible to these sort of bowlers.Lots of bowlers on their debuts or having just played 1-2 Test or ODI matches have dismissed Sachin.Prime example was Monty Panesar on his debut & then recently Mr Shabalala from South Africa.Also Mohammad Asif last year playing only his 2nd or 3rd match got him a few times!!

  • vikram on July 24, 2007, 10:20 GMT

    playing conditions obviously are as important as the players. the fabulous australians have struggled in india. and most ranji trophy spinners would make most out-of-the-sub-continent international sides struggle on a turning wicket. anyway perhaps global warming will change all that!

  • brendan on July 24, 2007, 10:16 GMT

    These figures go to prove what eveyone else in world cricket believe. The Indian fab four have extremely over-inflated ego`s, and don`t give the average garden variety bowlers enough respect. You only get the respect you give, and all back-up bowlers rate themselves against India for this reason.

  • Veerarajurs B.C. on July 24, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    Indian batsmen, even the lesser ones, suffer from 'star syndrome'. The 'star' batsmen do not want to be seen getting out to 'star' bowlers. It is like Hollywood/other stars hating being overshadowed by other stars in movies. They play very hard against 'star' bowlers, and being not really as good as they 'show up', they fall to understudy bowlers, as you call them.

  • Atul Bhogle on July 24, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    Actually it is quite an old habit!

    Gavaskar's last test and the tied test match at Madras were two instances when India fell to lesser known off-spinners in a heap! Klusener even took a five-for on debut at the Eden Gardens! And 'funky' Miller taking 3 crucial wickets as India chased 158 against Australia in that remarkable series was just too much to bear.

    So is Sachin's habit of falling to the arm ball - he does not seem to be reading the ball out of the hand nor the pitch, just playing for the one turning away!

    It's the same with batsmen, players who wouldn't fall in the Sachin-Lara-Ponting league often do get promoted to that level when they are up against India - Younis Khan, Jayasuriya, Chanderpaul, even someone with an average of 27 like Ijaz Ahmed have often made merry at the expense of India's bowlers.

    Sigh!!!!!

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  • Atul Bhogle on July 24, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    Actually it is quite an old habit!

    Gavaskar's last test and the tied test match at Madras were two instances when India fell to lesser known off-spinners in a heap! Klusener even took a five-for on debut at the Eden Gardens! And 'funky' Miller taking 3 crucial wickets as India chased 158 against Australia in that remarkable series was just too much to bear.

    So is Sachin's habit of falling to the arm ball - he does not seem to be reading the ball out of the hand nor the pitch, just playing for the one turning away!

    It's the same with batsmen, players who wouldn't fall in the Sachin-Lara-Ponting league often do get promoted to that level when they are up against India - Younis Khan, Jayasuriya, Chanderpaul, even someone with an average of 27 like Ijaz Ahmed have often made merry at the expense of India's bowlers.

    Sigh!!!!!

  • Veerarajurs B.C. on July 24, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    Indian batsmen, even the lesser ones, suffer from 'star syndrome'. The 'star' batsmen do not want to be seen getting out to 'star' bowlers. It is like Hollywood/other stars hating being overshadowed by other stars in movies. They play very hard against 'star' bowlers, and being not really as good as they 'show up', they fall to understudy bowlers, as you call them.

  • brendan on July 24, 2007, 10:16 GMT

    These figures go to prove what eveyone else in world cricket believe. The Indian fab four have extremely over-inflated ego`s, and don`t give the average garden variety bowlers enough respect. You only get the respect you give, and all back-up bowlers rate themselves against India for this reason.

  • vikram on July 24, 2007, 10:20 GMT

    playing conditions obviously are as important as the players. the fabulous australians have struggled in india. and most ranji trophy spinners would make most out-of-the-sub-continent international sides struggle on a turning wicket. anyway perhaps global warming will change all that!

  • Gurjot Singh Ahluwalia on July 24, 2007, 10:44 GMT

    I dont quite agree with Tim that all of India's big guns fail against the understudy bowlers. As much as I have watched Indian cricket over the past 6-7 years I can say that one man & only one Sachin Tendulkar has been fallible to these sort of bowlers.Lots of bowlers on their debuts or having just played 1-2 Test or ODI matches have dismissed Sachin.Prime example was Monty Panesar on his debut & then recently Mr Shabalala from South Africa.Also Mohammad Asif last year playing only his 2nd or 3rd match got him a few times!!

  • kash on July 24, 2007, 10:45 GMT

    It happens any one nothing so serious. All Indian batting gaints come back in the next game. They all got tons all over the world so can not judge its a matter of time and confidence.

    kash

  • Dilip Gurjar on July 24, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    Indian Batsmen are flat pitch bullies and with little or no temperment(Dravid is an exception).So greenhorn bowlers can easily decimate them their over inflated egos.Their failures when the team needs them most is legendry.We require average batsmen with an excellent temperment than 'Talented'one with zero temeprement.

  • sohaib on July 24, 2007, 10:48 GMT

    of course i think india are weak against less well known players

    shame to them really

  • Webesk on July 24, 2007, 10:55 GMT

    Indian batsman are mediocre against fast bowling and they freeze when the ball swings. They do not want to better themselves and play at the highest level to compete with the best. They live in the comfort zone as the fans blindly cheer them. As Greg Chappell stated "if you want to be like Australia, you cannot play like Zimbabwe". India is only marginally better than the so called "minnows" and it is due to lack of depth, arrogance of players, and their refusal to maintain high level of fitness to compete with the best of the best. I feel sorry for the Indian cricket fans who deserve better.

  • Jatan on July 24, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    It is easy to talk about Indian batsmen. What happened to the English ones in the first innings? Why did they collapse to sundry medium pace? the ball was swinging a lot, and credit goes to the bowlers who could control it. Tim makes the point of quoting old figures. This match was different to previous matches. And another point is that in the practice games none of the bowlers was exposed to to the Indians. It is not easy to come to a totally different cricket condition and fire straight away.