Northants v Indians, Northampton August 4, 2011

Will Northampton decide India's fate?

With Virender Sehwag expected to play, and Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan lining up returns, India's two-day game in Northampton has acquired more significance than that of just another tour game
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Northampton's Country Ground has been waiting for Virender Sehwag, and he arrived on Thursday for his first full session with the Indian team since the World Cup. His arrival has been awaited in these parts not merely by his team, or the fans who have promised to flock to the ground from across the Midlands, but by the county itself. Last year, Sehwag was signed up to play Twenty20 cricket for Northamptonshire but had his no-objection certificate from the BCCI revoked when the board decided to disallow their cricketers from playing county cricket on account of a heavy workload.

Those who turn up for the two-day practice match tomorrow between India and Northamptonshire will hope that the county will get a good look at the man who almost was one of their own and that the rest of the Indian team will be as effective as they can be.

The India players went into an optional practice session on Thursday, held at the indoor nets due to a constant drizzle that could also affect the practice match. The format of the two-day game will only be finalised on Friday, with the weather perhaps actually formalising the final order of play.

During the game, everyone will be on the lookout for any signs of what the mood is in the Indian camp. The Indians' performance could be indicative of whether the rest of their tour will feature mainly sunny days with cloudy intervals or will continue the way it has so far, with a heavy rain of injuries and poor form plaguing the team.

Going into Edgbaston, India will be stretching themselves carefully, like they did at optional practice today. Sehwag's return gives them the essential necessity of what has become a luxury on tour: an evenly spaced out batting line-up without its most experienced players crammed into the smallest of spaces, as Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar were at Trent Bridge. Everyone except Dravid, Laxman, Abhinav Mukund and Ishant Sharma was at the session, doing something or the other, either in the gym or the nets.

Sehwag got through his 20-minute session against net bowlers and throwdowns without any distress. His strokes had all their usual characteristics: balance, a straight bat and a free followthrough. There were no signs of scars from scalpel on shoulder. What power he is able to find and how much shock absorption there is on his shoulder is something only he knows.

The viewing gallery above Sehwag was dotted with reporters, TV crew, and fans who got past the gatekeepers. Everything Sehwag did was audible: the sound of his bat - half stainless-steel, half-rifle-shot - his conversation during the throwdowns, even the tunes he was whistling or humming. India needs Viru Lite and not merely his new, streamlined self, but the free spirit that resides in how he approaches every game. Even 0-2 down. He will not worry about how many runs he scores in Northampton, as long as he gets some time in the middle: the only runs that count are the ones he gets in Edgbaston.

Also in the nets were two men for whom this series has brought with it heavy ankle-weights: Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. Over the first two Tests, Dhoni's Test batting and captaincy have been called into question; Raina, who was impressive in the West Indies, has been worked over by an incisive bowling attack in conditions that leave little room for technical error. Sehwag's presence may mask their weaknesses over the course of the next few weeks, but not perhaps in the long-term. So, Raina sought an extra session of short-ball throwdowns, while Dhoni tried to feel his way into some kind of form.

Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir was ensuring he could freely move the elbow that had been hit while he was fielding at short-leg at Lord's, ruling him out of the second Test. Gambhir will be hoping to resume an opening pairing with Sehwag that not so long ago was being hailed as one of the best in India's history. If the two do play at Edgbaston, it will mean India will not have to cram their three most-experienced players - Dravid, Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar - into the top four like they were forced to at Trent Bridge.

By the time Zaheer Khan turned up, after even Amit Mishra and Praveen Kumar had finished their batting sessions, attention had wandered away from the Indian nets. Zaheer always walks around as if he is wearing spikes on thin ice; the word ginger is used more often in reference to his fitness than in Chinese takeaway menus. He moved slowly, but it is what he is able to do with a curtailed run-up and delivery stride that will matter.

If the dozen-or-so balls he bowled here are an indication, India's main strike bowler could be slowly warming up for Edgbaston. The run-up was just seven or eight paces but his action looked unimpaired. In what is expected to be an open-ended practice match, he could get in a few short bursts of bowling and see how the royal hamstring reacts.

Two-day games are meant to be friendly outings in a picnic-like atmosphere. The Northampton County Ground is small, compact and surrounded by red-brick homes, which four years ago, when India last toured England, may even have installed shatter-proof glass knowing that a team full of flash batsmen was stopping by. This year however the residents may decide to leave the windows open and set out their best china. The visiting team, they have heard, are under seige. Misfortune, like the ashen sky over Northampton, is raining down on India. No matter how well they start here, it will take them a week more to find out if they can acquire the finish they want.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • daretobwise on August 5, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    just chill guys atleast indians are not loosing to ireland bangladesh and westindies(nearly) in one tournament so just enjoy how high self proclaimed team with no 1 spinner no1 wicketkeeper no 1 all rounder no 1 seamer no 1 captain no 1 openers no1 batsmen go as higher they go faster they fall.

  • HarishVS on August 5, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    @NKSATHYA - I dont know now whether to laugh or cry looking at your comments. Can anyone suggest any other third form of human expression in this context?

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 5, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    @rahulcricket007, so called old ENG cricketer SYLVEY was embarrassed to say ENG despite being father of cricket didn't win World Cup till now. He was embarrassed to say ENG didn't achieve anything till now with their so-called great bowling attack because they hardly win test outside ENG. ENG players especially old players wantedly insult India because that's their core nature. Giving opinion is different from insulting and when he compared Zaheer with ENG woman's bowling it was clear that his intention was only to insult. Not only this old player but also Ian Botham, Michael Vaughan, Andy FLower, Broad everyone insulted Indian players. That is why I don't like ENG players' attitude. Only few ENG fans don't support such players. But their drama is only when they are at home.

  • Venkatb on August 5, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    Sehwag may end up as the biggest non-starter on this tour - he performs when there is no pressure on him but this point of the tour is anything but that. Also, his technique can easily get exposed by these Englishmen.

  • shamlaatu on August 5, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Mukund has delivered at a wrong time. Not good for India. He will make it to the playing 11 for the 3rd test on the basis of this performance and will miserably fail again.

  • zico123 on August 5, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    it is unfair that India is losing their no. 1 ranking in a series where they are without their best bowler Zaheer and 2 best batsman Sehwag and Gambhir, it is unfair to judge a depleted Indian side against a full strength England side. i am sure the result would have been other way round if India was at full strength and England was without Peterson, Bell and Anderson. so bottom line it would have been true contest if India at full strengh was playing against a full strength England team.

  • Kashi0127 on August 5, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    @Prasanna Singaraju - Reason for Abhinav Mukund beng there is for all you know Gambhir/ Sehwag might turn out to be worse than him - ha ha

  • Kashi0127 on August 5, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Let us not have any high expectations and be disappointed. As long as India do not end up losing to these County Sides we should be happy!

  • The_Freakster on August 5, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    Can't believe these British umpires have given both Sehwag and Gambhir out leg before. Seems like a ploy to me. Resonates with the comments in their media guys like Michael Vaughan. Anyway, hope the umpiring will be back to test standard at Edgbaston.

  • Trioboy on August 5, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Sehwag only lasted 25 balls. Northampton must be happy now that Sehwag didn't join them.

  • daretobwise on August 5, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    just chill guys atleast indians are not loosing to ireland bangladesh and westindies(nearly) in one tournament so just enjoy how high self proclaimed team with no 1 spinner no1 wicketkeeper no 1 all rounder no 1 seamer no 1 captain no 1 openers no1 batsmen go as higher they go faster they fall.

  • HarishVS on August 5, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    @NKSATHYA - I dont know now whether to laugh or cry looking at your comments. Can anyone suggest any other third form of human expression in this context?

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 5, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    @rahulcricket007, so called old ENG cricketer SYLVEY was embarrassed to say ENG despite being father of cricket didn't win World Cup till now. He was embarrassed to say ENG didn't achieve anything till now with their so-called great bowling attack because they hardly win test outside ENG. ENG players especially old players wantedly insult India because that's their core nature. Giving opinion is different from insulting and when he compared Zaheer with ENG woman's bowling it was clear that his intention was only to insult. Not only this old player but also Ian Botham, Michael Vaughan, Andy FLower, Broad everyone insulted Indian players. That is why I don't like ENG players' attitude. Only few ENG fans don't support such players. But their drama is only when they are at home.

  • Venkatb on August 5, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    Sehwag may end up as the biggest non-starter on this tour - he performs when there is no pressure on him but this point of the tour is anything but that. Also, his technique can easily get exposed by these Englishmen.

  • shamlaatu on August 5, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Mukund has delivered at a wrong time. Not good for India. He will make it to the playing 11 for the 3rd test on the basis of this performance and will miserably fail again.

  • zico123 on August 5, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    it is unfair that India is losing their no. 1 ranking in a series where they are without their best bowler Zaheer and 2 best batsman Sehwag and Gambhir, it is unfair to judge a depleted Indian side against a full strength England side. i am sure the result would have been other way round if India was at full strength and England was without Peterson, Bell and Anderson. so bottom line it would have been true contest if India at full strengh was playing against a full strength England team.

  • Kashi0127 on August 5, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    @Prasanna Singaraju - Reason for Abhinav Mukund beng there is for all you know Gambhir/ Sehwag might turn out to be worse than him - ha ha

  • Kashi0127 on August 5, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Let us not have any high expectations and be disappointed. As long as India do not end up losing to these County Sides we should be happy!

  • The_Freakster on August 5, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    Can't believe these British umpires have given both Sehwag and Gambhir out leg before. Seems like a ploy to me. Resonates with the comments in their media guys like Michael Vaughan. Anyway, hope the umpiring will be back to test standard at Edgbaston.

  • Trioboy on August 5, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Sehwag only lasted 25 balls. Northampton must be happy now that Sehwag didn't join them.

  • Spuddinho on August 5, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    @Arun Bhandari - selective memory mate. India only won a series over here in 2007 on the back of rain wiping out the entire last session at Lords with England needing only one more wicket for victory. You got lucky...

  • WPDDESILVA on August 5, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    Where is Chaminda Vaas? He would have cleaned that top order........

  • redcarrob on August 5, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Ahrun Bandari - get your facts right.`England never won a Test Match in India since 1996.` What about 3rd Test in 2007? That drew the series. India have won the last two series but England are not completely hopeless away - won in Bangladesh, won in Australia,drew in South Africa. India need to show they have the fight expected of the Number1 Test team or people are just going to say they didn`t deserve the position. Come on England!

  • ambrishsundaram on August 5, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Honestly, I can not understand the hype surrounding Sehwag in England. He has played just 4 matches (6 innings) against England in England. His average is 39.50 in these 4 matches, with 1 hundred, 1 fifty and 1 duck. His total number of runs in these 4 matches is 237, with a majority of those runs coming because of that ton. His strike rate in these 4 matches is 66.57 as compared to his career strike rate of 81.91. His average in these 4 matches is 39.5, boosted of course by that sigle hundred, while his career average is 53.43. 4 matches is too small a number statistically to make any judgement - good or bad. But if one is going to hype him up based on these 4 matches, then the statistics (average, strike rate etc.) do not provide any basis for that. If anything, they show that the Indians should see a dip in his performance when compared to his career stats. So let us reserve judgement, good or bad, about Sehwag in England, and keep our expectations on hold.

  • on August 5, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Why india not going for good pacer and all rounder like rp singh and irfan pathan. .why they selecting spiners again and again. .team selection is tottally damaged indian cricket.

  • Tatsache on August 5, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    @Listentome I agree with you....

  • Tatsache on August 5, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    my suggetion to BCCI..please dont take direct from IPL or similar IPL leagues....just take from ranaji level who will do better in tests....!,,I dont think so veerat kohli will play long innings here...!

  • Tatsache on August 5, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    So now we can say abinav mukukund will keep in the team..only for practice match :)....

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    Look at Sehwag, he cant even reach double fiqure and alll Indians fans are believing that his inclusion will change the result, dream on

  • sankar8000 on August 5, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    I have not seen LBW decisions against both Sehwag and Gambhit. There can be more chances that they could have been very pretty ordinary decisions.......particularly Sehwag! That is my own suspicion...In actual test that is not possible since neutral umpires will be there...

  • jimbond on August 5, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    India lost the chance to try out new blood in the West Indies. They should use the emerging players experience fully. I guess one can expect any three to four from the group of Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary, Manish Pandey, Pujara- to fit in India's top batting when the three great guys retire. Bowling is a bit worry. Zaheer may be around at this level for maybe another three years. How good are Aaron or Yadav? And India needs to get in at least two reasonably good spinners (of the Ajmal level) in the next one year or so, or else their stay in the top 4 will be short lived. Harbajan singh is totally out of sorts, and his substitutes Chawla, Mishra, Ojha and Aswhin are equally toothless. On seaming wickets even in the third test, it may be best to go with four pacemen. If Zaheer is fit, good, otherwise even Munaf is better than Harbajan.

  • Tom8 on August 5, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Sehwag can score all the runs he wants, India still have to take 20 wickets and so far they have not been very good at that!!

  • Tatsache on August 5, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    dont tell sehwag will out...so he will not play rest of the series...dont compare practice match with real test match...what happened last practice match struss made 100 and real matches he failed :)

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    See, Sehwag is gone cheaply. But i hope that he will get a chance in Indian squad to get back his reputation as one of the top batsman of the world.

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    why has cricinfo chosen to skip commentary/ball by ball?

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    @Trioboy: what an accurate observation. and to prove you correct; Sehwag was out in this practice mathc for just 8 run after playing 25 balls in 30 minutes. People must understand that in sports and movies, only your current form matters. Past achievements cannot keep someone going all the time. Otherwise Bedi would still have been playing in Indian cricket and Dilip Kumar would still have been reigning the Indian cinema. What Sehwag- or any other player for that matter- achieved in the past does not matter. What matters is that he has been out of practice and English weather & English pitches are real test of any team. That is why earlier players used to crave to play in county cricket. This Indian team has failed miserably on physical/ mental level. And will continue to do so in the series. When players are selected by personal likes (or not selected for personal dislikes) then do not expect to be a winner.

  • ListenToMe on August 5, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Rohit Sood : Do you think batting well in the final match is enough for one to become great? Do you being the lead of 20-20 and one day winners is enough for one to do well in foreign pitches? Can you just tell one single good innings of Dhoni out side the subcontinent? Do you think he is capable of scoring even a 50 in Eng pitches? You should understand that Dhoni is not as skilled as you think. He is good only in subcontinental pitches. His captaincy skills also is in question now. I believe we should have separate players to lead the team for each of the formats.

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    Is Dhoni having a brain freeze? Why would anyone play W Saha at this point, in a tour game, will he ever have a chance in the Indian side this tour ( I would hope not!!) ? Give Kohli an extended net session in the tour game, Sachin ain't in the best of form, why does he need to rest? Come on Dhoni Man! You can do better .. Why does Mukund need another game here? Why can't you play Ojha? or another pacer?

  • on August 5, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Sehwag was unable to handle pressure at a number of occasions. Let's see if he can handle it today. But I think he scored a lot of runs against Pakistan when he wasn't in pressure. He scored most of runs in first innings. Whatever, today is the day for him. Leave previous statistics and records. Let's see, if can handle his pressure today !

  • on August 5, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    sehwag gone....hahahahahahaha

  • on August 5, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    @Trioboy dont under estimate shewag...look at his history and then post...

  • on August 5, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    If this game is of such significance, why has cricinfo chosen to skip commentary/ball by ball?

  • on August 5, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    india missing the x factor of sehwag in batting n zaheer in bowling . they r the 2 aggressive players , let them come back then w'll see . broad is having a dream run + some luck n he is the only difference . he saved england in the 2nd test .. every1 is like england - england right now , they havent played a test series in Subcontinent from past 2-3 years . only series they played was with bangladesh ......lol . let me tell u england cant play spin .......as long as they play at seaming wickets they r good but in spining pitches they got no chance ....lol . england never won a test match in india since 1996 ...lol . the day england or for that matter any team beat india in india .... i'll be the 1 st 1 to say yaa u deserve it . even the great australian team coudnt do it .only south africa comes to my mind which is par with india at thia moment .....n india won last series in england , drew in south africa and drew in australia so dont tell me india is not good enough to be no. 1 .

  • Yabba on August 5, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    India need to renew their team by getting talented young players in the team like England have done. Relying on the old guard for too long has stagnated their team.

    I like Dhoni - he is a class act in so many ways - although he looked totally lost at Trent Bridge. His field placings in England's second innings were appalling and helped England score over 400 runs on the 4th day.

    Hopefully, India will do we ll in this game so we can have more competitive tests at Edgbaston and The Oval - otherwise it will be a 4-0 whitewash (weather permitting).

  • pudukkudikaryansujith on August 5, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    Sehwag's presence may be a morale-booster for the team but the fortunes will remain the same. The English Team is way ahead of Team India by all means. Moreover, they have relished the first sight of No.1 status. They are highly motivated and unstoppable right now. The Indian fight-back wont be sufficient to make up for the lost ground.

  • RahulBhaskaranpinarayi on August 5, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    bawling is not a problem for india it will click if batting is clicked.in trent bridge the first innings of england batting india bawling looks beautiful but luckley broad hot here and there and got some runs otherwise thing hold be pathetic.even after that in the scont day india give away their last 6 wicket cheeply this is the scont reason.in the third day last section india give away 180 runs by bad filding position if that is not worked india have to bawl negetiveley.indian team need injurey reason to give break to harbajan singh. team does not give bawl to harbjan not because of his injurey but his bad fome. amit/munaf will be great if we used them.Dhone have try to bat 3 and laxman at 5.in the last day of trent bridge indian team allout easely because of score board pressure. england bawling part is not strong it is patta bawling,bad batting of indian team making team strong bawler but england batters are batting beautifully but hopefully adding legspinner wil give nesserey thing

  • on August 5, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Look at the situation of Indian team, so shameful. India failed 100% to produce fast/medium pacers after the departure Kapil's era. Most of them came and stood only for 3 to 4 years. India has so much cricket talent as we are playing the most cricket in the world. Even after doing this India is so shame full to produce few fast bowlers. We are even unable to compare with our neighbours. Today, England and Pakistan has very good fast bowlers. It is high time that Indian seniors should given chance to represent BCCI and they must bring best bowlers. All these dirty politicians should be kicked out first. Finally Dhoni so lucky from day one he took the captaincy. Just because of luck he is still hanging around. Few fast bowlers in India has become the victim of our politics.

  • on August 5, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    @ sudu putha.. we already saw what you guys did in your previous tour in england... at last you are not able to win the world cup from a side which is not gud

  • on August 5, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    NO 1 spot and WC couldn't get in a single day. Indians played consistently the good cricket. hope they prove them-self in the remaining matches.

  • NShiva on August 5, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Team for Practice Match: Excludes in form Dravid,Laxman,Praveen&Sharma

    Sehwag Gambhir Kohli Sachin Raina Dhoni Mishra Zaheer Ojha MPatel Sreesanth

  • SudharsanVM on August 5, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    So Dhoni can't give any excuses this time if India loses again. He has his best 11 available this match. And he has to accept ENG is better team if INDIA still lose!

  • NShiva on August 5, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Shewag Gambhir Dravid Sachin Laxman Kohli Dhoni Praveenkumar Zaheer Mishra Ishat Sharma

  • rahulcricket007 on August 5, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    a former english cricketer SYLVEY has commented on zaheer khan . he said " zaheer is not a good bowler , he is not fit , his bowling speed is slower than our woman english cricketer .mr. sylvey i agree with you that he is not fit like english bowlers .but to say that he is not good is disrespect to him. zaheer was the one which bowling helps india to win many matches abroad including the previous 2007 england tour .he loves bowling in swinging conditions and he can take wickets at indian pitches too with his reverse swing .unlike your english bowlers like anderson which are totally flop on subcontinental pitches zaheer is very succesfull at subcontinental pitches .in the recent WC he was the second highest wicket taker after AFRIDI . also if you think speed is the criterion of deciding how good a bowler is then SHAUN TAIT should be best bowler in the world .

  • Domzo on August 5, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    @natx - ". Can you show 1 test match (forget dreaming about series) that England won in India in the last 10 years?"

    Mumbai, 3rd test of the 2005/6 season, England by 212 runs

  • Philip_Gnana on August 5, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    This game for India is purely based on preparation of the mind. Their mindset has to focus on what they need to do and how they can combat the strong England bowling attack. Northants are giving India a practise game so that the bastsmen can show their technical ability to cope in seaming conditions. This is the crux of the matter. Sehwag is not their saviour and they know it. Virat Kholi in my opinion is far more accomplished (he may be young) batsmend to deal with as he is a "top drawer" player. The selectors can only pick a squad of 16/17. So they have to dowith who they have. My main concern is Mukund. I had not heard much about him. Did not look like the usual soldi new comers that we usually see. They should have stuck with Murali Vijay. Philip Gnana, surrey

  • on August 5, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    how can one say that viru cant handle the pressure. in pakistan tour of india under the captancy of saurav ganguly at multan sehwag hndled the all preessure single handly. in 2008 in australia he was the hero whoes presence made a difference. when hi is batting captan have to choose field accodingly viru.......... and this is the difference between him and other players of the world

  • on August 5, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    I wonder why they didn't give chance to younger and one of the most top rated batsman in the world "Virat Kohli". He is such a great talented batsman. Suresh Raina is not performing well. Yuvraj is not playing too. So, Virat should play instead of Yuvi.

  • on August 5, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Sudu_putha: My friend whatever you are taking just give up as it's clearly not helping your memory. If you don't know who MS Dhoni is then let me tell you he is the one who lead India to 20:20 world championship glory. He's the one who lead India to No. 1 rankings in Test Cricket (and at the end of the seriers they will still be No. 1). He's the one who played the match winning innings in the final of World Championship that lead to Indian being crowned One day champions. In addition he has one who's won everything possible with Chennai in IPL. Hope this brings back your memory. If not then God help you. Come on Indiaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

  • on August 5, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    Best team for the next 2 tests

    G Gambhir V Sehwag R Dravid V Kohli VVS Laxman SR Tendulkar MS Dhoni PP Ojha I Sharma Z Khan P Kumar

  • on August 5, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Sehwag may not be able to handle the pressure but I am looking forward to see the batting of best opening pair in the world (Sehwag and Gautam).

  • on August 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    hey real star is back!! dont forget what he has done in past....

  • Trioboy on August 5, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    This might be the only chance for India to Draw a game.

  • Trioboy on August 5, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Sehwag won't last more than twenty mins in the middle. He can't play swing and pace..

  • Sudu_putha on August 5, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Indian team is no good in these king of pitches.... after all u guys were so lucky to win the WC...lol..Doni.. who?? time to call an early retirement...

  • SouthPaw on August 5, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Good idea Ayush - rest people like RSD, VVS and SRT. They don't need any more match practice and the last thing India needs is an injury scare to these guys. Instead play Sehwag, Gambhir, Raina, Kohli, Dhoni, Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra, Sreesanth & R Ashwin

  • on August 5, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    I think Sehwag can't handle pressure situation. We have seen in past that he really struggled in pressure situations but India should take a chance with him regardless of his performance in this warm up game.

  • on August 5, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    Virender Sehwag may not make much difference, unless the middle order sticks. Virat Kohli, Dravid, Lakshman, Sachin, Raina and Dhoni must commit themselves to the game. When Zaheer gets injured, why not the selection team picked up Irfan Pathan? He is promising and talented bowler and should be encouraged. The selection itself appears to be incorrect. Why Sachin and Harbhajan get changes again and again, and why Irfan Pathan do not get a single chance? How can they assess the performance, without giving a single chance? What happened to Ashwin?

  • panchakoti on August 5, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    If Gambhir & Virender stick at the crease for about 25 overs, scoring briskly, THE GAME WILL BE INDIA'S...& the bowling & fielding can do the rest. ALL OF THE TOP ORDER SHOULD AIM TO SCORE NOTHING LESS THAN AT-LEAST A HALF CENTURY...& this will amount to a massive lead of 600-700 runs on the board...easier said than done, i reckon, BUT IMPOSSIBLE...NO!!! we've done it before, we've beaten the English in their own backyards before. THE SAME BROAD WAS WHIPPED FOR 6 SIXES BY YUVRAJ AT THE FIRST IPL WORLD CUP; am sure we all remember this & some of us will never ever forget it. WHY CAN'T WE DO IT AGAIN??? self belief, faith in our own form & confidence is all that's needed to whip the English again. when our team walks out onto the field on the 10th August, all they have to say in their hearts is, ''ok, brits, you've had your day, it's now ours, & we are not going to let you take the no.1 spot from us, never''. AND THAT'S IT, IT WILL HAPPEN. nothing's impossible. Go India, Go........

  • on August 5, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    @ Abhishek Khurana : How the hell can Ashwin feature In the playing Xi, he is not even in the squad & he never was in any of the Test squads that India had so far????????? Hope you are talking about Test cricket and not about t20 or ODIs……. Coming to the problems::: More than technique and talent real problem is in the mindset of players… If Sehwag can play one of his usual attacking innings & upset English bowlers rhythm, then everything will start working for India… Indians are not playing fearless and aggressive cricket as they were doing during Guru Garry's era….. Even though chances look slim, it's still possible if Zak & Veeru come into their own……

  • getsetgopk on August 5, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    What Laxman, Dravid, Ghambir, Tendulkar, Dhoni combined couldn't do what makes you think Sehwag will do it. After Edgebaston the Indians will say ' we lost because Bhaji was sick'. This Sehwag story is just another 'oh you just wait and see' a plan that will never see day light. Team India is in a nightmare situation and will only get worse with each passing day with the scoreline of 4:0 looming large over their heads.

  • KAIRAVA on August 5, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Chances are that Sehwag would either score a 0 or a 250 in a day at the test in Birmingham.

  • on August 5, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Sorry to include Yuvi in my last comment as he is out of tour possibly Raina can be the choice.

  • on August 5, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Hope to see following 11: Viru, Gauti, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Yuvi, Dhoni, PK, Ishant, ZAK, Mishra. Yuvi or Raina anyone will do but Yuvi can bowl few overs and possibily pick up some wickets.

  • freo75 on August 5, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    @ Natx - "Can you show 1 test match (forget dreaming about series) that England won in India in the last 10 years?"

    Yes - Mumbai 2006 (and a drawn series)

    Hope you enjoy the rest of this series, I know I will.

  • kingcobra85 on August 5, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Ashwin is not even in England...he is not in the squad people why are you guys selecting him in your squad

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    MY playing XI for the third test would be sehwag, gautam, rahul, sachin, laxman, dhoni, raina, ashwin/sreesanth, zaheer, praveen, ishant. And about the spineer our spineer anyways didn't perform so job can be perform by viru, raina and sachin. English team can be beatable even in england but India need to do expectionally well in all the three department of the game.

  • shamlaatu on August 5, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    @Sankar8000 My concern is that Sehwag starts trying to hit too hard to live up to his name and loses his wicket AND his confidence for the rest of the series. I am sure he will also be tested with short pitched deliveries. I just hope he plays his natural game.

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    mr adeel india won the series in england in 2007. what we expect from India is not on losing side.the loss should have fight instead of meek surrender.

  • shamlaatu on August 5, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    If India wants to win then they must not play conventional cricket. Aggressive and proactive approach is the only way which will increase their probability to change the result or else they are gonna lose any way by defensive approach. Sehwag's blasting innings are the key here. He can shatter Broad, Bresnan and Anderson's confidence into pieces. One hard and heavy punch will bring this English team flat on the floor.

  • on August 5, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Will saw what England did in WC and we'll see what England will do India in December.

  • sankar8000 on August 5, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    Most people have forgotten the fact that Viru is Fresh( after 3 months rest ) and Ready for scoring runs.Only the issue is how far his shoulders are ok or not? It seems his shoulders are all right and England be ready for his onslaught!

  • AnotherCricketFan on August 5, 2011, 2:58 GMT

    The debate here is more interesting than the upcoming Test match!

  • Natx on August 5, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    @Adeel Sohail - Where were you in 2007? India won the series in England and Strauss, Cook, Anderson, Tremlett, Prior, Bell, Peterson were all part of that squad. Go check the stats before talking. Can you show 1 test match (forget dreaming about series) that England won in India in the last 10 years? In that regard, SA were way better everywhere over the last 5 years. I rate and will support SA to be the next ideal #1. Not England any day. They may become #1 after this series. So what? Check out and let me know if they hold on to that position for more than 6 months.

  • on August 5, 2011, 2:12 GMT

    @Adeel Sohail, home advantage is what makes Cricket exciting and different from most other sports... the different pitches, the history, the colonial-like struggle... India have won a series in England, so have Pakistan, NZ, WI, SA, Aus... even SL has a 1-1 draw a 1-off Test win from 1998... India has lost to SA (2000) and AUS (2004) at home... beating the opposition in their OWN backyard is the ultimate thrill of Test Cricket... and England's No. 1 Status will be seriously contested by South Africa who haven't lost an AWAY series since 2006...

  • on August 5, 2011, 1:55 GMT

    Stop fighting and defendin your countries: The truth is home advantage is the key: england will never be able to beat india in Kolkota and india will never win a series in england: home advanatage is what which makes me feel boring about cricket: and to me australians were the real champion who had the best record home and away for more then a decade

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 5, 2011, 1:49 GMT

    @AndyZaltzmannsHair, let's say we two are playing and if I say "I will win" or "You will lose" gives same meaning technically but with different intentions. I am playing only to win but not to defeat you. So there is difference between ENG fan and Indian hater. Don't think everyone who supported ENG is an ENG fan. Yes I am an Indian but you don't know that I also support Pakistan if required because they have talent but not administration. I was happy when Pak fought in WC. I said 'HIS country' only to make him realize. But you are caught in my net. Nice to see you. By the way ENG is playing partly to win by showing their good performance and partly to defeat India by showing their ill approach (Mind games) like early Aussie.

  • on August 5, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    BCCI revokes NOC for county cricket as workload is heavy. But, they give full permission for the IPL.. How can India do well if their priorities are not right? County exposure can help players to get accustomed to English conditions and in general seaming conditions. This would help them to be more competent when India tours Eng, SA or Aus where the pitches are seaming and bouncy.. This needs to be addressed quickly and priorities set right!

  • AvidCricFan on August 5, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Lets not get caught up in hype around Sehwag. With two losses our expectations should be down to reality. When the team fails to live up to all hype and hoopla built around it, it get painful.

  • NKSathya on August 5, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    INDIA'S TEST MATCH CRICKET AGONY CAN BE SUMMARISED AS BELOW!

    SEHWAG.....can't score runs due to lack of practice GAMBHIR....can score runs against ZIMBABWE, WEST INDIES, BANGLADESH & NEW ZEALAND VIJAY, MUKUND.....in the wrong place! DRAVID......Great Wall of India, but cannot fight alone TENDULKAR.....every year cannot be lucky for him LAXMAN....cannot score more than 50-60-70 anytime DHONI......Keeping skills going down, thinking skills going down, batting skills - non-existent now, must concentrate on bowling now to retain his place!! RAINA......INCONSISTENT YUVRAJ......PAST HIS PRIME! HARBHAJAN...SHOULDN'T BE PLAYING FOR INDIA ANYMORE, ASHWIN MUST REPLACE HIM IMMEDIATELY IF INDIA WANTS TO WIN! MISHRA.....USELESS even in India OJHA.....WHAT IS HE GOOD FOR??? ZAHEER.....INDIA'S BEST BOWLER, BUT CAN PLAY ONLY 2 OR 3 TESTS IN A YEAR DUE TO INJURIES, IPL AND glamour SREESANTH: once a blue moon performer, rude comedian PRAVEEN......makes most of his opportunities, faster than Ashwin

  • on August 5, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    I don't agree with "England's bowling being incisive", it was more a case of India bastsman as being laden footed and getting into bad positions...if they apply themselves here and at Edgbaston, it could turn out to be a high scoring thriller!

  • strategic_blunder on August 5, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    @ Sharda Ugra, this is a key observation I was awaiting "He may have a new, streamlined look".....Only this tells me that he will have an impact in the remaining matches....Not sure if anyone else has observed that Sehwag is at his best when he is trim and fit (i.e. last tour of Australia). He is more hungry (for runs) and his temperament and coordination far superior....There goes English hopes of being no.1 team.....

  • merchant187 on August 5, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    Team India you will always be the best for us, as you have won the world cup for us and Team England u guys are only good at your own grounds , I bet you if you go play in Bangladesh or Ireland or even pakistan you will fall flat..lol. So it does not matter what happens to this series... England you aint going to win no world cup .. cricket nor soccer.. keep dreaming.even if you get the No 1 status in test cricket wont be there for too long and in ODI you cant be No 1 as well.

  • on August 5, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    England is already the #1 test team, regardless of the results here

  • Dr.Vindaloo on August 4, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    Can't see Sehwag making any difference. All very well swinging through the line on a flat track but he doesn't have the technique to counter Anderson, Broad & co on a seaming wicket. In a best case scenario a quick 30 but India need a measured hundred to give them any chance of competing.

  • Iddo555 on August 4, 2011, 23:08 GMT

    @nampally The series will be over by the time the oval comes around, England will be 3-0 up, series won and number 1 spot secured, India will be playing for pride and trying to stop a whitewash

  • on August 4, 2011, 23:01 GMT

    English supporters you are still not no. 1.. lets wait and see until the end of this series....

  • on August 4, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    @Thomas: buddy, its good to dream but maybe you dont know that if england wants to be no 1, they have to win series by the margin of 2 match which is not going to happen. 4 th test is definately out of ur hands as zaheer, gambhir and sehwag will be playing so forget about winning the 4th test. and regarding the 3rd test, time will tell u.

  • JustOUT on August 4, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    Looks like God has arrived to save the poor fellows. :). Funny

  • on August 4, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    I agree with demonbowler. "optional practice session" shows how little India care about their No, 1 test ranking and how much they care about money in the IPL. With this attitude, given a couple of years, they'll lose test matches to Bangladesh and Ireland, much more worthy opponents.

  • franklins on August 4, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    @tejjosh hey you missed Tendulkar in the squad.

  • on August 4, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    Hail the new King. TOp two teams are the English and SA. SA under Kirsten will be able to meet england as they have good bowling Pace and Tahir the spinner..

  • swordfish8 on August 4, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Its a good idea Sehwag is back, ojha is good, but I would put my money on Ashwin, Indian cricket is like INDIAN CINEMA the hero has to badly beaten up and then the come back.......... ;) I am sure Team India has something good in store.. watch the space.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 4, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    @kumarcoolbuddy: He may well be an English fan, so I'd say "HIS" country may well be doing just fine. Unless you're positing he's a Pakistan fan, in which case, "HIS" country is surviving just fine against all the odds. "YOUR" country, I take it India, will be heading down the same road of survival in a short while...

  • Silver666 on August 4, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    Indian Team 5 yrs from now

    Rahane Gambhir Pujara Kohli Rohit Raina Dhoni Chawla Umesh Yadav Sreesanth Ishant

  • aarmo on August 4, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    A fun article to read, unlike most that are published these days in cricket websites

  • Nampally on August 4, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    I personally feel that Zaheer should not play in Edgbaston so that he has a better chance of showing up near his peak fitness for the Oval test. He is very much a person in repairs. Gambhir must get some batting practice along with Sehwag, Dhoni & Raina. Tendulkar is also badly in need of some more work out in the nets and in the game. So he needs to play. India should stick with Sree, Ishant & kumar for bowling with Raina being the off spinner and Mishra the leg spinner.As is widely expected, India's sinking morale will be going up a few notches with the return of Sehwag to open the innings with Gambhir.Although they are both short of match practice, it is the best Indian opening pair of past 5 years at least.If they click, then the game is ON. Each Indian batsman must play responsibly & score.This is a must win Test.Except for missing Yuvraj, this is the best Indian batting. Inclusion of Mishra may pose England some head aches, if thwkt. is taking spin. He was great on WI.pitches.

  • on August 4, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    india will level the series 2-2 if they play with full strength

  • on August 4, 2011, 20:40 GMT

    "the word ginger is used more often in reference to Zaheers fitness than in Chinese takeaway menus." -- just fantastic comment

  • demon_bowler on August 4, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    "Optional practice session" -- says it all, doesn't it?

  • hjthespawn on August 4, 2011, 20:34 GMT

    I highly doubt this game will decide India's fate. The Indians have showed up on this tour looking rather jaded and uninterested. A good performance in this practice match will be a decent way to start their comeback.

  • Yazdegerd on August 4, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    India needs to more players to win next two matches. Sunil Gowasker and Kapil Dev. One is available for commentary though.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 4, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    What do u mean by more than just a tour game? If this pitch and field size in standards of test match grounds then it will be helpful. Somerset exactly proved to be a useless tour match. ENG is basically planning these tour matches to be useful for themselves than for visitors.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 4, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    @Muhammad Ali, great analysis. By the how is ur country prospering in cricket now?

  • on August 4, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    now this is real begining of series..2 teams playing each other with full strength..india was without their regular opener n now real test starts for broad anderson n bresnan with all player playing on their position.

  • StatisticsRocks on August 4, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I still dont understand why Kohli is there. We all know what Fidel Edwards did to him in WI. He is no good player of short balls either. Where is Pujara? Is he is still on the injured list. I dont know how much Sehwag can do without having palyed test matchfor so long. He will be up against one of the best swing bowling units and we all know how vulnerable he is outside the off stump, especially early in the innings. Good Luck to Sehwag and India. Let's hope that we will fight till the end and not surrender meekly like we did in the previous two games.

  • Shiv_gowd on August 4, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    All four test matches will be lost.. I feel sorry for Dravid Mr Dhakka of India..

  • StatisticsRocks on August 4, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    @Muhammed Ali: Tell me something new. As if we care for ur support LOLZ.

  • Dilmah82 on August 4, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    What is the point of this 2-day game? This and the 3-day Somerset game were a waste of time, and its no wonder India are in this position. A total lack of preparation for thsi tour! I thought SL was bad enough with a few players ordered to arrive late to play IPL, but the Indian preparation (or lack of it) has been far worse! If the BCCI was serious about coming and winnign the Test series they would have request at a minimum three 4-day tour games to acclimatise to conditions, and find form and fitness. They only have themselves to blame!

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    i think dravid laxman and ishant must be rested for the tomorrow's match we have already seen in the previous days of key players being get injured during the play(gautam and trott).they are playing regular cricket since IPL.they must have some rest.india must test their bench strength.they must play with 5 bowlers for tomorrow with giving perhaps last opportunity to mukund in 3rd position to prove himself IF ANY ONE OF OPENER IS UNWILLING TO PLAY..virat and ojha along with mishra and zaheer should play tomorrow.my playing XI says Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Suresh Raina,Sachin Tendulkar,Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni Pragyan Ojha,Zaheer Khan,Munaf Patel,Amit Mishra,S Sreesanth.india must go field first if they win the toss

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    i think dravid laxman and ishant must be rested for the tomorrow's match we have already seen in the previous days of key players being get injured during the play(gautam and trott).they are playing regular cricket since IPL.they must have some rest.india must test their bench strength.they must play with 5 bowlers for tomorrow with giving perhaps last opportunity to mukund in 3rd position to prove himself IF ANY ONE OF OPENER IS UNWILLING TO PLAY..virat and ojha along with mishra and zaheer should play tomorrow.my playing XI says Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Suresh Raina,Sachin Tendulkar,Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni Pragyan Ojha,Zaheer Khan,Munaf Patel,Amit Mishra,S Sreesanth.india must go field first if they win the toss

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    india will lose 4 nil.....go eng go

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    all the best..do well guys

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    all the best..do well guys

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    india will lose 4 nil.....go eng go

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    i think dravid laxman and ishant must be rested for the tomorrow's match we have already seen in the previous days of key players being get injured during the play(gautam and trott).they are playing regular cricket since IPL.they must have some rest.india must test their bench strength.they must play with 5 bowlers for tomorrow with giving perhaps last opportunity to mukund in 3rd position to prove himself IF ANY ONE OF OPENER IS UNWILLING TO PLAY..virat and ojha along with mishra and zaheer should play tomorrow.my playing XI says Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Suresh Raina,Sachin Tendulkar,Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni Pragyan Ojha,Zaheer Khan,Munaf Patel,Amit Mishra,S Sreesanth.india must go field first if they win the toss

  • on August 4, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    i think dravid laxman and ishant must be rested for the tomorrow's match we have already seen in the previous days of key players being get injured during the play(gautam and trott).they are playing regular cricket since IPL.they must have some rest.india must test their bench strength.they must play with 5 bowlers for tomorrow with giving perhaps last opportunity to mukund in 3rd position to prove himself IF ANY ONE OF OPENER IS UNWILLING TO PLAY..virat and ojha along with mishra and zaheer should play tomorrow.my playing XI says Virender Sehwag,Gautam Gambhir,Suresh Raina,Sachin Tendulkar,Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni Pragyan Ojha,Zaheer Khan,Munaf Patel,Amit Mishra,S Sreesanth.india must go field first if they win the toss

  • Dilmah82 on August 4, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    What is the point of this 2-day game? This and the 3-day Somerset game were a waste of time, and its no wonder India are in this position. A total lack of preparation for thsi tour! I thought SL was bad enough with a few players ordered to arrive late to play IPL, but the Indian preparation (or lack of it) has been far worse! If the BCCI was serious about coming and winnign the Test series they would have request at a minimum three 4-day tour games to acclimatise to conditions, and find form and fitness. They only have themselves to blame!

  • StatisticsRocks on August 4, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    @Muhammed Ali: Tell me something new. As if we care for ur support LOLZ.

  • Shiv_gowd on August 4, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    All four test matches will be lost.. I feel sorry for Dravid Mr Dhakka of India..

  • StatisticsRocks on August 4, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I still dont understand why Kohli is there. We all know what Fidel Edwards did to him in WI. He is no good player of short balls either. Where is Pujara? Is he is still on the injured list. I dont know how much Sehwag can do without having palyed test matchfor so long. He will be up against one of the best swing bowling units and we all know how vulnerable he is outside the off stump, especially early in the innings. Good Luck to Sehwag and India. Let's hope that we will fight till the end and not surrender meekly like we did in the previous two games.

  • on August 4, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    now this is real begining of series..2 teams playing each other with full strength..india was without their regular opener n now real test starts for broad anderson n bresnan with all player playing on their position.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on August 4, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    @Muhammad Ali, great analysis. By the how is ur country prospering in cricket now?