India in England 2014

'They know how to work around techniques not suited to English conditions'

Sanjay Manjrekar analyses the strengths and weaknesses of India's top-order contenders touring England

Sanjay Manjrekar

July 5, 2014

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A
"If he tries to drive every ball he could land into trouble"

In spite of not having a sound technique, Shikhar Dhawan has shown some discipline with the way he batted in New Zealand. Avoiding driving the ball early on and being cautious while playing the short ball will work well for him in England.

"He can graft and play for time"

When M Vijay plays Test cricket, he becomes more of a defensive opening batsman, which helped him succeed to an extent in South Africa. The willingness to leave balls alone outside the off stump has been serving him well. His front-foot movement is circumspect, but avoiding playing the ball on the up at the start of his innings should help him notch a couple of substantial innings on the tour.

"A guy who can play the marathon innings"

Making a comeback is never easy, but Gautam Gambhir can take heart from the fact that he's got hard-earned runs on overseas tours. Judging the length accurately to leave balls outside the off stump well should help him preserve his wicket and gain confidence as his innings progresses. With his experience as an opener and ability to play spin well, he could get a look-in in the middle order if circumstances prevail.

"Tremendous mental reserves"

Decisive footwork, playing the ball with soft hands, and tremendous concentration levels have helped shaped Cheteshwar Pujara's career thus far. Lack of pace in English conditions could hamper his ability to rotate strike, which he should look to improve upon. With no glaring weakness in technique and a huge appetite for runs, there is no reason why Pujara should not succeed in England.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. @sanjaymanjrekar

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

@Ahsan Rafiq u r spot on that these guys r weak on their stumps & tend to play balls of their stumps towards leg side. Sanjay also spotted the same weakness & Aussies found it too in Dravid but a lil too Late Amla was exposed by Paki bowler Irfan.

But for stump aimed attack u need strong leg side field with straightish mid on that stops boundaries & singles & certainly these blocks don't have power to strike smashing 4's let alone sixes, their 4's just roll over the line. So these defensive players can easily be thwarted of runs with field placements.

Posted by Sexysteven on (July 7, 2014, 4:32 GMT)

Yea India can beat that English conditions but that depends on dhoni if he thinks five draws is beating the English conditions then he is misguided India have a talented team but much like Cook there's only so much skill u can show when u have a captain that is negative defensive unimaginative and not prepared to gamble I can only hope that the two captains allow us the fans to see how talented and skilful these teams can be but I highly doubt it I suspect it will be safety first cricket for 25days unfortunately

Posted by sudhindranath on (July 7, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

"You got 6 batsmen , 4 bowlers + 1 fast bowling all rounder. "

Who is the "fast bowling all rounder"?! Binny? India does not have any real fast bowler. And Binny is the slowest of them all! Even Ishant Sharma who is a hit-the-deck type bowler is no threat to the batsmen because for every good ball he bowls, he sprays the next 3 or 4 around and the batsmen thrash those for runs..

Posted by   on (July 6, 2014, 19:31 GMT)

My Eleven- 1.Shikhar Dhawan 2.Gautam Gambhir 3.Cheteswar Pujara 4.Virat Kohli 5.Rohit Sharma 6.Ajinkiya Rahane 7.MS Dhoni 8.Ravindra Jadeja 9.Bhuvenswar Kumar 10.Mohammad Shami 11.Ishant Sharma/Pankaj Singh..!!

Posted by wapuser on (July 6, 2014, 17:36 GMT)

Although Dhoni and fletcher know bedt which 11 they should field. I personally believe gambhir should be there to face the new ball ( ideally the 2nd new ball). Because dhawan is the only specialist leftie batsman. Plus gambhir has experience of playing in England ( county and test matches). Gambhir is also a very good player of spin. My team: rahane, dhawan, pujara, kohli, gambhir, Dhoni, jaddu,binny, shammi, bhuvi and any other pace bowler.

Posted by Zycr9 on (July 6, 2014, 16:26 GMT)

1) Vijay/Gambhir 2) Dhawan 3) Pujara 4) Kohli 5) Rahane 6) Dhoni 7) Binny 8) Jaddu 9) Bhuvi 10) Shami 11) Iswar pandeyIshanth/Varun aron

This is much better balanced side. You got 6 batsmen , 4 bowlers + 1 fast bowling all rounder.

There is absolutely no place for Rohit who is walking wicket , careless, arrogant, terrible fielder who missed some important catches, expensive bowler and painful batsman.

Ashwin tough luck , depends on wicket. Unlikely that they will prepare turning track. so he has to sit out. Saha is again tough luck as Rahane has done well in SA and NZ. He has shown lot of fight and didn't throw away his wicket like Rohit sharma. Ishanth sharma is gamble. Sometimes he comes up with good performance but other times very expensive with some pretty loose balls for batsman to hit nicely. But I doubt Dhoni will go with this playing X1. Most likely he will continue with same mistakes by choosing Rohit and IShanth in these sort of playing conditions.

Posted by HennopsRiverEnd on (July 6, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

@Ahsan Rafiq. What cricket you watching?! Amla is probably the best timer of a ball in world cricket.

Posted by wasimahm on (July 6, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

Pujara is probably the key. Why do people say he's too defensive? Frankly there aren't too many as good as him in reversing their strike rates. His hundred in SA in the first Test stands testimony to this. 50 off 127 balls and he took just 43 deliveries for his next 50. That's a perfect No.3 for you.

There's one area of concern though. And it's while playing offies of all people. That is when the ball doesn't spin and is heading for top of off he tends to play inside the line. Nathan Lyon and Swann have troubled him with those kind of deiveries. It would be interesting when he's facing Root and Moeen Ali. Root in particular since he doesn't turn the ball much.

Posted by chrismpofu on (July 6, 2014, 12:07 GMT)

I am really worried for rohit ,who seems to be a little too casual in his shot selection and dosen't have good concentration either.vijay also needs to score big runs.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

@Ahsan Rafiq.So its soo easy?You mean to say the only reason these guys score is that other teams haven't discovered this foolproof wisest of all strategies??Please..first of all dont compare Pujara with the other two specially Amla who has just about every shot in his armory and can score quickly if he needs to as evident from his ODI strike rate of 90+.Secondly both Dravid and Amla are greats who dont get stuck at their place due to some fancy field placing by the bowling side and Pujara is possibly one of the best young batsmen around...and yeah bowling on the pads of these batsmen is possibly the most foolish strategy of all.Chances are 6 out of 6 balls they will find the huge gap between your short and long fielders with striking ease..To sum up there is no "Easiest" way to "tackle" these batsmen.Your bowlers need to bowl very good to get these blokes out.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

The problem for India is the 2nd New Ball while batting. Last tour, it happened consistently. In 2011 tour, the 2nd test, when Stuart Broad picked up a hattrick. My opinion is, we need to go in with Vijay & Dhawan as openers, fllwd by Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Gambhir & Dhoni. If at all, we're so much keen on having 5 bowlers, drop Rahane or Dhawan and go for Stuart Binny. We need Gambhir in the team, and we need either him or Vijay at the time of 2nd new ball. Period!

Posted by   on (July 6, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

Team should be Gambhir,Vijay,Pujara,Kohli,Rahane,Binny,Dhoni,Ashwin, Kumar,Sami,Pankaj

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 21:33 GMT)

THe easiest way to tackle Pujara's, Dravid's, Amla's who cannot hit six & have limited timing is to block their singles by keeping short mid wicket short cover, keeping mid on & mid off straight & bowling at their pads.............Every time Aussies did it to Dravid he failed...............Their only boundary shot of good length or short ball is edge so block their edges too

Posted by darsh127 on (July 5, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

The Ideal Team For Me: Gambhir Rahane Pujara Kohli Rohit Binny Dhoni Ashwin Bhuvi Shami Pankaj

Posted by NS.27 on (July 5, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

my eleven would be....dhawan,gambhir,pujara,virat,rahane,,dhoni,binny,jaddu,ashwin,bhuvi,shami....this will be a perfect combination as the wicket will starting from day3..than both our spinners could take the charge.!!!

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

No doubt the playing Eleven will be 1) Vijay 2) Dhawan 3) Pujara 4) kohli 5) Rohit 6) Rahaney 7) Dhoni 8) Jaddu 9) Bhuvi 10) Shami 11) Pankaj

Isahant can't be the part of team any more.....even Bhuvi will not get chance in all 5 matches.....I think defencive DHONI will not give chance to Binny-Ishwar-Gambir and rest. They has to wet the benches in their jolly trip to England

Jumbo team with same eleven

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

England Are To Good For Indian Side. Jimmy,Broad and Plunkett Will Crush them.

Posted by lovepork on (July 5, 2014, 15:35 GMT)

My 11: Gambhir, Dhawan, Pujara Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Binny, Ashwin, Jadeja, Ishant, Shami.

Posted by Nampally on (July 5, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Good summary of the essential batting qualities to be successful in England. Judging & BOT leaving the balls outside the off stump well alone was the single major factor that brought Gambhir & Sehwag lot of grief in 2011 Tour. Gambhir is stlll in the squad, preferred over Uthppa.. Dhawan, Vijay & Gambhir, all have a tough challenge ahead of them, who ever opens. A good opening stand is essential for a good Indian total. Pujara & Kohli following the openers have to be prepared to play like Openers, too. However the biggest question here is whether Dhoni wlll continue to expect miracle from his bowlers to take 20 wkts, having just 3 specialist bowlers in his XI as he did in SA & NZ. If he plays 4 specialist bowlers + 1 allrounder, he has more balanced side.A god balanced I can win the matches but a poor Captain can lose them by NOT selecting right guys in is XI. For England, the 12 is already selected. Cook has to drop just one- Dhoni has to pick his XI form 18- more chances of errors!

Posted by arup_g on (July 5, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

India's top order vs the new ball.

My XI - Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Binny, Ashwin, Kumar, Shami, Ishant.

If Dhawan fails in the first test, let Gambhir come in. I've picked Binny as the all-rounder because we need that 5th bowler, and he has shown he is a capable batsman too!

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 12:47 GMT)

my eleven is vijay. gumbir.pujara.kohli. rahane.binny. dhoni. jadeja.ashwin. buvi. shami. pandey or ishanth. we need five bowlers with two spinners because of slow and dry picthes out there in England.binny jadeja and ash will bat for rohit.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 11:34 GMT)

@Pieterfan We are not discussing Dravid here it's Pujara. Dravid was an expert at loosening his hands and guiding to 3rd man which he developed over the years. Pujara yet to get there. Also he has a bad knee and sprinting isn't his strongest suit.

Posted by RB007 on (July 5, 2014, 7:41 GMT)

How does this batting unit stack up against the Fab Five (Sachin, Dravid, VVS, Ganguly and Sehwag) who made runs all across the world? It is early days yet, but the signs are good. The simple test is whether they can make 40,000 runs collectively to emulate them. Kohli and Pujara already look like 10,000 run batsmen. Vijay, Dhawan, Rahane and Rohit look good enough to get at least 5,000 each. So 40,000 looks very much on. The Fab Five were the pioneers who broke the myth of Indian batsmen being flat track bullies. This lot looks good enough to carry forward their legacy. Now if only India can get two world class bowlers!

Posted by PIETERFAN on (July 5, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

I don't agree with Sanjay's comment that Pujara will not be able to rotate strike as he cannot use the pace of the bowlers to get runs in the third man region. In the last tour where Rahul Dravid scored 3 hundreds most of his runs came in the third man-point arc through controlled shots.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

Considering the fact that pitches we have seen in england this summer and in the ashes last year, were very slow and dry, and suited the batsmen for most of the time. Those who have the ability to hang around and work their way with singles initially will be successful on these pitches for sure. Indian bowlers have to bowl miraculously well here to get 20 wickets.

I don't think the conditions will suit Indian bowler's much and even if the ball swings early with the new ball, english batsmen are still good enough to get through it. Pace bowlers who are aggressive can utilize the conditions with little bit movement and bounce.

India need Shami,Aaron and Yadav who are good bowlers and can swing the ball at good pace. Bhuvi can be considered but i don't think there's any reason to go with the likes of Pandey. Pankaj can get bounce in SA and AUS but here in eng you need to have a bit of pace and zip in your bowling to succeed. Morkel and Steyn bowled well here but Philander failed.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

Considering the fact that pitches we have seen in england this summer and in the ashes last year, were very slow and dry, and suited the batsmen for most of the time. Those who have the ability to hang around and work their way with singles initially will be successful on these pitches for sure. Indian bowlers have to bowl miraculously well here to get 20 wickets.

I don't think the conditions will suit Indian bowler's much and even if the ball swings early with the new ball, english batsmen are still good enough to get through it. Pace bowlers who are aggressive can utilize the conditions with little bit movement and bounce.

India need Shami,Aaron and Yadav who are good bowlers and can swing the ball at good pace. Bhuvi can be considered but i don't think there's any reason to go with the likes of Pandey. Pankaj can get bounce in SA and AUS but here in eng you need to have a bit of pace and zip in your bowling to succeed. Morkel and Steyn bowled well here but Philander failed.

Posted by manas_02 on (July 5, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

I just hope Dhoni doesn't take the defensive approach and play 6 batsmen and 4 bowlers with him batting at 7. I hope they will field a line up that was indicated through the warm up games by playing 5 batsman/4 bowlers and Binny as an all-rounder with Rohit making way for him. Unfortunately I want Rohit to play but Rahane definitely is the more deserving candidate. Good luck India!

Posted by dirtydozen on (July 5, 2014, 6:02 GMT)

My batting line up would be 1) Vijay 2) Pujara 3) Rahane 4) Kohli 5) sharma 6) Binny 7) Dhoni) 8)ashwin 9) kumar 10) shami 11)pandey/singh I prefer such a line up because if one of the bowlers get injured then dhoni can use binny as an alternative.

Posted by neetdhan on (July 5, 2014, 5:51 GMT)

India should play with following team in first test : 1) Vijay 2) Dhawan 3) Pujara 4) Kohli 5) Rahane 6) Dhoni 7) Jadeja 8) Binny 9) Bhuvi 10) Shami 11) Ishant/Aaron

India has to go in with Vijay & Dhawan because they did well in SA & NZ tour. There is nothing to say about Cheteshwar, Virat and Rahane for No. 3, 4, & 5 spot. Dhoni should bat at No. 6. Five bowlers will help India to check England batting line-up.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 5:16 GMT)

Dhoni needs to be aggressive as captian as was Michael Clarke was in ashes 2014 in Australia against England, it's tha simple fact that if your 4 bowlers can't win Match for you, go with 5 to get that extra bowler advantage. So my team for 1st test is Vijay, dhawan, pujara, kohli, rahane, Dhoni, Jadeja, kumar, shami, I. Sharma, pankaj singh/I pandey.

Posted by roversgate on (July 5, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

@MasterMindGupta: And what reason is there to drop Rahane? The man who scored a 96 in SA with the tail and then a century in NZ? Add to the fact that he looked good in both warm-up games. People really tend to forget Rahane so often, it is sad. I agree with all your other picks though. I would say drop Dhawan and pick Gambhir because Dhawan hasn't adjusted to English conditions yet, Dhawan could play the second test onwards.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

my team for the 1st test - Dhawan Gambhir Pujara Kohli Rohit Binny Dhoni Jadeja Bhuvi Shami Aaron

Posted by MasterMindGupta on (July 5, 2014, 4:07 GMT)

India should play the following team in 1st Test:

1) Vijay 2) Dhawan 3) Pujara 4) Kohli 5) Gambhir 6) Dhoni 7) Binny 8) Jadeja 9) Bhuvi 10) Shami 11) Pankaj

Ashwin has to realize that Jadeja is our best spinner in overseas conditions. Ishant Sharma has to be given the boot for good for a long long time. Rohit Sharma had a disastrous time in SA & NZ as well. He has to be dropped from that middle order at any cost as soon as possible. Binny deserves a go as a seaming allrounder in the team after his good show in Bangladesh & 2nd Warm-Up game with the bat. Dhoni has to take bigger responsibility with the bat & should bat at 6 to ensure allrounders & tail wags with him.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 3:39 GMT)

Ashwin has to play an attacking role, that is the only way Ash can succeed overseas, this series is really important from his point of view.

Posted by indianzen on (July 5, 2014, 2:48 GMT)

Sanjay, rather than Batsmen, we are looking for Ashwin and Jadeja to succeed. I have confidence in Kohli, Rahane, Pujara and Vijay as they are technically sound batsmen. Bowlers to be frank, they lack confidence on themselves...

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