Middlesex v Indians, one-dayer, Lord's

Indians turn focus to shorter forms

Sidharth Monga in London

August 21, 2014

Comments: 115 | Text size: A | A

Suresh Raina and Umesh Yadav are among India's new arrivals © AFP

The lack of intensity in India's tour matches before the Test series might have come in for question and criticism, but India are not likely to deviate anytime soon. On Friday they will return to their only venue of triumph, Lord's, where they will play Middlesex in a non-List-A one-day game where any number of players can take part provided only 11 bat and only 11 are on the field at a given time. India's argument is that they want everyone in their squad to have a hit in the middle.

Middlesex will be captained by Eoin Morgan, and will include Steve Finn, who has been on the mend and nearly made it to the Test XI against India. Ireland's opener Paul Stirling will be another attraction. The five-match ODI series starts on Monday, in Bristol. India last won an ODI outside Asia more than a year ago, in Zimbabwe. Since then they have lost six, in South Africa and New Zealand.

India have had new hands on deck for the ODIs. Suresh Raina, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav (who, many felt, should have been here for the Tests), Dhawal Kulkarni, Sanju Samson and Karn Sharma have joined the team. Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Gautam Gambhir, Ishwar Pandey and Naman Ojha have gone back. Cheteshwar Pujara won't be playing ODIs, but is likely to stay back and get in some county matches towards the end of the season.

More closely watched will be the new support staff. Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar will take over from Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes; Duncan Fletcher will find Ravi Shastri every time he looks over the shoulder. Penney and Dawes conducted two training sessions even after the big announcement made on Tuesday. They had been asked to wait till the replacements arrived. Their final training session before they go on "leave" was sparsely attended: only Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the Test side attended.

Middlesex squad: Eoin Morgan (capt.), Joe Denly, Neil Dexter, Steven Finn, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Ryan Higgins, Dawid Malan, Ravi Patel, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Gurjit Sandhu, John Simpson and Paul Stirling

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 23, 2014, 14:55 GMT)

I have the highest respect for Dravid. Yet, I would like to know, what he did as a batting consultant /mentor?

For the first time, I feel uncomfortable with his stance, that everything was hunky dory with the coaching team consisting of Fletcher, Dawes, & Penny. And he himself, with a specific assignment, he accepted.

I had appreciated every other view he had held in the past, on every issue he cared to comment or asked upon to comment... but not this time :-(

Posted by Chris_P on (August 22, 2014, 19:39 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster. Come on my friend, you follow cricket. Have a look at this Middlesex team, there aren't too many familiar faces from their top playing XI, let's keep our views in perspective. Of course, given recent history India should go into the ODI's as slight favourites. The pitches will be different, England, except for a brief period, have never really embraced one dayers like many other countries. Practice matches, if you have played them, are there to iron out kinks, get you ready for the serious stuff. No cricketer I have known, played with or against have ever placed practice matches as a yardstick to anything that may occur. Cheers.

Posted by Bobby_Talyarkhan on (August 22, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

Just checking Suresh Raina's run of ODI scores since he scored his last 50 over a year ago (1 August 2013) against Zimbabwe.

39, 17, 16, 28, 0, 23, 34, 14, 36, 18, 35, 31, 15*, 27, 25

Not sure why he is still in the team?

Posted by   on (August 22, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster, your points are well taken, no one who has been regularly watching ODI in the past couple of years or so will say england has definite advantage in this odi series. This series starts with almost equal chance for both england and india. It is too early to tell who will eventually win this odi series but england does not have a huge advantage in this series, India will definitely do much better than what they did in the SA & NZ odi serieses conducted recently; although i earnestly hope england eventually wins this odi series.

Posted by android_user on (August 22, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

As a middlesex fan who was at the game today I would say that India looked less than convincing to be bowled out be a team who's white ball cricket this season has been horrific. If they get a total of 230 against the England team and have can only use eleven players (still not sure why it was unlimited in this game) England would chase it. And finally if India are such good players of spin how did Rayner get a double wicket maiden and go for less than four an over

Posted by   on (August 22, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (August 22, 2014, 16:14 GMT):

India plays ODIs better; no doubt.

But, to put today's practice match in perspective, we may keep in mind that except for a couple of players, the rest who were played by Middlesex are not from their first choice XI. Many were from their second string. I am not discounting the Indian performance & the pleasant sight of Indian players regaining their confidence.

Posted by Rajesh.Kumar on (August 22, 2014, 16:38 GMT)

These are practice matches where the idea is that each player of the visiting side gets to practice their skill. In that sense it was a good game for India. Although, it is better to win such games and than lose them, but not much can be read in them. Apart from Finn and Morgan, I have not heard of even a single one of those players. Therefore, the difficulty level of playing England will be much higher than this, and India management, I am sure, are aware of that. Looking forward to the first ODI on Monday.

Posted by wapuser on (August 22, 2014, 16:34 GMT)

Wat was sanju samson doing after ashwin and jadeja? Hes is a good top order batsman..he should have given an opportunity to get used to the conditions....its very sad to see rohith sharma still in d team after all these failures..after seeing the procedures sanju will be likely to warm the bench for entire series .poor kid

Posted by   on (August 22, 2014, 16:31 GMT)

Both Shami & Umesh Yadav do not seem to be in their elements. Do they have a problem with the Duke balls? Or misplaced their radars? What is going on?

Good to see new bowlers Kulkarni & Karn Sharma step up to the English challenge.

Dhoni can safely hand over the big gloves to the young boy Sanju Samson.

Nice to see Rayudu & Kohli getting some runs. Hope, Kohli's form is returning with the white balls :-)

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 22, 2014, 16:14 GMT)

I can already see many England fans providing excuses for Middlesex's pathetic show. I am not saying for once that India are going to annihilate England in the ODIs; but some perspective and honesty is needed from English supporters here. The fact remains that Middlesex are one of England's TOP county sides. Now, they have been comprihensively thrashed by a young Indian side. That to me speaks of two things: one, the Indian team played well; two, India CAN play in these conditions if they get their minds and attitude right. If England think they have already won the ODIs even before the action has started, this is a stern reminder of what they can expect from India.

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