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Why India have had success in this Champions Trophy

The unexpected conditions in England have favoured India's adventurous batting

Harsha Bhogle

June 14, 2013

Comments: 87 | Text size: A | A

Martin Guptill pulls one fine, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, Group A, Cardiff, June 9, 2013
T20 has shown batsmen that some strokes, usually considered too risky for the longer forms, can actually be percentage shots if the surface is conducive © Associated Press
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In the build-up to the Champions Trophy when everyone was debating the ideal composition of the Indian team, the effect of possible early-summer conditions in England dominated conversation. The picture being painted was one of grassy, even damp pitches, the ball was expected to swing and seam a great deal, and, with good reason, there was concern over India's batting, which was expected to be flamboyant but not quite resilient enough. With two new balls, we thought it would swing throughout the innings and that old-fashioned Test match batting would be the way to go.

We are just halfway past the league phase as I write this and while teams have preferred to bat like in Test cricket for a major part and like in T20 thereafter, and while it has been cloudy and cold, everything else has been quite contrary to expectations. The pitches have been dry, the ball isn't exactly nipping away in all directions, and teams are checking out their spin-bowling options. A traditional swing-and-seam team like New Zealand are using three spinners to deliver half their overs, and even South Africa have, after initial hesitation, resorted to Aaron Phangiso, Robin Peterson and JP Duminy. The new ball hasn't swung: from release to batsman, it has produced straight lines, not wicked arcs like you think you might see in England. Add the two factors and you can see why India's batsmen have enjoyed themselves so far.

Indeed, India's refreshingly stroke-filled approach has been one of two talking points, with England's ability to reverse the ball rather early being the other. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have batted with freedom, they have hit on the rise, they have hit in the air, and they have used their feet delightfully. And they haven't been alone. In doing so, India's batsmen have reignited the debate about whether the IPL is scaling up batsmanship in the 50-over game or diminishing generally accepted skills.

While in India it has become fashionable to look upon the IPL as a cauldron of evil, there has been relatively less debate on the impact it has had on playing the game. I suspect batsmanship is undergoing a change in respect to what is considered risky and what no longer is. Where classical batsmanship, as embodied by the English top three of Cook, Bell and Trott, would nudge the ball, place it in the gaps, continue to put a price on a wicket, India's batsmen are happy to hit through the line, search for boundaries even after the Powerplay overs are gone, and hit the ball in the air quite consistently. I think it is likely that T20 is showing that the risk associated with certain shots was overestimated, that hitting over cover, for example, may actually be a percentage shot if the surface is conducive.

The IPL may have become a laboratory for testing out new shots - certainly it seems AB de Villiers has used it that way, but it is not alone, because two outstanding young players haven't been part of it, which leads me to think it is a more global trend.

Just before the Champions Trophy began, Martin Guptill produced two stroke-filled hundreds, and his shot-making during his 189 in Southampton was, by all accounts, breathtaking. Young Jos Buttler, even if he is currently batting down the order, is showing the way for a new generation of English batsmen. It seems there is a fresh air blowing across the cricket world and we must respect it.

The other interesting cricketing issue has been the ability of the England bowlers to get the ball to reverse so early in the game against Australia, and indeed in the last one-day game against New Zealand. Now, reverse swing has always been looked at with a lot of suspicion, like the black sheep in the family, and so every time it pops up when it isn't expected to, tongues start wagging. So there is a conspiracy theory, the presence of a particular player, for example, but also an interesting cricketing aspect.

Against Australia, England's bowlers bowled a lot of deliveries cross-seam. It could be because word is that this batch of white Kookaburra balls isn't swinging at all, so roughening up one side becomes more important. It would require the bowlers to land the ball consistently on the same side, because the two halves have to become dissimilar. If that is indeed the case, we are seeing another very interesting development, one that could play a major role in the Ashes later this year.

For these two reasons alone, this has been an excellent tournament so far. I won't be surprised at all if it isn't the last of its kind.

Harsha Bhogle is a television presenter, writer, and a commentator on IPL and other cricket. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by SteveBlack on (June 17, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

I think it is too early to call this a successful transformation of Indian team. One welcome change that is likely to stay regardless of conditions is the fielding. This could arguably the best fielding side India ever had. As for batting, I don't think India had been tested as well as they could be under England conditions. As for bowling, Indian pace bowling still has not looked consistent. There is positives to take especially in the team morale, but I would wait and watch. Indian fans gets to idolizing mode so soon and can change to cursing and witch hunting in no time; just like Pakistan is doing now.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (June 17, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

This Indian team has a similar feel to the side that won the inaugural T20 World cup. Good aggressive opening combination. Great fielding and a certain fearlessness about the aporach to batting. This doesnt of course necessarily mean that they will win the tournament. The weather has turned and on a given day anything can happen. Having said that, Bhuvaneshwar will play a key role and Umesh, if he can swing it at pace. But he must land it right

Posted by Azhar..Kazi on (June 17, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

I think this tournament has been the best performance of Indians ever from all three departments of the game.

Each mach they have played witnessed at least one run out and that tells you the seriousness they have in fielding. Each match they have played first scored above 300 and where chased took less than the allocated overs, that tells you a lot about the batting which has been the strongest part of India anyway. The bowling unit has had success if not in all the matches but with the big teams like Australia and Pakistan.

If they keep this up and keep it consistent, then we might be there at the top of ICC ranking in all the formats very soon. Currently we are top in only ODIs..

Posted by   on (June 17, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

@king_dhoni : DRAVID make batting look difficult in english conditions??????? are you serious ??? for god's sake he got 3 centuries in last tour where non was able to stay for 10 overs..... for god's sake his average is 68 in english conditions in tests....and 40 in odis.... and manjrekars average is 42 in england in odis and 37 in tests.....

check stats dude...

Posted by PeterJerome on (June 17, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

@SLSup Very well commented bro. Now start preparing some new excuses for when the truth finally hits you. All the Best to SL minus Sanga.

Posted by   on (June 17, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

what exactly is the point of this article...??? is author trying to criticize the team, that they can win because of helpful conditions????

i dont agree with harsha..... india are winning because they are playing good game....ofcourse the pitches are assisting batting somewhat.... its the same in every country for ODIs..... and its the same here for every other team.... we have seen some low scoring games, in fact PAK was not able to score more than 175 in any innings they played ( do you call that batting friendly ) , srilanka newzeland match was low scoring too...and remember indians don't have bowlers to take 10 wickets in BATTING friendly conditions... and they have taken all 10 wickets in all matches ( that proves the conditions are not quite batting friendly )

and i agree with many saying india doing good because of retirement of senior players..... senior players like VIRU, GAMBIR, ZAHEER, HARBAJAN would have been burden for the team in this tour.....

Posted by SLSup on (June 17, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Karthik301: the fact that India has not been beaten in 4 games is a given. The point I make is considering a) India didn't have to experience a wash-out and b) the playing up of their current standing in the Champion's Trophy is not as unique as the attempted hype over it by the author and some who've commented here.

As for your references to WI and young blood and not having rested (an advantage coming out of IPL) are not requisites for what Harsha has said or I've commented on.

I think the point I made was quite clear and succinct. Unless one takes offense!

Posted by Karthik301 on (June 17, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

@SLSup, The main purpose of this article as I can understand is the unbeaten session India has this season in spite of making drastic changes like omission of Sehwag/Gambhir/Zaheer/Harbhajan/Yuvraj and Sachin's retirement, who were the architects of India's success more often. You may argue that these guys were in bad form/ their best was over. But don't take credit away from the present team which has very less experience overseas. One good "away" series from India cannot make them the West Indies of the 70s or Aussies of the 99-00s, but it is a start given that they have virtually no rest and play more matches than any other team in an year.

Posted by SLSup on (June 17, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

India made it to semis, so has England and South Africa and soon NZ or SL. So what is the point of this article? They will ALL have succeeded in reaching the semis by end of Aus/SL game tomorrow. There is a difference between winning battles and winning the war. There are many examples of those who've won more battles but ended up losing the war.

Then, of course, there is the following: Aus could beat SL by the huge required margin to make it to semis, then meet India in finals and beat them and win the trophy with 4 overall wins over India's five by then. SL could do something similar if not identical - SL could win next three games and beat India in finals AND win the trophy with 4 wings over India's 5 to get to finals. Also, there is the possibility India could be beaten in semis and not make it to the finals.

India has not achieved anything unduly unique here to warrant the claims made. They have also being fortunate to have not had a game washed out.

Posted by khansaheb on (June 16, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

india can be succesful anwhere if their bowling ameliorates a bit more.....no doubt it is good....they can conquer all over the globe....batting is just awesome....no team is better than india especially in odis...they are beating everyside like as it is zimbabwe....fielding is looking better than even proteas and kiwis...hats off to them for just giving quality entertainment to the fans all over the globe....i am not astounded by their success...

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (June 16, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

Watching Dhawan and Karthick bat in Champions trophy makes me wonder how many more talented youngsters were denied chances because we like to indulge in over the hill players like Sehwag and Tendulkar. Tendulkar should have retired after 2011 world cup, but he chose to hang on for obvious reasons. And our Selectors didn't have the guts to sack him for non-performance.

Posted by bobpeecee on (June 16, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

The only reason the pitches are dry and more Indian like is purely for commercial reasons. The longer India are in the tournament the more money the ICC can make. Don't believe me? Watch in a few week the same pitches during the Ashes.

Posted by henchart on (June 16, 2013, 0:47 GMT)

@Ramy Singh Dayal: You seem to be stuck in a time wrap.Agreed 2011-12 in Eng and Aus were low rather lowest points for MSD an Co. but the two worthies you mentioned -Dravid and Tendulkar were very much part of the team line up then alongwith Khan.Mind you, India has been beaten in England despite the presence of Gavaskar and Dev way back in 1979 and 1982.Point is, let us stay in the present instead of living in the past.As of now,Indians are doing very well in Champions Trophy so let them make hay while the sun shines or doesnt shine.

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

Indians adopted the condition really well and yes pitch has been very dry and it helped Indian batsman a word of good but still the credit should be given to boys the way they fieled and batted and bowling and all clicked together.hopefully we will win this Champion's trophy.

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

Yes @ wolf777,u r spot on mate. Rohit sharma , such a overrated player getting 91 oppurtunities in odis and pujara not even one chance.?... and a person as good as harsha, don't seem to have a point on this? for 'cricket's' sake bring pujara to odi side

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

@Al_Bundy1 - You must be kidding , India won the World Cup Final due to youngsters? Who are you referring to here ? Gambhir , Dhoni or Zaheer ?

I Agree the seniors should be dropped based on form , but making a statement like they could never win any championship is absurd. Give credit where its due buddy, Tendulkar , Sehwag & Gambhir have won many matches for India ( Including the 2011 world Cup). They are out of form now and are rightfully replaced by youngsters like Kohli,Dhawan,DK,Rohit.

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

And dear Al_Bundy1, despite being a Tendulkar fan, I agree that Tendulkar retired from ODI cricket at the right time. I hope he hastens upon his Test retirement. For the rest of what you wrote, I pray you check some stats before you comment like that. Never won any championships? How old are you dude? Does winning a tournament mean just winning the final? Dhoni had failed with his bat consistently before the final in the World Cup, so does his 91 in the final dwarf all other contributions throughout the tournament? Tendulkar top-scored for India. Yuvraj was the spine of the team. And Gambhir? The hell of the innings he played in the final. His ODI record was going very nicely just before Pakistan came to India last year. Sehwag's good time seems to be over, but we'll always remember him as India's answer to Gilchrist. And if just winning the final means everything, cut back to 2008, Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia, Tendulkar orchestrated 2 straight final victories with the bat.

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (June 15, 2013, 2:13 GMT)

Its too early in the tournament to talk about India's 'success'. But what can be agreed is that the batsmen are good enough to take up from where Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj left off. The superb fielding performance of Raina, Rohit, Sir, and Kohli inside the ring has always acknowledged, but its definitely worth mentioning again. Bowling of Ishant is OK, but not penetrative. It might be worth playing Irfan Pathan for a couple of matches.

Posted by nilb on (June 15, 2013, 2:07 GMT)

Look at Akash Chopra's article where a person who knows "English conditions" is saying in comments it's typical for the England pitches to turn batsmen friendly in dry weather. In SL vs Eng match commentators were saying the ball wont swing because of the cold weather. These are all very good conditions to the Indian's who have always relied on their strong FTB batting line up who have always failed with the swinging ball. Their dominating performance is because of the conditions, and if this continues I don't think any team will challenge the Indian team in this tournament. Having bowlers like Steyn's and Wahab Riazs for the teams will be useless for real "better" teams and flat patch bashing will prevail. To all others who don't think conditions didn't help, and with all those funny comments, I just pity you guys because you are delusional.

Posted by wolf777 on (June 15, 2013, 2:04 GMT)

Where is Cheteshwar Pujara? Watching monsoon rain in Rajkot? Why he is not in the team? Every opportunity he got to represent India he came good. He put on a stellar performance against all touring sides. He scored heavily on domestic. He saw India through on a tricky Delhi pitch with an aggressive and unbeaten 82 runs in just 92 balls. In Ranji Trophy match, he scored an aggressive Double century in the fourth inning and followed up with a triple again in the fourth inning. He scored two centuries and one fifty in BCCI's premier one day tournament - the Challenger trophy. Still he does not find a place in the India's one day lineup? Are you kidding me? Compare his performance to Rohit Sharma. He performs in few games here and there on domestic circuit and he is back in the lineup. He figured in two century partnerships and lo and beholdā€¦Heavens opened up and the celestial choir of Cricket Pundits started singing praises. He is given umpteen chances despite repeated failures at expense

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

@al_bundy. looks like u only followed one game in the entire worldcup. U want to check Dhoni's scores in the rest of the tournament. 31,34,19*,12*,22,7,25. To win the worldcup a team has to make the final first and no way in the world would india reach final. And Dhawan and Kartick not afraid on any bowler, they are yet to face junaid khan or mohammed irfan (2 very talented but inexperienced bowlers), forget about anderson and steyn. Don't forget steyn was injured in the first game.

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 2:02 GMT)

Dear Divinetouch, what gave you the idea that Harsha Bhogle cannot digest India's success? He has given his scientific opinion about the way the tournament is progressing. Today, in the 21st century, I'd say, he's half the reason we understand the game so well we do. He gave due credit for the fearless attitude the Indians have displayed so far. That sound like ridiculing them? Of course, the wickets so far have been much contrary to the expectations. If you go back to the Champions Trophy of 2004, you'd see what I mean. Indians will prefer this kind of conditions any day to those aiding the lateral movement of the ball.

Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

If India's batting was honestly that good, then why did they receive out right hidings against Australia and England in Australia and England. I dont see india's batting line up, bar dravid and tendulkar and gavaskar, being able to prosper anywhere where there is movement unless they produce world class quicks. The only ones of such caliber have been Khan, Dev and Srinath, no one else has taken more then 200 wickets as a fast bowler. If the wickets start moving, then the batsmen will have a tough time in the indian line up

Posted by pradave17 on (June 15, 2013, 1:15 GMT)

Believe or not, India is successful in this Champion's Trophy because, they have the best balanced team from years this time. They correctly drop old legends like SRT, Sehwag and Gouty. (Of course, cricinfo will not publish this).

Posted by vakkaraju on (June 14, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

The youngsters are playing without fear and for the team. They are not thinking about their future and their individual records. The selflessness has made the team stronger. They are playing as a unit. We had great individuals playing the game in the same IX but the team had relatively little success. A collection of talented individuals does not necessarily make great team.

Posted by SpizenFire on (June 14, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

Eng v/s sl. Power play overs between 36-39. Watch Bresnan bowl. If I did sight it correctly he is seen digging his left thumb nail below the seam. Did someone say England are the only team who can reverse swing in these conditions.

Posted by Divinetouch on (June 14, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

Indian success difficult for Harsha to digest. Fortunately, the Indian cricketers do not pay attention to that way of thinking.

Dhoni and company continue to make BharatMa proud.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

India has a gifted batting line up, a smart AR in Jadeja and excellent mental strength as a side. Whether they win the CT or not, the ODI/T20 future looks good. Tests require 20 wkts and thus wicket taking bowlers, but lets not dwell on that for now.

The CT has been the best planned, organized and formatted tournament in years! A WC format with the top 8 sides in a league set up with the top 4 going into SF and then the final is ideal.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

Is the definition of success in CT is winning first 2 group matches? Yes india has potential to win the trophy or play in the final but before that you cant say they had success.

Posted by svenkat02 on (June 14, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

The pitches so far have been very sporting where it has offered bounce and pace to the fast bowlers and yet they have also allowed batsmen to prosper by giving good value for their shots. Movement disturbs any team, and its not only India's weakness. The pitches in this tournament have been very good enough so far.

Posted by AnanthX on (June 14, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

If the pitches offered swing and seam, India would have been crushed. I don't think that anyone apart Kohli can put up even a halfway decent show if the ball is moving about. The IPL trains Indian batsmen to play on flat lifeless tracks. It produces flat track bullies and little more.

Posted by king_dhoni on (June 14, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

Truth is that it is players like Dravid and Manjrekar made batting look difficult in England. This is a new generation, they can bat anywhere in any conditions. All credit should go to Dhoni who stuck his neck out to get these new young guys over sehwag and gambhir, bottom line is that we need continuous change and young players at all times.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

I love the format of the tournament, I wish that we had shorter, leaner and smarter World Cup too. None of the match is insignificant.........& Indians have been fun to watch. Aggressive, risky and generally functioning as a Unit. The commentator's curse is however likely to make them lose the CRUNCH match, meaning the Semifinal !

Posted by Rahul17_1983 on (June 14, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

I agree with Al_Bundy1 .retirement of seniors r best thing happen to indian team

Posted by ProdigyA on (June 14, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

Oh cut it Harsha. India is batting well because it has the best and strongest batting currently in the world. How come other teams are struggling when India is scoring 300+ without breaking a sweat. The problem is that all the experts did not expect the young guns to be so good without all the big names in the team, just shows the lack of faith shown in our own team. Give credit where its due.

Posted by sukmad on (June 14, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

Well the simple explanation is India are playing well. Even if the ball had swung, both Kumar and Irfan would have come to the party. Irrespective of the conditions, India have been brilliant in the field and played smart aggressive cricket. If India go on to win the championship, which may or may not happen, we may expect all these articles on how pitches favoured India, how opposition played poor cricket and how India got lucky with DRS etc from Hopps & Co. So need for Harsha to jump the gun.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (June 14, 2013, 13:38 GMT)

I think the retirement of 10dulkar is the best thing that happened to Indian ODI cricket. That combined with dropping of Sehwag and Gambhir. Youngsters like Dhawan and Karthik have shown that they are not afraid of any bowler. The seniors were good only for scoring centuries against Bangladesh and Namibia. They could never win any championship. 2011 World Cup final is the best example - Sehwag and 10dulkar departed quickly, leaving the juniors with all the responsibility.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (June 14, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

I think the main reason for India's good showing so far is the success of Rohit and Dhawan at the top of the order and Jadeja's brilliant transformation as a match winning spin bowler. There have been other contributions which have enriched the team's performance. It used to be like this for Dhoni in his first part of Captaincy. Everything used to fall in place and he would come out and make those speeches. The thing we must not forget is that Rohit and to some extent, Dhawan are tchnically sound. So even if the ball has moved they have managed to have an effective ball leaving technique. It is quite possible that the man behind this is Duncan Fletcher who is said to be a master in grooming youngsters. Also,in the match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka the ball did move all over the place. So it is not right to believe that conditions in England have changed. A green top and a cod day with no sunshine will make for the typically English summer, in which even Englishmen will struggle.

Posted by Dashgar on (June 14, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Forget the conditions. India have played well here. There batsmen have countered the short stuff and their quicks have done the job. The Indian team have traditionally been completely psyched out by non sub-continent conditions. Clearly without the old guard of Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbajhan gone that mentality is disappearing.

Posted by ramli on (June 14, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

Ajeeth Peethanbaram ... nice take ... nobody gives the credit where it is due ... simply trying and finding outside help for the team success is uncharitable ... the young team is full of energy, belief, attitude and above all positive ... pray the team comes with CT

Posted by mk4444 on (June 14, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

As soon as I saw the pitches I put a bet on India to win the tourney. England must me the only country in the world that prepares pitches for the opposition (we'll play on your pitches with your ball). Can you image India producing fast bouncy pitches? Not a chance. The BCCI couldn't have done a better job.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (June 14, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

I feel the batting of Dhawan and others embolden selectors too try many more young ones with no one being given a long leash for non performance like in the past they did with Sehwag, Gambhir or even HS

Posted by couchpundit on (June 14, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

BRILLIANT YARD STICK---Reaching Semis in CT2013 is deemed to be Success.....sounds like bollywood where mediocore films are termed path breaking and brilliant.

Not surprised why tendulkar and Rohit were/are being persisted despite 4 years of slump/non-starter.

If this is the expectation.......Indian Cricket has bright future.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

India is successful cuz they r playing well.. no rocket science i guess.. amazing batting line up.. great captain.. gud to see them play.. Respect from a Pakistani Fan.. :) m a huge fan of Rohit & Dhoni.. cheers..

Posted by isot on (June 14, 2013, 10:58 GMT)

Well written Harsha. With all of England and Australia's madness about the Ashes, the non-English kind of pitches might be a ploy to not let the Aussies see what is in store. Just like the resting of Finn for the first match. Unfortunate.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

Yes, I m hundred percentage agree with Harsha Bhogle Sir, Really India improved all the department whole over tournament as sell as warm match.The most important thing is that how Indian players should maintained that consistency.Another thing is some player have very good opportunity to show their talent also can be secure their seat in playing squad ike Shikhar Dhawan ,Dinesh Karthik and also Rohit Sharma. If we see these year champions trophy have a very good change to create a history because other favorite country like Pakistan which is very less chance to qualify to semi final,South Africa also injury problem some of the key players, Australia also similar problem.Apart from that England, Sri Lanka has very good change to create something different.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

England pitches as showed by Rajesh generally were batsman freindly, hence India was expected to thrive. Not only that, game against SA, Steyn was injured, and morkel was injured after barely completing 2 thirds of hi quota. Had they been playing, no was in the world would sharma and dhawan be given juicy short balls to feast off from 130 k bowlers.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

I am pretty disappointed by the kind of cricket thats been on display in the champions trophy so far. I would have loved to see low scoring games in green seaming pitches where batsmen with classical technique flourish and it is not so easy to just hit through the line and escape.There have been a couple of low scoring games indeed but not the kind I would have liked to see

Posted by couchpundit on (June 14, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Harsha, You would know for sure...last couple of years in indian cricket is being held hostage by old players like Sachin,Dravid,Laxman and to major extent non-performing Gauti and Veeru. Also always injured bowling squad who also refuse to field even at 50% capactiy.

About Fearlessness...there is no tendulkar or veeru who by struggling against ordinary bowlers(except for one game in a series where they try and retain them for next series) psyche the younger ones in the team.

Luckily your mumbaikar boy have had 2 good games in flat and dry pitches.....hopefully india wont make him a permanent fixture based on dry english conditions and look at these performances with pinch of salt and put him in his place.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

The only reason India has done well is because Zaheer Khan and R vinay Kumar are kept at bay. 18 wickets (or was it 17) in 2 matches would not have been possible with an unfit Zak in the team.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

Good analysis.

To add, even if the ball swings, IPL has emboldened Indian youth enough that they will go out and take calculated risk and having one positive mentor in Dhoni is an icing on the cake.

In the comments section, I ready someone missing Pakistani players in IPL. Just to put very lightly and to ensure my comment does not get deleted, I would like to say it's very unfortunate.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 14, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

I agree with @ GRVJPR. It's india's fielding and fearless approach by the openers who can play short ball unlike the previous ones.Even Indian bowlers are pulling back the opposition in the middle overs.If its so flat ,then how does other team can't even reach the score of 200? @ sandy- Bangalore, In England 2011 test series, everyone failed except dravid and its due to the only reason loss of form for many senior players.Regarding the ODIs series,india lost all three odis to DL method even though they scored 250+ runs in every attempt.And for your knowledge ,dhoni adjudged the man of the series .First know s some facts before venting your frustration here.When you say indians are kings of flat pitches, how poor other teams who can't even win in so called flat pitches? These pitches offer bounce and spin but no seam and swing and mainly due to the duke ball.How about giving credit to Indians other than crib about everything? Everyone saw how kula whacked Bresnan yesterday.

Posted by Sunnyside2711 on (June 14, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Most positive thing is Rohit finding his feet, he still has to go a long way and I might attract many comments because of this, but inspite of his failures I see him as one of our mainstays come world cup 2015 along with Dhawan and DK who are basically good of the backfoot, I believe Pujara also should be in the mix in this lineup

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (June 14, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

So Harsha's great theory is IPL has helped improve India's batting ? !! IPL has and will do nothing to improve batting quality of any team , there is hardly any swing in the air for the white ball and we have always been good when the ball is not swinging.

Posted by A.Ak on (June 14, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

There is no one called senior player in the team, except MSD. Captain controls the team and team members listen to him. So they play fearless cricket and showcase their talent. See RJadeja and Dhawan.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

I love this format. I think World cup can be played at this format with 5 teams at each group, with the remaining 2 teams has to qualify before the tournament. This way we can see a short but competitive WC...

Posted by Amit_13 on (June 14, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

Harsha, What I find most fascinating is that the Indians are experimenting the least. It could well be that the top order is firing consistently aided by the lack swing. But I do not recall a reverse sweep or the ramp shot. We have simply raised the risk / reward percentages. In addition to the point about Martin Guptill's pyrotechnics, I don't see how general batsmanship improvements can be a result of IPL. Only the best cricketers like AB DeVilliers are using it as a learning opportunity.

Spinners, however, have got their thinking hats on. A format and a tournament that should have booted them out has brought them into prominence. I do lament the absence of Pakistani bowlers in the IPL and other places. Having played with several talented cricketers from Pakistan, I dare say, they remain the true raw talent in the game. Tomorrow should be an absolute firecracker if the weather stays away. And possibly the biggest test of this new Indian line up.

DO NOT SCRAP THIS TROPHY PLEASE!!!

Posted by ramli on (June 14, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

India has succeeded because of its young crop of batsmen displaying fearless attitude and camaraderie ... bowlers supporting each other - when one fails other four click ... fielding has improved a lot ... so ... for a change ... why don't we look at the team differently rather than the same old pessimism

Posted by JayPmorgan on (June 14, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

To me India look Hot favourites especially as the pitches are not doing much. This I guess has been the positive effect of the IPL, namely that even at their most pedestrian, they still seem to be able to score at close to 6 an over.

Posted by machchan on (June 14, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

Watching this remarkable boon in conditions gives me an idea. Remember what happened in hockey: when subcontinental teams dominated on grass, the Western powers changed the playing surface to ultra-fast astroturf to neutralize the subcontinent. Now that in cricket at least, the boot is on the other foot and maybe it is time for a reverse neutralization. Change the rules to specify that all cricket pitches should be dry and cracked! Revenge will be sweet ;)

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

Ya Harsha, I do agree. but india is crossed 6.00 RR in all the 4 matches in England. their new young batting line up is very aggressive and fearless. that has given good success till the mid way of the CT 2013. and the team used the conditions very well than other teams. good line and length also a notable one. india should use the spin support from Raina and R Sharma. they also little handy in the middle overs.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 14, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

Oops. Sorry. The Kookaburra balls haven't swung. Not the Duke.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 14, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

Reasons for India's success: The Duke balls just haven't swung at all. And the used pitches which are dry and turn are right up MSD's alley. These are conditions which India have been pleasantly surprised to encounter and should be grateful for.

Posted by TheShawshankRedemption on (June 14, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

Hi Harsha, Agreed. Eng Wickets have been more like a Mohali / Eden Gardens wickets so far. Thought at least Edgbaston would be trouble but proved wrong. One reason is the top order of India have been clicking in last 2 games. I would be surprised if MSD still continues with U Yadhav and replace with I Pathan since Sir Ji R Jadeja is doing wonders with bat and ball now and Yadhav has been erratic so far, trying out Pathan would make India a much more balanced side into Semis.

I assume Ind would face SL/Eng in S/F both of them have decent bowling attack and in Finals if SA gets in then they have deadly Steyn and Mclaren.

So MSD should think wise to extract from Eng Wickets now.

However Yadhav's pace would be missed.

Posted by shubham.nishad on (June 14, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

It would have been more interesting if the ball would be swinging more, for that really tests a batsman's skill and ability. Though it really has been a good contest between bat and ball in this Champions Trophy. Batsmen have found it difficult to score and it has really been not to score runs easily. Still dry pitches have helped the subcontinent teams more than other teams and this is evident form the two matches that India and Sri Lanka have played. India has easily defeated SA and WI and Sri Lanka easily chased down 294 against England. Hoping for a more interesting contests in coming days.

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 14, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

@Kashi0127 - agree with your point about giving a chance to Mishra. The guy was brilliant in the IPL and might give India a boost in the bowling department. Maybe even win us the tournament due to the variety he would bring in towards the final few games.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

I agree with harsha.. However, I feel its all about technique.. Even if you look at India v/s WI match, WI were getting runs easily when Charles and Gayle were attacking the Indian bowlers. But, the flow of runs stopped once they switched to defense mood. Like Indian batsmen, they also should have attacked the spinners too...

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

Certainly I would love to see more of this tournament. May be a change in name would be a way to go forward. The best about this tournament is that best eight plays the match. A bonus to remain in top 8. It would be even wiser to have 6 teams face each other where top four makes the cut with the ranking and 5 and 6 has to play bottom 5 to qualify which should be spread in a year.

Posted by Subbs_97 on (June 14, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

Fairly good but incomplete analysis. For some odd reason, Indian commentators cannot criticize former greats for sticking around too long, and leaking runs in the field. Fielding is always ignored. So if a Zaheer Khan can bowl a few decent overs who cares if he leaks 20-30 runs? Same for a Sehwag (where could we hide him??) or a Dravid. To me this is the single most reason for India's improved performance. A young team that is as committed to fielding as its captain is. These fielders lift up the bowlers, who suddenly look a lot more miserly... and yet, this is always the last thing to be mentioned.Thank goodness that the Rohit and Shikar are as good fielders as they are batsmen! Even if Suresh Raina does not score heavily, his presence in the field is electric.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Agree with you Harsha. But so far india batted really well in the tournament. But we too have two good swing bowlers in our side. They also struggling to make the ball swing. So this tournament is turning to be a Batsmen paradise.

So the team which has full batting strength as possible to left the cup.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:13 GMT)

Yes, Harsha it's true that the batting conditions are favourable and 250+ score is easily chasable. Yesterday night Srilanka chased 300 runs and won it comfortably with few overs to spare. The expectations of typical English weather conditions of swing and seam are missing. English bowlers were able to reverse swing the balls against Australia so early in the Innings and that is ominous to the Aussies. In fact their stand-in captain Bailey even decried England team's tactics of using different pitches of the same ground and to the home team's advantage. As for Indian players are concerned, they like the ball to come up for stroke-filled batting. And the spinners, especially Indian spinners were able to turn the ball and purchase wickets (Jadeja's ODI career best five-for, is an example) and set up for win. Hope this trend continues till the Trophy final and we can expect lot of hard hitting.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

I think IPL is doing world of good for Indian batsman.You can see them chasing big scores comfortably.The real secret is the self belief and stepping up to the challenge everytime.The Young breed of batsman are doing a great job for team India and lets hope its the start of another era in ODI cricket.

Posted by raphael_almeida on (June 14, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

It's true. IPL being a 20-20 over game demands explosive batting. Batsmen in India have had the experience to hit explosively against world class bowlers and thus have finished with hitting explosively here too. mostly all these players dont have test status and thus they dont know slow batting. Players like rohit and shikhar who just played one test match have more experience in ipl and therefore the end up putting good scores for india

Posted by akshay1994 on (June 14, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

Normally like Harsha's articles but this seemed pretty pointless to be honest. It was all over the place and seemed to be not very well thought out.

Posted by Shiva_criclover on (June 14, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Indian batting so far in Champions Trophy 2013 has been like "THEY CAME,THEY SAW,THEY CONQUERED" yes there were shots played in the air,there is no surprise when batsmen takes the aerial route when it's safe and there for the taking,one can say that IPL has given the confidence to the Indian batsmen to do so..Indian batting order especially the opening pair has looked in sublime touch to lift the trophy,as of now all that Indian cricket team needs to worry(apart from off field issues) is about genuine pace bowlers who can perform consistently well in all conditions in both wickets and economy column and more importantly bowl well in the death overs which is a major factor where Indian cricket team is deprived of..but still i feel that because of Strong Batting and good spin bowling India is going to win the ICC Champions Trophy 2013

Posted by GRVJPR on (June 14, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

I disagree that India's success is only because of good batting conditions. If conditions are that good then why other teams aren't taking advantage of that harsha? I actually think it is due to their ability to pull back opposing teams after they got off to a good starts. Both south africa and West Indies got good starts against India but due to brilliant fielding and spinners ability pull back run rate and take wickets has won the games for India. We saw yesterday how english bowlers couldn't pull back the opposition after they got off to a good start. India's fielding and good bowling in middle over can't be overlooked as an important reason for their success.

Posted by Kashi0127 on (June 14, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

While the last league match between India and Pakisthan is of no consequence to either teams from Champions Trophy perspective, neither team want to lose this. However India should take this as opportunity to give chance to Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Amit Mishra. This wou;ld help them assess if any changes are required in Semi Finals , keep a backup ready and make sure every one gets a chance

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

I think Mumbai Indians Captaincy has done desired positive effect on Rohit Sharma. The Responcibility, only was lacking in Rohits performance. He has ability to destroy any attack. But due to any reason he was just not doing justice to his tallent. Watching last two his innings I minorly observing his performance, I saw his body language which is notabely converted into positive manner. Even in comparison to Shikhar Dhavan, Rohit was fluent. His strocks were more of fluency. Though he scored less than Shikhar, his performance was much delited. Against Morkel, Roach, Rampaul he just played some extra-ordinary shots. Shikhar Dhavan too grabbing his opportunities. He too knew verywell that he is being monitored as ulternate to Sehwag and Gambhir. He is grabbing it with both hands since last Aussie tour. He was a bit lucky too as he got 2 lifes in both matches. But it is a part of the game. Rohit can take place of Sachin & Saurav. They too converted successfully as opener in ODIs.

Posted by prabhatsingh33 on (June 14, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Hi.. I m a great admirer of your thoughts. I hope the responsibility put on Rohit Sharma of captaining the MI has done a great deal for him and i pray that this along with his opening slot in one day cricket must revive his carrier. And in my point of view every IPL teams must consider any young player for captaining the team so that they must start giving the price on their wicket and added responsibility will also enhance their cricketing skill like RCB and MI is doing with Virat Kholi and Rohit Sharma respectively.

Posted by kapilesh23 on (June 14, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

With all the due respect mr. Bhogle how did you arrive on the conclusion that India had success in this tournament. I am an Indian fan and I am happy that we reached semis but I don't consider it a success. You only call it a success when you actually win the tournament . How can you make such haste mr. Bhogle in declaring that Indian team had success. I understand your point of Indian batsman doing well but that is so far against weak attack so how can all of us arrive on that conclusion.

Posted by anuradha_d on (June 14, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

So now let's attribute the 2 good wins of India to the ease of he pitches ..........and the at same time not notice the lowness of the scores in WI-Pak and SL-NZ games on similar ptiches.....and hence dilute India's efforts throuhg half baked analysis....instead of sitting back and simply enjoying a good show........how very Indian...harsha bhogle

Posted by GRVJPR on (June 14, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

You got to be able to to do well in all conditions. If few teams are only dependent on swing and seam, they don't deserve to win!

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

Nice one,India going along nicely with good batting and fielding

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

A good article, but rather too many over-lengthy sentences that killed the essence. A few points noted so far in this tournament: (1) If conditions helped Indian batting, why then all other matches were lesser scoring ones? Only when India played, the conditions were helpful for batting? (2) India took 19 wickets in 2 matches it played and the opponents took 10 wickets only-Why? (3) People were over the moon on English bowlers after their first match and in the second match, they failed to defend 293 and took only 3 wickets. What happened? (4) There was a theory that India fails after IPLMajority of Indian players are from CSK and MI who played most number of matches and now no fatigue?

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Loved reading this piece....excellent

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (June 14, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

Its been proven time and again, that Indian batsmen are kings when pitches are flat, and when there is no swing and bounce in the wickets. So to hail the current performances as creditworthy is laughable, as even in the 90s, when India routinely were trashed abroad and when experts called them 'tigers home lambs abroad', were always to win in such conditions where a Mcgrath and a Donald were no more potent than a dillon or a Streak! On juicier pitches in 2011, we saw how the 'heroes' of the world cup win(again, on flat Indian pitches), ie the likes of yuvraj,raina and dhoni were made to like sitting ducks even by the likes of Bresnan! Enjoy the conditions while it lasts India, as you are lucky that one good performance will make the advertisers forget the past and will cheer you on!

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 2:54 GMT)

Great to watch Rohit scoring runs for Indian team.. I think he is the one who has got the highest number of chances in current generation to prove.. Wish Dhavans are not left behind for few selfish motives of greats of Indian cricket..

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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