Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v England, second ODI, Delhi

It's payback time

Just the pick-me-up an India fan needs

Nikhil Jha

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A
Virat Kohli drives during his wonderful hundred, India v England, 2nd ODI, Delhi, October 17 2011
Virat Kohli: The Spartan centurion © AFP
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Choice of game
This series has been billed as "payback" for the miseries India suffered in England. Being one of the many Indian fans who went through a phase of severe depression during the England tour, I decided watching the team win from the stands would serve as an antidote. Considering the performance in the first one-dayer in Hyderabad, I thought an easy victory was on the cards for India.

I also desperately wanted to witness the debut of Varun Aaron, who is from my city Jamshedpur, but I guess that will have to wait now.

Key performer
For most of the game it seemed Vinay Kumar would get the title, for his spirited bowling performance. Then Virat Kohli walked in at a slightly tricky situation, and played an innings full of confidence and swagger. He turned the victory into a cakewalk and, for me, played the most influential role in the game.

One thing I'd have changed
The last time I had watched India play at Kotla, the match was abandoned due to poor condition of the pitch following a Sudeep Tyagi bouncer. The only thing I hoped was to get a full game, and I was relieved to witness that. I would have loved to see a close contest, something like the encounter in the World Cup, but will take the easy victory as the next best alternative.

Face-off I relished
Given that both teams are devoid of regular star players, there were hardly any match- ups worth discussing, unless you are really excited about Kieswetter v Vinay Kumar. Kohli against Graeme Swann was a face-off I thought would be interesting, but the moment Kohli stepped out and hit that exquisite drive through the covers, there was only going to be one winner.

Wow moment
In a relatively low-key and mostly uneventful match, there were few moments that really provided that "wow" factor. One that might qualify is the ball off which Vinay Kumar dismissed Craig Kieswetter, and the England scorecard read 0 for 2, leading to delirious celebrations in the crowd.

Shot of the day
I enjoyed watching Kevin Pietersen hit a straight six off Ravindra Jadeja and Kohli drive Swann. But one shot that stood out was a cracking pull by Kohli off Jade Dernbach. It was like a statement to the English bowlers to leave the short-pitched stuff back in England. You could almost sense a Gerard Butler-like reaction from Kohli, with his bat pointing menacingly: "THIS IS INDIA!"

Crowd meter
Many people, me included, only realised a week ago that Delhi was hosting a match. The stands started to fill towards evening once people got off work, and India started their innings. Still, I do not think it was more than 70% full.

There were the odd attempts to start a Mexican Wave, and some feeble "India, India" chants. The fans around me were either busy on their phones, telling their acquaintances how to spot them on TV, even describing in detail the colour of their clothes, or taking photographs to display on Facebook.

Fancy-dress index
One fan did a Ganguly, waving his shirt madly, hoping to feature on TV. I am not sure if his stunt worked.

Banner of the day
The only ones I saw were pre-printed by sponsors. One of them read, "A few losses do not bother champions" while another read, "Men in Blue will stick England in glue". Kindergarten stuff. Ironically, the second banner was torn in the middle and needed some glue itself

The comprehensive Indian victory served my purpose. I would have loved it if the stands had been packed, and there was a bit more excitement in the game.

Marks out of 10
7 for an easy Indian win and an exquisite Kohli century.

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Nikhil Jha is a 27-year-old sports fanatic, whose contributions to the world of sports were cut short by typical middle-class ambitions that saw him negotiate four years at IIT Bombay, and two unsure professional experiences. He has now decided to chase his calling with a couple of sports ventures - SportsWave, to enable people rediscover the joy of playing sports, and Big Show, a sports portal he hopes will become the second most adored after ESPNCricinfo.

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Comments: 7 
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Posted by Naresh on (October 21, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

Well India have paid back after the England series loss. I think the next two matches could be used to experment and see how the others do. My suggestion would be that Dhoni and Raina should take a rest. These two have been playing non-stop cricket. Kohli could captain. Rahane showed his class in this last match. Again the batting talent of India shows up all the time. India lacks good pace bowlers which could complete a great team.

Posted by fakruddin on (October 18, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

All said and done. The Indian cricket team has shown it is not just about winning...... it is also about how to be graceful when you are NOT winning. MSD has shown the cricketing world that. At the same time I do love the swagger that Kohli has!!

Posted by Pinal on (October 18, 2011, 15:48 GMT)

Same thing two best bowlers of them are not in the team and they are suffering spare a thought for india who had more than 8 first team players not available still put up a fighting performance thats what make champions.... england just enjoyed better luck in the previous tour.... really its PAYBACK TIME

Posted by Naresh on (October 18, 2011, 15:16 GMT)

England and English fans - YOU WIN SOME AND LOSE SOME. Its part of the game. After all the achievements in ODIS, TESTS, T20, World Cup and individual records by Indian batsman/bowlers , we had comments of worse than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. We reached the pinnacle in all three formats not so lond ago. Don't write us off. Believe me there is lots of talented cricketers in India. So both Indian/English fans its time to stop bashing each other - just enjoy the game and move on. Thus one failed series does not seal it all. Some of the past comments :- Donkeys in the field, Beat u in your own back yard, etc

Posted by mritunjai on (October 18, 2011, 13:59 GMT)

Loved the Gerard Butler part. Yes England...THIS IS INDIA....

Posted by cric on (October 18, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

There is a lesson to learn from the English Summer especially as the tour to Australia is looming on the horizon. With so much of cricket being played these days, it is important to rest/rotate/recharge the players in all formats at all times. Professional cricketers undergo mental fatigue as much as physical exhaustion from playing competitive sports at the highest level. One way to tackle this is to field different players in different formats of the game and rest the important players at frequent intervals. Player management is going to be key issue for all the cricket boards in future. Lot of England players play for IPL teams so playing conditions can hardly be used as an excuse. All professional cricketers should be able to adept to play in different conditions. England team looks tired and out of sorts on the field. They need to regroup quickly and find the self belief to win again.

Posted by Rahul on (October 18, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

Never have I seen a English team look so defeated on the field recently! Take a bow MSD for the quote "Spinning wickets are sporting wickets in India!" Classic....!

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