Australia in India 2012-13

Danger to the BCCI's DRS counter-reformation movement

Their spinners may go on strike if they don't change their stance against technology

Andrew Hughes

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Virender Sehwag was dismissed for 19 by Nathan Lyon, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 5th day, February 26, 2013
Whatever happened to the days when Sehwag's departure from the field was accompanied by heart-wrenching, grateful, on-the-knees sobs of the opposition? © BCCI
Related Links
Players/Officials: Ravindra Jadeja | Virender Sehwag
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: India

Where are all the Indian fast bowlers? For most of us, this is merely a philosophical matter, to be pondered with other perennial chin-scratchers like: what is the nature of existence, how long is a piece of string, and if God exists, what's he been doing all these years?

But philosophy is no use in the harsh wilderness of the Zimbabwean bush. Philosophy won't help you decapitate an angry cobra, wrestle a ravenous lion or repair a bicycle puncture. Duncan Fletcher doesn't care why there are no Indian fast bowlers. He would like there to be, but there aren't. So what is a coach to do?

Nurture the delusion that your medium-paced huffers and puffers are lethal weapons, and appear appropriately shocked if any hack dares suggest they might be more pop-gun than rocket-propelled grenade? Ask Ishant to cultivate a droopy moustache, half-close your eyes and pretend you see Dennis Lillee? Bribe the chap who operates the speed radar?

No, in the absence of bowlers who can propel the ball faster than Jadeja, Duncan has decided he might as well pick Jadeja, although, since the ICC Conformity of Selection Regulations stipulate a minimum of two seam bowlers in every Test team, he's also required to chuck in a couple of dobblers; fitness and anger-management therapy permitting.

The result is a throwback to the 1970s, without the unnecessary displays of chest hair. Three Indian spinners playing in a sand-pit, with fielders clustered about like sun-hatted vultures glaring patiently at prospective Australian carcasses. In such circumstances, umpires need to have their best eyeballs in, as the fielders will be up for a good old-fashioned roar - which, according to Statsguru, occurred roughly every 2.75 deliveries in Chennai.

Often, the roar was followed by the appearance on our screens of a familiar ghostly corridor of stump-width proportions. But India are heretics in the church of the DRS, so we were deprived of the rest of the hoopla: the flashing lights, the squiggly life-support indicator, the infra-red CIA bat analysing device, and the sight of players sitting around scratching themselves as a man in a booth fiddles with the rewind button.

But if dust, revs and three short legs are to be India's salvation, they may want to rethink their position as leaders (and sole members) of the DRS Counter-Reformation movement. How long before Bhajji and his comrades in the Twirlers and Tweakers Union grow angry watching Ajmal and Swann hoover up the marginal lbws, and organise a pro-DRS season of action, refusing to employ their spinning fingers for anything more onerous than autograph signing and nose-picking, forcing a weeping Fletcher to field four seam bowlers?

For the time being though, the bowling looks fine; leaving only the ticklish problem of the opening combination. Chasing a small total in Chennai, Vijay was out playing a Compton-esque cover drive perfectly suited to a sunny June in NW8, but not particularly well-suited to the pitch he was standing on, which looked less like day two at Lord's and more like day 47 at a construction site.

And we need to talk about Virender. Sehwag's innings of recent vintage come in two flavours. There's "Sehwag Zero" (a swipe, a swing, and a limp dismissal, w"thout troubling the scorer). Then there's "Sehwag Lite' (a flat-footed clunk through There's No Third Man, a tantalising hint of what used to be, and a limp dismissal, having caused the scorer the amount of trouble associated with removing the cap from his biro and writing the word "four".)

Neither version will quite cut it, but demoting him would bring about a dramatic 50% reduction in India's batting legend quotient. How brave are the Indian selectors?

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Comments: 6 
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Posted by Matt on (March 4, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

You really should consider disabling comments. Satire is just not for some people, and those some people seem obliged to let everyone know it.

Posted by Khalid on (March 2, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Nice analysis Andrew. But what do you think about Misbah's dismissal in first test against RSA? Under the same circumstances, AB Devilliers' not out the smae test? Similarly, Kallis and Younas's dismissal in 2nd test at Cape Tow? I just mean to quote these controversial decisions to back India's stance against DRS. I mean, despite all the odds, India will keep opposing incomplete use of technology. It should be used at its full, and prior to its implementation, proper legislation is mandatory. For instance, just go into details of Kallis' dismissal at Cape. Overall excellent analysis under the circumstances and Indian perspective.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 2, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

The article bashes pitches whilst pretending to address DRS. Does the author suggest that every team must play on the same type of wicket with a similar pace combo to make a 5 day match, 3 of which are played on working days during working hours, even more monotonous? Must a wicket fall only to speed and not to turn/flight/loop? The Saffers/English/Australian curators specifically make green bouncy wickets: Do the subcontinent players/media complain? We are NOT sore losers. When they fail they are criticized for inability to deliver on 'helpful' pitches! If the pitches in the subcontinent are shirtfronts, why don't visiting teams make a 1000 runs in 2 days? For Masters in 'helpful conditions' it should be a cakewalk! A pitch resembling day 47 of a construction site- Its the poverty of ur cricketing mind and a bias against spinners making that egregious comparison Mr Andrew Hughes. It was on the same 'day 47 pitch' that MSD made runs, what do you say to that?

Posted by Jaydeep on (March 2, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

Yadav, Ishant, Aaron, Kumar, with maybe Sreesanth as backup. There you go, 4 seamers. I suspect this is more or less what we'll see when India tour RSA later this year. Though whether Fletcher is still going to be around is open to debate.

Posted by gurinder on (March 2, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

who needs pacers when india cud decimate foreign teams in indian conditions. fast bowling is over rated in india . on rank turners we need more spinners as we can spin opposition out on small totals.

Posted by Luke on (March 2, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Savoring the image of Fletcher having to choose 4 Indian seamers. Delicious!

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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Andrew Hughes Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73
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