Posted by: nestaquin | November 14, 2008

India v England ODI Series: Indian Review

yuv-and-dhoniIndia and their former colonial masters take the stage today in what promises to be an intriguing ODI series. India will be looking to consolidate on their Border Gavaskar success while England will be keen to erase all memory of anything Stanford. With the style, timing and grace reminiscent of a VVS Laxman on-drive, Rajesh Kannan summarises India’s playing strength, gently sledges the opposition’s attitude to touring and predicts a big win for the home team.

Duncan Fletcher’s considered opinion is that India will lift their foot off the gas after their triumph over Australia. If this is England’s hope, they are in a rude shock. India’s one day team has been starkly different from the test outfit for a while and now, with one or two Test middle-order berths up for grabs, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina will be desperate to seal their berths. And don’t think Mahendra Singh Dhoni won’t stoke these competitive fires in an “us v them” narrative, pitting the ODI wannabes against the test badshahs.

The most fearsome one-two punch in limited overs batting will be reunited, and I think England can expect Dhoni and Yuvraj to fire in at least 3 of the matches. They combine the adhesive qualities of Ranatunga and Tillekaratne with the explosion of Jayasuriya and Kalu from the ’96 Lanka squad, and India at 31/3 is not going to be nearly as comfortable a scoreline for England as it looks like.

Gautam Gambhir will be back and ready, and Sehwag in ODIs can be depended upon to be destructive and asinine, usually at the same time. Readers know I’m a firm Badrinath backer, and it’s a pity he misses out. He was the only Indian batsman to not feast on Krejza and co. in the tour match and Virat Kohli will pounce on the opportunity to get a middle order berth in the XI. Such is the competition for this side, Murali Vijay and Yusuf Pathan’s unique talents might have to wait a game or two.

I’m actually pleased that Ishant will sit out the first match (hopefully, this will be extended to the next 6), as he’s hamstrung by the pitches and restrictions in ODIs at home. England have had a taste of Munaf Patel and he, along with RP Singh, will be raring to steal some of the spotlight away from Zaheer and Ishant. Pragyan Ojha has been effective, and looks to be Harbhajan’s partner on spinning tracks. I don’t think he should play as Sehwag (or Pathan) can do the second spinner’s role, but Ojha has done nothing wrong and can’t be begrudged a place.

The worry for India will lie in how they cope with Flintoff and Harmison. Flintoff is an immense bowler and as first change, he’ll be a fearsome prospect for the Indian middle-order. If the theoreteical Steve Harmison turns up, Sehwag is in trouble – he gets cramped when trying to play his favourite slashing cuts to balls that are not wide, and England will know this.

Harbhajan Singh is an excellent ODI bowler, but you have to fear a bit about where the wickets might come from if he goes into restrict mode and Zaheer breaks down. Praveen Kumar is an excellent prospect, but he might have some off-field issues, and is out of the reckoning. Pity, he looked very unorthodox and dangerous when swinging the ball late with his last minute cocking action.

Aside from analysing the team, I have a couple of bones to pick. It is fashionable for English correspondents to rant about “the heat, the food and the accommodation”. It is winter and except Bangalore, all the matches will be played in temperate weather at this time of the year. Where food and board are concerned, their benchmarks still seem to be the MCC tours of the 60s and 70s, notwithstanding the terrific facilities which WILL be provided. We all remember Graham Gooch’s prawns and smog debacle in 1993, and I sincerely hope the English team will concentrate on the cricket and enjoy what India has to offer.

My second gripe is with the last ODI. Whose hare-brained idea was it to schedule the last ODI as a day-nighter in Delhi in winter? Say the series is 3-3 then. You might was well have the toss and proceed to the post-match ceremonies to congratulate the series-winning captain, who doubtless elected to field.

To return to the series, I’d pick Munaf Patel and Yuvraj, along with the ever-dependable Dhoni and Gambhir, to be the main threats to England. Of course, if Sehwag fires as he can, that match can be written off for the visitors. England have a mountain to climb in this series, but in Flintoff and Pietersen, they have two world XI players who will have to fire. On their broad shoulders will rest English hopes.

My prediction: 5-2 India.



  1. RK, could you elaborate on your comment about the day-nighter in Delhi? Day games are, in general, strongly favoured towards the team batting first, and day-nighters (less strongly – it’s not even statistically significant) towards the team batting first.

    A venue that favoured the team batting under lights would be a curiosity.

  2. I think Yusuf Pathan will come into play.. My line up for the first ODI



  3. David, the dew factor is very strong in north India, especially in winter in the evenings and night time. If you bat second in heavily dewy conditions, it becomes near impossible for the bowling team to get any kind of grip on the ball, and batsmen have no variations to be worried about. Though the outfield slows down, the impotence of the bowlers more than compensates the batsmen for this.

    Why don’t you do a statistical analysis of day-nighters played in Pakistan and north India (Delhi, Mohali, Jaipur, any more?) and control for factors like weakness of opposition etc.? It’d be interesting to see if the theory holds.

  4. Thanks for that RK. Top eight sides, day-night matches. In Pakistan, the team batting first has won 20 and lost 29, this decade it’s 18 and 22. In Mohali/Jaipur/Delhi it’s 9 and 9, this decade 4 and 7.

    Delhi’s only hosted two day-night ODI’s!

    I don’t think those numbers are statistically significant, but they’re certainly close enough to significance to warrant fielding first given that you know there’s a dew factor.

    So there you go. I’ve learned something new today.

  5. At the 15 over mark a score well over 300 is on the cards for India. With the new powerplay rules they may even reach in excess of 350. England need a wicket or two real quick.

    93/0 (16)

  6. This batting side choosing a Power Play thingy will be interesting. I’m not sure what the optimal time is. Possibly the 45th over (assuming wickets in hand). But then perhaps you’d only go from 10 to 12 runs an over. Perhaps from overs 40-45 you’d go from 6 to 9 rpo. I don’t know.

  7. Dave,

    Attending Tas v SA last week I watched the new powerplay strategy with interest. Unfortunately, SA lost too many wickets and chose to use their 5 over stretch when 8 down in the 41st over. Tasmania did better using it at 39 overs when Bailey and Marsh were both set.

    It would appear that you can keep it till late in the innings if wickets are in hand but I think the best strategy may be to use it when two batsman are set sometime between 30 and 40 overs preferably targeting the fifth bowler.

    From what I’ve seen it is a good rule that adds extra strategic entertainment in ODI cricket.

    England are getting smashed by Sehwag and Gambhir.

    125/0 (19)

  8. Sehwag is all awesomeness. Cricinfo:

    ‘Gambhir came down the track and chipped it to left of long-off. He didn’t hit it hard, just sort of chipped it and couldn’t find the distance. I didn’t notice it but SMG on air says, “Sehwag gave him a mouthful for not hitting it hard!” There you go. Simple policy.’

  9. Yeah Dave,

    Virender gave Gambhir a spray and he deserved it. There was no need to play a chip shot when the boundary is so short.

    135/1 (22)

  10. Yuvraj and Raina are trying their level best to muscle the other out for Ganguly’s spot.

    England look pretty clueless, except for Flintoff. And Dhoni is still in reserve. This could be very very ugly for England – I’d be shocked if India didn’t reach 340

  11. 38-42 – that’s when India should take the powerplay and kill England off

  12. powerplay on. say a prayer for England

  13. If Yuvraj continues to labor with his unfortunate back niggle, maybe he should retire hurt to allow Dhoni a crack at the bowling, earlier than later. maybe after some proper treatment, Yuvi could return for the 3rd powerplay. It would be a shame if he brings down this momentum.

  14. I say that and they take the powerplay! Maybe Yuvi’s back prompted an earlier than planned power-play?

  15. don’t mess with yuvraj when he’s in stand and deliver mode.

  16. glad to be proven wrong so far on Yuvi!

  17. 350 looks a foregone conclusion. Too early to say 1-0?

  18. raina out, dhoni in. with rohit sharma and pathan to come.

  19. you’re right. anything less than 350 would be a let-down. what a platform – if these two continue for the next 5-7 overs, I think yusuf should come ahead of rohit.

  20. I see my premature gloating meets a sorry end.
    Yusuf Pathan promises so much, but in his apprearancees so far, he’s been found out on the international arena. Let’s stick with him for a while, but he’s running out of chances.

  21. i am in fine form today! it was yusuf who came out at the fall of dhoni!

  22. bad idea sending yusuf in – he’s a pure braniless hitter, better for the last 3 overs. plus, the captain’s hardly a stonewaller

  23. yes, this is the weak spot. as others mentioned elsewhere it is important to get Irfan back to good bowling form. He is a far better bat than Yusuf. Besides Yusuf’s bowling is not expectionally better than Irfan’s.

  24. I think Yusuf is all right, in a team packed with strokeplaying pure batsmen, a Shahid afridi type insane headless chicken batsman is not a bad idea. It’s just that it hasn’t come off yet, and he’s not going to get many more opportunities, with the guys knocking on the door.

    Irfan needs some real remedial work with his bowling – I’m not a big fan of the bits and pieces guys who pack some ODI sides (like England in the 90s with reeve, hollioake, ealham etc). He shuold do his main job, bowling, properly, and if he can get a few runs, that’s a bonus.

  25. yuvi-broad! Sigh! what a love story. pity it is one-sided ;-)

  26. I’ve been out for 90 minutes. Anyone care to inform why Yuvraj has a runner and a cummerbund around his waist.

    I gather he has strained his back but that hasn’t stopped him licking his lips every time Broad runs in. Patel is copping a hammering too. 350 is almost definite and 370 plus is possible if Yuvraj and Dhoni remain till the end.

    302/4 (43.4)

  27. let’s revise that 350 upwards

  28. his back’s cricked, was so right from the start, but the team management decided that a half-fit yuvraj is still an asset to the team. Can’t argue with the results – he seems more manic and only concentrating on boundaries. what a player, and how infuriating that he can’t seem to transfer it to the test arena. If he did half the work dravid put in on his technique (only the other way round, to adapt from ODI to test), he’d be one of the world’s top test batsmen now.

    His one-day avatar isn’t half bad though

  29. Thanks Rajesh,

    I hope he can get the one more he needs for his ton. Probably do it in around 65 balls. Amazing for a bloke who is injured.

    I also wonder why he cannot transfer his enormous talent to the longer game. Gilchrist and Symonds have so Yuvraj really should do better in white.

    332/4 (45.4)

  30. Incredible 100 from Yuvraj, steamrolled towards it – this was sensational even by his standards.

    400? Not completely preposterous. They’ll probably end at 375-380. Still, 1-0, all over bar the shouting. Flat pitch or not, 375 is un-chaseable, unless you’re at the wanderers and facing a side with mick lewis in it.

  31. Although I only saw the last 50 the thing that stood out about Yuvraj’s hundred was how easy it seemed. England helped by continually bowling knee high full tosses to him but that is irrelevant. The fastest century against England and the second fastest by an Indian.

    350 almost up 19 balls to go and Flintoff has been hit for another six this time by Dhoni!

    352/4 (47)

  32. dhoni’s gone, but the damage’s done. the 1-2 punch of dhoni-yuvraj has floored england completely. 105 runs at 11 an over, incredible.

  33. as manic and entertaining as this innings has been – it ruins the rest of the game as a contest.

  34. heh heh heh, I’ll take that any day, MP, and so will you.

  35. Dhoni bowled. Great partnership with Yuvraj. 105 in 58 balls. Pietersen needs to hit 150 for England to have any chance.

  36. dhoni gone. would have perfect for pathan to have come out now. i think dhoni got that wrong.

  37. yes rk – i will take the result anyday. but I prefer them with a nice side-dish of palpitations.

    See how spoilt we get? 368/5 and we nitpick on the batting order.

  38. Record score against England. I wonder if KP will shrug his shoulders and pretend it doesn’t matter after leaking the most runs ever in 50 overs.

    It really is too easy for India. Broad is bowling the last over. Yuvraj has a smile as broad as his bat.

    378/5 (49)

  39. suffice it to say that india scored 8 runs off the last over and it almost felt anti-climactic!

  40. Welcome to India!

  41. Good to know all of you followed it so far. I guess Toots might be busy over at Guardian.

    I saw most of it too, as I am working from home today:-)

    Pity England got hit by Yuvi storm.Would have preferred if he’d done it without the runner though.Its an old grouse of mine, that batsmen get to play while physically unfit whereas bowlers cannot.

    But, what awesome hitting ! The pitch is flat and lets hope for some fireworks from KP and Flintoff too.And an India win, of course !

  42. I think Toots might have went back to bed in disgust!

  43. what do you do when your asking rate is past 8 in the third over? England will need some electroshock therapy after this match

  44. The new twist on the powerplay rules were rendered totally irrelevant today. It was a 50-over power-play.

  45. “I’m not a big fan of the bits and pieces guys who pack some ODI sides (like England in the 90s with reeve, hollioake, ealham etc)”
    and my favourite, Mathew Fleming!

  46. he was pretty good in sharjah though, wasn’t he? That may be England’s biggest ODI victory in the last 15 years, next to the CB series last year.

  47. probably bigger- they didnt luck it out like last year in CB series. They pretty much steam rolled everyone on the way to a deserved trophy. Fleming though petered out just like most others in that team.

  48. oh cmon, if they lucked out, so did we a year later. just immaculate timing that the only time they clicked was in the final.

  49. Hi guys!

    Sorry not to join in – it’s not sour grapes, honest, just needing some sleep and then needing a lot of work. I caught a bit of the highlights and the clean hitting of India was very impressive.

    KP has a job to do to lift his men after this.

  50. England can take hope from India’s ability to be both extraterrestrial and Bangladeshi in a 3-day period (v NZ at home in 2000 I think – conceded 350 and lost by 150, and scored 370 and won by 170, in back to back matches), though this team is more consistent

  51. Well England picked up the silver medal today.

    16 more days cricket to solve the problems – it can be good getting the bad day in early.

  52. that was great batting by Yuvraj… when I saw him in AU last summer it was a big dissappointment, but this was SUPER stuff, well played , India!!

    of course, England played its usual dreary shite. But Kev isnt concerned, so this is a bonus. No doubt he has his mind on the Test series, way to go, Kev. Always play the NEXT series while participating in the current one.

  53. KP can’t say nothing and it doesn’t sound right talking about the Test series, but he is right. This ODI stuff is a sideshow – we’re years away from a World Cup but we’re days away from a Test series against the team that have just beaten another team 2-0. There’s not an Englishman alive (pause for obvious gag) who wouldn’t take 7-0 in the ODIs for 0-1 in the Tests (and I’d take it for 0-0 or 1-1).

  54. All this wouldnt matter if England sneaked the test series 1-0 or with some luck, 2-0.
    At the risk of being the laughing stock, I will stick my neck out for England in the test series. Even a 1-1 or 0-0 draw would be a win, just as it was last time. So, my prediction for the test series:
    Surely not an Indian win!

  55. Raj – If I remember right, you had the same prediction for the recent India-Aus test series:). Are you dialing down expectations in order not to jinx it?

    However, going by history, India are more intense, hungry and dangerous when playing Australia but seem a little lazy when playing other opposition. So it might be a case of India underperforming in the test series. All that might change under Dhoni however, which is why I cannot wait for the test series.

  56. Someone should do an analysis/writeup on Sehwag the test batsman Vs. Sehwag the ODI batsman.

    In tests, Sehwag with 2 triples and a host of big hundereds at an ODIish strike rate, is on the verge of greatness.

    His evil ODI twin has not quite matched his test record. An ODI average in the low 30s as opposed to a 50+ average in tests suggests as much.

    Anyone want to take this up?

  57. one simple question…where does sachin fit into this lineup? i suppose yusuf will make way. also it needs a proper allrounder like irfan but time will tell if he prospers again.

  58. I’m hopeful of England chasing this score down.

  59. TTT, yeah, they should be able to. I always felt that England were being written off too early. It’s not as if India started with a 158 run advantage in the second match. Every match starts at 0/0 so what happened yesterday doesnt matter a whit today.

  60. Hmm..during the Shah/Prior partnership, and again when Freddie went berserk briefly, I expected a close finish.

    England has disappointed again..they don’t seem to be able to plan a chase properly.

    May be Eng will bat first in the next match and set a fighting total.Will be nice to see them try to defend a total.But then they don’t seem to have any bowlers who could do the slow choke.

    KP has a task at hand.

  61. Hmm..during the Shah/Prior partnership, and again when Freddie went berserk briefly, I expected a close finish.

    England has disappointed again..they don’t seem to be able to plan a chase properly.

    May be Eng will bat first in the next match and set a fighting total.Will be nice to see them try to defend a total.But then they don’t seem to have any bowlers who could do the slow choke.

    KP has a task at hand.

  62. Stu Broad seems to have improved his batting compared to last year.

    Good. Why couldn’t any one in England teach Monty how to hold a bat?

  63. phew, that was some match. RP Singh is well and truly exposed now. He has been poor ever since the IPL – in all forms and levels of Cricket but keeps getting picked. Bhajji’s 21 run over should indicate what can be done to him – it would happen more often. Sehwag/Pathan arent any where near Tendulkar/Sehwag/Ganguly as a fifth bowler combo. (But Yuvraj’s stars seem to be perfectly aligned. For how long, we’ll see that- I dont have high hopes for more than 2 months = I mean the guy might murder England in the test series but what will he do in New Zealand – it is so predictable that it is annoying to think he cant be left out of that tour irrespective of a great performance against England)

    England has to regret and regret badly – they cant get more help from India to win. India have done everything within their power to let England win.

  64. Is it me or does no one else feel that letting the batting team pick one of the power plays is pretty ridiculous.

    I understand this is to jazz up ODIs in the wake of 2020 but its just NOT cricket. And that aint no cliche!

  65. I thought KP chose the 3rd power play at the right time today.And it almost swung the match back Eng’s way.

    So, some times the batting side could afford to conserve the wickets and milk the singles for a while, and then have the power play to bring down the reqd run rate.

    For a team like Eng, ideally, the 3rd power play should be taken after KP settles down.

    It will be interesting to see how this option plays out when any of these teams play SL.Murali hates bowling during power plays.So, if a side takes the 3rd PP around overs 30-35, the slow choke of SL can be counter acted. Just my theory…

  66. Kumar,
    Sri Lanka. Powerplays. Murali. Not much liking
    They have Mendis.

  67. Without any doubt, Mendis is the heir-apparent to both Murali and Warne.

    But he will be sorted out.At least in ODIs.We have seen the likes of Raina, Sehwag and Dhoni score off him consistently.

    The seniors were far too iffy in the tests, I feel.

  68. There’s that. And IPL will further accelerate the demystification of Mendis, I guess.
    I wouldnt be surprised if Australia wobble for just a couple of years and sort themselves by end of 2010 – close enough to add another World Cup.
    I think many people are seeing this 2008 as the Australian version of West Indies’ 1995 – and that 2012 would therefore see Aus blanked 3-0 by Pakistan or Bangladesh. But thats unlikely – at their worst, Aus would reach the depths of, well, South Africa in the late 90’s – namely, almost winning all, ending up with few.

  69. I don’t think Aus will wobble even for 1 or 2 years. They will win consistently at home I reckon, and unless England sorts out their mess, should also retain the Ashes quite comfortably.

    But I don’t think Ponting can survive till 2011.I have a feeling he is no longer the same batsman he was, but I will wait till the end of the home and away series against SA.

  70. Grant this to Ponting – back at home in the comforting environs of down under, he is a champion batsman – double hundreds, centuries and fifties will start flowing like a river in flood.

    The opponents dont really matter there – except maybe Bhajji and Ishant. I am pretty sure he is going to punish NZ heavily – probably will cross Sachin’s centuries record before end of year or before end of the SA series or at the worst before Ashes. Probably will cross Sachin’s run aggregate by end of Ashes, too.

    He has 6-7 years left as a batsman, whether or not he is captain. I am pretty sure he will end up with more than Sachin’s aggregate of runs in tests and total no. of centuries in tests. Probably will be the first batsman in the history of Cricket to reach 15000 runs in test cricket. He definitely will be the first to reach 14000 runs in test cricket.

  71. Raj,

    Are you upto your usual mischeief, jinxing the Punter now? :-)

  72. oops..please don’t mind my typos.

  73. “India at 31/3 is not going to be nearly as comfortable a scoreline for England as it looks like.”

    What are you psychic or something? Did you predict the 2nd ODI in a dream? :-)

  74. Kumar, no this one I genuinely believe :-).
    He is not in the same bracket as Sachin and Lara but he will end up as the highest run-scorer and highest century-scorer in test cricket. With some luck, he might reach 100 international centuries. 4 years back I was pretty sure Sachin would do that(100 intl 100’s) but now it is clear even 90 would be huff-and-puff for him.

  75. 100 international centuries ! You must be kidding !

    Ricky has 62 now (36 T+26 ODI), and will be 34 years next month. At best, we can give him another 4 years – 2012 December, though realistically speaking, I doubt if he can hack it beyond 2010 December. He may want to retire after the December 2010-Jan 2011 home series in a flourish.

    So, even if he scores 5 centuries a year in Tests, he will have 50-51 test centuries.Add 3 ODI centuries a year (??), and who knows, at least one T20 century a year (he can reinvent himself for that format if he wants to), it will still be around 85 international centuries.

    Sachin already has 80.He will play till 2010 too..and score around 4 international centuries a year, and end up with around 90-92 centuries.

    And I don’t believe I have actually sat down, did mental calculations and typed all these lines. I am probably wasting my time on this topic :-)

    I think I will just read the Guardian comments on David Hopps latest missive from India and then go to bed:-)

  76. of course ponting will break the centuries record. the only reason he didn’t want to miss the brisbane test was only because he would have hated to miss out on two-three tons against new zealand. the likes of ponting, hayden are home bullies..similar pitches, same venues year after year only makes it easier.

  77. Sunny, Ponting has scored everywhere except India. But yeah, I get your point – he is a home bully in the sense that he has flopped miserably in conditions alien to him. Till recently, this was explained as “he never toured India when he was in form” :-).
    To me, that argument – made in favour of Ponting by people who bracket him with Sachin – precisely dismisses his case to join the Sachin-Lara duo in greatness stakes. Because, you know, Sachin scored a century in Australia every time he visited there – Australia as you know is MARS for Indian batsman. Lara ofcourse has gems everywhere. Sachin didnt need form, favourable umpiring decisions or lives to score ‘pure’ centuries across the world including South Africa – supposedly Sachin’s record in SA is as pathetic as Ponting’s in India according to Ponting fanatics :-)

    This is why Ponting will never be on par with Sachin and Lara even if he ends up with 15000 test runs and 50 test centuries, which I guess he will anyway.

  78. Also, in that sense, Hayden is actually better than Ponting. He has delivered goods in India, including the IPL. Our man Ricardo was a flop in India in all forms of the game, including IPL.

  79. and ponting is out for 4 with southee bagging all wickets falling in the first session. so the easiest way to get ponting in trouble is by unleashing 19 yr old fast bowlers. works in mohali and at the gabba.

    there is no other cricketer whose failure i savour quite like ponting. keep it up mate!

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