India-England First Test: India blew it!

The target was 360+ in 90 overs. A modest asking rate of four runs an over. Give the Aussie’s such a target and tell me they won’t go after it? I think India lost a golden opportunity to prove that they are a top notch Test team.

There was no need to panic and go after the bowling in desperation but it would certainly have helped to play with the purpose of winning right from the outset. Until tea time India never looked like it was interested in going after the target. After tea it was just a plain and complete sham. It was a joke to attack with an asking rate of 11 an over. It was simply too late in the game.

One excuse I have heard was that it was a slow, low fifth day wicket. What if this were an ODI on the same wicket? India would not chase the target?

Firstly, I think India was simply scared of repeating the Karachi fiasco. Better to be safe than sorry. Fair enough. On the other hand, all the Indian cricket fans have to accept that India is simply not a good enough a Test team to take on a challenge like this. Dravid lost an opportunity to prove that he is different from conventional India captains. With two solid defensive players in him and Kaif he should have had a fair degree of confidence that India can most likely save the Test. While he was at the crease Dravid should have made sure that the score was ticking along at a reasonable pace to set the stage for a gradual acceleration followed by a final charge. Alternately, he should have sent in Sachin at number 3 with clear instructions to play his normal free stroking game. Dravid could thus have saved himself for a crisis if needed. He did neither but instead stuck it out at the crease and increased the asking to a point beyond which there was no hope of winning.

After England dominated the first four days this was a perfect chance to steal a win on the final day and India simply blew it. Winning this Test required some professional planning and seasoned execution. With this draw, the Indian team proved that it is not yet upto the mark on either front, the use of laptops and other latest technology not withstanding. But I think that none of India’s Test teams from the past would have come even close to what this team achieved on the last day. So if you are an ardent Indian cricket fan, savor the draw, this team is the best India has ever had.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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