Thousands of fans who saw Team India’s craven surrender at Trent Bridge on Monday during the 2nd Test of the nPower Test Series vs England will find it hard to believe that this is really the World’s Number 1 Test Team. Actually, it isn’t. This team is on top of the heap because of a statistical sleight of hand.
What are the stats? Since October 2008, India have played 11 series before this one, winning 8 of them and drawing the other 3. That’s impressive statistics. But they hide the fact that 5 of those series wins have come at home and the other 3 are against Bangladesh, West Indies and New Zealand – the 3 weakest teams in Test Cricket.
India have played South Africa at home and away in this period and only managed to draw the series on both the occasions. Similarly, they have been unable to get past the Sri Lankans on their home grounds in Sri Lanka. Still, India were the Number 1 on the charts. And the England series was the acid test. So, how did the “The Champions” approach the challenge for the crown? With total lack of preparation, physically and mentally, and without the requisite hunger to remain Number 1. They carried some players with niggles and injuries, and some others, like Harbhajan Singh, by virtue of past reputation.
While India have been without Virender Sehwag, a key player, and have also missed Zaheer Khan & Gautam Gambhir for most of this series, West Indies under Clive Lloyd and the Aussies under Steve Waugh have also missed key players from time to time, but they didn’t simply throw in the towel. The Truth is that this Indian Team doesn’t seem to have a Champion’s strength of character.
The statistical miracle, sadly is Over.
Why and How India Lost the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge??
- Failure to seize key moments – India reduced England to 124/8 in the 1st Innings before letting them reach 221. When India batted, India was firmly in control at 267/4 in the 1st Innings setting the stage to take a big 1st Innings lead but alas! They collapsed to 288 all out
- Still Missing Key Players – With no Sehwag and Gambhir, India were virtually topless in their bowling department. Zaheer’s absence meant bowling was without it’s spearhead.
- Poor Application – It was not an impossible pitch to bat on but the Indian Batsmen generally failed to show technical prowess to put on a fight against England’s fast bowlers.
- Swing and Bounce India’s Bane – Indian batsmen couldn’t cope with the bounce and movement the English bowlers extracted from the Trent Bridge pitch. The Conditions are vastly different from what they are in India where the ball doesn’t bounce or moves that greatly when compared to England or Australia.
- Quality Opposition – England were a formidable foe who are brimming with confidence and all-round strength. To compete with them, India needed to play out of their skins.