Home > Features >

India tour of England 2014: Possible strategies England may use against Indian batsmen

The Indian batsmen have to be at their best to tackle the England bowlers in their own backyard © Getty Images
The Indian batsmen have to be at their best to tackle the England bowlers in their own backyard © Getty Images

As England and India get ready to battle it out under intense media glare over a five-Test series, Bharath Ramaraj looks at possible strategies the home team may employ against Indian batsmen.

Over the years, India and England have been involved in many soul-sapping duels that can be encapsulated in a gilt-edged frame and kept with you forever. There have been innumerous tales of players from both teams jumping in joy and wincing in pain over epochal victories and heart-breaking losses.

As India get ready to take on England in what promises to be an intense battle between two sides on a rebuilding path, it is time to look at possible strategies the hosts’ backroom staff may employ to get the better off visitors.

Murali Vijay

Since the veteran opener Virender Sehwag was dropped from the setup, Murali Vijay has found a regular place in the Test side. During the Test series against Australia in 2013 and India’s tour of South Africa in 2013, sparks emanated from his bat, as Vijay showed his class by performing well. However, he flopped during India’s tour of New Zealand and now again finds himself at the edge of a precipice.

When Vijay is in fine form, his precise timing bears the stamp of someone having that inane ability to effortlessly caress the ball into the gaps. His flicks can be Mark Waughesque. However, there are times when Vijay seems to throw it away when he is on top.

One of the problems that even the writer wondered back in 2013 in an article written on him was his indecisive front-foot movement. Duncan Fletcher, the Indian coach seemed to have worked on it during Australia’s tour of India in 2013 and even in South Africa, Vijay stood up to the task and performed well. Yet, in New Zealand, Vijay again seemed to have gone back to his old ways.

James Anderson will undoubtedly pitch it up to him and with that razor sharp out-swinger, test his footwork in the corridor of uncertainty. Stuart Broad has a habit of bowling a tad short, but against Vijay, he perhaps would be better off pitching it up.

Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan, after finding himself in the backwaters of wilderness for a long-time, hit the headlines with a rasping century against Australia at Mohali last year. When he played those off-side strokes, Australian fielders seemed to have been scalded in the sun. Dhawan though, found runs hard to come by in South Africa. But in New Zealand, he hit top form.

Dhawan, just like most left-handers, doesn’t mind having a go at even good length deliveries on an off-stump channel. On tracks that offer help to pacers, he can be vulnerable in that respect. In New Zealand though, he did show measured judgment outside his off-stump.

He also has an inclination to play the pull and the hook. He doesn’t exactly get into good positions to play that stroke, but on slower tracks of England, he may get away with it. England likely would pack the off-side and maybe, bowl that odd carrot that is full and wide outside the off-stump to lure Dhawan into his doom. It would be interesting to see to what extent Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett would target him with short stuff.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara is unmistakably India’s best player when it comes to temperament. He seems to have that concentration prowess of a Buddhist monk in the middle. Pujara, who bats with a crouched stance sometimes doesn’t lean into the drive. He may plonk his front-foot straight down the ground. It isn’t like he does that all the time, but if anything, Anderson and co. can leave the gap at cover open and tempt him to drive. Pujara, early in his career, also gave an indication that he was a compulsive hooker. New Zealand’s pacers exploited it to the fullest in 2012. Since then, he has shown better judgement.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli comes across as India’s best batsman when you consider both technique and shot-making ability. Even if one uses a microscope, it is difficult to pick up a flaw in his technique. But in his short career, Kohli has shown that when he gets a bad score or two, he can get into that mode of playing with unnecessary trigger movements.

In the series against England in 2012-13, a few low scores led to Kohli trying out different trigger movements. Anderson exploited it beautifully at Kolkata when he used that in-dipper and reverse swing with the old ball to snare his wicket. The wily off-spinner, Graeme Swann, too tested him. Basically, England have to hope that he can get a couple of bad scores during the early part of the tour for him to press the panic button.

Ajinkya Rahane

Over the years, Ajinkya Rahane has been a quiet and unassuming achiever. Rather than ruthlessly dismantling opposition attacks, he does it with a touch of elegance. There have been times when a fullish delivery that tends to shape back into Rahane has troubled him, as he likes to stay back. He hasn’t always got out to that delivery, but the in-swinger has led to indecisive footwork especially, while going forward.

In English conditions, it is imperative that you come forward at every given opportunity. Anderson, Broad and company are no doubt going to test him with the in-swinger.

MS Dhoni

The Indian captain and wicketkeeper-batsman doesn’t have a great record away from the subcontinent in Tests. Here is someone, who plays a lot with his hands. When it zips around a bit, that may result in MS Dhoni nicking outside the off-stump. For instance in 2011 that problem led to his dismissal in the first innings at Lord’s and in the first innings at Trent Bridge.

Catch all the stories from India’s tour of England 2014 here

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2 at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan reach 517/4 at tea

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Wriddhiman Saha fit for first ODI

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Cuttack curator says “dew factor” will come into play

MS Dhoni should remain India’s Test captain, says Adam Gilchrist

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Pakistan finish on top on Day 2 of 2nd Test vs Australia

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Australia lose Chris Rogers and end the day at 22 for 1

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here