Home > Features >

One-sided Test series don’t augur well for the future of the game

image_20130320093034

If India manages to win at Delhi and register a whitewash, they can bask in its afterglow for less than a year… until it’s their turn to go around the world again © PTI

By Madan Mohan

Indian fans have tasted ‘revenge’ and many probably loved it as Australia crumbled improbably to a third successive defeat on a Mohali flatbed. If India manages to win at Delhi and register a whitewash, they can bask in its afterglow for less than a year… until it’s their turn to go around the world again! 

The last time they did, in 2011-12, they had losses on the trot to show (South Africa can hardly wait).  It prompted this writer to note that India had never lost so badly abroad since the 60s. Well, then, this is also the worst loss for Australia in India in years and years.  Barring the 2004 series, Australia have rarely secured series wins in India, but rarely have they capitulated so meekly either.  

In many ways, this series and the one India played in Australia in 2011-12 are mirror images of each other. At home, Australia looked formidable and seemed to have unearthed a battery of pace bowling stars.

Watching some of the ‘beauties’ they produced to hoodwink the Aussies, you could be forgiven for believing likewise about India’s spin trio. It was a starkly different picture outside their respective comfort zones. Indian batsmen struggled to handle sub-90 mph bouncers in Australia, while the mere threat of turn appeared to paralyse Phil Hughes & Co.  

In producing strong home results, both teams have only regressed….back to a ‘sure-fire’ formula for home success that may not help win matches, let alone series, abroad. India did not depend so heavily on spin under Sourav Ganguly’s leadership and could realistically nurture aspirations of unprecedented success on tour. Australia have waited patiently for Shane Warne’s replacement since 2007, but their patience has yet to be rewarded. In the meantime, their batsmen, who once charged bravely out of the crease unlike their English counterparts, appear woefully out of touch when it comes to countering spin.

The greatest strength of Test cricket is the diversity of the conditions and playing styles.   Where limited-overs wickets can be relatively uniform in being prepared to aid big hitting, Test venues continue to reflect local conditions to at least some degree. Yet this diversity can be a double edged sword. It needs versatile, adaptable players to provide a thrilling experience in diverse conditions. If visiting teams routinely fall flat and make it far too easy for the hosts, bilateral Test series lose their meaning. 

Unfortunately, only two teams seem to travel well abroad at the moment – England and South Africa. England are all round solid, with the odd flashes of brilliance, and are able to adapt to the conditions. South Africa have the best pace bowling attack in the world and simply negate the pitch element, running through batting line-ups any which way they can. 

Other teams are lagging behind in one or more departments and are too inadequate to last the distance in a long Test series. Pakistan, like India, depend heavily on the guile of Saeed Ajmal to safeguard their new ‘home’ UAE, but lack a solid batting line-up to win abroad.   Sadly, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies appear vulnerable even at home .

It may well be a good idea for the International Cricket Council (ICC) and member boards to consider truncated Test series for sometime in the near future, instead of these four/five-match spreads. A well intentioned initiative to support Test cricket may lead to overkill if the opposing teams do not provide a worthwhile contest. And while cricket attempts damage control, the boards need to ponder over what’s gone wrong and groom complete, well-equipped cricketers rather than home tigers pump primed for the bloodbath abroad.      

(Madan Mohan is a 27-year-old chartered accountant from Mumbai. The writing bug bit him when he was eight and to date, he has not been cured of it. He loves music, cricket, tennis and cinema and writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake.  He also writes a blog if he is not feeling too lazy athttp://rothrocks.wordpress.com/)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

Photos

West Indies vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test at Gros Islet

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) in CLT20 2014 – Highlights

Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Pakistan West Indies

Gautam Gambhir lauds Andre Russell’s power-hitting skills

Saeed Ajmal’s mental strength would be tested in this phase, feels Muttiah Muralitharan

Sachin Tendulkar helps Virat Kohli iron out wrinkles outside off-stump

Yorkshire support Andrew Gale in the light of racism allegations

CLT20 2014: George Bailey promises better show

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) in CLT20 2014 – Highlights

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

636 Posts | 8 Fans

Video highlights: Ander Russell 58 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014

Scotland votes against independence: BBC forecast

Motorola Moto 360 gets listed on Flipkart

Parineeti Chopra: When I get ready, I expect people to see what I am wearing and comment on it!

Rupee up 10 paise against dollar in early trade

Deepika Padukone gives her last word on the ‘cleavage controversy’; doesn’t want it to get more ‘undeserved headlines’

Weight Loss Tip #56: Consume lentils to lose weight

Bill Gates praised Modi government, speaking about health structure in India

Is Facebook Messenger app tracking your privacy?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here