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/)

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 21, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Bulawayo

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 22, 2014 (18:30 IST)   at St George's, Grenada

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 23, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Hambantota

India tour of England 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Bristol

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (00:00 IST)   at Basseterre, St Kitts

More

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 20, 2014  at St George's, Grenada

West Indies won by 3 wkts

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 19, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 61 runs

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 17, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 93 runs

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014  at London

England won by an innings and 244 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 105 runs

Photos

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge performed by cricketers

Videos

Hughes explains technique behind cut shot

India still in a position to succeed against England in ODIs

13 things you may not know about Ravi Shastri

Duncan Fletcher speaks out; explains why Team India failed in the Test series against England!

Science of slip fielding: What might be wrong with Team India’s slip cordon

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe

IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy: Mudgal committee may seek extension to August 31 deadline

Melbourne Cricket Ground to get new turf ahead of 2015 World Cup

Zimbabwe surrender meekly against mighty South Africa; set target of 166

Michael Vaughan accepts Stuart Broad’s ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’; becomes latest cricketer to join the bandwagon

Live Scorecard: India Women vs England Women 1st ODI at Scarborough

ICC World Cup 2011 to 2015: Test playing nations have seen numerous changes to the coaching setup

Lalit Modi nominates N Srinivasan for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Yasir Hameed: I have certainly not fulfilled the potential I had

India still in a position to succeed against England in ODIs

Alex Hales’ inclusion a positive move by England for ODI series against India

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

659 Posts | 6 Fans

India tour of England 2014: Sunil Gavaskar says Indian batsmen did not learn anything

Manjhi questions Modi`s Jharkhand visit during bypoll in Bihar

Court acquits man in 1984 Gurdwara Pulbangash riot case

Lalit Modi nominates N Srinivasan for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

When is the best time to practice yoga?

Australia tour of Zimbabwe 2014: Michael Clarke expects tough challenge

Vishal Bhardwaj: It’s time for I&B ministry to help the film fraternity!

US gurdwaras to help project positive Sikh image

India to face Jordan and UAE in Asian Games

Forget Kim Kardashian: Meet the real queen of selfies

Forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Push-up Challenge is here!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here