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/)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Phil Hughes injury: Indian team sends its best wishes

India’s bowling performance on Day One of tour of Australia is a promising sign

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can India afford such a rigorous tour just ahead of ICC World Cup 2015?

Cheteshwar Pujara faces crucial series in Australia following England nightmare

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India India tour of Australia 2014-15 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Sourav Ganguly to motivate Atletico de Kolkata players with inspirational talks

IPL 2013 spot-fixing scandal leads to India Cements’ stock value going down

Phil Hughes was wearing an older version of helmet, say manufacturers

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014: Karnataka register emphatic 156-run victory over Punjab to claim title

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: Aditya Verma urges Supreme Court to make Mudgal report public

India’s bowling performance on Day One of tour of Australia is a promising sign

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can India afford such a rigorous tour just ahead of ICC World Cup 2015?

Chandu Patankar: A gloveman lost amidst Bombay stalwarts

Cheteshwar Pujara faces crucial series in Australia following England nightmare

The first match at the Melbourne Cricket Club

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here