Sunday, June 23, 2024

England missing Ian Bell


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From Sunil Gavaskar

 Two back-to-back wins have given India the upper hand in the five-match series, though of course cricket being the great leveler that it is, nobody can say with any certainty that it will be a 5-0 score-line.A rejuvenated Indian team will be eyeing to clinch the series by winning the third game at Mohali on Thursday.

India have won both matches with plenty to spare. They have defended a 300 plus score, and then chased down a good score with almost 14 overs still to be bowled and that is a huge margin indeed.

What has been impressive is how the bowlers are able to come back after a partnership and then restrict the batsmen. England have left out Ian Bell from their playing eleven which is baffling to say the least.

To suggest that it can only be Pietersen or Bell and not both in the team together is hard to understand when a raw newcomer like Bairstow gets the nod.

Sure David’s boy is a fine prospect, but Bell has played in India before and in a short game like this experience counts.

Besides there is the small matter of Bell thrashing this Indian attack for hundred after hundred in the just concluded series in England and his confidence would be sky high.

Three batsmen made India’s life miserable in England and they were Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen and they should be fronting up and given the chance to do it again.

In both the matches India’s batsmen have been in great form and have played some scintillating shots, and as it happens in India the bowlers’ efforts have not got the recognition it deserves. They dismissed England for 160 plus in Hyderabad, and on a good batting surface in Delhi they again kept them under 250.

The seamers have got the early wickets and the spinners too have chipped in regularly to ensure that England haven’t got in the driver’s seat.

The selectors quite wisely did not change the squad and that gives Parthiv Patel and Rahane some more chances to come good.

Patel batted well in England, but he hasn’t got off to a start here and Rahane continues to flatter only to deceive later. Mumbai’s batsmen are known to be satisfied only with a three figure innings once they get a start, but it is now Delhi’s batsmen who are doing so.

Gambhir may not have got a century but he showed that his self belief is back, and Virat Kohli has never lacked any self-confidence ever.

Their match winning partnership was highlighted by some magnificent shots and they showed that even in limited overs cricket runs can be piled quickly with risk free boundaries and not just sixes.

At every venue a big sign is displayed everywhere informing spectators not to indulge in racist chants, or come onto the playing arena and not to abuse the players or the officials.

Maybe that is a sign that should be pasted on the walls and doors of the dressing rooms too so that players too are informed.

Unfortunately, the umpires and match referees keep turning a blind eye and that festers the situation. Some bowlers and fielders are taking their frustration out by abusing the batsmen and getting away with it.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, S Aravind, Rahul Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Bopara, Jonathan Bairstow, Graeme Swann, Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn, Stuart Meaker, Scott Borthwick, Jose Buttler, Alex Hales.


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