Tough questions confront India

Updated: 29 November 2012 00:01 IST

After Ahmedabad, a triumphant MS Dhoni sounded arrogant, and imperious. That time it looked England was completely done because they could not handle spin, and pundits predicted a mismatch in subsequent tests. The deal, everyone thought, was sealed and signed. Now, the tables have turned, not just the pitch and the ball. Suddenly , England looks assured  and confident , their batting led by Cook , a  gritty battler with endless patience  and KP , a majestic , impactful match winner .

Tough questions confront India
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New Delhi:

We know cricket is a great leveller, and sport is bigger than any individual and any player. Surely captain Dhoni is aware of this too but after the mess up in Mumbai he must have learnt another equally important lesson: wise men keep quiet; they listen instead of shooting from the lip.  

The problem with India's crushing defeat goes beyond the failure on the field - what's more worrying is it made us look inept and unintelligent.

After Ahmedabad, a triumphant Dhoni sounded arrogant, and imperious. That time it looked England was completely done because they could not handle spin, and pundits predicted a mismatch in subsequent tests. The deal, everyone thought, was sealed and signed.

Now, the tables have turned, not just the pitch and the ball. Suddenly, England looks assured and confident, their batting led by Cook, a gritty battler with endless patience and KP, a majestic, impactful match winner .

It seems their spinners too are clearly superior. Last game Panesar was consistently threatening, asking tough questions of Indian batsmen. Swann, even without the dreaded doosra or teesra, was more than a handful with clever variations of flight. He is the classical off spinner, much like our own Prasanna, who relies on subtle flight-turn-loop-drift to deceive batsmen.

While England is justifiably enjoying their unexpected success, India is in deep thought as result of the unexpected setback. And ahead of the next game there are many serious issues that need to be addressed.

The choice of the surface is one such matter. Should the curator deliver a spinning minefield to give India the home advantage the captain so desperately seeks? What happens if, as in Mumbai, Monty and Swann once again brutally expose the technical limitations of our batters on a pitch that turns square?

The other option would be to play safe and manufacture a slow-low turner. But the fear, then, is even other English batsmen (Trott, Bell) might strike form and complicate matters.

To an extent, the lack of sting and penetration among India's spinners is the main concern. Bishan Bedi, always clear in thinking and outspoken by nature, put things in perspective when he questioned the quality of our spin. The ball turns because of the bowler not the pitch, he said.

But the hottest debate, post Mumbai, is about SRT, the cricket czar presently suffering a horrible spell of poor form. For a while now he has been uncertain, vulnerable, scratchy and unsure, all of which fuels furious speculation about his future.

The selectors are unlikely to make the call but the next two games will give us a definite indication of what the future holds for the great man.

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