Yes, I know - it feels like the birds can fly, Govinda can dance and rivers can flow again!
Hum-ho! OK! Back to cricket!
Where shall I start after such a long break? OK - Let us start with the first test with England that was completed (!) yesterday.
To sum it up, England were hard done by the rains - they deserved to win fair and square. And obviously, there were more take-aways for England than for India
Takeaways for England -
1) James Anderson - Amazing bowler, why he was out of playing 11 for such a long time is a mystery. England's bowling line up should be ideally - Harmison, Flintoff, Anderson, Sidebottom, Monty.
2) Monty Panesar - Improving continuously and impressing everyone with his attitude
3) Matt Prior - Good Wicket keeper, Better Sledger and still better as a Batsman - will go a long way to play for England
4) Kevin Pieterson - England's best bet to survive and do well in World Cricket - Rightly the next leader for England -> My take - KP = 2 times Yuvraj Singh in his best form.
He was busy hammering Kumble all around Lord's , while our 'masters blasters' struggled against Monty.
5) England almost won - without Flintoff and Harmison!
Takeaways for India-
1) Rain is always not a spoilsport. - Good revenge for India - I am still not able to forget how Cullinan and rain thwarted Indian win (and spirited Kumble bowling) on SA soil years back - and so this feels good.
2) R P Singh - bowled really well (on a bowler friendly wicket)
3) Dhoni - Sensible batting - shielded the tail enders as much as he could - please note that this trait was / is never seen before in Indian cricket.
4) Dinesh Kartik - the guy has a spunk - thankfully, sense prevails sometimes in Indian cricket corridor and he is in the team.
As far as the much famed Indian line up(!) goes, this is my take:
- Yes they were great.
- There are times when everyone fails to a wonderful delivery, a situation, a mistake, opposite captain's / bowler's acumen etc., and so did they at times.
- Overall, they have served Indian cricket well - for years together.
- They have changed over time - their strengths, their thinking, their objectives all have changed in the years that have gone by - but we have not changed - our expectations still remain the same - that we, a nation in cricketing despair, will be saved by these armoured knights on white horses - they will save the game for India, they will destroy the opposition so on and so forth
- The only thing to do is accept what they themselves have - they are not what they were before.
- Yes, they were brilliant and gifted cricketers and that gift will show on occasions - but consistency? Sorry mate, consistency has shifter her residence now.
- Let us stop expecting that Tendulkar / Ganguly / Laxman / Dravid will save us anymore. They will come and try their best, but sadly, their best is not so good anymore. Tendulkar's dismissal to Monty in second innings was - yet again - a sad one for me. For a batsman at his level, getting LBW to an arm ball - is somehow not digestible. But this is where our digestion power needs to change - because this is a common thing now - we will need to digest such failures from these one time greats - till they retire gracefully (!) or are asked to retire like Kapil Dev.
- So my amigos, let us not start dreaming after yet another century by Ton-dulkar, another miraculous knock by That-man-Laxman, another aggressive century by Dada and another display of dogged defence by the Wall. - let us applaud the knock it deserves, but let the expectations not start coming out of your pocket again - put them and lock them up. Open them for someone like a KP or a Karthik or a Chawla, but not for the ones that ruled once.
Another point to be noted in this match was coming back from being dead of KP - a reversal of decision. I fully support this and hope that it should be a norm soon. However, similar facilities should also be provided for the bowlers who feel that they are served injustice at times.
Justice should prevail in this glorious game - at the cost of anything and everything!
Off to Trent Bridge now, for another match at the mercy of weather I'm told.