Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rankings and test cricket

A lot of people are calling it India's final frontier.
Ever since the Indian cricket team were ranked number 1 by the ICC, the expectations have obviously gone higher.
One thing that I have noticed about the present Indian side is that they are slow starters. Ever since they got the number 1 ranking, they have lost most of the first test matches of the series in the last one year. The one against Australia at Mohali was almost a loss, if it weren't for Laxman and Ishant's heroics at the end. They got rammed by South Africa last year at Ahmedabad and it was a similar case against Sri Lanka, when we toured earlier this year. The first two matches against New Zealand were boring draws, before the Nagpur match turned things around for them.
So where does this leave them in the series against South Africa?
South Africa themselves haven't been doing too great. They drew with a Pakistani team that is desperately hoping that they don't get banned from the international cricket arena; earlier in the year, they drew with an English side that seems to be getting better by the day and they drew with India in India. It's nothing to write home about, but funnily these two sides are ranked one and two by the International Cricket Council.
England on the other hand are actually playing like a number 1 side. They have been consistently good; have been playing competitive cricket and are no longer the whiners that they were. It's almost like role reversal when I see them in the Ashes today.
Cricket today is viewed in a different way. It's more about the T20, as Chris Gayle said, which is unfortunate. Thankfully, you still have packed stadiums during an England and Australia match and Indians have colonized the world, so even if India were playing Zimbabwe in a test match tomorrow, there would be a decent crowd present.
I'm looking forward to this test series. India's fast bowlers have always done well abroad. Hell, someone like Venkatesh Prasad managed a 10 wicket haul against South Africa in 1997, so it'll be no surprise (unless of course, they decide to bowl like shit) that these guys do well.
My only concern is about the batsmen. They've done well in Australia, England and NZ, but South Africa has always been a problem. Hopefully, they rectify this problem.
As for England, let's just hope that there is a time that they have a test tri series between England, India and South Africa before the rankings take a whole new turn.

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