Ahead of the five-match Test series against England, as an Indian cricket fan, you would be lying if you said you were expecting MS Dhoni and his boys to do well. The Indian team, comprising some of the richest and the most endorsed cricketers, was expected to take revenge of the previous tour`s capitulation, but deep within our hearts, we knew what they were up against.
But surprisingly, Indian players dictated terms in the initial phase of the series – a fact the Indian fans are yet to digest.
While Murali Vijay played English seamers as if he was playing gully cricket, Ishant Sharma`s spells looked quite Johnson-esque. The pitch too seemed to have betrayed the Englishmen, who despite their best efforts, were left wondering if the Indians had carried one of their home pitches along with them all the way to England. The first Test ended in a draw.
As if the good show in the first Test wasn`t enough, Indian cricketers sent shock waves back home by winning the Lord`s Test. 28 years! For 28 long years, none of the Indian captains had registered a win at the home of cricket. And the privilege went to MS Dhoni – India`s flawed Test skipper. Even at Lord`s, James Anderson and Stuart Broad failed to swing/reverse-swing the new ball, as Indian players negotiated their not-so-impactful spells with ease. After two Tests, India were leading 1-0!
What was even more frustrating for England was the weird behaviour of their pitches. As an Indian viewer, it seemed England had come to India for another tour (they pummelled us then too). But players wearing half-sleeves sweaters and every English spectator holding a glass of beer, gave us a reality check – India were in England.
India were leading 1-0 after two Tests, and deep within our heart we feared England would bounce back and win the series. But with this thought, there was also a glimmer of hope – India going on to win the series. The former thought, a realistic one, proved to be true as Dhoni gave the local crowd entertainment worth their money spent on countless number of beer glasses.
Ahead of the series, if someone asked you whether you would prefer series going England`s way, 3-1 or 5-0, wouldn`t you have gone for the former prediction? Let`s be honest, it was a far better performance than what we had expected. Being dismissed for less than 200 runs on five consecutive times is shameful you would argue? An entire team failing to bat for less than 30 overs is unacceptable you would say? Players must be sacked, Dhoni must go (if the Boss agrees), Sehwag should be brought back, Jadeja should never play Tests – you would be fuming with these thoughts.
Let me calm you down a bit. I have good news and bad news. For obvious reasons, let`s start with the good news – India will play West Indies next at home for a five-match ODI series and a three-match Test series!! How about that? The same West Indies team which was invited for Sachin Tendulkar`s farewell series after chopping down India`s tour to South Africa.
All these batsmen who were itching to score runs in England, can further enhance their Test records by slamming centuries, double-centuries and triple centuries against West Indies.
While the recent loss against England is extremely painful, at the moment, we should be looking forward to the India vs West Indies contest. This is exactly how over the years, we have been coping with losses overseas. The five-match ODI series starts on October 8 and will end on October 20. More importantly, the Test series will begin on October 30.
It should be a run-fest for the Indian batsmen and they should try scoring as many runs as they can, because here is the bad news – India will leave for Australia to play a four-match Test series beginning from December 4. Did someone say Mitchell Johnson?