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Indian cricket in perspective

The surprising aspect of the Second Test is that – given a wicket was prepared to deteriorate and encourage spin – it was the speedsters on both sides who dominated.

Jimmy Anderson bowled really well but it was Jasprit Bumrah that was man of the match with his nine wicket haul. It was not forever this with Indian pace.

When I first watched Test cricket in the 1960s India were not the force that they are now.

Their captain was the Nawab of Pataudi (Tiger), educated at Winchester and Oxford.

He was an outstanding batsman and fielder even after a shard of glass entered his eye after a car accident in Hove affecting his vision so much that he fielded side-on, using his better eye.

His team had no pace attack so he would introduce his quarter of deadly spinners – Bishen Bedi, Venkat, Chandrasekhar and Prasanna – as soon as possible.

Although Ajit Wadekar was a capable batter, India did not have the batting depth of West Indies (Rohan Kanhai Basil Butcher , Gary Sobers , Clive Lloyd) England ( Ted Dexter, Colin Cowdrey, Ken Barrington and Tom Graveney) or Australia (Peter Burge, Bobby Simpson, Booth).

The spin tradition and lineage continued with Anil Kumble and Harbajhan Singh.

India had a world class all rounder in Kapil Dev and batters in Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar who defied Caribbean hostile pace, averaging 60+ with no helmet.

But still no pace men, though bitter rivals Pakistan produced Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.

More recently India’s Dravid, Segwag, VS Laxman and Dhoni provided middle order resilience and now of course they have Virat Kohli who absented himself from the first two Tests as his wife is expecting.

Crucially they now have a world class pace bowler in Bumrah who is a clever operator at working out batters’ deficiencies.

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About Douglas Heath

Douglas Heath began his lifelong love affair with cricket as an 8 year-old schoolboy playing OWZAT? Whilst listening to a 160s Ashes series on the radio. He later became half-decent at doing John Arlott impressions and is a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. He holds no truck at all with the T20 version on the game. More Posts