Willow Talk: Dr V. V. Giri Assesses India’s English Summer

For this week’s Willow Talk distinguished former first-class cricketer and coach of international players Dr V. V. Giri, who conducted High Performance coaching sessions for MCA this year (and made a huge difference to the performances of the Academy’s fortunate youth players), takes a final look at India’s tour of England, from which the touring side emerged without a single international victory. For more on Dr Giri, check out MCA’s Profiles page.

“INDIAN CURRY – NO WORRY”

What proper planning can do – this was most evident in the recently concluded Indian tour of England. The English team and their management planned things meticulously and beat an Indian team led by a man who doesn’t believe in planning. India couldn’t win a single international match on this tour. Andy Flower’s men defeated the Indians royally in all aspects of the game.

Selecting Andy Flower as a coach over other top English coaches was itself the result of very well calculated, careful planning and it paid rich dividends. Andy, with his meticulous and tough approach, created a ‘world-beating’ side and England promptly the became number one ranked test team. First, he focused on the fitness and fielding aspects of the team — always the nemesis of English cricketers.

Having successfully done that, he focused on the batting. He had clear opinions on good technique and perseverance and kept Jon Trott and Ian Bell as the nucleus of the batting line up. By the way, Bell, in my opinion, is a great bat, who hasn’t had sufficient recognition. The other batsmen revolved around these two. Strauss and Cook are both perfect back foot players, which is very important in swinging & bouncing conditions. KP, though not as strong in technique as the others, was in a great form and filled up the fifth position. Eoin Morgan took the 6th place over Bopara. And England, with such a strong line-up and reserves, were able to rest KP for the ODIs. Prior took the wicket keeper’s position and contributed very well in batting, too.

England played 3 fast bowlers in tests. Anderson led the attack, supported by Broad and Tremlett. When Tremlett was injured, they had Bresnan and Finn as a stand-by. All these pacemen were trained well to utilize English conditions. Kudos to the English management for planning and using the Dukes ball manufactured before 2010, which was known for wild swinging. The spinning option went to Swann, who, in my opinion, is the best spinner in the world today.

England analyzed the Indian batting line up and knew exactly what to do. India had only two batsmen who could bat well in the English condition – Dravid and Sachin. Others had deficiencies in handling swing bowling. The plan was very simple and it paid off. Bowl short-pitched balls, push the batsmen back, and produce an over-pitched swinging delivery. Result – the batsmen fall for it by driving without control. Except for Dravid, all the other Indian batsmen – Gambir, Mukund, Sehwag, Laxman, Raina, Yuvraj and Dhoni — fell for this simple basic plan. The Indian batsmen simply had no answer at all, as the conditions were too tough for most of them. They were so used to low bounce & no swing, back in the India, where the ball comes up only to shin level. On this tour, the English fast bowlers were able to bring the ball up to the face. This shin music to chin music was just too much for them.

So, this white wash was a reward for thorough planning and execution. On the other hand, India had no planning at all. The bowling was just substandard, the batting was horrible, and added to these we witnessed some poor captaincy. Above all, the Indians had no fitness. As many as nine players were injured and most of them went home. For the Indians, the English tour ended in a disastrous manner in September 2011, which I feel, can be termed the ‘9/11 disaster’ for Indian cricket.

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