• Does a visiting team win a Test series in India with a pace-oriented attack or is spin the key? The question is relevant as we have an Australian team in our midst aiming to win the Test series with an all-out pace attack with no spin bowling worth the name.

     

    Given the traditional nature of Indian pitches – slow, bald and batsman friendly - they would seem to spell the death knell of fast bowlers. Given this background it must be surprising to note that the best fast bowlers have overcome this handicap and done pretty well.

     

    One remembers as far back as 1956, Ray Lindwall, then 35, and reckoned to be over the hill, taking seven for 38 in India’s second innings in hot and humid Madras to bowl Australia to an innings win with a day to spare. Not unexpectedly, the visitors won that three-Test series by two matches to nil.

     

    Yes, the intense heat and humidity is another obstacle fast bowlers have to hurdle across but this did not stop Wesley Hall and Roy Gilchrist from mauling the

    Read More »from Both pace and spin can succeed in India
  • Commenting on the eve of the Test series, I had mentioned the home advantage that India enjoyed and this was where I reckoned India would have the edge over Australia, even if on paper there was very little to choose between the contestants.

     

    India's formidable record at home is indeed such that even the No 1 ranked team in the world has found it difficult to overcome. In the last eight years, India have lost only one Test series in this country - to Australia four years ago. And, as is well known that was Australia's first series win in India for 35 years.

     

    What, however, makes the Mohali victory doubly sweet is the emphatic manner in which it was achieved – the biggest win for India in terms of runs - and the team work involved. Indian victories are generally the handiwork of two or three players who cover up adequately for the failures of others. Even, future generations who take a cursory glance at the scores will be able to conclude that this must have been a most satisfying

    Read More »from It would be a folly to underestimate the Aussies
  • As the debate rages over how long the 'Fab Four' will continue I am reminded of the time exactly 30 years ago when the original 'Fab Four' came under similar pressure in the twilight of their careers.

     

    I refer to the famous spin quartet who ruled the roost from the mid sixties to the late seventies and shaped innumerable notable victories at home and abroad. In their own way, they terrorized batsman as much as Roberts and Holding, Lillee and Thomson.

     

    Ian Chappell, one of the best players of spin bowling, reckoned that his cricketing education was completed on the 1969-70 tour of India, as he had to take on the spin bowlers at their peak. He said that if the body had to show tremendous reflexes in trying to negotiate a fast bowler the brain was working overtime in trying to tackle the famed Indian spinners. They had so many ideas, so many variations that the batsman was at his wit's end in trying to just negotiate an over successfully. 

     

    Bishen Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas

    Read More »from Turning the clock back

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