England v India - Discussion and Updates


ODI Debutant
Feb 5, 2002
England Preview

Their recent one-day form may be depressing to put it mildly, but England will take encouragement from the last Champions Trophy as they take on India in their first outing at this year's event. Having outclassed Sri Lanka, they eased to a comfortable victory over Australia, before the defiance of Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne denied them in the gloaming at The Oval. This time, there are no home conditions to take advantage of, but that may not be such a bad thing on the evidence of the 5-0 demolition that Sri Lanka meted out earlier this summer.

As has been the case in recent times, their fortunes will flow and ebb in tune with Andrew Flintoff's performances. At his best, there's no more destructive allrounder in the game, but when he's been off the pace, England have usually done little more than make up the numbers. And with the World Cup also on the horizon, he has now given himself a new challenge, opting to bat at No.3. "I've spoken with the coach and it's something I feel I can do," he said. "I had the chance earlier in my career, but I trust in my technique more now."

Even if he's unlikely to bowl in the tournament, Flintoff remained convinced that England had the bowling firepower to trouble the best. He brushed off suggestions that Steve Harmison lacked the appetite for one-day cricket and was a poor traveller. "Steve Harmison's committed, no matter whether it's one-day cricket or Test cricket," he said. "As soon as he gets out there, you know what you're going to get. I have no worries about big Harmy."

Flintoff though was confident that a side comprising several new faces would be up to the task in a group that also includes Australia, the favourites. "If you look at the side now, it's very flexible," said Flintoff. "Lads like [Michael] Yardy and [Jamie] Dalrymple have come in and performed straight away. [Andrew] Strauss and [Ian] Bell are in fine form. It's a strong side and I'm hoping we'll have success.

"I don't know where we're rated," he continued. "It's a tough group, but also an exciting one to be in." As for India, he indicated that his team wouldn't make the mistake of concentrating on Sachin Tendulkar or other individuals alone. "He's a fine player, one of the best ever," said Flintoff when asked how he aimed to stop Tendulkar's first match on home soil in nearly a year being a triumphant return. "But there are other fine players too. We've had a team meeting and made plans for them."

Yardy and Dalrymple both offered economical slow-bowling options when pitchforked into the big time recently, but England's hopes will float or sink based on how they tackle Harbhajan Singh and the other Indian spinners. "We've practised well since coming here," said Flintoff. "We've had some local spinners bowling, and we're prepared and confident.

"The last time we played here, we were in a position to win the first game in Delhi, but didn't see it home. We've got to learn to stay on top when we're on top, and also to manoeuvre the spinners around and score runs off them."

He reckoned that he has a team that could beat anyone, but admitted that stringing together consistent results had been a problem. And though the Ashes are uppermost on most English minds, Flintoff suggested that his team wouldn't be distracted as they go about trying to end England's terrible drought in the big one-day tournaments. "It would be nice to start off playing well," he said, when asked if Sunday's game might set the tone for the whole winter. "We need to concentrate on what's happening over the next few weeks. We got to the final of the Champions Trophy the last time, and we'd like to win it. But as for the rest of the winter, I wouldn't read too much into it."

England (likely): 1 Andrew Strauss, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Andrew Flintoff (capt), 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Michael Yardy, 7 Jamie Dalrymple, 8 Chris Read (wk), 9 James Anderson, 10 Sajid Mahmood, 11 Steve Harmison.

Indian Preview

It's been exactly a year and a day since Rahul Dravid was, once and for all, appointed India's one-day captain. It wasn't the easiest of times to take on the mantle of leadership and the side were about to start a testing season. Over the next six months, they won handsomely when expected to be rolled over, fought gallantly when nobody gave them a chance. Soon they did the reverse - stuttering when presented with a golden chance to win in the Caribbean, and surrendering a chance to upstage Australia, after doing most things right.

One year later, on the eve of their opening game of the Champions Trophy, they stand pretty much where they were. The batting order needs re-jigging, especially after their repeated recent failures, and their bowling, though largely more impressive than the batting, has serious concerns. The team isn't settled, not by a long way. It's not the most auspicious manner to start an important tournament; and it's good that they've experienced this feeling before.

It's unfair to blame one man for all of India's worries but Irfan Pathan's loss of bowling form has hurt, big time. Throughout last season, when he averaged 35 with the bat and 20.5 with the ball, he was the team's engine. Promote him up the order, he delivered; entrust him with the new ball, he delivered; bring him on in the middle overs, he delivered. India don't have a replacement for Pathan at the moment and lack of a medium-pace allrounder remains a handicap.

"We'll pick what we think is our best combination," said Dravid ahead of the clash against England. "But two spinners have done well for us against England in the past. That will be something that will come under serious consideration." And there were further hints: "I think the biggest challenge England have to deal with is how they play our spinners, how they play in these conditions, how they adapt and adjust themselves to the wicket."

In case they chose to play both Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar - to partner Munaf Patel and Ajit Agarkar, both of whom have been in good form - then Pathan might miss the cut. Even if only one spinner is picked, there's Rudra Pratap Singh who might be preferred for his left-arm seam, considering the surprising lift he gets off the wicket. The choice will boil down to whether the team want to pick Pathan for his batting ability - to his credit, he's been doing better than a few specialist batsmen - and risk his bowling. It's not the best headache to have; but form is such a fickle thing that it may well not be a headache tomorrow.

The Pathan decision will also impact the batting. Dinesh Mongia's pretty much sealed his berth with a half-century, and handy left-arm spin, in the final game at Kuala Lumpur and Mahendra Singh Dhoni returns to the ground where he made a stunning 183, against Sri Lanka. That leaves two out of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Suresh Raina. The first two have the experience, the last hasn't been in form. Take your pick.

The relaid pitch, being used for the first time, may come with its own mysteries. England's plans - including the option of Andrew Flintoff opening also need to be factored in. "Flintoff could provide exciting possibilities up the order," Dravid assessed, "but we could also get him out early and could pressure on the middle order as well. It will be interesting to see who England open with, I'm sure they're going to try out some combinations and look to see what works best for them. We'll be prepared whoever opens."

So India have problems, plenty of them. But hang on a minute. They're playing at home, conditions where they've won 13 off their last 17 games. These are the very tracks where their batsmen thrive, where their bowlers revel amid rumbling chaos. Just in case they start well, don't take your eyes off them. There are few teams that utilise home advantage so effectively. And a winning cricket team, in India at least, doesn't have too many problems.

- Cricinfo

Good contest, I hope England thrash India

zMario said:
How do you know hes commentating? The feed from india hasnt even started
I live in the UK, it has here. India won toss and elected to field :D
Rob H said:
I live in the UK, it has here. India won toss and elected to field :D
It starts here 4:45 AM (the feed does anyway, match starts in 20 min from now)
I'm sure I read something about batting first in India not being a good thing on recent form.

On the other hand... we haven't picked Rikki Clarke. So that's at least one point in our favour.
Will be interesting to see how Flintoff goes, especially batting at 3
Hilarious how Ravi says STAND UP in a fierce voice, like in a fight against a sumo wrestler
Alright, I've fine tuned some things in my oScript, so lets see how it goes
As much as i am puzzled at Pathan's down fall, i must admit this guy has the knack of pitching the new ball in the right areas to assist his movement. If he adds two yards quicker he can be more than useful.
Havent seen the replay yet, but that LBW decision looked a bit dodgy. Seemed a bit high
Rob H said:
Bell gone lbw to Munaf. Bell looks annoyed by that one.
I think he thought that it was a bit high, or hes disappointed to being out
Saj said:
Havent seen the replay yet, but that LBW decision looked a bit dodgy. Seemed a bit high
For such a class match like this, theres no hawkeye, but SL v Bangladesh gets hawkeye
Looks dead straight . Height is the o nly issue and looks like he is tad unlucky.Didn't the same guy give Tendulkalr out? lol
Billys the 3rd umpire - what are his funny signals going to be in the 3rd umpire box?