India found out in the one-off T20 match that it may well need an earthquake to shake off this England team. It is a team that typifies the bulldog way and simply does not give up and is at you all the time. It is a team that is patient when needed and is attacking when offence is what is called for.
Moreover unlike the Indian team it has tremendous depth in its batting with its bowlers all being more than handy batsmen and that's why even if they lose half their wickets, they can and do recover and get back on top.
In such a scenario what chance does India have? Well, all is not lost as was seen in the T20 game with some players showing that they are born for the shorter version of the game even if they may not be born to face the short stuff. Suresh Raina is one example of the tormented becoming the tormentor as he launched into Tim Bresnan to hit him for two huge sixes and pressed the accelerator down fully.
Unfortunately there were a few speed breakers, and once they were hit the Indian vehicle went into a spin and didn't land well. The inherent nature of the T20 does not allow too many dot balls and the batsmen are looking to hit the maximum even before they have taken guard correctly. In Indian minds, it seems to be the only way since it does not involve much running.
The difference between a boundary and a sixer is only two but the risk factor in attempting the maximum goes up considerably, and it is here that Ajinkya Rahane's innings was so refreshing. He would have been under tremendous pressure being asked to open the batting but grasped the chance to play some lovely cricketing shots.
He realized that going for the sixes was not easy in conditions where the ball was moving a bit and the wind factor would slow the distance it could go, so he looked to just chip the ball over the infield and got boundaries. Crucially he didn't play across the line at all and played orthodox shots which showed more of the face of the bat than its angles and thus looked secure even when he was hitting over the fielders.
The others went for the glamour shots and perished and that will worry the Indian think tank. The collapses are getting regular with little or no contribution from the lower order so even a terrific start is wasted.
India's fielding was much better than the Test series but the deployment could do with improvement and it is here that the vice captain has a role to play. The ultra-short format puts enormous pressure on the skipper who has his hands full thinking of how to rotate the bowlers and so he may not be looking hard at the field placements and his deputy can help here in ensuring that the swifter guys are patrolling the deep and stopping the fours.
The one-day series is another opportunity for India in trying to bring some sunshine into what is turning out to be a bleak and gloomy summer but it will need clear heads and big hearts to do it.
Professional Management Group