Sunday, November 18, 2007

On to the real thing

So the India-Pakistan one-day series is done and dusted. Pakistan do look like a better team when Shoaib Akhtar is not on the field; whether its because he brings in an air of indolence, or whether its because it means there is one less thing for the captain to worry about, is not clear. But on a helpful pitch Gul, Tanvir and Ifthikar should be a handful, and they were in this last one-day game. On to the test matches, where I think the same Indian XI that played in the last test of the English summer should (and will) take the ground: Jaffer, Karthik, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly, Dhoni, Zaheer, Singh, Sreesanth, Kumble (I suppose a second spinner is always a possibility). The XI that plays in the fourth test against Australia will be different, I'm guessing: form and injury will have played a part by then. But first, a test series against Pakistan awaits, beginning with a game at the Kotla, once one of the worst grounds in India, now, with an improved facility but still some dodginess about its pitch. The Kotla used to be a featherbed, but now I'm not sure about what it produces. Pakistan will come into the test with more confidence than they had after Gwalior, but they need to solve the opening batsman problem and more importantly, the prima-donna-fast-bowler problem, and the perpetually-worried-captain problem.


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