India vs England: Battling the beast within

Jul 27 2014, 09:40 IST
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SummaryAfter Lordís, England need to question the relevance of going ahead with a green track for the third Test.

England captain Alastair Cook, also the teamís opener, is struggling to keep the ball pinned to the turf and his head above water. Surprisingly, itís an Indian opener, Murali Vijay, who has proved to be the best judge of pace and bounce on these pitches. The home team might be dealing with a Ďshort-ballí trauma after Lordís, but most visiting teamís batsmen, unlike in the past, have shown they can move away, duck, pull or hook.

Ishant Sharma, not Stuart Broad, has been the fiercest and most successful bowler in the two Tests. And it is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has adapted to the conditions better than James Anderson. Read the first para again, weigh the facts, and answer the following question. Which team is better equipped to play on a green wicket? Itís as good as asking: Which country houses the Taj Mahal?

So, shouldnít Cook walk across to the Rose Bowl curator on the eve of this crucial Test and request him to shave off a bit of grass. But to do that he will have to really drag himself, withstand a stomach churn to get the right words out. Since this would mean that the batsman in him, the one who has scored 25 Test tons, would have to swallow his pride. Plus, as a captain, he will need immense courage to tear apart the old, time-tested Ďhow to beat Indiaí template, that after passing through the hands of his predecessors, was handed over to him at his coronation.

Green track, short bowling, thatís what the world did during Indian summers. After Lordís, though, a rethink is needed. Some time back England took the tough call of showing the door to a match-winner, maverick and, alleged trouble-maker who the world called ĎKPí, but many in the team referred to as ĎThe Egoí. With three Tests to go, Cookís team in transition needs to drive out 11 more ĎEgosí before they enter the field at Rose Bowl to make a comeback in this series and be a force in world cricket. And this isnít as straightforward as it sounds.

Getting rid of the bloated beast within is the biggest challenge an international athlete faces in a professional career. For a star to acknowledge a weakness and rectify it, all in public view, isnít easy. Itís painful. Since early days these Ďspecial playersí periodically take giant leaps from being the best

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