India has more than comfortably wrapped up the series with the West Indies two nil. It has been a totally one-sided series with the West Indies never having made a genuine attempt to try and put up some fight. It makes one wonder if the West Indies had come on the tour with a predetermined sense of surrender. That is the inference that I am compelled to arrive at after having read Jason Holders comments after their tame surrender in the first test.
Though Holder did not play in that test he was scathing in rebuffing of the critics on their appraisal of the West Indians. He pointed out that they were playing the top-ranked team in their own backyard and also the fact no West Indian team toured India, has won a test series since 1994 despite having legends like Brian Lara among their ranks. He was resigned to the fact that critics don’t go away and the only way to shut them about is by playing cricket.
Holder played in this, the second test, and a gave a good account of himself. As a team, despite the attempt of most of their batsmen to hit their way out of trouble and losing their wickets, they posted a good total in the first inning. Chase, Dowrich and Holder batted sensibly to put up a respectable total. They followed that up with some good bowling when India was batting. Jason himself bowled well and Warrican justified his inclusion in place of SH Lewis.
Given that India had taken a first innings lead of 56 runs, their first target, coming in after 50 minutes of the start of play, should have been to bat the day out. If they had done that with three or four wickets in Hand they would have put India on the defensive no matter what their lead at the end of the day. It certainly would have been in the region of 175 or so given that India had only one fast bowler and four bowlers in all.
On a pitch that was clearly deteriorating fast, even a target of 200 runs would have made things more difficult for a team batting in the fourth innings on the last day. But none of the batsmen showed any intention of staying on the pitch and trying to anchor the innings. It is agreed that the West Indian batsmen find it difficult to read the spinners, out of their hands. But then Umesh Yadav, the sole speedster in the India team, got ten wickets in the match.
It was a disappointing test series which lends justification to the advocacy of forming a two-tier test system. Teams playing away series are always looked at with some sympathy by fans and critics alike. In a game like a cricket the advantages to the host teams are enormous. Moreover, they can influence the type of pitches that the visitors are to play on. The largely patriotic spectator support that the home team enjoys, as in any sport, are not about the visitors any favours.
The ICC too, in the last official meeting, has averred that they are giving it a serious thought. That will invariably mean the onset of the relegation era in cricket. As unpalatable as it might be to the current test playing nations, it will benefit test cricket in the long run. That will also make it possible for the ICC to admit more nations into the test playing nations club.
They cricket playing countries will also be able to assess their strengths better when competing with countries that are more their equal as competitors. When threatened with relegation the respective boards will do more to make sure that they are more focused on the domestic structure of cricket which grooms the players. Cricketing nations in difficult situations will be more easily identified enabling the council to pay more attention to their woes.
As a fan of Indian cricket fan, I was dismayed with the Indian team’s showing in the recently