Unless you have your head stuck under rock, or more likely distracted by the soccer World Cup and Andrew Strauss’ swearing on TV, you would be aware that a 5 Test series between England and India is about to start.
It is quite remarkable really. How often do we see a 5 Test series between these two teams?
It was originally planned to be only 4, but the Sri Lankan series was shortened by a Test to allow it to happen.
Another own goal by the English.
Anyhow, the English and Indian fans are getting all excited and spirits are high.
However, I put it to you that we will discover very little from this series, irrespective of the result.
Here are 4 things we will not learn from the England v India Test series:
Is Cook a decent Test captain?
Not since the D-Day landing has a ship’s captain been under more fire than Cook.
The truth is that England have a habit of selecting a certain type of personality to lead their sides. Although staid and proper may have been enviable qualities in the 40’s, modern cricket calls for a much more energetic approach.
This is not how Cook rolls. In fact, he tends to think more about what Shane Warne says about him than anything strategic on the cricket field.
With his mouthpiece and the team’s onfield spiritual leader Matt Prior now in doubt for much of the series due to injury, Cook will be hard to distinguish from Nelson’s Column. Just a block of boring grey concrete looking out over a busy scene that he has no influence on.
England could win this series 5-0, but it will not be a reflection on Cook.
The funniest thing will be to see if Ishant Sharma ends his career. The series is worth watching for that reason alone.
Are the English new kids any good?
It’s funny to watch how the English get excited over fresh young talent, much like Rolf Harris does.
In the past 12 months we have seen a steady procession paraded in front of us.
Borthwick, Ballance (Zim), Stokes (NZ), Woakes, Dernbach (Italy), Rankin (Ireland), Finn, Root, Ali, Jordan (Barbados), Plunkett, Jos Butler, Kerrigan and Robson (Australia).
There are some potential one hit wonders in there. Some haven’t even got a hit.
You know the story. English supporters sprouting stuff like “Did you see Stokes bowl in Sydney?” or “How good was Moeen Ali’s graceful style at Headingley”.
However, how do you judge these blokes after a 5 Test series against India? The sub continent home track bullies haven’t won a series away for 3 years!
If England do win the series, does that mean that the new kids are any good?
India’s bowling attack is lead by a mop headed beanpole who’s bowling average is over 20% worse than James Overratedson’s, while it’s spin department is full of part timers or all rounders.
If India somehow manage to take 20 wickets with that line up a few times and win the series, England will have their answer.
Can either of these teams match it with the better sides?
We have already noted that India haven’t won a series away for 3 years.
Going into this series, England haven’t won a Test match for 8 matches. They sit number 5 in the Test rankings and are dropping faster than Arjen Robben in the penalty box.
England will point out that they beat Australia 3-0 only 12 months ago. However, that series could easily have been 2-1 Australia’s way. They really only dominated the Lord’s Test.
India will also point to a 4-0 home series win against Australia not long back. Again, that series was clouded by HomeworkGate, Watson being referred to as cancer by Clarke, Warner being sent to Zimbabwe with Australia A and selection policies that saw Xavier Doherty, Henriques and Maxwell all wear the baggy green.
Irrespective of the result of this series, we will know nothing more about the bona fides of England or India in regards to playing the better teams like New Zealand or Sri Lanka.
Can India win away from home against decent opposition?
Who knows? They could win against England, but that tells us nothing as England currently are not decent opposition.
Better to wait until they tour Australia later in the year, however, I suspect the answer will be “No”.
Until they get a decent pace attack and play a full time spinner like Ojha, they will struggle to take the wickets to keep pressure on proper opposition consistently. When Brendan McCullum makes 300 against you, your bowling attack needs work.
It is apparent that this Test series will teach us nothing about either side. So why watch it?
Well, there are some things that you don’t want to miss:
1) KP’s articles and tweets about Cook
2) Dhoni and Cook “daring to draw”
3) Prior’s death by a thousand cuts
4) Indian police asking Interpol to arrest Dhoni over this outstanding warrant
5) Jadeja bowling India to a Test win and the English then picking Borthwick to counter in the following match.
6) Shane Warne making Cook cry at a press conference
7) Mike Gatting in lycra