Latest Video

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

India's Tour of the Caribbean retrospect

With India about to embark on a complete tour of the West Indies in a few days time, it’s a great time to take a brief history lesson. Heading not so deep into the history books we take a look back at India's last outing to the Caribbean Islands in 2006. In that historic series, a young side led by Rahul Dravid had managed to achieve the incredible task of winning a test series against the Islanders in their own back yard. The mighty West Indian side was on the other hand led by the legendary Brian Lara and were a definite force to be reckoned with, especially in their own backyard.

India came into that series on the back of a comprehensive 5-1 win over England in an ODI series at home. The young Indian side, sans Saurav Ganguly, had put together a world record 16 consecutive wins while chasing and were placed 3rd in the ICC ODI rankings. Even though Sachin Tendulkar was missing from the side because of his shoulder surgery, India were considered firm favourites for the limited overs leg of the Tour.

When an excellent century by Rahul Dravid in the 1st match put India 1-0 up and extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches, they seemed to be living up to their favourites tag. But a 1 run defeat in the 2nd match not only put a halt on India’s unbeaten run, but also dashed their spirits as they lost all the remaining matches to go down 4-1. Hardcore fans will remember that 2nd ODI - with 2 runs to win and a run to tie off the last ball , Dwayne Bravo charged in to bowl to Yuvraj Singh, who was batting on 93, and playing one of the best innings of his life. However the basher from Punjab was outfoxed by a full slower delivery from Bravo, which began India's slide in the rest of the ODI series.
Ramnaresh Sarwan was the best batsman on display and was rightly awarded the ‘Man of the Series’ for scoring 273 runs at an average of 91, including 98 in that ‘cursed’ 2nd ODI. Chris Gayle chipped in with a further 260 runs including a century and a fifty. For India Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif were the only 2 batsmen who could make a decent contribution with 237 and 205 runs respectively. In the bowling department Ajit Agarkar and Ian Bradshaw were the leading wicket takers for their respective sides with 9 wickets each.
India's capitulation in the one-dayers cast serious doubts about their ability to compete in the test matches, and the series began in similar vein in St. John, Antigua as India trailed by 130 runs in the 1st innings. The visitors though battled back late in the match and set West Indies a target of 392 on the final day on the back of an excellent 212 by opener Wasim Jaffer. The classy Mumbaiker had made a comeback into the Indian side after a gap of 4 years earlier that year and this ton was his 2nd in his last 3 tests. Having taken 7 wickets with more than 20 overs left, the Indian bowlers couldn’t provide the killer blow as the last wicket pair of Corey Collymore and Fidel Edwards hung on for 19 deliveries to secure a draw.
Rain saved West Indies in the 2nd test at St. Lucia, after being forced to follow-on with a 1st innings deficit of 373. While Virender Sehwag scored 180 off 190 balls (century off just 78 balls), Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif notched up their respective centuries as well to give India a massive total. After rain washed out the 4th day of play, Brian Lara showed his class to score a century on the final day as West Indies batted out 120 overs to save the match.
The 3rd test at St. Kitts resulted in another high scoring draw, but not before giving jitters to both sides. West Indies piled up 588 runs in the 1st innings, thanks to centuries from Darren Ganga and Ramnaresh Sarwan. India were bowled out for 362 but Brian Lara didn’t enforce the follow-on to give his bowlers rest in extremely hot and humid conditions. Finally India were set 392 to chase in 88 overs on a last day pitch, which seemed perhaps worthy of a late push when India reached 260-3 with 20 overs left. But then Lara changed tactics to deploy defensive fields thus bringing an end to India’s pursuit.
The 4th test at Kingston, Jamaica will in all probability be known as the ‘Rahul Dravid test’ in times to come. On a bouncy and unpredictable pitch, in which no other Indian batsman scored a half century, Rahul Dravid played two godlike and match altering innings of 81 and 68. Chasing 269 to win in the low scoring game, West Indies succumbed to Anil Kumble, who took 6 wickets as India won the match by 49 runs.
Rahul Dravid was adjudged the ‘Man of the Series’ for his 496 runs, which was 120 more than his nearest competitor, Wasim Jaffer. For West Indies, the affable Darren Ganga was most successful with 349 runs. Anil Kumble was India’s outstanding performer with the ball as he picked up 23 wickets in the series, though Harbhajan Singh’s 11 wickets in only 2 test matches were also critical in India’s success. Corey Collymore and Jerome Taylor took 15 and 14 wickets respectively.
India head to the Caribbean for a full tour in June 2011 after a 5-year hiatus and it is disappointing to note that a large number of their star players will not be making the series citing injuries or the need to recuperate after a long summer. Once seen as the ultimate destination to prove your cricketing pedigree, the West Indies is now reduced to a tour that players have the option of skipping due to more important engagements. That being said, the summer of 2011 gives a number of youngsters long knocking on the cast iron gates of test cricket an opportunity to make a name for themselves and who knows we might well unearth the next 'Real Master'!

Source :


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More