A beggaring belief at the role reversal in the current Test series between India and England may sound tempting but former Indian cricketer Pravin Amre advised caution, saying the team should currently focus on winning sessions as going for a series win will only heap “unwanted pressure” on the players.
In a game (Lord’s Test) that was billed to be exciting, especially after a close contest in the first test match, the Indians tasted a humiliating defeat by an innings and 159 runs to the hosts. Come the next Test match at Trent Bridge and it goes without saying that not a soul expected India to register a victory. Defying expectations, the Indians roared back in the series, out-batted and out-bowled the hosts, and put up a flawless performance by romping to a 203 runs win. They beat England convincingly in almost every facet of the game. India is trailing 2-1 in the series at the moment.
“The last Test match has given the team immense amount of confidence. We have to play just one match at a time now. We should not be thinking about winning the series at the moment as it will put the team under pressure. Winning sessions should be the focus. England lost 10 wickets and they could never recover from there,” Former Indian legend Pravin Amre said in an interview to The Sunday Guardian.
“There have been so many positives that came out of this match—Hardik performing both with bat and ball, Bumrah’s five wicket haul and slip fielding was way better than the England counterparts. Credit also goes to Rishabh Pant for doing a wonderful job behind the stumps,” Amre pointed out.
On being asked how the inclusion of Jaspreet Bumrah made the difference in the bowling unit, he said, “We all know how good he is with the white ball, the only question was if he had the ability to bowl longer spells. And he has shown that he can do the job as Butler’s wicket was so critical in the third session of the match. He has got good, sharp incoming deliveries which can get any good batsman out.”
Although, bowlers are responsible for winning Test matches, one also needs decent runs on the scoreboard to defend. Amre believes that the performance of Indian batting line-up changed the course at Trent Bridge as they were failing with their bat in previous matches.
“The fourth-wicket partnership between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane was crucial in their win. In England, you have to put runs on the board. The opening partnership was crucial as one can build up from there. Virat got runs, Hardik getting a half century and Pujara scoring runs… Nobody was crossing the 50-run mark previously and that made all the difference,” he said.
With many recognising him as the long standing replacement of M.S. Dhoni, it became a tall order for Pant to score runs in the match. For all his brilliance at home, he was up against a quality bowling attack in seeming conditions unlike India where the wickets aren’t conducive to fast bowling. But, according to Amre, Pant seemed to be in good touch and his contribution with the bat and gloves was “invaluable” in the team’s success.
“As a batsman, your performance is always judged in England and Australia. Pant has shown character and he doesn’t get bogged down under pressure. He made 24 runs in the first innings and it showed he is in good touch. He has to get used to the conditions at the moment. His contribution in India’s win was invaluable. It’s not easy for the wicket-keeper behind the stumps as the ball is always swinging. He adjusted very well to the conditions,” Amre summed up.