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Rahul Dravid believes that the main reason behind India’s recent defeats overseas is that they don’t have a genuine strike bowler towards whom the captain can turn every time he is in desperate need of a wicket.
This observation made by Dravid seems to be bang on. The performance of Indian batting so far on the tour of New Zealand or even on the previous tour of South Africa for that matter cannot be termed as poor. The batsmen have put their hands up and have given their 100% more often than not, but, it’s the bowlers who have let the skipper MS Dhoni down.
In the first test match against New Zealand which was played in Auckland, India had won the toss and had put the hosts in under perfect bowling conditions.
They could easily have bowled the Kiwis out cheaply on the first day there, but, no, it wasn’t to be. They bowled plenty of bad balls and let New Zealand score more than enough runs.
It wasn’t the story in only that Auckland test match. In each and every match that India has played overseas this season, the story has been the same.
The Indians have to go on a couple of very tough tours this year and then, they will have to defend their World Cup crown next year. So, they badly need to find good bowlers especially the fast bowlers.
As far as the spin department is concerned, people like Ashwin and Jadeja are still doing reasonably well, but, the pace battery doesn’t look lethal at all and that’s why on green tracks, India is losing games so frequently.
The Indian selectors are aware of this issue, but, their problem is that there are not too many talented fast bowlers coming through the ranks in the country. So, they don’t have any option really apart from persisting with those who are currently in the team.
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The England cricket team had been struggling to find a quality seam bowling all rounder after the retirement of Andrew Flintoff, but, now, it seems that they have found one. That guy is Ben Stokes. The 22-year old player from Durham has played only a couple of test matches so far, but, he has shown that he is a guy who is capable of doing the job for England both with the bat and the ball.
On the Perth pitch where it was pretty tough to bat on the 4th and the 5th day, he batted beautifully. He played his shots right from the word go and put real pressure on the Aussie bowlers. He looked good both on the front foot and the back foot.
The character of a player is tested in tough situations. When things are going well, anyone can come and play fluently, but, those who do that under pressure as well become big players and it seems Stokes has got that quality. He certainly looks to be an impact player.
The youngster is pretty useful with the ball too. He hasn’t got too many wickets in his first two test matches so far, but, he looks capable of bowling with good pace consistently and he can swing the ball too. The delivery that he bowled to Michael Clarke in Australia’s second innings at Perth was an absolute beauty. It was an in swinger which landed around the off stump and got through the defence of Clarke who is one of the best batsmen in the world at the moment.
Andrew Flintoff who was a great all rounder himself had said before the start of the ongoing Ashes series that Stokes has got enormous potential and he has been proved right.