Thursday, April 06, 2006

Indian Woes

The England cricket team, despite their Test series heroics, have found one-day international cricket in India a different kettle of fish (or another pair of shoes, as the Germans would say). Today they were defeated for the fourth time in four matches, already surrendering the seven-match series.

I can't help but feel this add-on to the tour is counterproductive. The top players in the team have been either injured (Vaughan, Giles, Harmison), off the tour for personal reasons (Trescothick), or carrying a pretty heavy workload to compensate (Pietersen, and especially Flintoff). Most of the rest of the players simply aren't good enough for international cricket. Matt Prior is not a top-level player, Solanki barely is, and Ian Blackwell and Gareth Batty would be flattered if described as second-rate.

The team is a mixture of no-hopers and exhausted professionals, playing in sapping heat. The tour is not an exercise which will do any of the players any good. Indeed, the sole benefit is that it will make the BCCI, and probably the ECB, a fair amount of cash. But the effect on players, who need some rest before the Ashes tour this winter, will not be positive at all. The constant strain of permanent touring must be a drag on players, especially those with young families. And a pointless add-on to an enthralling Test series doesn't really do anyone any good.