CRICKET CAPER | INDIA V ENGLAND
Two teams, one representing the home of cricket where the rules were formalised and the other -- characterising the modern, richest board in the world -- are set for a face-off starting February 5.
Both teams are riding on the back of similar highs - away victories. England have thrashed Sri Lanka 2-0 in a Test series using a strategised mix of rookies and experience. India, forced to push inexperienced youngsters onto the field to face a world famed bowling attack, returned 2-1 series winners.
Both teams set several records during their respective series triumphs. And both had youngsters and seniors who wore resilience on their sleeves that broke the opposition's resolve.
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Here are 5 renewed aspects the current England and India teams are playing their sport with:
1. Playing With TemplatesEngland have shown that short preparation time, missing first-choice players and losing tosses are not deterrents for this Joe Root-led team. Their focus and template instead is to deal with pressure by showing resilience, be calm and poised.
Their head coach, captain and bowling, batting coaches then chart out strategies that'll suit the conditions they are facing. The final act is to galvanise the entire team, especially the youngsters to step out on the field and express their skills.
Team India, with head coach Ravi Shastri, have had strategies against Australia worked on since July 2020 as revealed by bowling coach Bharat Arun in an interview. They did not seem to be working initially.
A shaming defeat at Adelaide and injuries to preferred Test players triggered them to follow a template. Drinks carrying players on the tour joined few seniors in embracing the CIA (Character, Intent, Attitude) qualities guided by a calm and composed stand-in skipper, Ajinkya Rahane.
The 2-1 series win prompted a section of the media and a couple of corporate head honchos to use this experience down under as templates for the corporate world to emulate from.
2. Player Rotation, planned and forced?
England's thinktank have embarked on a planned player rotation programme, primarily to help their players, especially those figuring in all formats to manage their workload and mental health without any breakdown.
On their part, India were forced to rotate players owing to injury to those from the preferred 11.
Such accidental developments are now sure to make the India cricket board and thinktank work on preparing a suitable rotation plan, especially for their key players, batsmen and bowlers, who also play most of their Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
3. Virtual Audience And Fans
The pandemic, due to Covid-19 and social distancing norms have initiated a new era - play cricket with little or no in-person attendance at the stadiums.
Teams have accepted the virtual world starting the IPL 2020 played in the United Arab Emirates. Players are content with claps and few shouts of encouragement from teammates in the dugout.
The captains and star performers seem a little happy having to respond to the media using the digital platform.
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4. Social Following And Interaction
England, Australia and India have players who are robustly active on the social media.
A few senior players or the previous school of thought continue to be cautious and formal with their social media accounts and handles.
However, the younger lot are comfortable seeing their fanbase shoot up at a frenetic pace with every headline-worthy performance on the field.
They probably also realise that this popularity is likely to attract bigger brand endorsement deals.
Couple of senior players, such as Ravichandran Ashwin and Australian David Warner have chosen contrasting paths.
Ashwin has decided to stick to cricket on his YoutTuve channel. His channel's USP is to invite former greats such as Sunil Gavaskar for a chat.
Warner is happy creating and posting dance videos that also feature his wife and daughters, shaking legs to songs in Telugu. His strategy seems to be working, drawing fans from Andhra Pradesh, where he is the skipper of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
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