Green Park looks forward to the return of international action after four years
Despite a pervading sense of chaos across the venue, the Green Park looks forward to the return of a long-lost friend.
Four years ago, the stadium last hosted its companion. Since that fateful day of November 27, 2009, the friend has not returned. But on Wednesday — exactly four years later — international cricket will once again renew its association with Green Park.
Though this venue retains the status of a permanent Test centre, one can find good reason to justify the long-term absence of the “friend.” Last year, Cricket Australia had refused to play a Test match here since it was dissatisfied with, among other things, the dressing room. Moreover, in the lead-up to Wednesday’s match, the stadium bore witness to hurried preparations. Not to forget the haggling over tickets and the consequent — and perhaps, inevitable — police lathicharge on irate fans.
Yet, like a traditional Indian wedding, the match will be organised with much fanfare and a few grumbles.
However, this should not surprise the West Indies. For three weeks now, the Caribbean side has played its part as a supporting actor in a theatre scripted by forces beyond the cricketing field. The visitor’s ineptitude on the field only made the drama seem burlesque. Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement perhaps overshadowed the horror expressed at the manner of the West Indies’ defeats but it was noted.
The first ODI followed the script written during the Tests. All the more incredible then that the series still awaits its resolution.
After “looking drunk on Twenty20 cricket”— observed by Clive Lloyd — in the Tests, a similar surrender was expected from the Dwayne Bravo’s side. Yet, the West Indies defied the proverbial odds in Visakhapatnam.
The success on Sunday, though, emphasised Lloyd’s point, albeit not as stridently. The West Indian batsmen continue to fail in their attempts to make high scores individually, an affliction that could prove fatal in batsmen-friendly conditions. Among the four batsmen who have been dismissed after scoring a fifty for the West Indies in this series, Lendl Simmons has top-scored with a 62.
However, Dwayne Bravo is more concerned about the batsmen who have failed to trouble the scorers much.
His counterpart M.S. Dhoni, though, has fewer worries. The Indian batting line-up continues to excel, with Virat Kohli once again leading the charge. The Delhi batsman has already added 185 runs to his astounding ODI numbers in the two matches.
But Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina have performed on a lower plane regularly. The duo’s poor run of scores in the ODI series against Australia has not taken a change for the better.
In the last six innings, Raina’s unsettling 123 runs best Yuvraj’s abysmal 63.
During the Australia ODIs, Dhoni had backed the former to bat at No. 4 as part of India’s preparations for the 2015 World Cup. Puzzlingly, in this series, Raina has moved a place lower after exchanging spots with Yuvraj.
Wednesday’s match will be India’s last at home for the foreseeable future. In addition to seeking the joy of a series win, Dhoni’s side would hope to lay down a final marker before it fights tougher battles abroad.
The teams (from):
India: M.S. Dhoni (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, R. Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra and Ambati Rayudu.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Johnson Charles, Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul, Ravi Rampaul, Tino Best, Narsingh Deonarine and Denesh Ramdin.
Umpires: Anil Chaudhary and Rod Tucker; Third umpire: Vineet Kulkarni. Match referee: David Boon.
Match starts at 9 a.m.