England demands something more special: Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar.  

Sunil Gavaskar played 16 Tests in England from 1971 at an average of a little over 40.

At the Sony Pictures Network India studio on Friday, the batting maestro, while fielding a few questions from The Hindu, said nobody could be prepared for English conditions, like in Birmingham and at Lord’s on the second day. Excerpts:

Demands on an opening pair in England: England demands something more special than say Australia, South Africa or the West Indies. The ball doesn’t move as much in Australia and the West Indies; in the air and off the surface.

So England demands a lot more of footwork, patience to see off the new ball when it’s really swinging and seaming. Like in any grade of cricket you will get a delivery that can be scored off. But, generally one has to be a bit more watchful. Good old Vasu (Vasu Paranjape) used to say, ‘give the first half-an-hour to the bowlers, then the next five hours are yours’.

Is India prepared for the conditions: June and July were almost like India, hot. Even on Tuesday, before this Test, it was really hot. You can never be prepared for such conditions; particularly players from the sub-continent, who are used to playing without jumpers, without being encumbered by sweaters and all that.

That’s why I keep saying you must keep playing red-ball matches which gives a an idea of playing first class bowlers in England, some of whom might be striving to catch the eye of the selectors.

Kohli’s challenge in choosing a Test XI: Generally you pick the guys who are in form, some of whom you know have done well before. Cheteshwar Pujara was left out of the first Test. His form in England was not great, while K.L. Rahul had done well. I believe that in the first Test you play in these countries, you go in with six batsmen because it’s your batting which struggles in the first couple of Tests.

So, you give yourself that extra cushion of an additional batsman. There is no guarantee that he’s going to score runs. Then you have R. Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik — MSD used to bat at No. 7.

You cannot expect runs from 9, 10 and 11. At best they can hang around... like they did with Virat. He was marvellous the way he farmed the strike in Birmingham.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 1:01:54 PM |

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