Posted on 13 Oct 2011 at 20:43 PM by iancatley
Cricket is on trial. Not the bet fixing scandal at Southwark Crown Court but it is the massive confidence trick on the cricket watching public being perpetrated by fraudsters masquerading as international cricketers that shames the game. India and its cricketers are in the dock and the jury is out.
Starting with the Ashes, 2011 should have been a cricketing year for the ages. Instead the World No 1 team confronted England, the pretenders to their throne mentally unready, unfit, under-strength and, unforgivably, unrepentant. The worst thing of all about watching the Indians last Summer was they didn’t appear to care that they were robbing the public of a contest, let alone a match-up of the best the game had to offer.
Now the Indians are at home, they must perform for their adoring public. At home they probably are still the No 1 team in the World, at least in the ODI format of the game but I hope they consider this rehabilitation for the crimes they have committed. I have no doubt Andy Flower’s England will be ready to match them at least and hopefully England’s cricketing year can end with something so sorely lacking for all 2011; real competition.
The odds show India as favourites for the series and the first of five ODIs starting Friday morning. Home advantage on the sub-continent is usually massive and India’s record here is hard to argue with. They are without most of their ageing household names and in all honesty why would you back this team so devoid of experience and obvious talent against an English side so full of confidence. Cook as captain is still work-in-progress and Flower will take the chance to blood a few exciting youngsters, so the visitors are not yet an ODI outfit to fear.
This all suggests England is worth a bet odds-against for the first game. If England win expect the odds to flip and you do the same. Setting the odds will not be easy in this series. The evidence for both sides is unconvincing but if I’m any judge we should get a verdict that gives cricket back its appeal.