EXCLUSIVE: Arshad Ayub pleased by India's first Test

Bhavneet Singh 16:13 14/07/2014
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Wise words: Arshad Ayub (l) played in India sides that included the likes of Kapil Dev, Sanjay Manjraker and a young Sachin Tendulkar.

Former Indian cricketer Arshad Ayub believes that there is a lot of promise within the young Indian side that took on England at Trent Bridge in the first Test of five in the series.

Ayub, who played domestic cricket in his home city of Hyderabad believes also feels that both sides showed that, if they continue to play this way, it will be an exciting series.

The first Test was dampened by a dull wicket but a result was almost enforced thanks to a superb turnaround on the last two days.

“Over all, it was a good match. There was one time when [India] could have won the game but the fight back by England was remarkable,” said the 55-year-old former bowler, who played 13 Tests and 32 ODIs for India.

Ayub, who made his Test debut against the West Indies in 1987 was positive about India’s chances, but warned that they need support from a good spinner if they are to come out on top by the time the fifth Test comes to an end at the Oval in August.

“The balance needs to be struck. The batsmen are doing well and it was great to see the patient innings from Murali Vijay. He batted brilliantly for that century.

“But it is the bowling that looks a little out of shape. The support of a good spinner is needed,” said Ayub, who himself took 41 wickets in his 13 Tests for India as an off-spinner.

While the former Hyderabad Cricket Association president was left unimpressed by the Indian bowling attack, the same cannot be said of his thoughts on their batting efforts.

Having played alongside some of the greats of Indian cricket, including the likes of Sanjay Manjraker, Ravi Shastri, Mohamamad Azharuddin, Kapil Dev and a young Sachin Tendulkar, Ayub certainly knows what it takes to be an Indian batting legend.

“The legends like Sachin, Rahul (Dravid) and Saurav (Ganguly) are all long gone now. It is a transition period where new legends will be created and I think the batsmen are handling it pretty well. Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkhya Rahane and Vijay have looked good. Virat will need to buck up, but on the whole, it was a good display,” he said.

Ayub was quick to jump to Indian skipper M S Dhoni’s defence on the issue of batting out the entirety of fifth day rather than setting England a total to chase in order to try and force a result from the match.

“There  was nothing that the pitch had to offer, especially in the last two sessions, so I can see why Dhoni let the tail bat. Even in this match, it was the contribution from the tail that saved them and you never know, this batting practice might hold the key in the next match,” said Ayub.

Despite his positivity around the Indian display, Ayub was quick to add some caution to proceedings, saying that it would be a bad idea to write England off.

“Everyone’s talking about how good the Indians played, but let’s not forget that the track they played on was barely English. Dry conditions favour India and that’s exactly what they got,” he warned.

“It is a long series. It surely will be a good test for the young side.” 

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