India in England 2018

India unlikely to play an extra batsman on bowler-friendly Lord’s pitch, says bowling coach Arun

India lost the first Test by 31 runs and the second Test will start at the ‘Home of Cricket’ from Thursday.

Playing an extra batsman in the second Test against England will be a “conservative move” with the Lord’s pitch looking more bowler-friendly than Edgbaston, feels India bowling coach Bharat Arun.

India lost the first Test by 31 runs and the second Test will start at the ‘Home of Cricket’ from Thursday.

Sunil Gavaskar has been the biggest advocate of playing an extra batsman after India’s poor show in the series opener and that is not something the team management is considering.

“Playing an extra batsman here, I would consider it as a conservative move. I think everything depends on the conditions and they are not going to be as friendly as it was in the first Test, it makes more sense to play five bowlers (here),” Arun said during a press conference.

The Indian batsmen were seen pushing hard at swinging deliveries but Arun defended them.

“The batsmen played a lot forward in Birmingham and they did it in the practice game as well. They feel they have a lot more options in doing that rather than staying back inside the crease,” Arun said.

He further explained the reason for expansive front foot movement.

“You are cutting the amount of swing that the bowler can get by going further up and closer to the ball. I guess it worked pretty well for the batsmen (thus far),” he added.

Bowlers in good form

While confirming that Jasprit Bumrah is not available for selection for the second Test, Arun also expressed his satisfaction after the bowlers once again took 20 wickets in a Test match outside sub-continent. This is the fourth consecutive Test match after three in South Africa where the bowlers have taken 20 wickets.

“We can’t ask for anything better. There is still room for improvement but the bowlers did a good job. There was huge improvement from the first innings to the second and that was extremely welcome,” he said.

The square at the Lord’s bore a dry look on Tuesday, with a variety of heavily used wickets.

Arun said that any call on team combination will be taken on Wednesday.

“We will take a look at the wicket but our bowlers have done extremely well in the last game. So we really need to look at any change in strategy depending on the wicket.”

He didn’t divulge if an additional spinner in Ravindra Jadeja or Kuldeep Yadav will come into play.

“It’s a good choice (to pick between Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja), a tough one too. Depending on the conditions and the team, we’ll take a call on that,” said Arun.

Hardik Pandya bowled only 10 overs in the first innings at Edgbaston and none in the second but Arun thinks that it’s a good sign.

“The less Hardik bowls, it augurs well for the team because it means other (specialist) bowlers have done very well. I am not taking any credit from Hardik. But he did an exceptionally good job for us in South Africa and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t come to the part here,” he added.

The coach also defended Umesh Yadav, who was erratic in the first innings.

“Umesh is at his best when he is bowling quick. In the first innings, he was more looking at bowling to one line. But in the second innings he was being himself,” he said.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.