In the pink signifies a state of well being; good health. The pink here has nothing to do with colour, but is based on the old English ‘pynca’ meaning “point”, hence “peak” or “apex”. Shakespeare speaks of “the pink of courtesy”. As ever, if it is good enough for Shakespeare, then it’ll just about do for the wrong’un. Especially seeing as I don’t like nor abide the idea of a ‘purple patch’.
I’ll first look at England as they’ve been involved in more games over the past 3 weeks than their Indian counterparts. On the whole, the English men wielding willow are looking somewhat ‘pinker’ than their propellers of leather, owing no small part to the conditions presented to them by the home side. A dearth of opposition spin and a succession of supine surfaces has seen new boy Nick Compton churn out 3 successive half centuries on his maiden tour, partnering Captain Cook who himself circumnavigated his way to a century and a 97. Only Ian Bell with a solitary half century hasn’t exactly sparkled, with Pietersen, Trott, Bairstow and Patel all reaching three figures on at least one occasion, and wicket-keeper Matt Prior evading ‘the brown’ when the umpires allowed a rare wicket-keeping substitute on the grounds that he might shit all over the popping crease.
Of the bowling attack, England’s ingenious plan to use Steven Finn to inject some pace and bounce into what is assumed to be a procession of procumbent Indian pitches came somewhat acropper when he limped out of his second over of the tour, and the other tall bowler – Stuart Broad – also picked up a knock. Both are doubts to be fit to partner James Anderson with the new ball, although Tim Bresnan has managed to pick up 9 wickets on the tour so far. Stuart Meaker will surely not be a consideration, and with Graeme Swann missing two of the warm-ups on compassionate leave it was left to Monty Panesar’s unoutstanding showings to formally secure the off-spinner’s place.
Although the host team player’s haven’t played many games recently, there has been enough time for Tendulkar to collate another century, likewise Sehwag slapped three figures on the board for Delhi. Yuvraj Singh got enough success from his part-time spin and a 50 against England to earn a recall-up. Neither wunderkind Virat Kohli or under-pressure Gautem Gambhir got past a pair of starts in their only recent game, whilst Dhoni hasn’t played since the T20 Champions League. Although Umesh Yadav ended with 5-18 in his last game, Zaheer Kahn took 1-46 in his solitary November outing, Ashwin hasn’t bowled since mid-October, whilst his likely spin-twin Ojha ended up 2-201 in his one appearance.
It is obviously difficult to tell, but as I am in the habit of making a snap-judgement based on little other than statistics, he’s my low-down on how the warm-up matches ranked for both sides:
Men in the Pink: Compton, Cook, Trott, KP, Patel, Bairstow, Bresnan, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Yadav
Men who look alright: Anderson, Prior, Kohli, Gambhir
Men in the Brown: Bell, Broad, Finn, Swann, Ashwin, Khan, Ojha