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Snippets from UK: Ultimate Test a Damp Squib for Bharat Army, Team Selection Questioned

Team India at Southampton. (File photo/AFP)

Team India at Southampton. (File photo/AFP)

From the various conjectures following India's loss to New Zealand to rising concerns about a Covid third wave, a roundup of what's making news today.

A disappointment: It’s been sad to see the Bharat Army in retreat in Southampton. Given the limited number of seats available due to Covid, the army had not turned out in strength. But a small and disciplined force turned up at the Rose Bowl every day, even to stand outside while it rained. But whether the match was on, or off due to the rain, they were disappointed. Through just about every session of play the Indian team struggled. “I would never have imagined that in the World Test Championship match no Indian batsman could reach 50,” said a fan.

Hindsight choices: Predictably, many had their own views on the selection of the Indian team, and given the way it turned out, who’s to say they were wrong. Whether Rahul could have done better than Gill is of course now pointless speculation. But everyone at the stadium thought Ishant Sharma had looked the most biting of the Indian bowlers, and should have had more of a bowl. And everyone seemed particularly disappointed with the loss of the legendary Bumrah magic. This was still their team, but not a team that played quite as they’d imagined it might.

Respect for New Zealand: The Bharat Army could hardly be blamed for playing jury. They had sat and watched the game ball by painful ball. At the end the keyword in their almost unanimous verdict was that the Indian team lacked discipline. A second keyword that followed closely was that the team appeared to lack training, the Indian players simply did not look match-ready. And for that many blamed the BCCI. Through the blame game that followed a dismal game of cricket, fans found a new respect for New Zealand. “Small country like that,” said one soldier of the Bharat Army. “They beat us out of the World Cup, now they have beaten us out of the World Test Championship.”

Third wave fears grow: After a flattening out of new cases of the Delta variant around 10,000 or so new cases a day, the number leapt up to above 16,000 on Wednesday. The number of hospitalisations climbed up to more than 1,500 in hospital now with conditions caused by infection with this variant. The renewed spread has led to fears of an imminent third wave of infections in Britain. Scientists have warned already that new infections are coming with slightly different symptoms such as those associated with the common cold. But the rise sends a warning to countries such as India that a second wave of the virus may not be the last.

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Birmingham brimming with Delta cases: New concerns are rising over the spread of the Delta variant in Birmingham in the Midlands. The city is reporting twice the national average of cases. Several residents say that within Birmingham the caseload appears higher around many of the areas with a strong minority population including Indians and Pakistanis. One reason is overcrowding in living areas and in their common shopping areas such as Soho Road. Social and religious groups are sounding fresh caution against free mingling in these common areas.

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