September 17, 2011

England v India 2011

Farewell to the Disappointing Museum

Andrew Hughes
Graeme Swann goes through his drills, The Oval, September 8, 2011
Graeme Swann practises his "Levitating Fakir" trick ahead of the game  © Getty Images
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Tuesday, 13th September I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that the Indian cricket team have been a bit of a disappointment this summer. In fact they’ve taken us on a tour of the Disappointment Museum, which included four extended diaromas of disappointment and six smaller exhibitions, each one slightly more disappointing than the last, followed by a visit to the Damp Squib Gift Shop and a cup of disappointingly weak tea in the Dear God Let It End Soon Cafeteria.

And newspapers too have had a thin time of it. Sachin not getting that thing that we don’t talk about in case we jinx it meant that once they’d run the “England are now quite good” story a couple of times, there was very little left to say. In particular, there have been thin-pickings controversy-wise. MS Dhoni’s generosity at Trent Bridge spoiled a perfectly good diplomatic incident and neither Vaselinegate nor Donkeygate really caught on, despite the best efforts of all concerned.

So with only a week to go until the cold bath water of India’s tour finally trickles down the plughole of fate, time is running out for desperate hacks to make a big splash. Hence today’s attempt to turn the Indian team’s non-attendance at the ICC Awards ceremony into a Big Event. The details are thoroughly yawnsome. It was either an administrative blunder or a diplomatic absence. Either way, who cares?

The ICC Awards ceremony, like most awards ceremonies, registers highly on the Hughes Tedium Scale, just above weddings and just below a trip to a carpet warehouse. Expensive suits, tedious speeches and long-winded ceremony: I can get all that on the Parliament Channel. If the Indian players didn’t want to go, who can blame them. I wouldn’t go either, not even if I was offered a ride to the venue in a diamond-studded sleigh pulled by Haroon Lorgat’s flock of prize peacocks.

Thursday, 15th September I’m looking forward to Graeme Swann’s captaincy in the same way that I used to look forward to the clowns at the circus. I don’t mean to imply that Graeme is a clumsy, red-nosed buffoon in oversized shoes and amusing trousers, but he is the comic relief in this England team, the light entertainment amidst the straight-faced performers; a comedy captain for a couple of comedy matches.

And a lot of credit must go to the ECB for their daring scheduling. What better way to satirise the Champions League Twenty20 than by forcing their own players to take part in two meaningless T20 games in order to fulfil the requirements of a television contract based on a deal with an international fraudster. Take that, BCCI! I only hope Giles Clarke will be popping into the England dressing room before the game to ensure that he gets all the credit for this extension to the players’ season.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by windywind on (September 18, 2011, 10:30 GMT)

broad played a key role in the whitewash of the Indian team in the test series and D/L played a key role in the whitewash of the Indian team in the one day series....there can't be a better series for the mediocre English team

Posted by ara on (September 18, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

one thing to realize that indians are heros only at home conditions.

Posted by Dennis on (September 18, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

It only goes to show that the BCCI is not doing its job. Agreeing to hectic tours, not resting players, sending players on tour only for a vacation with no play time. What happened in England should be a warning of really bad times for cricket in the future if the people in-charge of this game in India do not wake up. We need to find at least 8 more talented players as back up (not taking into account the damn quota system) & groom & train them so that when we are faced with injuries & lack of form of the current lot we can replace them at a moments notice. Getting to number one is one thing, but staying at the top is the difficult part. It only goes to show we were happy to just get there & not stay there.I have been a die-hard fan of cricket all my life, but I dread the day that Sachin retires, I may be looking for another favourite sport (maybe Hockey).........

Posted by Syed on (September 18, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

I feel pity on our people busy blaming our indian players not playing for the country, but for money. Go and get some of our politicians who work for their country but not for money. God dance Indians.

Posted by Arpit on (September 17, 2011, 22:06 GMT)

Sachin out of Champions League will be fit for England tour.

Posted by Full toss on (September 17, 2011, 20:16 GMT)

The best part of the India-England series was when it finally got over. It seemed only one team wanted to play. However, I find remarks that India is only good at home quite flippant. It implies that other teams are brilliant no matter where they play. I wonder how many series have been won by Aussies or the English in India. I think I used a wrong term as the team should be called England but not English unlike a Sri lankan team can be addressed as lankans, or the India team as Indians but thats another matter ofcourse. Good that England finally won something after decades of toil. I am sure they will try and overcome the jinx of not winning the world cup, no matter where it is held. The Indians ofcourse have won the WC twice, the first time in England where they were labeled as plain lucky to beat England in the Semis & the Windies in the finals and the second time again they were plain lucky as they won on home soil. One can never win. well done to the English sorry, England.

Posted by caps on (September 17, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

@Kiran,India could have won all the five matches also but not in a single match India batted second .India batted in tough conditions and scored runs compared to England who had an easier time as rain and wet conditions ensured that spinners were negated and India were playing only spinners as Holding pointed out in West Indies

Posted by Anonymous on (September 17, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

After IPL when ever india played series india lost thay should not play IPL

Posted by adam on (September 17, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

history repeats itself. India were thrashed by Windies after the 1983 world cup and now are biting dust after 2011 world cup. On both occasions, they felt they are on top of the world but actually, India is never a world beater. Both the world cups were fluke, it is proved.

Posted by Imran Khan on (September 17, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

Before this tour the Indians were the champs, the stars, the no.1 ranked side and other self proclaimed things they won at home and then comes the England tour they were burned to ashes. No world champion has faced such humiliation and it just goes to show arrogance of the Indian players.

Let's be fair last year Pakistan faced a hell lot of problems then the Indians (captaincy changes,the spot fixing saga, bans on players, fights within the team) and were more mentally stressed but under Shahid Afridi they were still competitive enough to win 2 games out of the 5 matches and in the 5 games there was just the last one in which Pakistan lost badly otherwise they showed more courage.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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