Andrew Miller: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk, I am Andrew Miller and today I am joined by the former Australia captain, Ian Chappell, to discuss the end of the second Test between England and India at Trent Bridge. A famous victory for India - only their fifth victory in England, and one that was fully deserved.
Ian Chappell: Yes, I think India played extremely well. In fact there has been a lot of good cricket so far, in both Test matches. India played with a lot of determination. I always thought that India were at an advantage on the first day, because they were going to bowl under conditions that were obviously going to suit the bowlers, and if they bowled really well they were going to have most of the England batsmen back in the pavilion. The important thing about that, was they were not going to have to bat that night, when the conditions were difficult for batsmen. And there was always the hope that the sun would come out on the second day, and therefore they would be batting in better conditions. And that's the way it worked. But, it is one thing, being given a bit of an advantage, but you have got to take advantage of that benefit, and that is exactly what India did - so all credit to them.
There was a lot of determination about their play - a lot of determination in the batting, to build a big lead, and then, when England basically got on par with only three wickets down, India could so easily have faltered at that point - but, then Zaheer Khan really got them going again.
AM: Well, Zaheer clearly was the Man of the Match with nine wickets . Were you surprised that an Indian bowler could extract such prodigious swing in English conditions - he definitely out-bowled England's bowlers ...
IC: He did, and that has been a big improvement in Zaheer. When I first saw him as a young bowler I was very impressed with him, because he could swing the ball back into the right-handers. He then seemed to lose that swing - he became quite a pedestrian bowler and I wasn't surprised when he got dropped. But all credit to him that he has gone away, and has worked on a few things.
It's terrific that he has got fitter, as everyone has observed, but the most important thing is that he has got the inswing to the right-handers back again, and that makes him so much more dangerous. He has even added a little bit more to his repertoire, by being able to go around the wicket, and move the ball back in from there and occasionally just move it away from the right-handers. When you are able to that, then you are talking about bowlers up there in the Wasim Akram class, because that is the sort of thing that he could do. Now that is not to suggest for a moment that Zaheer is as good as Akram, but he is a much improved bowler.
The other thing about him is, he seems, now, to have accepted that he is the leader of the attack, and having accepted that responsibility, has really improved him. I think there was a time - I remember the World Cup final in 2003 - where I don't think that responsibility of leading the attack was sitting well with him. But now, he seems to be very comfortable in that role.
AM: Well, it's been a match full of needle and full of very strange incidents - I must ask you about the jelly beans incident. Zaheer was clearly frustrated by what happened out there, and, frankly, it all turned into a bit of an embarrassment for England. Michael Vaughan, in the press conference, had to field questions about jelly beans rather than his fine century and England's fighting spirits. As a former captain, what do you make of that sort of situation in the field?
IC: Well, I've always thought that in a cricket match if you have got two teams who are about equal in skill - I do not think there is a lot between these two teams - it will be the team that goes on thinking the best for the longest that will win the match. Now if you are thinking about dropping jelly beans on the pitch or you are thinking about what you are going to be saying to your opponents when they come out to bat, then you are not thinking about the right things.
If you are putting something on the pitch, you
might only intend it to be around the crease, but if it happens to get
kicked on to a length, it is going to affect the bounce of the ball. That is not only totally against the laws of cricket, it is totally against the spirit of the game
I think there are a lot of things that go on in the field at the moment that need to be sorted out. We have never had so many sheriffs in the game of cricket, but I think, in lot of cases, they are busy worrying about things that are not that important, and yet they are allowing things that are really important in the game of cricket to go by without bothering about them and I think they have got the balance totally wrong.
AM: Some people would say that while England's antics fired Zaheer Khan up, they might have actually got to another of the bowlers - Sreesanth - who definitely had a strange match. What did you makeof his antics throughout the game?
IC: Well, he has got to concentrate on what he is trying to do. He could have cost India a great chance to win the game. They had terrific momentum going their way with a lead of 283 with 15-16 overs to bowl that night. That's the perfect bowling situation when you have got such a big lead. Zaheer Khan bowled a good first over, and then Sreesanth just totally stopped that momentum, and in fact if anything, the momentum was heading back England's way. At that stage it looked like he [Sreesanth] was off the planet. I don't think he was thinking anything to do with fast bowling and the job that he had to do. Fortunately, he did get his act together a bit after that.
I think, the job of the people in the Indian team - basically the captain - is to get him thinking about his bowling, because after that, on the fourth day, he bowled some good deliveries, and even, some good spells. I would say to him - just do what you are doing when you bowl well, and forget all that rubbish.
He is a character - I don't mind having a character in my team, and I don't mind having somebody who thinks a little bit differently from the rest, in fact that is a good thing in the team. But, if he loses concentration to the point where he is starts to adversely affect the team, then he has got to get his act together, and then the captain's got to haul him into line.
AM: There are plenty of senior players in India's tour party, but no overall coach. Do you think a bit of lack of discipline is being passed down to the younger boys?
IC: I am absolutely delighted that India has just won a great victory without a coach. I hope that the Indian public and perhaps a lot of people in the media are taking note of this. I think this entire coach issue has become an obsession in India. I have been saying, since Adam was a boy, that it's the players who win the games with the captain in charge. I rest my case after the Trent Bridge Test.
AM: Well, two of those senior players played a very important role were Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. They had unfortunate endings to their innings, but nonetheless, two fantastic innings from the players, who people are quite keen to write off, quite lot of times.
IC: Well, the Indian innings was set up by that opening partnership. When you virtually erase the opposition score without losing a wicket - boy, that does a lot for the team.
And then, credit has to go to Tendulkar and Ganguly - I do not think I have ever seen both of them so determined to build up a big lead for India. Sachin, was really positive in his footwork and his approach in his batting at Trent Bridge, especially when he was facing Monty Panesar, as compared with Lord's.
Ganguly, I thought, played really really well - he was very determined but as soon as they bowled a loose ball, he was able to put it away. I like the fact that he took on the short ball, and he hit a six from a pull shot. I have seen Ganguly play the pull shot at times, and to me, he has always played it pretty well. I have often wondered, why puts it away. I think he is a better player when he does play it, and I think he is in better frame of mind when he actually plays that shot. I thought the approach and determination from that pair capitalised beautifully on that opening partnership.
You can never praise [Dinesh] Karthik and [Wasim] Jaffer high enough for what they did, in this Indian victory. But then, England still could have come right back into the game if the middle order hadn't capitalized, but the middle order did , in very fine fashion, and from that point on, you figured that India were going to win.
AM: India haven't won a series in England since 1986, they have now got a golden opportunity to do so going into The Oval Test. What do you envisage in The Oval, do you think England will change their team at all - what sort of pitch they will be looking for?
I am delighted that India has just won a great victory
without a coach. I hope that the Indian public and the media are taking note of this. I think this entire coach issue has become an obsession in India
I don't think England need to panic too much. I think they bowled pretty well. Ryan Sidebottom, in fact, I thought, bowled magnificently at Trent Bridge. He had one little period where he seemed to lose the plot. But, on the second and third day, I thought he bowled magnificently for little reward. As a batsman, the thinking is - if you are hitting the ball well but you are not getting any runs, you say to yourself, ' just keep batting like I am and there will be some runs around the corner'. And that's all that Ryan Sidebottom has got to do. If he comes and bowls like that again at The Oval, I have no doubt that some wickets will come his way, because you can't bowl that well, and have not much luck all the time.
I was very impressed with [Chris] Tremlett. I thought he bowled alright at Lord's though I needed a bit more convincing, and I thought he was terrific here at Trent Bridge. England don't need to get too carried away with what happened on the last morning, because you have always got to remember that it is a lot easier to bowl in a very fiery fashion for a short period of time, but when have you got to do it over whole innings, it's not quite so easy then. So, I think they need to take some of the things that they learnt on the last morning into The Oval Test but not get carried away with it and bowl short all the time - that will defeat the purpose.
I always felt as a cricketer, that you learnt more from a loss than you ever did from a win, so that's the important thing for England - work out where they made mistakes, try and rectify those mistakes so that they don't make them again. I don't think they have to make a lot of changes to their team. They have just got to continue to play pretty well, the way they did at Trent Bridge but obviously bat a bit better. But, I think the bowling wasn't too bad, and if they bowl that well again, I think they will have a lot more success. So, the big area to improve for England would be the batting.
AM: You've been listening to Ian Chappell on Cricinfo Talk.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a cricket commentator for Channel Nine, and a columnist