India in England 2011 September 4, 2011

Hussain says series will point way ahead for India


India's one-day series against England, Nasser Hussain believes, is less about a result and more finding out where their team is headed. "The ODI series is going to be close," Hussain said in an exclusive interview to ESPNcricinfo. "More than the result India should be interested in what they find out from the series. They are world champions, no one can take that away from them. If they lose 5-0 to England, they will still be world champions. What they need to do is to start to look to the future."

In the Test series earlier in the summer, Hussain said India, "had been sinking in the present ... World Cup, World No. 1, IPL, celebration and ah, if we lose in England ... You've almost got to be ahead of the curve, all the time you've got to be ahead of the curve and it takes a very clever man to do that."

India could use the ODI series to find out who the replacements for their best players in the short form are. "I don't care how good a side are, if you lose the likes of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and the rest, it is going to be a massive blow ... they need eventually to have replacements for some of these guys.

"They need someone to come through with the ball to replace Zaheer, they need R Ashwin to bowl well and see if he is a replacement for Harbhajan. I think much more than the result, it's about which of these young lads will put their hands up.

"In English conditions, it will move around in day-night games in September, Fletcher will be watching closely and the selectors will be watching closely. Now is the great time for the young lads to show what you can do ... it's very important for the future of India."

He said that while the IPL had helped India's one-day cricket, the length of the tournament would have an adverse impact on their longer form. "I think they wouldn't have been world champions if it wasn't for IPL. I think it has massively helped. Pressure situations, playing in your home country, players whacking the ball out of the ground, the handling of pressure, soaking it up. They've had it all in the IPL, and they go out and do it in World Cup, it absolutely helped them. But it is now going to hinder them - as we have seen here - in Test match cricket."

India's short stay at the No. 1 Test ranking had coincided with the World Cup victory at home, and Hussain said that prolonged periods of sustained multi-format domination will become more and more rare. "It will happen, but it won't happen every time, every team ... The West Indies side of the 1980s and the Australian side of the 1990s and the 2000s dominated both types of the game. It doesn't mean - as India are finding out now - that just because you are a great side - as India have been - you can't be a great side in all forms of the game unless they [the team/ players ] grow up together. It's becoming a bit late now for India because, for example, soon it will be broken up, there are some tired bodies in there.

"The Australian side's success and aura in the 1990s and 2000s," Hussain said, "took a long time to build ... the side grew up together, the Waughs, Warne, Ponting. It took a long time to build. It might come again, there is potential in this England side, but they have won nothing yet in one-day cricket other than the world T20."

The full interview with Nasser Hussain will appear on ESPNcricinfo next week.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on September 6, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    @Valavan: Of course India has fielded a B Team against England both in Tests & in the current ODI's. The current ODI team has 7 of the World cup winning team players missing due to injuries.Dravid, Dhoni, Munaf & Raina are the only guys from that winning XI. Do you not call this a B Team?. But as you say India cannot back off saying that their top players are injured.However the 7 youngsters who were not World cup winning players are not push overs. Thay will fight hard. The best thing India has in this made up ODI team is a good opening pair both in bowling and batting. If they give India a good start in batting & bowling, then look out - India will Win. Nasser Hussain's comments are usual media rheotric. India has lot of talented youngsters and they will emerge once again as Winners. There are at least 20 playersknocking at the door. BCCI needs to put up a planned development of these players so that they can win back Test supremacy within next 3 years & THEY WILL..

  • Rumy1 on September 6, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    Badri's selection is the first non-bizzare thing that the selectors have done in recent times. It is interesting to note that they keep ignoring the most deserving ODI name - Md.Kaif again and again. He deserves a recall back into the ODI team. He has just made 82 in a BCCI tournament. Md.Kaif has had a superb run in the last two-three domestic seasons. At 31, he still has some years of cricket in him and is still the fittest cricketer in India today. Kaif could also fill in that elusive No.6 spot in Tests too. For Tests, Wasim Jaffer - who is the best non-playing bat in India today, needs to replace Gambhir; Pujara a standby for Dravid; Badrinath a standby for Sachin and Kaif a standby for Laxman. To fill in the shoes of these greats, you do not need greenhorns. Yuvraj, Rohit, Kohli and Raina are purely ODI and T20 materials. So they should be preserved for shorter versions. Yusuf must be brought in for T20s. There is nobody more deserving than him for a T20 slot in the country today.

  • Cpt.Meanster on September 5, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    @Valavan: India becoming world champions is no fluke. They are a world class limited overs team and will be so for eternity. India's problems are in the test arena. Now that's a problem the BCCI should sort if it wishes to see India as a powerful test nation. However, to term the bad luck of missing out on 6-7 key players as 'lame' excuses is ridiculous by you. India will most likely win this ODI series to prove cynics wrong. It's a format that is like water to the Indians. They still have quality youngsters who can turn the tables on England. England will compete and they MUST if they want to come even close to what India have managed TWICE in their history - becoming world champions. God bless India.

  • ptnair on September 5, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    Why not Yusuf Pathan? Any reason?

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    i think india is good team and they will beat england as to far because tommorrow weather is very cloudy and some rain in the air if india won the toss and chose the bat first than they will win 65% and they have also a good side

  • Valavan on September 5, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    @Indian fans, then dont speak like india fielded b side against England. and understand england is experimenting the right combination for ODIs. You have to win with the team you got or just dont play professional cricket, giving the most lame excuses. Hussain's statement is wrong anyways, but dont underestimate any team and keep your arrogance inside India. Never seen any no.1 team getting whitewashed and dont cry if you lost your ODIs as well. Try to win one test in Aussie this winter.

  • Cricinfouser on September 5, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    Whom did Nasser Hussain call donkey anyways? Patel or Dhoni. I wonder why he didn't get in trouble. Being English helps doesn't it?

  • moko58 on September 5, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Lot of people misunderstand Hussain when he is critical of Indian team ('donkey'). We should try to take it as constructive criticism.

  • ptnair on September 5, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Mr. Hussain, you please concentrate on England side. Let BCCI worry about the indian team and let them manage the current situation. Thanks for the free advice.

  • Romenevans on September 5, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Where's Robin Uthappa? Haven't seen him after T20 WC in 2007. LOL, last i heard about him, he was selling idli, dhosa, Sambhar and UTHAPPA on the streets of he still playing cricket? BCCi almost zonked him!

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