England in India 2012-13 January 13, 2013

Patel savours unfamiliar England success

ESPNcricinfo staff

Samit Patel, born in Leicester but of Indian heritage, knows a bit about cricket on the subcontinent. And having taken part in ten consecutive ODI defeats with England in India, he was well placed to put into context their success in the first match of the current series in Rajkot.

England's nine-run win was their first ODI victory in India since 2006 - and even that was the blip in a 5-1 thrashing. In 2008 and 2011, on each occasion Patel was a member of the side that lost 5-0 and when England last went to Rajkot four years ago, in a match played at the old Madhavrao Scindia Stadium, they suffered a 158-run mauling. That was Patel's seventh ODI appearance, and his first experience of defeat, but it was soon to become a wearyingly repetitive one.

"I've been here for ten ODIs before and lost all ten," he said. "It's just great to get a win here. Sometimes people don't realise how much of an effort it is to beat these guys over here. They're just good players in their own back yard. They play good one-day cricket all around the world but in India they dominate spinners and they dominate cricket in general.

"On past tours here we've not even won a warm-up game. To win the first ODI in Rajkot was fantastic. We lost the first two warm-ups again so we knew how crucial it was. We knew the boys were ready but what a great win and what a great start."

Patel has forged a reputation as one of England's best players of spin - his top scores in both limited-overs formats have come on the subcontinent - but it was against India's quicks that he did the damage during the final overs at Rajkot, clubbing 44 from just 20 balls to hoist England to a defendable total. The sensation of victory, at least, should help make up for the lack of applause.

"To play India in 2008 was quite demoralising," he said. "We put up good scores and they knocked them off; they put up good scores and we got nowhere near them. As a batsman when you hit a boundary and you don't get a clap it can be a bit hurtful really. You know you've played a good shot and no one's really appreciated it. That can eat a bit under your skin but it's about how you handle it."

England have not won an ODI series in India since 1984-85, when they had their sole success, and recent tours have resembled something like a nonviolent resistance, without the same end result. But despite well-documented weaknesses against slow bowling, Alastair Cook led the one-day side to an unexpected whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE last year and followed that up with a Test series triumph in India for the first time since that same tour of '84-85. Such improvements, suggests Patel, have given the squad confidence that they can pull off another upset.

"I think the way we've learned how to play their spinners is outstanding and a credit to us as a team because in past tours we've struggled," he said. "It just shows if you put in the hard yards and you learn you get your rewards.

"The Test series win was outstanding. It took a lot of courage, a lot of desire, a lot of hard work. It is something good to be a part of and I think [the one-day squad] can achieve it if we stay calm and level headed. If we look to be positive and back our own ability then we have a good chance."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jassie on January 15, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    I hope Mr. D includes Pujara, Dhawan, Milind, Mishra ji, Shami, Irfan, and Sood in the playing eleven so that world cup winners get some rest. I think they need more rest................. By the way no matter what India will come out as a winner today. Request to Mr. D.... please give these youngsters a chance in this crucial times and then you watch Mr. D what they can do for you!

  • shamali on January 14, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    @Haq33 -- I didnt use the bad period as an excuse. I only meant that India is not at its best at the moment with lots of players out of form nor did I support India fully. Players like Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid etc are great legends and they deserve the praise but they were not the only one who took India to the top in every format - it was a team work that worked. I agree with you in the sense that the board should have foreseen this a long time ago and slowly eased the new players into the game. The board should first hire one of the great West Indian fast bowlers who made sure West Indian didnt lose a single test series in 15 years - one of them will be a brilliant coach. Secondly the board and Dhoni have to be ruthless and say if a player doesnt perform after 4-5 matches then give them a break for a few weeks and try a new player - no matter who the player is.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    julie now we dont have players who can do well even on flat tracks so stop labelling the indians as flat track bully

  • $$ milind on January 14, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    English team winning in the subcontinent after a long time is very pleasing. The players spinners well is a very good thing and we see that most of d teams have started playing very good cricket in subcontinent but very sad to see india's performance abroad

  • M on January 14, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Womenlovecricket....u claim India is "not at its best" which is a similar tune as the "transition" excuse. If U were dependent on srt or seawhag firing with the bat every time and now claim to be in transition or not at your best because those 2 are finished, then what kind of team were India all of these years? A 2-man team perhaps? Now you have vk and msd but they fail to fire and suddenly India are "in transition". This is a nonsensical excuse and in fact represents poor planning, poor training, poor on-field batting technique and lack of bench strength, I.e. A poor team overall, notwithstanding the permanent lack of pace bowlers. Every team could claim this transition excuse when their top players retire but surely the board should see it coming! Real transition would be due to surprise losses of players, Pakistan for example could claim to be in perpetual transition since we don't play at home and lost our strike bowlers to surprise scandals.

  • Tim on January 14, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    For those knocking England's bowling - and knocking England for beating an Indian team well short of its best - don't forget that England's line-up excluded their top three ODI bowlers. Anderson and Swann were rested and Broad is still recovering from injury. So though I agree that there were clear vulnerabilities in the bowling, this was close to being an England second XI in the bowling department.

    I am actually quite genuinely looking forward to the forthcoming Australian tour of India because it will give us a better view as to which of the cricketing super-powers of the last decade has fallen furthest. For what it is worth, my money is on India for the very simple reason that they do have some spin bowlers and the Australian batting (with the exception of Clarke) looks vulnerable to any sort of bowling - but spin in particular.

  • Cricket on January 14, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    @Facebook (January 14 2013, 09:53 AM GMT) After the test series defeat including one on a featherbed of a track and the first ODI to England on another batting paradise, India is no longer even a flat track bully.

  • Cricket on January 14, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    @womenlovecricket I have to disagree with you. After 8-0 away in tests 2-1 in home test to England and 2-1 Pakistan in ODI series, this not a blip or one-off. . Results are one thing and there's no shame in losing but commitment and competing are another and to lose without showing or giving both of the latter is embarassing. The reality is that this is the best India can offer at the moment.

    I do however agree with you on the 'to be the best you have beat the best' and England's ODI record to date is there for everyone to see. But you can only beat the team put in front of you and you can't do anything about the quality of the opposition. So if England wins, they're entitled to celebrate but they'd do well to put victory into perspective by acknowledging that beating this current Indian team in India is probably equivalent to beating Bangladesh in Bangladesh.

  • shamali on January 14, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Why is everyone celebrating that England might trash India before it even happened? To be honest it is not a wonderful thing for England to beat India while India is not at its best. To be the best - you have to beat the best - while they are at their best. India in going through a hard phase and is struggling to find it's best players. To beat a team who is not at its best is nothing to boost nor celebrate about, so even if England managed to win the series in the world of cricket it doesn't matter. It might say that England has managed to win a series in India after 1984-85 but that's all.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully. Don't get angry mate. actually indians are gr8 only at flat track. and you people call them great. like once you told about raina. pujara will be same. just wait, within 3 yrs. he will be out of team. i am just waiting to see how inida survives at south africa. hope, sir ravindra jadeja will make a 500 and will take 10 wkts in single over.