November 25, 2008

A gap too wide

India and England have been poles apart this series: one is clear-headed and ruthlessly aggressive, the other unsure and stuck in Test mode
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Hands on heads has become England's image of the series © AFP

Borrowing words from that notorious fence-sitter, Charles Dickens, England's performance in Bangalore on Sunday was the best of times and the worst of times, all rolled into a neat 22-over-a-side package. Yes they crashed to a 19-run defeat that handed India an unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-match series, but for eight glorious overs, while Owais Shah and Andrew Flintoff were carting their opponents to all corners of Karnataka, the furrow on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brow was deeper than the crater in the popping crease after the groundstaff had finished hammering away at the footholes.

And yet … how fleeting the "glory" of those eight overs. It is a sad indictment of the state of England's cricket that their success is currently measurable in units that would barely constitute quarter of a session of a Test match. When the team looks back (through gaps in their fingers) on the events of their first two weeks in India, they'll have Shah and Flintoff's 82-run stand to warm their hearts, along with Stuart Broad's new-ball scalps in the second match in Indore. With India at 29 for 3 in the eighth over of that contest, England had a toehold in the series, but that is all it was. A quick stamp from Yuvraj Singh, and they entered into a freefall from which they showed no hope of recovering.

English naivete in India is hardly a modern phenomenon. Ever since the Calcutta Test of 1992-93, when a four-prong pace attack was pitted (not remotely successfully) against a three-man spin ensemble including a young Anil Kumble, there has been a desperate absence of application from the tourists, both on the field and in the pre-match planning. Nasser Hussain bucked the trend briefly in 2001-02, as did a Johnny Cash-inspired Flintoff in 2005-06, although his achievement in leading England to a famous victory in that year's Mumbai Test was quickly negated by the 5-1 ODI drubbing that followed.

At least England could claim, with some justification, that they were a demob-happy rabble for large tracts of that contest. The 2005 Ashes victory was a recent enough memory to mitigate their limited-overs ineptitude, and a seven-match game of subcontinental hopscotch was the last thing any of the players could be bothered with, let alone the travelling media and the early-rising fans back home.

This time, however, England have arrived in the country with no doubts whatsoever as to the importance of their visit: India are arguably the best ODI team in the world, and the biggest market to boot. Professional and fiscal motivations have abounded since England landed in Mumbai, but you can't imagine anyone queueing up for, say, Ian Bell's IPL signature right now.

 
 
The totality of India's triumph has been stunning, but it wasn't until the tempo-change in Bangalore that the reasons for their pre-eminence were revealed. Anyone can win an ODI, but it takes a special team to win a 22-over contest after they had set their stall out to bat for 50
 

The totality of India's triumph has been stunning, but it wasn't until the tempo-change in Bangalore that the reasons for their pre-eminence were revealed. Anyone can win an ODI (even Zimbabwe came close on Monday) but it takes a special team to win a 22-over contest after they had set their stall out to bat for 50. That was the stunt India pulled off on Sunday, and while Bell has attracted large dollops of vitriol for his funereal approach to the run-chase, the example set by India's cricketers proved impossible to follow.

Rarely has the default mentality of two nations been so starkly contrasted than on Sunday evening. When in doubt (and the Bangalore weather made for plenty of that), India's batsmen reverted to type and went into six-hitting overdrive, while England's batsmen chose straight bats, safety first, and the Test-influenced fallacy of playing oneself in. Ravi Bopara's 1 from 7 balls was an abomination of an innings, Bell devoured seven overs for his first seven runs, and even Shah - the eventual star of England's show - nudged along to 15 from 20 balls before trusting himself to cut loose. The fear of failure was England's overriding concern, and sure enough, as a tactic it failed.

And then there were the Indians, for whom Virender Sehwag - more so even than the man of the moment, Yuvraj Singh - is a totemic influence. As Stuart MacGill once put it, after Sehwag had butchered 195 from 233 balls in the 2003 Melbourne Test, "It's not that he can't pick my bowling, it's just he doesn't care." Sehwag's last 11 Test centuries, dating back to that innings, have been gargantuan affairs: 195, 309, 155, 164, 173, 201, 254, 180, 151, 319, 201 not out, all scored at - or bloody close to - a run a ball. He deserves a place in history as the first truly postmodern cricketer, a player who has taken one tempo and extrapolated it to fit whatever length of contest is required.

No one, therefore, was better placed to boss the Bangalore match, a game that began with Kevin Pietersen's spurious decision to bowl first, so that he could "keep in control of the Duckworth-Lewis calculations". That wasn't a complication Sehwag was prepared to entertain. His first shot of the match was a scorching thwack through the covers to put James Anderson ever more firmly in his place; his first shot of the evening after resumption was a soaring six off Samit Patel. It is safe to assume that his eventual score of 69 from 57 balls would have been roughly the same whatever the format. (And if we're feeling uncharitable, Bell's 12 from 15 balls might have covered all bases as well.)

And yet, it wasn't just Sehwag who enjoyed the thwacking frenzy. Gautam Gambhir eased each of the first deliveries he faced from Flintoff, Broad and Graeme Swann for fours. Yuvraj dallied for two sighters, then launched three of his next six legitimate deliveries into the stands. Dhoni beasted his first delivery over midwicket. Yusuf Pathan drilled his first over the sightscreen. In fact, the only man to buck the trend for India was Sachin Tendulkar, whose 11 from 21 deliveries in the "first" game was a curious throwback. But with 42 ODI centuries to his name already, he is clearly not a man to be taught to suck eggs.

England sucked all right, but sadly they omitted to insert any oeufs. Their failings were universal, because as the hapless Anderson has spent the whole series demonstrating, it's not just the batsmen who've been at fault. The single biggest lesson that the Twenty20 revolution has to offer is that every delivery is "an event". It is no longer about playing the ball on merit, but playing the shot that befits the moment. Sehwag has made a career out of such an attitude, and in Bangalore his colleagues followed suit.


Sehwag is the first truly postmodern cricketer, a player who has taken one tempo, and extrapolated it to fit whatever length of contest is required © AFP
 

For it wasn't just about starting with a bang, but finishing with a wallop as well. Of the six bowlers England used in that match, three were slapped for sixes from the last balls they bowled, and two - Swann and Pietersen - suffered that indignity off their penultimate deliveries. The only man to maintain discipline, as is so often the case, was Flintoff.

All of the above might have been a coincidence, but somehow I doubt it, because that would mean a belittling of the unsung star of India's show. Zaheer Khan taught England a lesson in their own conditions last year - Ryan Sidebottom admitted he'd never contemplated going around the wicket as a left-arm seamer until he saw the success achieved by his opposite number. On Sunday, Zaheer followed up with a home-school lesson.

His five overs, all bowled during the Powerplays, went for a miserly 20 runs, and included the key wickets of Shah and Patel. When he wasn't doing the job himself, he was coaching his younger colleagues - Dhoni even left him to set the fields when the match reached its midnight tipping point. Bell and Bopara jabbed back his new-ball offerings as if Glenn McGrath had been spirited onto the stage, but half-an-hour later he returned as Darren Gough, swinging yorker after yorker into the blockhole to deny England any opportunity to take the aerial route.

What Zaheer has learnt, and what England's bowlers have yet to fathom, is that line and length is everything. Not any old line and length, but the perfect line and length, ball after ball after ball. In an era when feats of batsmanship are getting more and more outrageous by the day, it's no longer sufficient simply to target good "areas", and hope for the best. There's only one area left to play with.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY deadhorse on | November 28, 2008, 4:17 GMT

    The unfortunate tendency of every Indian fan is to start bouncing towards the moon whenever their team does anything of particular note. Yes the Indians are on a winning streak but its just a 'streak'. They are by no means a champion side. Most of the current Indian team has been around for years and the same guys got repeatedly walloped home and abroad with consistency. The only reason they are doing well is because other good teams are not that good anymore due to retirements etc. South Africa still retains most of their experienced players and BCCI had to summon a groundsman from hell to beat them in the third test. When all these guys retire, only then can we judge the Indians fairly.

  • POSTED BY Crickwonders on | November 27, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    This is in reply to Mr. Av79. I dont think that "apart from the first game there was no difference bertween the sides". Look at yesterdays game...England could not decide what total would be a competitive one!! Pitch had uneven bounce, still India managed to win!! Well it batted second is'nt it?? Talking about that 22 overs match...India started thinking its 50, changed the gears in the middle and ended with style scoring 60 of last 5. Lets admit...in this series atleast...there is a gap too wide between India and England!!

  • POSTED BY snarge on | November 26, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    What is all this talk about India being number one in any form of the game? Their away record remains dismal overall, and compares favourably only to their pathetic historical record. They have won one out of their last four Test series, were belted away by Sri Lanka and at home by Australia in ODI's, and could not even make the last eight of the world cup less than two years ago. The odd fleeting victory can not take the mantle of number one away from Australia in the two real forms of the game.

  • POSTED BY the_cooz on | November 26, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is, in my opinion, the best captain in the game right now. He's got a great cricketing brain and he makes the most out of what he's got. He is a big reason why India are playing so well right now. From the looks of it, England just haven't been utilising what they've got. They do have a potentially good side, but their mindset's wrong and they need to rethink their strategies. Anderson and Broad need to bowl fuller (i.e. good length or a little fuller, especially when the ball's newer), and Anderson in particular needs to think better, like an occasional slower ball or yorker to keep the batsmen honest. The batsman also need to start scoring at a more consistent rate and play to the conditions more. It's a real shame Monty Panesar, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Tim Ambrose or Phil Mustard aren't playing - I reckon they would've brought more to the table than some others are doing right now. The ECB and all the higher-ups aren't doing England any favours right now.

  • POSTED BY Av79 on | November 26, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    What absolute nonsense - as you come to expect from the purely-reactionary Miller. There's no such gulf. India have just won the matches. England put four in a row against South Africa, but that doesn't indicate a "gap too wide" or any such nonsense. Australia got sideswiped 3-0 by New Zealand, but that didn't indicate a 'gap too wide'. Utter stupidity. Really, other than the first match, there's not been much to separate the sides, and the real story (as is almost always the case with cricket in this era) is that India have had the oppotunity to bat first more often than not. I expect nothing less than this kind of insipid reporting from this site or this 'journalist'. The idiotic "England isn't good enough" nonsense seems to ignore the fact that England won the ODI series against India in England last year. Pure nonsense that typically disregards all the nuance of cricket in fabour of an easy-to-understand black-and-white exegesis of the scorecard. Pathetic, as usual.

  • POSTED BY Silvinate on | November 26, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    I would surely like to ask Mr. Pietersen and co the reason of keeping Monty out of the ODI team.. If the selectors think him to be good enough bowler for Indian conditions andsee a future in him as a test bowler for some years to come, I think they hv done a huge mistake by not selecting him for the one day series

  • POSTED BY ratnakar.techie on | November 26, 2008, 8:36 GMT

    Hey Mr. ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick, Have you forgotten the CB Series Triumph in Australia, when we beat Australia in Australia, our India's win in the ODI series in SL? And yes we also won a Test series in WI and England, and beat Australia in Perth, a feat not many touring sides have been able to achieve. Yeah we will need more consistency to become No 1, but for heaven's sake just dont demean the achievements we have been having in recent times. India nowadays plays equally well away, as they do at home. So this tigers at home, lambs abroad is becomming kinda outdated.

  • POSTED BY Hurry on | November 26, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    This is a reply for "ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick" - I'm sure this person is a blind supporter of Aussie - confirmed by the name. I wonder how could they forget losing the VB Series finals to India(clean sweep in the finals) and losing their dominance over the WACA when India won the Test match after the controversial SCG Test. I just wanted to remind this person that these were India's away performances.

  • POSTED BY Tomorrow_Never_Dies on | November 26, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    Well.India being the well-deserved one-day side,have beaten Australia in Australia(Remember CB Series) and SriLanka at their home.Even though the pace in test cricket may reduce after Laxman,Dravid and Sachin,we believe Yuvraj,Rohit,Raina and probably M.Vijay could take up the responsibility.They could become the best team in all forms of the game than Australia or any other country.We have the team to beat other countries not only in home but away from home.Dhoni is simply fantastic in leading the team & allowing team members to make decision.India have improved in all departments particularly bowling.During the last decade,many of us would have thought that India is strong in batting but now,they are strong in bowling too.And the fielding from young players has improved a lot except they should have some understanding on the field.Of course Srilanka is one of the best Test teams,we have handled Ajanta Mendis and Murali in one dayers.India could make it possible as the best Test team.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | November 26, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    Someone said 'India wins at home and no where else. Remind yourself about Cb series and the Series in Srilanka. I reckon that more than anything else its the leadership that made the difference. Dhoni has always emphasised on playing "fearless cricket". That is the main difference between both the teams.

  • POSTED BY deadhorse on | November 28, 2008, 4:17 GMT

    The unfortunate tendency of every Indian fan is to start bouncing towards the moon whenever their team does anything of particular note. Yes the Indians are on a winning streak but its just a 'streak'. They are by no means a champion side. Most of the current Indian team has been around for years and the same guys got repeatedly walloped home and abroad with consistency. The only reason they are doing well is because other good teams are not that good anymore due to retirements etc. South Africa still retains most of their experienced players and BCCI had to summon a groundsman from hell to beat them in the third test. When all these guys retire, only then can we judge the Indians fairly.

  • POSTED BY Crickwonders on | November 27, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    This is in reply to Mr. Av79. I dont think that "apart from the first game there was no difference bertween the sides". Look at yesterdays game...England could not decide what total would be a competitive one!! Pitch had uneven bounce, still India managed to win!! Well it batted second is'nt it?? Talking about that 22 overs match...India started thinking its 50, changed the gears in the middle and ended with style scoring 60 of last 5. Lets admit...in this series atleast...there is a gap too wide between India and England!!

  • POSTED BY snarge on | November 26, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    What is all this talk about India being number one in any form of the game? Their away record remains dismal overall, and compares favourably only to their pathetic historical record. They have won one out of their last four Test series, were belted away by Sri Lanka and at home by Australia in ODI's, and could not even make the last eight of the world cup less than two years ago. The odd fleeting victory can not take the mantle of number one away from Australia in the two real forms of the game.

  • POSTED BY the_cooz on | November 26, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is, in my opinion, the best captain in the game right now. He's got a great cricketing brain and he makes the most out of what he's got. He is a big reason why India are playing so well right now. From the looks of it, England just haven't been utilising what they've got. They do have a potentially good side, but their mindset's wrong and they need to rethink their strategies. Anderson and Broad need to bowl fuller (i.e. good length or a little fuller, especially when the ball's newer), and Anderson in particular needs to think better, like an occasional slower ball or yorker to keep the batsmen honest. The batsman also need to start scoring at a more consistent rate and play to the conditions more. It's a real shame Monty Panesar, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Tim Ambrose or Phil Mustard aren't playing - I reckon they would've brought more to the table than some others are doing right now. The ECB and all the higher-ups aren't doing England any favours right now.

  • POSTED BY Av79 on | November 26, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    What absolute nonsense - as you come to expect from the purely-reactionary Miller. There's no such gulf. India have just won the matches. England put four in a row against South Africa, but that doesn't indicate a "gap too wide" or any such nonsense. Australia got sideswiped 3-0 by New Zealand, but that didn't indicate a 'gap too wide'. Utter stupidity. Really, other than the first match, there's not been much to separate the sides, and the real story (as is almost always the case with cricket in this era) is that India have had the oppotunity to bat first more often than not. I expect nothing less than this kind of insipid reporting from this site or this 'journalist'. The idiotic "England isn't good enough" nonsense seems to ignore the fact that England won the ODI series against India in England last year. Pure nonsense that typically disregards all the nuance of cricket in fabour of an easy-to-understand black-and-white exegesis of the scorecard. Pathetic, as usual.

  • POSTED BY Silvinate on | November 26, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    I would surely like to ask Mr. Pietersen and co the reason of keeping Monty out of the ODI team.. If the selectors think him to be good enough bowler for Indian conditions andsee a future in him as a test bowler for some years to come, I think they hv done a huge mistake by not selecting him for the one day series

  • POSTED BY ratnakar.techie on | November 26, 2008, 8:36 GMT

    Hey Mr. ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick, Have you forgotten the CB Series Triumph in Australia, when we beat Australia in Australia, our India's win in the ODI series in SL? And yes we also won a Test series in WI and England, and beat Australia in Perth, a feat not many touring sides have been able to achieve. Yeah we will need more consistency to become No 1, but for heaven's sake just dont demean the achievements we have been having in recent times. India nowadays plays equally well away, as they do at home. So this tigers at home, lambs abroad is becomming kinda outdated.

  • POSTED BY Hurry on | November 26, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    This is a reply for "ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick" - I'm sure this person is a blind supporter of Aussie - confirmed by the name. I wonder how could they forget losing the VB Series finals to India(clean sweep in the finals) and losing their dominance over the WACA when India won the Test match after the controversial SCG Test. I just wanted to remind this person that these were India's away performances.

  • POSTED BY Tomorrow_Never_Dies on | November 26, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    Well.India being the well-deserved one-day side,have beaten Australia in Australia(Remember CB Series) and SriLanka at their home.Even though the pace in test cricket may reduce after Laxman,Dravid and Sachin,we believe Yuvraj,Rohit,Raina and probably M.Vijay could take up the responsibility.They could become the best team in all forms of the game than Australia or any other country.We have the team to beat other countries not only in home but away from home.Dhoni is simply fantastic in leading the team & allowing team members to make decision.India have improved in all departments particularly bowling.During the last decade,many of us would have thought that India is strong in batting but now,they are strong in bowling too.And the fielding from young players has improved a lot except they should have some understanding on the field.Of course Srilanka is one of the best Test teams,we have handled Ajanta Mendis and Murali in one dayers.India could make it possible as the best Test team.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | November 26, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    Someone said 'India wins at home and no where else. Remind yourself about Cb series and the Series in Srilanka. I reckon that more than anything else its the leadership that made the difference. Dhoni has always emphasised on playing "fearless cricket". That is the main difference between both the teams.

  • POSTED BY FIASNAHK on | November 26, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    Sure, India are having a purple patch at the moment, mainly because they basicly have the perfect team right now. If you go through their lineup, they have absolutly no weaknesses, except for their third seamer and i'm not sure about rohit sharma. But they are only the best one day side at the moment. Sri lanka to me are by far the best test team right now mainly because of ajantha mendis and murali, and they played australia in home conditions right now ,they would win as well. India are the best at one day cricket but their future in test cricket doesn't look good once dravid, laxman and tendulkar retire.

  • POSTED BY Crickwonders on | November 26, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Comments by Jamrith and others I would say are truly biased. We must admit that luck and all can have a role in a game or two. India must appreciated by the fact of Winning all the 4 games convincingly. Why only Sehwag, there are many incidences of luck that happened for both the teams. I am not arguing whether India is number 1 team or not...well I know they have to go a long way before they can be so called...but yes currently they are better than England... No Offences meant...

  • POSTED BY whyyes on | November 26, 2008, 5:18 GMT

    Andrew Miller quoting Stuart MacGill about Sehwag's butchering 195 from 233 balls in the 2003 Melbourne Test, "It's not that he can't pick my bowling, it's just he doesn't care" comprehensively overhauls the attitude of the attacking batsman and if only Kevin Pietersen had some idea with whom he and his bowlers were dealing with, perhaps he wouldn't have resorted to his 'spurious decision to bowl first, so that he could "keep in control of the Duckworth-Lewis calculations".

    Again as Miller rightly points out, "That wasn't a complication Sehwag was prepared to entertain".

    How more blunt you could get with an attitude; ask the visiting bowlers.

    Yousuf Sheriff, RAK, UAE

  • POSTED BY ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick on | November 26, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    India's comprehensive demolition of England after a convincing test series win against Australia only serves to make you wonder about India. Yet it was only a short while ago that they were mauled by Sri Lanka. Until India has some form away from home, all these comments about India being the best in the world are silly, but India does appear to be the best balanced side in international cricket in all forms of the game, so they have the potential to assume the Australians' mantle. At the moment though, India wins at home and nowhere else and Australia wins everywhere except in India - so the Australians are still number one - at the moment!

  • POSTED BY ratnakar.techie on | November 26, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Lets face the facts England is simply not good enough. They are way too dependent on Freddie and KP in batting, and Freddie and Broad in bowling. So unless India suddenly gets bored of winning, i dont see them avoiding a whitewash, however much they keep improving.

    Gentlemans-Game: Well India won the ODI series against SL, 3-2. And also India thrashed SL 6-1 not too long ago. As for D/L result, well England themselves have benefited from it not too long ago against NZ. In Bangalore, if a full 50 overs match was played, it would have been a total rout for England. In fact when the match was shortened to 22 overs, it favored England, because Indian batsmen were playing keeping a 50 over match in mind. To come out and readjust is not a joke, and our guys did it admirably. So give India the credit when they do well.

  • POSTED BY Surya.Sripati on | November 26, 2008, 4:05 GMT

    "The single biggest lesson that the Twenty20 revolution has to offer is that every delivery is "an event"" - Couldn't have been put more lucidly - This, essentially, is the telling difference between the two teams.

    Way to go Andrew!

  • POSTED BY Godof86 on | November 26, 2008, 4:04 GMT

    To gentlemens-game,

    Not really. India won 4 out of 4 games against England (not 4 out of 7), and before that beat Australia in Australia in ODIs, and the less impressive result you talk about is a series won against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

    India is really the best there is in ODIs. Beat World cup winners Australia in Australia, and beat world cup runners up Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Really, what else is required? England was cannon fodder anyway.

  • POSTED BY jamrith on | November 26, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    Rooboy, stop hurling insults like "ignorant Indians", and stick to your roos.

  • POSTED BY asgowtham on | November 26, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    The gap seems to be wide because of the fact that English batsmen are too inconsistent. Barring Pietersen and Collingwood there is really none in the English team who is reliable. Prior - Neither a good batsman nor a good keeper Shah - Not more than a pinch hitter Bell - Gone are the days where an ODI opener's strike rate is 70 Bopara - Neither a good bowler nor a good batsman Flintoff - Nobody knows when he will click.

    And last but not least, if you cannot put a score of 280+ in 6 out of 7 matches in India, you dont even stand a chance to level the series.

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | November 26, 2008, 3:21 GMT

    As an Indian, I am not surprised at some of my contrymen saying India is the best, the No 1 etc, etc. Nothing is far from the truth. We are good, but not the greatest. Overseas victories are still hard to come by in Tests (Australia, Srilanka, South Africa). And friends, victory in a T-20 is tenuous. Smaller the format, better it is for the minnows. Look how Zimbabwe ran SL close.

  • POSTED BY Desi_Willow on | November 26, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    One of the best articles with great facts to and comparison. Also the way strength and weaknesses of the teams have been compared is appreciable.

  • POSTED BY triassicpark1 on | November 26, 2008, 2:10 GMT

    Brilliant article. Especially the way you have described Bell's approach, I could not help but read it thrice and laughed each time. Coming to the article and India's position as such England could have pulled it off if Shah or Flintoff had kept going. If that had happened Shewag's brilliance or Zhaeer's spell would not have been important. But as a true Indian cricket supporter, I am happy with the end result. At this stage I am not sure if England can do enough to turn the wheel of fortune.

  • POSTED BY _IndianCricketFan on | November 26, 2008, 1:52 GMT

    Great article. What everyone is saying is that England's batting line up lacks big hitting. Which is of course very valid. But in my opinion, their bowling was also quite pathetic. James Anderson bowled short ball after short ball and kept getting clobbered. God knows what he was trying to do. What the English bowlers need to do is if they find themselves in hole, stop digging it. The last part of the article about line and length is a lesson the English bowlers truly need. I dont know if anyone agrees with me or not, but what I noticed in the IPL was that teams with awesome batting line ups but bad bowlers didn't win. Deccan Chargers is a prime example. The team looked invincible but with bowlers like Styris, an allrounder, bowling front up, they had a limited edge with the ball.

  • POSTED BY dvaduka on | November 26, 2008, 1:10 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have come across after a real long time. Andrew analyzes the English performance to the core. It would surely help having someone as him close to the team.As for me, England can do a lot better and its only a matter of time before we see them playing to their potential.

  • POSTED BY jamrith on | November 26, 2008, 1:03 GMT

    I know luck favours the brave and all that, but India has been rather lucky. Take Sehwag's innings in Bangalore, for example, he was run out when he was in his twenties but no one appealed. There have been numerous other examples where our batsmen have been lucky with mishits. The worm will turn, India is far from invincible.

  • POSTED BY Yorker_ToeCrusher on | November 25, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    Engalnd's problem is simple and solution is not an easy one.England needs talents..real natural talents who are not coached and molded in cricket clinics(that curtails their natural tendancy to attack and coaches are in test mode here).And ECB needs to take ODI in their calculations very. -sreekanth nair,london

  • POSTED BY gentlemans-game on | November 25, 2008, 22:22 GMT

    So India have won 4 out of 7 games. A few months back, India had less impressive results against Sri Lanka. And we say India is the best ODI team in the world? Had D/L and 22 overs not come into play in the last two games, the results might have been less one-sided. I'm less inclined to accept mathematics' verdict on the outcome in sport - its senseless.

  • POSTED BY Big_Chikka on | November 25, 2008, 20:25 GMT

    Selection, selection, selection. Merit, merit, and more merit. If people like Gooch and Gough can point to unfair and inappropriate team selections we have to ask whose at fault for picking the teams? KP or someone else? At some stage KP needs to surround himself with one day players in one day games. Did the management learn nothing from the Stanford 20/20!

  • POSTED BY RameshSrivats on | November 25, 2008, 20:05 GMT

    Er... why is India "arguably" the best ODI side? what exactly is the argument? Why is conviction always sacrificed at the altar of backside protection? I would say India is "unarguably" the best ODI side, and incidentally the best test side as well as the best T20 side at the moment.

  • POSTED BY SagirParkar on | November 25, 2008, 18:55 GMT

    Excellent article by Andrew Miller. however, my response is not to his article but to a comment made my Bonaku.

    we all agree that england have never been a huge force in the ODIs. if the ECB and the English cricketing fans never considered ODIs as part of cricket as you have pointed out, why do they or the media have to make such a huge fuss of these losses or hype the victory over the south africans or tout their team as world beaters everytime a world cup is round the corner ?

    leaving aside the ODIs, the T20 format was invented by the ECB and they had it going for about 4-5 odd years before others picked on it and yet the English team find themselves at the losing end. if there was any one side that was expected to win the T20 cup by virtue of sheer experience, it was the english, and yet they failed miserably, their recent loss in the Stanford fixture being a particularly embarrasing one.

    The ECB should take measures to improve their performances not their excuses.

  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | November 25, 2008, 18:44 GMT

    Let's not forget where it all started. ECB jump-started the decline of a declining English team by appointing KP as the captain of all English team. Then the english media became too gaga over his charm as England handsomely beat a tired South Africa at home. Since then KP's true colour as the captain has shown starting with the Stanford 20/20 for 20 match. His suggestion that the match was more important for WIndies to win, goes along the line of a typical whinging pom, although it sounds ridiculous given he's just a pretender from South Africa. Since it's not important for an England team to win a match or two here and there, even though played with a full squad against a full international squad, this is the sort of result we'll always see. I am very happy with the results and they will continue like this till the end of the Ashes (which is England's only priority right now). I hope by then common sense prevails and KP's let off to do the thing he does best, bash the bowlers. My .02

  • POSTED BY DalesGuy on | November 25, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    I can see that Mr Miller's heart is bleeding for English cricket. When I saw Owais Shaw coming in at No 3, I really felt sorry for England. There is lot of inflexibility in their approach. The captain and the coach should take the full responsibility and I wonder whether there is a rift between the two in their thinking.

  • POSTED BY sidor911 on | November 25, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    England do not seem to have enough in terms of a big hitting opening partnership and have not yet understood that in India, sometimes 270-280 is simply not enough. Moving Prior down the order is a mistake as he offers some naturally attacking strokeplay. Their bowlers have yet to a length which does not seem to be carted into the stands and even playing two spinners will not help because of the quality of the Indian batsmen

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | November 25, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    An excellent article Andrew.I am pleased to note that Dhoni and KP are wide apart in their captaincy skills as I had pointed out in response to your last article "A clash of unlikely Equals". Also England felt that after beating depleted S.Africa 4-0, beating India would be just as easy. KP and his men learnt the lesson the hard way and were outplayed in every department of the game. India is arguably the best ODI team in the world because it is well balanced side with a dynamic leader. While the rain and bad light in the last 2 ODI's hampered outright Indian win, KP's lack of understanding of D/L rules clearly showed.Dhoni played according to the rules and won.England batting was weak and they could have benefitted using one more specialist batsman (Cooke or Strauss) instead of an all rounder. Similarly replace Anderson with Panesar to balance the bowling. o WK Prior should also be replaced. England can still make these changes & be more competitive in the remaining 3 ODI's-Good Luck.

  • POSTED BY sreeramm on | November 25, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    There is lot of talking about England's bating order. Well, to me every thing that is being comfortably forgotten is "PAUL COLLINGWOOD". I still believe he being under utilized. I would say, send Flintoff down the order given his ability to smash the ball with ease.

  • POSTED BY ChandrasekharVamaraju on | November 25, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    We certainly saw skill in Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Yousuf Pathan, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma. Are they durable like the Sachins, Dravids, Srinaths and Kumbles?

  • POSTED BY FreddyForPrimeMinister on | November 25, 2008, 15:44 GMT

    Good article, though the phrase "hitting the right areas" is every bit as valid as it's always been - you just have to realize what those areas are! Anderson and Broad consistently bowled too short and were carted over the boundary each time. As a Lancs fan, I want Jimmy to succeed, but he needs to be able to bowl 6 balls on the same spot every over - each one with a view to hitting the top of off stump. It's not rocket science but why can't England bowlers do just that?! In terms of batting, I could almost cry every time I see our batsmen walk across their stumps or back away (especially Freddy!). Watch India's two best strikers of a ball, Sehwag and Yuvraj - they stand where they are, keep their heads still, maybe moving forward or back, according to the length of the ball, and hit the damn thing! The moment you start walking around the crease, it becomes so much harder to hit the ball.. slightly tongue-in-cheek, but how many golfers do you see taking a run up to hit a golf ball!

  • POSTED BY ssm2407 on | November 25, 2008, 14:07 GMT

    In reply to ali14pakistani, England's balloon has burst already. Beating a ICL/Kolpack depleted South Africa side 4-0 - who had already accomplished their main objective of winning the Test series - was truly a false dawn.

  • POSTED BY jokerbala on | November 25, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    From what I have seen,England seems to be missing someone like Marcus Trescothik who did very well on previous england tours.He was good in chipping the ball above the infield.England have a superb middle order in Peiterson, Flintoff but miss a dasher at the top.No wonder West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia have been Quite successful as far as odis go in India, courtesy Gayle,Jayasurya,Hayden.

  • POSTED BY aditya87 on | November 25, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    It's all perception, Andrew. It's never easy to come in and start smashing the ball from the word go. But yes, England look like in their mind they perceive batting to be as difficult as it is in England. These are pretty flat pitches, you know. If the bowling is one-dimensional you can get in pretty quickly. You don't have to hit the first ball for sixes and fours, but you certainly don't need six overs to get in. Risk-taking can come off in India. I think Pietersen should open, Flintoff at 3, and Owais Shah should come down the order with Collingwood. England have a good team, it's just a matter of getting the mental makeup right.

  • POSTED BY ali14pakistani on | November 25, 2008, 12:47 GMT

    I wonder when the balloon is going to burst!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY bonaku on | November 25, 2008, 12:40 GMT

    May be it is wise to keep quite for a while and do post-mortem once dust settles down. To be honest ecb/English public never considered odi's as a cricket. So it is harsh to blame these 14 lot for all the troubles. It is important to realise that there is some basic problems with county structure. England were never a good ODI side and it is well documented.

  • POSTED BY kk.iyer on | November 25, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    Actually, most Indian batsmen play the same strokes they would in tests, certainly with a little more freedom and follow through, more on-the-up, and maybe after a couple of sideways steps to clear arms/create room, whereas the English - for example Owais Shah and Collingwood's cross-bat heaves (both are much easier on the eye usually) - tend to slog a hell a lot more when they need to score quick, very often from unbalanced positions. I think the English overcomplicate the one day game. And also, they mess about with their opening pair too much. If they think Ian Bell should be their regular opener, and play a certain role, say, to bat long and score steadily, they should stick to that plan and not fiddle around endlessly. I think a lot of posters here underestimate Bell's talent. Maybe Mr. Bell is also guilty of the same.And please unveil Adil Rashid. If he's good enough, he's old/experienced enough. And give Monty respect for who he is, pick him. Don't expect him to bowl like Warne.

  • POSTED BY since7 on | November 25, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    Postmodern!..Hmm..Thats a wonderful word to describe sehwag and he pretty much desrves it.There may be more powerful hitters than sehwag but when it comes to audacity he is right up there with the likes of richards..Boycott repeatedly says that sehwag has no brains but I am happy that he hasnt changed a bit ever since his career started..If geoff and others eat up overs to save a test sehwag will attack his way to a draw or a win...

  • POSTED BY coolxi on | November 25, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    England has some firepower but they have clogged it their safety first approach. When they beat Sri Lanka in Srilanka without Flintoff they had Panesar and Swann bowling in tandem and its a trick they have sorely missed. i have agree with uhhuduga on the point of Indian pitches. When Australia prepared a green bouncy track it is termed as a sporting track. But when spinning tracks are prepared they are bad pitches!!

  • POSTED BY growltiger on | November 25, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    Excellent summary of the situation. Apart from the apparent lack of any strategy for the one day formats, there is also an evident lack of hitting technique; the Sehwag/Yuvraj approach requires the batsman to have trained himself in the nets (for hours and hours) to play the default attacking shots. Yuvraj's check drive into the stand at long off was not improvised at the wicket. The only way the England batsmen will ever move into this league is if they train to hit sixes of length bowling. Agree with the comparison between Zaheer and the England bowlers too: all that Fletcherian talk about "areas" is tosh. It is a matter of the right line and the right length, partly based on doing something just a little different from what the batsman is expecting. Only Flintoff is really there, with Broad showing definite signs of intelligenty getting there. But two half-intelligent bowlers will not counteract a side full of scientific hitters.

  • POSTED BY ImpartialJudge on | November 25, 2008, 10:51 GMT

    A nice and well thought article from Andrew Miller. After along time I am actually enjoying an article by Mr.Miller.

    This one kept me laughing for quite sometime

    [Stuart MacGill once put it, after Sehwag had butchered 195 from 233 balls in the 2003 Melbourne Test, "It's not that he can't pick my bowling, it's just he doesn't care." ]

  • POSTED BY prasanth.kongati on | November 25, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    Together Everyone Achieves Morework..is what england should realise as a TEAM. Andrew is taking away all the credit, but what england wanted is a good start instead of quick start. I am sure this English team has all the capabiltiy to fire back.

  • POSTED BY uhhuduga on | November 25, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Everytime I read some article regarding india's success , I invariably see comments saying its on indian pitches,,,well playing on such pitches is also an art.The pitches are flat for zaheer and ishant too.Aren't they bowling intelligently.Does it mean to say all the aussie and england fast bowlers are inferior?A batsman handling swing is as much a task as a fast bowler bowling shrewdly on flat pitches.

  • POSTED BY Dadagiri2011 on | November 25, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    This is in response to Cheguramana who says that it is difficult for him to imagine that Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman playing the way the current team is playing. He must understand that the times have changed and these yuounsters who play have grown up watching Sachin and ganguly give rousing starts to India and belt the ball around the ground. If you go back for a bit, the first time India made 300 on the board in a one day match was just before Azhar retired. But after that they managed that a number of times and this was with the mentioned old timers in the team. Now it is the age ot T 20 and players are evolving into big hitters. So the attitude change is the requirement of the times and this keeps happening. Dont take this as a case to insult Dravid, ganguly and Laxman.

    Cheers

    Renjit

  • POSTED BY Katri on | November 25, 2008, 9:11 GMT

    I still do not understand why England have packed their side with so many bits-and-pieces cricketers instead of specialists. Collingwood, Bopara and Patel in the same line-up sounds terrific on paper, but nothing has been translated into action. Patel has been more handy with his batting than his left-arm spin while it should have been the other way round. Colligwood has been in woeful form except for one spectacular catch; it wont be a bad idea to drop him in favour of a specialist bowler. It looks to me as if Bopara has been shunted up and down the order just so that he doesnt sit out of the team and lose confidence. He is genuinely talented and is in desperate need of a well-defined role in the team. Matt Prior should definitely get back to driving his Porsche, or maybe chauffeur someone else's Porsche. And am sure the whole team would just implode if Flintoff is injured again. There is way too much load on that thrice-repaired ankle.

  • POSTED BY Jose on | November 25, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    I totally agree with Andrew about his comments on Sehwag that "Sehwag is the first truly postmodern cricketer, a player who has taken one tempo, and extrapolated it to fit whatever length of contest is required". He maintains a fiery strike rate in all formats of game. He too has his own ups and downs like any other player. But, when he is on song, he is simply unstoppable. He is one of the rarest player who makes every delivery a moment.

  • POSTED BY GlobalCricketLover on | November 25, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    Where is Mascarenhas? Why is Luke Wright not asked to improve on his batting by playing domestic cricket?? Why take him to tours where he is unlikely to get a slot? The current England team has got a big mental block to overcome. It was astonishing to see the batsmen in 4th ODI looking to defend the ball instead of whacking it in to the stands. Couldn't understand their rationale of scoring at just over 3 while the asking rate was nearly 10! England need at least 2 more clean strikers in their team if they have to even compete with, let alone win against, top ODI teams. And someone please tell Anderson to bowl like an international bowler! Doesn't he know how to bowl a yorker? or a full on offstump pitching just on the crease?? Does he have a slow ball at all?

  • POSTED BY riteshjsr on | November 25, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    India is the best ODI team in the world today led by a man who does not know fear. This team is composed entirely of power hitters - Gambhir, Sehwag, Sachin, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Raina, Pathan. Looks like there's no place for 'grafters' and 'accumulators' in this team. If the situation arises the power hitters transform into grafters, very well demonstrated by Gambhir and Yuvraj in the 2nd ODI. When the match was shortened to 22 overs in the 4th ODI, India demonstrated again why they are the T20 World Champions. There's only one way this team knows to play and that is fearlessly. On the other hand England were unsure, confused and afraid of going full throttle. One wonders why Bell and Bopara didn't go for their shots in the first 6 overs. Shah played magnificently and had KP played a hand, maybe England would have pulled it off. KP is one player in this England team who can win a game singlehandedly. Sadly he is yet to fire. England will hope he does soon. Dhoni's boys will go for the kill.

  • POSTED BY Barbs on | November 25, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Slighlty misleading Andrew when you say "Bell devoured seven overs for his first seven runs", if indeed he had faced 42 balls for 7 runs he should be held accountable, but when he faced only 15 balls in his innings total it seems unfair to give that impression. I'm not defending the performance of England's openers, however as a fan of Ian Bell's i wanted to make this point. Certainly there is much work for England ahead, and let's not forget India are currently at the top of their game, on their home pitches.

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | November 25, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    Good article. However England should realise that apart from the first game, they have competed with India. And in ODIs, an over or two can make a difference. I can't wait for the tests to start, because, by then the ENglosh team would have got enough practise, and hang of the conditions, and should give the Indian team a run for their money.

  • POSTED BY abu_zayr on | November 25, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    England need make get back to winning ways (dunno how they are gonna it) because the test series is just around the corner and if they are entertaning any thoughts of putting up a fight in the test series they should won atleast a couple of games (dhoni mentioned he way give change to his reserves), this is england best chance, although im not taking any credit away from the likes of irfan ojha or kohli. We need some contest in this no contest series so far. Andrew's frustation is justified, KP got his batting order wrong and is playing catch cricket against one of the most formidable side in ODI at the moment. Time to make some changes (esp in the batting order) KP. KP is too good a player and I would love to see do well as a captain (esp in the ashes). Some come on KP, get things right...

  • POSTED BY vswami on | November 25, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    I am happy that Zaheer's performance is being noted. It was ridiculous to award Sehwag the MoM when the difference between the two sides was Zaheer. Zaheer could conceded 15 runs more and it would have been a normal bowling effort and that in the end was more or less the winning margin. I think England need to conquer fear before they can start winning regularly in India. You can see it in the eyes of Bell, Collingwood, Bopara and some others. They look defeated and in awe when they are on the field.

  • POSTED BY gauravjn on | November 25, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    Well thought article from Andrew. The game is evolving with the advent of 20-20 cricket. Teams with more 20-20 experience will win more of the tight situation one day games. That is where India is becoming good at. Other teams need to do the same.

  • POSTED BY cheguramana on | November 25, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    I think some very important points made by Andrew Miller. Its not just the loss of one particular ODI series by England. Its an apt occassion to use the much over-used words 'paradigm shift'. Cricket is a game thats evolving fast and so far its only the Indians who seem to have got it right. The entire cricketing world would do well to take note. It must be said that these results have come only after the 'nextgen' cricketers came into the Indian team. It is hard to imagine Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and Laxman playing like this. I am sure other teams will catch up quickly; Australia probably has the best talent and depth to do that.

  • POSTED BY SachinIsTheGreatest on | November 25, 2008, 5:57 GMT

    "The fear of failure was England's overriding concern, and sure enough, as a tactic it failed. "

    This one comment sums it all up. Bell might have been sent out to open, fine, but he does not seem to have been clear and no-nonsense orders of what needs to be done. The momentum has to be set at the top of the order. Even last year when India was chasing 300+ in England, it was Tendulkar and Ganguly who added close to 150 for the first wicket at run-a-ball.

    Yes, England were hard done in by India getting 17 PP overs out of 22 but Shah and Flintoff showed how to turn the heat on. If only Bell and Bopara could have gone at atleast 6 rpo in the first 6 overs.

    In addition to the inspired cricket India played, England were way too slow in reacting and were always too far behind for a contest.

  • POSTED BY mathematicised on | November 25, 2008, 5:53 GMT

    Andrew, your frustration with the English men is palpable. It is truly sad that England has been unable to produce a world-beating team in the last 15 years (since Botham's exit). On the other hand, the Indian team seems to be going from strength to strength. Dhoni brings with him an aura of calm and sanity, and along with giants like Tendulkar and newbies like Ishant, they stand together as equals to put up a seemingly irresistible force. I have grown up in the era of Sachin, Kumble, Dravid and Ganguly. Never have I seen an Indian side so balanced, so united, so much a TEAM.

  • POSTED BY mukund111 on | November 25, 2008, 5:36 GMT

    Completely agree Andrew...what has been most baffling is the approach of the Englishmen..while it is fair to say that the gap between the two teams is disparate in terms of skills required for the shortened version of the game, the Englishmen could at least put their best foot forward in terms of approach and tactics... Their best 4 batsmen are Flintoff,Pietersen, Collingwood and Owais shah and the team needs to plan to ensure that these 4 play out most of the powerplay overs...it's no mystery that in the sub-continent, the most runs have to be scored off the new ball (proven true by the aussies who've been most successful of the visiting teams to India) and they need to take our pacers head on even given that Ishant and Zaheer are bowling as well as they have ever done.

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | November 25, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    England deserve some pity - India are streets ahead in every category re. ODI's. Zaheer is India's best bowler - he lacks the physical gifts of a Flintoff and Harmison or even Sharma but he's at his peak - clever, confident and very accurate. The Tests ought to be closer where the 'fallacy' of playing the ball on merit is less redundant. ODI cricket is King in India but from the looks on the faces of KP et Freddie one wonders if even they enjoy it. From Stanford to this it's the same story - humiliating drubbings in front of partisan crowds. The fact that England aren't very good doesn't necessarily mean one has to castigate them. No doubt they are looking forward to the big IPL paychecks but I bet they're looking forward to a nice Test series too - with time to play oneself in and all! Although perhaps not against India.

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | November 25, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    A hard hitting article from Andrew. Clearly the writer has pointed out the problems that have plagued England right from the start of series.

    A re-think in team composition is essential - Stuart Broad at No.9 is wasting his batting talent. One could easily include Harminson instead of Ravi Bopara / Samit Patel. Somehow, KP seems un-interested and un-imaginative.

    Of course, India have benefited having MSD as a captain who is calm and collected. Zak is at top of his game plus Sehwag is enjoying his cricket!

    A personal thought is that the MOM for the 4th match was deserved by Zak for his superb performance.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | November 25, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    A hard hitting article from Andrew. Clearly the writer has pointed out the problems that have plagued England right from the start of series.

    A re-think in team composition is essential - Stuart Broad at No.9 is wasting his batting talent. One could easily include Harminson instead of Ravi Bopara / Samit Patel. Somehow, KP seems un-interested and un-imaginative.

    Of course, India have benefited having MSD as a captain who is calm and collected. Zak is at top of his game plus Sehwag is enjoying his cricket!

    A personal thought is that the MOM for the 4th match was deserved by Zak for his superb performance.

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | November 25, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    England deserve some pity - India are streets ahead in every category re. ODI's. Zaheer is India's best bowler - he lacks the physical gifts of a Flintoff and Harmison or even Sharma but he's at his peak - clever, confident and very accurate. The Tests ought to be closer where the 'fallacy' of playing the ball on merit is less redundant. ODI cricket is King in India but from the looks on the faces of KP et Freddie one wonders if even they enjoy it. From Stanford to this it's the same story - humiliating drubbings in front of partisan crowds. The fact that England aren't very good doesn't necessarily mean one has to castigate them. No doubt they are looking forward to the big IPL paychecks but I bet they're looking forward to a nice Test series too - with time to play oneself in and all! Although perhaps not against India.

  • POSTED BY mukund111 on | November 25, 2008, 5:36 GMT

    Completely agree Andrew...what has been most baffling is the approach of the Englishmen..while it is fair to say that the gap between the two teams is disparate in terms of skills required for the shortened version of the game, the Englishmen could at least put their best foot forward in terms of approach and tactics... Their best 4 batsmen are Flintoff,Pietersen, Collingwood and Owais shah and the team needs to plan to ensure that these 4 play out most of the powerplay overs...it's no mystery that in the sub-continent, the most runs have to be scored off the new ball (proven true by the aussies who've been most successful of the visiting teams to India) and they need to take our pacers head on even given that Ishant and Zaheer are bowling as well as they have ever done.

  • POSTED BY mathematicised on | November 25, 2008, 5:53 GMT

    Andrew, your frustration with the English men is palpable. It is truly sad that England has been unable to produce a world-beating team in the last 15 years (since Botham's exit). On the other hand, the Indian team seems to be going from strength to strength. Dhoni brings with him an aura of calm and sanity, and along with giants like Tendulkar and newbies like Ishant, they stand together as equals to put up a seemingly irresistible force. I have grown up in the era of Sachin, Kumble, Dravid and Ganguly. Never have I seen an Indian side so balanced, so united, so much a TEAM.

  • POSTED BY SachinIsTheGreatest on | November 25, 2008, 5:57 GMT

    "The fear of failure was England's overriding concern, and sure enough, as a tactic it failed. "

    This one comment sums it all up. Bell might have been sent out to open, fine, but he does not seem to have been clear and no-nonsense orders of what needs to be done. The momentum has to be set at the top of the order. Even last year when India was chasing 300+ in England, it was Tendulkar and Ganguly who added close to 150 for the first wicket at run-a-ball.

    Yes, England were hard done in by India getting 17 PP overs out of 22 but Shah and Flintoff showed how to turn the heat on. If only Bell and Bopara could have gone at atleast 6 rpo in the first 6 overs.

    In addition to the inspired cricket India played, England were way too slow in reacting and were always too far behind for a contest.

  • POSTED BY cheguramana on | November 25, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    I think some very important points made by Andrew Miller. Its not just the loss of one particular ODI series by England. Its an apt occassion to use the much over-used words 'paradigm shift'. Cricket is a game thats evolving fast and so far its only the Indians who seem to have got it right. The entire cricketing world would do well to take note. It must be said that these results have come only after the 'nextgen' cricketers came into the Indian team. It is hard to imagine Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and Laxman playing like this. I am sure other teams will catch up quickly; Australia probably has the best talent and depth to do that.

  • POSTED BY gauravjn on | November 25, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    Well thought article from Andrew. The game is evolving with the advent of 20-20 cricket. Teams with more 20-20 experience will win more of the tight situation one day games. That is where India is becoming good at. Other teams need to do the same.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | November 25, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    I am happy that Zaheer's performance is being noted. It was ridiculous to award Sehwag the MoM when the difference between the two sides was Zaheer. Zaheer could conceded 15 runs more and it would have been a normal bowling effort and that in the end was more or less the winning margin. I think England need to conquer fear before they can start winning regularly in India. You can see it in the eyes of Bell, Collingwood, Bopara and some others. They look defeated and in awe when they are on the field.

  • POSTED BY abu_zayr on | November 25, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    England need make get back to winning ways (dunno how they are gonna it) because the test series is just around the corner and if they are entertaning any thoughts of putting up a fight in the test series they should won atleast a couple of games (dhoni mentioned he way give change to his reserves), this is england best chance, although im not taking any credit away from the likes of irfan ojha or kohli. We need some contest in this no contest series so far. Andrew's frustation is justified, KP got his batting order wrong and is playing catch cricket against one of the most formidable side in ODI at the moment. Time to make some changes (esp in the batting order) KP. KP is too good a player and I would love to see do well as a captain (esp in the ashes). Some come on KP, get things right...

  • POSTED BY prashnottz on | November 25, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    Good article. However England should realise that apart from the first game, they have competed with India. And in ODIs, an over or two can make a difference. I can't wait for the tests to start, because, by then the ENglosh team would have got enough practise, and hang of the conditions, and should give the Indian team a run for their money.