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England in India 2012-13

England prey on India's power

On the field England produced some magnificent cricket to win in India for the first time in 28 years, but there were also off-field factors at play

David Hopps

December 18, 2012

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook and friends, Ahmedabad, November 10, 2012
England embraced India on both sides of the boundary © Getty Images
Related Links
Sambit Bal : If India don't hurt, they won't rise
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England | India

Thank you India. If England's players uttered it once after winning the Test series, they uttered it a thousand times. They took to Twitter to praise the boundless enthusiasm of the fans, they smiled at the crowds that came to greet them, they even faced the traffic jams with good grace.

But they might have been thanking them for something completely different because India's perceived strengths - a thrusting economy and overwhelming cricketing muscle - has triggered widespread changes that have made its team more vulnerable on the cricket field.

England did not just make it look as if they wanted to be in India, they knew they needed to be there. These days no international CV is complete without a successful tour of India. It is a must-have accessory for the fashionable and ambitious cricketer, a passport to potential riches, proof that they have performed in the centre of the cricketing world.

It is precisely this growing power and prestige that has now become as much of a weakness for India (as contradictory as it sounds) as the simple fact that the team is in transition. It is off the pitch as much as on it that the historical context of England's victory can be found.

India's economic growth is envied by many at a time of global stagnation. In the rarified world of the international cricketer, it has made it a more easeful place to be, a world of luxurious hotels, possessing a service culture second to none. Debilitating stomach ailments for the foreign tourist still occur, but they are not remotely as prevalent as they once were, and when they did strike, England had an army of doctors and nutritionists on hand to ensure recovery in the quickest possible time.

When there is the suggestion of a throwback to the old days - as Australia have proved this week by objecting to Kanpur as a venue for their forthcoming Test series because of the perceived quality of the dressing rooms and neighbouring hotels - India is now expected to deliver something better.

Alongside India's economic development - in fact, to a large extent, a direct result of it - comes India's financial domination of cricket. Does it produce 70% of cricket income? For all we know, it might be even more now. If those England thank-yous filter through to the owners of IPL franchises, they are not about to complain. Incentives to come to terms with India have never been stronger.

England has been largely ignored by the most lucrative domestic tournament in cricket. Only Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan are contracted to IPL clubs, and one whose career was heading that way, Stuart Broad, withdrew twice because of injury, and in his failure to prosper on Asian pitches he has done himself no favours. Others would love to follow, surmounting the fact that their involvement must be limited because of a clash with the English season.

This England victory, yes, has been a simple cricketing story about the composure and discipline of an impressive young captain, Alastair Cook; the flamboyance of Pietersen; the pugnacious team ethic of Matt Prior, a wicketkeeper-batsman at the height of his powers; the craft and tenacity of James Anderson in unhelpful conditions; and that rare thing in English cricket history, two world-class spin bowlers operating in tandem in Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

But it is also about Indian hubris, a decline in its standards of Test cricket borne of a pride in its gathering power. India's pride was once drawn from its rich history as one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Now it is just as likely to be drawn from its delight in its own modernity, which places emphasis on the financial appeal of the one-day game. In some hands at least this pride reveals itself in a more aggressive fashion. It is not an attitude that encourages faults to be found and lessons to be learned from others, but one that can bring a complacent belief in India's superiority.

England did not just make it look as if they wanted to be in India, they knew they needed to be there. These days no international CV is complete without a successful tour of India. It is a must-have accessory for the fashionable and ambitious cricketer

How else other than in terms of Indian presumption can you explain that England have just beaten a side with an inferior attitude to fitness and practice, or an Indian side with a coach, in Duncan Fletcher, whose authority is so compromised and who believes he should have no need to explain himself, via the media, to the public at large? India's fanatical cricket following deserves better.

Back in the day, India was regarded by many England cricketers as a tour to be endured before "normal life" could be resumed. This cultural challenge used to be one of India's strengths - automatically putting them one-up in the series before a ball had been bowled.

Many touring sides faltered for cricketing reasons, exposed on slow, dusty pitches, against great Indian batsmen and spin bowlers, but they also failed because they were debilitated by illness, fractious over travel delays, worn down by the bedlam of the cities and the absence of home comforts. Too many England players have regarded an India tour as an imposition. Too many England players failed to see the endless attractions. That way brings disaster.

To win in India used to be to rise above the malcontents. Woe betide the team that kicks against the culture, because as the weeks turn into months it will become weakened and ultimately defeated. Surrender to India's charms, and to flatter it in return, has always been one of the secrets of winning here. Tony Greig, tall, blond and extrovert, was immensely popular when he skippered England to victory in the mid-'70s, and when he needed a sidekick he won over the crowds (huge crowds, unimaginable by Cook and his victorious team-mates) by asking his resident clown, Derek Randall, to do a cartwheel on the outfield.

But you do not endure a tour to a country that is now the powerhouse of the game. You go with a happy heart because as an ambitious cricketer there is nowhere more important to your career, nowhere where your stature is so high, your achievements worshipped by so many. It was not for nothing that Cook, an England captain not given to excess, ranked the victory alongside the Ashes success in Australia.

England's players occasionally complained of boredom because they could not stroll around the cities in the same manner as they might do in Australia (although they would do well to try), but such grumbles should be kept in perspective. In their few leisure hours, they have their gymnasiums and swimming pools, their Xboxes and Premier League football on satellite TV, their Facebook and Twitter, their Skype calls home, their multi-cuisine restaurants. Homesickness was a more accurate description.

At least if they are reduced to a good book, they no longer have to read it by the light of a 40-watt bulb. A decent lightbulb was the first thing this correspondent was advised to pack in 1993 before watching Graham Gooch's England side hopelessly outplayed on a tour where chaos was a daily occurrence (an Indian Airlines strike caused such disruption that it would have been no surprise to see England travel by bullock cart), and where Gooch's choice of prawns in a Chinese restaurant on the eve of a Test became the most infamous meal in cricket history.Pitfalls lay everywhere.

Those days are history now. India has modernised - and England have just thanked them for it.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by GeoffreysMother on (December 21, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

Good posts from @balajik68 and jb633, and I think quite a good article from David Hopps. There is a danger that the BCCI will become too obsessed with its own power and not be mature enough to review properly where India are getting it wrong. India should use the wise, honest and mature heads of the recently retired Dravid, Laxman and Kumble, for example, to help them through the restructuring process. It will be a great shame of India don't come back as a great test playing nation and turns inward and just becomes obsessed with the IPL. The danger is like the Premier League in football it becomes over hyped (it probably is already), full of foreign mercenaries and a poor base for developing national talent in the game.

Posted by balajik1968 on (December 21, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

The English players, just like the Pakistanis have been ignored by the IPL mainly because of issues of availability. There was no bias, just a hard-nosed business decision. Having said that, India needs to tackle the problems posed by the IPL where players are paid more for less. This is creating some lazy players. The financial aspect needs to be tackled in such a way that those who wont be valued much in the IPL, but who are considered good talents, should not lose heart. Case in point Pujara. The revamp of domestic cricket has started, but it needs to be taken further. Finally the BCCI should spruce up its image. After all it is the BCCI which gives ICC any financial muscle it has. After all it is the BCCI which is preventing Sri Lankan cricket from going belly up.

Posted by jb633 on (December 20, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

@IndianSRT- Spot on mate. There is no shame in losing series whilst going through rebuilding processes. The shame is in making excuses and not getting to grips with the problem. I will certianly not be writing India off as a test playing nation but things have got to change if the talent is to be harnessed. Everyone has their own theories on what the solutions are but it seems to me like many of the fans know a great deal more than the BCCI about cricket. Excellent post sir

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 20, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

England lead the world in sportsmanship and skill. You don't see them whinging like the Aussies did under Ponting: If he had been given out twice wrong like Cook did 4th test you would've seen more than a few toys thrown out of the pram. What do we get from Cook?: A polite response that in England's opinion the DRS works because it eliminates mistakes and makes all players happy. Just like the Aussies know all too well, Cook lets his bat do the talking, and he behaves an impeccable gentleman throughout. What a shocking month for England's critics - Anderson confirmed as the best flat-deck/green-top bowler in the world, No doubt about Cook being best Test Opener (Yippee!) and Swann's twenty wickets whilst turning he ball more than anyone else in the world slams his critics into silence. Whose hat seamer the Aussies have who pretends to be a spinner? Such a hilarious comparison when you think about it, too funny for words. :)

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (December 20, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: After losing so completely, saying something like test cricket's boring is bit of a giveaway don't you think?? England played brilliantly Lets give them credit for that. And those writing off India, be careful, we have a bunch of extremely talented players around. Its only a matter of giving them a chance. I believe we can be a great test team again. It's just that giving excuses should stop immediately.

Posted by ansram on (December 20, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

There was nothing mysterious about the English win - they were simply better this time.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

virender sehwag was blasting much england was blasting

Posted by TheVillage on (December 20, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

hmm....bit baffling this article. Bordering on naivety. Think the author is reading too much into it. Actual interpretation (if one was needed) of the recent test match series is much simpler. England had the better of it - just. If history of civilisations and macroeconomics were used as instruments to explain the scores and results, then we might as well throw in the kitchen sink - and chaos theory.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Most hard to understand and get the clue from what author exactly wants to tell about narrating world economy and Indian Economy, comparing England's shining success in Test against India. Does it mean that India lost everything? Don't just make Indian team as .......you feel, we will come back as Phoenix bird and show against Upcoming matches....vs SA and AUs.......just wait and watch...... @David Hopps

Posted by pratit on (December 20, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

While partly true, maybe the author is reading too much into off-field matters. Even during the one day tour last year or the previous test tour India was not too different from the way it is now, but England managed to lose both of them. This time England just played superior cricket

Posted by jb633 on (December 20, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

@A_Vacant_Slip- I wouldn't bother mate. He is just seething that he is having to eat humble pie after he mouthed off after the first test stating 4-0 was a guarntee. I have been following his comments as I thought they were well balanced before this series but I have realised in time that any positives he gives are simply a defence mechanism used to hide his fear that his own side is rubbish. He wanted nothing more than a 4-0 whitewash in the test series I can assure you of that.

Posted by jb633 on (December 20, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster- no certainly not a "hater" of Indian cricket but despise what the BCCI has done to their game. There are over 400 comments from Indian fans who are disgusted by the state of the test match side. If it was simply a matter of test cricket and you were the best ODI side then I could agree. But look at your own performances in ODI cricket in ENG/AUS. Are we going to ignore the elephant in the room (India's away performances). I pretty much disagree with every comment you make as there is contradictions galore but I suppose the BCCI have you exactly where they want you. I must confess I have zero time for the modern crop of Indian players as I was brought up admiring the skills and courage of guys like Dravid, Sachin, Laxman etc. Until your players can adopt a technique to play on a track where the ball bounces above knee high they won't be able to play any format of cricket overseas. Winning at home almoes doesn't count. Remember what you said about England last year?

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 20, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

jim bond but the saffas did play them at saffa land and could only draw, so what makes you think they would win in india. as to the aussies in india dont presume that they will win. england had 2 very good spinners the aussies have a young spinner in international terms i would think the captain will have a bigger input than lyon in wicket terms

Posted by Akhter786 on (December 20, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@cpt meanster

who the hell told u indians dont like test cricket,

may be u r the only one we dont care abt your love for odi n t20 cricket,

Posted by recycle-bin-is-empty on (December 20, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

@Nutcutlet you pointed many good and valid things in your comment. Just one question, do you think the men in ECB would have done anything different if thy were in the BCCI offices ??

@AAmiur Yar Khan, yes thats also the same thing that i have been saying here. Ashwin should not be regarded as a frontline spinner in India. He had a terrible run last year in away tours also but all his pathetic stats were shrugged off because he was not playing on spinner friendly pitches. But he failed again this time on the home ground. I still cant see whats really so special about him, he might be considered as a decent batsman who can bowl and should be selected on that basis when needed, but not as a frontline spinner.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (December 20, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (December 19 2012, 18:44 PM GMT) I don't understand your position at all. You continually claim that you don't like test cricket. That's fine. In that case go away and stop coming here and continally telling us that you don't like test cricket. We know already. What make you think we care that India according to you don't like test cricket? We don't care at all. Only Indian care about what happen in India. It's like you are saying "it doesn't matter about this home test series defeat because we don't like test cricket anyway". This is like talk in the school playground. Well @Meanster, with an attitude like that you can be quite certain that India will go on losing. Something tell me that you will like test cricket again if India start winning. You may have a long wait though....

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

R Ashwin match played 4, inn 8, over bowled 236.5, gave away runs 737, wickets in a series 14, best performance 3/80, average per wicket 52.64, economy 3.11. sorry mate you have to improve in Indian soil , if you want to call your self first choice spinner for India. pathetic performance :(

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

BD fans (unlike the Indian fans, who are regularly snatching away da test status from BD) are not eager to take away the test status of India and give it to the Ireland/Afghanistan even after this super failure in the home soil! But wanna say to Shewag that "England is not India", in response to his humiliating comments on Bangladesh that " England is not Bangladesh"...and Darren Sammy and da whole W. indies team now know what Bangladesh actually is.......

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 20, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

@S4CHIN_IS_GOD, cant disagree about Pujara, a very good, easy on the eye batsman in the mould of Dravid, and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of him over the next few years, as for English cricket, who knows, but we do have Bairstow (23), Root (22), Taylor (22), of the existing players, Cook (28), Compton (29), Bell (28) and Prior (30) will still be around, of the bowlers, Finn is 22, Broad 27, anderson 30, Bresnan (27), should still be around.

In fact the only players that will be drawing close to the end of thier careers are Swann (33), and KP (32), and there may well be other players that step up who are only just starting thier careers, and are 16-19 at the moment.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

Patronising last sentence betrays the real message....England could not win before becuz of off field challenges....

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

As usual from Hopps, very insightful article. However, I am not convinced by the underlying message: that England failed to win in India for so long because of off field challenges of playing there, ie food, travel, weather, homesickness, etc.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 19, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

Cpt Meanster, I think you are the only person on here that prefers silly pyjama cricket to the ultimate test of a player. I'd have to sit and think hard over the last great T20 or ODI match I saw, it's essentially meaningless and purely there to keep money in the game. Nobody cares about limited over cricket, there have been some great test matches over the last few years, people still talk about Headingley 81 or Kolkata 2001. Who talks about an ODI from 5 yrs ago. Nobody can remember. It's like comparing Justin Beiber to the Beatles. You clearly have no taste.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 19, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

@jb633: TOTALLY disagree with you. There was nothing in your opinion that even penetrated my thought process. The first few lines were enough to convince me you were just another hater of the Indian game. For your information, India are a VERY GOOD ODI side who regularly have successes in major tournaments and against other big sides. To some extent I do agree with you on the T20 side of things. Test cricket will NEVER be liked by MOST in India. It's a boring format that needs boring players. ODI and T20 formats are something which India can specialize and dominate for a long time. All they need is the right frame of mind and for the BCCI to set a course of action. I cannot see test cricket taking off ever in India thanks to the conditions and mindset of the Indian players. They are attacking cricketers who want to score runs and hit boundaries and sixes. Test cricket is something of a drag, with all respects, it's an unworthy format IMO. Lastly, leave the IPL alone. Thanks.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 19, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

@jb633: IMO, there's a great deal of sense in your analysis, esp. in your hypothesis re: India's decline as a Test match power either at home or away. It is now the tail that wags the dog in Indian cricket & there is a strange parallel with Premiership football in England. The various IPL sides are only glamorous because they are spiced with mercenaries: CG, KP, Ross Taylor, etc. all fully equipped to destroy a rookie Indian bowler. And, as you say, no bowler will master his craft in 4 overs of mayhem where a dot ball, bowled wide of off but not called, is regarded as high skill! But, young naive Indian fans will shout: you (Westerners) have BBL, County T20 & so on. We do, but it's in perspective & comes nowhere near upsetting the apple-cart of fc cricket. Give the BCCI one thing: they know b*gger all about cricket, but lots about marketing. Unless & until the BCCI can tell the difference between profit & value, then Ind cricket is going up in IPL fireworks for the foreseeable future.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 19, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

@S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (December 19 2012, 12:58 PM GMT) Agreed re the minnows comment. There's no need for it although the amount of trash talk we had before the series even I was tempted to gloat a bit. I was hugely impressed by Pujara and also feel Kohli is an awesome talent. As for England , Cook is relatively young still and Root is still only 22. Obviously he needs to keep it all going but he showed all the attributes on his debut. Re who will be there in 4 years time - who knows.Under 30 will still be Root , Finn and Bairstow, and 35 or over will be Trott,KP and Swann. Who knows whether any of these will still be playing? The others will all be between 30 and 34 and then you have guys like Woakes and Taylor coming through plus you get late developers like Swann so someone who isn't up to much now may improve dramatically over the next 4 years. Truth is no one knows what's around the corner

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Thought-provoking and fascinating. Thank you David. Not just another "blame Tendulkar", "it's all IPL's fault", but an attempt at contextualising given modern economic development.

Posted by Valavan on (December 19, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

@Raju_Iyer, India winning a test in India, is that a great achievement? Winning 1 test instead of hyping 4 - 0 revenge. cricinfo please publish.

Posted by jb633 on (December 19, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

cont.. in terms of India, to look at westernization and economic growth as contributing factors is to over complicate the issue. The main issue is the IPL and the Indians love of the shorter formats. The IPL is the most lucrative and the most flawed tournament in world cricket. If India were dominating every T20 game then I could at least see the good it was doing but their T20 side is distinctly average too. The younger domestic players are rarely given the opportunity to bowl the crucial over and Indian fans delight when they watch Chris Gayle put and end to the prospects of a young kid with good potential who happened to have a bad day. T20 is a game designed for batsmen and it is an awful breeding ground to develop young bowlers. Spinners are generally afraid to toss the ball up for fear of getting wacked and as a result India have darters rather than spinners. Until India banish the IPL I can only see their side in all 3 formats sliding. Please boycott the IPL.

Posted by jb633 on (December 19, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

Not sure I agree with anything written in this article. You need to look at two perspectives to get an accurate summary of why this series went the way it did. As long as I have watched English cricket there has never been a more professional outlook. In the UAE tour of 2012 England forgot about what had got them to number one and they laxed (few tour games, no acclimatisation etc). As a result they were duly punished by 2 quality bowlers Ajmal and Rehman. Don't get me wrong those guys would still take wickets but if we had managed to post 300 in that series then we would not have been battered. Against SA IMO we came up against a better cricketing side and were duly thumped. The successes of 2009-2012 are IMO the result of a strong domestic academy, increased funding and more knowledgable coaching. Against pure talent, ie Amla and Steyn it will not win out. Against average sides you will always expect the more dedicated and professional outfit to come out on top.

Posted by Herbet on (December 19, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

If this is the effect of the IPL on the most populous cricket mad country on earth, I cant wait to see the effects of the Big Bash on sparsely populated, rugby mad Australia. Once Hussey goes they will have Clarke,and a load of sloggers. They already don't have any spinners and a load of fairly unthreatening pace bowlers. This must be the real reason we invented T20, to distract everyone else!

Posted by S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (December 19, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

@Yorker111. Ok calm down with Minnows talk. You might have invented cricket, but we have re-invented with other skills. Only 2007 and 2009 we won series. This is why its called Test cricket. We beat you in your yard and at our home. I wouldn't call us minnows when our young C Pujara was denying you of his wicket. Have you got youngster like him coming up. Look at your squad carefully. Apart from who you see will be there in 4 years time. I give you the answers. No one. Its test cricket. Enjoy. without India. Cricket will only be played in Eng and Aus over Ashes.

Posted by StaalBurgher on (December 19, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

Everyone is missing the boat here. It has nothing to with India's history or economy. What India is struggling with is the same issue many other third world countries (or in India's case, ex-third world) is struggling with. Patronage. Decision making in Indian cricket is inefficient. Fix that and selection will make more sense, fitness will improve because the coaches will have better control and new players will have better preparation before entering the international scene.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Indian performance has nothing to do with poor and rich. Its due to their complacency and lack of aggression.

Posted by shillingsworth on (December 19, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

@StueySaffa - when South Africa have beaten India in test series both home and away, your comments will make perfect sense...

Posted by shillingsworth on (December 19, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@yorkshirematt - I don't see what is bizarre about an article looking at the series from a wider perspective. You might not agree with everything the author has written but personally I prefer this to articles telling me what I already know.

Posted by Yoker111 on (December 19, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

I feel sorry for India getting thrashed like this. India where are the excuses now.. go back to IPL forget test cricket, its not the game for minnows like u guys.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (December 19, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Probably the most bizarre article I have ever read on cricinfo. England won because they were the better team. Simple. And I think this England team would beat this Indian team in a post modern India as well.

Posted by Selassie-I on (December 19, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

@ Posted by IndiaNumeroUno on (December 19 2012, 07:13 AM GMT) Yeah all those 'test' players that won the T20 WC in west Indies, remind me when India won it last will you, or how well they did in the last 2 tournaments?

Most of our players are more concerned with 'real' cricket rather than a diluted form that only showcases 30% of the skills needed to be a decent cricketer.

Posted by EagleDave111 on (December 19, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

disruption and lack of modernity almost 20 years ago has very little to do with the quality of the sides playing this series.

England were more professional and mentally ready to change their approach.

Indi were tired, unfit and underprepareed with a clearlack of quality in the test arena (and where previous quality was present it was totally out of form and scared).

India have problems with test cricket at the moment, probably related to the IPL mentality but not all. The fact the the Indian team was settled for a long time in most positions meant that when the incumbents retire it is hard to replace them - same happened with the Aussies.

Modern cricket needs more rotation of players and blooding of the younger players, something I think England have been good at recently with the development squad.

Domestic and National structure makes all the difference IMO.

Posted by GoCho on (December 19, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Excellent point David! As as indian I have to agree that the economic might of Indian cricket got into the board's heads and naturally percolated to the team as well. The attitude of players like Gambhir bordered on arrogance and false pride. Winning the world cup at home was a big achievement no doubt (and the inaugural t20 wc to some extent), but in every other limited over tournament in the last 8-9 years they have been terrible.And for my fellow Indian fans who claim the super short time at #1 in tests is testament to their superiority in the longer format as well, pls remember the one odd victory in England, Aus and SA (yes, we never won more than 1 test in any series here) were evenly contested ones; even the last 2-0 victory at home vs Aus could have gone either way unlike the thrashing we received in the last 2 years. We were never a convincing top test team unlike SA now and Aus in the past

Posted by StueySaffa on (December 19, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

In 2000-2010 India lost only 8 series , 1 of which was at home. During that period they were a strong, dominating team especially at home. Winning in India was something to covet and was considered a real feaBut let's face it the India team now are a shadow of what they were. after the pasting SA gave them to relieve them of the mace must have had their confidence undermined and to win so resoundingly in the sub-continent is great work but this kid of sensationalist writing is exactly what kills England's momentum. Here are the facts: England are the no 2 side in the world, India the no 5. To be touting this as such a great win is pathetic. It's like the USA invading Italy saying what a grey victory it is after Italy's reign ended millennia ago. Get real English "journalists", comparing the teams England were adequate. Nothing more.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 19, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

@jango_moh on (December 19 2012, 05:19 AM GMT) You seem to be at war with the writer who has merely suggested why India have gone downhill in such a short space of time and while you give loads of FACTS which no one is disputing , all of those FACTS are from before they lost their way in England. I have theories as to why India have been on the slide inc that they don't put enough emphasis on the test format and also don't work hard enough on the areas that need improving - maybe thinking talent alone will get you through. It's all well and good having a go at the writer but there must be some reason(s) for the decline , maybe it'd be good to give some suggestions in the same post where you criticise the writer

Posted by reality_check27 on (December 19, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

well india has 9th largest economy in the world ahead of australia and ahead of england if you take england as a country only and not united kingdom its done some real good work i wish the same kind of progress should be made in cricket by being the no 1 test team for a long time but right now its time for hard work

Posted by reality_check27 on (December 19, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

india is 9th largest economy in the world ahead of australia its great to see what thic country has acheived since its independence in 1947 compared to all the other 8 largest economies who have already achieved independence for more than 150 to 200 years ago and as far as cricket goes yes downfall because of bcci only knows how to make money.

Posted by IndiaNumeroUno on (December 19, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

"England has been largely ignored by the most lucrative domestic tournament in cricket. Only Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan are contracted to IPL clubs". The reason is that no one wants a Test player in 20-20. The skills needed are completely different. Yawn.. wake me up once the one-dayers start...

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 19, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

Hopps - Probably the worst article I have ever read on cricket - self flagellation in enjoyment while you continually put down the oppositon... If that is how you truly feel, I feel very sorry for you... You do not deserve any respect for your writing or your beliefs...

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

@jango_mo " imperialistic!!!!!" you are still back in the dark ages my friend the problem is the players belive all the hype and advertising they see about them selves and forget its the hard work that wins test cricket (that is why its called test) and not the TV commercals of billboards and sponsership deals. Runs and wickets not cars and soft drinks

Posted by Herbet on (December 19, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

The point of this oddly written article is that because India is now westernized it is easier for westerners to visit, and tour. The fall of India's cricket team comes down to one thing, the IPL. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly,& Laxman were taught to bat properly, with proper technique. Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma and the like have had to learn how to clear the boundary and forget about the finer details such as getting caught or bowled or how to handle pressure fields. Anil Kumble & young Harbajhan were taught to vary pace & flight, give the ball a rip and try and get batsmen out. Ojha, Chawla, Jadeja and Ashwin have had to learn how not to get hit for six, and forget about taking wickets. What India is left with is batsmen without the technique to bat long, and spinners who ball flat wicket to wicket non-turners.

Posted by MIKALE on (December 19, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

English would have won the first test also had they selected panesar - which means to say if panesar is not in squad England will lose - which would mean that rest of 10 players are just Dummy? true?

Posted by jango_moh on (December 19, 2012, 5:19 GMT)

wow, i feel this is absolutely irresposible on the writer's part!!! as an indian, im offended by the suggestion that somehow the reason for indian cricket going down is due to its progress in general... its a ludicrous theory!!! first thing, it is not based on facts... india were #1 when they toured eng in 2011 and thats a FACT, they drew a series in SA in 2010, thats a fact, they won a series in ENG in 2007, a FACT!!! they are now in a pathetic condition in TESTS, which again is a FACT and im happy to agree with that, but to suggest that somehow that is related to a country's development is downright stupid and imperialistic!!!!!

Posted by crindex on (December 19, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

India has become what England was in the 90's and some part of 2000 - a driftwood. The main problem - rightly said - is its new found wealth and rapid development with economy and country as a whole. India is running at break neck speed to catch up with China in terms of growth. Its unfortunate that India is trying to achive in th epast 10 years what China has done since the 60's. Naturally its showing its uneven growth in many areas - especially in sports. Looing at the Olympics results one cannot help but sympathize with India when compared to China which is on ascendency with a well planned and steady growth. Ironically western nations such as England do need India to counter China's dominance as an emerging superpower.

Posted by landl47 on (December 19, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

It's hard to see what happened to India in such a short space of time. When they arrived in England in 2011 they were the #1 ranked test side. 18 months later, after losing 10 out of 12 test matches to England and Australia, with the mainstays of their side gone (Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer) or losing form (Sehwag, Tendulkar) and their spin bowlers being outbowled in their own country, they seem to be a side without a plan. The BCCI, with its ridiculous reluctance to accept the technology used in the rest of the world, is creating more confusion and disillusionment among its players; it's hard for Pujara, for example, to have to deal with the fact that he lost his wicket to a decision that would certainly have been reversed with the DRS. Saying that other players are getting bad decisions too is no comfort to Pujara, a young player trying to make his way in the game.

India needs to rethink, because the next stage is for the ODI side to drop off. Remember the Asia Cup this year?

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (December 19, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

Travel by bullock carts in 1993? Higher wattage bulb for reading not available in hotels? Common, there are limits to exaggeration .... Talking of off field factors is ridiculous! Fact of the matter is India were outplayed comprehensively in two tests, nothing more, nothing less. In all the hoopla surrounding the series loss, it should not be forgotten that they did win one test by a handsome margin as well

Posted by challagalla on (December 19, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

There was a time when England would send a second string team to India to play. Tony Lewis lead one such team way back in the early 70's. Boycott once came for one test in Mumbai to set a personal record and then feigned illness and flew back. Today he is ready to travel to India for the smallest assignment. The money ofcourse is a major factor and its also due to better facilities, connectivity etc. Go to any of the major 10 cities here and the lifestyle in terms of entertainment, hotels, restaurents is the same as any where else in the world. Yet problems remain like dirt, hygiene, traffic and very basic tourist infrastructure. Travel in India is a nightmare for those on a budget. I consider the cricketers who toured India those days and won as special. The Aussies did it in 1969, West Indies in 1975 and the Brits under Tony greig. They really had to be tough off the pitch too. No namby pamby treatment for them.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 19, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

England team success followed my idea. If you want to win in india. Be indian and embrace the culture. England did spectacularly well. No whining no bitching and they went about business. Well done england. Thats the way to win overseas. Indians complained whined about seaming pitches in england...England kinda did mildly when they made mess off selection of not picking panesar in first test match. They would have won first match also. That said this indian team is divided. if you ready to fight you can beat this indian team.

Posted by Longmemory on (December 18, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

Superbly balanced and comprehensive. Thank you David Hopps - I think this has to rank among the best essays I've read on the recent series and its outcome. That we agree on almost every single factor is a bonus. India's way out of this abyss is going to be long and with no guarantee of success whatever. After all, how many test XIs need to be rebuilt by sacking almost ten of the players ? And amidst a bare cupboard? Previously our system was corrupt to the core and poor. Now its corrupt to the core and rich. In a weird way, the former is preferable because to some extent its also understandable. The latter has nothing going for it.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 18, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

India, like Australia before it is another frontier crossed by England. The next challenge is to go to South Africa and replicate what Vaughan achieved in 2004/5.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.

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