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December 3, 2000
We are a better one day unit than a test unit: We lost the Test series 1 - 0 but apart from the result there were some very positive things gained. We have a lot of youth in our side and they would have gained invaluable experience of subcontinent conditions.
The series definitely belonged to Andy Flower. His batting was truly outstanding and his mental strength unwavering. His scores of 183*, 70, 55 and 232* speak for themselves. One can get no better compliment than from the Indian players themselves who said that his batting was the best they had seen by any foreign batsman on Indian wickets - high praise indeed.
The second Test was drawn thanks mainly to Andy's 232* in the second innings when we were asked to follow on. Yours truly managed to squeeze out his first Test 100 - long overdue mind you. But it was nice to breach the barrier finally and get to that three figure mark. It was a very gutsy effort by the team and something that we can put in the memory banks and pull out again when we have our backs to the wall.
One other notable from the first Test was the welcome return to runs for Grant Flower. After a pair in Delhi, he decided that shaving his head was the answer to turning around his form. It seemed to work, along with dropping down the order to No.6. He scored a brilliant 106* in the first innings that nearly got us to the follow on mark. He works so hard at his game that it was just reward - I hope it gives him the confidence to go on and rediscover the form of old.
We are in Bhubaneshwar at the moment preparing for the first one day game at Cuttack. The ground is about one hour from the hotel and the game starts at 8.30 local time. This means that we will have to be up at 5 am to leave the hotel at 6 am. Who said that cricketers don't have it rough. Mind you, the hotel that we are staying in, The Mayfair Lagoon, is a splendid affair. It is a brand new hotel and we are the first guests and everything is being laid on.... thick.
We are probably a better one day unit than we are a Test unit at this point in our development and will be looking to make an impact on these five one day games. However India at home are very tough to beat. Add to this the intimidation of 40,000+ banging fans and you have a cauldron - the question is can we take the heat.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?