Hunger and intent missing
Coming to the game itself, from an Indian perspective, it was disappointing. The way we lost hurt more than the loss itself. Anil Kumble writes.india Updated: Aug 04, 2011 01:12 IST
Plenty has been said and written about the Ian Bell run out at Trent Bridge and the subsequent withdrawing of the appeal by the Indian team. All I would like to say is that it was the right decision looking at the 'spirit of the game'. If you go strictly by the rules, he was out but MS Dhoni and the Indian team has to be appreciated for playing the game in the right spirit.
Coming to the game itself, from an Indian perspective, it was disappointing. The way we lost hurt more than the loss itself. After being in commanding positions at various stages over the first two days, India let the advantage slip. There can't be any one reason for that.
You can definitely see fatigue within the team, especially among the bowlers. Ishant and Praveen have bowled a number of overs in the last four or five Tests starting from the West Indies, but having said that, you need to really take care of your body during the time when there are no matches. That discipline is very important.
A combination of things contributed to the 319-run defeat. I feel India didn't attack enough. We didn't show intent despite being 0-1 down in the series. In the second innings, when England were 50 for two, we were on top before Bell and Pietersen cut loose.
In both matches, we have effectively gone in with only three bowlers. Zaheer in the first Test and Harbhajan in the second have missed out due to injuries. We need to address that. You can't have the two senior-most bowlers on tour down with injuries. Especially when you go in with only four bowlers, it's all the more important that all four are raring to go.
The Trent Bridge pitch was the kind where you had to hit the deck. From what I saw, our bowlers were just looking to swing the ball 70 per cent of the time. Sreesanth bowled well within himself as did others but I got the distinct impression that they were holding back.
To me, the more disappointing aspect was the batting. In those conditions, no one applied themselves except Rahul. The three seniors were critical to the team's fortunes. I thought Rahul, and to an extent Laxman in the first innings and Sachin in the second did show class, but it was not good enough.
The desperation and hunger which has been the hallmark of this team was not there in the last two Tests. If the hunger comes in, the rest will fall in place because the ability is there.
The ten-day break, as well as the fact that Sehwag and Gambhir are coming in, will help because the batting will look more settled. Whenever you juggle with the batting order, there is always that uncertainty. Though Harbhajan has been ruled out of the next game, I am hoping Zaheer, and everyone else in the squad, will be 100 percent fit. They are capable of winning the next Test, but they have to get that hunger and intent back.