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Zaheer-less India helped England

india Updated: Jul 28, 2011 00:24 IST
Sourav Ganguly

Critics are getting ready to tear apart Dhoni & Co for the loss at Lord's. The feeling is that a team plagued by injuries and illness will find it difficult to regroup and put it across England. Detractors of the Indian Premier League, both in India and England, have started questioning the cricketers' loyalty, and the club vs country debate has again become a hot topic. I would request the media - especially in England - to do some introspection and focus on their idols such as Wayne Rooney, who are often in the midst of similar controversies. India's loss in the opening Test doesn't turn them into an ordinary side, though Zaheer Khan's injury has hurt the team badly. He is India's premier fast bowler and if he is ruled out, the visitors would have a lot of catching up to do.

England 'grabbed the opportunity' with both hands and I even heard Kevin Pietersen as saying that it helped him plan his team's strategy better.

Zak could have made a difference

At the start of the series, I had stated Zaheer's importance. Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar did an outstanding job, but Zak's presence at a time when England were 72 for 5 could have made the difference.

I was surprised at Ishant not bowling after lunch on the fourth day. I read in newspapers that he wanted a break, but the common feeling is that he should have carried on. Cricket fans would have started speculating on the outcome of the second Test as well, but I can tell you that India will fight hard. This is India's second loss in a Test match in England after 1996, so the score sheet reads 2-all. A few months back, India had lost to South Africa at the Centurion only to bounce back at Durban, which has one of the fastest wickets. That win only highlighted the fact that this team has it in them to turn things around even in the toughest of situations.

People have been questioning as to how India lost five wickets in one session and succumbed in the 100th clash between the two countries. This can happen in any sport, not just cricket. It was a bad day in office for India.

Were India too defensive on the final day and didn't play freely? Sachin was handicapped by a viral infection and somehow went in to a shell. For me, the man to worry about is Dhoni. His batting form has been inconsistent for quite some time now and he needs to fix it quickly. Dhoni needs to realise that when you keep winning, these things get forgotten. When you lose, it comes to the forefront.