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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Cricket Columns

England are fitter, better and winning spin battle
Ian Botham
December 08, 2012
First Published: 01:05 IST(8/12/2012)
Last Updated: 01:07 IST(8/12/2012)

The performance of this English cricket team in India has taken many by surprise, but I would like to state that not long back they were the number one Test side in the world.

Yes, it was during their number one reign that they were whitewashed by Pakistan in the UAE. But the hallmark of a good team is to learn from the mistakes and improve, and that's what England have done.

Playing India in their backyard is tough, but as a team one can't just keep looking back and be haunted by the history. The England team are very good and they have believed in themselves.

The credit must go to their skipper, Alastair Cook, who has led from the front and has just been phenomenal. In all the matches, he has laid the foundation and the others have played around him. It makes a huge difference to a side when the captain leads by example. A lot of it is team work. This is a great bunch of talent who are playing together.

Big on talent
They possess some of the world class talents in their batting department while in Graeme Swann and James Anderson they have quality in their bowling. England, with a lead close to 200, are once again in a commanding position. The wicket has begun to spin and keep low, and with the Indian batsmen caught in Monty mystery, England look poised for another win. There is a belief in the cricketing world that the Indians are invincible at home due to their strong batting and potent spin attack, but it seems we have begun to witness a change. In this series, England batsmen have played spin much better than the Indians and the English spinners have just been too good. Also, this young England side are much more agile than their Indian counterparts.

It wouldn't be wise to pinpoint the faults made by the Indians, rather the English team should be appreciated for the challenges that they have thrown to a side who are very good at home and the cricket they have played. Once again, hats off to Cook for the way he has led and the resilience he has shown. (The writer is a former England captain) PMG


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