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India reverse roles with Test win over Australia

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Mihir Bose | 15:13 UK time, Monday, 10 November 2008

A Test series win, even one as emphatic as India's over Australia, does not change the cricket world.

Yet this series has exploded so many cricketing myths that it has resonance beyond the actual results on the field of play.

The first question to be asked is does this result mean that the near 20-year dominance of cricket by Australia is coming to an end?

I am aware similar predictions were made after England's Ashes victory of 2005, and we all know how absurd they were soon made to look.

However, the case in recent decades has been, if you want to know where Australia is going look to India not England. This has often been quite a pointer to the future direction of Australian cricket.

India's players celebrate victory


Back in 1987 when Australia went to the subcontinent for the first World Cup to be held outside England its cricket was at a very low ebb, not only far behind the West Indies, then the masters of cricket, but repeatedly thrashed by England.

Then having surprised everyone by beating Pakistan in Pakistan and getting to the final - England had also done equally well beating India in India - they probably surprised themselves by beating England and taking home the World Cup for the first time.

In 1989 they won back the Ashes and, though beating the West Indies took time, they were on their way to constructing the dynasty that has dominated cricket under captains Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting.

This is not only Australia's first series defeat since 2005 but the first by a 2-0 Test margin since Vivian Richards led the mighty West Indians.

What made this series remarkable is how often Australia played like India and India played like Australia.

Australia specialised in letting India off the hook. The script when playing Australia is not meant to be like this.

However, right from the first Test in Bangalore, the only one Australia looked like winning, there were several occasions when Australia had India on the ropes but seemed reluctant to finish them off.

This was again demonstrated after tea on the Sunday of the fourth and final Test. And it was India who displayed an almost Australian-style resilience.
This will please the Indians mightily.

Ever since I can remember the agonising debate in India has been, why don't Indians have a sporting killer instinct?

India may be an underperforming sporting nation, but there is no dearth of fine individual sportsmen and women produced by the country.

However for Indians the angst has been that these fine players never had the sort of killer instinct that would make them champions. The most potent example of this was the wonderfully gifted Vijay Amritraj, compared to the less talented but more gutsy Jimmy Connors. While Connors was a great winner, Vijay made the Indians sigh and wonder and think of what might have been.

Indian cricket under Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems to at be at last acquiring a 'they shall not pass' attitude that has more often been the hallmark of the truly great sportsmen and sports teams.

Indians have always admired the Australians and their winning spirit and this series suggests Dhoni has something of the Australian in him.

Dhoni, of course, is part of that modern era of Indians, born long after India secured her freedom and with virtually no colonial hangover.
This sprit was also evident in Sourav Ganguly.

I was surprised when Ganguly was described as Lord Snooty. I must say I always found him a very pleasant, charming man.
Yes he did not take prisoners, his clashes with Steve Waugh were epic, but he was the first generation of Indian cricketers who did not feel Indians had to apologise for being Indians.

It is worth recalling that when he made his Test debut in 1996 Indian cricket seemed to be revisiting its own dreadful past. His roommate Navjot Singh Sidhu had walked out of the Indian tour of England claiming his honour had been sullied. It has never been made clear how this was done.

As for Ganguly's century at Lord's I well recall that on that Saturday afternoon, Lord's like the rest of England, was more preoccupied by events at Wembley where England were playing Spain in Euro 96.

Many in the Long Room that day had their eyes on the pictures from Wembley not what was going on in the middle.

Ganguly not only went on to become India's most successful captain but nurtured a whole generation of cricketers. It is not without significance that as Ganguly left the field after this Test for the last time Harbhajan Singh was the first to lift him up.

It was under Ganguly that India, so often lions at home, lambs abroad, started winning Tests on their travels on a regular basis.

However for all his spirit Ganguly's India did display a certain lack of ambition, for instance during the 2002 series in the West Indies and the 2004 in Australia, when having taking a lead, they squandered it.

Dhoni gives the impression he is ready to take Indian cricket to a new, higher, gear.

And while India remains the land of spin it is quite remarkable that the man of the series was the opening bowler Ishant Sharma.

Unlike Pakistan, where conditions are similar, India has not often produced many fast bowlers, but this seems to be changing and this series showed a more balanced attack than India has fielded for many a season: two pacers, two spinners.

Wickets in India show no signs of changing yet that pace now not only complements spin but even leads the attack.
Another lesson India could be said to have learnt from Australia. And just when Australia's attack has lost bite and balance.

But then that is the magic of sport. It changes when you least expect change.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:22pm on 10 Nov 2008, Dshergill wrote:

    great blog mr bose.... Ganguly deserved a good send off. I remember gangulys and Dravids test debuts and remember thinking....these two are look like something special. I think now however Dravid should follow suit and retire from the test game as he seems to be struggling.

    well done india on a great win...historic day for a team with a lions heart. MS Dhoni seems to have a level head and great leadership skills.

    Australia will give ENGLAND a hard time during the Ashes and think will walk away with it. look forward to a great summer of cricket.

    good job Mirar.....

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  • 2. At 5:32pm on 10 Nov 2008, Richard James Joyce wrote:

    I was surprised when Ganguly was described as Lord Snotty. I must say I always found him a very pleasant, charming man.
    ----

    Firstly, he was nicknamed Lord Snooty, not Lord Snotty. No wonder you were surprised.

    Secondly, I really don't follow the thread of the argument that 'if you want to know where Australia is going look to India not England. This has often been quite a pointer to the future direction of Australian cricket.'

    2005 was more a sign of English resurgence than Australian dominance coming to an end - we simply had a superb quartet of bowlers somewhere near the top of their game.

    The real sign in 2005 that the end of Australian dominance was approaching came in the fact that McGrath missed two tests, both of which England won. In a losing cause, Warne took 40 of the 93 English wickets that fell.

    It showed that in the near future when Australia took the field without the two of the all-time greatest bowlers, they would not be so formidable.

    India, being a strong side at home with top class batsmen, punished a weakened Australian bowling attack. The decline is evident in Australia's bowling ranks, India just took advantage of this.

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  • 3. At 5:52pm on 10 Nov 2008, thinkstuff wrote:

    "But then that is the magic of sport. It changes when you least expect change."

    But people did expect change. If I recall correctly, bookmakers had India as favourites from the off, in no small part because Indian wickets are still great to bat on, and if you don't have good spinners, you will find it really tough to take wickets.

    It was inevitable that Australia would tail off at some time - they have had a number of high class players quit, and despite that not mattering against a number of sides that they have faced recently, India is a very tough tour.

    "As for Ganguly's century at Lord's I well recall that on that Saturday afternoon, Lord's like the rest of England, was more preoccupied by events at Wembley where England were playing Spain in Euro 96.

    Many in the Long Room that day had their eyes on the pictures from Wembley not what was going on in the middle."

    I have literally no idea why that's relevant. Does that tell us something about Ganguly's character? Does he bat better when people aren't looking? Or his success linked inextricably to England's participation in major sporting tournaments?

    Ganguly was an obdurate captain, and the right man at the right time for India. He did his country proud. He also appears to have stood directly in the way of progress when Greg Chappell was captain, and set Indian cricket back for some time. A fine cricketer nonetheless.

    Where does this leave Indian cricket? Well, they must enjoy a famous triumph, but they would be naive to think that they are not about to enter similar straits to the Australians - their legends are retiring. Kumble and Ganguly are gone, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman will follow in the next couple of years. And what will be left is a young team with some potential, but still in no small state of transition. And as for Dhoni, I wish him all the best because he appears to have great temperament, drive and talent, but how a wicketkeeper can be considered as a long-term captaincy solution will be tested when India endure a bad patch.

    The good news for test cricket is that there are now five teams (India, Australia, SA, Sri Lanka and England), who are all capable of beating one another in test series. That should make for some very interesting times ahead. Australia re-enter the pack because losing some of the all-time greats was always going to be tough.

    Got to agree with Chardinho's much more reasoned assessment than yours!






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  • 4. At 5:52pm on 10 Nov 2008, Joe wrote:

    I like the angle that India turned the tables on Australia by being more aggressive and showing a killer instinct but the truth is that all the Indian Subcontinent teams (or South Asian teams if you are from Pakistan) have been showing this tougher attitude for many years now. The only reason the Indians won was because they played the better cricket against an Australian team that is not as dominant as it used to be and they were playing at home on their pitches.

    I went to Sri Lanka in the late 1980's on business and I told everyone afterwards that they would win the World Cup within 20 years. I was out by more than a decade! I met the Pakistani team at a reception in Dubai about the same time and I was not surprised when they beat England in 1992 a few years later as they were full of confidence verging on arrogance. I was quite shocked at just how bolshy they were that night as they behaved as if they were the world champions already. I also played local cricket at that time for Darjeeling CC (which was mostly made up of white European, Aussie, NZ and SA expats) in Dubai against teams made up of ISC players and they always beat us and were not shy of letting us know how much they enjoyed stuffing us! We were the ones who were polite and relaxed about the result!

    I also met the Aussie international players who were in the Emirates for the Sharjah one day tournament under Steve Waugh and it was clear that they had little respect at the time for all ISC players. I cannot put down in print some of things they said as this blog would get pulled but it seemed appropriate when Waqar Yunus ran through them and beat them in the final. I lost a 100 Dirhams on the outcome as I was convinced that the Aussies had a superior mental advantage. Watching Merc Hughes scowling at his bowling been hoiked all over the place was a sight I will never forget!

    I realise it is always easy to generalise but the image of small and genteel asians rolling over at the first hint of aggression from meat-fed westerners is now a thing of the past and has been for some time now. The ISC players are much tougher mentally and even though they still probably enjoy their home advantage more than players from other countries do they still gave Australia much more of a game collectively when they played there than England did.

    England will find it hard going against an Indian side full of confidence and Kevin Pietersen will learn what it is like to lose and lose hard. It will be interesting to see how he handles this after several months of almost surreal success. Ponting was honest about the circumstances and it was pretty refreshing to hear him admit they were not as good as the Indians without referring to the loss of two of the greatest bowlers of all time as well as their other stalwarts of recent time. Aussies may not be the most eloquent of people but if you wanted to be compared to anyone in terms of toughness then there is no-one who epitomises this characteristic better than them. I hope England are able to dig deep and find the same strength of character both the Indians and Aussies have exhibited in this series and if anyone is thinking of writing the Aussies off again please remember they will bounce back as always.

    As an expat I only wish it was as easy to watch England playing at cricket on the TV as it is watching them play football!

    Cheers, Joe.



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  • 5. At 6:01pm on 10 Nov 2008, lebigmac wrote:

    I believe he was nicknamed lord snooty for his snobbish attitude to his fellow cricketers when he came over to play county. Although not having met him, am not sure whether this is the case or not.

    But is this current Indian side not farely elderly? How will India cope in 12 months time, without Ganguly, Kumble, probably Dravid and Tendulkar and possibly Laxman? While there is never a shortage of quality spinners on the subcontinent, are there really batters of potential to replace the current lineup. Morever the bowler Zaheer - who has been very impressive in the last 18 months - is 30 and realistically as a seamer has probably a maximum of 18 more months before he loses his pace a la Hoggard, Ntini etc

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  • 6. At 6:01pm on 10 Nov 2008, jovialANANDSAMUEL wrote:

    Mihar,
    I enjoy reading your blog especially when it comes to cricket and I don't care which country is playing whom I still love this great game. Your comments are always unbiased and up to the point. You don't mess around! Thats exactly what makes your blog so very special and so entertaining to read. I hope you will continue doing so for all cricket fans around the world. In a nutshell you are brilliant and I say so since I have watched you for years on BBC World and started reading your blog about a year ago.

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  • 7. At 6:12pm on 10 Nov 2008, thinkstuff wrote:

    **addendum to post 3... Chappell was coach not captain, of course, my apologies...

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  • 8. At 6:12pm on 10 Nov 2008, jovialANANDSAMUEL wrote:

    Sorry Mihir I misspelt yur name, no offence meant!

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  • 9. At 6:25pm on 10 Nov 2008, NickIOM wrote:

    I wouldn't read too much into this result. I think all that can be deduced from it is that Australia are weaker in the bowling department since the retirements of Warne and McGrath, but pretty much everyone knew that anyway. Their batsmen had a bad series (it happens even to the best) and India played well at home (they normally do). It will be interesting to see how England fair in India and South Africa against Australia. I will be especially interested to see if Krejza backs up his debut performance, because despite England's seamer friendly wickets they will need a decent spinner if they are to win the Ashes.

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  • 10. At 7:10pm on 10 Nov 2008, Raskham wrote:

    Another weak blog from the editor. Not only dull and mostly irrelevant, spiralling off on unnecessary tangents but with spelling and gramatical errors. I've not commented on one of these blogs before but I think this was one too far.

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  • 11. At 7:15pm on 10 Nov 2008, AshKingUSA wrote:

    Don't forget that winning the toss is very important in the subcontinent. Had Australia not lost the toss the last three tests...

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  • 12. At 9:27pm on 10 Nov 2008, The_Master wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 13. At 9:34pm on 10 Nov 2008, Gav wrote:

    Mihir

    dont worry about comments from CHARDINHO and MODSTAKE, these guys would always find it difficult to digest ex-colonies doing well - and unfortunately for that very reason, you will always get stick from similar quarters..

    its amazing 50 yrs since Raj ended but there's enough superiority complex remains in the blood. Remember early days of Monty..born and bred in England......would an english bowler with blonde hair with similar stats have struggled as much to get into first team? remember in Australia how they kept him out...untill he was sort of 'forced in' by outcry from media..

    I personally dont think india did all that . they beat a weak Aussie team in their own backyard..real test will be to perform overseas. but for the moment, i will enjoy them doing well..

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  • 14. At 10:46pm on 10 Nov 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Australia picking Cameron White is like England picking James Dalrymple. Australia approached their selection with the emphasis on not losing, but forgot to tell their batsmen.

    Krezja is their only success of the series.

    Clark looked impotent, Lee was either injured or ill, they sorely miss Gilchrist's batting, and Hayden seems to be batting as if playing benefit matches.

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  • 15. At 04:50am on 11 Nov 2008, Eternal Peace wrote:

    A fair assessment of the series Mihir. As an Indian fan, I and many fans in India who read BBC blogsa are not surprised by some comments here that put the series win to poor australian performance rather than better Indian skills in many aspects of the game in this series. Any team that wins deserves credit. It is as true for India in this series as it was for England when they won the ashes. Times are changing. Some people here also need to.

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  • 16. At 06:55am on 11 Nov 2008, betting_guru wrote:

    Chardinho (2) You are of course right, the nickname was Lord "Snooty". I have made a correction.

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  • 17. At 07:04am on 11 Nov 2008, ratheen wrote:

    To put things in perspective, its a great win on sporting pitches(as against the mud pits of 1998 when Azhar's team won the series against the Aussies) and was a result of complete team effort(as against 2001 when just Laxman,Dravid,Harbhajan and Sachin played a vital role).Although India is far from no.1(they just lost in Lanka,remember?) The Aussies would be doing their cricket a great disservice if they put down the loss to subcontinental pitches(they lost to India in perth too this year,did'nt they?),toss(India lost the toss in Sydney and Melbourne,the matches Aussies won,too).Best of luck to both teams for next time they meet to grab the BG trophy!!
    But first and foremost, the cricket boards and ICC need to chalk out a plan to resuscitate test cricket.

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  • 18. At 09:14am on 11 Nov 2008, SAFAN666 wrote:

    I dont think any single series can define the form that will be exhibited in the next, especially a team as professional as Australia. I'm a South African, and as a fan, would not for a minute think that they are in decline. For the past 20 years they have been the team to beat and i don't think thats changed.

    What amazes me about the English press and it's supporters is how you keep on harping about the 2005 series. You were subsequently comprehensively whipped by the Aussies and not too long ago beaten by SA in your own backyard.

    It doesn't surprise me though, the English pride themselves on their soccer skills too and have only 1 world cup to show for it. Your cricket team like your soccer team is a bunch of over rated players.

    I hope the Aussies whip the living daylights out of the Poms.

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  • 19. At 09:19am on 11 Nov 2008, jerrygoss wrote:

    I think you'll find Mark Taylor had as much to do with the forging of the Australian winning mentality as anyone. Certainly a lot more than that whining little weasel Ponting.

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  • 20. At 09:27am on 11 Nov 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    I think given time, this Krezja bloke could really be what Australia were looking for. He needs time, like Warne needed time. Krezja is definitely an interesting prospect.

    I think the the true reflection of how australia have fallen will come from South Africa, SA have a good side and certainly will provide Aus with a stiff contest, but I just can't see Aus losing at home. SA are also going through bit of a transition phase at the moment. I can't even remember if SA had in the past won a test series in Aus, if they did, it must've been while back. Come to think of it, when was the last time Aus lost a test series to anyone in their own backyard? If Aus trounce SA at home, I just can't see England winning the Ashes at all for the next few years, because SA are a far better side than England and they have better players. England as always, will rely on the likes of Flintoff & Pietersen. 2 guys don't make the team.

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  • 21. At 09:33am on 11 Nov 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    To post 18. SAFAN666, I certainly have to disagree with u bra! Every South African despises australian cricket with great passion. We are well aware that the English are over-rated, always talking up there chances-they seem to always boast about there abilities and then get convincingly thrashed. Maybe it's a english thing! But when it comes down to it, nothing would please us South Africans more than to see the demise of Australia.

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  • 22. At 10:13am on 11 Nov 2008, gosthopal wrote:

    To post 17.ratheen, the pitches during the 1998 series were not exactly mud-pits- India made 400+ in the 2nd innings of the 1st testand 600+ and 400+ in the 1st innings of the 2nd and 3rd tests. Even Australia scored 300 in the 1st test and 400 in the 3rd.

    I would say the pitches were very similar to the ones used in the current series. Just that Anil Kumble was in top form, Javagal Srinath got the early breakthroughs, India had a very strong batting lineup for home conditions and the Aussies didn't have much experience of playing in India.

    Sounds very similar to the current experience,doesn't it?

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  • 23. At 10:25am on 11 Nov 2008, sweetsmellofsuccess wrote:

    Yet another dispiritingly poor blog from Mr Bose. What was the point again? Oh yes, that India is a signpost for Australian cricket - a point he then fails to back up with any evidence.

    Mr Bose fails to address what other posts have signalled - that India will soon lose the majority of their talented middle order. Perhaps a blog about who is up-and-coming in the Indian game to replace them, might have been better. Instead, Mr Bose meanders off into some guff about Euro 96. Is Ganguly a better player when people watch another sport? Or are English sports fans a bit patronising and racist, to be also interested in another major sports event concerning their nation? It's a mystery.

    Coming off of his "Allen is just like Mandela" comment of last week, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by the Amritraj riff. Connors was a consumate all-round player with the best return of serve in the world - hence his staying in the top five for a decade. Amritraj was a journeyman pro with no world-class shot on either wing. Yet, we are supposed to conclude from Mr Bose's "insight" that all Vijay was lacking was Jimbo's will to win. This is fatuous, and surely well below the standard we should expect.

    Why not compare the standards of Australia and India below Test level? Or showcase some emerging new talents, to replace the well-known pros Mr Bose continues to talk about even when they aren't there? But perhaps that would require a knowledge of the game in both countries; whereas this blog does not.

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  • 24. At 11:13am on 11 Nov 2008, barkonk wrote:

    It pleases all Indian to beat Aussies, but to ley u all remmeber, when India toured Australia earlier this yr, we were the only team to have beaten Australia at home in a test between 2003-2007. Incedentally it was against India that australia lost the test match at home in 2003.

    India are a good team but not the best yet, a lot of wrk has to go in. but the future is bright

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  • 25. At 11:20am on 11 Nov 2008, thinkstuff wrote:

    Hi GavCambs,

    I couldn't resist addressing your points, I hope CHARDINHO doesn't mind!

    dont worry about comments from CHARDINHO and MODSTAKE

    -----

    Always nice to meet a fan.

    -----

    these guys would always find it difficult to digest ex-colonies doing well - and unfortunately for that very reason, you will always get stick from similar quarters..

    ----

    Stop a horse! Did you read the posts? If you can find me one line or point where either of us criticise India itself, I would be interested to see it. For the record I think the team put together a very strong series and was glad to see them do what they had to do.

    As for the criticism of Mihir Bose it was only levelled at his meanderings of thought, poor allusions and odd assertions, and not the man himself. He does get a lot of stick from some quarters which is unqualified, and I deplore that, but then I would also be far more impressed if he ever replied to these posts, rather than other BBC journalists coming in to clean up the regular typos and leave the challenges to his hollow arguments unanswered.

    ----

    its amazing 50 yrs since Raj ended but there's enough superiority complex remains in the blood. Remember early days of Monty..born and bred in England......would an english bowler with blonde hair with similar stats have struggled as much to get into first team? remember in Australia how they kept him out...untill he was sort of 'forced in' by outcry from media..

    ----

    I remember the Ashes 2006, and that isn't what happened. The reason Monty didn't play is nothing to do with his skin colour, it was more to do with the fact that Duncan Fletcher had become so obsessed with the team of Ashes 2005 that he made some very poor judgements, and effectively picked the closest team to the previous summer as possible. Geraint Jones was a beneficiary. Ashley Giles crept in to the side with no match practice because he had made useful runs at 8 in the past and was generally considered a good 'team' man - fallacious reasoning, but that's another story.

    ----

    I personally dont think india did all that . they beat a weak Aussie team in their own backyard..real test will be to perform overseas. but for the moment, i will enjoy them doing well..

    ----

    That reminds me of something I've seen elsewhere... what was it?

    'India, being a strong side at home with top class batsmen, punished a weakened Australian bowling attack. The decline is evident in Australia's bowling ranks, India just took advantage of this.'

    Oh yes, that was CHARDINHO's assessment just a little higher up. So since we agree with each other, and by extension disagree with the way the blogger assessed the series originally, let's not fight...

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  • 26. At 11:38am on 11 Nov 2008, barkonk wrote:

    nice assesment modsake. spot on.
    I think the colonial past doesnt hold anything in MOdern times. Its how good u or ur team is

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  • 27. At 11:40am on 11 Nov 2008, aitchin wrote:

    People in these blogs take everything so personally. Somebody disagrees with the theme and suddenly gets a tirade about colonialism. Don't be ridiculous! As an aussie i can confirm this defeat was not unexpected as mihir seemed to say. We've been in decline for a few years now, despite the poms making us look better than we were in 2007.

    The article seemed to imply that this might usher in a period of dominance for india, this appears an incredible claim. Apart from Sharma, India had nothing new, and he looks average to me. Others have rightly identified that half the indian team (the stronger half) is on the point of retiring!

    Surely the team that everyone should be afraid of is Sri Lanka. Mendis looks sensational, Malinga is an exciting young bowler and they have quality batsmen like sangakkara and jayawardene who will churn out runs. Furthermore they just beat india.

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  • 28. At 12:06pm on 11 Nov 2008, Richard James Joyce wrote:

    GavCambs (13), I really have to take issue with your very misguided comments and assumptions.

    Your insinuation that my dispute with Mihir is based on some kind of prejudice against 'ex-colonies' doing well could not be further from the truth. In accusing me of prejudice you seem to have made broad assumptions about me which are pretty offensive, and seems quite strange given that firstly the comments of myself and 'Modstake' (3) who also incurred your wrath are based purely on cricketing arguments and in no way attack or devalue the achievement of India in winning the series.

    As an English cricket fan who grew up with English cricket team in the 90s, I witnessed one relentless pummeling after another in the Ashes, followed by the greatest of them all after we appeared to have caught up a few years ago.

    Seeing the Aussies lose to anyone therefore gives me great pleasure, and full credit is due to India. I like many of the Indian team (the people who run their game is a different matter but I won't hold it agianst the players) and have great respect and admiration for the likes of Sachin, Sehwag, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble and Dhoni. I have many times enjoyed watching them perform (except last time out when they beat England!).

    I also think your insinuation that Monty was kept out of the England team based on racial heritage does Fletcher and the selectors a great disservice.

    He had already been selected for both home and away tests - his exclusion was to due Fletcher's preference for the batting ability of Giles at number 8. I disagreed with the selection as did most sensible cricket fans and media, but don't forget the runs Giles scored at 8, particularly in seeing England home to win the Trent Bridge Test and helping to salvage a draw at the Oval whilst KP was grabbing headlines at the other end, were vital in England winning the Ashes in 05. That is without mentioning his far superior fielding/catching ability.

    It was a stupid selection decision that England got horribly wrong and paid the price for, neglecting the fact Gilo was horribly short of match practice and therefore short of his best, which in itself is far short of Monty's best, but there is at least flawed logic behind the decision, rather than prejudice. Forget about him being blonde - if he bowled like Monty but could bat and catch like Shane Warne he would have been an automatci choice under Fletcher; his improvements at least in the field are a credit to his hard work.

    Finally and most bizzarely, your claim that 'I personally dont think india did all that . they beat a weak Aussie team in their own backyard' echoes my own point:

    'India, being a strong side at home with top class batsmen, punished a weakened Australian bowling attack. The decline is evident in Australia's bowling ranks, India just took advantage of this.'

    At no point did I devalue India's achievement or even criticise Mihir Bose (as many on here do without any reasoning, which is utterly pointless and deserves derision), I merely stated that I did not follow the thread of his argument. This is because there was no obvious thread, had no substantial reasoning, trying to tie together irrelevant ramblings and unrelated tangents, drawing fatuous parallels that were poorly thought out.

    The piece as a whole was a poor expansion of Mihir's more reasonable headline assertion that India played more like Australia of old and vice versa, a good point that was undermined by lots of bad ones.

    Others have made the same observation articulately, notably 'Modstake' (3) and 'sweetsmellofsuccess' (23) and rung out a necessary note of caution that the base of India's success will soon go the same way as Australia's - an IPL pension, newspaper and website columns and commentary box duties. This doesn't undermine their success, just suggests its foundations might not be built to last, with the promise shown by the likes of Ghambir, Sharma and Dhoni's captaincy requiring new support in the near future. If they are both English cricket fans, they are ideally placed to know what a difference removing a small number of key performers can make after England's Ashes winning team was decimated by injuries coupled with a loss of form to resemble a poor reflection of the high achievers of 2005.

    So GavCambs, if you wish to take issue with my arguments based purely on cricket based reasoning please do, but please don't accuse me and others on this board of prejudice when we are purely encouraging healthy cricket debate.

    Indeed, encouraging debate through such poorly structured arguments is Mihir's outstanding achievement, whether intentional or not.

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  • 29. At 12:10pm on 11 Nov 2008, mannubhai wrote:

    India always have been a Lion in its own den, to completely demolish Australia is no simple task to achieve. But off late India have consistently performed overseas. The real talent of Dhoni will be seen the moment he is able to guide his team mates to deliver on foreign condition.
    Nevertheless the series was hard fought without any issues unlike India's tour to Australia in Jan.

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  • 30. At 12:25pm on 11 Nov 2008, svwarty wrote:

    Australia made some critical errors in India. The first one was team selection. The imbalance in the team composition hurt Australia severely.
    Hayden should have opened with Shaun Marsh in each of the 4 tests followed by Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, Katich, Haddin, Krejza, Lee, Johnson and Stuart.

    This would have been a far better balanced team with a rounded attack. Unfortunately, Ponting and his management team missed a good opportunity to blood Marsh.

    Future is bright. Marsh, Casson, Krejza, Tait, Phil Hughes, Usman Khwaja, Henriques, Hilfenhausen and a couple others are waiting in the wings.

    England and the rest should not count their chickens before they hatch.

    India has always troubled Australia and will continue to do so due to the powerful talent in India.

    India could be the next number one, but to achieve that India must learn to hold catches. Maybe the younger talent coming through will catch better than Laxman, Ganguly and co.

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  • 31. At 1:41pm on 11 Nov 2008, Max wrote:

    i wonder if the result would be diff if symmonds was in the team.. could be closer

    india's find has been ishant sharma
    as for batsman, gambhir has finally become consistent.
    i dont think we will miss ganguly/dravid.. but laxman,sachin will be missed when they retire.. i wish india won WC in 2003.. it had all the fab five still playing.. unfortunately, we ran into mighty aussies then

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  • 32. At 2:20pm on 11 Nov 2008, FAIRPLAY wrote:

    WITH ALL THESE COLONIAL OVERTONE'S I SOMETIMES WONDER ????
    IF WE HAD THE BEST JOINT AUSSIE/NZ/ENGLISH/SAFRICA TEAM AGAINST THE BEST JOINT INDIAN/PAKISTAN/SRILANKA/WINDIES TEAM WHO WOULD WIN ?
    MIHIR WOULD YOU CARE TO COMMENT !

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  • 33. At 2:31pm on 11 Nov 2008, alpeshcgujjar wrote:

    Football(Soccer)is my fevorite sports and MANUTD is the club that i support.
    But i do follow how Indias cricket team is doing,it makes me happy when i see them win cups,and it was the same when i saw India win the series.
    I have always wondered why India does not have so many sports men.
    India has a hude population and if they follow football alot just like this follow Cricket i believe India has the capability of producing some very promissing young football,or any other sports.
    Lucky buys with gift from God can earn alot of money more than what an Aducated sciantist earns in years..
    I think it would be really hepfull if someone makes the Indiam people realise that there is a future in sports,young buys and girls can begin their careers from sports..
    I honestly believe India can produce alot of promissing sports men and women.

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  • 34. At 2:45pm on 11 Nov 2008, Dshergill wrote:

    FAIRPLAY (32) for your information India/Pakistan are Colonial teams. I think what you are implying is whites vv coloured!!! whats the point???

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  • 35. At 2:49pm on 11 Nov 2008, Kapil_Devil wrote:

    sweetsmellofsucess, to answer your question there are many up and coming batting talents in India.

    You've seen two in the curent series in Gambhir and Vijay. But you also still have Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Mohammed Kaif, all of whom have international experince waiting in the wings. Can these guys replace the Dravids and Tendulkars? Let's see, but the cupboard is far from bare.

    Gambhir is now established whilst one of Yuvraj or Rohit should replace Ganguly. A year or so from now Rohit will become India's number 3 and the younger players will hopefully be introduced gradually over the next two years.

    As for the bowling department, well, you've seen Ishant and Zaheer, but there are also players of international experience in the wings. Pathan, RP Singh, V Singh, Nehra and Balaji.

    Hope that helps.

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  • 36. At 3:24pm on 11 Nov 2008, Gav wrote:

    Chardinho and Modstake:

    Agree with your argument on Monty’s exclusion which may be right –but here’s the issue..there always seems to be an alternative justification ....but if you were ethnic minority yourself, this would make a bit more sense because it happens far more often than not

    Now keep an open mind to this –

    Do you think under Vaughan or Colly’s captaincy..you would have ever seen Samit patel breaking into the first team so quickly? Or have Shah given the chances like he is getting now..? I doubt it. You may disagree, or agree but have different reasoning for it. i have been in unfortunate position to have seen a lot. I think KP’s South African descent is very good for English cricket, for more than one reason…

    I couldn’t agree more with India Knight’s article below. But having said that, not all are same… so apologies if I may have crossed the line in my earlier post

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/india_knight/article5114565.ece

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  • 37. At 3:28pm on 11 Nov 2008, wombletiltheend wrote:

    Lambs is probably an over-estimation of India on their travels.

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  • 38. At 4:28pm on 11 Nov 2008, coomare wrote:

    >> Kshemal Waingankar, a 23-year-old seamer who has played just one first-class match. Waingankar ripped through England's batting and celebrated a five-for with understandable jubilance

    he is not Zaheer nor Ishant... but English batsmen found it tough. ooh la la

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  • 39. At 4:41pm on 11 Nov 2008, venkataraman wrote:

    Good blog. Somehow you have forgotten the great cricketeer from Haryana - Kapil Dev who was unceremoneously removed from the captaincy by the bosses. And then again, Ganguly was let down by the bosses in his own country who were more happy to please a coach who only made things worse.

    The problems with the Indian team's performance is not only a result of the lack of killer instinct, but also because of the politics in the administration and the prejudiced attitued of ICC officials who often penalise Indians for v. minor offences. Remember how Srisant was penalised for waving his bat in ecstasy after hitting Nel for a four? And Ganguly was penalised many a times unjustly by the referees. How can they be playing their natural game when they are afraid of being penalised by the system looking for some excuse or another.

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  • 40. At 4:45pm on 11 Nov 2008, sweetsmellofsuccess wrote:

    to Kapil_Devil,

    Thanks for that - it was precisely the kind of analysis of India's future stars that Mr Bose would have made, had he known enough about the subject.

    I think India has a bright future if they can build on this series victory - they've won before against Australia and not quite had the self-belief to push on and be consistently the top side in the world.

    As for Australia, I think they need to get a new captain, if nothing else. It would be foolish to disregard Ponting's prodigious belligerence with the bat, but after 40+ tests, he has yet to show significant tactical awareness.

    Oh, and can someone explain why Mr Bose posts his blogs, and never ever replies to any responses? Every other BBC blogger seems willing and able to come back at some point and respond to comments made.

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  • 41. At 4:51pm on 11 Nov 2008, Gav wrote:

    Not sure how all those question marks got in my earlier post

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  • 42. At 5:15pm on 11 Nov 2008, thinkstuff wrote:

    Hi GavCambs,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I won't dwell on the India Knight column simply as it's not related to cricket, our discussion or the central themes of this blog, but I read it with interest and doubtless she makes some valid points on the stigma faced by some people in the non-white middle class.

    To address the issue of ethnic minorities and English cricket, I would have to disagree with you if feel there is anything sinister in the selectorial policy.

    Let's take your example - Samit Patel - he's done remarkably well in his limited ODI cricket so far - far better than I had ever thought he would. Pietersen certainly takes his share of the credit for helping a new player break into the side.

    Make no mistake, however, this is not a new trend. Samit Patel is one of numerous players to represent the country who have family from other parts of the world.

    I don't suppose Vaughan or Collingwood would see the Shah situation your way, since he played under both of them. He made his debut in 2006 under Flintoff's captaincy, and has been in and around the team for a while. His opportunities were initially limited because of England's relentless consistency in selection over the last few years - if you want an example of someone else who was starved of opportunities while on the fringes of selection, then check Chris Tremlett.

    For an example of another player who recently broke through to play Test and ODI cricket, see Ravi Bopara. In fact, for a time he was more highly rated than Shah.

    English cricket has a long history of diverse cricketers, starting, I believe, with the Nawab of Pataudi Snr who played against Australia in 1932, and continuing to reflect the arrival of many people from all over the world. We played Basil D'Oliveira, of black South African descent, in the 70s, Dean Headley in the 90s, whose father and grandfather represented the West Indies, while Nasser Hussain was captain for four years - he was born in India and has a very proud Indian heritage, though he spent his life in England. These are some of the more striking examples, but there are others. The list of players of Asian descent to have represented England at international level in recent years includes Usman Afzaal, Aftab Habib, Kabir Ali, Vikram Solanki, Sajid Mahmood, not to mention Panesar, Bopara, Shah and Patel, who are all currently in the frame. Amongst those some have been fairly big failures, but they have had their opportunities just as fairly as anyone else.

    Against this background, there is little evidence to suggest that Samit Patel is breaking new ground by having a chance to represent his country at the highest level of cricket, and if he continues to do well, good luck to him.




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  • 43. At 8:08pm on 11 Nov 2008, rajendra007 wrote:

    Thank you Mihir for airing the perception of Ganguly that many Indians hold, the first Indian captain to stand up to the Aussies, and to compete with them.

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  • 44. At 04:56am on 12 Nov 2008, geodonthaveaclue wrote:

    This test series was underwhelming in terms of the quality of cricket played. This was partly because of the nature of the surfaces, but also because of the decline in skill levels of the Aussies. Let's face it, no team was going to remain the same after the retirements this team has recently seen. One thing stood out for me, which was the gaping flaws in the rules of test cricket, which, if not fixed quickly, will undermine this format. I've suggested some rule changes on my blog:
    http://outsideedge.wordpress.com

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  • 45. At 06:32am on 12 Nov 2008, aimforthemoon wrote:

    I think too much is being made out of the Indian victory in this series.
    Australia were certainly on the wane and India was playing in its own backyard. India also recently lost to Sri Lanka. So one cannot see how this series win can be considered a sign of India's rise to being the number one team in the world. To do that they have to beat sides like SA, England and Sri Lanka consistently.

    The Aussies to me are a bunch of mean players who don't hesitate to use abuse to win matches. They call it playing 'hard'. Whatever that is !!! They are not gentlemen by any length of imagination and it always is a great pleasure to see them beaten and beaten comprehensively.
    Absolutely loving it.

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  • 46. At 09:43am on 12 Nov 2008, fabuniquemembername wrote:

    Interesting how the Aussies are always portrayed as the bad boys of cricket. Not much mention of Gambhir's elbow, or anything Harbajhan has done in his sullied career.
    Say what you like about Ponting, I can't remember him wandering down the pitch and elbowing an opponent in the head.
    And I'm not even Australian.

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  • 47. At 12:01pm on 12 Nov 2008, drviks wrote:

    Only you can convert one of the greatest series victories into Ganguly's eulogy. No credit to the individual brilliances of Mishra, Gambhir or Dhoni. Even More or Chappel will start taking credit for building this team.
    Long live Behala-bandhus!!

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  • 48. At 6:38pm on 12 Nov 2008, gauthamgg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 49. At 9:55pm on 13 Nov 2008, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:

    Very nice blog Mihir. Thanks.

    It is always a pleasure to read what you write on cricket.

    Like many I too feel that India is fast becoming the epicenter of world cricket.
    Top class cricketers keep surfacing in every nook and corner of India.

    Cricket competitions in India like IPL, ICL, Ranji, Duleep, Deodhar, Moin-ud-Dowla and hundreds of other cricketing events round the year are providing ample opportunities for aspirants to show case their talent.

    When it comes to young people, other cricket playing nations have far smaller cricket playing populations. Moreover the focus over there is not only on cricket. Football, Rugby, swimming, athletics, cycling, Basket ball, tennis and hockey are also important in those countries. They have world class performers in those disciplines. But in India money and talent are all concentrated in cricket.

    Coming to Saurav Ganguly, I must say I have been very much impressed with the former India captain and his way of proceeding. When at the helm the legendary Indian all time great instilled a spirit of expedition in the Indian team. Our players came across more as men on a mission. In earlier years when touring they were at times viewed as pious pilgrims on a pilgrimage to the UK, Australia and to other cricket playing countries. Saurav Ganguly changed all that.

    Ganguly's positive attitude, his mental strength, man management and team building techniques brought very many victories for the Indian team, at home and overseas. The idea of Team India emerged forcefully in the Ganguly era. Men like Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Kumble, Srinath and Prasad were reliable pillars whose contribution gave us some of our finest and memorable victories overseas.

    MS Dhoni has made a good beginning as Indian skipper. He has two major Test wins against the World Champions. Youngsters in the Indian team have responded well. Gautam, Bhajji, Amit, Zaheer and Ishant have played key roles in the recent Test series. Evergreen Sachin, VVS Laxman, MSD, Rahul and Veeru are dangerous batsmen. Team India will keep rising.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 50. At 06:49am on 15 Nov 2008, dheeruyadav wrote:

    Nice article Mr Bose,
    I AM very much impressed with the Indian performance during the Border-Gavaskar Test series. India outplayed Aussies in every department.
    And some where i feel that this is an end to aussies dominance over the world of cricket.
    And India is emerging as the new lethal force in cricket.

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