England tour of India - Cricket: We had a plan, it worked very well: Hussain

Published: Sunday, December 23, 2001, 21:07 [IST]
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Bangalore: England's captain Nasser Hussain on Sunday brushed aside criticism of his team's negative tactics in the Test series in India, saying the plan worked wonders."We may have lost the series, but I think we return home satisfied at the way we played," Hussain told reporters after the rain-hit third and final Test ended in a draw without a ball being bowled on the fifth day on Sunday.The draw gave India the series 1-0 after the 10-wicket win in the first Test at Mohali. The second and third Tests were drawn. The tourists were slammed in both the Indian and British media for ordering left-arm spinner Ashley Giles to bowl outside the leg-stump to Indian batsmen, especially Sachin Tendulkar."I am not bothered about what the media writes," Hussain said. "We had a plan and it worked very well, that's the most important thing." Hussain said his young, inexperienced team had done better than World Champions Australia to contain the Indian batsmen."We kept India down to less than 300 twice in the series and that is something even Australia could not do earlier this year. Against Australia, India made some 570 for six in the second innings in the Kolkata Test with (Venkat Sai) Laxman making 281."They could not get the same total against us, so it is obvious our plans succeeded whatever the media may say." Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar had termed the England team "pathetic" after it was crushed in the first Test, and predicted a clean sweep by the hosts.But the tourists, who toured without four top stars Alec Stewart, Andrew Caddick, Darren Gough and Robert Croft and lost the services of star batsman Graham Thorpe before the second Test, fought back to dominate India for the rest of the series."Having lost the series, it may not be time to open the champagne bottle, but I am proud of the way the team played," Hussain said. "I have known teams to fall apart on tours, but this one came together. The team spirit was just great."Before the tour, our coach Duncan Fletcher had told the younger players to do enough so that we can't leave you out. I think they responded to the challenge very well."This tour will be a great learning experience for the boys, more than what they can learn playing in the nets in England. It will hold them in good stead in the future."Indian captain Saurav Ganguly conceded his team did not play well after the 10-wicket romp at Mohali, but denied they had become complacent. "The main thing is that the batting was not consistent," said Ganguly, who himself has made just one half-century in his last 19 Test innings."This has been a tough year for me, but I plan to take the next few weeks off and sort out my batting worries."

Copyright AFP 2001

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