London: Even as England got ample rewards for its negative bowling in the third Test in Bangalore, the English media on Friday blasted its team for adopting a strategy, which could hardly have been uglier against master batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Reasoning that the ploy to frustrate Tendulkar on the second day of the Test on Thursday perhaps emanated from their "overemotional and misguided belief" that he had acted against the spirit of the game by appealing for a handling the ball decision against Michael Vaughan the previous day, the papers said it was a shame that England "stooped so low over such a trivial matter".
"The fact that Tendulkar was perfectly entitled to appeal, and that Vaughan's smothering of the ball would have been regarded as a brainstorm in a local club match, never mind the deciding Test of a series, is a truth that many England players, in a seige mentality that has developed out of an honest desire to succeed, have so far largely refused to countenance," a report in the Guardian said.
The report said England proceeded under the belief that ultimately Tendulkar's patience would crack even though "there was precious little to support the theory"."Tendulkar is a special talent, and that talent can demand from put-upon bowlers, or captains, an extreme response just as the brilliance of Don Bradman was the reason behind England's bodyline theory 70 years ago," it said.
"Tendulkar's God-like status in India is such that it would have been no surprise if England had been instructed to worship at his temple bybowling at him in bare feet," the paper said.
Conceding that England could perhaps "justify their method tactically,and emotionally," it said, "But if the umpires did not feel empowered topenalise Gile's persistent deliveries way outside the leg stump by ruling them no balls then perhaps the Laws need to be amended."
Agreeing with the argument, the Telegraph wrote that the bowler"might, justifiably, have been penalised under the new ICC guidelines that allow the umpire to call a wide if he thinks that the policy isbeing pursued for negative reasons."
Praising Tendulkar for handing the situation effectively, it said, "Not for the first time, he stood in a different class to colleagues and opponents alike."Writing in the Independent News, former England player Derek Pringle said the ploy could also have been to force the five Indian players including Tendulkar, who have been given a one-match suspended sentenceby match-referee Mike Denness in South Africa, to react and invite the ban."After Vaughan's undignified, though lawful dismissal, winding them upso that they react and incur a ban, may seem an obvious way to geteven," he wrote.