Admittedly, the climatic conditions were more hostile than the Indians at full strength. But even so the fight of the Englishmen was more in the shape of hope and prayer than any solid version of a calculated revenge. I have never known a professional English cricket team with so many loose ends. In short this team under Flintoff was soulless, characterless and pretty aimless.
Not that the Indians were far superior or for that matter, heat and dust were not any less for the hosts, but the bankruptcy of English tactics and team selections made it easier for the home team. Despite four-nil series win, Indians have more problems on their hand then the tourists can envisage.
Somewhere down the line, both the BCCI and the ECB will have to use basic commonsense to plan tours with better humane understanding. Modern cricketers are not part of any circus, hence to get the best out of them, they need to be provided with better playing conditions, especially keeping moderate weather in mind. We can surely avoid the avoidable cruelty to our famed flannelled heroes.
The playing surfaces provided in all the four One-dayers were awfully substandard. Playing to one's strength was the Indian plea perhaps. But the basic concept of One-day cricket was destroyed thus. With all the manual and mechanical back up staff at the disposal of modern players, do we still need rubbish tracks to play on? Also, should the physical fitness of players be so poor? The tourists are carrying loads of excess baggage. Even on the skill operations, the Poms are relying heavily on Pietersen and Flintoff.
The former has given us glimpses of his arrogant class, briefly though. But the England captain has often perished going for big shots and the rest are as spineless as they come. Not once have England lasted full quota of 50 overs in four outings. I suppose that says it all.
Indians on the other hand have not been without their share of real issues that need immediate attention. Winning the series does not cover up all of the Indian shotcomings. Two individuals are struggling to belong to the whole unit and they are Virender Sehwag and Mohd Kaif. They are going through a lean patch indeed. All part of cricket though. As such, it require harsh and ruthless treatment.
No point handling these names with kid gloves. My personal experience tells me that instead of picking them for India for whatever sympathetic reasons, they need to be send to the NCA in Bangalore to sort out their basic technical problems. Come what may, both Kaif and Sehwag must return to the basics of cricket to rectify all the ills that might have crept into their system inadvertently.
We have been given to understand Dravid wishes to rest so the responsibility of captaincy once again falls on the shattered shoulders of Sehwag. I am not too sure if it is the right step. All we can presume is an absolutely bald Sehwag with added pressure of captaincy. Kaif too was rated as the potential captain of India. Add Yuvraj and the list is complete of top heavy leadership going in different directions. I sincerely hope I am wrong, but the recipe to resurrect the Poms has been churned out in the Indian camp. I would rather burden Dravid with all known responsibilities because he is the Man Friday. And happily enjoys good rapport with the No 1, Mr Greg Chappell. Any hotchpotch of an arrangement will only be to the detriment of Indian cricket.
Furthermore, the lost opportunity in Mumbai must rankle somewhere. This is the right moment to put across the ''killer instinct'' in the word and deed.