India are nowhere near the dominating force they used to be
Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott believes that India are no longer the dangerous and threatening force they used to be and added that touring the country seems to be much easier nowadays.
While India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to insist that the team is going through a difficult transition period, Boycott noted that there are several superstars who are well past their prime.
“India are not the force they have been in the past,” Boycott wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph. “Two great batsmen have retired in VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid while Sachin Tendulkar is no longer the great player he once was.
“Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan have been fine bowlers but are past their best. You could say touring India is a bit easier now because the hotels are better, English food in the big cities is excellent and travelling is so much easier.”
Boycott praised England skipper Alastair Cook for his excellent captaincy and was even more impressed at how he was able to lead his team to a 2-1 win after suffering an embarrassing nine wicket loss during the first Test in Ahmedabad.
“Earlier this year we lost three Tests against Pakistan and one against Sri Lanka,” Boycott added. “We then batted appallingly in the first Test at Ahmedabad to lose by an innings. Suddenly everybody in India thought this set of England players would roll over and get beaten 4-0.
“They deserve a lot of praise for showing character, determination and ability to come back and win well in Mumbai and Kolkata. That was not straightforward either because England have had problems. They had to find a new opening batsman after Andrew Strauss’s retirement. They have also had to identify another middle-order player in, first, Jonny Bairstow and then Joe Root.
“Their big fast bowler, Steven Finn, has broken down twice so could only play in one Test and Stuart Broad featured only in two matches, failing to take a wicket before succumbing to injury. Tim Bresnan played in two Test matches but he has been 10km slower and pretty easy to face since his elbow operation earlier this year.”
Boycott believes that Cook, batsman Kevin Pietersen, pace bowler James Anderson and England’s spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar all played crucial roles in helping the national team break their 28-year losing streak in India.
“England have won this series with only three major bowlers: James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar,” he said. “Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Anderson have been outstanding. We have seen a true world-class performance from each of them. Our two spinners, Swann and Panesar, outbowled the two Indian spinners.”