Special Sports Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
London, Aug 15: After the humiliating 3-0 defeat against England, the Indian cricket team has been at the receiving end of firings from every Tom, Dick and Harry. Those who showered lavish praises on the Indian team during its reign as the No 1 test team status and after the World Cup victory, are now playing turn coats and leaving no stone unturned to criticise the team.
The question is, does India really deserve this?
India's 3-0 loss may have sunk Dhoni to an extent, but not his confidence. "I am still proud of my team," were the bold words from captain cool after the last defeat. Can one judge Dhoni in just three games? The issue is debatable. Many a time, when the team wins three consecutive matches, nobody speaks highly of it. Because 'three' is too short to decide.
But after toppling India from the top spot some of the former England players, experts, columnist and section of the media have been celebrating as though they had defeated India in a war! No doubt, England deserve appreciation from every corner for their tremendous achievement. But can England do this on Indian soil? How many times has India demolished strong oppositions like Australia, West Indies, South Africa and even England in India - did India show off or talk too much on those occasions?
Former English captain Alec Stewart says, "India will go home with a bruised ego and reputation." How can a former captain pass such remarks when there's still plenty of cricket left in this tour? The losing side is always at the receiving end, but at this juncture India's top former cricketers like Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Farook Engineer who are in England now must speak in favour of the team, as the current Indian team needs lot of counselling to get back the lost confidence.
Another former cricketer Geoff Boycott has said, "One thing is certain in England, if you don't know how to bat against a moving ball, you just cannot win here."
When India won the World Cup in 1983 the entire world, and specially the British press had said that it was a 'miracle' and doubted India's capacity. Later, within a year India went on to win the Champions trophy in Austalia and gave a perfect reply for underestimating the team.
The England tour has been marred by controversies, and most of it has emerged from the English side. The team has tried to outplay India by engaging in psychological battles too, like when Vaughan 'hinted' at Laxman using vaseline on his bat to hoodwink the hotspot. And how about the time when Strauss requested the Indian team to call back Ian Bell after his freak dismissal - would England have shown such large heart if Sachin, Dravid or Laxman had been at the crease?
Some former players of England have been comparing the English team to the West Indies which dominated world cricket in the 70s and 80s. They have also compared the team to Australia which dominated the world after Allan Border's team won the World Cup.
On paper everything is easy. By just winning three matches against an under-prepared, fatugued team which lacked enthusiasm and interest, can any team becomes a world champion?
These kinds of needless, over-the-top praise could put English players into trouble soon, because the coming days are going to be very challenging for the England players, with tours lined up against Pakistan and India in the subcontinent.
England will need to put in extra efforts in the coming days, as they are under heavy pressure now. Even in the fourth test, they need to be careful as Indian players are not only under pressure but they are like wounded tigers. One cannot underestimate the ability of Indian players. England is the same place where India had won the World Cup in 1983. That time too, pitches were bouncy here.