`India need to reconsider attitude to Test cricket`
London: An ecstatic British media heaped praise on England`s cricket team for rising to the top in Tests even as it poured scorn on the Indians, saying that the visitors brought their numero uno status into "disrepute" and need to "reconsider" their attitude to the five-day game.
England zoomed to the top of ICC Test rankings after beating India in the third Test by an innings and 242 runs to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the ongoing four-match series.
The team`s emphatic triumph earned it all-round applause from the media with the `Daily Telegraph` summing it up aptly by saying, "England show no mercy to rule the world."
"England`s new position as No 1 in the Test rankings was sealed by an innings and 242 runs, and against the country that had been No 1, even if India have not begun to play as such in this series," the newspaper said.
In a write-up that dwelled on why the none-former-number-ones India played so badly, the newspaper noted that Dhoni`s men were overworked with their load made heavier by the IPL.
"International cricketers play too much as it is. Take India`s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In the last year he has played 20 one-day internationals, 14 Tests and one T20 international. England`s busiest player, Graeme Swann, has played 18 ODIs, 13 Tests and five T20s.
"There is little difference, except, crucially, that Dhoni has also played 16 IPL matches. Swann has played a few matches for Nottinghamshire and some warm-up matches for England in Australia, but it is not quite the same."
"The IPL deprives India`s cricketers of an off-season. If they have niggling injuries they have to look elsewhere for a break, because it is all-important, both financially and politically."
The daily said Virender Sehwag`s successive ducks "was reassuring evidence of cricket`s justice system."
"Requiring a shoulder operation he played 11 IPL matches first, even waiting to see if his Delhi Daredevils team made it to the semi-finals before undergoing surgery.
"The jury`s message was resoundingly clear: do not mess with the game, especially when it is the real game that is Test cricket. Gautam Gambhir, S Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh all played throughout the IPL, but then did not make the recent tour to the West Indies due to various ailments," it said.
"It clearly took Zaheer to the brink physically. India simply had to gamble on his fitness in the first Test, because he is central to their success. It failed horribly. But it deserved to.”
"...it is important that India reconsiders its attitude to Test cricket. The game needs them to be strong; not knackered and uninterested."
The `Daily Mail` said England are the dominant of the two sides.
"On top of the world! Emphatic England crush India to clinch series at Edgbaston," read the newspaper`s headline.
"Following similarly impressive wins at Trent Bridge (by 319 runs) and Lord`s (by 196), it was a crunching, crushing, chilling demonstration to friends and enemies alike about the strength of this England side with bat, ball, in the field and in the mind.”
"This was a statement to strike at the belief of opposing sides, to encourage the fear that, like the truly great Australian and West Indies sides of the past, against this England side resistance is futile and defeat routine," it said.
"And in the way they showed not an ounce of mercy to the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman and Dhoni, this was a nudge to those who would challenge them that, should they emulate India and turn up for a head-to-head clash for the title of world`s best team against this England side unfit, unready and largely apparently unfussed, they are going to get whacked," it added.
`The Guardian` said, "This was the sort of hiding that England have routinely handed out to Bangladesh in this country."
"Yet this victory, by an innings and 242 runs, was against the team that was supposed to be the best in the world. It was the third-heaviest defeat in India`s history.”
"So the series is decided; so is England`s place at the top of the rankings. This is some achievement. Here, just as in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, England have been dallying with perfection," it said.
"...the simple conclusion is that, outside of the subcontinent, when England play well they have the capacity to thrash the opposition. They deal in daddy victories, as Graham Gooch might put it. Only in Johannesburg can anyone quibble about England`s new ranking."
`The Independent` echoed the general sentiment saying, "England are on top of the world. The crushing defeat of India yesterday by an innings and 242 runs put them 3-0 ahead in the series and confirmed their status at the summit of Test cricket."
"It was an exhilarating victory entirely befitting a team who have carried all before them in the past nine months. Of the eight wins England have achieved in their past 12 Tests, six have been by an innings. It has been the stuff of champions, the stuff dreams are made on," it said.
"India never had a prayer yesterday. Before the start of play on the fourth day of the Third Test, the best they could probably hope for was taking the match into the fifth. By the time the second over was completed that had receded, and by lunch it was utterly forlorn," the daily said.
The newspaper said the Indians didn`t play like world number ones.
"England went about their business scrupulously and ruthlessly, aided in their objective by opponents who were ill-prepared for the task at hand. The tourists came here not only as World Cup winners in the limited-overs form of the game but as the No 1 ranked Test side in the world, a title they have all but brought into disrepute.
"One side were meticulous, the other were slipshod. There could be only one outcome. If India have been disappointing and they have, it has been partly because England have not allowed them to be anything else. Home advantage is always significant in international cricket, and England have made it pay every step of the way," it said.
"India`s batsmen, some of the most vaunted around, some of the most vaunted there have ever been, have fallen prey to the moving ball, either swinging fractionally in the air or cutting off the seam. England have purveyed it accurately and mercilessly," it added.