India vs. England: Ian Botham delivers another premature remark
It seems as if India’s loss at Lords has filled English hearts with delight. For Sir Ian Botham, this delight manifests itself in over-the-top dreamy remarks about England snatching the numero uno position from India. The dashing all-rounder from yesteryears believes that England are the new “cricket kings of the world”. This remark comes inspite of England’s ordinary performances in the limited overs edition and no particular success in the sub-continent. Riding high on a successful summer, the remarks may be judged pre-mature given that India have always tended to ease into a long overseas series. They have never been great beginners but the run of success they have enjoyed overseas in Australia, England and West Indies is not to be undermined on the basis of a solitary win.
Botham said that the English side is playing “without a weak link” and that they would soon embark on “an era of dominance”. Incidentally, Botham is the first to change corners and criticize English cricket on any occasion of infirmity and hence we can safely assume that he has jumped the gun. He directed his ire on the Indian side and called them unworthy of the number one position. He has found his fair share of supporters in the recent past for this argument. Nasser Hussain was coherent with Botham’s sentiments when he stated that the Indian team does not value its no. 1 position.
Botham was high on praise for Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson especially. Jimmy Anderson was the chief destroyer in the second innings at Lords but his dry spell in the first innings was overlooked by Botham. He said, “(Anderson) never leaves without a five-fer in his back pocket. And judging by the way he is bowling at the moment, India should be happy if all he takes is five wickets.”
It must be admitted that England’s performance at Lords was near perfect but they are not invincible as Botham puts it. Despite having only three fit bowlers India had England on the mat at 62/5 at one stage. There is unanimous praise for England alright but there is unanimity among the pundits over India’s looming comeback as well. Botham’s remarks seem premature with 3 Tests to go in the series.
There has been rising angst against the Indian Cricket Board after the DRS saga. That angst is being reflected in the unfairly leveled criticism against the team’s on field performance. There is a long string of names which have turned hostile to specifically to the team after ICC’s dubious decision to implement the modified hawk-eye technology. Geoffrey Boycott, Nasser Hussain, Ian Botham, Ian Chappell and Shane Warne have criticized the Indian team heavily in recent times.