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India shot themselves in the foot by deciding to bat first: Farokh Engineer

Manchester: “India shot themselves in the foot right from the moment they decided to bat on a green top surface,” said Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer, who spent several seasons at Old Trafford playing for
India TV Sports Desk August 11, 2014 18:09 IST
India TV Sports Desk
Manchester: “India shot themselves in the foot right from the moment they decided to bat on a green top surface,” said Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer, who spent several seasons at Old Trafford playing for the successful Lancashire side of the 1970s.


While criticising both the players and coach Duncan Fletcher for the defeat by England in the third Test at Old Trafford on Saturday, He termed it as ‘embarrassing.'

“This was embarrassing,” the 76-year-old Engineer, who played 46 Tests from 1961 to 1975, told BBC Radio Five on Sunday.

He said Fletcher, a former England coach, ought to have told India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to field first, rather than bat. “Fletcher is very, very highly paid, surely he can read the pitch and advise Dhoni accordingly?”

India, after Dhoni won the toss and batted, collapsed to eight for four inside six overs on Thursday.

They then lost nine second-innings wickets after tea on Saturday as England won with more than two days to spare to go 2-1 up in the five-Test series ahead of next week's finale at The Oval.

It was the first time England had won a Test against India inside three days since a 132-run victory at Edgbaston back in 1967 — a match in which Engineer played.

“There was no backbone shown by India,” said Engineer as he reflected on Saturday's loss. “India played without any care or passion, like having a Saturday afternoon slog.”

Meanwhile Engineer also criticised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s ongoing opposition to the use of the Decision Review System (DRS) in matches involving their national side.

“The DRS is absolutely haunting India because a lot of the decisions have gone against them. I don't know when they'll open their eyes and wake up. They've got to embrace DRS,” Engineer insisted.

“The ICC are just not firm enough, can they not put pressure on India? All the other countries have agreed to it, why can't you?”
India can still level the series at The Oval in south London, where the fifth Test starts on Friday, but will need a vastly improved display from their struggling batsmen.

In particular they will hope that the highly-rated Virat Kohli, who has scored only 108 runs in the series at an average of 13.5, finds his form.

“There is only a bit of pride to play for because they've been humiliated. I dare not see the papers in India, they must be so critical, and rightly so, “Engineer said. “Virat Kohli came here with a great reputation and has just not taken off, he has been out to silly deliveries.”

Meanwhile, Dhoni faced further criticism from the nation's press for his ‘bizarre' tactics, while his batsmen were slammed for their ‘spineless surrender'.

Under the back-page headline ‘Spineless Surrender', the Times of India lashed out at the country's batsmen for refusing to fight back in their second innings.

The newspaper said the batsmen had made millions of dollars playing ‘slam-bang' limited-overs cricket, but failed to hone their skills for Test matches, the sport's most demanding format.

Dhoni came under fire for his ‘bizarre team tactics' that included failing to start India's bowling attack on Saturday with top-performing seamers Varun Aaron and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Hindustan Times said.

With the headline ‘Fold Trafford', the Sunday Express said that although Dhoni batted well during the match, he “desperately needs a crash course in the art of Test match captaincy”.