Manchester-based Farokh Engineer was not at the Oval on Monday and he's probably happy to miss the Test as India provided England a 4-0 series win on a platter after much hope in the first session of play on Day Five of the final Test. "At least they put up a fight," was former stumper Engineer's first reaction to India's innings defeat. Indeed they fared better, by scoring reaching the 300-run mark in both innings, but Engineer lamented the batting in the post lunch session when India lost seven wickets for 21 runs.
He felt Sachin Tendulkar was unlucky to be adjudged leg before wicket by Australian umpire Rod Tucker for 91 and praised Amit Mishra for his guts and gumption which got him a Test best of 84. But Engineer was amazed how the rest succumbed. "This was like an Indian wicket to bat on. Some of them just didn't put up a fight. We are a proud nation. I was confident that we would save the game," he told MiD DAY.
"Mishra surely showed some of the better batsmen in the team how to bat. They should hang their heads in shame," added Engineer, who will be a Channel Two commentator during the limited overs series. He reckoned the Indian board was wrong in not agreeing to the Decision Review System for leg before calls: "Sachin would have probably been given not out... who knows."
Engineer was surprised to learn about Virender Sehwag and Ishant Sharma going home and thus missing the one-dayers. "From where did all these injuries come from? I have played with broken fingers. Surely, you could have stayed on and played the one-day series," he stressed.
Meanwhile, London-based cricket historian and writer Mihir Bose, whose book, History of Indian Cricket was published and highly acclaimed in this country, reckoned India's 0-4 loss is worse than the 0-3 hammering Ajit Wadekar's team suffered at the hands of Mike Denness' Englishmen in 1974. "India were not the No 1 team then and we had a chance of winning one of those Tests.
Indian cricket has never received so much publicity in the 40 years I have lived in this country, but sorry to say, all of it has been negative. For me, the sad part is to see an English spinner being better than an Indian one," rued Bose. Off-spinner Graeme Swann claimed six wickets in an innings.
Qamar Ahmed, a veteran Pakistani journalist who covered this series, reckoned the spot-fixing-tainted Pakistani team fared much better in England last year than M S Dhoni's Indians. "At least they won two Tests - one each against England and Australia," said Ahmed.