By his own admission, Farokh Engineer is “boiling”. The Manchester-based former Test wicketkeeper witnessed the second Test in Mumbai where India’s slide in the series against England began. Nothing improved as he watched the remainder of the series on his TV set back home.
Engineer, who turns 75 in February, felt India could have won this series comfortably but Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men were thwarted by some warped selection, strange tactics and the brilliant James Anderson.
Excerpts from an interview:
Baffling fourth day at Nagpur
I have been questioning the presence of coach Duncan Fletcher in the media here. I have also been critical of the fact that one hour was wasted on the fourth day of the Nagpur Test (when R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha batted and India declared before gaining the first innings lead). That was our only chance of salvaging something in the series. Whose decision was it? MS Dhoni’s or Fletcher’s?
Too late for Piyush Chawla
The English spinners were better than ours; England outplayed India in every department and Jimmy Anderson was fantastic.
We should have played Piyush Chawla earlier in the Test series. I asked one of the selectors (in Mumbai), ‘haven’t you got a leg-spinner?’ And he said, one was injured and the other was fit. So I said, play the one who is fit. After the win in Ahmedabad, everything was so humiliating.
England were better in everything
People in the UK were wondering what’s going on. But they were not surprised. People here thought India were cock-a-hoop after Ahmedabad and we read about talk of a whitewash. Ultimately, people took pride in saying, ‘our spin department is better than yours. We are better than you in batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy… everything!’
The English are rating this win on par with the Ashes victories of 2005 and 2010-11. For England to beat us in India after we were one-up and won the toss in Mumbai shows we blew it completely.
Stick with Dhoni; Play on, Sachin
We must stick with Dhoni as captain. I don’t agree to calls for his removal as skipper. We should build the team around Dhoni and there is no need for drastic changes. Sachin Tendulkar should be allowed to play as long as he wants. Sachin is a sensible guy and when he feels it is the right time, he will take a call. We have just lost Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, we cannot afford to lose any more senior players. We should build the side gradually – get in players like Rayudu, Rahane and Raina. And please play a leg-spinner.
Two offies? not on
Playing Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin in the same XI at Mumbai didn’t make any sense to me. A leg-spinner in Mumbai would have made all the difference; he would have run through this England team because England cannot play leg spin bowling. That’s why they have Mushtaq Ahmed as a spin coach. Now, here is where Fletcher should have come in.
Get rid of Fletcher
I don’t know about the planning because Fletcher keeps quiet all the time. He lets Dhoni take all the flak and answer all the questions.
If I were the coach, I would be protecting Dhoni and answering all the questions. I would hold myself responsible. I have not seen a single interview of Fletcher. I have nothing personal against him, but maybe he is pampering some of the senior players. That’s what he did in England (as England coach). Frankly, I would get rid of him. I can do a better job sitting here in England. I can get the boys motivated. You need an inspirational coach.
We always rely on foreigners. I don’t understand this complex. Look at the IPL, it is studded with Australians. I don’t see the point. I can do a better job than what they are doing collectively, but I am an Indian and I am at a disadvantage. I don’t blame the BCCI at all. They are being misguided.
Why not DRS?
I don’t know why we are the only ones who don’t agree to DRS. It helps umpires. It may not be 100 per cent correct, but at least it will help save a lot of dismissals. And one or two decisions would have gone in our favour. But then, we cannot complain because we are the ones objecting to the system.
I am boiling. I was up every morning to watch India lose and we lost when we could have beaten them handsomely had we got our selection right and played on good wickets. There is no need for crumbling tracks. We could have beaten England fair and square on normal Indian wickets.
Anderson was super
Let’s not take anything away from James Anderson. He bowled superbly. Ishant Sharma bowled well in Nagpur and what was the point in going in with one seamer there?
You must field players who are in form. As it is you have them in the squad so why not pick them in the XI? Where Nagpur is concerned, my man of the match was the groundsman. He prepared a disaster. There was nothing in it for anyone except the first day.