(London AFP): England coach Andy Flower has defended his side’s achievement in whitewashing India 4-0 in their recent Test series.
While many pundits were quick to acknowledge England’s overall excellence, there was widespread criticism of the way in which India, who started the series as the world’s top Test side, acquitted themselves in England.
India’s smallest margin of defeat in the four Tests was a still large 196 runs in the series opener at Lord’s and England, who replaced India at the top of the Test rankings and dropped their opponents down to third place, finished with an innings and eight run win at The Oval on Monday.
This was England’s second straight innings victory and India batting great Sunil Gavaskar said: “Losing is part of the game but for a top-ranked side to lose so badly is inexcusable.”
Gavaskar, who said India were “pathetic” during the series, added: “England were magnificent, they were much superior to India and much better prepared.”
“But I did expect the Indian team to show more fight than they did in the four Tests.”
However, Flower said England’s achievement in humbling a side featuring such star batsmen as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Venkatsai Laxman should not be diminished in any way.
“They have dominated a very good side here, and I don’t think we should forget that,” said Flower.
“There are some very fine cricketers in that Indian side, and they have been performing at a high level for a very long time,” the former Zimbabwe batsman, who has overseen England’s rise up the standings since taking charge two years ago, added.
“They are hugely experienced - so to play like we did and to dominate them like we did is a great credit to these England players.”
Meanwhile the modest Flower, already thinking ahead to England’s next Test assignments, away to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in the new year and the subsequent tour of Sri Lanka, played down his own role. “It gives me tremendous satisfaction, but it is the players we have to think about,” said the coach.
“I looked at them in the changing room after the game, and they can rightly feel very proud of themselves.”
“They’ve put in a tremendous amount of hard work to get themselves into a place where they feel very confident and where they are making good decisions - and then are good enough to back them up out in the middle.” “It is nice to see the team like that and see them genuinely confident and it’s nice to see them believing that they will win games of cricket.”