Boycott exclusive: India, England are polar opposites in ODIs

The good thing about the tour is that it finished on a good note for India. They beat England comfortably 3-1 in those four 50-over games and inspite of losing the Twenty20 showed they are a match for anybody in the world. They can go forward with confidence, knowing they have a good chance of retaining their World Championship in Australia and New Zealand.

India are so good at one-day cricket that they have nothing to fear from any side in the world. They really are a match for anyone. They have talented players, they have attacking batsmen, and plenty of them. MS Dhoni - one of the best batsmen in the world - comes in after the main batsmen; Suresh Raina is outstanding; Virat Kohli is yet to perform but will make the team; and then the lower order - Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin - all can bat.

That means they've got plenty of bowlers, they've got variety with a left-arm spinner and offspinner - once again Jadeja, Ashwin - and they've also got late-order backing. They have a captain who never panics, even if he's under pressure. He's a great leader and never lets you see he's rattled, even if he is. He's composed, self-assured and confident in what he's doing.

England have lots of problems in one-day cricket. Alastair Cook's a good player but we have better players to play upfront. They don't have any real death bowlers; they depend on Stuart Broad who's been injured. They don't have a great spinner yet; and are trying to make Moeen Ali one. They're not sure about the batting order.

The only thing England are sure of is the new wicketkeeper-batsmen Jos Buttler. In James Tredwell, they have an experienced offspinner and he will do all right. Other than that, and Broad when he's fit, they are not sure of anything really so near to the World Cup. They are not sure of their best XI, who should be captain, who the best spinner is. Neither do they have any death bowlers with just six months to go for the World Cup.


In Tests, here is the problem for India. They have to sort themselves out because for quite a few years now they have travelled abroad and performed awfully. They are better than that. It can’t be lack of talent; it has to be a mental thing.

They made some huge mistakes – for too long they played Jadeja as the main spinner instead of Ashwin. It was staring at them in the face that Ashwin should have bowled because England had five left-handers, with lots of footholds to come over a five-day match. Ashwin would have turned the ball from those footholds against the English left-hand batsmen. Then you have Dhoni who made a poor decision at Old Trafford. On a perfect day for bowling: overcast, cool, the pitch looked fresh for bowling and he went and batted, after winning the toss.

Then there were the injuries. Ishant Sharma never stayed fit. He is a really good bowler but you have to find a way of keeping your bowlers fit. It's about what you need and the way you play him. The Indian fast bowlers break down like the Australian fast bowlers so you have to find someone who can help train these guys stay fitter.

Fortunately it finished on a really good note for India, and they can go forward and go home with their heads held high.