Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Despair peppers reactions to India’s whitewashing

AFP and AP, NEW DELHI

India’s 4-0 whitewash by England in their Test series pitched newspapers into a mood of dark despair focused on the lack of fighting spirit shown by Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men.

“A Crying Shame,” the Times of India said, while the Mail Today went with “Abject India whitewashed” and the Hindu admitted “The humiliation is complete.”

The Hindustan Times headlined its match report “Finally, it’s Oval and out” in reference to the London ground where England completed their comprehensive series win on Monday.

“It is not just the result; it is the manner of defeats that has been extraordinary,” the paper said. “The Indian supporters have nothing to write home about. It is the end of an era in Indian cricket.”

The worst series loss since an identical 4-0 drubbing in Australia in 1991-1992 dethroned India from the top of the Test rankings and relegated them to No. 3 behind England and South Africa.

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar was stunned by the ease of the home team’s victories — England won the first Test by 196 runs, the second by 319 runs, the third by an innings and 242 runs and the fourth by an innings and eight runs.

“Losing is part of the game, but for a top-ranked side to lose so badly is inexcusable,” Gavaskar said during television commentary from The Oval, adding India were “pathetic” through the series.

“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,” he added.

The final day’s play symbolized the state of the series as India, who were coasting at 262 for three after a century stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra, lost their last seven wickets for 21 runs.

Tendulkar’s dismissal, nine runs short of his 100th international century, disappointed his army of fans. However, the Hindustan Times was glad the landmark was not achieved on such an inglorious day for the national side.

According to the paper, any celebrations over the hundred would have “overshadowed” the failings that must be addressed.

“The hundredth hundred is going to come, but it has not come here because England is a much superior side,” Gavaskar told the NDTV news channel. “They were superior not just technically, but tactically too.”

The Times of India could find few reasons to be cheerful, with a lack of top young players to revive the side’s fortunes in the months ahead.

“Some fairytales end in tears; this one went wrong from the first day itself. It will not be a bed of roses, at least not for some time,” it said.

Former captain Ravi Shastri, now a television commentator, said he feared for India’s Test future and hoped emerging players with the potential to master the five-day game would be earmarked by selectors.

“It’s time for Indian cricket to identify a bunch of players who are specifically suited to different formats of the game,” Shastri wrote in the Times of India. “A way out has to be found to encourage those cricketers who want to give Test cricket a priority. There ought to be superior remuneration or compensation.”

The Kolkata-based Telegraph saluted England for their overwhelming success.

“Full marks to England for blasting the erstwhile No. 1 team to every corner of the park,” the paper wrote. “And, for crushing them mentally as well.”

Former Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said on his Twitter page: “this is one situation where it makes sense to press the panic button...”

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