England have conquered the final frontier as some of their players called the Test series in India. They had done the 'impossible' by retaining the Ashes in Australia a couple of years back but they still regarded the India tour as the ultimate examination of their skills and temperament and they have come out of it with flying colours.
Once again it is their planning and preparation that was the key. They went a few weeks ahead to Australia to get used to the weather as well as the extra bounce that can be found on some Australian pitches. They also had their 'A' team around at the same time so in case of injuries the replacement coming in would not have any jet lag and would be ready to play almost instantly since he was also in the country.
Of course it is easier for England to do that since their season does not clash with the one in the southern hemisphere and so their second string is also free at the same time. Be that as it may, the thought put into meeting the challenges was worth emulating.
Some of the simulations were a bit funny like having a lot of crowd noise being created around the players to get them used to Indian crowds and the noise factor but it showed that no stone was being left unturned in the effort to conquer the final frontier. India’s preparation on the other hand was a joke for despite having a fortnight before the first Test the players only got together three days before the Test in Ahmedabad.
In such a campaign the leadership becomes crucial and Alastair Cook provided it with his resolute batting in the second innings of the first Test so in spite of incurring a heavy defeat the Englishmen believed that they could stay and fight.
Cook also is a phlegmatic person rarely given to emotion and that rubbed off on some of his more excitable players who were able to follow their leader and just focus on the game and not the externals which can be such a trying part of a tour of the subcontinent. It also helped that this team has over the years built a great rapport and support system and even newcomers are made to feel part of the team and not looked upon as usurpers of a place.
It was a total team effort for without that any brilliant individual performances can be in waste. How many times have we seen double tons and ten wickets claimed in the match but because there was little help from the rest of the team the result has not been a win. Even while Cook and Pietersen were brilliant with the bat, as they tapered off in the last Test, Trott and Bell put their hands up.
Matt Prior was a live wire behind and in front of the stumps and the manner in which he guided young Joe Root was terrific. Though Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar got the bulk of the wickets the pressure that Anderson constantly exerted and the crucial breakthroughs that he provided were a big factor in the two Test wins. The fielding was always energetic and never gave away any easy runs to the Indians.
England deserved to win simply because they wanted to do so more than the Indians. They went to the ground each day with purpose and intensity. The Indians on the other hand just turned up at the games with little or no planning and so were unable to stop the tide when it started to turn against them. They have the talent alright as can be seen by the win in the first Test but lacked the motivation that England had and for that the think tank is solely responsible.
Professional Management Group