When Mahendra Singh Dhoni was addressing the media, Alastair Cook waited long for his turn. The Englishman nodded when his Indian counterpart gave credit to the opposition. “They bowled and batted better,” was the gist of Dhoni’s analysis of the series. Cook hailed it a “special day” and praised the batsmen and bowlers. “The contributions came from everyone.”
Cook was adjudged the ‘man of the series’ for his aggregate of 562 runs. His batting was the force on which England carried on its plans in the four-match series. Dhoni explained his logic of aggression.
“There are a lot of things you have to see, not just sit there and say we need to be aggressive. Aggression is not all about putting a short leg, a silly point or having a slip. It’s important how to analyse and see where you can get the batsman out. On this wicket, we got three wickets in 10 hours and you are saying have a few more fielders up and they will get out. It doesn’t happen that way!”
A collective effort
Cook termed it a collective effort. “It’s been an incredible tour. I can’t praise the guys enough. The whole squad has played its part and everyone has contributed. I can’t praise enough their effort and willingness to learn. It was a very tough challenge.
“The bowling attack we have has proven itself over a number of years. Monty (Panesar) coming in was fantastic. Jimmy (Anderson) was outstanding with the reverse-swinging ball. Swanny (Graeme Swann) was great, the highest wicket-taker in the series. Those three guys were fantastic.”
The Indian captain defended the youngsters in his team. “It’s very difficult if you assess a youngster based on one performance. You have to see how they go (about) after playing a few games. They will get the exposure. Not to forget Piyush (Chawla) who came after five years, so he will feel the nerves. It wasn’t a fantastic wicket for him to bowl. There was no pace. You have to analyse everything. Just don’t see the stats.”
Looking back, Dhoni accepted the turning point of the series happened at Kolkata. “In one session, we lost six wickets. That was crucial.” In Cook’s view, “It was great the way we approached the tour and how the lads embraced Indian conditions and the willingness to learn. A lot of credit also to Andy Flower and the backroom staff for helping us out.”
For Cook, the tour meant sweet memories. “It is at par with winning in Australia. As an Englishman, winning in Australia meant a huge amount, but here the dressing room, especially in the last half hour, knowing what we had achieved, was a very special place to be in. It will stay in my memory. I’m going to enjoy it tonight.”
On Kumar Dharmasena’s umpiring and the DRS system, Cook was forthright. “We have always been big fans of the DRS. It is to get right decisions. Sometimes, these are game-changing decisions. Kumar’s obviously a fine umpire and a lovely guy and obviously didn’t mean to make mistakes.
“But I can’t sit here and say anything because I also got away with a few during the series. You do have to look at both sides of the coin.
“He’s a decent guy and I am certainly not going to hold any grudges against him. It’s a tough enough job.”