Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Know How to Turn It on in India; Nice One Freddie: England All-Rounder Andrew Flintoff Celebrates Taking the Wicket of Rahul Dravid on the Way to Victory in Mumbai

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Know How to Turn It on in India; Nice One Freddie: England All-Rounder Andrew Flintoff Celebrates Taking the Wicket of Rahul Dravid on the Way to Victory in Mumbai

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lloyd

KEVIN PIETERSEN and his team will need to summon up the spirit of 2006 if the talking stops and Test cricket starts in Chennai next week.

Circumstances are completely different but enough players remain from England's last tour of India for a side already given no realistic chance of success to know that cricketing miracles can happen if backed with a bit of self belief and a lot of hard graft.

Within a few days of the First Test of 2006, the previous summer's Ashes winners lost captain Michael Vaughan and fast bowler Simon Jones to serious injuries and opener Marcus Trescothick to a stress-related illness that ended his international career.

Yet, England, led by third-choice skipper Andrew Flintoff, enjoyed the better end of a draw in Nagpur before, to widespread amazement, coming back from defeat in Mohali to square the series with victory in Mumbai.

Alastair Cook, Monty Panesar, Owais Shah and Ian Blackwell made their debuts during that series against an Indian side missing only the then outof-favour and now retired Sourav Ganguly from their long list of big names.

No wonder Aussie-beating coach Duncan Fletcher rated the Mumbai result as highly as any win achieved abroad during his eight-year reign.

This time, assuming the tour goes ahead, it will not be a shortage of tried and trusted personnel that England have to overcome.

Instead, they must try to rationalise the threat of terrorism, despite being surrounded by unprecedented levels of security in the wake of last week's attack on Mumbai, make up for time lost by their brief return home and then subdue an Indian outfit that beat Australia's Test team last month before thrashing Pietersen's powerless one-day side 5-0.

Perhaps the biggest unknown in all of this is how India's players will perform.

While England have had to concentrate on whether or not they should return to the subcontinent, Mahendra Dhoni's side will no doubt have spent the last few days in a state of horrified shock following the loss of nearly 200 lives in their homeland. …

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