Farokh Engineer warns India ‘true test’ will come in England
Farokh Engineer warns India ‘true test’ will come in England
Under the captaincy of star batsman Kohli, India have risen to the top of the world Test rankings.
But much of their success has come in home or sub-continent conditions, with their recent 3-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka being a case in point.
Engineer, an outstanding wicketkeeper-batsman for both India and English county Lancashire, said the real worth of Kohli’s men would be judged far away from home.
“The present Indian team are very good indeed,” Engineer told AFP in an interview at Lancashire’s Old Trafford headquarters on Tuesday — shortly before England played West Indies in a one-day international at the Manchester ground.
“Virat Kohli is an excellent captain, MS Dhoni is looking fitter than ever, Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the great off-spinners, (Ravi) Jadeja, we’ve got a very good team, Murali Vijay, the opening batsman,” Engineer added.
“They have been scoring a lot of runs against Sri Lanka, but the true test will be when they come to England.
“Don’t get carried away by the performance against Sri Lanka, against Australia we are doing pretty well, but that’s in India again.”
The 79-year-old Engineer, a veteran of 46 Tests for India from 1961-75, said next year’s five-match series in England would “sort the men from the boys.”
“India’s real test comes when they go abroad, especially England. England is the true test for any cricketer and Indian cricketers are no exception,” he said.
“You need a real sound technique to play in England where the ball moves about a lot more, both in the air and off the pitch.
“Your technique is really stretched to the limit — it sorts the men out from the boys.”
Only three times in their history have India won Test series in England, most recently in 2007.
But Engineer was in at the finish of their ground-breaking victory at The Oval in 1971 — India’s maiden Test win on English soil seeing them to a 1-0 win in a three-match series following two draws.
“Yes indeed 1971 in England was a great moment,” said Engineer.”
More than 45 years on, the memory of that match remains vivid for the Bombay-born Engineer, whose authorized biography, “Farokh: The Cricketing Cavalier,” written by Colin Evans, a former cricket correspondent of the Manchester Evening News, is published in November.
“I got runs in both innings (59 and 28 not out) and dismissals as well, but a guy called Abid Ali came in and took all the limelight!,” said a laughing Engineer.
“We had four runs to get I think.
“I said to him: ‘Abid, after you there’s only Bishen Bedi and (Bhagwat) Chandrasekhar and with due respect they don’t know which side of the bat to hold’.
“He said: “OK, OK.” What does he do first ball? He just charges down the pitch — I think Alan Knott missed a reasonably easy stumping,” Engineer recalled.
“We needed three runs because I took a single and regretted it.
“So what does he do now? He charges down the wicket, gets a top edge, four over the slips, and the next thing I see he’s being carried off by people for a not-out four — and I’ve stuck in there!
“But it was a great moment, a sweet victory for India because India had never before won a Test match in England.”
Engineer added: “I’m glad the people in my era set the platform for the Dhonis and the Kohlis and the (Sachin) Tendulkars to follow.”
What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?
- Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
- Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.
Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.
Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.
Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.
Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League
Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.
Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.
Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.
Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.
Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.
Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.
Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.
Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.