What? Us? Scared?
On the final day at Nagpur, even as India's batsmen mounted a thrilling late charge
, England's skipper, Andrew Flintoff
had as many as six or seven fielders on the boundary. India needed to score something like 100-odd runs at 10 runs an over. The only batsmen still in the 'hut' were Laxman and Kaif, neither of who possess the ability to score at that runrate. Tendulkar was the only batsman who could realistically have posed a challenge, and he was in some mood!
In such a situation, all England needed to do was to continue having a proper test match field, with a couple of slips and a few close-in fielders. India's high risk game could not go on forever. If at all it came to a situation where something like 5 overs remained and 60-odd runs had to be scored, England could always adopt the defensive strategy. But Flintoff and the rest of the thinktank panicked too early. By sending the fielders out to man the boundaries so early on, which admittedly did result in Dhoni holing out to Strauss, England conceded that they were scared.
Of course, in public, Flintoff said
that the team always knew that India would have required some sort of an effort to get to the target and that he wasn't really worried. So why did you panic so early, Fred?