Flintoff slams shabby India as rain hits

ENGLAND great Andrew Flintoff admits he has been shocked by India’s lack of sharpness and professionalism in the current series, which was badly affected by rain yesterday at The Oval.

Captain Andrew Strauss and fellow opener Alastair Cook guided England to 75-0 from 26 overs before downpours wiped out the rest of the first day’s play in the fourth Test.

India’s injury-hit attack again failed to worry the hosts, with seamer RP Singh and Sreesanth particularly toothless, even by the standards of a hugely disappointing series for the tourists.

They arrived as the No1 ranked Test side but have been dethroned, outplayed and utterly demoralised – and former all-rounder Flintoff believes their problems are evident even in their warm-up routines.

“I saw India, and they looked like they’d got their kit out of the garage. They were all in different gear. England looked really professional next to them. They just looked poles apart,” he said.

“Watching the slip catching practise, you had England on one side diving around, the ball fizzing through. They [India] were clapping everything down, the keeper was missing them, the slips were dropping them. It just looked shabby.”

Having been knocked off the top of the rankings by England in the third Test at Edgbaston last week, India might have been expected to set out with a point to prove.

But there was precious little fire in their bellies as Strauss racked up 38 and Cook 34 before rain arrived and stopped any further play after lunch.