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IN A year of incredible sporting achievement, the performances of England’s cricketers in India have, perhaps unfairly, gone slightly under the radar.
It has been a difficult year which started with a 3-0 defeat against Pakistan in the slightly surreal atmospheres of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
A drawn series in Sri Lanka was followed by two wins and a draw against West Indies before two defeats and a draw against South Africa.
With English and British athletes being successful seemingly everywhere from the Tour de France to the Olympics to the US Open Tennis, the travails of England cricket have been lost in the spray of champagne and gold rush of elsewhere.
But from this unpromising year, and an overwhelming defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad a month ago, the squad led by skipper Alistair Cook were able to produce a brilliant series win over India – England’s first on the sub-continent since 1984-85.
It would be churlish to point out that Sachin Tendulkar is not the feared batsman he once was or that India’s bowling attack was not as potent as it traditionally is on its home soil.
That the two best spinners were playing for England tells its own story.
It should provide a tremendous boost ahead of a demanding 2013, which will culminate in five Tests against Australia in July and August.
If England can retain the Ashes, as they are favourites to do, then the summer will once again belong to the cricketers.