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London: Jul 22, 2014
Former England captain Bob Willis took potshots at the national cricket team after it slid to a 95-run defeat to India at Lord’s, calling them “happy hookers” for their meek surrender against short-pitched bowling and compared them with the ones who used to frequent a posh nightclub once famous for its sex shops.
“There are more happy hookers in this England line-up than there are at Soho,” Willis said at a Sky Sports programme — The Verdict.
Soho, a nightlife and entertainment area in West End London, had once built up a reputation for its sex shops.
But it has undergone transformation and is now predominantly a fashionable district consisting of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.
Willis, with 325 wickets, is third in the highest wicket-taker tally for England behind James Anderson (364) and Ian Botham (383).
Through Soho, Willis was referring to the English batsmen’s failure to cope up with Ishant Sharma‘s barrage of short-pitched stuff that drew them to play hook shots, albeit without success.
India registered their first win at Lord’s in 28 years — only second in 17 Tests — after Kapil Dev‘s team achieved the feat back in June 1986 when they won by five wickets.
Former Indian captain Ravi Shastri, also a part of the show, added, “Indeed, yes. I was in a restaurant and found it largely empty.”
Amidst this bantering, Shastri didn’t forget to describe India’s magical win as “the best I have seen by an Indian team abroad in the last 30 years”.
Shastri reasoned that the “green” pitch, the visitors’ inexperienced batting line-up and the fact that they faced a bowling pair of 600-plus wickets in James Anderson and Stuart Broad, qualified this young Indian team to this singular judgement.
“This was coming. They could have won in South Africa and then in New Zealand this year. Now they nailed it at the home of cricket,” said Shastri.
Heaping praise on skipper MS Dhoni, Shastri said, “Dhoni was brilliant too. He was proactive and aggressive on the last day. All too often, our media and a few ex-cricketers go at this team without any discernible logic.”
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