India in command on and off the field, says Stewart

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London, Nov 24 (UNI) With their recent performances against some of the top teams in world cricket, India has proved that it is not only a powerhouse off the field but in the field as well, believes former England captain Alec Stewart.

Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India has proved its mettle with some astonishing results as it won the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and then also beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the the ODI series.

India also showed its supremacy against the World Champions Australia as they first won a tri-series Down Under and then beat them 2-0 in a recent Test series at home.

''Add in the huge amounts of money invested in the game from TV rights deals and sponsorships - along with the success of the IPL and the imminent Champions League - and India is calling the shots on all fronts,'' Stewart wrote in his column of Sunday Mirror.

''India is now very much the powerhouse of world cricket, leading the way on and off the field.

''That (wins against England) follows their comprehensive defeat of Australia in the recent Test series. They are showing how cricket can be played,'' Stewart added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is the richest board in the world, has been a strong force and with all the money it is pumping in, it is reportedly playing an important role in some of the decision making concerning the world cricket.

''The cricketing world is fully aware of what India brings to the table and it is no surprise that countries such as Australia and South Africa - who previously have sided with England on various agendas - are now getting into bed with India and everything it has to offer,'' Stewart wrote.

He also pointed that India wanted to delay the first Test against England so as to accomodate the dates of the final of the Champions League which was refused by the ECB shows that the relations between the two Boards are not cordial.

''The fact that England refused the offer from the Indian board to move the dates of the two Tests to accommodate any Indian playing in the final of the Champions League underlines the fact that relations may be less than cordial.

''On-the-field relations between the two sides at this stage appear to be good despite the opening games being very one-sided in India's favour,'' he noted.

He further added that England has found the going tough in India as they went into the series from where they left in Antigua with their loss in Stanford Twenty20 match.

''England carried on where they left off in Antigua with their Stanford Twenty20 loss in not playing to their full potential.

''A slight improvement was evident in game three but the performance levels are still well short of what is needed to get back into this series. India have dominated just about every phase of the game by out-batting, out-bowling and out-fielding the visitors,'' the former English captain said.

UNI XC RAR MP RK1315

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