Twice lucky

India won another close call at Faridabad and managed to go up 2-0 in the ongoing 7-match ODI series against England. But despite the two wins, the signs are not too good and India needs to make some quick amendments to its thinking, strategising and execution to ensure that luck does not desert them.

This was the second time in as many ODIs that the lower order had to win the match and the third consecutive when when the batting failed (counting the last Test). One missing name in the line-up seems to have quite a negative impact on the entire team. Whatever is wrong with Sehwag is a mystery. He just seems to lack any motivation at the moment. And Gautam Gambhir, for all his talent, seems to get bored and throws his wicket away. Doesn’t he get it? This is his big chance in international cricket and if he cannot cement his place right now, he doesn’t deserve to be in the team.

Rahul Dravid, too, seems to have picked up some bad habits of late and is letting the ball hit the stumps at all the wrong times—when he is facing or when he is trying to run—and is losing his wicket at crucial times. Today’s collapse from 61-0 to 80-4 in about 10 overs put up two problems: of course, 4 wickets fell for 19 in 10-odd overs and the run rate fell from almost 5 to just about 4. If it hadn’t been for Raina and Dhoni, who knows!

But before them, were the two shining lights of Indian cricket—Yuvraj and Kaif. And how badly they shone! Kaif, for reasons beyond me, has hardly scored any runs of late and the number of chances he is getting now don’t make sense anymore. Isn’t poor performance one of the reasons Ganguly was kicked out? Why doesn’t the same yardstick apply to all? There’s the politics, dear!

But sticking to on-field performances, the bowling seems to be holding up a little better (hope I don’t jinx it) as does the fielding, but the batting, India’s strength for a long time, seems to be faltering.

This also begs another question: Is there space for Ganguly in the team? The experience in the team in limited to Dravid, Sehwag and to some extent, Kaif and Yuvraj. Considering three of these four are out of form (take your pic from Dravid and Yuvraj), Ganguly could (I said could) lend some stability to the batting. And if Sehwag, Kaif and Gambhir can get so many chances, why not Ganguly? I think it would be fair.

For if the batting does not stand up soon enough, this could soon come back and haunt them. The first two matches have been won by Harbhajan (with bat and ball), Irfan (with bat and a bit of ball) and Powar and Raina today.

There was a time when the newcomers did not take responsibility. The same can now be said for the experienced campaigners.

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