What did India learn?

The recent drubbing of India in South Africa would qualify as the worst ever in recent memory. Normally, touring teams have managed at least one win. Although, the more recent ones under Sourav Ganguly had gotten the fans used to much more. Like winning. But that’s not the point. In true Indian sense, let me say “we competed”. Or did we?

India battered and beaten I really think there’s no point in looking back at the matches and trying to figure out who’s fault it was that India lost. It’s pointless because it cannot change the result. What needs to be done is understand what India learned from this ignominous defeat. I think (actually, hope) there is a lot that the team learned.

  1. The team cannot change at a whim: Irfan Pathan had some success as a No. 3 batsman in ODIs and then, was shunted down suddenly. Any explanations? If loss of form was the reason,  shouldn’t he have been given more chances? All that this move achieved was a loss of confidence for Pathan. And then the bowling went downhill. Moral: Let players get used to a spot. And let them try to make it their own. I think it’s called solidity in a batting/bowling order.
  2. Who is the captain?: Is it the coach or the on-field appointed captain who will take the tough calls? For the first time in a long time, India looked like a team without a captain. Dravid was listless and Sehwag looked like he would prefer to be anywhere else. A strong captain like Ganguly brought much more to the table (or field) than batting capability. And Mark Taylor of Australia was another perfect example of a captain being an inspirational leader despite poor batting form.
  3. Flexibility needs to be introduced: This point may look like I contradict what I say in point 1, but let me explain: Point 1 would have to hold true when you have a winning streak or the team is in good form. In a slump like India is experiencing right now, the batting needs to be shuffled around. MS Dhoni looks like the only batsman who has any clue about what he’s doing. Maybe offering him more than 20 overs (he did get it, so no problem!) that he may at the end of the innings could be wiser. So when (not if) Sehwag and Sachin fail, having an in-form batsman come in early could help the team. It may also have a positive impact on other batters to follow. I mean, what was the point of sending in VVS Laxman at No. 3 when he had arrived in SA just 48 prior to the game? And then, the media takes off again!
  4. Bowlers need to know where to bowl: This is something that has long been the bane of Indian bowling. The spinners bowl too quick and the quicks are not quick enough. This may work out well on the dustbowls of the subcontinent, but on faster tracks like the ones in SA, length and line plays a bigger role than pace and our bowlers seemed totally lost on where to bowl. Except for Zaheer Khan, no one seemed to have any idea where to bowl.
  5. Fans need to be patient: It is a fan’s right to criticise the team. Or is it his privilege? As supporters of the team, Indian fans need to show some restraint. Writing this after a 0-4 drubbing may be the wrong time, but fan discomfort was visible right after India lost the 2nd ODI. Sure there were a string of bad performance prior to that which would have triggered this off, but still… And fans should not barge into dressing rooms at any cost.
  6. Media needs to know when to stop: Going after out-of-form players is a good way to fill pages and TV time. But the way the media has taken off against the current crop, it would appear that India were on the verge of annihilation and not in Cricket! Very little positive has come out and while it’s not all without reason, there could well be a reason to be a little more ‘circumspect’ on what’s written. Sure most would not agree with this point, but think of the impact it has on the team. For instance, VVS Laxman’s performance should not be an indicator of his capability. He has been there for just 48 hours and may not have even got out of jetlag, leave alone getting used to the conditions.

I think we all agree and know that India performed below par. There did not seem to be any good reason for the team selected was good based on the capability. But a fact of life is that at least 12 of the 15 in this group will represent India in the upcoming World Cup.

So will tearing them to shreds help? Or would being a little positive with the criticism be a better idea?

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  1. A strong captain like Ganguly brought much more to the table (or field) than batting capability. And Mark Taylor of Australia was another perfect example of a captain being an inspirational leader despite poor batting form.

    Yes that is true and no one can neglect that fact. I don’t understand why the Indians(selection commitee and BCCI) target their own experienced players who have proved themselves.I haven’t seen anyone officially supporting the experienced players like Azar and Ganguly.They have spoiled their carrer.

  2. That’s true. And there seems to be no end in sight to this nonsense. Incidentally, this has always been the way the BCCI has worked, whether it were Azhar, Ganguly or even someone like Kambli or Praveen Amre (remember him?)




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