Indian Cricket – the way forward…
Test cricket at home has been an emotional thing for all of us. We made it difficult for teams to come here and win. We won many series, we drew the others. But one hardly hears of a home series loss in India. Teams came and Teams went. Very few could break the jinx – and fewer deciphered the codes behind test cricket in the sub continent.
All this talk becomes void from tomorrow. England have beaten India convincingly 2-1 at home. India has lost its ‘invincible at home’ tag. India has let down a billion people who watch the sport with an emotion. This time it is personal…
Night is followed by daylight, every disaster is followed by redemption and resurrection, every failure is followed by another attempt to succeed..
Moving on from this humiliation is a hard task for the Indian team. It needs to pick itself up, regroup and move on.
Some questions need to be raised and some bold decisions need to be made..here are some that needs to be taken
1) All through the series, the place of Sachin Tendulkar in the team was questioned. There are only two ways out of this for him – Perform or Perish.
Dropping him isn’t likely to happen but the man needs to make a decision sooner or later. The master will be retained at least till Australia’s tour this February. The team needs the man more than the man needs the team. On questions whether Sachin will strike form and have a purple patch before he chooses to retire, it is unlikely though not impossible for someone who has 30K+ career runs.
Most arguments are centered on the team being more important than a player itself. Think of this scenario where Dhoni says he is confident of himself and is still enjoying the game. Wont everyone start jumping around questioning who gave him the right to decide his place in the team. Then why another set of rules for another player (with all due respect to the master)
1) Best men are chosen to battle it out on the ground. Think of his age, form, record for the past 3 years, way of dismissals and answer, isn’t he a liability in a sense? Its not ability, its about whether he performs. Sachin could very well come back in the next test and score a century, but wasn’t he given an extra long rope, Something which the other players can never think of. Is it fair to them??
2) Captain cool loses his Midas touch. Think test cricket, think MSD. the two don’t fit together well do they?
The captain has come under criticism for lacklustre decisions and uninspired captaincy overall. Dhoni the player has a worser reputation to defend then Dhoni the captain. Apart from the recent 99, one dosent remember many of MSD’s match winning/match saving test innings. As a player and as a captain, Dhoni isnt at his best. Think of another wicketkeeper/batsman/captain – Kumar Sangakkara. Sangakara would anyday retain his place as a batsman alone and would’nt need his captaincy to secure him a place in the team. Does Dhoni??
The way out would be to retain Dhoni as a wicketkeeper/batsmen and appoint Gambhir as the Test captain. Its true that Gambhir himself hasnt been in great form but one hopes captaincy pushes him to deliver his best ( Like in KKR ). Maybe relieving Dhoni of his captaincy would let him focus on his batting and conjure us some match winning knocks like the MSD of yore.
3) The Indian batting line up – Talking of Sehwag is a double edges sword. Talk of dropping him, and the very next match, he scores a brisk century. Its true that Sehwag hasnt been consistent enough, but I don’t think the selectors are gonna drop him. Same with Gautham Gambhir. Abhinav Mukund, Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay are the possible replacements to the opener, but none of them have been compelling enough to drop Sehwag/Gambhir from the team.
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have shown us what they are capable of and the selectors will definitely persist with them. For their own and the team’s good, they should start scoring runs consistently. Yuvraj Singh has taken 10 years ; being in and out of the team and hasnt yet cemented his place. Something which hasnt happened in 10 years isnt going to happen in the near future. Dhoni’s pet ravindra jadeja would retain his place for a series or two and make all of us pray that he scores triple hundreds like he does in the domestic circuit. Manoj Tiwary could be given an extended chance in the team in place of Jadeja if the latter doesn’t strike gold with the bat.
4) Indian Bowling – Zaheer has been rightly dropped from the side for the last test and isnt making a comeback to the team unless Ishanth gets injured! Enough Talk about Zaheer’s ability, experience and reverse swing. Bowlers are meant to get wickets and when they don’t do that over a period of months, you drop them. Ashok Dinda has been a revelation in the domestic circuit and its time he is given a long rope in the national side. Once Umesh Yadav is back from his injury, the pace trio of Ishanth, Dinda and Yadav look promising and are capable of delivering results for the team.
Enough tinkering with the spin combination. Ashwin/Ojha have looked a settled pair except for a couple of matches and are any day better than an aging and non performing Harbhajan Singh.
Much more than these team changes, the team needs to re invent itself with belief. Winning at home has never been more precious and the team needs to regroup itself before February when the Aussies arrive. Another home series loss against Australian will push Indian cricket team and its billion fans into sorrow and Indian cricket will be where it was in the late 80′s before Sachin’s arrival. Perhaps what the little master begun in the 90′s, he could repeat again next years. A billion prayers with him and the team
This article comes not from a cricket expert but from a casual observer and fan of Indian Cricket.
- M Shrikanth