Well… Another world cup, another series and the Indian team is on its way back, right after the group stage after posting a world cup record score of 413 against the a set of over weight players aka Bermuda and losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The way they played against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka emphasised the fact that we are not worthy enough team to be in the Super Eights.
If u look at the team which have qualified to the Super Eights they are there based on the way they played their cricket. And yes that does include Ireland and Bangladesh.
Ireland played really superb cricket against Zimbabwe to tie that match and well what can u say abt their match against Pakistan. Their fielding was actually equivalent of a top notch team that day and if India had fielded that way, then we would have been on the way to the Super Eights. Not everyday will you find a match where there are 10 catches in a match and some of those catches were breath-taking (esp. the one that Johnston took to remove Kamran Akmal)
Now coming back to the Indian team and their fans. We have to look into the fanaticism of the Indian fan’s. We Indians are known to react in extremes always. When everything goes right, we place these cricketers at the top of the world and worship them as if they are the incarnation of God. Lose one match and we start baying for the blood of these very own Gods of ours. Now I am not justifying the way we lost the matches. It was the most pathetic performance I had seen in the recent times. In the same vein, I am not justifying the knee jerk reactions by the fans.
I can’t understand what we gain by having a funeral procession of the cricketers or stoning their houses and burning the effigies or hitting the cricketers posters with slippers and burning them.
Well guys they are there cause u placed them there. You are the one who adulated them and raised them to the status of a demi-god. Now if they have lost the professionalism, shouldn’t you also own a bit of the responsibility?? Isn’t your reaction a lot like that of the US of America. Create a demon and fight against it. Why do you need to create a demon in the first case?
And the fans are not just the ones who are giving knee-jerk reactions. It includes the people from the richest cricket board in the world too. The honourable (???) president of the board gave a statement telling that there will be wholesale changes and old people in the team has to go and make way for new blood. There is nothing wrong in the statement…yes that is what all of us wanna see. But shouldn’t these be the decisions taken after some thought.
More over, if u need to blood an youngster, are there any one with the required quality?? In Australia the cricketing process is so robust, that anyone from the county side (or whatever it is called there) can go ahead and play confidently for the national side. But over here, we see that a player excelling in the domestic circuit, fail miserably in the national side. So who do you want to see in the national side?? Lets see some options
Raina?? – Yes he is an exceptional fielder, but fielding is just one aspect. He has failed with his bat in all the opportunities given to him
Kaif?? – Come on …he is struggling to make runs even in the domestic circuit
Gambhir?? – Yes a pretty good opener, but sort of slightly inconsistent. He can either score a hundred or go out for a single digit score. It leaves the top order as wobbly as it is.
Jaffer??? – Man, this guy is a tiger in the domestic circuit, hitting 180-190 in the domestic circuit, but in the international scenario (at least in ODIs) he turns out to be a lamb ready for sacrifice.
From these examples, i just wanna drive home the fact that it is the entire system which is rotting up.Well how much ever i hate those aussie blokes for their attitudes, i need to take up their example for a well run system. If Hayden retires today, there is a Phil Jacques ready to get into his shoes. There is Haddin waiting for Gilchrist to vacate the gloves for him. No two words about their fast bowling options. And these are not pretty ordinary guys waiting in the wing. They are pretty capable guys who are ready to fill in the gap. Need another example?? Take Hodge. He showed he is capable batsman by posting a score of 100+. Next match Symonds comes in and Hodge is dropped.
Do we have players like that? If not, isn’t it the responsibility of the board to develop players like that? For sure there is no dearth of talents in our country, but all it needs is the nurturing part.
Another aspect which needs look into is the fielding. Yes, it is the coach’s job. But are the players ready to the rigors of tough training. Well, for his part, Chappell did try to improve the physical fitness of the team, but that was when the trouble started and there were many ex-cricketers aka cricket pundits (sic) who said that the Indian players are not built for rigorous training and it should be stopped. If so, my question is , why isn’t fitness a part of the youth and the domestic set up?? We have heard of a certain Munaf Patel for the past 5 years and he was groomed as the fast bowler. Yes, finally he had to sacrifice his pace for the accuracy and he did bowl pretty well in the world cup. But it is a known fact, that his fitness level is pretty much bad. What was the board/regional board doing in these 5 years??
The next point is providing proper pitches for the domestic matches and I think the board is working on it. How many times have we seen our team performing really well at home but struggling away from home on a pacey and bouncy wicket. Why can’t we groom our batsmen from the lower leagues to bat on a pacey and bouncy wicket. If not anything, it will teach them how to leave good deliveries.Yes, our country is traditionally known for spinners, but keep in mind, pitches in not all countries support spinners and to be world beaters u need to know how to bowl/bat in those type of pitches.
Finally, what abt the selection process??There are atleast a couple of players who are selected on the past records rather than their present performance. And if u do drop some one from the team for not performing well, then u do have the fans burning the effigies of the captain, coach and selection board. You will have the ex-cricketers questioning, how a man who has scored more than 10,000 runs is left from the team? Yes, he has scored 10000 runs, but how much of it did he score in the past year?? 100-200?? Well, at least we now know that if the batsman is a capable one, he can come back into the team by playing well. Shouldn’t that be the criteria for selection instead of past records, regional favours etc?? And again as a fan of Indian cricket, are we doing any good to the Indian cricket, by burning effigies, if someone you supported was not selected into the team coz of his poor performance??
Well, these are some of the thoughts in my mind to improve the brand of cricket in India. Though it might have some short term ramifications, I believe the long term advantages will over shadow these short term disadvantages
PS: Just came to know of the news that Sachin is being considered for captaincy. Guys, this is a step in the backward direction. I don’t believe that Dravid performed bad as a captain. His personal record as a Captain is also good. And there is no one else in the present team who can make a good captain. Just make sure that he takes his decision without getting too personal to the player. Instead of this,why do you want to make someone who is struggling to make runs without the burden of captaincy as a captain? Will it help the team in anyways. In my humble personal opinion, they need to retain Dravid as Captain and groom someone young, like Yuvraj, for captaincy by making him the vice-captain. Dravid, will anyway retire in another 2 or 3 yrs, but by that time, Yuvraj will be ready for captaincy, which he is not now. You need an example for this??? Mahela Jayawardene. He was groomed as the future captain under Jayasuriya and Attapattu and now you can see the output