During the England series, Team India went haywire as everything that could go wrong, went that way. Dr. K K Srivastava looks into the reasons behind the fall of the Champions within just four months of winning the World Cup Ã‚Â
Team India’s cricket tour of England must be rated as the most ill-fated tour of all times. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I don’t remember any touring team having to go through such massive injury problems. A number of players had to return home because of injuries. With the weather, umpiring, and even the luck being against them; Indians, on top of all that, were going to face a teamÃ‚Â which was at the pinnacle of its form, and was raring to go. It was too much to copeÃ‚Â for a team having played non-stop cricket from the beginning of the year against top teams to be followed with the World Cup, Indian Premier League and finally a tour of the West Indies.
The tour of England is always a very important one which requires total commitment in terms of preparation due to completely different climatic conditions. To play a swinging ball is a difficult proposition for any team and this is the reason why the English team is so hard to beat in England. It took the West Indies of 70s and 80s and the Australians in full cry to beat England in their home grounds. India with everything against them had no chance.
So why was team India put in that situation? The more appropriate question would be: By Whom? I am sorry but it eventually boils down to the flippant and uncaring attitude of BCCI – the so called controlling body of Indian cricket. The cricketers with the best will in the world could not have done well against the present England team which seems to be perfect in every sense of the word. They have in-form batsmen, attacking fast bowlers, a wicket keeper who canÃ‚Â bat with aggression and an incisive captain in Andrew Strauss. But if the Indian team were chosen with some thought and consideration, they may not have done so badly especially if they were notÃ‚Â so overbooked. Even robots will fail under these circumstances!
The Indian cricketers came directly from West IndiesÃ‚Â looking tired, exhausted and jaded after just managing to beat them by the narrowest of marginsÃ‚Â to play a team having rested for three months which was just getting ready for this tour. Ã‚Â The Indian team didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even get a chance to acclimatise with the English conditions before the first Test. Finding playing conditions diagonally opposite to the West Indies did not help. Even then, India had her moments in almost all the Tests but due to lack of firepower in the bowling department, they were unable to press the advantage home. It will be fair to say that on the field, the matches were won and lost by the bowlers.Ã‚Â It was a different matter off the field. It will appear to the cricket lovers in India that BCCI is no more interested in the pride and success of the cricket team so long as itÃ‚Â keeps getting the insurmountable amount of money it has become used to. The cricketers have just become pawns to make money. Not being answerable to anyone for its actions does not help. Unless some sort of control is put on the governing body, I am afraid things will not improve.
The Indian selectors will also have to change their attitude and come out of the present selection policy of picking the players from every zone. A talent doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t belong to a place. Also it has to be horses for courses.
However the main problem is going to be the continuation of IPL. The long-term problems are beginning to come to the fore. Test cricket is going to be the main sufferer. It became quite obvious during the series that when it was impossible for India to win and that some kind of defensive play should have been the order of the day, our batsmen were still attempting airy, fairy shots and throwing their wickets away. We needed eleven Rahul Dravids. Unfortunately we had only one. I dread to think what kind of state our team would have been without him. There are not enough words in any dictionary to describe the genius, talent, quality and the character of the man who has performed so brilliantly in every situation and every form of cricket. The way all the English cricketers ran to shake his hand in the last match showed in what esteem and, indeed, reverenceÃ‚Â this great ambassador of Indian cricket is held by cricket lovers all over the world.
If a solution is not found soon enough, then I cannot see a bright future for Test cricketÃ‚Â in India especially after the retirement of our great trio of Dravid, V V S Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar.
This article cannot be complete without a glowing mention of our captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The whole series must have been totally alien to him as he had to face such humiliating defeats throughout the tour and must have dreaded the post-match interviews. But it was extremely heartening to note his extraordinary ability to take everything in his stride and handle the situation with great philosophy and practicality and withy supreme confidence. It is an old saying – form is temporary, class is permanent. Every team and the player go through a bad patch at a certain time. If anyone can get our players back toÃ‚Â their deserved status in the world cricket,Ã‚Â I am sure it is Dhoni.
Keep up the good work skipper.
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