Posted by: Prashanth Rajan | January 28, 2012

3 things for Indian Cricket

If you are a avid cricket fan, you must realize that Indian cricket is going through the worst of phases. 8 overseas losses in succession. This may sound like just another random rant about the state of affairs but for someone who is particularly interested about the tiny bits and nuances of Test cricket, this would definitely hurt. I used to wake up at 5 AM just to watch McGrath bowl and rattle the opposition back in the days when Steve Waugh led Australia had seven slips as the fielding setup. Ah ! What a glorious age for tests that was ! Even though now Australia are all but void of that aura of invincibility, we Indians are masters of making champions out of second grade teams. Let’s face it.

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We  were able to win the series 1-0 in West Indies out of 3 test matches, against a very weak Carribean team, coming into terms with its own board and player disputes, the situation getting comical when Gayle jokingly offered to play for the Indian team following its dismal show in the current series down under. Click here.

Let me just think of 3 things what India must be doing:

1.Prepare players for all kind of pitches, not just Indian ‘rank turners’ and flat dead unexciting ones

When was the last time the Indians lost a test series on home soil ? No, this not an appreciation. But sadly, we are baby fed champions. We like to bring all the other teams here and defeat them and then us pride ourselves in doing so. I still doubt whether we could have pulled a World cup victory had it not been in India.

We must prepare pitches in India that emulate all kinds of surfaces. Like the swing friendly English pitches or the pace friendly Aussie ones. Send more players overseas to play in english and australian counties instead of playing in the cash-surplus IPL. The IPL never did any good to anyone except making people more richer and display some exuberant shots. No classic cricket there, sir, no thank you. Make players accustomed to all kinds of surfaces so that it won’t be a huge difficulty when playing overseas. Lets look at it. It will be a win-win situation. Say, a natural swing bowler would have performed very well and played according to his natural game in a swing friendly pitch instead of adapting to the spin friendly flat Indian pitches. A spinner would have been rendered useless in pitches like the Australian ones (how many wickets did Ashwin take in the current Aussie series ? Heck he scored more runs than many of the top order batsmen !). The Gambhir Interview couldn’t have come at a more inappropriate time ! Instead of focusing on the issue in hand, he had to diverge from the whole topic. A frustrated attempt I must say !

2. Rest players periodically and cycle and experiment changes

We still have no clue as to why we retained Laxman and did not go for the occasional gamble in Rohit Sharma. Rohit has had an excellent series in India and the West Indies and the test break would have been a appreciation of his consistency. But Heck no, we had to include the so called ‘Aussie terminator’ Laxman who has been in and out in a flash, much like a warmup for the Oz bowlers. We should also not be afraid to put to task the senior players. The situation is so worse that even Michael Clarke had to comment on our policies ! Perform or perish. The same could have been said of Ishant Sharma( A sehwag favorite mind you !). No idea why Varun Aaron was not in the playing eleven, when clearly he had performed well on provided opportunities.

3. Take responsibility and act sensibly

We are amazing at bringing out the hidden potentials in players. hey, wait a minute, not our own. We made Stuart Broad a national hero in England when we toured them this summer 0f 2011. Oh yeah , the same Broad whom Yuvraj pulverized for six 6s. We brought out  an awesome bowler in Peter Siddle, who was previously just another bowler in the Australian ranks. The Sehwag comments are really surprising. (Now if you struggle against a team like this, the team who lost to England in the Ashes not long ago, just imagine what would have happened if McGrath and Warne were still playing !!) All test matches would have ended within 3 days ! and an individual score like that of Ponting’s or Clarke’s would have been a daunting task to chase down for the Indians ! The post match interviews after each defeat are also nothing short of irresponsibility

We were so obsessed with figures and statistics that we are waiting for the 100th hundred, something that has been the topic of media frenzy for quite some months now, instead of realizing that even a genius like Sachin is also a human. The media must be constantly pressurizing the BCCI and the team selection panel.

                                                In a way, we hope this paves way for the thinking that cricket is just another sport that has been glorified unjustifiably. Focus on more sports like soccer( The indian team lost to Bayern Munich 0-4). Get a major revamping in media focus and sponsor other sports and be alive and kicking ! Not just that occasional silver or bronze medal every 4 years at the Olympics. We need to take a leaf out of our neighbor China. But will something happen at all? No. In a few months some cricketing nation will tour India, and we will win and everything will go back to normal. Amazing memory we have ! No ?

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