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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Who is to be blamed for the Ahmedabad debacle?

The Indians performed 2 miraculous acts in the space of 2 weeks. The first one was an individual feat - Viru Sehwag scored 319 in the first innings of Chennai test, whereas the second one was a team effort in the first innnings in Ahmedabad. The Indian team could not last beyond the 20th over on the first day of the test!!! What a falldown from the team that gave the Aussies a good run for their money.

The South Africans played well in all the three departments and overshadowed the Indian counterparts. Even their batting, which was supposed to be suspect against the Indian spin-twins, performed better than the Indian stars. All this contributed to a huge innings win for the Proteans.

The Indians looked tired on the field and their mind seemed to be somewhere else. The BCCI, in their endeavour to milk the golden goose that is the Indian team, has filled the schedule with so many tours (overseas and home) that for the next 1 year, they dont seem to have any breathing time at all. Even the 1 month they had left in between this tour and the Sri Lankan visit, they introduced the IPL concept.

This meant that the players had no time to recuperate from the several injuries on tour. One has to look at the on-field efforts to gauge the fitness levels of the players. Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble are fighting against time to play the test matches on this tour. These are probably two of the senior-most, committed players of the Indian team - the fact that they are missing matches is a reflection of how badly the schedule has been planned by the BCCI honchos.

India's overseas record is now better than their domestic record. It is so surprising to hear about it, when few years back it was exactly the opposite. The home tracks do not support the spinners as much as it used to earlier. So, as it is in other countries, the home advantage is no longer present. Players are much more confident to play Indians on their soil.

South Africa have come prepared and that is because they had more time to prepare after their series against Bangladesh. They, even went to the extent of playing the first test of the series without any warm-up matches. So much for confidence!!!

Back to the game, the Indians must start phasing out their senior members in the batting lineup. Wasim Jaffer can play only on featherbeds - that is not good news for him. It is time Gautam Gambhir is brought into the test eleven. Over the next 6-9 months, Sourav Ganguly first and VVS Laxman next should be replaced by younger stars like Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma. Same time next year, Rahul Dravid and then after another 6 months, Sachin Tendulkar should be replaced. Of course, all this should be done in consultation with them. But, will the BCCI do it? Going by their past record, I doubt it.

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