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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Nagpur Post-mortem

Dale Steyn at a training session at the Adelai...Image via Wikipedia
An interesting link on the day when India lost the first test at Nagpur against South Africa, while browsing hit my attention - especially this block of text
Winners become sinners when confidence turns into complacency and arrogance. They over-estimate their own invincibility and under-value mundane disciplines. Whenever someone feels on top over a long period of time, they are tempted to neglect the very fundamentals that helped them succeed in the first place. They might even start to feel that the rules don't apply to them.
The article was about Toyota's current issues but I felt that the Indian team would do well to read this article as well as introspect. If anyone thought that the Indians could face the No.2 ranked side in the world (having the No.1 ranked bowler), they needed to check their head first. The Indian think-tank also probably under-estimated the strength of the South African team (did they not remember the fact that India was all out for 76 in the last series in 2008) - If they did not forget, why did they not prepare for Steyn? One cannot plan against such a bowler - agreed. But, did they think they could get away with the practice they had prior to the test series?

Not to say that this was the only reason for the loss against South Africa. There were plenty of others as well.
  • Luck - VVS being added to the team was not luck - it was bad planning. How come a player who was 50-60% fit on the eve of the match added to the fifteen?  Rohit Sharma getting injured on the morning of the match was purely bad luck. No one can dispute that!!! Saha must be thanking his stars that he was lucky to play one test match - something that many players in the yesteryears were not so fortunate.
  • Injuries - The injury to Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman obviously played a big role in the test match. The middle-order had no or minimal experience. Badri played a good innings in the first innings but gave it away in the second. Vijay had played well in the opportunities he had received so far - this was his first failure. This lad deserves another one or two chances.
  • Bowling - Because of the attention Steyn received, the Indian bowlers might not face the heat but the truth was that the bowling was downright bad. Harbhajan and Amit Mishra bowled well in patches but not well together to take wickets. Ishant could not get any wickets at all - surely Sreesanth must be back in the next test match.
Will the Indians prepare a track for the South Africans like last time? Will we see the pitch of Eden Gardens take turn from the first session? Time will tell if the Indians draw the series to retain No.1 or go down to No.2.

So far, the selectors have changed their team by calling up Raina, Sreesanth and Dinesh Karthik - the best option to shore up the batting would be to hope VVS is fit again.

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