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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Australian tour - All is not well with Indian team

0-8 in consecutive overseas test matches. This is acceptable if the team in question is Bangladesh or Zimbabwe or even the current West Indian team. Not the No.3 team (which was recently No.1) in the world. The performance has led to a lot of disappointment in the hearts of Indian fans, ex-players, commentators, journalists. There have been a huge outcry to sack all the seniors of the Indian team. Why this Kolaveri? Is it justified?

Now, let us take a step back and analyse what went wrong and what (if any) did go as per plan?
  1. The batsmen started the tour Down Under with a lot of expectations from their fans. There were suggestions that the team would win their first ever series in Australia. Hope, even after being white-washed in the four-test series in England, was probably not right especially without any remedial actions after the disaster.
  2. There was no series of injuries as witnessed during the English series. Zaheer Khan went through an entire series without breaking down. But, this did not make a difference in the final analysis. The result was the same in both series.
  3.  By the end of second day in Melbourne, India were slightly ahead of the Aussies. They could not tighten the screws on the Aussies even after half-centuries by Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid. This is where, from the 3rd day of the test, things started to turn to the Aussies. Not able to seize the opportunities that came their way was a big mistake (Hussey's dropped chance by Dravid might have tilted the scales).
  4. Planning by the Australian team cannot be ignored. The plans laid out by the support staff was on the dot, be it Gautam Gambhir or the other Indian batsmen. This should not be forgotten in the hue and cry raised about the Indian seniors.
  5. The previous point also raises an important point on the effectiveness of the Indian support staff. Are they not able to impose their plans on the Indian team? Or are they not able to plan at all? Are Duncan Fletcher sealed? Why has he not attended any press conferences on the tour? Is there something that the public is not aware of? The head of Eric Simons is surely going to fall but that will not solve the entire crisis the Indian team is under.
  6. Virat Kohli and Umesh Yadav emerged as the positives of the tour but they must now endure the feeling of a whitewash through their initial years and emerge stronger. Only then, they can travel the paths of their current colleagues.
The BCCI had, through its powers, created tests from a non-existent schedule to ensure that the test team remains No.1. Can it do the same magic and conjure test series from nowhere (even against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) so that the younger players can start playing tests? Or have they filled up the time with their money-making ODIs and T20s already? Can 'A' tours be restarted? 

My review comments after the previous whitewash still remain - will they ever be implemented? God only knows.
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