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Thursday, February 20, 2014

NZ Test series - the aftermath

India did not win the 2nd test match against New Zealand despite staying at a situation where the opposition was more than 140 runs behind with half the team back in the hut. The first two and half days of the test saw the Indian team go ahead so much that the Black Caps had to dig deep to recover and hence after the struggle, the match ended in a draw. It took a world record for NZ to rescue the team and thus win the series. Luckily or unluckily, there was no third test and the Indians had to come back without being able to equalize the series.

There has been articles about MS Dhoni and how he should step down. From all the voices heard, only Rahul Dravid has been sensible in his views and opinions. The others have been more emotional than anything else. If there was a different captain in place during this series, what would he have done with the team that India has? Agreed that MSD did not utilize the services of the fringe players but the ones he chose did well in 2nd innings of first test as well as first innings of 2nd test, didnt they? If Dhoni has to be changed, whom do we have as alternative? Kohli? I dont think so. Virat, for all his talent, still has to mature and learn from the mistakes the team members have been doing so far. He himself is to be blamed for dropping Baz McCullum in the initial phase of the latter's innings - what would have happened if he caught him? Would Neesham still have scored a century?

Let me take all of you back to this page on Cricinfo - this is nothing but the overseas results of the Indian team in 1990s. The team was mostly captained by Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar (before the era of Sourav Ganguly) - Azhar was asked to step down mainly because of the match-fixing scandal while Sachin couldn't translate his run-making prowess to captaincy skills. The results were much worse than what it is right now. India lost to Zimbabwe even. This was the time when players like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid made their debut. Of the matches India have lost overseas, eight matches (against Australia and England) came with the best batsmen (of the generation) as well as a bowling attack not too different from today. After the new batsmen have joined ranks, the performance has improved quite well.

The team has drawn one test each in the two series and got into winning positions in two tests. This is the improvement that Dhoni is talking about. If you take into perspective the combined experience of the team (where Dhoni is the senior-most in batting), the progress has been significant. Only if the replacement players were strengthened to give Dhoni better options, things will definitely improve. It is time for the BCCI to start using its fortune and providing more 'A' tours as well as options for these players to shine.

Do you agree? What else is the medicine to India's problems?
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