Sunday, 18 March 2007

Indian Cricket Hits A Nadir

Rahul Dravid with most of his fingernails gone and standing transfixed and clueless at first slip was not a pleasant sight. Take your pick, followers of Team India can be plain disappointed, get angry or keep crying all day. Well Dravid has given us flexibility here too.

There is no point in talking 'pedigree' in the line up unless thy deliver. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had no business in going in to a shell after the loss of early wickets. The conditions might have not been ideal for stroke play but their inability to graft and keep the scoreboard moving cost the team dear. Nearly 25,000 ODI runs between them but tied in knots by a bunch that believed that this great game revels in the moment and past records count for nothing.

Too many tactical errors cost India dear. The decision to bat was the mother of all mistakes; mind you I am not talking in hindsight. The wicket had some offer for the new ball and trying to get the batting campaign off in these conditions was not the brightest of ideas. I was sent in to eerie spin when Viru walked out to open with Sourav. What has Robin Uthappa done wrong as an opener to face this demotion?

Viru would have been better of against the slow men in the middle overs with his skill to hit inside out. With the frame of mind he is in, making him face the new ball was throwing him in the deep end. India might have suffered through the efforts of Sachin and Sourav but Yuvraj with his clean hitting gave them a ray of hope. But to lose five wickets for two runs at the death and expect to win a cricket match is like expecting five days of uninterrupted cricket in Guyana.

The target of 192 did not give enough for the bowlers on a wicket that eased considerably when Bangladesh came out to bat. Given the fact, we have one medium pacer who, after ten years of international cricket, does not have an idea to bowl six balls without offering a 'boundary ball' or slip-in a wide or a no-ball – and another, who trains his thoughts on how to glare at batsman rather than plot their down fall.

Munaf Patel was the only saving grace in an otherwise forgettable day. Keeping a tight length, he seems to have understood the science of one-day bowling. His height offers him bounce in spite of cutting down on pace. The catch Dhoni dropped proved costly in the final analysis, if India had one chance it was at that point with three batsmen already gone, India could have gone for the kill but that was destined not to be.

The knock by Tamim Iqbal was a tutor. He remained positive even though wickets tumbled around him. He was always on the lookout for runs and to me that proved seminal. Not bowling Sehwag early was another of Dravid's innumerable and unexplainable blunders. If Bangladesh can bowl 30 overs of spin against the best of that trade and come out smiling, Dravid should have learnt his lessons.

The team think tank will have some hard explaining to do. All is not lost. Rather there is nothing more to lose it can only be all or nothing from here. The team has to come out positive and learn from this failure. But there was a crumb of comfort as Ireland got past Pakistan in another shocker. The cricketing Gods might have scripted these days for the minnows - hence there was no escape route.

19 comments:

Voice in Colombo said...

///The decision to bat was the mother of all mistakes;\\\

100% agreed with this statement.

Actually, I was also surprised to see Dravid electing to bat. Even though Sri Lanka scored 321 in this wicket, it was against Bermuda. You can never rate Bangladesh at the same category of Bermuda.

I think India under estimated Bangladesh too much. They expected “Bangladesh will lose this match automatically”. They didn’t do any thing to “win the match”.

On the other hand, Deshi’s went out their with a clear intention of beating India. Their body language was brilliant! From the ball one, they were right in the game. Now I am bit worried about what’s going o be the result in Sri Lanka’s match against Deshi’s. Will they be able to win two ODI’s in a row for the first time ever?

Sad to see Pakistan out of the super 8. And, as a Sri Lankan fan I hope the same thing will happen to India (Sad, but I have to say that, because I pray for a Sri Lankan win on 23rd :- ) )

Yuva said...

I think the tag of 'favorites' got them into unnecessary pressure. Also Indians have never faced these guys in the last 27 months and that would have left considerable void in the planning.

Indians have won all their recent matches chasing and it would have sensible to stick to the run chase mode.

I guess the Indians were in a vacation mode with all the talk of relaxation and getting mind off from cricket.

Its time India gets their gameplan right, Sachin is surely uncomfortable playing in the middle order. He may have got some centuries here and there playing in the middle order,but will not be a significant factor if he continues batting at No.4.Remember the match India lost recently at home to lanka.Sachin just couldn't force the pace against spinners and eventually we lost the match while chasing. Sachin for some inexplicable reasons is not willing to use his feet against the spinners. When was the last time he stepped out and played those inside out shots.Sachin can be useful as an opener than a middle order batsman. This is my batting line up -> Sachin,
Utthapa,Ganguly,Dravid,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Karthik/Pathan. India should risk playing Pathan for the seventh batsman and give themselves a chance for 5 bowlers.

Sehwag can be played if you are looking for a serious off-spinner. Atleast he gets more spin than Harbhajan and knows how to get wickets!

Dinesh said...

Krish, I agree with you completely on all your points. I was also terribly disappointed when the Sourav Yuvraj partnership was not turned into a good defendable total. The low order simply collapsed. I was disappointed to see Dhoni go for a Duck. I expected some fireworks there.

Siddharth said...

I agree with almost everything you have to say.. i would have said the same in rahter more scathing terms though..

and i think you were wrong in just one place.. sehwag should not have played in the middle order.. in fact, he should not have played at all.. pathan at 7 will get you more runs than sehwag.. or else, you can take kaarthick as well..lr

Anonymous said...

Krish,

You were right..once the wickets started to tumble we became too defensive..instead of going for the shots we were trying to save our wickets but it was too late before we cud realize that..Anyway a common question to you and all the other readers...what are India's chances to make it to the next round..I know it is not impossible but we need some luck and some responsible Cricket! Can u ppl share your thoughts???

Sai

Pradeep said...

Something quite similar to our campaign at the last world cup... Lost to the Aussies then...and now to Bangladesh...Atleast we do things in an order ( alphabetically I mean)

I think the difference this time is that the outcry is not the same as it was last time around...("crazy" people stoning cricketers homes.

Let's face it...the team is aged...and most people realize the folly in a team selection like this...We are so against change...I think someone will have to break a leg or face serious injury before we replace them in the team.

So much said about chappell and his tactics... but if the boys will forget the basics...god help the team...am sure at the end they will find an easy scape goat in Chappell...

Having said all this the team has also shown on many occasions that they could bounce back...let's hope they put this failure behind them and come up with a better performance the next game.

Can an Indian fan hope for anything else...? Jeez, it's scary just to think what India could do to itself...ala Pakistan...

Preetam said...

The fundamental question I have after India's debacle is ... What is Greg Chappel's role in the Indian World cup squad? He had created such a ruckus over Sourav Ganguly and who contributed the most in the match against Bangladesh? Sourav.

Also, I would expect that an international cricketer like Chappel who led Australia for so many years should be able to convince Rahul - relatively newer at the helm - to take a better decision after winning the toss. I wonder if Chappel played a more "hands-off" approach.

I think the writing on the wall is very clear. Greg Chappel's long overdue firing/sacking now needs to take place ASAP. He has to go.

vimal said...

Pakistan lost too.
But with a great fight.They defended 132.

India lost without fighting.India was defending 192.

Rezwan said...

Bangladesh have arrived, but what went wrong for India?

I present you three instances how India perceived Bangladesh cricket team before the match.

1) SET Max channel airs a promo of their "Extraaa Innings" program starring panelists Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma. They show 9 teams including the number ten in ODI ranking Zimbabwe but leaves out the number 9 Bangladesh.

2) DD National channel airs "the Fourth Umpire", a cricket analysis program. Their episode during the India-Bangladesh match contained Indian cricket legends like Chetan Sharma and Kris Srikanth among the panel. They were discussing how India will win this World Cup and which players will contribute to what extent. Then there was the public opinion section via telephone. An young Indian was asked "In last match Gibbs has hit six sixes an over. So what India will do today?" He said " Dhoni will strike 7 sixes an over today." How? "Bangladesh will produce a no ball which will be dispatched over the rope again." Then the panelists were laughing at Bangladesh being a minnow and Srikkanth's view seemed like they deserved the 7 sixes an over.

Srikkanth dismissed any chance of Bangladesh causing an upset against this Bangladesh. Another panelist Anjum mentioned Bangladesh had beaten New Zealand in an warm up match. Srikkanth remarked all these are rubbish. There is a vast difference between India and Bangladesh so Bangladesh cannot win. India has come to win the world cup. If they loose today they should take the next flight home. Everybody was laughing. Chetan Sharma commented India should not take Bangladesh seriously. If India should respect Bangladesh then they should not have come to this World Cup.

During the match break Srikkanth was upset with India's paltry total of 191. After some discussions he commented that it was the Indian batsmen who gifted their wicket , the Bangladeshi bowlers had really did nothing special. Chetan Sharma thought that Bangladesh batting is not that strong. Srikkanth still thought that India should take the next flight home if they loose.

After the end of the game as India lost to Bangladesh Chetan and Srikkanth were not there to comment. People were wondering whether they went to the travel agent to confirm the Indian team's return ticket. Anjum, the another presenter thought that Bangladesh may cause another upset to beat Sri Lanka to provide a chance for India in the World Cup. Wow! what a complete turn around of assessment about Bangladesh.

3) Bangladesh has toured every Test cricket nation except India. Because cricket is a business to them and having Bangladesh is commercially unprofitable. A tour with a said minnow is commercially unattractive for the media and advertisers. India last toured Bangladesh in 2004 December. Bangladesh has beaten India for the first time then. After that India cancelled their next scheduled tour to Bangladesh twice and did not play them in last couple of years. The reasons suspected was again commerce. So India chose to deffer it till May 2007. I am not sure whether they will come to Bangladesh or invite back Bangladesh as there will always be excuses available.

So what can you say about the above instances? Simple arrogance and looking down on others has caused India this disgrace. As a saying goes "none are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves". India has took their eyes off Bangladesh who progressed a lot in 2006. Their techniques got better and they are getting used to winning albeit most of the opponents were not from the super eight of Cricket.

This simple arrogance also sieged the Indian cricket team who came to the field without in form Sreesanth and Kumble and decided to bat first probably with a score like 350 in mind. And the pressure on the players were immense as they found Bangladesh bowlers using the conditions and maintaining line and length. When Bangladesh was batting they just had no clue why these eighteen year olds were not respecting the paper tiger bowlers. While Bangladesh had a game plan they just had no plan "B" to tackle the surprise.

Anand Vasu says in Cricinfo that:

Bangladesh have slowly, steadily, doggedly worked at their cricket to the best of their ability for years now, and the fruit of that is this win. The point is that they have been around for a while now, it's just that not too many have taken note.

The Bangladeshi Newspaper Prothom Alo said this win is a reply to the Indian's disrespect about Bangladesh. Bangladesh proved India that what is commerce to them is merely a game for them. The article concludes with the hope that India is put down on their feet with this shock. If they still cannot revise their opinion about Bangladesh they will be reminded in the coming tour.

Now India will go nowhere with blaming players and the coach for this loss. Cricket is religion, passion and everything to Indians. Actually millions of Indian cricket fans deserves better from the Indian team. And this will happen when all the extra pressure of high expectations and influence of commerce in cricket are reduced. Let the Indian team play for themselves, not for the cup, but for the sheer pleasure of the game. India has enough good players to become a champion but now it may be too late for this World Cup.

Vivek Nema said...

Kris...,

Everything was Ok for India...Now its time for indian to show skills.
As cricket fan , in last week..I had seen extreme of cricket and after seeing 6 sixes from Her. Gibb's i started loving it and now after Bob Woolmer's death stuns my thinking about cricket...

Why its so ??????

AjiNIMC said...

Losing is not a crime but now being natural is, be angry, shout, enjoy as a team, dance. India use to do this early but lately this is missing in our team, the real Josh.

We Indian are powerhouses and very emotional, we can double our energy level when we are with the Josh. Lets see how they cross the Bermuda triangle.

Mozammel (Pappu) said...

It is time to face the facts, winning all the matches in the warm up, Bangladesh is no more at the level of world cup minnows. Win with India was a total co-ordinated effort from the Bangladeshis. Have you seen them field? Did you see how much they were committed to save runs, save fours?

Bangladesh is now just another good team who has capability to beat any other team in world cup matches. Hope to see Bangladesh play at least at semi-final level.

Razib Ahmed said...

Bangladesh played very well and India could not- that is what happened in that match. From the beginning, Bangladeshi players played extremely well and they just continued their good form. On the other hand, Indian players and experts were dreaming to make some records in this match. In the warm up match against Netherlands, Indian batsmen were not impressive at all.
India is traveling Bangladesh after World Cup. So, I guess we can see some upsets there too.

Anonymous said...

I hope India recovers from the defeat from bangladesh

ramesh said...

Many people are blaming Dravid’s decision to bat first. But how much valid that is? What they will do if B’desh won toss and put india to bat first. As a team you must prepared to face both options .
The main problem I think is that India under estimated the team B’desh. They thought of experimentations untill the game with Srilanka. But B’desh proved that they are not minnows anymore. It is another Srilanka in the making. Give hearty applauses to the young 17-18 year old talented boys who came to the crease as real players and not as record aiming/holding heroes.

Bharadwaj Sheshadri said...

The decision to bat was certainly a mistake. But I believe that Dravid misread the pitch to a certain extent. It was a tactical error. Dravid said that he believed that the pitch would do a bit initially but that the Indians could manage. But the Bangladeshis were more likely to have succumbed to this early movement than the Indians. Dravid's misreading the pitch might also be a factor in Kuble not getting a game. The pitch also flattened out later.

Aswin Kini said...

Well Krish, it is time for the Indians to perform or perish.
Let us face it, unless and untill we realise that we need to be positive and aggressive, we can't win even against Bangladesh.
A good example is our batting approach against Bangaladesh. See how Dravid, Sachin, and Ganguly buckled down and allowed the spinners to take advantage.

Why don't they ever realize," Attack is the best form of defense, one good ball can end the innings of any batsman." Indians have this uncanny habit of being over-aggressive or over-cautious in situations where the opposite is required.

How many more times are we going to collaspe like this?

What was Dravid thinking when he persisted bowling Zaheer, Agarkar, and Munaf on a pitch that suited only the spinners. Well, i think that inspite of having 900+ ODIs of experience between them; the seniors are yet to learn their basics.


I congratulate Bangladesh on their Win. They really deserve it for playing positive cricket.

On the other hand, India need to pull up their socks, or else, they will have to go Home. I think the Indians are still in Holiday mood, because the way in which they played Bangladesh proved it.

I hope the Indians learn their lessons now atleast and try to play good and aggressive cricket in the future.

let me re-iterate," Just because you have 3 players who have 30,000+ runs, 200+ fifties and 75 centuries, doesn't mean that you will win the world cup hands down, you have to play good and aggressive cricket against every side in every game and beat them all to lift it. Champion sides never rely on superstars, they just perform as a team day in and day out. If the Indian team doesn't understand this, they will struggle even to beat Canada".

Jagannadh said...

I agree with what all you have said Srikkanth but the fact remains that none of our players rose to the occasion and made an effort to steady the innings. A lot desires to be learnt from the Lankans and other Minnows of cricket, who have done a great job. We have an irresponsible team which is not for playing Cricket but rather modelling.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kris Srikanth, After watching your various interviews and artciles, looks like you are way out of touch with the current scenario.. you always say that the (almost) same team succeded in 2003, and its coach's fault that this time it failed.. Well, if you look at the games closely, quality of cricket has evolved a lot from 2003 to 2006 while our players haven't.. I think its just that simple.
I think ex-cricketers are actually causing more problems than solutions from the comments they are making (don't know if it is due to current/future opportunities or just due to the money involed to upset certain folks)..
I think Indian cricket needs a major overhaul.. Players are playing for their own interest and not playing as a team.. Forget the stats and just look at how other teams are playing (and just imagine how indian various team members would have played in those scenarios).. I think that provides a clear indication on where we are..

Also, I somehow feel ex-cricketrs like yu think you know everything about cricket (and you always knew more than rest of spectators).. you should remeber, India have many smart folks in doing various stuff (like analyzing, strategizing etc) and some of them even if they chose not to play cricket for a living (or are not good enough in cricket) have more smarts to look at all the different variables that are affecting cricket in diff countires..