Monday, 26 March 2007

Time We Learnt From Our Mistakes

Now even the slender thread by which India's chances rested in this World Cup is gone, and it is time for some serious introspection. The hype that surrounded the event suggested that India has a god-given grant to return with the World Cup but as we all learnt bitterly, the truth was far from it.

Effigies will be burnt, houses will be stoned and players will need an extra cover of security when they land, but this entire thing is not new to Indian cricket or the cricketers. The truth to be learnt is expectations should be proportional to reality. The media has had its part to play in making the common cricket fan believe the World Cup win was a possibility, and that includes yours truly.

Even before the first rays of Caribbean sunshine hit the Indian players, the talking point was the super eight. A preliminary stage that had two tricky opponents was conveniently forgotten. In the Champions Trophy, all the men in blue were able to achieve was a hard-fought win over England. So, on the big stage, the team has achieved one notable win in their last six games (forget Bermuda for a minute) and that is never going to be enough to satisfy a billion fans.

The lessons are yet to be learnt. Speculation is rife on who the next skipper and coach will be. Without mentioning names let all of us who follow the game understand one thing: The best available XI has to be picked, and the best man to lead the side will have to be picked from that lot, otherwise the present selection committee will be repeating some old mistakes.

The money that flows in to the game in this part of the world is phenomenal, but that alone cannot guarantee success in the field of play. The English Premier League or the NBA might have made football and basketball popular and rich in England and the USA respectively, but that has not led to the national teams doing well on the international stage.

In the same way, the game lacks nothing in this country. We have money, infrastructure and more importantly the first class structure (sans the wicket) that can produce good cricketers. But sadly there is something amiss in the links that we have to identify quickly, and rectify.

Indian cricket will have a tough road to travel after this debacle and it will be some time before the advertisers start to regain confidence in the game as a viable medium. But all this should do more good to Indian cricket than bad. The hard lessons will have to be learnt and the right path has to be taken from here. Let us not get too emotional and consider this only a sport, then the two imposters can be treated equally.

All said and done, the players have let the fans down, and the blame cannot be on pressure that is created by the media and fans. When the players bask in glory when they win and enjoy every second of the go- like status bestowed on them they should also be ready to face the flak when they fail. As a professional sportsman, one has to learn to live with the weight of expectations.

It is time the media, and that includes yours truly, presents the game responsibly. And die-hard followers should understand this team is not as good as it looks or made out to be. There is scope for improvement with the given talent, provided they learn from their mistakes.


Anirudh Lohia said...

Thats a very good post sir. You answered almost all my questions I had after that defeat.

But the problem with Indian Cricket is the Media Hype they get. Even before the players landed in West Indies we the common people were made to believe that this team will win the world cup by the media.

And I am not sure about what some of the crazy fans were thinking when they burnt Effigies and threw stones on players homes.

At last i would request everybody to realize that Cricket is a Game and let it be a game only.

I would love to have your say on the outburst by Indian Fans

Aswin Kini said...

Well said Krish! But where do we go from here? Would the team be revamped?Does BCCI have the guts to chuck out senior players and take bold decisions? Will we have a young captain? Will the domestic tournaments get a facelift atleast now?

There are so many other questions remaining to be answered. I hope the responsible persons do the needfull. Hope we go for an Indian Coach this time( I would prefer Kapil, or Mohinder). We should also go for a Psychologist in order to boost the Indian Morale and make them play positively.
Hope this happens

Aurindam said...

The best available XI has to be picked. How??
The person who was considered to be the weakest link has turned out to best in the lot almost!!) ... yeh Iam talking about Sehwag and you have to consider the wickets that he claimed too!!
And the people who were idolized like never before have returned empty-handed. Dhoni, Kumble, Harbhajan, Uthappa all come in this category.

The best man to lead the side will have to be picked from that lot. Again I dunno how!!
Hopefully u r not hinting at Ganguly. Ok he has done well... at least he has done better than the rest by scoring some defiant half-centuries. But that was not the purpose for which he was taken into the team. people like Kaif, Jaffer and Laxman are better at doing it. He was expected to give India the start. He was expected to lift the scroring as required. He was expected to change gears but was he able to do it?? Although his cuts and drives thru the off-side are still as good as they have always been and at this moment I don't see a better option than him. But if he is selected for the post again it will only be due to lack-of-options and that might again cause a slump in his form.

Whatever u hav said is right. But how to accomplish that?? What to consider??.... Records?? Youth?? Enthusiasm?? Talent?? Domestic Performances?? Overseas performances??

By the way what is the use mulling over all these?? I am sure India will go into their next LOI Series with almost a similar team!!

captainjohann said...

Stev waugh said teams from subcontinent play for themselves and not as a team except the SriLankans. I tend to agree. What is the contribution of team members when needed? They were afraid to FAIL.
We have made a telent like sehwag into a nonentity while another talent like Gambhir was wasted.
I remember when you scored your first hundred in australia, people wondrred how he never scored one with so much talent? Australians came only to watch your batting. why? We had players like sehwag,Dhoni,gambhir who had this talent like jayasurya,afridi,gilhirst.But how we nurtured them? Pakistan killed Aridi as we killed sehwag and may be dhoni.West indies used to have this type of talent in richards,weeks,worrel,walcott etc which slowly evoprated.Now we see the same thing happenning here.

Satz said...

Dear Krish
One of the most level headed & practical posts/comments that i have heard from an Indian expert for a long time...You have hit the nail on the head as usual as to where we lacked...And kudos for pointing out that the pressure generated by fans = adulation they receive in return if they perform...Lets face it,if you cant handle pressure,you cant play for the country at the highest level where almost 20 million people feel that he/she can decide wats best for the game/team !!!

The future looks bright if one must say,as India cannot ( rather should not) go below further....The only way seems up...However we need a low profile coach,someone whom the team respects....Unfortunately the team needs someone who understands the processes with considerable coaching experience. at grass roots level & who can handle inflated egos of the players..( Hopefully they are busted after this)...Large scale changes in the team are unwarranted,& I sincerly hope that in a scenario if they decide to change the captain,please let them look forward & pick someone afresh ...coz if they want to groom someone under a senior player,I still think Dravid is the right man..Going back to Tendulkar/Ganguly would be detrimental in my opinion as no tam has done well in the recent past by looking backward in this regard....(The exception is West Indies,but they havent been beating the world anywayz)... .I sincerely hope Chika though that as u said ,let the team be picked first then the captain... When will that day dawn on us?

Anonymous said...

Hi Srikanth,
Good Perspective on the whole scenario..But Myself.. and ex cricket fan, Haven't bothered to watch much of cricket since 2001 , Why??? Because.. I don't think India has what it takes, not being pessimistic..In the present world , where there is loads of people good at loads of things what we need is a excellent and consistent approach to win or succeed in anything.. Be it a shopkeeper selling his goods or a IT icon like Narayana Murthy!!!You just have to be the best.. despite pressure.. despite the money .. the fame and alwys be grounded.
And thats exactly wht India lacks.. too much hype on the so little achieved.. Buckling under small tensions.. And if there is talent.. We have to wait and watch a 100 games to have the luck to watch our top players(not saying any names).. get a decent 50 runs instead of a duck. Is this game or team running on talent or a jackpot.. where a outcome goes either way.. Sad to be associated with such a poor team.. Proud of Indians like Vishwanath Anand...Indian Team had best get their game straight .. if not for shame but for sympathy for the millions of Indian fans who waste hrs cheering and supporting this pathetic game players..

ajathya said...

I think everyone should take the blame. An Indian fan who is honest with himself/herself should have seen signs of disaster early on. It wasn't long ago that we were thrashed in the West Indies, in the Champions Trophy, and of course, in South Africa. We shouldn't have expected much from the team if we just had one look at the recent record. The media of course most of the time tells just what people want to hear. We still believed in the team because of the immense talent and potential.

That's where the ego comes into play. I was amazed by the spirit shown by the Sri Lankan team. Muralitharan, with all due respect is a more 'accomplished' player than Tom Moody, yet he was out there trying to 'prove a point to the coach'. He was out there enjoying the game of cricket. Were(are) our cricketers doing that? I guess once they do that, they really won't be feeling any pressure. It sounds so annoying when they complain about pressure, when most of it is self-imposed.

It was sad to watch an Indian bowler get angry when another senior member misfielded off his bowling. Does that represent the lack of cohesiveness in our team? Are huddles really meant or are they just for show, or a routine imposed by a psychologist?

I disagree with most people who are calling for the heads of most senior players. I believe that, even if you get rid of every player in the team, and bring in 'fresh blood', it won't be long before they become like today's players.

It's the entire attitude of the team that needs to be changed. I was happy when Sourav was dropped, I knew that it was best for him, I missed the Sourav who never let a spinner go without thrashing him all around the park. He justified his talent, potential and made a comeback. I thought at that time that changes were slowly starting to take place. We immediately try to blame Greg Chappell for everything. But was he given the leverage to perform? I'm sure he was trying his best to make a good difference to the Indian team. Now I'm sure he'll be happy to leave all this politics when he is 'sacked'.

Like most people, I too believe that this is a perfect opportunity to look at everything that is cricket; BCCI, the team and it's attitude, the domestic leagues, the media coverage, our expectations, and tune it so that it brings the best out of the sport in India. There really needs to be a fundamental shift in attitude if we aim to be at the top.

Indyank said...

yes krish it is great post...

The media has a responsibility to project only the true picture...this Indian team definitely was not on my list to make it to the semi finals...I was just wondering why the media were overdoing it? May be a few had their own interests to do project their own brand ambassadors...

well the truth was far different..I always believed that AUS,WI,SA and SL will make it to the semis...that was based on the strengths of those could be different eventually but so far it is true and i will stick to these countries....

Indians should learn to enjoy cricket..but the cricketers seem to enjoy everything else other than cricket...

And the fans should not get so emotional...I can understand their hurt pride and sentiments but if one had analyzed the cricketing facts,they would not be much surprised by these results.Request everyone to treat it as a sport and be a sport..

Enjoy the fun here and don't attach too much sentiments:

Funny jobs await the Indian cricketers...

Wikalp said...

There are several fabrications and allutrision for this historic defeat...but also there are no sign of commitment from the misholders..the breakage they created in the country is really unforbidable and havoic which ..the illustartive only know..

Anonymous said...

Shame On Cricket team India
It's really very disappointing and sad that we are thinking that it just Chappel and Darvid but I think it's the whole team responsibility and % can vary but every one is responsible. I think we have to do analysis. I think the major responsibility of the experienced people. It's good that India is not in super 8 because I think with this performance they can't win even a single match. Now Media is making hype that we have to change the Darvid. I think this is not the solution but we have to give rest to every senior player because we have to plan for future by making present tough. So we have to introduce new and young players in team India and make them strong rather then we look towards seniors.
I know Sachin is great player he did great for India but that time he got Great love and respect from India and world but now if he is not doing good then why we are keeping him just because of his last achievements.
Now we have to little strict and remove the politics from the games. I think we have to make at least 60% change in Team India. All seniors should be out and they can play for Domestic because from today we have to think for next world cup team. Why they are keeping Sehwag from long time. Its really worst part of team India that we choose players on the basis of Old (2-3 years.) performance not on the basis of present.
You can see the Sachin,Darvid, Saurabh, Sehwag perfomance not by that he is highest run getter in India but how fast they are falling in the world ranking.
Hands up to India selection Committee and BCCI. Who is doing this great job to make us shame.

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Sir! I have always been a fan of your comments and somehow stumbled on this blog by chance. Now I thank god that your words have given me a soother that returns my appetite and cures my insomnia that the team india inflicted on me through their debacle!
I hope, most of my fellow fans wander on to your blog to find some solace. As you guessed it right that people are terribly hurt, but as mukul kesavan (one of the talented bloggers) says that indian fans must understand that failure is not a synonym for betrayal!
But; sachin, saurabh, virender and anil should give up cricket. they must!

ejlabs said...

Is Ranji the right tournament to select our talent? Should we not have a better league system into which the sponsors can pour their money and we can attract talent worldwide just as the English league attracts. That way we can see better competition and increased exposure for our talent. We need to have private cricket clubs participating in a nationwide league. That would eliminate regional biases as anyone with talent can join any of the clubs. The league can be active in the months of October till March when the climate is better suited for swing bowling

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why the BCCI and the selection committee picks a worthless player like Agarkar, who hasn't proved himself.

Ramakrishnan said...

I firmly believe that the captain and coach has been responsible for this debacle. During the last world cup, our line up was functioning like a well oiled machine. You had the best opening combination in the form of Ganguly, Sehwag or Sachin. Since the time Chappell and Dravid have taken over, the experimentation has been mindless. people have been shuffled up and down the order with nobody sure of what position they are going to play in. The experiment never stopped and nobody knows the result of the experiment. Even in the WC, we sent Uthappa up whereas Sachin could have been sent opening and we know for a fact that Sachin performs best when he opens. Imagine if Australia kept shuffling Hayden up and down the order, one match at number 3, next match number 6 and then sometime opening. Do you think a player will be able to perform during a crunch situation?

I think Ganguly is a far far better leader and he would have taken this team far if he was the captain.