Indian Cricket Team’s Lamentable Performance
India’s five test series against England on the English soil was off to a promising start Indian players looked intent to win the series in a spectacular fashion. After India’s victory at Lord’s no one would have thought that the same team, three weeks later, would face its third heaviest test cricket defeat in history. Rose Bowl (Southampton), Old Trafford (Manchester) and Oval are the places that showed the touring cricket nations’ ineptitude. As a test-cricket lover, you could feel hollowness whenever a match ends up on the third day with an innings defeat.
The team is facing scathing criticism among the former legendary Indian test cricket players. Sunil Gavaskar asked the Indian players not to embarrass their country. Ravi Shastri called it ‘Pathetic’, while Sourav Ganguly was filled with despair. Indian test team’s failures are multi-dimensional as it can’t be categorized under ‘poor form’. Muddled thinking and indefinite selection methods played a huge role. For example, Stuart Binny was in, then out, then once got picked up again and Gautam Gambhir was selected from nowhere as he scored less runs than Dhawan.
India’s biggest disappointments were the performances of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara, who earned the name as proper test player averaged just 25, while Kohli only salvaged 108 runs in the 5 test with an average of 13.5. India was also very unlucky to lose Ishant Sharma, especially after match-winning 7-74 in the Lord’s match. Ishant Sharma’s departure forced more responsibility on the shoulders of young and talented seamer Bhuvaneshwar Singh. Indian batsmen were also mauled by trio of English fast bowlers (Anderson and Broad shared 37 wickets between them). But, England’s surprising factor was Moeen Ali.
Moeen Ali only started as a part-time option as Indian players are known for thrashing spinners all over the park, all over the world. But, Moeen has really ensnared Indian players as he respectively picked up 6 and 4 wickets in the second innings of the 3rd and 4th tests. His bowling hasn’t been either devastating or accurate but the desperate players fell easily into his trap. Many might feel that it is a glib to blame the defeat on the greedy BCCI and on excess of IPL, but when you see such richly talented batsmen’s confused display; you can’t fully deny the correlation.
An article in UK’s ‘Telegraph’ brings up a new viewpoint. The article brings up a statistics which says that the odds of visiting side winning a test series has become very harder in the last two decades. The statistics says that of the 70 test series played in the decade, 35 (50 percent) have resulted in whitewash, in favor of the home side. In the 1990’s proportion was said to be one in eight. Of course, there is no denying that the modern test series is plagued by scant preparation time as the players travel lots of miles and only few days rest, in between the test matches. Nonetheless, the anomaly for Indian test team is not that it hasn’t mastered the conditions of England; it hasn’t even mastered the staples of constructing a decent test innings. The problem is that the Indian team has given up without displaying a fight.
Sacking Duncan Flectcher (he led ageing English Cricket players to Ashes victory in 2005) or the Captain Dhoni isn’t going to bring revolutionary results for future test matches. Although Fletcher is enjoying marginal success in his stint as Indian coach, he has fine-tuned the talents of Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane. These batsmen have also done well in their first test tours to South Africa and Australia. Dhoni’s resignation is going to bring a change as players weren’t ready for the challenge at all, and there is no apt player to replace him.
Let’s hope that Indian cricket team doesn’t lose its test-match playing caliber and that it goes through a better transition phase.