Before I present my case I must draw your attention to this piece by Ian Chappell one of the best cricket captains to have ever played the game of Test Cricket. Please head over to read it HERE
Yes, India are 2-0 down. Yes, we were outplayed and outclassed. But chastising the players is not going to solve the problem. First up we must look at what all went wrong.
Wrong # 1. It happened even before we came to England in Barbados when India shook hands with 84 to get of 90 deliveries with 7 wickets in hand.
Lesson Learnt : This for me was a historical blunder, we have always been pulverised at Bridgetown Barbados. Significant as it was Indian cricket’s turnaround began when Laxman and Dravid batted like men possessed at Eden Gardens against Australia in 2001 and in 2011, the same two men were at the crease when India decided to pull the curtains in Barbados ! BLASPHEMY ! this gave a clear insight into how positive our team was thinking. As Micheal Atherton rightly said, if you just sit at the top someone will catch up with you. You have to keep raising the bar !!!! MSD this surely cannot be the way the Worlds Best Test Team plays !
Wrong # 2. Zak injury after 13 beautiful overs at Lords.
Lesson Learnt : Never take a players word for fitness, fitness at all costs must be proved by playing side matches, bowling overs, bowling in nets is not sufficient. You cannot let your lead bowler just walk into such an important series with that little bowling. The Board needs to really underline its priorities and decide what is more important money or being No.1. Schedule cricket in a manner that your team is well prepared.
Wrong # 3. The opening batting fuss, ‘Dravid will open !!’
Lesson Learnt : The biggest corner stone for India becoming such a formidable Test Team is its strong batting line-up. While this is actually a rare phenomenon, its actually not a surprise that a top side’s strength is batting and not bowling. How can you disturb your biggest pillars ??? Why must Dravid keep wickets, open the batting and what not ??? The skipper must tell Raina’s & Yuvi’s to earn their stripes, they could have opened and the 3-4-5 remain undisturbed. Would Shane Warne open the bowling medium pace if McGrath is injured ? I could understand in Lords test, but going into Nottingham with Dravid as opener ?
Wrong # 4. Use the bowlers wisely, dont spend them. The Tail must bat or else you will never catch up.
Lesson Learnt : Whenever you go in a match a bowler short this is what will happen. Ishant and Praveen Kumar have been doing donkey’s work in the first test with Zak out and Harbhajan a shadow of the bowler he is. In Trent Bridge with Bhajji pulling out again Ishant & PK & Sree had to bowl almost 20-24 overs a day which is completely unfair on the bowlers. The proof is in the scores :
Scores at Lords :
1st Innings England 270 for 5 to 474 for 8 decl.
2nd Innings England 62 for 5 to 269 for 6 decl.
Scores at Trent Bridge :
1st Innings England 124 for 8 to 221.
2nd Innings England 339 for 6 to 544.
Full credit to the English Tailenders, but our bowlers were spent, thats what happens when you go in with 4 bowlers and 1 bowler pulls out injured !!!!! It has hurt India badly also its tail has been blown away just way too easily which has not helped.
Wrong # 5. Overlooking Bhajji’s form and banking on his class.
Lesson Learnt : Past is past, Bhajji has not looked threatening over a few years now, none of the opposition fear him and when overseas he is a very ineffective bowler. I hope he can prove me wrong, it will help us win matches. Ask him to pick wickets in domestic cricket and come back, sorry but he must go and come back better. In the Lords test India looked like a side with just 2 bowlers with Zak out and Bhajji totally ineffective.
Bottom line is India can harp about their batting talents, however, if India want to win Tests consistently and want to be the best Test Team in the world they will have to focus on the unsung heroes of Indian Cricket, the bowlers. To remain a top Test Side you must take 20 wickets !!!!! For taking 20 wickets you need ATLEAST 4 FIT bowlers or take the gamble and go with 5 bowlers if you think your bowler’s fitness is dodgy !!!!
It was a huge series in South Africa where we missed the chance to win there, In West Indies we let go of an easy chance to go 2-0 up settled for 1-0 and now in England we are 2-0 down !!!! There is a lot of work to be done, India & MSD need to fast forget their past laurels and their World Cup win and get back to doing hardwork and actually get back to winning.
Its time to regroup, rethink, revitalise and re-announce yourself !