Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Form a new batting core and 4 other things Team India needs to do urgently

Embarrassed! Humbled! Humiliated! Destroyed!

India has lost the Test series against England 3-1 after leading the series 0-1. It’s not the loss that hurts, but the way we lost. I thought 4-0 was the worst you can expect, but this was an all-new low. Despite winning the Lords Test, it feels more like a whitewash. Maybe even worse.
Metaphorical in a way
Before the final test match, I wrote an article (click here) claiming that this team is undergoing a transition and will take time to return to glory days. The response I got from some of my friends was that this is the most ****** team ever (enter your choicest word here). I tried defending the lack of application and fight shown by this team and hoped they will at least give a fight. Alas, they stooped to an undefinable level of depth not expected from a top Cricketing team. The optimist in me says they will make a comeback in the limited format and beat England. But then that's where I am missing the point. Even if we defeat England in the one-dayers, we will allow ourselves to conveniently forget the debacle in the test series and move on. This is not one to be forgotten. Lessons need to be learnt and strong decisions have to be taken. 

And it should happen right from the top.

1. Duncan Fletcher to quit for good - When we are down in the dumps, the axe should fall on someone. That someone, in my opinion, is none other than Duncan Fletcher. I personally don't know what he is bringing to the table although all the players have high regard for him. Duncan Fletcher was the coach of the England team and was in a much better position to help the batsmen and bowlers to adapt to the conditions. Simply put, he failed. BCCI won't fire Dhoni, unless Dhoni retires from the test format. Hence, the other alternative is Fletcher.

2. MS Dhoni to quit captaincy - If I say MS Dhoni has lost it, few will disagree with me especially after the drubbing we received. If you are one of those who feel we have actually improved from a 4-0 whitewash to 3-1 result, God help you. If you tell me, he didn’t have any resources to perform in England, then what was he doing in the selection committee? He could have raised this issue then and there. And considering the influence he has based on his allegiances, he would have got what he wanted. Why was Stuart Binny selected? And then dropped? And why was Ashwin selected for a green top? Your guess is as good as mine. I am a huge fan of MS Dhoni like most of us, but this time we have to prioritize our cricket team over a player. If MS Dhoni can play under a different captain, then great. Let it happen. Else, he can choose to retire from Tests. And anyways, he's just 2 losses away from becoming the worst overseas captain ever!

3. Prepare for a Test series abroad by actually playing Test matches - England prepared for the 5 match test series by playing a 2 match test series against Sri Lanka. They lost the series 0-1. But they had enough "match practice" when Indian team joined them. Indians, on the contrary, were playing T20 and ODI's before coming to England. Even in England, they played a dumb practice match before the series. Even a Test series at home would have done us some good.

4. Pujara and Rahane should be given longer rope to succeed - Despite what we say in this test series, there's still no denying that Pujara and Rahane are still the players who can take the team forward. Pujara, Kohli and Rahane are perfect 3rd, 4th and 5th in the batting line-up and needs to be given time to succeed in the longer version abroad. They need to be the new core of the batting line-up.

5. Continue with Kohli, we don’t have an option - Virat Kohli has all the capability and potential to be the Sachin Tendulkar for the next generation. I know I will get a lot of flak for comparing Kohli with Sachin. But let’s admit that he's our only hope to be closest to Sachin Tendulkar at least in terms of tsunami of runs scored over a career span. He may have failed miserably in the Test series, but had performed well down under and there's no reason why he can't do it again. He is a wonderful batsman in the limited format and still have lots of years to make a significant different in the Test setup.

I still feel this team is undergoing a transition. But even for transition to happen, you need to persist with what you think is the right balance, right players and an astute leader despite failure. This team needs some omissions and some additions (more from the youth system) to take the Test story forward. There are some players better suited for limited edition - utilize them there. Identify players better suited for the longer version and give them more opportunities.

And for heaven’s sake, take those catches that come your way!


  1. I really don't follow tests anymore after Sachin's retirement, but yeah read the news in the papers. Terrible. Virat and Sachin. Hmm. Supposedly Virat scored even less than the total number of extras.

    1. Welcome back Jenny.. :) Virat can be what Sachin was in the 1990's and 2000's, the chap has potential..

  2. I think this made Congress' defeat in the Elections look reasonably better.


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