Indian Cricket team in submission

Australia are in trouble at 3/10 when Ricky Po...
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“I think we have nothing to lose at this point in time,” Ashwin said after the first day of the 4th test match between India and Australia. Everyone was expecting what happened on Day-1 where Australia; what no one knew who would shine and it was Clarke and Ponting once again notching up their 100s. We do look for a potential double-hundreds tomorrow.

However, when I was reading this article all I could think of was that these are not words of encouragement – it simply tells send a message that they have resigned. It is natural to say that between two opponents the one who has less to loose generally takes more risks. We have seen many spirited performances from upcoming youngsters in different games. However, for a team of the caliber of India where they have the best test players in the side and are world champions this statement to me reflects weakness than strength.

In the same article, Ashwin speaks of missed opportunities but does not talk about what they are going to do it. It is like “we know we have to go places, just dont know how to walk”.

Being a fan who wants to see his country do well, I am no longer interested in what was not done and what missed out, I can figure that out myself. I want to know what are you going to do about it when the same thing happens next time. I want to hear messages that give me confidence on the team.

Today, in my life I was checking Australian Open scores and cricket only dawned upon me when I went to cafeteria during lunch, and by then the day was over. Just goes to show no matter how much I love my cricket team, unless they showcase confidence, unless I see them making effort I am not going to be round to cheer for them. Results are important, but I also want to see them working when the chips are down and Ashwin simply does not reflect it in his statements.

 

Update

And then there is media. In an another article they state the following. Really do you think so? Comeon grow up

The captain MS Dhoni was unable to find a way to break through that combination, and he might have been glad of his suspension for slow over rates as he watched Sehwag struggle with a similar scenario in Adelaide.

Goodbye to India’s batting greats | Opinion | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo

That dream now lies in the dust and with no Test series in sight for the next eight months, there seems to be nothing more to achieve for a generation of players who began their journey in the ’90s – the ’80s in Tendullkar’s case – and have formed the most luminous collection of batsmen in the last three decades. It’s cruel that their journey should end on such a low, but when they are gone, they will be remembered for their peaks.

Everything points to them turning up together in Adelaide. But the result and the performances won’t, and shouldn’t, matter. Indian cricket has sunk to the lowest of lows: in another time these very men, as did they so single-mindedly at the beginning of the last decade, would have been relied on to forge a revival. But their time has gone now. Indian cricket has no option but to embrace the future, however uncertain it may seem.

Not all of them will go at once. In fact, there is merit in graduating the next generation under the watch of a master or two. But a line must be drawn in Adelaide. Every player who retains his place for the next Test series must have a clear role to play in creating the future.

But for the moment, push the gloom aside and keep your eyes peeled. Viru, Rahul, Sachin and VVS you might never watch together again, and not in that order. They might or might not stroke a couple of hundreds between them, or put together one of those monster partnerships, but if you care enough to watch, there will still be moments of magic: a murderous scythe through the covers, a picture-perfect drive down the ground, a cover drive that paints the most ornate arc, or a gentle swish that charms the ball to the ropes. It’s the team, and the results, that ultimately count. But invariably it is individual players who leave the fondest memories.

via Goodbye to India’s batting greats | Opinion | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo.

Yet Another Controversy

Taken at SCG, 3rd Day, Australia vs India, 4th...
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From last week, when the focus for everyone was India and how they need to perform overseas (me included); England just came around to prove that their journey to the #1 might just be as dubious as it was for India. England started off their first test ranked as #1. From what I remember England has always been in the shadows until now. They have never experienced what it means to be champions until they won T-20 World cup a few years ago and now as they are ranked as no#1. So, it meant a lot to them to keep that reputation going. And then came the overseas series. But, England batting was humbled by a young spinner from Pakistan – Saeed Ajmal.

It just goes to prove only one thing – England just like India and many other countries are not comfortable playing outside their own country. But, for now, I am reserving this topic when if England prove me wrong by winning something.

English batsmen were foxed by Saeed Ajmal so beautifully. While the entire world back in July 2011 started to talk about India’s bad performance, this time even before anyone can start a discussion, English (Bob Willis) launched an attack on an upcoming youngster who did heroics.

This is not the first time that these tactics have been employed to avoid what could have been an obvious attack to their performance. During the infamous series in 2011, England was involved in a series of events during the course of 2nd test match and yet again we saw England take the obvious approach of attacking, while the same team (India) showed what character is.

After the 2nd test match during the ongoing Australia-India series, Australian started the trash talk as if the sledging that they do is not enough. Yet, the sub-continent teams continue to let them be. We have seen how Murali was humiliated over the years because of his bowling actions when no one across the seas had an answer to his bowling. And how can someone forget what happened during the 2nd test between these two teams back in 2008.

When will it be enough? IMHO, we have tolerated their baseless attacks for ever. Time has come to say something to nations who think they are bigger than the game itself. We have played this game fair and square even better and if needed we should demand respect.

Where is Indian Cricket Heading

It was in July-Aug 2011, during the Patoudi Series when India lost their #1 ranking to England. They lost the series 0-4 and it was pretty humiliating as it was coming off the famous World Cup win in April 2011. India’s win in World Cup kept India safe from the criticism. However, the dust storm was waiting to unleash itself, yet no one surprisingly saw it. Everyone was hoping that 0-4 loss to England was one off thing. And, then came the Agneepath series (Border-Gavaskar series) and all hell broke loose as India lost first 3 test matches to Australia in a humiliating fashion. As i write this post, yesterday was when India lost their 3rd test match and hence loosing the series as well. And thus started the blame game.

Dhoni is suggesting in a correct diplomatic fashion that after this series he will think about getting the right mix of senior and junior players. What surprises me is that in the article and many others comments he has made, yet there is no mention of how we can improve India’s batting and bowling in the nations where we have fast pitches, which evidently is everywhere else except the sub-continent. This has been the crest of India’s problems since FOREVER and even now after another mini-crisis looms, I do not hear anyone talking about fixing that problem. I will not call myself the best cricket judge over all the talent pool we have, yet I am surprised no one is talking about this or atleast I an not reading about it. I just read this article which finds Gavaskar say:

“I think a lot of soul-searching needs to be done. We need to look at first-class cricket structure, pitches that we play, scheduling of matches, it has to be a really long hard look at everything.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“When Tendulkar and Dravid and those boys retire in a couple of years, where is Indian cricket going to be. Are the youngsters coming through?”
Australian opener David Warner is perhaps mindful of Australia’s badly handled transition

This article summarizes quotes from many great players and I would agree with all of those, it simply suggest one thing – Dhoni and selectors have been waiting too long trying to ride the “luck” Dhoni has had. And, yet their Karma has expired finally. Things do not happen on their own, they happen because someone needs to do something about it. Thinking that everyone will keep doing their job which was half as good as Australia did when they were at their peak was calling for trouble and trouble came calling.

I will quote ESPN from an article

Srikkanth, stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India’s abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. “It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don’t think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.

In the same article, Shukla said:

all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. “We admit that the team’s performance has not been up to expectations,” he said. “But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].

“We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series.”

What Shukla said is perhaps right, we do not say a lot when all is going well, and when things start to go wrong everyone feels it is everyone’s right to critisize. And IT IS. We are fans, who view the sports, who make it what it is. We are the ones who make Cricket what it is. If it was not for us, Cricket may have just faded like Hockey in India (which turns out to be our National Game). Yet, Shukla seems worried about the criticism. I wonder if this is because he was also riding Dhoni’s luck.

Enough of criticism; I believe in the philosophy that if you see a problem, bring at least one solution on the table.

India cricket needs a higher calling; they need to work on getting their home in order. Having spin pitches for international matches is not a bad thing. If Australian curators prepare fast pitches to give their team the advantage, India curators should do exactly the same. But, that should not stop us from getting our international team some practice on fast pitches during Duleep trophy and other domestic formats. I am not sure, how many of our international players play domestic format. But, there has to be a way of bringing up the right talent.

Why can we not have specialists for Test Cricket who can have the edge in foreign soil; time is now to find methods that go beyond the conventional methods. We need to reinvent the way we are selecting players. Pace academies have to be setup. Seeing a little of all matches in recent series, I can say with certainty that Australia’s bowling attack was not invincible like in the past. They won because of their consistency. We need to get our bowlers the same set of consistency – bowl 6 of 6 bowls in the same spot and then we will be what others. Lets have different coaches for each division with a head coach (a strategy followed by many American sports). Let specialist focus on the problem to solve it.

Lets hope someone does something. We can afford letting go of all senior players in a flash. We need the right mix of experience and fresh blood. As Anil Kumble said – we need to have a transition plan to make it work. We are already late by 12 months, but we have to salvage all that we can.

Related articles

Where is Indian Cricket Heading

It was in July-Aug 2011, during the Patoudi Series when India lost their #1 ranking to England. They lost the series 0-4 and it was pretty humiliating as it was coming off the famous World Cup win in April 2011. India’s win in World Cup kept India safe from the criticism. However, the dust storm was waiting to unleash itself, yet no one surprisingly saw it. Everyone was hoping that 0-4 loss to England was one off thing. And, then came the Agneepath series (Border-Gavaskar series) and all hell broke loose as India lost first 3 test matches to Australia in a humiliating fashion. As i write this post, yesterday was when India lost their 3rd test match and hence loosing the series as well. And thus started the blame game.

Dhoni is suggesting in a correct diplomatic fashion that after this series he will think about getting the right mix of senior and junior players. What surprises me is that in the article and many others comments he has made, yet there is no mention of how we can improve India’s batting and bowling in the nations where we have fast pitches, which evidently is everywhere else except the sub-continent. This has been the crest of India’s problems since FOREVER and even now after another mini-crisis looms, I do not hear anyone talking about fixing that problem. I will not call myself the best cricket judge over all the talent pool we have, yet I am surprised no one is talking about this or atleast I an not reading about it. I just read this article which finds Gavaskar say:

“I think a lot of soul-searching needs to be done. We need to look at first-class cricket structure, pitches that we play, scheduling of matches, it has to be a really long hard look at everything.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“When Tendulkar and Dravid and those boys retire in a couple of years, where is Indian cricket going to be. Are the youngsters coming through?”
Australian opener David Warner is perhaps mindful of Australia’s badly handled transition

This article summarizes quotes from many great players and I would agree with all of those, it simply suggest one thing – Dhoni and selectors have been waiting too long trying to ride the “luck” Dhoni has had. And, yet their Karma has expired finally. Things do not happen on their own, they happen because someone needs to do something about it. Thinking that everyone will keep doing their job which was half as good as Australia did when they were at their peak was calling for trouble and trouble came calling.

I will quote ESPN from an article

Srikkanth, stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India’s abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. “It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don’t think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.

In the same article, Shukla said:

all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. “We admit that the team’s performance has not been up to expectations,” he said. “But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].

“We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series.”

What Shukla said is perhaps right, we do not say a lot when all is going well, and when things start to go wrong everyone feels it is everyone’s right to critisize. And IT IS. We are fans, who view the sports, who make it what it is. We are the ones who make Cricket what it is. If it was not for us, Cricket may have just faded like Hockey in India (which turns out to be our National Game). Yet, Shukla seems worried about the criticism. I wonder if this is because he was also riding Dhoni’s luck.

Enough of criticism; I believe in the philosophy that if you see a problem, bring at least one solution on the table.

India cricket needs a higher calling; they need to work on getting their home in order. Having spin pitches for international matches is not a bad thing. If Australian curators prepare fast pitches to give their team the advantage, India curators should do exactly the same. But, that should not stop us from getting our international team some practice on fast pitches during Duleep trophy and other domestic formats. I am not sure, how many of our international players play domestic format. But, there has to be a way of bringing up the right talent.

Why can we not have specialists for Test Cricket who can have the edge in foreign soil; time is now to find methods that go beyond the conventional methods. We need to reinvent the way we are selecting players. Pace academies have to be setup. Seeing a little of all matches in recent series, I can say with certainty that Australia’s bowling attack was not invincible like in the past. They won because of their consistency. We need to get our bowlers the same set of consistency – bowl 6 of 6 bowls in the same spot and then we will be what others. Lets have different coaches for each division with a head coach (a strategy followed by many American sports). Let specialist focus on the problem to solve it.

Lets hope someone does something. We can afford letting go of all senior players in a flash. We need the right mix of experience and fresh blood. As Anil Kumble said – we need to have a transition plan to make it work. We are already late by 12 months, but we have to salvage all that we can.

 

2012: Week 2 in Review

Goals

Last week, after I wrote that I am doing well against my goals, Sunday was a train wreck. On Sunday alone, I watched twice as much television as I did the entire week. However, the week following brought back some sanity and it was getting normal yet again. Finances stabilized and as I started to spend more time on my blogs, I started to see readership jump marginally – a positive sign. I was also able to visit the Gym 3 times in the week for my regular treadmill run and was in no time I was cranking up 3K in around 25 minutes. Weekend was a mixed-bag where I got utterly lazy and just did not care of finishing up a couple of my tasks as I had planned, yet I was forth coming when it came to going out and figuring out various things for Aabhya’s coming birthday.

Overall, I am satisfied how I am progressing against my set goals for this year.

Sports

India slumped to a new low, loosing the Border-Gavaskar series to Australia as they lost their 7th straight test overseas. Everyone is now finding faults against the seniors and Dhoni. There have been rumors of Dhoni retiring from test cricket sooner than expected and also some of the senior players like Dravid and Laxman being axed. My emotions tell me that I am so much disappointed with how India is performing and they need to do something. No one, and I mean no one is able to perform in Australia and they have failed just as they did in England. While people talk about letting seniors go, I am wondering if infusion of fresh blood will really solve the problem? I think not, because India is simply unable to negotiate fast pitches and unless there is an effort to fix that, we will be here again – Dhoni or no Dhoni.

Soccer

I became a fan of soccer when I bought FIFA 10 while I was in US. As I started to understand the players and team my interest in the game has ever increased. This year I am following 2 leagues – La Liga and Premier League. And in both the leagues the current leaders are surprised. La Liga not so much because Real Madrid is as strong a team as Barcelona, but Barcelona being second is a bigger surprise. While in Premier League, Manchester City is a surprise as it is 3 points clear of Manchester United. Chelsea and Arsenal not doing so well. Lets see if we see new champions crowned this year.

Personal Life

Could not have asked for a better start to the week. Preeti and Aabhya came back and last weekend’s void was filled with my kiddo’s “Google Talk”. Gosh, I have missed her. Over the week, she was mystified with her new year’s toys and was happy playing with them. It was like an eternity but I was so glad to be seeing Doraemon again. She would come to me and play nice to get the remote for the TV and I guess she is the only one who can do so now 🙂 and yet I love she does that.

Towards the end, time was spent in deciding if we are going to celebrate her birthday this year and also the Lohri on Friday the 13th).

 

 

 

 

Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth: David Warner’s blazing ton destroys India | Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day Report | Cricket News | ESPN Cricinfo

India once again failed to cope with the swing, seam and disciplined line of the home attack, comprising Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. Upon his dismissal of Laxman, Siddle sank to his haunches, in a sign of how much a hot day in Perth had drained Australia’s bowlers despite their regular wickets, and he did not re-emerge after tea.

via Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth: David Warner’s blazing ton destroys India | Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day Report | Cricket News | ESPN Cricinfo.