Monday, December 10, 2012

Ignominy of Defeat

Before the beginning of the ongoing test series with England, our cricket superstars dubbed the series as the revenge series for the lashing we got in England last summer. And the Indian cricket fans like me believed them blindly, thinking that we are really going to avenge the drubbing. Alas, we became bakras again! :-(  The last thing we expected is to lose the series in a humiliating way which is what is going to happen most probably (still the 4th test remains).

Vainglorious English commentators, English cricket fans, haters of Indian cricket like Paki pigs are ripping apart Indian team on television and internet forums respectively for our loss and if our cricket stars are not thick-skinned, they would be feeling like being naked on a busy Indian street. But I guess our stars are used to getting this kind of torrent of criticism and they know the best way out - shrugging off just like pigs shaking off the mud. Next best way is to plan a series with Zimbabwe (not Bangladesh as it is a better team than India) in India and give a lifeline to the forlorn heavyweights in the team.

Much of the flak is directed against Sachin, Gambhir, Sehwag in the batting lineup which is as usual and Dhoni escaped with light criticism which is also as usual. Whatever is the criticism of Dhoni, it is not about his batting but about the captaincy and the possibility of losing it after the latest humiliating flagellation. If his test batting statistics are looked into then one conspicuous fact emerges. He stopped performing well from the middle of 2010. From then on, save 3 or 4 innings on the whipping boys of test cricket -West Indies and New Zealand, he is a failure. A few times he made half centuries on England etc after ugly slogging and when the defeat is a foregone conclusion.

In the press conference yesterday, Dhoni talked about the leadership quality of leading the side when in crisis and taking up responsibility and not thinking of running away. Rather deceptive words for the undiscerning. I dont know why this responsibilty didnt come to his mind when he came to bat in first innings of 3rd test only to play a careless shot of the first ball he faced almost into the hands of fatboy Samit Patel in midwicket. If only Samit was more athletic, Dhoni would have not made a fifty. His captaincy was something which I never liked. I always held that he was lucky to get a team with players at peaks of their careers. Now that the players are not at their best Dhoni is cut down to size. He doesnt deserve a place in the test team. A bowler like Ashwin is a better batsman with better technique than Dhoni. I just hope India loses the 4th test and he loses his place.

For someone who has seen Sachin playing in his glory days, the sight of Sachin looking bewildered at some ordinary ball from a commonplace bowler like Monty or Swann or some insignificant Kiwi bowler is a letdown. Sachin is almost 40 now, he played international cricket for almost 24 years and he has achieved whatever is achievable. His reflexes are not going to improve anymore and he is getting bowled most of the times. Except a few hardcore fanboys who are in denial mode, everyone wants him to vacate the place for an youngster but he is not listening. It no more amuses anyone when Sachin says he is enjoying playing cricket just as much as he did some 23 years ago. It actually leaves us sulking. He is gradually becoming a butt of jokes which is pitiful. I dont know what is stopping him but I guess it is the advertising contracts.

One important thing which begs for attention in Indian team is the famed spin bowling. After the retirement of Kumble our spin department continues to look precariously weak with inefficient spinners like Harbhajan, Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla, Rahul Sharma. etc. Ojha is not as penetrating as Harbhajan once used to be, leave alone Kumble. Ashwin can only do well when the opposition is Windies or Kiwis on spinning tracks. Our batsmen too are very susceptible on not just fast spinning tracks like that of Mumbai but ordinary spinning tracks like that of Eden. Dhoni has become a butt of jokes after Mumbai debacle for his stubborn demand for rank turners which backfired badly. A classic case of hunter becoming the hunted.

With this series, the halo of invincibility at home that India has been wearing since long is shattered for good. I hope this loss sets in motion the requisite amends. Our imbecile selectors should show some spine in dropping the white elephants which are past expiry date.

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