An Expected Disaster

Posted: July 27, 2011 by Prasad Moyarath in Cricket, India in England 2011

 Prasad Moyarath

 27 July 2011

The inevitable has happened. A fervent Indian supporter might be shocked but for a cricket connoisseur, the Indian loss in the first test at Lords was not unexpected. Though the figures rank India as the No.1 test team in the world, a comparison of this Indian team with strong test teams of the past like the West Indies under Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards and Australia under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting will make anyone doubt the current system of test ranking and the standard of test cricket.

By ignoring youngsters like Kohli, the selectors have turned a blind eye towards the future

An England tour was always looked upon by all Indian cricket enthusiasts with great hope considering the testing conditions for both batsmen and bowlers. Players also considered England as a place to showcase their mettle as it provided ultimate test to their abilities as a player. Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly cemented their places in Indian team after spectacular performances in one such England tour. But the current England tour looks completely different. BCCI which manages cricket in India with a monetary vision never seemed to understand the importance of test cricket or a need to groom a future test team while their selectors selected the team for the series. Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Munaf Patel coming back from injuries were included in the test squad for the series without any match practice with all the above mentioned with the exception of Sehwag available for selection for the first test. Wriddhiman Saha was included as a reserve wicket keeper replacing Parthiv Patel to maintain the BCCI’s age old tradition of musical chair for reserve players there by losing a reserve opener with proven ability in English conditions. BCCI never bothered to include any of the youngsters like Virat Kohli, Ashwin or Umesh Yadav in the team with future in mind. India paid a very heavy price for this lackluster attitude of the BCCI by losing Zaheer Khan on the first day of the Lords test.

Captaincy of Dhoni has been debatable for a long time despite the World Cup victory. His defensive tactics have always helped the opposition in winning moral victories in test matches and this was very evident in the last test against West Indies. His lack of confidence in the World’s best batting line up including himself was exposed when he decided to bowl first after winning the toss there by awarding a moral victory to England even before the start. Though many supported Dhoni’s decision considering the cloudy conditions that prevailed at Lords in the first day morning, the decision raised the eyebrows of all those who watched the Lord’s test in 1990 when Azharuddin committed the same mistake and the Leeds test in 2002 when Saurav Ganguly bravely opted to bat. India lost the Lord’s test in 1990 after Gooch scored 333 and India won the Leeds test after Sanjay Bangar and Rahul Dravid batted bravely in the swinging conditions sharing a 170 run second wicket partnership. The Indian management including the former England coach Fletcher seemed to ignore the history and batting conditions in England.

Dhoni’s post match comment blaming the change of batting order in the second innings and variable bounce for the loss was never befitting the No.1 team. India could not bowl out England in both the innings and our experienced batsmen never applied themselves. This loss clearly exposed the lack of preparation which was never expected. The Indian cricket team selection should be free from the clutches of sponsors and the BCCI should field players who play for the country over the ones who earn for the sponsors. In a country where the cricket’s governing body is more interested in IPL matches that fill their coffers more than international matches and where the media boast every match as an event for Tendulkar’s next world record, this loss in a historical test match will go down as yet another forgotten piece of history.

  1. thecognitivenomad says:

    I think we’re making a meal out of this test match – yeah, it probably didn’t go India’s way but I think the reasons are straight forward enough.

    (A) India didn’t bat well – very poor shot selection
    (B) Didn’t use the 2nd Innings English batting collapse to our advantage – India lost the momentum
    (C) Injuries

    Point (B) is often where the emphasis would lie during typical post mortem analysis. Its hard to decipher what went wrong – India were a bowler short (a typical, conventional excuse) but strangely, I can’t think of anything else. The rest didn’t quite deliver when it mattered – the bowlers were sporadically good, spread across both innings, and that doesn’t help you win tests,

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