India Staring At A Whitewash

Posted: August 2, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011, Opinion

 Srikrishnan Chandrasekaran

 2 August 2011

With players being part of IPL having ruled themselves out stating an injury and it has cost the nation to its no. 1 ranking. As like teaching is a profession, cricket is a profession for players and they look to earn more money and get fame in a short span irrespective of playing longer format of the game. The problem is, in most other professions, the impact is with the person or with the organization, but in a game like cricket, it is a wish for 1.2 billions people and it has harsh impact on their feelings.
When players make their decision to decide which sport to choose from the choices, it will be great / wise if they look from a wider angle rather than from few specific pointers.

India have not put up a fight befitting their ranking so far this series

Engalnd have outplayed India in this series so far. Loss in 2nd test match is primarily on sending Dravid as opener and Laxman at No 3. Not sure who has taken that decision to position these 2 players but not at all a great decision. There have been plenty of occassions where Dravid has had to come in in 1st over itself as no. 3. India would have tried with some lower-order batsmen to open with Mukund even if they last only a single delivery. Laxman should be positioned only at his favorite spot.

Since we are already one down in the series, it is really important to keep our players at the right order as they play freely and confidently at the spot. The Indian batting has looked really odd during these 2 test matches. Even though the conditions here are quite different as there is a lot of bounce and swing, the current team has played lot of cricket (all forms) and they have the ability to cope-up and come stronger, but the way they played is un-imaginable.
Our pace bowlers made a good come back in both innings expect few key areas of improvements. This match is of a huge difference we had to change our batting order which resulted in a loss of the test match on other hand, Bell at no. 3 changed the course of the test match. He set the tone on 3rd morning with his amazing stroke play by punishing all the bad balls to the boundary.
During the last 2 test matches, our bowlers have really struggled against lower order batsmen than the top / middle order. The experienced coach / senior players in the team should have guided the right path for the bowlers as to where to bowl and where not to bowl. It seems like there is no discussion / team cooperation in this regard. On a same ptich, England scored 5 runs per over and Indian team got bowled in less than 2 sessions. The variation in bowling is really missing. They should mix-up deliveries
The non-attacking style of Dhoni needs to be revisited. The approach has now yielded the worlds no. 1 test team to go down to no.2 and will continue to fall further if Dhoni continues the same tactics and doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Even a score of 150 to 175 for India was really going to be difficult to achieve in the 4th innings – we have lost plenty of matches when the score is over 200 on the last innings. Dhoni didn’t have a third-man till the lead went past 275.
On the 3rd morning when Bhajji came to bowl there were only 2 players around the bat, slip and leg slip, but it is not enough on any tracks. If a spinner needs to get wickets there should be at least 3 men around the bat, silly point, short leg and slip. What this makes is, the batsmen have to give respect to bowler by playing soft hand shots. There is a possibility of batsmen making a mistake and end up in either a caught behind, caught at short leg or silly point,  run out,  stumping, slip catch, mishit or sweep popup to the short-fine fieldsman. If there is no one around the bat, there is no risk for the batsmen to get out, the only way the wicket can fall is the batsmen himself doesn’t want to hold his wicket. Even a no. 11 batsmen won’t prefer to do that.
Even if we are going to play to our full strength in next test match, Dhoni should change his approach otherwise it will be definitely 3-0. There has been plenty of Dhoni as the winning captain of world cup, t20 and other tournaments. This is a team game and it is the effort of all the players and not just Dhoni’s alone. Even on the world cup only on the last match Dhoni scored runs. AHe scored only one 50-plus knock through the entire world cup. The selectors should think from that perspective whether he is really fit to be there for both ODI & test cricket. Definitely Dinesh Karthik would have played  much better cricket in both batting and keeping in this series than Dhoni.
All the best to India for the third test match. I’ll feel really happy even if this series ends with 4-0 to England if India can play a fighting come back and lose the match not like what we lost the first 2 test matches.

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