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If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tumble, bumble, familiar stumble

When 26 from 36 with 5 wickets in hand becomes 11 from 6 with 2, the batting side would seem to have got itself into a situation. When that side is India, you somehow get the sinking feeling that the situation is heading in one and only one direction - and that is antarctical.

I am in no mood to discuss the details of today’s game. It is pointless to discuss what went wrong for India and where. Was it the captaincy ? Was it the bowling at the death ? Was it the batting that failed to accelerate sufficiently enough to put the result beyond doubt ? Was it the fielding that looked as sharp as an elephant’s foot ? Was it because some key players were unavailable for the game ? Was it that Sri Lanka raised its game when it mattered and India could not ? Or was it just a combination of these ?

I do not know and I do not care. Every time there is a poor performance, there always seems to be an explanation of some sort for it from the team management. Like the Indian public will now be happy that the defeat has been explained, so things will be better from that moment onwards. Like the team management itself really believes whatever it is dishing out after every game as a matter of routine and conformity with media requirements.

All I know is that India had no business, NO BUSINESS, losing this game from the position it was in. That Sri Lanka stepped things up after some initial wayward bowling, that their fielding throughout was outstanding is something you have to expect from any non-minnow side. So let us not appear to be surprised by this performance by Sri Lanka.

Some suggest that these matches are just “trial” matches for evaluating players’ preparedness for the World Cup and therefore should not have much credence attached to them. I cannot entirely agree with this. While individual players may be shuffled around, finally the eleven players who make it to the field are expected to collectively demonstrate their resolve to WIN. And if India points to the absence of Yuvraj, Zaheer and Agarkar, Sri Lanka can point to the absence of Murali and Vaas for this contest. There is no point talking about individual players – let us not even go there.

As is so often the case with Indian defeats, it is not the defeat itself that is so frustrating. It is the manner of defeat that makes the Indian cricket fan feel really let down. That the Indian cricket team (or should that be the BCCI team ?) manages, time and again, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is something that the Indian public has got so much inured to that it would seem to have made even the Indian management blasé in their post-match discussions.

Judging by the comments from the team captain today, I could not help getting the feeling that Rahul Dravid’s comments after the game were full of platitudes and, to put it bluntly, a whole load of unrefined manure. I have a huge amount of respect for Rahul Dravid the batsman (and I have said this many times) but Rahul Dravid the captain still seems to me to have way too many question marks about him to convince me about his suitability for the role.

Here are some examples of his post-match comments today.

"We just didn't really chase well, in the sense that we kept losing wickets at regular intervals. We needed one of our set batsmen to go on and get a big score and finish the game off but we just couldn't achieve that today and it is a good lesson for us."
How many times have we heard this sort of comment ? Does it really help ? Has the Indian team EVER learnt from any defeat ?

“They fielded really well. I don't think we fielded that badly. Our outfielding was pretty good today. Some of their throwing from the deep was pretty exceptional and some of the catches towards the end there were really good. Those catches probably turned it for them at the end."
Sorry Mr. Dravid but either your standards have dropped dramatically or you are in denial.

"I wouldn't say we were complacent”.
On this comment, I am totally with you, Mr. Dravid. The team was not complacent today – it was plain incompetent.

“If one batsman can go on and get a big score, he generally ends up on the winning side”.
How’s this for a comment, Mr. Dravid ? “If one team scores more than the other team, that team (Duckworth-Lewis situations excepted) is generally the winner.”

And on Sehwag, this is what Mr. Dravid had to say :
“He batted quite well for the period he was there. I am sure he will be disappointed with the shot that he played. But he looked okay till then. It's just a question of him now trying to get that big score. Today was a good opportunity to do that, set the pace and stay and bat till the end but he got out. But he looked okay till then”.
Ever thought of joining politics, Mr. Dravid ? Or perhaps we should raise that fence a little more so that it becomes just a bit difficult to sit on it ?

This one match may not matter in the grand scheme of things. In the eternal search for those straws to clutch, one can only say that perhaps a reality check, so close to the World Cup, may not be such a bad thing after all. One can only hope that, come the World Cup, the Indian team (or should that be the BCCI team ?) raises its game to a level that when games get close, they close the game.

On the evidence of today’s game, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Nandini Vishwanath said...

This is a passionate outburst. You must keep writing. I know there is a lot of other things you get disturbed about, and that is why it becomes important for you to write. And you write sooooooooo well. :)

ratna rajaiah said...

You write very well....even knowing diddly about cricket and having interest levels even less than that, your articles are extremely readable!
Thank you for visiting my blog and for your words of appreciation....please keep reading.
(would you be writing on any other subject?)