Home > Features >

Time for India to make bold moves to stop further damage

Time for India to make bold moves to stop further damage

MS Dhoni got the pitch he wished for during the Mumbai Test and the Indians toiled their way to a first innings total of 327. That score was considered to be enormous, but the Indians were caught in their own act © Getty Images

Before the Ahmedabad Test commenced, it wasn’t naïve to believe that India would make mincemeat of the visiting English team. A whitewash is what a large segment of the Indian supporters wished for as a fitting reply to what their side was served when they toured England last year. The more cautious ones went on to predict victory by a margin of either 2-0 or 3-0, but very few were willing to back the English to win at least one Test. That feeling was reinforced when India won the first Test, thanks to some exceptional performances by Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha, by a whopping margin of nine wickets.

Despite the win, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was quick to express his displeasure over the kind of wicket, since he felt that his bunch too could have been at the receiving end had they not won the toss. ”I don’t even want to see this wicket. There wasn’t enough turn and bounce for the spinners. Hopefully in the coming matches we’ll see the wicket turn, right from start, or as soon as possible so that the toss doesn’t become vital,” Dhoni said. He got the pitch he wished for during the next Test at Mumbai, and the Indians toiled their way to a first innings total of 327. That score was considered to be enormous, but the English were yet to reply.

Alaistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen plundered the attack, whereas Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann ensured that the Indians were caught in their own trap. Despite Ojha and Pujara’s valiant efforts, India never clicked as a unit and eventually lost. The general notion that India, like England, were invincible at home no longer held true, and hence the result came as a rude shock to many. Nevertheless, a few of the Indian players felt that there was no real reason yet to press the panic button. Gautam Gambhir, who earlier believed that the English would struggle on Indian soil, backtracked by saying, ”So what if we have lost a home Test? Not as if we have never won at home. It’s not that we have lost the series.”

With India losing the third Test, the question to be asked is: How long will the players cling on to excuses and remain in a state of denial. Despite having the best of the conditions at their disposal, the Indians are finding it hard to make ends meet. It’s now evident that the problem lies not just on seaming tracks or bouncy wickets, but in the lack of ability to come good against formidable opponents.

Players struggling to wrestle their way out of a lean patch continue to find a spot, thereby blocking the entry of youngsters hungry to prove a point on the big stage. It’s that desperation and zeal that’s been instrumental in the success of Pujara and Ojha this series. Infusion of young blood is now a necessity. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Pankaj Singh are still on the fringes even when there are a couple of players in the current line-up they can readily replace.

Agreed, India is currently a team in transition and a few defeats are inevitable, but to not make use of the available options, and to stick to the old routines that have stopped producing results, is not sensible.

Pankaj Singh’s helplessness was evident when he said, “I have picked 150 wickets in the last four domestic seasons and there have been so many others who have been given an opportunity. Why I am not presented with an opportunity? What more do I need to do to seek attention of the selectors?” However, India’s bowling coach Joe Dawes is still confident that Zaheer Khan – whose decline since the 2011 World Cup has been alarming to say the least – and Ishant Sharma could still be assets. The failure to see beyond these two is surprising.

On the other hand, the English had no hesitations in dropping their vice-captain Stuart Broad, who despite having a fantastic year was axed due to a few poor performances. Such an attitude by the head honchos makes it clear that a place in the side is only based on merit and none should take that for granted. It’s their ability to take bold decisions that has played a big role in their ascendancy. Also, the fact that they seldom make excuses speaks volumes of the attitude they play the game with. Not one player complained when they lost to Pakistan a few months ago. Instead, they learnt from their mistakes and now find themselves in a position of dominance.

India too has good resources at its disposal, but it must be willing to make some bold movies and, more importantly, realise that there is an issue that needs to be immediately addressed.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 4 at Southampton: England set 445-run target against India

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India vs England 2014, Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton: England launch blistering attack

England set India 445-run target at Tea on Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton

Jacques Kallis is one of the greatest players to grace cricket: Haroon Lorgat

Jacques Kallis retires but wishes to help Kolkata Knight Riders in defending IPL title

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket; to continue playing in IPL and Big Bash

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How the legend began

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Statistical comparison with other all-rounders

Jacques Kallis retirement: Highest average for batsmen with over 20,000 international runs

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

England set India 445 at Tea on Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Vote: Should BJP form government in Delhi with fractured mandate or face fresh Assembly elections?

9 zoos issued show cause notices: Javadekar

Connected devices have huge security holes: Study

Samsung Gear S is reportedly the company’s next smartwatch

Allu Arjun wraps up Rudhramadevi shoot!

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

233 proposals pending before panel on wildlife

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here