India should stop cribbing and start preparing for the journey ahead

Its time for Indian legends like Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Rahul Dravid to make way for younger players in the squad © Getty Images

 

By Vidooshak

 

Now India wants another warm-up game before the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne! This confuses me totally. On the one hand we crib about too much cricket, and on the other we want one more warm-up game because our cricketers have not had enough of the “right” kind of cricket. But warm-up games don’t cause any mental fatigue as any athlete can tell you. I’m joking, of course.

 

There is a very simple explanation for this: “You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.” That’s exactly what’s going on with the Indian team. During the ’80s and ’90s it was inadequate pay, poor pitches, lack of fast bowlers, unimaginative board, lack of incentives, selection stupidity and players’ selfishness. Most of these issues have been tackled.

 

There are now better pitches, enough fast bowlers (although Praveen Kumar may not fully qualify), enough salaries, good contract system, good domestic pay, incentives, selection consistency and a board that will fight for players, as at Sydney — even if it is sometimes misguided.

 

India’s cricketers are low on motivation right now after winning the World Cup. Very simple and straightforward explanation – the nerdy types would want some other “fact-based” reasoning. It doesn’t exist because the cricketers are human and not statistics. Even if this tour meant a lot to them, they couldn’t crank themselves up after winning the World Cup.

 

Why can’t we just agree that we were completely outthought and outplayed by a smarter team? England mercilessly killed Australia in Australia. Let’s admit that the Andy Flower, Andrew Strauss-led English team is more motivated and smarter than the teams that they are playing.

 

Sure, India has made some mistakes, but I don’t believe IPL has led India to perform poorly. This is the core group that challenged South Africa in South Africa and won the World Cup. They can’t become stupid overnight. A second-string team did decently in the West Indies to win the series.

 

I don’t think Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara played the IPL expecting to pick up injuries. Resting during the IPL would have meant giving up a huge source of income that is critical for professional players. In any case, that in itself does not mean that India would have given England a run for their money. This is pure speculation that a fit Indian team would have challenged England more or won even.

 

The Australians were well rested when they took on the English and they were well-prepared too. But they got creamed, didn’t they? It’s time to put the cribbing aside and salute an English team that well and truly deserves to be the number one team. It’s time for critics and commentators and quit cribbing about preparation. India were in the West Indies prior to this tour. What else should they be doing? Play the English team in a pre-series series?

 

I’m mad as hell that we can’t give credit where it’s due. Some of our cricketers are now officially over the hill and it’s time to rebuild the team. We needed this series to certify that. If we close our eyes to reality and send this same team to Australia, so that Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman can have the satisfaction of a series win in Australia by beating an under-cooked Australia, then we should suffer for another generation.

 

IPL is here to stay. We need to figure out how to prepare and win while it is there. India weren’t much better during the “good old days” of no IPL.

 

(Vidooshak is a blogger @Opinions on Cricket. He was drawn into cricket by Golandaaz as a schoolboy. His bluster overshadows his cricketing ability. He played as a wicket-keeper in a college team but was promptly dropped. The college selection committee had slightly higher standards than Pakistani selectors. He did reasonably well in tennis ball cricket until he was benched for a final game by the team that he captained. To say some of it was due to his opinions would be an understatement of sorts. Regardless, Vidooshak finds time to opinionate relentlessly and lives a vicarious life by watching cricket teams make obvious mistakes. Good news for Vidooshak is that someone always loses a cricket game, someone always gets belted and someone always flops. Vidooshak always looks for an alternative explanation and rarely agrees with mainstream consensus. Needless to say he has no friends, only ‘tolerators’! While not throwing his weight around, Vidooshak does not run marathons or draw pictures, but reads voraciously on all topics, volunteers at local failing schools, is an avid but average golfer and runs an Indian association in mid-west America)