Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who else to be blamed?

It is very disappointing. Not the result but the performance itself.

In the first test, when India was relatively new to the English conditions they did a far better job. Most importantly the manner in which the team handled themselves after the untimely ouster of Zaheer Khan, ill timed illness to Tendulkar, Injury to Gambir was simply commendable. The victory may have been out of sight but the team only fell short of 25 overs to scrape a draw.

India surely went into the second test with XI fit man. It is quiet normal teams start slow in alien territory but soon accustoms to conditions and gives improved performance. On the contrary, the show turned worse than the previous outing. When the gap was suppose to get narrow it widened for a change. Dhoni mentioned his bowlers were jaded and expressed his pity for the amount of cricket they were involved in the recent past. Going forward they are only going to play more cricket. Wonder what to interpret from his statement. Even a layman knows the team should have rested well after the World Cup and Sehwag should have taken care of his surgery immediately and recuperated.

What is the guarantee India wins had they stayed fresh and prepared well?
A much weaker Sri Lankan side (compared to India) put a far better performance against the same England. Most of the Sri Lanka squad arrived 3 weeks prior and played few practice games ahead of the first test. The result England won the three Test series with a smaller margin (1-0).

After this 0-2 performance, the blame game starts. The woes to short pitched bowling, shuffling batting order, technique for survival, reckless captaincy, overly reliance on key players etc are discussed in length at every corner of the country. Actually, it is much easier to sit back and point the mistakes of others.

For once let us take the blame on ourselves. Every cricket fan share equal responsibility for the current situation India is in. You want to know how?
India made it to the top side in Test Cricket only because the longest format received huge support from the fans. Some years ago the stadiums used to be houseful when India played in whites. We took a lot of pride in watching Tendulkar sizzling, Dravid blunting, Sehwag caressing, Laxman flicking, Srinath zipping, Kumble foxing. In the recent years, Test cricket started receiving Luke Worm response and the stadiums carry deserted outfit. Even the aura of Tendulkar finds it hard to invite fans to the arena. It’s not too big a riddle to resolve. As a fan we fell deeply in love with the new bride and forgot the mother of cricket. We thronged the stadiums for the IPL games and showed our back to the real cricket. And so the administrators backed the new brand and the players chose it. Every itinerary had to be tweaked for the new product. Half a decade ago a tour to West Indies or England was equivalent to organizing a marriage. Now, just a week separating these two tours signify they are as good as eating at a fast food joint.

From Gavaskar came a Tendulkar, from Tendulkar came a Sehwag, from Azhar came a Laxman and the list just goes on. Now, we are unsure about a cricketer from Raina or Kohli or Rohit Sharma. Rather, we suspect if the current future has a future? When the Team play in front of empty cameras and the art of the trade is dying there is no wonder why we face this uncertainty. There are far too fewer souls who take the effort to witness the work ethics of Dravid in whites all day long all five days.

Today Laxman or Dravid are able to give good performance in the Test Matches only because they still carry strong ties with the format over the others. And so, I’m not surprised when the veterans deliver.

We enjoyed the Test cricket so much during our early days. Blame it on time, blame it on work and blame it on whatever you want, the truth is we are not visiting the stadium anymore for Test Cricket. If we sincerely wish to put a period for this blame game, it is important to take our kids and the next generation to the ground. It is necessary to develop them the love for the long format. From there we can be pretty sure the future is in safe hands.

Somewhere down your memory please remember that India performed badly after every edition of IPL. We lost both the T20 World Cups in 2009 & 2010 and this year paying the price in England. I’m not against IPL as it provides golden opportunity for the youngsters to rub shoulders with the stalwarts. But too much is definitely an over kill.

Thankfully India played World Cup before IPL. Even Modi mentioned it. 

Bottom line: Take care of the mother and the child will be automatically taken care.

Cricket Lover

1 comment:

  1. Sensible piece. Even SL withdrew their players from IPL to send them to England well BEFORE the Test series started there. BCCI tried to delay their departure as much as possible using all means. I will only blame BCCI first and foremost; only then fans have to be blamed. Like CSA, why can't BCCI & its state affiliates allow freely school children to watch Test matches & designate special stands for them too? Thats how one has to protect the mother - Test cricket which is the oldest form of playing cricket. Unless & until BCCI shows the way by proper scheduling and resting of players and other incentives to public to watch Test cricket, there is no point in blaming the public/viewers. Even to watch Test matches on TV, one has to "pay" for the sports channell. So, paying public, will demand better performance.


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