Sunday, March 18, 2007

Indian Cricket Team-They Deserve to Lose


I wrote this post when India lost to Bangladesh. Now they have lost to Sri Lanka also. What I wrote 3 days back is more relevent now. Indian cricket needs a total revamp with new faces. This is what I published 3 days back.

As an Indian I feel sad seeing India go down even without a fight to Bangladesh in the World Cup match. I have written this blog even 1 year before titled “India World Cup Champions 2007?” Keeping the patriotism aside I feel the Indian Team deserve to loose against Bangladesh. India may still qualify for Super 8s round but the problems with Indian cricket remains. These problems have to be dealt with if India has to be a strong cricket team.

Over commercialization is killing cricket in India. BCCI is more interested in making profit than properly preparing the Indian cricket team. Every one in BCCI knew that pitches in the World Cup would have something for the bowlers. But see, just before world cup BCCI invited West Indies and Srilanka and made them play in the flattest wickets you can find in the world. The most out of form batsman will also score century in such pitches and it helps BCCI and other sponsors to inflate the strength of the Indian team.

Another effect of commercialization – once you are in Indian cricket team and after few “extra ordinary innings” in Indian flat wickets you can see media and cricket “illiterate” people assign the status of God to these players. Take for example the case of M.S Dhoni, the so-called new cricket sensation of India. Look at his ODI record. He has played 67 ODIs, has 2 centuries and 12 fifties at an average of 45.53. Good record you may say. But do you know one thing. All his fifties and centuries have came playing in India or non-test playing nations except one. When the pitch has something for the bowlers this great hero of millions become a big zero.

See the Australian cricket team. No Australian player is bigger than the team. If you are not playing well you are out of the team. I believe if Tendulkar (with full respect to his talent and genius) were playing for Australia he could have been dropped by now. See his statistics in ODIs starting 2005. Of the 34 innings he has played till now he has scored 3 centuries and 7 fifties. More important he was out scoring less than 10 eleven times in his 34 innings. One out of 3 times he scored less than 10. Just compare this with Australian opener Mathew Hayden. He had one bad series and he was out of Australian team. But he fought his way back and is altogether a different story. Even for Steve Waugh, a captain who has won them a world cup was shown the door after a poor series.

Now another thing – Who played for India for the World Cup 2003? Ganguly, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Yuvraj, Kaif, Dinesh Mongia, Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Sreenath. Now see who all are playing for India this world cup? Ganguly, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Yuvraj, Uthappa, Dhoni, Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, M Patel. Just 3 changes in the team. Uttappa for Kaif, Dhoni for Dinesh Mongia and M Patel for Srinath. Now see the Australian World Cup winning team of 2003. They had Hayden, Gilchrist, Pointing, Martyn, Lehmann, Bevan, Symonds, B Hogg, B Lee, McGrath and Gillespie. Now see the present Australian World Cup team. Gilchrist, Hayden, Pointing, Clark, B Hogg, M Hussey, S Watson, G Hogg, Bracken, Tait and McGrath. The entire middle order batsmen are new and so are the bowlers. Only 5 who played the last world cup are there in the present team. Now you know the reason why Australia is winning the cricket world cup one after another and India is living on its past glory. Australian selectors have the guts to even drop Bevan, who was considered by many as the greatest finisher the game has ever seen, after a bad series.

Now the question arises – How come Australia can replace a good player with another good player? When Lehmann retired, Mike Hussey filled his shoes commendably. So if Tendulkar or Dravid retires now do we have any replacement as good as Tendulkar or Dravid? The answer is an emphatic NO. Why can’t this cricket-addicted nation find new talented players? I believe the reason is that public gives least importance to first class matches and the players. I have already written a post on this subject long back. In Australia the first class cricket is given as much importance as international cricket. So in Australia these local matches become breeding ground for talent. In India also there is talent but the general public are not ready to encourage them.

In short if selectors go by name and popularity of the cricketers and public fails to encourage first class cricket, results like that happened against Bangladesh are bound to happen again.







INDIAN CRICKET NEEDS TO BE REFORMED-BUT WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?

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18 Comments:

Blogger silverine said...

When I wrote about Sachin, luckily for me the comment section of my blog wasn't available or you would have seen fur flying. Thats how blind we all are. I am a fan too and that post was the ranting of an anguished Indian cricket fan. It was nothing personal against Sachin. I can see your post is also a sincere outpouring but how many people are going to treat it as such? I wasn't surprised at all when India lost! But today's papers are dissecting the loss like as though it was due to bad selection, strategy etc.

This was a brilliant piece!

March 18, 2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

i read your post about cricket and the comments. Yes when it comes to Sachin no one dares to speak out. It is as if it is a sin to speak out against Sachin. Also I believe the hype it is created in India about this cricket team is purely commercial. More people watch cricket more profit for BCCI and sponsors. so they creat an artificial hype.

March 18, 2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Lakshmi Narayan said...

Nair,
You post reflects a lot of reality which most of cricket watching mass would tend to miss out. The problems that plague our team are many and selection/preparing our team are one of them. I never had understood why the board/ex players have always neglected the importance of bowling(that too pace bowling). It is always the defence(Bowling/Fielding)that wins matches. Now look the mix of stadiums in India that would favour the bowlers?????I can hardly think of one that comes to my mind instantly. Dont we have enough money to bring about changes to solve this issues?? No! Prepare a flat pitch for a high scoring contest! Fans are happy! Sponsors are happy!And there we go - another receipe for disaster abroad.

Cricket Australia has implemented lot of things which not many can imagine. They use principles based on Art of War( By Sun Tzu) and Six Hat Thinking(Edward Bono) for their strategies. And mind it that this comes to the field besides the level of techniques/skills ,physical fitness the players have.

Now forget Sun Tzu or Bono for Indian players....If they change their atitude towards keeping high fitness levels, we can go places...
Lakshmi

March 18, 2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on the point that India 11 needs a complete revamp. Also, Sachin has totally lost form - he should become a coach or a commentator.

Our problems are deep-rooted, and will need an attitudinal change. In India, anything goes, provided the right amount is transferred. Nobody cares what happens to the team or to the country. An auto-wallah one told me that our country is in such dire situations simply because each of its rules has only wondered how to steal.

Noone (who can do anything about it)really cares if team India wins. Neither does the Indian public. All people want is some reason to make some noise.

Which poor cricket amply provides.

AK

March 18, 2007 5:16 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

and i almost sense what some fanatics are gonna say on reading this..

"U guys are the bane...u should support the team when it is down"

but for how long??
If they are playing for the country they are obviously in the public eye and liable to criticism as well..

good analysis...cant agree more..

March 18, 2007 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey just curious how much probability will u say that india has in winning this world cup?

March 19, 2007 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey first think of getting into super 8 yaar?

March 19, 2007 4:14 AM  
Blogger Srivaths said...

That was a great article.

Do you think our Indian cricket management has the guts to take our so called little master blaster? The answer would be 100% no.

I have some of my friends who can go to some extremes for this guy. I have lost many times with their arguments about this guy. The final question they have is “Can you bring another Sachin?” Another sachin is definitely not a joke but its not a hard reality. If our Indian team can spent some 1-2 years with their search in this billion population, for sure we can find dozen dravid , dozen sachin and the list goes…. We don’t have to think really innovative for this search , just learn things from other countries. Just copy the good learnings. That’s it and implement that. Nothing else. Another one is our little master blaster has been retained in our team because of his statistics. I am not sure what is our little master blaster going to do with all these accumulated runs and statistics. Why cants our management still don’t understand, we need match winners in our team and not people who build their statistics and track records.

This failure against Bangladesh is really going to cost us a lot. What if India is sent home after winning the two teams also? What if BANG are ahead by run rate? Then what will India do. Kill our coach or will it land in the Indian soil after a 10months after a world tour?

I am not a negative thinker. But imagine the possibilities and be prepared. This is going to be another lesson for us.

Lets see what happens today.

March 19, 2007 4:17 AM  
Blogger Anu said...

Hey, why this team is a failure?We should think that we are spending a lot of money( i should say , it is a dead investment) for the team's growth (*it is a paradox to see that the team members are accumulating wealth instead of reaping victories*)and for advertisment how much money the poor india have spend! Alas all gone in vein. This team has the potential to win, but they are not using it...

March 19, 2007 6:29 AM  
Blogger Srijith said...

Let's not get too carried away now
we have always started bad in WCs. I am (cautiously) optimistic about our chances of making it to the Super 8's. So let's wait for the remaining 2 matches and then get our swords out!

Whom do you think should replace Sachin? I think we picked the best possible team for the world cup. Now lets wait and see how things go.

March 19, 2007 6:46 AM  
Blogger Vijay Ramamurthi said...

i agree with srijith..last wc also we started bad..then they attacked kaif's house..team started playing well..this tiem also quite the same..play bad..dhonis house was attacked..lets..it has any effect on the team.....as a bonus..there was some demonstration in front of sehwags house also...motivation enuf???
plus the lure of chappal garlands..oh boy this is getting interesting heheheheh :)

March 19, 2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Go.Ganesh said...

//So if Tendulkar or Dravid retires now do we have any replacement as good as Tendulkar or Dravid? The answer is an emphatic NO.//
Its surely a bad group of words...
Going by this Ranji season u cud see the likes of Manoj Tiwari, Badrinath, Vijay, RRBose in the domestic circuit... Future India is very bright.... It matters when the old lions are giving way to young tigers...

I totally agree with u on the commercial aspect of Indian Cricket but some records of Sachin is beyond words and are commended by the Aussies too whom u rate very high....

March 19, 2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nair,
Cricket, or for that matter any damn sport in India is politicized(ie you need influence for anything to get into National sports) and to get the opportunity to play you have to be either a big time money launderer and or a cousin to one of the corrupt politicians.
You may say that there are people who have made it.
I have seen this in case of my cousin who was a good batsmen, but since his father had NOT ENOUGH MONEY to sponsor some political event, and couldnt talk him to get into the state team.
I would like to add to Srivaths comments "You can find dozen dravid , dozen sachin" but is the government willing to find them or can they instantiate a program which goes by performance of the players. If we do bring some kind of system where we would have this kind selection or the selection that the US or China do, then I think our place in World Cup Cricket will be on the top, and not only Cricket may be the top on charts on medal list in Olympics.

I think the change has to come from the inside and talking abt it doesnt make sense.
Prem.

March 19, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Laksmi,
We must agree that fitness of current Indian players are much better than those played for India say 10 years ago.

“Prepare a flat pitch for a high scoring contest! Fans are happy! Sponsors are happy!And there we go - another receipe for disaster abroad.”

To add to that- flat wickets will make even out of form batsman in great form and as you told when they play in a wicket which has some juice in it they fail.

AK,
You “MAY” be able to come to Indian team if you have a god father in the cricket board. But let me tell you if you want to stay for a long time you need talent.

This is the only sports where India can be a world competitor. That is one of the reason why people are so passionate about it. The problem comes when there patriotic passion is commercialized and inflate the strength of the team.

It is true that Sachin is one of the greatest. But in this modern era cricket you need to be highly consistent also which I don’t think Sachin is.

Mathew

I am just pointing about the hype created by the media about the strength of Indian cricket team. I was not criticizing the Indian team. I was just point to the some disease which has inflicted on the Indian cricket team. I hope a person who can understand cricket will understand what I am talking about.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Anon@6.08PM & Anon@9.14PM

Being an Indian I still feel that India will go to Super 8. I believe chances are about 10%. Winning the world cup-I don’t want to dream much.

Srivaths,

Thanks. Statistics in cricket never tells the true story. You can score a century against the weakest team and then go out cheaply against a strong team. Take the case of Sehwag. He has scored a century today against Bermuda. Now his average is about 60. Now he goes out for zero against Sri Lanka his world cup average will be 40. Having an average of 40 is not that bad, right? This is statistics for you. Most of the time statistics is deceiving.

Now we are at mercy of others to qualify for the super 8s.

Anu,
This team is much better than the teams we have say 10 years ago. What I cannot digest is the hype created by media, advertisers, BCCI about this team. They are really exploiting the patriotic feeling of common Indian people. The administrators know the “superstars” of the team are a constant source of revenue for them and they wont touch them.

March 19, 2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Sreejith,

Let us wait and watch. Our system is such that we discourage potential good players. I remember Hemant Badani of Tamil Nadu. Whenever he was given a chance he played well. But he was dumped without giving any reason. If selectors/BCCI stop such things itself more and more Sachin Tendulkar’s will come to the scene.

Vijay,
Last time if I am not wrong we were not at the mercy of others to qualify for the next round when we lost to Australia. But now we are at the mercy of others to qualify. I wrote this post not to attack India for its lose to Bangladesh. I wanted to point out the facts which prevents India from becoming a true champions in world cricket like Australia.

Go Ganesh
Manoj Tiwari, Badrinath, Vijay, RRBose-agreed they all played well in Ranji Trophy. They are now in their prime form. These people may have to wait atelast another 2 years to come near Indian cricket team. Till that time they will be left unrecognized. Lot of these young guys will loose motivation by then and will loose form. Hope this doesn’t happen to those guys.

As I mentioned in one of the comments statistics in cricket cannot tell you a lot. There is no doubt that Sachin is a great player. But he lacks consistency now.

March 19, 2007 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Srijith said...

Brijesh buddy,
Just wanted to see what you think now that India is out of the WC. With regards to your response to my post, you are right - Badani is a terrific player. I am a great fan of his and he was wronged big time. I had the fortune of meeting him in Chennai at a shopping mall. He's such an unassuming person as well. Also had the opportunity to meet V.V.S Laxman - I am a great fan of his and trust me he must be relieved that he was not part of the current team - come one no one wants to see his house burnt down... I hear Manoj Tiwari is good - but as is normally the case, people like Suresh Raina gets chances by the dozen, whereas folks like Kaif, Nehra, Badani, etc. are left to rot.
I do not see cricket in India reviving anytime soon... Planning to follow Hockey now - it sounds pretty exciting with all those league matches and Pakistani players being imported to play in domestic league :)
More later buddy - keep writing...

March 26, 2007 4:54 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

srijith

India getting out of WC- in the long run that will be a great thing for the game of cricket. I was seeing the Australia South Africa match other day. See the passion in the eyes of the players, see the body language. I wish some of the Indian players had that passion/body language. Now I read a newspaper report that Dravid will lose his captaincy and Sachin may be asked to take over. If that happens it is like correcting a wrong with another wrong.



I don’t see anything going to change. The selectors don’t have balls to drop any of the players. They may drop sreesant, Kartik and Pathan who were never part of playing eleven. You can see all others playing in the Indian team. Does they have guts to drop the so called nucleus of the Indian team? I don’t think so.



I always feel sorry for players like Badani, dinesh Mongia, s ramesh etc. In Australia if you are dropped from the Australian team, one of the selectors will call that player to inform him of the decision and will tell him why he is dropped. The selector will inform him what all he has to do to get back to the team. After that only they will announce to the media that a player is dropped. What happens in India? You get selected to play in the Indian team. You may have played just one match. Then you are dropped. The worst thing is that player comes to know about being dropped through the media. He doesn’t know what area he needs to improve. He is completely kept in dark. The result- he looses confidence and soon he looses form. If you have played cricket at any level you know the importance of confidence. S Ramesh, former Indian opener and present Kerala opener is the best example. He has done well for India in the few test matches he played. He was dumped for no reason and now he is struggling to get back to form. These are the names of few people that come to my mind. There are at least 20 players whose career has been destroyed by BCCI and Indian selectors.



I always wanted first class cricket to get more attention. People/Media/websites/Blogs talk a lot about the Indian players but I was surprised to see that no one cares about the first class cricketers of their respective states. Even those who have done extremely well for their respective state. How many Malayalis know about Ananthapadmanabhan-Kerala’s leading wicket taker. The papers like Malayala Manorama is projecting Sreesanth as God. Do they take pain to introduce some Kerala players who are doing good in first class cricket? As long as that attitude don’t change, I don’t see Indian cricket becoming a competitive unit. About 15 to 20 players are treated as God and the remaining talented lot is treated with disdain. How can in such a situation a talented cricketer come up through ranks without losing his own confidence?



Coming to hockey- it doesn’t lack behind in politics. I had an opportunity to meet Indian hockey team when they were training in Phoenix, Arizona prior to the last Olympics. The junior members of the Indian team use to come and have food with us almost every other day. I was so surprised to see the sense of insecurity in the minds of each player. According to them if you are a Sikh you don’t have to worry. Even if you don’t perform your place in the team is assured. If you are from South India, a bad match and you are out of team it seems. So keep all these in mind when you change to hockey.

March 27, 2007 2:10 AM  
Blogger manik said...

body
india

November 20, 2007 12:49 PM  

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