Monday, January 07, 2013

Will BCCI ever learn their lessons?

Since Gary Kirsten left the position for Indian cricket team's coach right after Team India won the World Cup 2011. He was the person who brought more glories to the national cricket team after the team gained the position for #1 ranked test team in the world. It was a rare feat that Team India gained for the first time in the history of cricket.

Soon afterwards, Kirsten took over as the coach of South African national cricket team. The results didn't take long to deliver. South Africa took the #1 ranking test status from England after India lost the position to England in that summer of 2011.

Team India's downfall was just beginning to appear to the world cricket. First, they lost the away series in England (4-0). Total whitewash. Although the ODI form was still okay, the test form was suffering miserably. But the selectors didn't take notice of that.

Then came the Australia tour. Again, the team lost (4-0) to the Australian test team. By this time, the media was bashing on the veteran players for not giving the opportunity to youngsters. The trio (Rahul Dravid-VVS Laxman-Sachin Tendulkar) were still holding their places. But the back-to-back (8-0) series whitewash in both these away games moved the veterans.

Immediately after Australia series, Rahul Dravid retired from test. Indian ODI team was also showing signs of suffering now. They were eliminated in the tri-series between Sri Lanka, Australia & India. Though there were positives to take from that series in the form of Virat Kohli, the team, as a whole, was going down.

Next was the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Again, even though Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th hundred against Bangladesh, Team India could not save the match. Sachin's masterpiece went in vain to a country known as "minnows" to the world cricket. Instead of India or Sri Lanka, it was Bangladesh who qualified to play in the final of that Asia Cup against Pakistan.

The IPL took over afterwards. The T20 frenzy craze in people IPL5 to be a even bigger event than any previous IPLs. The BCCI still invested in this money-spending business to earn some quick dollars.

Though India did relatively well against New Zealand later on, they again showed signs of weakness when England came to India. This time after almost 30 years, the English team defeated India in their home turf in a series loss. India lost 2-1 against a formidable English line-up.

Soon after, the T20 encounter went on to a 1-1 tie between them.

Then came Pakistan. The arch-rival's T20 encounter also turned out to be 1-1. But the ODI 3-match series. Pakistan comprehensively won the first 2 games. Even in the 3rd encounter, India lost their top & middle-order quite cheaply as the first 2 games. The revered-figure in ODI history of cricket Sachin Tendulkar had already announced his retirement from the ODI format prior to the beginning of that series.

With Sachin gone, the responsibility fell on the now-senior players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni. Although MS Dhoni did deliver his best in all 3 games, winning 2 Man of the Match prizes, the others had little to contribute with their batting.

The run-machine for the last 2 years for Indian ODI team had been Virat Kohli. It is also been considered that he would take over captaincy after MS Dhoni. Even he found poor form during these last few games.

But the bulk of the blame has to go to Sehwag & Gambhir. When this pair fails, the middle-order crumbles, as it had been seen in the past few years. Both of them seemed edgy, not eager to get runs, or at least stay in the crease for the longer part of the game.

And, yes, the most talked about player, Rohit Sharma, still failed to get some runs. Though it has been few years now that Indian media & former players are bulking in his talent. But he had not been able to demonstrate that talent in the last few years.

Still Rohit Sharma gets another chance in the ODI series between India-England in India. Still Manoj Tiwary, who impressed everyone with his maiden hundred against West Indies at home after 4-0 defeat against England in England, gets no chance. Rather he succumbed to injury, sitting in the dug-out waiting for another opportunity. The last time he had a chance to showcase his talent, he even took some wickets with his spin bowling.

Ajinkya Rahane got another run in this upcoming series instead of Sehwag. But he has yet to show a match-winning knock. Cheteshwar Pujara would be making his ODI debut following good form at home in the first 2 games against England in the test series. But what about Irfan Pathan? What about Mohammad Kaif? What about Wasim Jaffer? What about Sreesanth? What about Munaf Patel? What about Ambati Rayudu?

Though Bhuvneshwar Kumar & Shami Ahmed were impressive in both their debut, they still need some more time. But in terms of batting, when would India produce some Gangulies, Tendulkars, Dravids who can play in all forms of the game: ODI, T20 or test? We all know bowling had been one of the worrying factor for India for many decades. But if the strength of their game, batting, fails as well, what would happen to Indian cricket?

With Sachin gone out of the ODI picture now, most people would turn off their TV when India would be playing. Even the last India-Pakistan game didn't get as many viewership as the Ranji trophy match that Sachin played against Baroda. This should send some alarming notice to the BCCI.

Will they stick to IPL? Will they want more viewership for Indian cricket? Do they want Indian cricket to improve? If so, what measures are they taking for that to happen? Will they invest in making good fast bowlers? Will they train players to play longer innings? Will they instruct players to play for the country than the money? Will they acknowledge that Duncan Fletcher is not working out for Team India? He might have been good for England team before, but is he contributing for the success of Team India? Will they bring a wholesome change after their defeats at home & away? Or will they continue to make excuses to hide the real problem here?

That is the question. Will BCCI learn the much-needed lessons?

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