March 26, 2007

Chasing a dream... for 24 years

ESPNcricinfo staff
“Cool first, write afterwards
60

“Cool first, write afterwards. Morality is hot but art is icy,” Henry James had once said. A pieces like this isn’t quite art and the response to India being walloped by Sri Lanka has little to do with morality but I know what the master meant when he said that. Put another way, he meant take your time, and do not yield to the temptation of the knee-jerk reaction.

Which is what I have been doing over the weekend. Taking my time and keeping both my knees tightly strapped lest they react.

But there is no running away from the question: How exactly did India manage to come undone? How did a side that former cricketer Vic Marks (among others) was tipping as one of the favourites of the tournament manage to so comprehensively mess things up, ending their campaign before the stage when one had supposed it would begin in earnest?

Various theories are floating around, not all of them to do with the quality of cricket the side played. In Monday’s edition of the Hindustan Times, Rahul Bhattacharya (an old cricinfo hand) writes about the “lack of chemistry” in this team. Things like chemistry are intangible, they are hard to communicate unless you have seen the team but one knows when it’s there – just as much as one knows when it’s not. (I remember watching the Indians play volleyball before the start of play every morning during the terrific tour of Australia in 2003-04 and remember thinking, “These guys have something special between them.” And they did. It showed in the results.)

“There was no open rebellion,” Bhattacharya writes, “but the insecurity had seeped in too deep. The only hope for it galvanizing lay in the bonding that comes from special triumphs. It was not to be.”

As much as 1966 is for English football fans, for followers of Indian cricket 1983 has acquired a status of mythic proportions, and its mythology grows and grows as every Indian World Cup team since that one tries to match that triumph and falls short.

How was that victory achieved? I have wondered about this so many times over the past 24 years. And why has it never happened again? India was certainly not the most talented side in the 1983 tournament. (We’ve had several better teams since.) No one picked it as a dark horse. It did not have a decent track record. It had had far less practice in one-day cricket than teams like, say, England or Australia.

So how did they do it?

We had great players like Kapil and brave, committed ones like Amarnath. They were lucky. They were plucky. (Remember, India beat the defending world champions not once, but twice in the tournament.) But more than anything else, everything came together for India that summer in a way that things sometimes do in team sport: when all the units in a side weld together, when one player inspires the others, when the cliché of one for all and all for one becomes a demonstrable reality and the whole of the team become greater than a sum of its parts.

You need that for success in sport. And in the West Indies at this World Cup, that was found sadly wanting.

Soumya Bhattacharya is the editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He is the author of two volumes of cricketing memoirs - You Must Like Cricket? and All That You Can't Leave Behind - and a novel, If I Could Tell You

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R Dravid on March 30, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    Yes, my name is R Dravid (not Rahul)!

    As a management teacher, I see how much of management skills are required in this supposedly slow/ lazy game. Gone are the days when Cricket used to be the quintessential game of the Babus (remember Lagaan!), who used it to kill time. For the fitness freaks among the babus, there was Badminton (Poona). Today, cricket is all about consistency in fitness and quick recovery from injury (see what Maddy Heyden is done to his toe; how Oram bowled against the Windies; or how the big bully Symonds throws the ball).

    All that talk about strategy and planning should be left to the Harsha Bhogles and Charu Sharmas of the world. It is the commentator's forte - to keep television viewers interested before, during, and after the game. As the commentary graduated from radio to television - since you could see the game being played out, they had to talk strategy (and not describe what is happening).

    Any professional activity is about mental preparedness, physical fitness (V Anand works out in the gym for 3 hours every day!), and intense concentration (N Karthikeyan does hours of Yoga every day!) to improve competitiveness/ performance. When you lack these, you cannot be a professional. Imagine a software programmer who is afraid of working late hours, cannot sit for long hours in a chair, and is not able to concentrate on his job! Same is true for every professional in this world. And to make sure all this exists in professional sport is why we have all the coaches and support staff. Remember, we are talking of kids who became professional at 18-20 years of age, when you and me were requesting our parents to accompany us to college for admissions/ meeting the principal/ teachers.

    To sum the long response short, what this team lacked was the psychological preparedness of a professional outfit.

    Period.

    Amen!

  • HARSH on March 30, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    GET A BOWLING COACH ASAP A BOWLING COACH IS NEEDED. WE NEED TO STOP TELLING OUR BOWLERS TO SACRIFICE PACE FOR ACCURACY, LIKE WE TELL ZAHEER, NEHRA, MUNAF, SREE SANTH AND PATHAN LET OUR QUCIKIES RIP... AND WE NEEDD A BOWLING COACH FOR IT NOT A BATTING ONE WHO'S CLUELESS ABOUT BOWLING

  • Rahul Taneja on March 30, 2007, 4:55 GMT

    As a person who resides outside India (in New Zealand for the past 9 years)I am perhaps blessed with a unique perspective of looking at the Indian Cricket Team as an (almost!) outsider. That somehow lets me view them as Sportsmen rather than Demi Gods and Cricket as nothing more than a Sport. I think the problem lies not so much in what the team did wrong but in the Mass hysteria that surrounds Cricket in India, right from the media waxing lyrical about the team if it does well to supporters burning effigies and destroying players' houses if they don't. Till such time as the players are allowed to do what they do best..play Cricket & not become glorified models for corporate houses..this problem will persist. The greed reflected by the BCCI & corporate India to squeeze out of cricket as much money as possible, results in too much Cricket being played and players burning out

  • sagar on March 29, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    well india made few mistakes in the 07 wc india shuld have taken 3 sbowlers n 2 spinners dravid did not do so coz he is a defensive nature caption india shuld have taken pathan as a 7th batsmen n 5 th bowler wht the hell is agarkar doin in team he hast performed consistently keep sre santh in place of agarkar opening shuld be done by ganguly n sachin if the run rate is clicking at 6 n over u can call dhoni at 3 or if wickets fall down early dravid can come in then yuvi n shewag then pathan n the tail.

  • Ashish Warudkar on March 29, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Despite all the criticism, stone throwing, name calling, bad mouthing the Indian team is recieving and all the "will be held accountable" rhetoric coming from BCCI.. the true reason why the players failed is not obvious. My theory will be opposed even by the players themselves (because by nature achiever's do not like to acknowledge 'helplessness'), and yet anyone with a decent insight into human psychology will agree. I believe that the main batsmen were depressed even before the game. This condition frequently happens to achievers and manifests itself by an inability to perform that which the achiever has the physical and mental skills as well as the mental desire to do. Sometimes also referred as a performance block. When physical skill, mental desire and will power is not enough .. it is like a car with a good engine, transmission in forward gear, full throttle but would not move. When you really examine internal brakes were locked. Psychologists call it "inner world" refuses to cooperate with the thought world and all willpower in the world will fail. Some of us experience it every year when our 'new year' resolutions fail. The only way for an achiever to regain his groove is to take time off and do 'recovery' work with a psychologist. Sometimes even just taking timeoff can help. This was obvious with Sourav Ganguly's comeback. I hope the players and Greg Chappell see a shrink before making any rash 'retirement' decisions.

  • prakit on March 29, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    I am amazed by the comments so far. My memory fails me but I am not sure that chetan sharma or sivaramkrishnan played the 1983 world cup, as some have claimed. In the case of the current team, as usual we tend to over react. The successes during the Ganguly era and the early Dravid captaincy era were due to the successes of a few players- Dravid, sehwag, yuvarj, dhoni and pathan. And once these players lost a bit of their form, they were the ones who are being made the scapegoats, not the others who were passengers earlier and passengers now. This 'team' thing should get the fans thinking- whether their mass support for 'dada' who has been one of the greatest causes for attrition in the team, has helped or not. It could possibly be better for the Indian team spirit if Ganguly were to retire now, he has done well enough in the past and should retire a happy man. Tendulkar too should think of a day to hang up his boots. My strategy for the team in the future would be- use this problem as an opportunity, but avoid making large scale knee jerk changes. Remove Chappel- some low profile coach- more proficient in the basics of coaching could be better- even someone Indian like Sandeep Patil wouldnt be a bad idea. Retain Dravid as a captain for the next two years and see if any one else emerges with potential. Give a few more opportunities to people like Utappa who have done well in the domestic circut, also give some chances to guys like Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary. Persist with Dhoni- his keeping has been fairly good(his primary job), and he has contributed more with the bat than any other specialist keeper in Indian cricket(apart from Dravid). Give Yuvraj a role slightly higher up in the order, also promote Dhoni higher. Persist with Pathan for some more time. Make sure Dinesh Kartik performs consistently well with the bat in domestic cricket before we decide to take him along as a specialist batsman. Kaif was too good a batsman to shunt (especially after his good performances last year in the caribean) and should be tried for the no. 3 spot in both forms of the game. Zaheer Khan, Munaf and Sreesanth form the core of a good bowling attack and should be developed well- get a good bowling coach- or get someone like Kapil to spend some time with them. And get rid of Agarkar, for long he has been the guy with potential- blocking the way for other bowlers and never doing anything phenomenal. And finally we need to get a few good spinner- Kumble is over the hill, and Powar and Harbajan are simply not enough. Train any no. of new guys, piyush chawla or anyone else, we need to get a couple of very good spinners in an years time! Target to build a strong group of about thirty players (not so big a target in country of a billion- when smaller countries like lanka and pakistan and bangladesh have better teams). Forget about the 2011 world cup, become obsessed with developing a good infrastructure, strong domestic competition and good training opportunities for young talent.

  • Indiaintrouble on March 29, 2007, 3:09 GMT

    There is a huge amount wrong with the Indian team and their performance at the World Cup. I will try and list a few that are at the top of my head-

    1)The game is changing! Like it or not in ODI power cricket is here to stay. Physical & mental strength are paramount. We are already at a 50 run disadvantage there when we play against SA, Aus. They save about 25 runs throught their fielding and add another 25 throught their running between wickets. Unless we get guys who are stronger and more athletic Indian cricket will go the way of Indian hockey. We are already being left behind.

    2)Lack of pace bowlers-I mean REAL pace-150 and above. This has always been a problem with Indian cricket. What is the MRF pace foundation doing? They were established more than 20 years ago. Where are the results? J Srinath?? Come on! They are obviously not doing their job so they might as well shut it down.

    3)Domestic competition-cut down the teams to 5 and make sure those idiot sponsors put their money where it's really needed-the domestic game. Encourage foreigners to come to India and play.

    4)Bowler friendly pitches or pitches which at least encourage fast bowlers. Our batsmen are flat track bullies who come unstuck any time there is a little bounce or movement. They have to learn to improve their technique against fast bowling.

    5)We need players to hit the weights HARD & HEAVY! This is about becoming faster & stronger! Our idiot players are still in the dark ages about weight training. There should be a strength training center especially devoted to Indian athletes or we will be a nation which will be the butt of all jokes.

    6)Get the politicians out of the game ASAP! Unless you're a former player(domestic or int) you cant be involved in running the game of cricket. These stupid administrators are going to kill the game.

    7)Performance based pay-period. If you dont perform you're paid less-ALOT less. Simple.

    8)Put a limit on sponsorships. Why should our players perform? They have an easy life getting paid mega bucks by the corporates to sponsor their products. Put a limit on this. If you really want to play for India you'll earn your money-ON the field-not off it!

  • Jayoti Mehr on March 29, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    Our boys got a royal walloping at the hands of the majestic Lankans and the way the Lankans played today proved how much cricket means to them, No Indian bowler can dream of putting in a performance like Malinga... the only way we can correct this is to instil some national honour in our lot, bring kapil as coach!

  • Shiv Shankar Menon on March 29, 2007, 1:15 GMT

    we have the worst, most over-rated ppl as part of our team, no need to praise their career averages at present. These things are fun to look at once a player has retired, which is what exactly all of them should do!

  • Salman Khan on March 29, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    Soumya, stop living in the past, 1983 is not simple past, it's REMOTE past, players of 83 wud have kids 20 yr old! Face it, this team is never gonna win anything, always the bridesmaid, never the bride albeit this time they were made to stand outside the church!

  • R Dravid on March 30, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    Yes, my name is R Dravid (not Rahul)!

    As a management teacher, I see how much of management skills are required in this supposedly slow/ lazy game. Gone are the days when Cricket used to be the quintessential game of the Babus (remember Lagaan!), who used it to kill time. For the fitness freaks among the babus, there was Badminton (Poona). Today, cricket is all about consistency in fitness and quick recovery from injury (see what Maddy Heyden is done to his toe; how Oram bowled against the Windies; or how the big bully Symonds throws the ball).

    All that talk about strategy and planning should be left to the Harsha Bhogles and Charu Sharmas of the world. It is the commentator's forte - to keep television viewers interested before, during, and after the game. As the commentary graduated from radio to television - since you could see the game being played out, they had to talk strategy (and not describe what is happening).

    Any professional activity is about mental preparedness, physical fitness (V Anand works out in the gym for 3 hours every day!), and intense concentration (N Karthikeyan does hours of Yoga every day!) to improve competitiveness/ performance. When you lack these, you cannot be a professional. Imagine a software programmer who is afraid of working late hours, cannot sit for long hours in a chair, and is not able to concentrate on his job! Same is true for every professional in this world. And to make sure all this exists in professional sport is why we have all the coaches and support staff. Remember, we are talking of kids who became professional at 18-20 years of age, when you and me were requesting our parents to accompany us to college for admissions/ meeting the principal/ teachers.

    To sum the long response short, what this team lacked was the psychological preparedness of a professional outfit.

    Period.

    Amen!

  • HARSH on March 30, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    GET A BOWLING COACH ASAP A BOWLING COACH IS NEEDED. WE NEED TO STOP TELLING OUR BOWLERS TO SACRIFICE PACE FOR ACCURACY, LIKE WE TELL ZAHEER, NEHRA, MUNAF, SREE SANTH AND PATHAN LET OUR QUCIKIES RIP... AND WE NEEDD A BOWLING COACH FOR IT NOT A BATTING ONE WHO'S CLUELESS ABOUT BOWLING

  • Rahul Taneja on March 30, 2007, 4:55 GMT

    As a person who resides outside India (in New Zealand for the past 9 years)I am perhaps blessed with a unique perspective of looking at the Indian Cricket Team as an (almost!) outsider. That somehow lets me view them as Sportsmen rather than Demi Gods and Cricket as nothing more than a Sport. I think the problem lies not so much in what the team did wrong but in the Mass hysteria that surrounds Cricket in India, right from the media waxing lyrical about the team if it does well to supporters burning effigies and destroying players' houses if they don't. Till such time as the players are allowed to do what they do best..play Cricket & not become glorified models for corporate houses..this problem will persist. The greed reflected by the BCCI & corporate India to squeeze out of cricket as much money as possible, results in too much Cricket being played and players burning out

  • sagar on March 29, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    well india made few mistakes in the 07 wc india shuld have taken 3 sbowlers n 2 spinners dravid did not do so coz he is a defensive nature caption india shuld have taken pathan as a 7th batsmen n 5 th bowler wht the hell is agarkar doin in team he hast performed consistently keep sre santh in place of agarkar opening shuld be done by ganguly n sachin if the run rate is clicking at 6 n over u can call dhoni at 3 or if wickets fall down early dravid can come in then yuvi n shewag then pathan n the tail.

  • Ashish Warudkar on March 29, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Despite all the criticism, stone throwing, name calling, bad mouthing the Indian team is recieving and all the "will be held accountable" rhetoric coming from BCCI.. the true reason why the players failed is not obvious. My theory will be opposed even by the players themselves (because by nature achiever's do not like to acknowledge 'helplessness'), and yet anyone with a decent insight into human psychology will agree. I believe that the main batsmen were depressed even before the game. This condition frequently happens to achievers and manifests itself by an inability to perform that which the achiever has the physical and mental skills as well as the mental desire to do. Sometimes also referred as a performance block. When physical skill, mental desire and will power is not enough .. it is like a car with a good engine, transmission in forward gear, full throttle but would not move. When you really examine internal brakes were locked. Psychologists call it "inner world" refuses to cooperate with the thought world and all willpower in the world will fail. Some of us experience it every year when our 'new year' resolutions fail. The only way for an achiever to regain his groove is to take time off and do 'recovery' work with a psychologist. Sometimes even just taking timeoff can help. This was obvious with Sourav Ganguly's comeback. I hope the players and Greg Chappell see a shrink before making any rash 'retirement' decisions.

  • prakit on March 29, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    I am amazed by the comments so far. My memory fails me but I am not sure that chetan sharma or sivaramkrishnan played the 1983 world cup, as some have claimed. In the case of the current team, as usual we tend to over react. The successes during the Ganguly era and the early Dravid captaincy era were due to the successes of a few players- Dravid, sehwag, yuvarj, dhoni and pathan. And once these players lost a bit of their form, they were the ones who are being made the scapegoats, not the others who were passengers earlier and passengers now. This 'team' thing should get the fans thinking- whether their mass support for 'dada' who has been one of the greatest causes for attrition in the team, has helped or not. It could possibly be better for the Indian team spirit if Ganguly were to retire now, he has done well enough in the past and should retire a happy man. Tendulkar too should think of a day to hang up his boots. My strategy for the team in the future would be- use this problem as an opportunity, but avoid making large scale knee jerk changes. Remove Chappel- some low profile coach- more proficient in the basics of coaching could be better- even someone Indian like Sandeep Patil wouldnt be a bad idea. Retain Dravid as a captain for the next two years and see if any one else emerges with potential. Give a few more opportunities to people like Utappa who have done well in the domestic circut, also give some chances to guys like Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary. Persist with Dhoni- his keeping has been fairly good(his primary job), and he has contributed more with the bat than any other specialist keeper in Indian cricket(apart from Dravid). Give Yuvraj a role slightly higher up in the order, also promote Dhoni higher. Persist with Pathan for some more time. Make sure Dinesh Kartik performs consistently well with the bat in domestic cricket before we decide to take him along as a specialist batsman. Kaif was too good a batsman to shunt (especially after his good performances last year in the caribean) and should be tried for the no. 3 spot in both forms of the game. Zaheer Khan, Munaf and Sreesanth form the core of a good bowling attack and should be developed well- get a good bowling coach- or get someone like Kapil to spend some time with them. And get rid of Agarkar, for long he has been the guy with potential- blocking the way for other bowlers and never doing anything phenomenal. And finally we need to get a few good spinner- Kumble is over the hill, and Powar and Harbajan are simply not enough. Train any no. of new guys, piyush chawla or anyone else, we need to get a couple of very good spinners in an years time! Target to build a strong group of about thirty players (not so big a target in country of a billion- when smaller countries like lanka and pakistan and bangladesh have better teams). Forget about the 2011 world cup, become obsessed with developing a good infrastructure, strong domestic competition and good training opportunities for young talent.

  • Indiaintrouble on March 29, 2007, 3:09 GMT

    There is a huge amount wrong with the Indian team and their performance at the World Cup. I will try and list a few that are at the top of my head-

    1)The game is changing! Like it or not in ODI power cricket is here to stay. Physical & mental strength are paramount. We are already at a 50 run disadvantage there when we play against SA, Aus. They save about 25 runs throught their fielding and add another 25 throught their running between wickets. Unless we get guys who are stronger and more athletic Indian cricket will go the way of Indian hockey. We are already being left behind.

    2)Lack of pace bowlers-I mean REAL pace-150 and above. This has always been a problem with Indian cricket. What is the MRF pace foundation doing? They were established more than 20 years ago. Where are the results? J Srinath?? Come on! They are obviously not doing their job so they might as well shut it down.

    3)Domestic competition-cut down the teams to 5 and make sure those idiot sponsors put their money where it's really needed-the domestic game. Encourage foreigners to come to India and play.

    4)Bowler friendly pitches or pitches which at least encourage fast bowlers. Our batsmen are flat track bullies who come unstuck any time there is a little bounce or movement. They have to learn to improve their technique against fast bowling.

    5)We need players to hit the weights HARD & HEAVY! This is about becoming faster & stronger! Our idiot players are still in the dark ages about weight training. There should be a strength training center especially devoted to Indian athletes or we will be a nation which will be the butt of all jokes.

    6)Get the politicians out of the game ASAP! Unless you're a former player(domestic or int) you cant be involved in running the game of cricket. These stupid administrators are going to kill the game.

    7)Performance based pay-period. If you dont perform you're paid less-ALOT less. Simple.

    8)Put a limit on sponsorships. Why should our players perform? They have an easy life getting paid mega bucks by the corporates to sponsor their products. Put a limit on this. If you really want to play for India you'll earn your money-ON the field-not off it!

  • Jayoti Mehr on March 29, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    Our boys got a royal walloping at the hands of the majestic Lankans and the way the Lankans played today proved how much cricket means to them, No Indian bowler can dream of putting in a performance like Malinga... the only way we can correct this is to instil some national honour in our lot, bring kapil as coach!

  • Shiv Shankar Menon on March 29, 2007, 1:15 GMT

    we have the worst, most over-rated ppl as part of our team, no need to praise their career averages at present. These things are fun to look at once a player has retired, which is what exactly all of them should do!

  • Salman Khan on March 29, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    Soumya, stop living in the past, 1983 is not simple past, it's REMOTE past, players of 83 wud have kids 20 yr old! Face it, this team is never gonna win anything, always the bridesmaid, never the bride albeit this time they were made to stand outside the church!

  • Balu on March 29, 2007, 1:10 GMT

    India were clearly outplayed. And to answer the idiot who brought up the south north argument yet again, it is always this nature that keeps the divide. Idiots cant think straight, and positive. I would love to know where Pawars and Dalmiyas and Vengsarkars are from.

    We lost because we werent prepared. Over confident. Lazy. Strategy less. Cant field. Not aggressive. Cant handle pressure. I think we need a psyhiatrist to handle the mental situation of the players, a good physio, and fire Chappells. We have very good coached back home.

  • MahadevanV on March 28, 2007, 23:35 GMT

    During 1983 Indian team was under no pressure from the media. Everyone also saw India as underdogs. Of course, it was not just luck which saw India reaching the summit. The bits and pieces performances of the players gelled together and proved too much to WI, Eng and Aus. Of course WI took it very casual in the final. But the situation changed a lot as years went. One day cricket has very much improved. Australia took it seriously the defeat in the 1996 final and the management is working very hard to present a strong team in every competition. Also every team now has a formula to exploit the weakness of other teams. India as we know is poor in fielding, running between the wickets and India lacks a genuine pacer. All these weaknesses are exploited whenever india tours abroad. This explains the below par Indian performance overseas. Also while Aus and SA raise their capabilities in crunch matches, (Pak did the same when Imran was at helm) India wilts under pressure. These factors work against India though India has many talented players. Of course BCCI must work to plug these loopholes if we have to do better in future tourneys. BCCI has money and there are many talented thinkers. Is there will to do that or we go down-down like in Hockey in which we were once at helm?

  • Dr Frank A Haniff MD on March 28, 2007, 23:19 GMT

    Why not let each side-batting and fielding-have 3-4-options to appeal via the Umpire in the field-to the THIRD UMPIRE (per innings)?. This would make optimal use of existing facilities and minimise much of the costly criticisms from players, sometimes blatantly justified.This works well in Tennis, as is well known. Sincerely, Dr Frank.San Bernardino.CA. USA>

  • Chozhen Thenpandian on March 28, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    I totally agree with comments made by Ravinder and Vineet Kumar on this blog-really good thoughts guys-spot on and very realistic-hopeour over hyped and underperforming bunch of models...sorry-cricketers get a kick up their back sides and play cricket with a passion, spill blood,sweat and tears for a change-hope this leads for many young indians to think of alternate games to at least try and be world beaters in other sports. And yes-the words-'Fast medium' appears to be a misnomer when appearing in front of bowlers like munaf and irfan. I am an expat living in Aus and have also lived in NZ-here if the team loses-its two days of bad press and thats it-people move on. People are more concerned with the team winning rather than individual records, i think in india-we are obssessed with the number of 100's sachin scores or basically any statistics and not looking at the end result-i.e - wins-Hope our media also learns something from this.

  • Behl on March 28, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    Its the format I would say. In all previous WC's, you have more than 5-6 ganes to get to the next round so one upset would not matter. This WC 07 was more of a knockout tournament rather than a WC. One upset and you are out. Think about it. It wasnt Ind-SL match that knocked India out, it was Ind-Ban match. Match with superior teams, you assume that you would lose in the equation, hence your most important match now becomes to win the easy one, it was Bangladesh. I believe the team is still good, but pressure of getting knocked out got to them. SL was much superior and performed well, and as India lost more wickets, pressure just took over and collapse happened. ICC better change formats in the future. Ian Chappel has a great article about format and I totally agree with him. WC determines world champions and I strongly believe before you are given that title, you should play all major teams in the tournament. Imagine, If India had won the SL match, India would have been on top of super 8 charts next to Aus, given the Run Rate. Its unfortunate that loss simply knocked them out.

  • Ram on March 28, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    I have stressed the importance of not acting out of anger and axing players who are the team's backbone. These players aren't facing criticism for the first time, so I'm confident they will recover. But what troubles me is how selfish the media, the public and all the one-billion fans around India are being. This isn't just our dream that has been crushed, but the dreams of every player in the squad. We wanted them to go to the super eights, well, guess what, so did they. I think it's about time the players started burning our effigies, throwing rotten tomatoes at us, and attacking our houses, because it's only fair. The only grudge the public has against the team is based on jealousy. We envy the fact that these guys on the team make millions every year and have their faces plastered on every street corner, and so when even the smallest oppurtunity presents itself, we find a way to destroy something of them. I say that the biggest reason for India's loss is every one of us, and the horrendous pressure we placed on them. The team should be blaming us, and torching our houses. Because we attack their homes when they lose, but do we build them a house when they win? of course not! So before they come to their senses and start attacking us, let's do the sensible thing and shut up. Placing blame and burning posters won't do a damn thing for cricket; support, introspection and encouragement will go a long way instead.

  • Vir2al on March 28, 2007, 15:30 GMT

    Read your blog and assessed some scenario. It is interesting to know that when the 83 World Cup was won, no one on this earth predicted India was going to win it. But we still won that. Twenty Four years later, everyone predicted India is going to win it, but did not happen. It is the unpredictable nature of this game and things like this can happen. But the important point is that how Indian cricket shaped up after the 83 truimph and how Indian Cricket will shape up after 07' debacle. Results can be unpredicatble but changes are inevitbale. There will be finger pointing for a while on the board, coach, players and everyone involved but that does not mean to have an overhaul of changes. My take on this debacle is not the players doing commercials and modelling, because they are not even thinking about the commercials when they are on the field. And I would say they have to right to make money like every other professional desires to make. We all are not right in everything that we do, but we still like our paycheck to come in every month. And if you look at ana verage span for a most of the crickter to make money is 6-8 yrs and that is where they have to play the game and secure their future financially. C'mon we all think in that way. The nature of this loss was multiple factors which I would like to list: 1) Too much expectations resulted in immense of pressure. There was a more fear of losing rather then being positive and focus on winning. 2)We were reactive to the situation rather then proactive. 3) Lack of leadership. Nothing against Dravid as a player but was not at all looking like a leader on or off the field. 4) Chapell's forced his vision rather then adapt to the situation and make the team beleive. 5) Lack of young players in the pool, who can deliver at the international level. 6) Finally lack of form for most of the players. More importantly after the loss to Bangladesh, the players were not able to focus on there game as they have to think about the things going on back home, stone pelting and what not. And that affected there confidence, which is quiet natural for one to think about the well being of there family, no mater if you are a CEO or a cricketer. Just think about how we all vented out our disappointment with the loss and went bezerk..We can do that as we are the people, but cricketers can not. Only thing that they can do is think and which takes the focus away on what they are suppose to do.

  • pps.ahluwalia on March 28, 2007, 15:13 GMT

    Sir,we always talk of 1983 WC,let's analyse the next games which followed WC! Our record in those succeeding games was pathetic which led to many World teams comment that India's 83 WC was just a "fluke"! Our men in Blue always were chokers,shakers or timid-coward rabbits,nothing else.The way things stand,cricket in India has become one of the biggest money spinning industry,and our players indulge more in corporate business ads to fetch huge earnings,than showing proper interest to advance cricket,for them,cricket is no longer their business.BCCI is one of the richest cricket corp compared with rest of the cricketing world.Who has produced maximum Bookies? Its India! How do Bookies survive? With money under the tables,Bookies buy cricketers,most of those who get lured by Bookies,they are also Indians or Pakistanis.Ousting of India and Pak from WC,must have ruined Bookies business more than anyone else.Cricket is a gentleman's-game,with India and Pak out,cricket fans would enjoy a much better or "real" cricket,we feel sorry,for being so candid about this aspect.But,let's view the things truthfully.No where in the World,Cricket associations are headed by politicians,except we have them in India.Why do we now go for the scalp of Coach or the Captain? Remove all those politicians from the BCCI.Let's bring real-seasoned cricketers/sportsmen,to man the BCCI.Why do we perform better in our home pitches,becs the same are flat-tailored to suit our men.Once our Team is sent abroad,we find disgusting results,becs our men cannot play on competitive,turning or bouncy pitches that our men are made to face.Carriebean pitches are also tailored to suit fast-pacers,our men are too timid to face fast bowlers.If WC was staged in India,we would have seen a different result.After BDesh stunned us,our team learned nothing to fight against SriLanka.We lacked commitment,will to fight fearlessly the way SriLankans were doing.How come,SriLanka out-played BDesh in every department of the game,but our men,were bunddled out like 9-pins? BDesh don't possess celebs-batsmen or bowlers the way we have them or we boast of them,but BDesh fought as one united-team,to ruin our boasts,and,pride of so many rich earning celebs-icons of cricket in India.This humiliation would stay in our minds for a long time to remember the way we talk of WC 1983 Win with pride,and continue to cherish dream to win WC once again? Sorry,we wont stand any chance to repeat 1983,so long as cricket game is not completely over-hauled,right from manning BCCI,to changing pitches,and playing more of cricket in India. pps.ahluwalia

  • Luke on March 28, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    Think the biggest difference is that this Indian team is a bunch of talented individuals who do not hunt in a pack. There were no bowling or batting partnerships and quite honestly there is no spine. The big wins in Australia 2003 came from a plethora of partnerships be it in bowling and batting and a never say die attitude.

    The successful Indian sides have had an element of fight in them like the Kapil Dev side and Ganguly lead side. Dravid is too much of a gentleman and as we all know the good guys come last.

    Chappelli was a great player but to be a successful coach you need to bring out the best in the team and he has created instability by implementing too much change too quickly.

    There is far too much focus on statistics but there is not much to say when the best batting line up on paper cannot bat out 50 overs against two sides (Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) that have played cricket before. The statistics are fantastic but they have not stacked up into winning results since the Pakistan tour of 2004 or thereabouts.

    Luke - Melbourne

  • avm on March 28, 2007, 9:09 GMT

    Here is the best solution to the woes of Indian cricketers' and their fans. Invite Bermuda/Kenya or Zimbabwe (don't make the mistake of calling Bangladsh or any other team, it may backfire) for a best of 7 match one day series in India. It will have the following benefits:

    a) Ganguly will get an opportunity to score a century after 4 years that too at run a ball (the last 2 were against Kenya in WC). b) Sehawga can fulfill his ambition to score a double c) Dhoni can score a 20 ball hundred d) Bhajji can get a 5 for e) Tendulkar can add a few more to his 10000+ runs. Infact the aggregrate runs, averages, strike rates etc.. will get a real boost.

    After a thumpping 6-1 win ,(when India loses that one match, dejected fans would skip thier meals, ofcourse not the players) sponsors will gift apartments worth 1crore+ each to the team members.All the players would divulge which soft drink is the secret of their energy. All channels would interview the players to find out how much milk they drink, which shoes they wear, which mobile they use etc............ Indian fans will joice and be happy with the win. The media will calim that we are the no.1 team in the world and that ours is the best batting line up in the world ON PAPER!

    God forbid if they lose the seires you have a few scapegoat players like Laxman, Agarkar, Kumble!

    Three chreers to the Indian team and JAI HIND!!! ======================= p.s: In one of my previous postings I have predited that India has no chance to make it to semis and that there is a dnager of going out in the first round itself by losing to BD!

  • Ashwin.A on March 28, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    Okay! It is not that simple. To break down and understand the causes for this disastrous performance needs some serious thinking. Let us see, how far we can actually go ahead understanding where the real problem lies. 1. Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell are not the ideal combination. Chappell seemed to be to have come in with a certain plan to try out youngsters. But it really backfired. Indians need security to perform. Cutting and chopping did not help one bit. Raina, Kaif, Powar, V.Rao, Pathan, Sreesanth have figured too often in the playing 11 in previous tournaments to have been left out of the word cup playing 11 squad. A few did not even make the cut to the 15.

    2.Sehwag wasn't performing one bit and there was no reason for him to be there in the first place. He played well against Sri Lanka you say? I say..No! He was just playing his usual self and suddenly decided to complicate things with Murali.It was unnecessary. Why can't he think for heaven sake? Ohh..and why talk about Sri Lanka? He played a miserable shot against Bangladesh too and got out cheaply. Responsibility, committment, dedication, perserverance, mental toughness are the key words which have to be questioned-not only for Sehwag, but a lot of other cricketers too.

    3. Robin Uthappa- He might be a good player. But it was too early for him to play in the big stage. I am sure Pathan would have fared better as an opener. Just because he played well in India does not mean he is ready for the big stage. Including the world cup, Uthappa has played only 11 matches. Meaning, 8 before the world cup. ????. Do you think he was good enough?

    4. Fielding and fitness- Indians rank the lowest in this aspect. To do well in ODI's, you need to be looking more machine than man. The in fielders need to have super sharp reflexes and the boundaries have to be manned by long legs and powerful arms. Our best fielder was Yuvraj Singh. He seems to be diving a lot but only in vain. He was better than that at one point of time. The others are simply not one day material.

    5. Bowling attack - Shaun Tait, McGrath, Murali, Vaas, Bond, Ntini, Pollock. What do they have in common? All of them question the batsmen, all of them create a certain doubt in the batsman's mind a few intimidate them. We can't bowl effective short balls, we dont know what a yorker is and our slower balls invariably drift down the leg side. Harbajan Singh- when did he seriously get his last international wicket? Get him out of the team. He is a joke!

    6. Talent hunt - We need to seriously start talent hunting. Are you telling me that, our country (1 billion in strength) cannot field a winning 11?? IMPOSSIBLE! One guy who looks like a beast and can unleash rippers at 160 km/hr? One guy who can safely guide his team always no matter what the circumstances are like Ponting? 7. Its the system fellas !!- Corruption, politics. It starts from the school level. The school coach is called by the principal and is said "please let Mr. XYZ's son play tomorrow. He is funding the school". And I cannot begin to imagine what is happening at the top level. Throw this current system out of the window. We need that damn world cup again. Did Imran Khan say we have 32 domestic teams?? You are kidding me! We cannot go forward having so many teams. Its too messy and chaotic. Have you seen Australia's domestic format? Simply brilliant. We need to have five teams. North, South, Central, East and West. That is it! The competition has to be fierce at the domestic level. Not the same Shareth or Sujit Somasunder playing for 20 years at a stretch. Doesn't make one bit sense. There has to be a new tournament inducted with all the Indian players having to play it mandatorily. We should look forward to that every year. Bring more sponsors in, bring more big money in there. Increase the pay scale. The domestic system needs to be revamped. Three tournaments a year is good enough. One for the test format. One for the One day format. And this new thing which they call twenty-twenty. Trust me, if India is not going to think outside the box asap, we are going to be left far far behind. Ever heard of Allen Stanford? He will drool seeing the Indian market!

    Regarding the coach and the captain , I personally think Dravid is not effective enough to be captain and Chappell might be a shrewd thinker. But he is just not there. To be the coach of another country, you need to first understand the culture. Be one with it. John Wright and Saurav Ganguly- what a fantastic combo? And by the way, we need an aggressive captain. A guy who can take his shirt off and flay it wildy. Not a guy who stands in the slips or mid off and chews the last bit of his nails. Just not good enough. Can you please think of a guy named Steve Waugh?

  • Gopi on March 28, 2007, 5:33 GMT

    The reality is only eleven matters. Not one more not one less. I am saying not one less because oneness asa team is lost if we exclude that single person. I read one very good abbreaviation for TEAM, Together Everyone Achieves More. Did we had that oneness in the team that played the tournament. The instinct to give your 100% even when there is only a single run is there to be scored for the opponent to win the match. Winner or loser is seperated by that thin line. Irrespective of if a team is being backed by one billion people or one person the only team that wins is a team which belieives that it can.

    The moment we see that spirit in the playing eleven who do wear that so called "Men in Blue Tag" things will automatically fall in place.

    If it is ignored then we will be writing similar type of blog come 2007+i*4 where i is from 1 to infintiy.

  • Kannan Subramaniam on March 28, 2007, 2:53 GMT

    Hi Soumya, you got far fewer comments to this article (25 as against 85 for your last). I thought given the situation India is in, everyone would want to spit spleen. Guess, people are losing interest or they are too depressed to voice their opinion. I think it is the latter. I am in Australia and the feeling here among the expat Indian community is that this drubbing is actually a blessing to kick out the old pros? May India wake up before lest the only sport our children will see Indians play will be chess & carrom...

  • Anand on March 28, 2007, 2:51 GMT

    Nothing is an accident. Kapil and his team had guts, they had self-belief, they had the killer instinct. Pataudi and Wadekar's Test teams had a bit of that. There have been many Indians in recent history who have displayed these qualities Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Kumble, Harbhajan, Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj, ... And in 2003 they came very close to winning actually. Who knows what might have happened if Sehwag had not been run out. This year was a tragedy because they had a good bowling attack for a change. But these things happen.

  • Aseem S on March 28, 2007, 2:02 GMT

    All scenarios pondered.. I was still in a daze from that defeat to Sri Lanka, till one of my friends showed me a 4-5 year old article in an Indian magazine. This article accused Indian cricketers of using steroids and what not. The particularly enraging bit was their accusations against the senior, well established players. My friend followed this by saying that ever since ICC made them go through drug-tests, which have become more frequent in the past two years... some of our best players lost form. This supported by the fact that while the naturally fit players like Yuvraj and Dhoni have managed some form now and then... the others have become far too inconsistent. By the this logic, it is perhaps obvious for the super-fit Australians to do what they have been doing. Now, I'm not saying that the Indian team is doing drugs, I am just a helpless fan wondering. And sadly, it is at such times that the paranoia gets the best of us. The dream, meanwhile, lives on...

  • vetri on March 27, 2007, 23:56 GMT

    Cause: Everybody agrees that the senior players let us down. Our batting and fielding let us down. The spinners were not up to the mark. Future: Need more younger and fitter players. Not to select any body who will not play next world cup. Need a less flamboyant but effective players..means need run makers rather than strokemakers. To be done: Drop Sachin, Ganguly, Kumble & Harbhajan. Select player with good fielding, running between the wickets and hardworkers. Chappell was going the right way, but because of a disastrous SA tour his plans went awry.

  • Amir Khan on March 27, 2007, 23:28 GMT

    It is really sad to know that super 8 round is being played on the pitches which are replicas of sub-continent pitches. I am sure if India or Pakistan would had survived the knock-out round they would have kicked some butt. The flat track bullies Dravid, Inzi, MoYo, Younis and Ganguly would have caused a riot.There is a great opportunity for Lankan here now.

  • Unni on March 27, 2007, 22:59 GMT

    Indian selectors like their Aussie counterparts should be ruthless in their selection policies. I mean look at the selectors cant-drop-Sachin attitude and compare it to the Aussie selectors who dropped Steve Waugh from the ODI side after Australia lost just that VB series.

    Our selectors always look at what our players did 2-3 years ago instead of looking at how they performed last series or last year. Talk of sachin - yeah hes got most runs in world cup - hes won that match against Pakistan in 2003. 2003? well thats 4 years ago. What has Sachin done since then?

    Sehwag is a matchwinner (ie when he bats well) - remember his 300 against Pakistan and 195 against Australia. What is conviniently forgotten is that both came in Tests and about 2-3 years ago.

    As long as our selectors choose the term based on star-value (Sachin, Ganguly, Sehwag), India is not going anywhere.

    Sachin - Thank you for your services. But can you please call it a day.?

  • Vineet Kumar on March 27, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    Nice Article, somehow India has always done well when they are the underdogs and the least is expected of them, eg-the 1983 WC, the 1985 world championship of cricket, the 2001 Aus series etc-the 1983 triumph was also due to the fact that we were playing on bowler friendly surfaces on which our part time trundlers like mohinder, sandhu, madan lal, binny, kirti azad who normally would get whacked on true pitches could pick up wickets. The way forward for india is to adopt a modern and scientific way of playing cricket. We need to develop bowlers who get wickets by attacking and hitting the stumps and not by having batsmen attempting slogs and getting caught at long off-Munaf Patel being the biggest culprit in this-for someone who was rated to be bowling at 150mph or so, I think it is you media wallahs who have overhyped an ordinary bowler, secondly-fielding and general fitness should be improved-there should be more importance on running the singles-something we indians singularly lack. The approach should be aggressive and no holds barred when we enter the ground, not like what we saw against bangladesh-when i felt the players were more playig to protect their reputations. Mr T. H.-who ever u are(the person who has posted his 'garbage' as the first post on this blog)-u have a severe attitude problem-this blog is not for you personal prejudices (however sickening it may be)-hence-shove ur attitudeup some place where the sun do'nt shine...!

  • Shiva from Trinidad on March 27, 2007, 19:08 GMT

    Its just the simple fact that the players didn't click at the big time, this team has one of the best batting line ups in the history of our sport, but yes the factor of their will to win does come into play and also their batsmen apart from Ganguly not being in the best of form. On the other hand no one should ever question sachins ability as a batsman , hes pure genius, no doubt but that carrer defining innings is still out there somewhere. We've seen ponting, lara, and even inzaman played them but at the big time when its really needed its seems as thou sachin fails or starts of well but does not carry it out.

  • YU on March 27, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    The contrast between the Australian or South African performance and the Indian was as much as that of Barcelona and Mohan Bagan. Watching international socer put the prowess of our domestic socer players in perspectve. in Cricket too countries are playing at a totally different pace. Once in a while, with luck and on a favorable wicket the Indian team will beata South African one. but only once in a while.

  • Ram on March 27, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    I hope people realise that axing tendulkar and ganguly is not the answer to India's world cup loss, or to its future endeavours. It's easy during failure to target those who we had the highest expectations of, who also did not meet those expectations. I see Tendulkar's, Dravid's, Ganugly's, Dhoni's and Yuvraj's name tossed around the most, purely because the greatest expectations rested with these players. But I repeat, axing them is not the solution. We talk about cricket having become a power game, and from that point, I agree that our fielding needs a miraculous turn around. Tendulkar is still willing to put in the effort; he runs hard, holds onto catches well and puts in the effort. The same effort is apparent in Dravid and Ganguly as well; if anything, though they lack the athleticism of a Yuvraj, their commitement is greater than Yuvraj's has ever been. if you want results, train these guys better. Put them on strict diets and exercise regiments. Train them on really fast, moving pitches; train them to knock down the stumps every time, even from the boundary; train them to catch blindfolded if necessary, and instill the importance of passion in them. Brining in Raina or Karthik, is not the answer. Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly have served Indian cricket with more dedication than any player has for any side in the world. To drop them merely because age has affected them the way it does all of us, is ridiculous. They are at a stage when they play selflessly for the team more than the youngsters. a team full of youngsters will each try and play for themselves, to establish their names in the cricketing world. These three proven giants will have nothing more to play for than the team. If we drop them, then Indian cricket is doomed. If they play for another few years on the other hand, at least until 2011, then we can have a new group of seniors taking over when they exit: Yuvraj, Sehwag, Dhoni, maybe even Kaif, if he's reinstated. But if we replace the team, there is no hope, not for another decade. Open your eyes from the anger and disappointment; placing blame is not the answer, regrouping and fighting together is. Instill passion and fearlessness into our team, and regardless of age, physical limitations, or even mental weaknesses, there is no side we cannot beat. Please don't take Sachin, Sourav or Rahul out.

  • Vikram on March 27, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    The bottom-line is that we lost because the other teams in our group (BD & SL) played better cricket than us and we sucked, stinked and rotting and need a garbage can, stop talking about strategies and ‘ if we had don this’ and ‘if he done that’ and only if we had... We had batsman who had the best averages, best strike rates, best of everything, some of them were GODS by various names from different parts of the country like : Sachin from West, Sourav from East, Dravid from South, Shewag from North etc. etc. but the GODS did not like the weather in the Caribbean Islands so they decided to come back . Other teams only have players who have come to take part in a tournament as a team while we had come with a dozen gods who expect to be worshipped by a billion followers every second. We can only win the world cup the day we have a team made up of 'Indians' ( and not Mohanty’s and Ganguly’s) who believe in 'Team India' in spirit and not as a mere name and yes cricket matches are not won by GODS. Hopefully we will have a cricket team made up of mortals like any other sports team in our country. Meanwhile the corporations are planning to reward ‘Team India’ for ensuring no productivity loss over the next one month and we are fresh at work.

  • Ravinder on March 27, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Find 3 fast bowlers who can clock 155 any time they want, and don't let them get any slowers than 145. we need a few express bolwers to bring the fighting spirit into the team, once out batting fails our bowling always follows the same tracks. noone is really willing to rise up to the challenge. Zaheer khan, Munaf Patel, S Sreesant all clocked pretty close to 150 K, but then all of them dropped below 130, look at munaf (previously known as the fastest bowler in India) can barely clock 125 now, i bowl at 115 in my basement, how can our fast bowlers bear being called "right arm medium", personally i would be mad as hell if anyone changed my name from "right arm fast" to anything else, where is the aggression guys, where is the passion to see 150 on the radar gun, and then who ask "how com the bangladeshies were stepping out of their creases and hitting over the top", maybe someone should look at the speeds our idiot bowlers were bowling. Its not that speed is everything but here is a fine example - when pathan first came to the international arena he used to clock 140 consistentaly, then he dropped down to 135 and i remember a reporter asking how "don't u think ur speed has dropped a bit?" he replied "when i am taking wickets i don't think people should worry about my speed". Another 5 months went pathan has now dropped down to 130, he still replies "don't worry about my speed", another 8 months and MR quick is down to 125, but still the asnwer is "don't worry about the speed", another 5 months and he hit rock bottom and is bowling at 100-115 now, but he is still repliying "don't worry about my speed" on the otehr hand i remember akthar being annoyed with himself as he wasn't bowling at 155 and was only doing 150. All the have to say to our "quick" bowlers is if u aren't willing to give 100 % to ur country then u don't deserve to be representing it.

  • Miten on March 27, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    Team chemistry is an intangible which is probably as important as skill and experience in any organized team sport. A side that is having fun together will win together and overcome losses together. A side that is enjoying playing as a unit will make the effort to understand its components rather than think of its own interest and stats. Bangladesh seems to be a fantastic example of this, they will not win this cup but they have taken a huge step in their journey to one day becoming part of the world's elite cricketing nation. The Indian side of 1983 seemed to be such a side and so did the Sri Lankan team of 1996. This is all great for cricket, die hard fans of the GAME will not mind this, not one bit.

  • Venkataraman Balaji on March 27, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    India failed to make Sup8 because they did not have a strategy. I say this because even assuming that they had a strategy and only failed to have executed that, is not on. Unlike neighbouring SL who came with settled lineup resting Muralidharan and Vass and clear about what team choice and how to go about, went to the extent of keeping Chamara Silva ahead of Atapattu, had a clear strategy. India thought they will reserve energy in round 1, did not go ballistic, played a "safe" game that proved to be not safe at all. Meaning they did not take the necessary risk to stay ahead strategically, where as teams like Bangladesh did take enough risk to push their own cause. Strategically India thought they could take it easy to anyway reach Sup8, and then could work hard. Alas, they were caught unaware, why they lacked the strategy, despite, "collective" wisdom from most high profile coach Greg Chappell. It will be sad if this debacle is going to hasten the disappearance of Sachin, Saurav & Dravid who "Collectively" were responsible for stupendous wins and could have carried if there had been some "strategy" and luck. Saurav could have aimed Midwicket or Straight field instead of Extra cover. Sachin could have eschewed that killer ball from Fernando and given the partnership to Dravid or Viru could have been more positive against Murali instead of suddenly playing defence, when not still in form. 2011 is long away and at this point could not count on any bloke who could be better than Sachin, Saurav and Dravid.

  • Mahadevan on March 27, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    As mentioned in the above comments, Indian world cup team has the best bunch of players, no questions on their commitment or field records. The only thing these players lack is mental toughness, they tend to succumb under pressure situations more often when compared with other teams. This concept of mental toughness is the main difference between the present indian team and the team that won in 1983. It's high time to approach this issue in a more serious manner. Indian selectors can very well appoint a psychologist and have some coaching sessions that could help the players to enhance their ability to handle pressure situations.

  • rr on March 27, 2007, 13:07 GMT

    "The last point about mental stamina is something that Indians in general never have. I dont know if it is a cultural issue or our genetic makeup."

    That's not true. I've lived in the US for some time. I've seen a lot of Indians with mental focus who are in top positions in the US. I've also seen a lot of Australians in the US with no mental focus.

    Mental focus in the workplace has a lot to do with management and pressure. It seems that in India, like with England and football, the team carries a lot of the nation's hopes. Also, the media in both countries are the same. You could go from being a hero to a zero to a hero again quickly! This just adds more pressure on the players. Consequently both teams play fearing a loss rather than wanting to win.

    Similarly, if the management is inconsistent, then the players start worrying and lose their focus. Look at the selectorial merry-go-round before the World Cup. This takes away focus from the players. Players need to have some idea of where they are and where they stand. I've worked with managers who are inconsistent. One day you could be a hero and the next day you could be a zero. You end up being really tense at work and not being able to give your best. The same seems to be happening with the Indian team.

    Look at the Italian football team. For a long time they also had a similar problem with media and fan pressure. Before the '06 WC, there was no media or fan pressure, because no one expected anything from them. They were free to play and guess what? They won the WC.

  • Harish Gurumoorthy on March 27, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    I wonder why some people are still backing proven failures like Sachin. Sachin may have been the best batsman in the world, but clearly, he's living on past glory. We haven't seen him perform in quite a while now. And no, a 183 NO against Kenya or a 57 NO against Bermuda don't count as performances. Dravid is still a great batsman, but he's been a failure as a captain.

    Whatever their talents, it is the will to win that separates winners from losers. And this one was a bunch of losers that was destined to lose.

  • Sam on March 27, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    In response to the first comment by T.H. What has anything to do with south indian politicians and the loss in the world cup. Any loss or win is a team effort and the blame must be placed on all parties concerned. Selection to the national team must be based on individual talent of a person and not because he is a good player in a partiular zone.

  • avm on March 27, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    sharad: the team mentioned by you has alreday lost to BD and sL in preliminary round of WC!

    It is high time for Ganguly, Sachin, Kumble to retire and Sehwag,Dhoni,Agarkar and Harbhajan dropped.

    Karthik can keep wickets.

    Bring in youngsters and give the captaincy to Laxman. Kaif can be Vice captain Laxman and Dravid will be the seniors. Yuvraj and Kaif the young but experienced batsmen and good fielders.

    Let the team be filled with new players like Uthappa,Piyush, Sreesanth , RP singh any Iam sure there are many more names.......

    Uthappa, Gambhir, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dravid, Kaif, Karthik, Piyush, Sreesanth, RP, munaf Patel,zaheer. This looks a more balanced and helathy team which can win many matches. More importantly I expect better team spirit in this unit!

  • Pranav on March 27, 2007, 11:40 GMT

    Scrap Ranji and Deodhar Trophy. It only creates half baked players who score 30000 runs in their careers in domestic cricket but cant score 30 runs in international matches. The best thing to do would be to pick the best of each region and send them to the NCAA. Once they are good, send them on A tours to England and Australia - seam tracks in England and bouncy tracks on Australia. They can play in those leagues for one year without being a competitor for the prizes. That way each year there is going to be a batch of tough cricketers who know what it is compete on those tough environments. Not flat track bullies who run away when the balls bounce at their chins.

  • zaheer on March 27, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    Its a well written article.All the words were meant perfectly.I still believe this is the best ever team which india could ever produce going by their abilities, but they really lack is aggression, committment.The captain of the team is responsible for such imposing traits.In that way, ganguly possessed all of the traits which can even bet the best of the teams.But dravid had everything except it.I feel ganguly and australians had similar attitude of aggression which may not be liked by many, but atlast it proved to b a necessary one for the current world cricket.

  • manohar on March 27, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    teamvsfadingstars!Action at the grounds to action at the studios!Our cricketers are too too ordinaryplayers projected by the ad gods to promote products at all india market.To get into the team you need to be acricketer but the sustination of cricketer and the BCCI comes from product,. The BCCI cant afford to delink the hype and so the story will repeat again and again.Of course we can still get happiness out of the 6th rank team. Invite Bermuda,Canada ,usa, holland and innumerable other countries except the Sixabove us and enjoy all those sixes and fours!!

  • arasu on March 27, 2007, 11:08 GMT

    The disintegration of the INdian Team started with ganguly, afetr he raised a rebel flag and since then, player have indulged themselves in groupism rather than playing and are also ably supported by the ppoel and politicians of Bengal.

  • Observer on March 27, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Good point made. Maybe simplicity is the key. I don't believe that any of the subcontinent teams lack in hunger to win and passion to play. But do we really need all these coaches, managers, complex statistics, brainwashing technical data et al. India and Pakistan's greatest success has been the cricket World Cup victories in 83 and 92. Just look at those teams. Both with one or two exceptional players, and mostly average players. Simple love for playing the game and hunger for victory unhindered by modern day technocracy. No distractions. Pure passion.

  • KUTUBUDDIN on March 27, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    DEAR SIR,

    This was a very good article.... i hope atleast some of our indian cricketers read this articles.. if they can get some time from there modelling assignments..

  • fontaine on March 27, 2007, 10:45 GMT

    So Team India lost and now we're all searching for answers.

    Theories and conjecture are spreading like false hope. But as it is in all things, the simplest answer is the best one.

    India were simply out of form.

    Uthappa, Sehwag, Dhoni, Pathan, Harbhajan Singh were all suffering in form during and in most cases prior to the World Cup (Uthappa being the only exception).

    We can all question India's grass roots movement, it's commercialization of cricket, match fixing and so on, but the question I have is "What did you expect?"

    Our best swing bowler was out of form for the past year (Pathan). Our one day spin bowler is no longer a wicket taking threat (Harbhajan) and the most explosive batsmen is struggling (Sehwag).

    I could go on but we all know deep down our hearts that teams simply can't just come into the World Cup hoping to improve and gain batting/bowling rhythym and form. That has to be done BEFORE the world cup and in this regard the Indian team were clearly struggling in major areas such as the spin bowling department, bowling at the death/middle overs, and the opening partnerships.

    It's up the selection committee, coach, and captain to address that. I can understand their dilema. How can Zaheer Khan come roaring back into international cricket after being dropped when someone like Pathan doesn't? Players are different and respond in different ways.

    The KEY is going to be how India continue to nurture young talent (Pathan, Sreesanth, Dhoni, Uthappa etc) not when it succeeds, but when it fails!

    I really believe that instead of overplaying so many tours and domestic one day series the team should be broken down to India A ( the regulars and first team ) and India B ( the players who are dropped, new talents ) so that both get to play one day series and give opportunities to players that are out of form and give experience to up and comers. This solves the need for BCI's commercial aspect of revenue, the team's needs, and our insatiable appetite for the one day game.

    -fontaine

  • Aditya on March 27, 2007, 10:41 GMT

    India crashing out in the first stage of the 2007 WC comes as no surprise to me. The 4-0 drubbing in the hands of South Africa before this had clearly shown this. Though this team won against WI and an understrength SL, it was at home on pitches as flat as the Indian team looked during this event. How could one drop someone like Ramesh Powar who has performed very well in the limited oppertunites he got? What crime has he done? And what great thing has Harbhajan Singh done? He went wicketless in the World Cup. If Indian cricket has to really improve, two things of utmost importance must be done: 1. Men with character, fighting qualities need to be selected (for eg Powar is a fighter to the core). The selectors while picking a player must pick him not because he talented but beacause he is hardworking and is got the right attitude. 2. The pitches in India need to undergo a sea change. Look at the Australian pitches-Any decent total is defendable. Also in Australia one gets to see all kinds of pitches-hard and bouncy at Perth and Melbourne, seaming at Brisbane, spinning at Sydney and batsmen friendly at Adelaide.

  • Vector on March 27, 2007, 8:56 GMT

    Shocking is a mere euphemism for India's early exit from WC2007. It was downright disgusting to see the much touted WC contenders surrender meekly to the opponents. This team lacked the zeal to win, the cohesiveness was just not there. It was quite evident from Day 1 itself. The moment Bangladesh crossed the 100 run mark the shoulders of our so-called heroes drooped, the defensive field setting was ridiculous, that famous hurdle after taking a wicket which marked the 2003 team was missing. A hyper-defensive skipper and lackadaisical attitude exacerbated the situation.

    Same scenario presented itself in the SL match,India having their task cut out just needed to get the basics right and play some sane cricket. But despite gaining the early advantage they squandered the early advantage allowing SL to post a sizeable but achievable total. The over hyped batting line-up crumbled like a palace of cards in no time. What is more deplorable is the way they gave up. Veterans like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid et al. displayed sheer lack of responsibility and instead of guiding the team out of trouble pushed it further towards the quagmire of defeat.

    The role of coach Mr. Chappel also comes under the scanner. He inherited a pack of lions from John Wright and put his best efforts to transform them into a bunch of losers.

    Sometimes I think it is better that India crashed out in the first round itself coz if they would have qualified for the Super 8s we spectators would have been treated to 6 more resounding wallopings of our team. The need of the hour is to do a retrospection and purge the whole "PROCESS". Then only can we dream of achieving the lost glory of '83. If we don't learn from our mistakes then maybe the headline in 2015 will be "INDIA QUALIFY FOR THE CRICKET WORLD CUP"

  • mauhatshim rasheed on March 27, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    now a days people talk about india and pakistan both teams are not in the worldcup now.we must realise that if you want to do some thing you must focause on that. in my oppenion both teams are missing thaty thing thats way they are no more in the tornament.that is the only reson the both are out . we all know both are teams are lots of telanted players in there side's but lots of other things are on thire minds that why they be come panic and lost focuse on the game and they get reward from that in the shape of out form the tornament.

  • Sharad on March 27, 2007, 8:48 GMT

    I wasn't alive to watch the 1983 world cup, or the 1987 world cup not even the 1992 world cup. I can't remember the 1996 world cup at all or even the 1999 world cup. All i remember, is sitting down in front of the tv watching Sachin Tendulkar smashing all the world's bowlers around the park in the 2003 world cup. I remember his 98 against Pakistan in the Semi-Finals (i think). Then i remember how much my hopes soared and crashed in the final days of the tornament. But now that old team has gone. We have even changed captain's since then. I'll try to get this message to the Indian selectors. The message is that The greastest ODI batsman of all time has to open up the batting.India can only prospure if Sachin opens up! India definately have the right players to have won this world cup. But the selectors in my opinon stuffed us up by choosing the worst batting line-up possible.It wasn't poor captaincy, it was just horrible selection and performance. We need to change our line-up this is what i would have done to the Indian line-up if i was a selector: 1.Sachin Tendulkar-NO EXPLAINATION NEEDED 2.Sourav Ganguly-Experinced Rebuilder 3.Rahul Dravid-The Great Indian Wall 4.Yuvraj-He earned this spot 5.Verinder Sehwag-Out of form, but amazing batsman 6.Mahendra Dhoni-Hardest Hitter in world cricket 7.Robin Uttapha-The new Jayasuriya 8.Irfan Pathan-A New Kapil Dev for India? 9.Ajit Agarkar-Handy Batsman, Great bowler 10.Anil Kumble/Munaf Patel- Depends on the track 11.Harbajan Singh- India's best ODI bowler.

    Sachin and Ganguly will start the Innings solid. When Dravid comes in he will play his strokes, if were in trouble, Yuvraj and Sehwag will give us a partnership, then the finishers Mahendra Dhoni and Robin Uttapha will destroy every single bowling attack. Our tail can bat as well. Pathan is a good batsman, while Agarkar can score us a few runs.

    The Strike Rate in our batsman is absoultely amazing: S/R's Tendulkar-85 SR after 381 ODI Matches!!!!!! Ganguly- 78 SR Dravid- 75 SR Yuvraj-88 SR Sehwag-95 SR Dhoni-98 SR Uttapha-110 SR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our top 7 batsman have absolutely amazing strike rates!!! WHY DOESN'T INDIA HAVE THIS LINE-UP? I ASK U THAT PAWAR???? WE HAVE THE BEST MIDDLE ORDER IN WORLD CRICKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • King on March 27, 2007, 8:29 GMT

    The team that was taken to the world cup was no doubt talented enough. where they failed was the application, and the current team instead of possesing such talent fails to apply themselves time and again. 1. They couldnt place the ball in gaps and rotate strike. considering the lush slow outfield, Indian batsmen as usual waited for boundaries instead of taking singles. Ganguly was the main culprit, coming in the beginning and with his negativities. 2. Fielding - The bowlers though were tad better than the batsmen, the support from the fielding would have made lot of difference. A game like against bangladesh, 20 to 30 runs saving through fielding and taking 20-30 singles during that negative period when the great dada was batting was what cost the game.

    Its a known fact from the information coming out from the journalists out there in WestIndies about the arrogance, selfishness of the Indian Superstars, the lack of unity. These superstars are a pampered lot, do the former captians or the BCCI officials have the guts to question these bloated superstars. About the selection of the future team, there are talks going on about the power games played by aussies and safricans, their muscle power, builds, huge hitting abilities. Well, apart from the muscle power, The team do need cricketers with skills and commitment. Indians can never match the aussies with muscle power or hard hitting, so better to go for cricketers who are committed, who hav the steel, fighters to the core in the dravid mould. Who don’t care hell abt setting only their personal records (Ala Sachin) Here is my team for the future

    My team for the future. 1.Gambhir(Safe Fielder, brilliant runner, is a positive batter) 2.Utthappa(I feel he deserves more chances, considering the way ganguly batted negatively, the young man would hav been in lot of pressure. Being a senior pro, ganguly was hardly speakin to the young man durin the opening partnerships) 3. Dravid(India Still needs this brilliant, committed man''s service, as a batsman but not as captain) 4. Yuvraj( Captain - Give him responsibilities, use his bowling more, needs to improve with playing spinners, thts one thing hes lacking) 5. Kaif(Vice Captain he was the best batsman when India toured west indies last time, He deserves another chance. With confidence, Kaif will be a different batsman, He is a brilliant thinker. Jayawardene was young, not in form, but look at stats after he became captain and when responsibilities were thrust upon him). 6. Sehwag (A Match fit sehwag is still useful for the Indian team with his swashbuckling batting and offsin. He needs to rejuvenate, im goin for him coz hes still 28 and has age on his side). 7. Dhoni (Improve Concentration, slog it out, look at dravid man, look the way he does things, jus needs to be consistent) 8. Pathan (Confidence is wht he needs,needs to be groomed, hav a bowling coach guys. look whts happend with Simon Jones with a bowling coach, he was devastating in the ashes in 2005) 9. Piyush(Attacking Spinner and a solid batsman. he is a fighter with bat.) 10. Sreesanth(Is passionate abt playin, 22 yrs, get a bowling coach, he would be a different bowler with line n length discipline .. needs to divert his aggression in improving self and bowling batsman instead of wasting by sledgin n stupid antics) 11. Zaheer (needs to continue with the same passion that he has showed after his comeback. Use slower balls more often. he has a good slower ball, surprising he didnt use it much) 12. Munaf (Hit him on the back and Make him run the grounds till he improves fielding) 13. Karthik , 14. Ramesh Powar (Committed, Good Team man) I have mentioned my team for the future, please comment on them.

  • sbcmouli on March 27, 2007, 7:56 GMT

    One day cricket has definitely become more physical. It is not just power cricket, interms of hitting huge sixes and fours but the finer points. The most important of these physical attributes are running between the wickets (certainly Indians are probably the worst, even including the minnows) and fielding (even here we are not in the top 6). There is an added requirement of stamina, and by stamina I mean mental more than physical. Since ODIs are short there is no need to sustain the physical stamina like tests, but we need mental stamina to last that long. There cannot be any lapse in concentration anytime during an ODI. THe focus has to be there all through. The last point about mental stamina is something that Indians in general never have. I dont know if it is a cultural issue or our genetic makeup. We cannot concentrate and focus consistently. Even fielding and running between the wickets needs mental stamina to keep sustaining the focus to take singles, convert 1s to 2s etc. This is one department where the Aussies and SA guys are supreme. Added to that is their physical fitness and stamina which gives them teh edge. Infact the SL team have the right mix of physical and mental toughness. Batsmen like Sangakarra, Chamara Silva, Vass, Murali and Mahela are not powerful hitters or bowlers. But they have mental toughness to keep the focus going on for the entire day. They are fit and focussed. This is what Indian cricket should aim for. People lie Dravid, Sehwag need not be powerful hitters, they need to be mentally focussed more. That is why both Tendulkar and Sourav should be dropped. They are pure genius, which clicks sometime but most of the time they cannot take in the intensity and sustain the focus. We also need to groom players for their respective roles. We should a set of players that open, they should have very good eyesight and should be supreme timers of the ball. They should also be very confident against the moving ball and should be able to comfortably handle the new ball for the first 15 overs. The one drop batsmen should also be in the same mould. The middle order batsmen have to be players who are versatile, they should predominantly be able to rotate the strike and in the process despatch the odd bad ball to the boundary. These guys have to mentally tough supremely. Nothing should ruffle them, any total shouldnt be daunting. They should also be able to up the tempo in the slog overs. Then bunch of pinch hitters who basically can send the ball far and wide. The bowlers need to be consistent in their line and length and should keep the pressure up. A spinner and a medium pacer should be wicket taking bowlers. They should not be relied to keep the run rate down. Their job is wickets. But after all this the BCCI is still going to have the same team except that the blame will now squarely be on Greg C heads and he will be the sacrifical lamb. Rahul might be reprimanded and dropped from captaincy. Beyond this I do not expect any more changes.

  • sp on March 27, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    An ordinary man with extraordinary courage, is sometimes, the better face of sport. Kapil's Devils were ordinary men in the sense that they were not pretentious but still delivered the goods. One remembers Kapil speaking to the boys at the dressing room after the Indian innings in WC final 1983. "No one expected us here. Its just a question of 3 hours. Throw yourself at the ball and keep trying"...

    This team of 2007 didnt even start trying.

  • Ajay R. Kamath on March 27, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    The 1983 side was the most balanced we've had...this trend continued upto 1986, when we a Test series in England and won the WCC championships in Australia in between. The simple truth is that the side batted deeper than any other Indian side.Binny, Madan Lal and later Chetan Sharma, Siva- everyone contributed with the bat and on the field.In fact, Sivaramakrishnan, at No. 11, had a first class century to his name! These sides were akin to the New Zealand of today- not too many superstars but the sum of the parts made the whole. Imortantly, expectations in 19983 were minimal. In tw previous world cups, we had only won one game, having beaten lowly East Africa in the inaugural edition!These days, the media spotlight is relentless. Advertising companies and 24 hour channels try to make an average side look like worldbeaters. The pressure on the players must be killing and that surely tells on their performances.

  • Andy S on March 27, 2007, 6:25 GMT

    What if the whole 1983 triumph was also fixed? What is the cricket lovers of India are living in the twilight zone all the time?

  • Santanu on March 27, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Regarding 1983 triumph, there are actually several questions. The first is of course, how did it happen? The second is, what is that special thing that the next 6 Indian WC teams did not have? Third, if there was nothing special about 1983 team, then how could they still manage it? Fourth, what India has to do in order to repeat a 1983? Fifth and the final question is, do you think, it is in India's hand to win or not to win?

    Now let me answer these one by one.

    First, it happened because the one day cricket and the world cup tournament were much simpler at that time. India had the occasion to win WC hockey and Olympic hockey tournaments when it was simper. When things become more and more complicated (read scientific), India gradually lose their way.

    Second, barring 2007 team, all other Indian WC teams were better than the 1983 team. In fact, the 2003 team was a much superior team. But still they could not manage to win as the one day cricket became more and more scientific with time. By scientific, I mean the following - the players became much fitter to perform excellent fielding and running between the wickets and at the same time, each team learnt how to exploit the weaknesses of the other teams.

    Third, there was nothing special with the 1983 team except the will to win. But this will to win was present in 2003 team also. But 1983 WI team was not that scientific-minded compared to 2003 Aus team. They did not think about all the pros and cons of the game. So, they did not give importance to the Indian team to whom they had lost in the very first game.

    Fourth, India can repeat their performance if there is a slump in Australian/ South African cricket and teams like WI or Pakistan become the no. 1 team again which do not think in a scientific manner.

    Fifth, evenif all the nice things happen to Indian cricket, like, BCCI taking modern approach to game rather than making money only, selectors forgetting quota system, cricketers concentrating on cricket more rather than ads and fans/spectators becoming more level-headed, then also India may not be able to win the WC again. Because it all depends on the D-day. In spite of having everything best in the world, you may have just one bad day and that's it. So, there is no special formula. Only thing at hand is, maximise your chance factors so that early exit like 2007 can be avoided with almost certainty.

  • Kabir on March 27, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    The magic of Kapil's Devils. A bunch of mediocre players (Amarnath, Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Sandeep Patil, Balwinder Sandhu) led by a fighter; a man who believed in himself and led from the front. Leadership is what separates a winning team from a bunch of ragtag losers.

  • T.H. on March 27, 2007, 3:10 GMT

    Well written polite article ,but its better if u can be little critical and call a SPADE A SPADE.STOP BEATING ROUND THE BUSH and get to place the real parasites lay.

    I will be little critical, and hope u will post this in whole.

    THIS'S ALL WHAT I HAVE TO SAY; To make the Indian game pure and more binding, kick the politics out of domestic boards..Game have to be cleaned from grass root levels.We need to kick these corrupt SOuth indian politicians out of their boards.those south india board dont show there is politics ,but there's direct influence from them to the players.Look who gets selected to teams in southern parts of Indian state,(Actually the problem is with this 1 state....we all know that....). plz let the good of the india suck out the poison from this south part and let we all be cured.....These ill-looking ,venom spitting,terrorist looking politician has to be sent home..Let s get a club system to ind states.I like the English football eg. Premiership clubs are the best eg. See how well the eng clubs benefit from those foreign transfers/Loaned players/trial player and youth rotation...

    Only way ind can be better is through a club system.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • T.H. on March 27, 2007, 3:10 GMT

    Well written polite article ,but its better if u can be little critical and call a SPADE A SPADE.STOP BEATING ROUND THE BUSH and get to place the real parasites lay.

    I will be little critical, and hope u will post this in whole.

    THIS'S ALL WHAT I HAVE TO SAY; To make the Indian game pure and more binding, kick the politics out of domestic boards..Game have to be cleaned from grass root levels.We need to kick these corrupt SOuth indian politicians out of their boards.those south india board dont show there is politics ,but there's direct influence from them to the players.Look who gets selected to teams in southern parts of Indian state,(Actually the problem is with this 1 state....we all know that....). plz let the good of the india suck out the poison from this south part and let we all be cured.....These ill-looking ,venom spitting,terrorist looking politician has to be sent home..Let s get a club system to ind states.I like the English football eg. Premiership clubs are the best eg. See how well the eng clubs benefit from those foreign transfers/Loaned players/trial player and youth rotation...

    Only way ind can be better is through a club system.

  • Kabir on March 27, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    The magic of Kapil's Devils. A bunch of mediocre players (Amarnath, Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Sandeep Patil, Balwinder Sandhu) led by a fighter; a man who believed in himself and led from the front. Leadership is what separates a winning team from a bunch of ragtag losers.

  • Santanu on March 27, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Regarding 1983 triumph, there are actually several questions. The first is of course, how did it happen? The second is, what is that special thing that the next 6 Indian WC teams did not have? Third, if there was nothing special about 1983 team, then how could they still manage it? Fourth, what India has to do in order to repeat a 1983? Fifth and the final question is, do you think, it is in India's hand to win or not to win?

    Now let me answer these one by one.

    First, it happened because the one day cricket and the world cup tournament were much simpler at that time. India had the occasion to win WC hockey and Olympic hockey tournaments when it was simper. When things become more and more complicated (read scientific), India gradually lose their way.

    Second, barring 2007 team, all other Indian WC teams were better than the 1983 team. In fact, the 2003 team was a much superior team. But still they could not manage to win as the one day cricket became more and more scientific with time. By scientific, I mean the following - the players became much fitter to perform excellent fielding and running between the wickets and at the same time, each team learnt how to exploit the weaknesses of the other teams.

    Third, there was nothing special with the 1983 team except the will to win. But this will to win was present in 2003 team also. But 1983 WI team was not that scientific-minded compared to 2003 Aus team. They did not think about all the pros and cons of the game. So, they did not give importance to the Indian team to whom they had lost in the very first game.

    Fourth, India can repeat their performance if there is a slump in Australian/ South African cricket and teams like WI or Pakistan become the no. 1 team again which do not think in a scientific manner.

    Fifth, evenif all the nice things happen to Indian cricket, like, BCCI taking modern approach to game rather than making money only, selectors forgetting quota system, cricketers concentrating on cricket more rather than ads and fans/spectators becoming more level-headed, then also India may not be able to win the WC again. Because it all depends on the D-day. In spite of having everything best in the world, you may have just one bad day and that's it. So, there is no special formula. Only thing at hand is, maximise your chance factors so that early exit like 2007 can be avoided with almost certainty.

  • Andy S on March 27, 2007, 6:25 GMT

    What if the whole 1983 triumph was also fixed? What is the cricket lovers of India are living in the twilight zone all the time?

  • Ajay R. Kamath on March 27, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    The 1983 side was the most balanced we've had...this trend continued upto 1986, when we a Test series in England and won the WCC championships in Australia in between. The simple truth is that the side batted deeper than any other Indian side.Binny, Madan Lal and later Chetan Sharma, Siva- everyone contributed with the bat and on the field.In fact, Sivaramakrishnan, at No. 11, had a first class century to his name! These sides were akin to the New Zealand of today- not too many superstars but the sum of the parts made the whole. Imortantly, expectations in 19983 were minimal. In tw previous world cups, we had only won one game, having beaten lowly East Africa in the inaugural edition!These days, the media spotlight is relentless. Advertising companies and 24 hour channels try to make an average side look like worldbeaters. The pressure on the players must be killing and that surely tells on their performances.

  • sp on March 27, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    An ordinary man with extraordinary courage, is sometimes, the better face of sport. Kapil's Devils were ordinary men in the sense that they were not pretentious but still delivered the goods. One remembers Kapil speaking to the boys at the dressing room after the Indian innings in WC final 1983. "No one expected us here. Its just a question of 3 hours. Throw yourself at the ball and keep trying"...

    This team of 2007 didnt even start trying.

  • sbcmouli on March 27, 2007, 7:56 GMT

    One day cricket has definitely become more physical. It is not just power cricket, interms of hitting huge sixes and fours but the finer points. The most important of these physical attributes are running between the wickets (certainly Indians are probably the worst, even including the minnows) and fielding (even here we are not in the top 6). There is an added requirement of stamina, and by stamina I mean mental more than physical. Since ODIs are short there is no need to sustain the physical stamina like tests, but we need mental stamina to last that long. There cannot be any lapse in concentration anytime during an ODI. THe focus has to be there all through. The last point about mental stamina is something that Indians in general never have. I dont know if it is a cultural issue or our genetic makeup. We cannot concentrate and focus consistently. Even fielding and running between the wickets needs mental stamina to keep sustaining the focus to take singles, convert 1s to 2s etc. This is one department where the Aussies and SA guys are supreme. Added to that is their physical fitness and stamina which gives them teh edge. Infact the SL team have the right mix of physical and mental toughness. Batsmen like Sangakarra, Chamara Silva, Vass, Murali and Mahela are not powerful hitters or bowlers. But they have mental toughness to keep the focus going on for the entire day. They are fit and focussed. This is what Indian cricket should aim for. People lie Dravid, Sehwag need not be powerful hitters, they need to be mentally focussed more. That is why both Tendulkar and Sourav should be dropped. They are pure genius, which clicks sometime but most of the time they cannot take in the intensity and sustain the focus. We also need to groom players for their respective roles. We should a set of players that open, they should have very good eyesight and should be supreme timers of the ball. They should also be very confident against the moving ball and should be able to comfortably handle the new ball for the first 15 overs. The one drop batsmen should also be in the same mould. The middle order batsmen have to be players who are versatile, they should predominantly be able to rotate the strike and in the process despatch the odd bad ball to the boundary. These guys have to mentally tough supremely. Nothing should ruffle them, any total shouldnt be daunting. They should also be able to up the tempo in the slog overs. Then bunch of pinch hitters who basically can send the ball far and wide. The bowlers need to be consistent in their line and length and should keep the pressure up. A spinner and a medium pacer should be wicket taking bowlers. They should not be relied to keep the run rate down. Their job is wickets. But after all this the BCCI is still going to have the same team except that the blame will now squarely be on Greg C heads and he will be the sacrifical lamb. Rahul might be reprimanded and dropped from captaincy. Beyond this I do not expect any more changes.

  • King on March 27, 2007, 8:29 GMT

    The team that was taken to the world cup was no doubt talented enough. where they failed was the application, and the current team instead of possesing such talent fails to apply themselves time and again. 1. They couldnt place the ball in gaps and rotate strike. considering the lush slow outfield, Indian batsmen as usual waited for boundaries instead of taking singles. Ganguly was the main culprit, coming in the beginning and with his negativities. 2. Fielding - The bowlers though were tad better than the batsmen, the support from the fielding would have made lot of difference. A game like against bangladesh, 20 to 30 runs saving through fielding and taking 20-30 singles during that negative period when the great dada was batting was what cost the game.

    Its a known fact from the information coming out from the journalists out there in WestIndies about the arrogance, selfishness of the Indian Superstars, the lack of unity. These superstars are a pampered lot, do the former captians or the BCCI officials have the guts to question these bloated superstars. About the selection of the future team, there are talks going on about the power games played by aussies and safricans, their muscle power, builds, huge hitting abilities. Well, apart from the muscle power, The team do need cricketers with skills and commitment. Indians can never match the aussies with muscle power or hard hitting, so better to go for cricketers who are committed, who hav the steel, fighters to the core in the dravid mould. Who don’t care hell abt setting only their personal records (Ala Sachin) Here is my team for the future

    My team for the future. 1.Gambhir(Safe Fielder, brilliant runner, is a positive batter) 2.Utthappa(I feel he deserves more chances, considering the way ganguly batted negatively, the young man would hav been in lot of pressure. Being a senior pro, ganguly was hardly speakin to the young man durin the opening partnerships) 3. Dravid(India Still needs this brilliant, committed man''s service, as a batsman but not as captain) 4. Yuvraj( Captain - Give him responsibilities, use his bowling more, needs to improve with playing spinners, thts one thing hes lacking) 5. Kaif(Vice Captain he was the best batsman when India toured west indies last time, He deserves another chance. With confidence, Kaif will be a different batsman, He is a brilliant thinker. Jayawardene was young, not in form, but look at stats after he became captain and when responsibilities were thrust upon him). 6. Sehwag (A Match fit sehwag is still useful for the Indian team with his swashbuckling batting and offsin. He needs to rejuvenate, im goin for him coz hes still 28 and has age on his side). 7. Dhoni (Improve Concentration, slog it out, look at dravid man, look the way he does things, jus needs to be consistent) 8. Pathan (Confidence is wht he needs,needs to be groomed, hav a bowling coach guys. look whts happend with Simon Jones with a bowling coach, he was devastating in the ashes in 2005) 9. Piyush(Attacking Spinner and a solid batsman. he is a fighter with bat.) 10. Sreesanth(Is passionate abt playin, 22 yrs, get a bowling coach, he would be a different bowler with line n length discipline .. needs to divert his aggression in improving self and bowling batsman instead of wasting by sledgin n stupid antics) 11. Zaheer (needs to continue with the same passion that he has showed after his comeback. Use slower balls more often. he has a good slower ball, surprising he didnt use it much) 12. Munaf (Hit him on the back and Make him run the grounds till he improves fielding) 13. Karthik , 14. Ramesh Powar (Committed, Good Team man) I have mentioned my team for the future, please comment on them.

  • Sharad on March 27, 2007, 8:48 GMT

    I wasn't alive to watch the 1983 world cup, or the 1987 world cup not even the 1992 world cup. I can't remember the 1996 world cup at all or even the 1999 world cup. All i remember, is sitting down in front of the tv watching Sachin Tendulkar smashing all the world's bowlers around the park in the 2003 world cup. I remember his 98 against Pakistan in the Semi-Finals (i think). Then i remember how much my hopes soared and crashed in the final days of the tornament. But now that old team has gone. We have even changed captain's since then. I'll try to get this message to the Indian selectors. The message is that The greastest ODI batsman of all time has to open up the batting.India can only prospure if Sachin opens up! India definately have the right players to have won this world cup. But the selectors in my opinon stuffed us up by choosing the worst batting line-up possible.It wasn't poor captaincy, it was just horrible selection and performance. We need to change our line-up this is what i would have done to the Indian line-up if i was a selector: 1.Sachin Tendulkar-NO EXPLAINATION NEEDED 2.Sourav Ganguly-Experinced Rebuilder 3.Rahul Dravid-The Great Indian Wall 4.Yuvraj-He earned this spot 5.Verinder Sehwag-Out of form, but amazing batsman 6.Mahendra Dhoni-Hardest Hitter in world cricket 7.Robin Uttapha-The new Jayasuriya 8.Irfan Pathan-A New Kapil Dev for India? 9.Ajit Agarkar-Handy Batsman, Great bowler 10.Anil Kumble/Munaf Patel- Depends on the track 11.Harbajan Singh- India's best ODI bowler.

    Sachin and Ganguly will start the Innings solid. When Dravid comes in he will play his strokes, if were in trouble, Yuvraj and Sehwag will give us a partnership, then the finishers Mahendra Dhoni and Robin Uttapha will destroy every single bowling attack. Our tail can bat as well. Pathan is a good batsman, while Agarkar can score us a few runs.

    The Strike Rate in our batsman is absoultely amazing: S/R's Tendulkar-85 SR after 381 ODI Matches!!!!!! Ganguly- 78 SR Dravid- 75 SR Yuvraj-88 SR Sehwag-95 SR Dhoni-98 SR Uttapha-110 SR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our top 7 batsman have absolutely amazing strike rates!!! WHY DOESN'T INDIA HAVE THIS LINE-UP? I ASK U THAT PAWAR???? WE HAVE THE BEST MIDDLE ORDER IN WORLD CRICKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mauhatshim rasheed on March 27, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    now a days people talk about india and pakistan both teams are not in the worldcup now.we must realise that if you want to do some thing you must focause on that. in my oppenion both teams are missing thaty thing thats way they are no more in the tornament.that is the only reson the both are out . we all know both are teams are lots of telanted players in there side's but lots of other things are on thire minds that why they be come panic and lost focuse on the game and they get reward from that in the shape of out form the tornament.