Indian Cricket December 29, 2007

Dravid: The meddle and the muddle

685

In a perverse way, it was a pleasure to be beaten by the Australians. It was a reality check conducted by a first-rate professional team. Amongst the many good things about the Australian demolition job, one stood out: Ponting’s handling of Hogg. Despite the rough treatment he suffered at the hands of Tendulkar and Ganguly, Ponting kept him on and by the end of the Test, instead of being a marginal man, he was looking like an asset to the Australian team, going into Sydney. It was a fine piece of man-management, an investment of faith that will likely pay off later in the series. Which brings us to the way the Indian tour selectors managed their players, particularly Dravid.

Rahul Dravid in the kind of form he’s in, isn’t just a bad opener, he’s a blight. In both innings in this MCG Test, but most particularly in the first innings when there was everything to play for after a decent bowling performance by Kumble and Co., Dravid’s example killed such momentum as the Indian bowlers had generated and demoralised his fellows. He’s a great batsman, completely out of sorts, who should be playing at No. 6 so that he doesn’t have the responsibility of giving the Indian innings a start. He was forced to open because the people who picked the team for the Melbourne Test wanted to have their cake and eat it: shoehorn Yuvraj Singh into the side without making difficult choices. Well, it didn’t work.

Dravid was clearly unhappy doing an opener’s job despite his press statements. And he has a right to be: to mess about with India’s best and most consistent middle-order batsman since Tendulkar’s glory days, especially when he’s going through a lean period, is stupid and inconsiderate. To watch the hero of India’s last Australian tour batting like an oppressed bank clerk was awful. In the seventies and eighties when public sector unions in India were stronger than they are now, they would ‘work to rule’, i.e. they would sleepwalk through their jobs in slow motion, doing the barest minimum required by the law. Unlike those time-servers Dravid, as always, gave his all, but the end result was the same: an agonized crawl.

What makes the decision to coerce Dravid into opening even more infuriating is that it was done to make room for a pretender. Yuvraj doesn’t belong in Test cricket. He’s a wonderful limited-overs player who, unfortunately for India’s Test fans, scores the occasional century on the sub-continent’s dead wickets to stay in contention. If you’re playing a side with one dysfunctional fast bowler, a defensive spinner and a bunch of middling medium pacers on a flat track, then Yuvraj is the bully you need. In any other circumstance, he ought to be India’s first pick for 12th man. In the first innings of this Test Yuvraj mimed elaborate dissatisfaction when he was given a bad decision. Given that he had just been let off when he nicked one off Hogg that wasn’t given, you have to marvel that he had the gall to moan. To top that, in the second innings when Hogg had him lbw with a flipper that was going to hit middle, he still managed to look injured in that hard-done-by way that he’s patented.

If the squad’s selectors want to gamble on a batsman, much better that they gamble on Sehwag who is, as Ian Chappell persistently points out, the kind of aggressive opening batsman who might seize the initiative from Australia. At least Sehwag can point to previous successes Down Under. Since we haven’t got another spinner in the touring party, Harbhajan Singh will play in Sydney despite his performance here, so it’s even more urgent that the Indian team gets its batting sorted out. Given Harbhajan’s recent record, Sehwag’s inclusion would at least give Kumble the option of an offspinner who occasionally flights the ball.

None of this is likely to happen. I have the sinking feeling that in the name of consistency and giving Yuvraj a proper run, we’ll go into the Sydney Test with the same team. It’s meant to be a spinner’s wicket and I can already see Yuvraj in the nets, bowling his left-arm slows.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip John Joseph on February 1, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    Actually KKD Karthick should replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is not good enough to be in the Indian team at any level top level international competition.

    Virender Sehwag should replace Wasim Jaffer or whoever else.

    Five Batsmen, Five Bowlers, One Wicketkeeper.

    Ignoring injuries ....

    Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag

    Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Sree Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh

    KKD Karthick as wicketkeeper.

  • karthi on January 6, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    oh bring dinesh karthick as opener.he did well in seemy pitches like south africa and england.but ont bring shewag.dravid get 5 from 60 balls.where else shewag scores 5 from 3 balls and will be out. he wont play in front foot.he will be easily caught by lee. Dont rethink shewag that is my sincere advice to india and indian fans. jaihind

  • Siddhartha on January 4, 2008, 20:46 GMT

    I seem to find a striking similarity between the Indian cricket team and the English football team-both are teams having many "big-name" players,both worship any new player with an ounce of talent as if they have uncovered a new Bradman or a Maradona,both play the "names" and then try and fit them into a system rather than having a system and fitting players into it,and rather unsurprisingly,both have very little to show for at the internatinal arena.Another similarity-both BCCI and the FA are the richest governing bodies in their respective sports.Well, that might point to a few things.

    As for Yuvraj,he is an exceptional talent,but his time will come.For the time being though,he would have to sit out to play a specialist opener.Even though Dravid has performed well in this test,but looking at the bigger picture,he has to be restored back to his original position in the middle order.This test hangs in the balance and lets hope India pulls off another famous win against the Aussies

  • rahul on January 4, 2008, 18:30 GMT

    Neil your comments - " Compare with Dravid who sacrificed the momentum of an entire Indian innings to ensure that he could bat. In England he gave up an easy test match win to have a 1-0 series under his belt. Would Ganguly have done such a thing..no. " clearly shows that you have just started watching cricket. Ganguly gave up a test and a series win in australia last time around when he had the option of making australia follow on in the last test at Sydney. Also, dravid had kept wickets for India for almost a year and a half to accomodate an extra batsman during the 2002-2003 season. And i would not like to get into whether ganguly is selfish or not, but it would be better if you put things in perspective basis your understanding of the game and not on the rubbish that is generated by some sections of the media.

  • Murali on January 4, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Well the Sydney test is on and Yuvraj has failed again. There's still the second innings for him to salvage some reputation and show that maybe he belongs here. But I agree with you Mukul, we should have got Karthik to open with Jaffer and kept Rahul at No. 3. Sehwag would be a better option than Yuvraj, he can open so Rahul can play in his customary position. It is time to drop Yuvraj.

  • Neil on January 2, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    Ganguly selfish??? Are you kidding me? He led from the front and brought up Yuvi, Bhajji and the rest of the 'baccha log' and he's selfish? Compare with Dravid who sacrificed the momentum of an entire Indian innings to ensure that he could bat. In England he gave up an easy test match win to have a 1-0 series under his belt. Would Ganguly have done such a thing..no. If Ganguly has a vice it is over-aggressiveness coupled with poor ground fielding, certainly not selfishness.

  • shenbagamoorthy on January 2, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    On one side is an established player (dravid)who's played many tests, scored thousands of runs. He was forced to open and played 66 & 114 balls and still failed. On another side is unestablished player (yuvraj) who has forced his way into the team. He's pushed to No6 where he will have to play with tail every other day. He too failed. The question is who needs support and chances? In any other country, for established players, their runs would only support and offer chance. The support and chances from any other quarter would be only for establishing players. In india, we are finding exactly opposite phenomenon. We are pleading support and chances for dravid, but crucifying yuvraj. There's unspoken message that is passed to incoming batsmen in cricket. It gives idea about targets and ways to attain. When most of Indian batsman have no targets apart from batting on, a player who plays for team target like yuvraj, shewag would mostly be lost.

  • Sridhar on January 2, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    Will Mr. Kesavan respond to this!! after the first days play in Sydney. I have been watching cricket from 35 years and I know the game reasonably well as good as Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor. Well Australia will always look powerful and stronger when some important decisions are always taken in favor of the Australians. Ponting played twice, and Symonds played thrice. Are the umpires blind ? (or) have they joined the game in fixing the match in favor of the Australians? Shame on these two. Well the third umpire is also no good. Television replays clearly show Symonds foot in the air, and he is given not out after careful consideration. May god bless the Indian team. I felt for a moment, Kumble should have walked out. Its a clear case of three umpires bringing disrepute to the game. And look at the shameless crowd. They keep cheering instead of Booing at the umpires. For a Hyderabadi, this means Chillar Galli Cricket. Hope Mr.R Shastri, Gavaskar and Bhogle are listening.

  • amarjeet on January 1, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    watching the premiership makes me wonder how knowledgeable English football fans are. Every game played yesterday started off with a one-minute silence in honour of the Scottish footballer who died last week. And it was pin-drop silence. Can you imagine 90000 raucous spectators suddenly going completely silent.

  • rext on January 1, 2008, 22:09 GMT

    Check the official attendances punit as what some people think they see has nothing to do with the facts! Read the comments on this blog for proof of that!

  • Philip John Joseph on February 1, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    Actually KKD Karthick should replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is not good enough to be in the Indian team at any level top level international competition.

    Virender Sehwag should replace Wasim Jaffer or whoever else.

    Five Batsmen, Five Bowlers, One Wicketkeeper.

    Ignoring injuries ....

    Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Sehwag

    Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Sree Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh

    KKD Karthick as wicketkeeper.

  • karthi on January 6, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    oh bring dinesh karthick as opener.he did well in seemy pitches like south africa and england.but ont bring shewag.dravid get 5 from 60 balls.where else shewag scores 5 from 3 balls and will be out. he wont play in front foot.he will be easily caught by lee. Dont rethink shewag that is my sincere advice to india and indian fans. jaihind

  • Siddhartha on January 4, 2008, 20:46 GMT

    I seem to find a striking similarity between the Indian cricket team and the English football team-both are teams having many "big-name" players,both worship any new player with an ounce of talent as if they have uncovered a new Bradman or a Maradona,both play the "names" and then try and fit them into a system rather than having a system and fitting players into it,and rather unsurprisingly,both have very little to show for at the internatinal arena.Another similarity-both BCCI and the FA are the richest governing bodies in their respective sports.Well, that might point to a few things.

    As for Yuvraj,he is an exceptional talent,but his time will come.For the time being though,he would have to sit out to play a specialist opener.Even though Dravid has performed well in this test,but looking at the bigger picture,he has to be restored back to his original position in the middle order.This test hangs in the balance and lets hope India pulls off another famous win against the Aussies

  • rahul on January 4, 2008, 18:30 GMT

    Neil your comments - " Compare with Dravid who sacrificed the momentum of an entire Indian innings to ensure that he could bat. In England he gave up an easy test match win to have a 1-0 series under his belt. Would Ganguly have done such a thing..no. " clearly shows that you have just started watching cricket. Ganguly gave up a test and a series win in australia last time around when he had the option of making australia follow on in the last test at Sydney. Also, dravid had kept wickets for India for almost a year and a half to accomodate an extra batsman during the 2002-2003 season. And i would not like to get into whether ganguly is selfish or not, but it would be better if you put things in perspective basis your understanding of the game and not on the rubbish that is generated by some sections of the media.

  • Murali on January 4, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Well the Sydney test is on and Yuvraj has failed again. There's still the second innings for him to salvage some reputation and show that maybe he belongs here. But I agree with you Mukul, we should have got Karthik to open with Jaffer and kept Rahul at No. 3. Sehwag would be a better option than Yuvraj, he can open so Rahul can play in his customary position. It is time to drop Yuvraj.

  • Neil on January 2, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    Ganguly selfish??? Are you kidding me? He led from the front and brought up Yuvi, Bhajji and the rest of the 'baccha log' and he's selfish? Compare with Dravid who sacrificed the momentum of an entire Indian innings to ensure that he could bat. In England he gave up an easy test match win to have a 1-0 series under his belt. Would Ganguly have done such a thing..no. If Ganguly has a vice it is over-aggressiveness coupled with poor ground fielding, certainly not selfishness.

  • shenbagamoorthy on January 2, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    On one side is an established player (dravid)who's played many tests, scored thousands of runs. He was forced to open and played 66 & 114 balls and still failed. On another side is unestablished player (yuvraj) who has forced his way into the team. He's pushed to No6 where he will have to play with tail every other day. He too failed. The question is who needs support and chances? In any other country, for established players, their runs would only support and offer chance. The support and chances from any other quarter would be only for establishing players. In india, we are finding exactly opposite phenomenon. We are pleading support and chances for dravid, but crucifying yuvraj. There's unspoken message that is passed to incoming batsmen in cricket. It gives idea about targets and ways to attain. When most of Indian batsman have no targets apart from batting on, a player who plays for team target like yuvraj, shewag would mostly be lost.

  • Sridhar on January 2, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    Will Mr. Kesavan respond to this!! after the first days play in Sydney. I have been watching cricket from 35 years and I know the game reasonably well as good as Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor. Well Australia will always look powerful and stronger when some important decisions are always taken in favor of the Australians. Ponting played twice, and Symonds played thrice. Are the umpires blind ? (or) have they joined the game in fixing the match in favor of the Australians? Shame on these two. Well the third umpire is also no good. Television replays clearly show Symonds foot in the air, and he is given not out after careful consideration. May god bless the Indian team. I felt for a moment, Kumble should have walked out. Its a clear case of three umpires bringing disrepute to the game. And look at the shameless crowd. They keep cheering instead of Booing at the umpires. For a Hyderabadi, this means Chillar Galli Cricket. Hope Mr.R Shastri, Gavaskar and Bhogle are listening.

  • amarjeet on January 1, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    watching the premiership makes me wonder how knowledgeable English football fans are. Every game played yesterday started off with a one-minute silence in honour of the Scottish footballer who died last week. And it was pin-drop silence. Can you imagine 90000 raucous spectators suddenly going completely silent.

  • rext on January 1, 2008, 22:09 GMT

    Check the official attendances punit as what some people think they see has nothing to do with the facts! Read the comments on this blog for proof of that!

  • guss on January 1, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    If a batsman is out of form you dont promote him in the batting order, ganguly is an intelligent captain, when he wasnt performing during his captanicy ask him, which order he used to bat. looks like he is the man in form, send ganguly one down and lakshman two and dravid three or drop dravid( or rest as our board say). dravid is too precious to be lost this way. forget about yuvraj as hogg is there waiting for him. bring back shewag i believe in lottery.

  • Vinit Singh on January 1, 2008, 1:59 GMT

    The only way India can ever beat Australia is to bring back Vinod Kambli and Vijay Bharadwaj

  • TonyP on December 31, 2007, 21:41 GMT

    One poster showed that Dravid is averaging 35 over the past few years, that is hardly failing (Greg Chappell once famously had a run of seven consecutive ducks before scoring a double century while ill).

    In Melbourne Dravid was forced into a batting position he doesn't like & isn't used to, with almost no time to acclimatise to local conditions, while not in great form, against arguably the best bowling attack in the world.

    True, it would have been harder if he had had to run singles by weaving through a mine-field while under sniper fire from the Indian selectors, but otherwise one might struggle to find more adverse conditions.

    Even so, he out-performed Jaffer. Dravid remains one of the top batsmen on the planet & if I had to have someone batting to save my life he would be near the top of the list.

    He deserves more time in the team, Ganguly was dropped because of his selfishness and has returned stronger for it, Dravid is if anything too unselfish & not in need of the rebuke.

  • Mohit on December 31, 2007, 21:24 GMT

    Agree with gurch that Ganguly has to be the most selfish cricketer in history. Only Indians can put up with him. Even Kenya would not have selected him.

  • anoop on December 31, 2007, 17:39 GMT

    Ganguly's selfishness has come to the fore again. When will we idiots get rid of him

  • punit on December 31, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    rext, am I blind? You say there were 160000 at the MCG, or did you mean 160000 flies. All I could see were empty stands with a few Indians scattered around.

  • Neil on December 31, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    Mukul's criticism of Yuvraj is fair but India is in a desperate state. WE DONT HAVE TALENT! Lets face it! India produced batsmen in the 90s but the next generation wants to become fast bowlers since thats the easiest way to be in the Team. When the big4 retire there will be no one left and we will cry for Yuvraj's inclusion. Sure he's not the best but he bats better than me or Mukul or anyone I know under 26years of age in India! Utthappa, Sharma and Gambhir will all be in the team in 2yrs time but will we be any better? Has anyone seen Uttappa bat against the likes of Lee? He walks across the stumps and is asking for an LBW! We have to stick to Yuvi and whip him into a good test batsman. He has the technique. All he needs is to be locked up in a room for 2days with Dravid and he will come out a better batsman.

  • Prakash on December 31, 2007, 14:58 GMT

    I noticed comments of several posters including Travis which suggest that somehow BCCI is responsible for the advent of T20. Nothing could be farther from the truth. BCCI may well be a very bad and greedy organization. It may well be responsible for the Global Warming and the loss of Ozone layer in the Southern Hemisphere. It may even be the ringmaster of the Italian mafia. But please don't accuse it of being the brain behind T20, because it simply isn't true. Consider the following facts: i) There is no T20 league in India so far. ii) T20 was started in England and Pakistan also has a T20 tournament. iii) When T20 was considered by ICC, BCCI was the only organization which voted against it. In other words, BCCI was dragged into this T20 thing. It went into it kicking and screaming. iv) At the ICC meeting, BCCI tried to argue as to what is so special about 20 overs? Why not 25 overs? Why not 30 overs? v) Against this backdrop, BCCI was FORCED into participating in T20 world cup

  • vermacelli on December 31, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    650 posts and counting … One would think nothing more could be said. But, no matter… To start, an itch I want to scratch. Here are the season batting averages (2003 on) for Ganguly, Dravid and Tendulkar. I know stats can lie, blah, blah, but, hopefully no more of the Ganguly was dropped and so should Dravid refrain in the posts. Tendulkar’s averages are provided for some perspective. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Ganguly: 65.50 45.33 24.90 34.60 61.44 Dravid: 100.37 63.06 53.33 60.83 35.64 Tendulkar17.00 91.50 44.40 24.27 55.42

    On to the broader point. Like Mukul, I drew some satisfaction from India’s defeat. So, I count at least two bad Indians. And I am confident there are more. This should make us pause. However, the truth is that I did not root for this team because it was a team of Indians and not the Indian Team. I don't argue that Australia is the better team. I just wish I could get to see the Indian Team compete, and not this one

  • AA on December 31, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    T20 Heroes are a BIG ZEROES in Test Cricket

  • Prakash on December 31, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    I really don't know why we Indians are surprised at the thrashing we received in Australia. Following is a brief account of what happened to recent tourists in Australia:

    i) Pak went to Australia in 2004-2005. They were thrashed 3-0, with the defeat at Perth being in access of 400 runs. That is why I don't get it when Pakistanis claim that Pak is the only team capable of beating Aus. It certainly can't be in cricket.

    ii) In 2005 Windies went to Aus, result 3-0 thrashing.

    iii) In 2005-06 South Africa went to Aus, result 2-0 thrashing.

    iv) In 2006-07 England went to Aus, result 5-0 thrashing.

    v) Recently Sri Lanka went to Aus, result 2-0 thrashing.

    So why should we be surprised if the result is any different for us Indians? The fact is that Aussies are so much better than rest of the world in terms of skills that, at present, there is no comparison.

  • Madhav Ajjampur on December 31, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    Oh! and I'd like to observe that while Jaffer's batting didn't quite remind one of "oppressed bank clerks", it came damn near close enough. Now, whether Dravid's wrath-inspiringly slow batting was responsible for this uncharacteristic display is not for me to say, but I have this strange feeling that sending Sehwag in with Jaffer might help make him a tad more animated and aggressive. Call it the "awakening the oppressed bank clerk" if you will.

  • shenbagamoorthy on December 31, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    There are a couple of issues that could be reason for India's Melbourne Maul. #1 India went into test with only 4 bowlers. #2 Dravid was asked to open innings. But actual reason is that they played poor cricket.

    This despite aussies being generous. #1 Melborne pitch was sub-continent-like, lacking bounce and pace. #2 The aussies allowed india to almost bowl them out on first day pitch. From 240 odd for 5, gilchrist and symonds could have played for safety say 280/5; instead they did not want India to be on top for even a day and went for broke say 360 for 5 and ended with 347 for 9. #3 Aussies could have played for one more session in 2nd innings which would have totally shut indians out of match with say a target of 600 in 150 overs. Lastly, if yuvraj has forced his way into the team, the decision to drop a opener and sending yuvraj to No6 is senseless and sinister. Sensible thing would be to drop a middle order batsman. Indians are protecting the seniors; but at what cost?

  • Madhav Ajjampur on December 31, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    An extremely trenchant article that the Indian selectors would do well to read [and understand?] before they select the team for the next test. But that's just wishful thinking. As you say, sending Dravid to open was not a good decision at all. I too would have liked to see Sehwag open and attempt flay the attack with his devil-may-care attitude. It's worked very well for him before and I don't see why it shouldn't now. That said, Dravid can't be absolved of all blame merely because he's shouldering the "burden" of opening. After over a hundred tests, he is well accustomed to coming in at No. 3 no less that 5 overs into the innings and that really IS "opening", whatever people may say to the contrary. His two innings' were pathetic sights and if he's smart enough, he'll understand and attack more the next time round. And as for Yuvraj, this (apparently) soi disant "left-hander extraordinaire" would do well to shed his complacency and indignation and actually start DOING something.

  • Yoonus on December 31, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    The Indians are a bunch of overrated cricketers - if they cannot bat on a sub continant type of wicket in Melbourne and be bundled out for less than 200 in the second innings they are pure statistics - Just like the Sri Lankans, they have the best batsman in the World Sangakara and the best bowler in the World Murali and more than 3 batsman in the top ten but they are indidual performers in a team game - Statistics and records are what the sub continent teams play for. Tendulkar is the best batsman in the world - Gavaskar is the best nitwit in the world and Bedi is the best judge of chuckers in the world not to mention Harsha being the best commentator in the world - all pure unadulterated bullshit !!!!!

  • Madhu on December 31, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    Mukul almost seems to have a personal vendetta against Yuvraj.one match after he scored a century and 18 months of consistent performances in ODIs is not enough to warrant even 2 tests in a row. Its sad, that we Indians are not recognizing Yuvraj's awesome ability and harnessing it by backing him. Besides,The way Dravid and Jaffer played, devoid of any intent or plans-except to survive, duck and weave from short balls, let go of half volleys and defend full tosses, it was a tough job to follow that. I think a golden pair by Dravid would have been less damaging to the Indian batting then the kind of innings he produced. Although, he is too valuable to drop. Either drop jaffer for Sehwag or Dhoni for Karthik.Yuvraj is a by FAR a more superior bastsman to Dhoni and its unfair to club the two in the same category. If Dhoni didn't have the safety net of keeping-there's no way in hell he could keep his place in tests. BRING ON SEHWAG for Jaffer. That way Dravid can work his way into form.

  • Rohan on December 31, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    its all in his mind as Kumble correctly said.. Dravid at his best or even close to it is a worrying factor for any opposition including the aussies.. bt d problem here is not just Dravid.. not managing even 200 is the problem.. Not looking keen to rotate the strike is the problem.. Not showing the so-called-aggression while fielding is the problem.. n d greatest batting line-up in the world (atleast on paper) should have put up a fight if nothing else.. looking ahead i think technically Sydney's India's best chance but they need a "Kumble" kinda heart in their batting order.. its definitely a toss-up between Sehwag and Yuvi but i somehow feel they'l play the same XI.. lets hope d rub of the green goes their way and they bat 1st.. coz the aussies know it and the world as well.. technically there's nothing wrong with their form.. a bit of mental adjustment combined with the back-to-the-walls state.. optimistically speaking a 500 might be just round the corner for the cornered tigers..

  • gurch on December 31, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    In response to TrubbleMaker - about India's test hopes in four years time. My point is based on more the fact that India will have moved on from the past greats Dravid, Ganguly and even Tendulkar. With the young talent they've got - RP Singh, Uthapha, Pathan, Chawla, Sharma, Sreesanth.. the list is endless and with Zaheer, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Harbajhan at the helm. My friend World domination is a reality, can you name any other country with such young talent knocking on the door? Basically the sooner the likes of Dravid and Ganguly (who is one of the most selfish cricketers is history – how he makes the first team in ODIs is ludicrous) stop trying to eek out their careers the better.

  • Travis on December 31, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    Jaspreet, I loved your story about convincing Bush that the Aussie side were terrorists. I had a good chuckle at that. Thanks, mate.

    I think that the blame for the fact that the first Test wasn't the enthralling contest that both sets of fans were hoping for (I don't expect that I'll ever see a better and more enjoyable sporting contest than our Ashes loss of 2005, but I can always live in hope) lies squarely at the feet of the BCCI for organising only one paltry warm-up game. They're too busy trying to subvert the Test game by promoting T20 garbage.

    That and the miserable lack of urgency from the Indians in both running between wickets and fielding that vr01 so aptly pointed out.

    Blaming the selectors is ridiculous, because if the Indians had had more than one warm-up game the selectors would have had a far better idea of how the players would perform in Australian. conditions.

  • gautam on December 31, 2007, 12:04 GMT

    absolutely honest assessment.i always have felt that yuvraj is good in one days but not at all test level on minutely sporting wickets where he would be found out.it is a pity that there is a dearth of fast bowlers and moving tracks.cricket needs to separate flat track bullies from genuine good players with good techniques.team india's reaction after their 20 20 success was an eyewash and pretentious.i have stopped enjoying test cricket cause of the dearth of sporting green tracks everywhere

  • Vinod. M on December 31, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    A lot of people with a lot of sentiments that we carry for our Cricket and Cricketers. I just want an answer from all connected DO our cricketers really understand what we want. If they do not here we go SELECT THE BEST TEAM, PLAY THE BEST AND AGGRESSIVE CRICKET AND RESULTS WILL COME AUTOMATICALLY. Pure example for this is T20 worldcup and Ganguly. Selectors please make a note on this if we need to win at all then Drop Harbajan Singh first and bring in Sehwag an opening bat and an off spinner as well. Drop Yuvraj and bring Irfan who seems to be fighting at least. Such idiotic planning is all what I can say neither Dravid nor Jaffer can play aggressive cricket they why make them open. Dravid is the best one down batsmen in the world then why risk him. We break our heads some much in it, I hope somebody will listen to us

  • Vinod. M on December 31, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    A lot of people with a lot of sentiments that we carry for our Cricket and Cricketers. I just want an answer from all connected DO our cricketers really understand what we want. If they do not here we go SELECT THE BEST TEAM, PLAY THE BEST AND AGGRESSIVE CRICKET AND RESULTS WILL COME AUTOMATICALLY. Pure example for this is T20 worldcup and Ganguly. Selectors please make a note on this if we need to win at all then Drop Harbajan Singh first and bring in Sehwag an opening bat and an off spinner as well. Drop Yuvraj and bring Irfan who seems to be fighting at least. Such idiotic planning is all what I can say neither Dravid nor Jaffer can play aggressive cricket they why make them open. Dravid is the best one down batsmen in the world then why risk him. We break our heads some much in it, I hope somebody will listen to us

  • sid shashi on December 31, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    All is not lost. We can still win the T20 game. Seriously Yuvraj singh has gotten out 3 times in this test match, dhoni looks likes he's walking on broken glass,dravid has taken his nickname "the wall" too seriously and forgotten to run. The only people who looked good doing their stuff was sacin , saurav and VVS. Lets hope we get Sehwag to open and dravid at Number 6.

  • Zee on December 31, 2007, 10:05 GMT

    I don't understand why some of these people are saying "Yuvraj needs to play to secure the future of Indian cricket". Does winning in the present mean nothing?

    Yuvraj is pathetic. Got out twice in 3 balls and he acted like he was hard done by the umpire. Snicko confirmed an edge the time he was given out, but he still had the audacity to stand at the crease. Sehwag should definitely come in for him.

    Another player you can be potentially replaced is Harbhajan. Loves to talk, but rarely does anything. They can bring in Pathan or another seamer for him.

  • PS on December 31, 2007, 9:58 GMT

    What you said was right.. I believe that at least one of the 2 openers has to be a natural strokemaker, like Gilchrist or Gayle, look at how Gayle set the Windies tempo by going beyond 100 strike rate in both his innings against SA.. it sets the tempo.. so why not use Sehwag, if he clicks, you have the game.. the momentum is on, and other will come and follow suit.

  • SattyBoy on December 31, 2007, 9:53 GMT

    Why not make use of some Indian heroes who have won success in other fields of endeavour like chess champion Viswanathan Anand and spiritual masters like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

    Something has to be done to teach our men how to stand at the crease with composure.

    Outside expertise is often utilised in professional sport. The Americans, for instance consult a wide array of doctors to improve their sports star's performance. Including pharmaceutical support.

    There's more than one way to inject a horse.

    Perhaps the Indian cricket team might consider any plausible alternative on offer. Even anabolic steroids....

  • Same Guy on December 31, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    A massive push by correspondents to populate the team exclusively with older players. Many have said that Dhoni, Yuvraj, R.P and Jaffer should be droppped. With the old hats from the previous series brought in.

    Well lets serve the Aussies something out of left field. A platter of googlies.

    If the Aussies picked their team by this criteria - we'd have to endure Warne and McGrath forever. No thanks.

    I'm not picking on older players, I'm the number one fan of the idea of bringing back Sunil Gavaskar. I'd even be happy if we took a leaf out of the Australian Vedas (aboriginal term -invaders) and blooded senior first class players - like Hussey and Jaques.

    Asside from that, it's strange the preponderance of players with the same sirname targeted for demotion. Including Harbhajan that makes 4.

    Four Singhs - a quartet?

    Some coincidence?

    I don't know, something fishy there.

    So what compromise? Throw in Sehwag and make him Singh?

  • Parasuram on December 31, 2007, 9:12 GMT

    Officially Bhajji is not a spinner anymore. Maybe Mukul can come up with a blog on the demise of what could hv been a wonderful spinning talent. My heart goes out to Dravid. Probably the pain in his mind over the opening issue flowed through his hands to his bat. All the pains to accomodate two single digit scores from Yuvraj. One would have thought that after all the mountains moved to accomodate him, he should have done well with his bat rather than his histrionics. Maybe the ads are taking their toll after all. The positives of course, Kumble and Sachin's knock in the first essay. But for this Indian team to stop Aussies from creating a world record that might not be gud enuff. As a Indian cricket fan, for now i'll not be bothered about any records. I'll be happy if we can get back to the shores with any respect at all from the Kangaroo land. Maybe the Men in Blue can borrow the slogan from PHL.... Garv Nahin to Kuch Nahin.

  • sampathkumar on December 31, 2007, 9:09 GMT

    though we lost inside four days. there is nothing to panic coz it is only a test gone. all we have to do is bring shewag and karthick. let dravid find his touch in number 3 slot. drop bhaji and use yuvaraj ganguly and sachin for the absence of second spinner slot. this asuuies not that invincible like that of 03.lets try and we can squere the series 1-1 all the best india and wish the team a very happy new year

  • roy on December 31, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    I THINK THE PROBLEM IS NOT YUVRAJSINGH,HE HAS TO BE GIVEN MORE OPPORTUNITIES.THE CULPRITS ARE BCCI SINCE THEY DID NOT ORGANISE SUFFICIENT PRACTICE MATCHES!!SO THEY NEED TO BE FLOGGED FOR THIS!!BECAUSE OF THAT THE FIRST TEST HAS BECOME A PRACTICE MATCH!!WHICH THEY LOST!!HOPEFULLY THEY WILL BOUNCE BACK FROM THE SECOND TEST ONWARDS?CHAKDE INDIA!!!

  • Aman on December 31, 2007, 8:44 GMT

    I urge the selectors to drop Dhoni and bring in Karthik with Dravid going to number six. Dhoni is a good flat pitch basher but at this stage he doesn't fit into the Indian test line up. Say NO to sehwag, mediocrity should not be rewarded.

  • jez on December 31, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    The run out of Harbhajan encapsulates the issue. Two great fielding efforts were combined with a lack of thought and commitment for the team in the running. There's the addage about doing the one percenters.

  • Raghu on December 31, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    641 comments!!! shows how much pained we are by defeats...True, make somebody bat at an abnormal postion, dont take attack to the oppostion, play somebody on the form shown in other forms of the game and talk all rubbish before the start --- excellent formula for disaster. To add to this - play a spinner who cant do the job.

  • Ajith Prasad on December 31, 2007, 7:33 GMT

    In fact, instead of singling out Dravid or Yuvaraj (who shouldn't belong to test squad) for the first test woes, the selectors and thinktank have to be blamed. After some great, whole-hearted performances in WI, England and SA (except for two matches in the dustbowl pitches against Pakistan at home) I am not sure why Karthik is not allowed to open. He is the one who can play the role that Akash Chopra did in 2003-04. Wasim Jaffer is yet to prove consistently in faster, bouncy pitches. According to me India's best players in bouncy pitches are Dravid, Laxman and Karthik (and sometimes Sehwag). Tendulkar is pathetic against Australians except in batting pitches like Adelaide.

    Beyond this, the mental make up of the players itself was bad. In fact, Melbourne was more like a Bangalore pitch. They were just scared of the Aussies

    Fielding ethics and running between the wickets is yet another factor that let India down. I have expressed this view @ www.ajithprasad.com.

    Regards, Ajith

  • Ravi Kumar on December 31, 2007, 7:00 GMT

    Its tough for Yuvraj,Dhoni kind of batsman to survive on these AUS pitches as they are not front foot players.Most of Indians are back foot players which cause problems in bouncy pitches. I think we need to stick to old batting order.i.e. ------------------------------------------------- Jaffer - Chance to bounce back with defending till new ball loses its pace, Sehwag - Attack pace bowling, Dravid - Look for singles & rotate strike after new ball loses its swing, Sachin - Take on spinner Hogg & rotate strike, Ganguly - Needs support from others to get big scores, Laxman - Needs concentration & rotate strike, Karthik - Good intensity but lacks patience, Pathan - Needs to continue his support & should swing the ball both ways, Kumble - Gud intensity should get support from batsmen, Zaheer - Should bowl quick & bouncers with swing, RP - Gud swinger but needs to concentrate more on line & length & should give support to Zaheer. ------------------------------------------------- Gudluck...

  • The Don on December 31, 2007, 6:48 GMT

    Sorry prabhakar. India have no capability to stop Australia. India are a massively over-rated side, their rep based on past their prime batsmen who have glutted themselves on featherbeds at home and have no stomach for the fight away from home. A clueless captain, one bowler with any guts (who happens to be the clueless captain), batsman who have fear in their eyes and are playing only for thier own egos, hopeless fielding. Everyone goes on about how good the Indians were on the first day - 9 wickets is all well and good but the Aussies still scored 300+, almost as many runs as the Indians made in both innings on, one day.

    They were given a massive, massive hiding, they were thoroughly humiliated and I expect it will be repeated time and again this summer. I thinkt he Indian fans should face up to these facts. Perhaps if you hadnt treated Greg Chapple so badly this may have been avoided!

  • Krishnan on December 31, 2007, 6:23 GMT

    You are correct on some statements and incorrect on others. True, Dravid is not in great form. Going against Aus in Aus after hardly any preparation, means you shouldnt be giving an out-of-form player (regardless of who it might be) the opening slots. As far as trying to 'fit' in Yuvraj, he does deserve a chance. He did have a poor showing, but we must back him and give him an extended run. You do not just shun players when they have bad outings. You have to back your guys like Ponting did Hogg and Ganguly did during his days as Captain. Now, that means someone else has to open. I say you can give that to either Ganguly or Laxman. Ganguly can attack the Australians and can provide a L/R opening combo, or you can take Laxman who has always played them well. Don't give up on your players. Only in Cricket, can a guy be good for one game and not the other! Nonsense! Its about temperament, at that level, you have the skills, just need to apply them, and be mentally fit.

  • PS on December 31, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    What you said was right.. I believe that at least one of the 2 openers has to be a natural strokemaker, like Gilchrist or Gayle, look at how Gayle set the Windies tempo by going beyond 100 strike rate in both his innings against SA.. it sets the tempo.. so why not use Sehwag, if he clicks, you have the game.. the momentum is on, and other will come and follow suit.

  • salil ravindran on December 31, 2007, 5:30 GMT

    Basic things missing in the India armory 1.No variation in bowling - no bouncers, only the rare slower ones. You need to hit the helmets of Aussies atleast once an over to intimidate them. We have seen the results in the England ashes. 2.No game plan - Seems like no analysis has been done on the aussie bats. Players have their patented shots - the hook/pull from Ponting, the square drive from Clarke - and there seems to be no effort to stem the runs in that direction although Ponting might have been kept quite for a couple of times now 3.Awful field settings - Slip field should be at 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and then the gully and point with a short third man. The aussies should be compelled into mistakes. Its essential to create an offside envelope with one/two in the outfield inorder to dry up the runs 4. Some savage hitting is required off atleast meeker bowlers like Symonds, its a known fact that aussie bowlers start erring only when the attack is taken to their camp. Sehwag a must.

  • Victor Trumpet on December 31, 2007, 5:11 GMT

    News just to hand is that the Pakistani Cricket Board has been given the go ahead by the Musharraf government (with consent from the nation's most influential Muftis) to start a new Russian Roulette style limited overs competition in response to the IPL T20 competition.

    The proposed competition will involve a revolutionary format that is set to make 20/20 cricket appear as electrifying as a day trip to the local mall to go gift shopping with your mother in law.

    A spokesman for the PCB said that in a push to match Indian style venture capitalism with a large dash of Pakistani flair, the competition would replace cricket balls with hand grenades, bats with machetes, umpires with an assortment of impartial observers including Clerics, Swamis, Llamas, Rabbits and Priests.

    After the recent success of the Benazhir Bhutto bomblast, the PCB is confident television rights to the spectacular new compettition would go through the roof.

    Sponsorship from Al Quaeda has been already confirmed.

  • sandeep on December 31, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Good piece of writing mukul...but dont judge players just by one performance...yes, there should be some strategy to take aussies..Cricket cry nation...lol

  • Vengsakar on December 31, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    To stay alive in the series, India have to win at Sydney and Adelaide because they are typically batting wickets, which is their strength. To do this, India have to pick the correct squad. Dravid has to bat at number 6. I think Sehwag and Kartik should open the innings, who are more attacking batsman. They will have a go and will get India off to a positive start. Sehwag scored 72 last time he played in Sydney. I think Wasim Jaffer should be dropped until he learns how to play in Australian tracks. Yuvraj has a lot of potential but I don't think he is experienced enough to play on Australian soil. VVS, Tendulkar and Ganguly should bat at 3, 4 and 5. As for bowlers, I think RP should be dropped and Ishant Sharma be given a go. He bowled beautifully against Pakistan and generated a lot of pace. He took 5 wickets. RP isn't suited to bowling on Australian wickets. Sehwag Kartik Laxman Tendulkar Ganguly Dravid Dhoni Kumble Harbhajan Khan Sharma

  • zeeshan on December 31, 2007, 4:49 GMT

    Although I am a Pakistani but I follow Indian team too.I agree with you Mukul. Dravid is one of game's Great batsmen.To ask him to open whilst he was going through the toughest period in his career was rather inconsiderate.He should play at his normal position.I think Sehwaq deserves a chance to open because you need to attack Australia from te top if you want to put them under pressure.Regarding Yuvi,I believe that he deserves an extended run but not in this series as he hasn't yet established his place in the side and to shuffle your team while playing against the best team in the world to accomodate such a player is just nonsense.

  • KD on December 31, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    One thing is apparant to me, the Indian cricket team does not have the aggression that is needed to stand up to the Australians. Even when they win against Australia, it is a labored and timid effort that sees them just squeak by. One might cite examples of when they have shown spirit here and there, but it is isolated and unsustained. I do not know the reasons for any of this...but I have a feeling it is because the Indian cricket establishment does not organize itself well and look for the very best across the country. May be the corporization of cricket with the likes of IPL and ICL will help. Yes sir, it is time to privatize cricket in India. Once profit is linked to excellence, results will follow. It is not about individuals in the current team, but a system of finding (and even creating), honing and nurturing talent.

  • prabhakar on December 31, 2007, 3:33 GMT

    Well, beating Australia in Australia is creating a history in test cricket and India is the only team having the capability to stop Ausies winning record. India should pick Virender shewag, irfan pathan and Dinesh karthik instead of Jaffer, harbajan and Dhoni respectively. Sydeney looks to be a bouncy track, as you look at the past records Mcgrath and Lee shared the wickets even when they had Warne in the playing 11. Kumble, yuvraj, sachin and shewag could help the spin attack and Irfan will be the third seamer and a handy batsman down the order. Dhoni looks uncomfortable in Test cricket and his shots were really awful. Yuvraj should be given another chance to explore his form. My batting line-up and playing X1 for the sydney test would be 1 Shewag 2 Karthik 3 Laxman 4 Sachin 5 ganguly 6 Dravid 7 Yuvraj 8 Irfan 9 Kumble 10 Zaheer 11 Pankaj singh Since India will be playing in perth pankaj singh should be tested. Everyone knows Perth is meant to be a fast pitch.

  • vinod on December 31, 2007, 3:03 GMT

    what is the issue . Most of the time Dravid was doing a opener kind of role. in recent pak series Dravid was in the crease just with in 4 overs . Its not that once you are a opener you should not hit the ball hard . I didnt understand Dravid's approach how can a man be score 16 runs in 18 overs ?

  • Boma on December 31, 2007, 2:31 GMT

    Hi All, I think everyones being a bit harsh on Dravid.

    To use an Aussie expression, he "took one for the team", which is to say that he put the teams best interest above his personal preferences in batting lower down. He did what he was asked to do.

    Bat hiim at 3 (or even 6 as suggested), and let him redeem himself. he is a champion batsman who has scored runs against australia in australia before.

    Yuvraj has yet to prove himself at test level. The Pakistani attack from the previous test can hardly be compared to Australias...

    And for all those who are blaming pitches and umpires.... get over it...it goes both ways...

    Sehwag should open as he attacks and can put lee/johnson on the back foot. He did that in 03/04 successfully (remmember his melbourne 250?)

    Credit to the Aussies.They played excellent cricket and were too good for India.

    Boma.

  • rext on December 31, 2007, 2:23 GMT

    Sorry Sunil but your comment re crowds is just nonsense. The total attendance was over 160000 and over 16000 on the final day when the result was a foregone conclusion and the temperature close to 40.The writers here who are preoccupied with selection are not even close to the heart of India's problem which is that talent means very little! Only talented cricketers prepared to work tirelessly throughout their career have any chance of making the Australian Team. Observe the intensity of Australia's training even by veteran players and compare it to that of other teams.We are fortunate to only have a 6 team domestic competition which is thus of a very high standard so players like Hussey must work very hard at their game at a very high level over many years to qualify for the Australian Team. That work ethic never leaves them!! Talent plus effort, dedication, focus and team spirit equals outcome. India has the talent but they are lazy beyond belief for elite athletes! Reap what you sow!

  • shyam on December 31, 2007, 2:03 GMT

    well mukul could be right but tell me a crickter like rahul dravid who is known for test cricket in the world does he need to adjust in a batting order, it is just reason that he cant play in top order.When will we think out of box and not follow with these stupid reasons. Even aussies can have reasons when they came to india but they played well. It is just that every indian player needs to get that self confidence , how can the board have anil kumble who is spinner with no spin in the ball as captain and that too with australia. wasnt it the time time to give dhoni a chance to lead or get Dada back?? i do agree that shewag would ve been a better choice any time than yuvraj. even with bowling we are in tour without agarkar, depending on rp singh who is a small kid for aussies.Well dravid,tendulkar and saurav can play any order if they cant no one can. well do not forget to criticise dhoni and laxman as well, so blame the team not just yuvi

  • Anurag on December 31, 2007, 1:59 GMT

    Mukul.........let's not castigate Dravid for loosing momentum in the first innings.....what would you do if you see your new partner fall so cheaply.......and he did one thing of importance if not scored many run that was to blunt the new ball.....were the other batsmen able to make use of the fact? How many others including sachin went after bowlers other than Hogg?No one then why blame dravid......and irony is that nobody complained about his batting in the second innings becoz then by that time that had become a thing required........there is no mental block in his mind and if there exists one it is in the minds of people who don't understand their cricket.....why nobody asks why sachin got out the way he got out?.i think gavaskar made a pertinent point that it was not a good way for a batsmen of his experience to get out.....just becoz he showed aggressive tint and then it becomes justified......it was a collective batting failure as usual overseas.

  • suman on December 30, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    no other player came forward to opening to accomodate yuvi. And dravid being out of form asked to open batting that shows value of dravid in ind team.Dravid only batsman in ind team batted from No 1 to 7 in odis and test. Even master did not blast and tiger did not roar. master blaster wanted to open innings in odis and ganguly complained tha the missed many 100s in test batting up in order. but in test batted on regular slot still failed to perform. afraid to face lee johnson cleark with new ball with morning dies but in odis opening means batting is with field restriction no pressuer of increasing runrate and enoubh balls to face... dravid accepted challenged and opening innings knowing that vengsarkar has an agenda against him. in test at least he stayed at wkt and for 2 hrs and played till 35 over in second innings other 8 wkts fell in less than 35 overs within session of lunch to tea. dravid survived at least on session. dravid was shufflled in batting order in odis before he was dropped..this did not happened to any other senior player. let tendulkar and ganguly open in test and make them bat in diff positions in five odisagainst aussies Why dravid has to face descrimination in batting order and made scpeagoat?If ganguly and tendulkar wants to open in odis why not in tests what about failure of jaffer, l dhoni yuvraj and harbajan wktless????

    It was collective batting failure why r u blaming dravid only

  • Wills on December 30, 2007, 20:39 GMT

    Rahul.

    Thsai will be no 2001. There will be no great miracle. There will only be pain and humiliation from here on for ther Indians. The Aussies have a score to settle with India, and if last years shellacking of the English tells us anything, it is when the Aussies want to get some payback, they get it and they get it in spades. India is a team of inflated egos and their supporters are so convinced that they run world cricket that they think India has some divine right to success. Well, guys, here's the deal - you can wil all ther T20 world championships you like and we Aussies will just laugh off the result - because we will continue to wipe the floor with your overpaid, overindulged princes of cricket time and time again in the test arena (where it really counts). This Indian Team is NOT GOOD ENOUGH, they know it and it's time everyone accepted the fact. And where is that loser Sreesanth? We want to kick his butt extra hard!

  • Raj on December 30, 2007, 19:50 GMT

    I think more than the batting our bowling and fielding was weak. Our bowling was so weak that in a bowler friendly wicket Australia scored around 700 runs by loosing just 17 wickets...no one from Indian team bowled to their potential and gifted too many unwanted runs to the Australians... I am sure our batting will improve in the next match, but if we ball the same as in last match at MCG, sydney is not going to be any different... Good Luck India

  • sardar on December 30, 2007, 19:41 GMT

    Looks like Yuvi will be dropped given his attitude problems. I've enjoyed watching him play recently in limited overs because of the passion and excitement that he brings to the field, but it seems he was off colour in this test match - not electric in the field, nor with the bat. With recent questions about his attitude, I agree that he should be sent a reality check.

    I disagree with everyone who is saying that sehwag should be brought for sydney because I can't see him making an impact with the bat, and he is a liability in the field. Dinesh Karthik has been playing well up until the Pakistan series, and has proven to perform overseas against decent quality attacks. Why would you mess with a good thing? The combo of Jaffer-Karthik had been working well, and it seemed that Karthik regained some confidence with his innings in bangalore. Bottom line= Yuvi should be dropped for Karthik, but for India to win they have to show more intensity on the field and between the wickets.

  • charu on December 30, 2007, 19:11 GMT

    Well lookin at the MCG test performance India seems to be headed for a real pounding. As per my views which are purely objective Dhoni should be replaced by Karthik and Yuvi should make way for Sehwag. Test cricket and T20 are a total different ball games with varying art. Both Dhoni and Yuvi looked out of sorts and none made a effort to stay at the crease. At least Dravid was fighting a loosing battle. Sehwag opening with Jaffer, Karthik behind the stumps, Dravid coming after Tendulkar and Ishan Sharma replacing RP would be my ideal combination for Sydney. Ishan can make the Aussies opener uncomfortable with his bounce and has a potential to clean up the tail. RP looks out of sort.India groomed Karthik succesfully for a opener but was left out due to one bad series against Pakistan. Karthik is a test batsmen with a prooven test record, mentality and techniques all hallmarks of a test batsmen. Sacrificing him for Yuvi or Dhoni would be a great mistake for Test Cricket in India.

  • rohit on December 30, 2007, 19:00 GMT

    All this talk about India as a nation having a poor work ethic because they are a poor fielding side is ridiculous.You saw the T20 championship where India won,it was probably the best fielding side in the tournament after Australia and was actually better in the catching department than Australia.The thing is Ganguly,Dravid,Zaheer etc.. never really had the culture of athleticism and fielding and running hard drilled into them in both junior and domestic cricket,its only in recent times that there has been a emphasis on these aspects of the game.You can't just learn fielding after you are 35 years old,its something which needs to be done from the junior level.Our future generation,the likes of Rohit Sharma, Uthappa,Yuvraj,Kaif,Dhoni and several others in domestic cricket are good fit fielders and runners between the wickets.There is no chance Ganguly will ever run hard or field well,but can you find one batsman in world cricket who can hit square drives like him?

  • Asoke Chatterjee on December 30, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    Mukul Keasvan at his best ! When Ganguly was being set upon by Chappell and More the Anand Vasu/Kesavan pack was ruthlessly out for blood. Now I notice Keasavan out to whitewash Dravid's disgusting spectacle by denigrating another batsman - Yuvraj. Perhaps Keasavn should be reminded that Yuvraj came in to bat at Bengaluru when India was 60 -odd for 3 or 4 wickets down. Hardly dysfunctional bowling one would assume. And how about Jaffer, Laxman, Dhoni etc ?

    Why pick on Yuvraj alone.

    What about Kumble's captaincy ?

  • A Singh on December 30, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    There is no doubt that Dravid is still a good batsamn--he is desperately lacking form---I have alway been a fan of Dravid----and this does not do him well---when he is playing out of form---it makes it worst.

    Dravid need to know that we all want him to do well---but his immediate situation does not help.

    Replace Dravid with Shewag or Karthik.

    Replace Yuraj Singh with I Pathan---it is obvious that Yuraj has his taughtts somewhere else. I perfer to live and die with Pathan--he is that good.

    If M. S. Dhoni---thinks he is too big for the game(like Yuraj) then is to be replace by Karthik. To open the batting Jaffer and Shewag. Replace Yuraj with Pathan Replace Dhoni with Karthik Sorry and this is hardest for drop Dravid for the this test

  • Haridev T on December 30, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    to Ultimator, Sachin averages 50's in Aus, 40's in SA and 30's in NZ in Tests.

  • akshay on December 30, 2007, 17:53 GMT

    All those who are crying foul after the match must get their cerebra checked up for holes. It's so much easier to be wise in the hindsight. On the morning of the match, even Ponting would have conceded that if a batting line-up could intimidate his bowlers, it was the one staring out at him from the piece of paper handed over by Kumble. Form his perpective, Dravid had tormented the Aussies the last time he visited Down Under and he was too good a player to be affected by a mere change in batting position (of all things) and Yuvraj Singh, fresh from a Test Hundred (admittedly against a club attack but that’s not his fault at all) had blasted a One-day Hundred against the Aussies when they visited India a month back. Even the most pessimistic of naysayers would have lapped up that batting order on current form on the morning of the match.To say Yuvraj is a pretender tells a lot abt how unqualified one is for commenting on the batting ability of an international batsman.

  • rambo on December 30, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    I don't think Dravid would have scored any faster/more if he had batted at #3. He did look solid in the 2nd digs though - bodes well for the next test - he just needs to show more intent.

  • cumar on December 30, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    >>All the South Indians love to pick on a player from Punjab who has been arguably the best Indian batsman in 2007

    Really; listen to BBC Asian Network and its host Adil Ray from Punjab has strong complaints about Yuvraj's behaviour. So stop it will you.

  • Nire on December 30, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    India's bowling had been considered as the weakness, batting being the strength the team possessed. I thought India attacked well with their weakness but failed to dominate with their strengths. Right from the top of the order, there were concerns. Making way for Yuvraj wasn't a good move at all. Dravid who's completely out of sorts now, needs to bat at No. 4 or 5 and India must go with their regular openers. Still feel that Jaffer should open with Sehwag and let Tendulkar come in as No. 3 followed by Dravid. It could possibly relax Rahul's mindset. I also feel that this will probably help them as the series progresses, barring Perth, the rest of the wickets will definitely help spinners. Now that the team has experienced a crushing defeat, I only hope Kumble learns from his mistakes.

  • Gaurav Sachan on December 30, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    With the thought of no drastic change to the team I would like to present My Team for Sydney Test: DROP Mahendra Singh Dhoni, bring Dinesh Karthik in, make him open, as he did in England along with Jaffer, and Bring "The Wall" to No. 3, which is where he likes. Or, another option could be, that since Laxman has a penchant for Aussie attack, and Sydney being his Happy-Hunting ground, make him come at 3, and bring Dravid down after Sachin and Ganguly but before Yuvraj. Bringing Karthik in the Sydney test also helps, since Sydney is not a fast wicket and that would help Karthik to adjust to the condition before moving to WACA and Brisbane.

  • Chris on December 30, 2007, 14:25 GMT

    What Steve Waugh wrote about the touring Indian team of 99-00;

    India came and went, a mentally fragile team… Their defensive attitude and preoccupation with existing meant that they were there for the taking. Thinking purely about survival is only one step way from experiencing defeat…

    What he wrote about the touring Indian team of 03-04;

    We also had to recognize that this wasn’t the usual soft-underbelly Indian touring squad, but rather a hardened force forged by Sourav Ganguly, their feisty leader…

    The question is; what will be written about the team of 07-08?

    I fear it will be more similar to the first quote than the second.

  • Shaju.K on December 30, 2007, 14:19 GMT

    Now it's time for Dravid to understand that grabbing captaincy by taking advantage of Chappel's personal grudge with Sourav was a mistake. Infact Dravid should have given support to Ganguly at that stage to overcome his bad luck and regain his batting form. Instead of that he was pouring more oil to the burning fire by supporting the views of an egoistic foreigner who was later proved good for nothing. Time is changing dear Dravid.. Understand you are not another Sourav to make a comeback like what he has been capable of. The toughest days are ahead for you... Do you have the fire within you to overcome that???? Let's wait and see... Best of luck...!!!!!!!!!!

  • Suraj on December 30, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    Mukul, you're very correct about Dravid being forced to open.. that was a terrible mistake. But I wonder if Dravid should have been in the playing XI at all. Shouldn't we be emulating the Aussies in selecting the best team possible? Dravid is obviously out of form, and a series versus Aus in Aus is probably not the right place for him to play himself back in to form! It is quite obvious he needs to do a Ganguly or a Hayden and go back to basics and then come back strong. I also don't agree with your going on about Yuvraj - people used to say the same about a certain Andrew Symonds. He is in form, so he should be playing. Finally, we really should be taking a punt on Sehwag as opener, since it is a calculated punt. It is not just the runs he can make but the potential 'mental disintegration' his agressive batting style can inflict on the bowlers - which would then make things easier for the rest of the batsmen.

  • NJ on December 30, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    I think you are a bit harsh on Yuvraj,Mukul. Having said that I will admit that at no stage did Yuvraj look like he would play for long enough to make a substatntial contribution in both innings at the 'G.

    I have always considered him a special talent, someone akin to a Ricky Ponting. A cursory glance at Punter's stats after 21 tests shows he averaged about 38, with 2 hundreds. And he was a truly horrendous player of spin. Yet, look where he is now. He does not possess a water-tight technique, infact I don't think he would even have the best technique amongst the current crop of Australian batsmen, but what sets him apart is his positive mindset and ability to attack. I think Yuvraj must be given more opportunities to mature as a test player. I would replace Jaffer with Sehwag. For all the runs he's made, I have never been convinced of his technique and his lame dismissals ,the 2nd innings poke outside off readily comes to mind, was not becoming of a batsman in such sublime form

  • Dr Ramesh Donepudi on December 30, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Could anyone pull up the stats of Indian teams first test performance in overseas matches? And I am also curious to know if our team has strategies to overcome "circadian" problems due to time zone shifts. Modern professional sports persons and teams are very cognizant of these problems as they can significantly undermine the performance of a sportsman.

  • Amit agarwal on December 30, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    Thank God, Australia won. If India had won you would have seen racist Indians making disparaging comments about Australia. Now they are forced to show their anger against the Indian cricketers. No wonder the rest of the world thinks of Indians as people who talk a lot but do nothing.

  • rahul on December 30, 2007, 12:39 GMT

    The series has shades of the 2001 series, where australia were stopped in their world record run of 16 consecutive wins. The series had started with a thrashing by the aussies followed by a near shut out situation in the 2nd test before a miracle happened. The indians in 2001 had an unsettled opening pair, struggling with the loss of kumble and facing a strong and determined aussie team. The situation looks similar this time around so guys hoping for a miracle in the 2nd test which tutns around the series, stops the aussie juggernaut from breaking the world record of consecutive test wins and results in a famous indian series win down under...Before all of you jump on this statement, wish all of you a happy new year and hope 2008 brings out the 2001 series result :)

  • solution on December 30, 2007, 12:28 GMT

    solution for the entire mess: drop dhoni and bring karthik and ask him to open, all remaining order as per the players wishes.

  • Neelesh Patni on December 30, 2007, 12:13 GMT

    Kesavan has had the idea, probably all his life, that Test cricket is something intellectual and only people with an intellectual bent follow this sport. So when he goes to watch the game at the stadium, he is shocked to see that his fellow cricket followers can stoop to the level of "Man U brutes". What he doesn't realise because he's never been to a football game, is that followers of this great sport, especially in Europe, are well-mannered. Sure they make a lot of noise and don't mind having a beer or two at half-time. But they don't get in the way of their neighbours enjoying the game, they don't disrupt the game because their team loses or abuse players - racially or otherwise. Kesavan just can't seem to let go of the idea that cricket, even in Test format, is just a throw-and-hit sport (as someone rightly pointed out). Well he can hold on to this delusion for as long as he likes, but I suggest he doesn't write about other sports when he doesn't follow them - his ignorance is emb

  • Raghu on December 30, 2007, 12:13 GMT

    There are probably two predominant factors equally important when playing against australia.. form and potential.. India at the moment seem to be lacking on former definitely but I would further dare to add that on the potential front, we are quite not matching australia as well... Add to that the defensive mindset which bogged them virtually into shotlessness mode consequently ending up choking...We need to realise, are ranji trophy matches , a yard stick to measure a player of world class averaging 50... or is it his mind set... If it is an inevtiable choice between the two, I would go with potential, because our measure of a player in form has always been good ranji trophy form, or runs against weaker attacks....And we get that reality check when we play against australia, that the so called players in form are actually not quite . This theory might not be agreeable by many Indians including Mr.Keshavan but if we have to defeat Potential has to be given prominence over form(Sehwag)

  • Surinder on December 30, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    I saw this wonderful post on an earlier blog item:

    "certainly looking like the second best team in the world at the moment! A 337 run defeat.

    Even mediocre England only lost by 277 runs in the first test of the 2006 Ashes, and we were facing Glen McGrath and Shane Warne.

    Surely all the jingoistic Indian fans are starting to realize that the hype just doesn't match the reality.

    Final question - what do India not have that teams like Australia, England and South Africa have? Answer: young batsmen who have already demonstrated the promise to replace their over-thirties team mates. When Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman are gone, India will be in sooo much trouble."

  • patni on December 30, 2007, 12:05 GMT

    While Dravid and co were scoring at about 5 runs in 2 hours, Aston Villa and Chelsea knocked up 8 goals and Tottenham and Reading, 10. Is it any wonder why the rest of the world has so much contempt for cricket.

  • Sunil on December 30, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    Kesavan's recent posts have been about how this is the greatest series ever and how the rest of the world is watching, well there were hardly 1000 people at the ground and 950 of them were Indians. What hope for cricket if the Australians themselves aren't interested. Cricket is a dull sport at the best of times, but India's negative batting made it an absolute torture.

  • Amitava Das on December 30, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    Ok we have lost the plot and noone's like a loser. But still few questions to Mukul. 1) If Dravid the great was not happy with the team decesion why did he agree to open ? I don't think Rahul's valid points would have been overlooked by the team. So assuming that he didn't voice his reservations, then we have two problem - i) that he has not entirly ethical about his game & wants to hold on to the playing 11 at the cost of his team & ii) he didn't really have any measure of his current form. In any case both of these puts a great cricketer like Dravid in poor light. 2. We have 4 biggies in the middle and if we don't force the young now then when. Anyway Yuvraj is not that very young rookie in the side and we have to invest on him. 3. If Ganguly can be droped for poor form (or is it - or is that because of board politics), then why not Rahul ? We have heard these lines so many times like noone's bigger than the team & like - so why not Rahul ? We can try Shewag & assure him his place.

  • Nik on December 30, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    Sunil said: "Well cant do much,when the pitch is made to suit the Aussies!"

    Can you explain how a slow pitch which kept bouncers to chest-high suited an Aussie attack of 3 pace and one slightly insecure spinner?

    All commentators I heard expressed surprise that the Indian batsmen had so much trouble on a pitch that was so "sub-continental" in nature.

    India took 9 wickets on the first day, and restricted Oz to less than 350. Did they do it by beating the Aussies at their own game, and blasting them out with pace? Well maybe you are right - if memory serves correct, it was that famous Indian speedster Anil Kumble who took most of the first innings wickets.

    And of course, no other country, and especially not India, would ever perpare a pitch which favoured the local team.

    You are right - the pitch was an "Aussie Special" and Australia did not deserve to win. Let's hope that the rest of the pitches are prepared like the WACA of old - so Kumble and Bhaji can bowl bouncers!

    Cheers! Nik

  • vr01 on December 30, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    Jaspreet - thanks for the compliment, at least you got it, most haven't. I'll add one further point:

    Can India play 5 days of aggressive, hard (but fair) cricket? No.

    Again most have talked about what to do about the batting, neglecting the other serious issues that India turned up in the first test. It doesn't matter what you do with the batting order, Australia still starts at 0/100 every match because they are prepared to restrict in the field and challenge on the pitch.

    Case in point: H Singh runout was effected by excellent fielding BUT it was caused by poor running on what should have been an easy single...

    Cricket is a game of skill - talent gets you a fair way but you still need to respect the basics in cricket... something that India isn't doing and doesn't seem to putting enough into doing.

  • NM on December 30, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    Excellent stuff Mukul... The truth is that with Yuvraj in the test side we are moving forward to an indian team that does well against mediocre attacks like pakistan on indian/pak pitches. You've called Yuvraj what he deserves to be called unless he can prove otherwise.

  • Nisar on December 30, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    This is exactly why this team needs someone like Gary Kirsten. The talent is there, no doubt but the discipline and mental strength needs to be worked on. I just hope India makes some changes for the Sydney test, i.e bring in Sehwag since he will take the fight to them. What do they have to lose?

  • buffalo on December 30, 2007, 10:35 GMT

    Wow - what internal hatred and bigotry rules Indian cricket. Just happened on this blog whilst checking the scores. What is it with you Indians? Who care who won the test, most Aussis don't. You are consumed by your own mediocrity. Your team had plenty of preparation for this test, they have been playing virtually non-stop for the past 12 months in all conditions. Indeed the MCG was by all commentators observations a 'typical Indian pitch' so who need prep? Face it you have a third rate team which was bundled out of the one day chanpionship by part timers. Yes you won the 20/20 but teams like Australia clearly treat 20/20 as the 'village green' lottery it is. Why can't you just be happy that Australia has agreed to play with you? And play with you they did 'smashed you' smashed you good and proper on a 'subcontinental pitch'. What is going to happen in Perth? The Indians were slow, fat and listless in the field, bowled poorly (Aust scored at 4/over)and batted like old women. No hope!

  • Aussie on December 30, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    Is it just me or are the Indian players afraid to get their pants dirty???.......worst fielding side in world cricket. Sorry Dario but the Aussie domination is only boring if you have a loser attitude...the fact that Australia dominate should inspire others to defeat them. I honestly believe that no matter how out of form Sehwag is a quick fire 25 off 20 balls looks better than 5 off 80 odd. Please India.....field better, take more singles and attack! There are 3 more tests......have a go!

  • PhilB on December 30, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    Now, I know it sounds funny, but India's cricketers seem to have the lazy complacency of champions - note their poor fielding (lack of practice and effort) for example. Whereas, the actual champions, Australia work so hard on every aspect of their game - as if they were trying to catch up to and challenge some other champion team. No wonder other national teams are finding it so hard to catch up, not least India, whose cricketers seem way too comfortable given their status in world cricket.

  • Milind Dovhal on December 30, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    I think its too early to comment on Yuvraj as yet. The next two matches should give a better indication. However Dravid flopped not because of the 'opening' but because of his mindset. Even if he had come at number 3 he would have played 'go slow' with the aussies. Sehwag should have opened with Dravid .. he may have got out for a quick 20 something but that would have at least got the momentum going for the indians in the first innings... Jaffer lacks the instinct to attack....

    I'm telling u guys.. this Aussie tour is going to separate the men from the boys.. Saurav and Sachin played well and so did Laxman .. but the rest need to pull up their socks...

  • Matt on December 30, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    People can complain about Australias dominance all they like. They have been dominant for 12 years for a reason, and it's not science it's work ethic. Australians aren't promoted to the international side until they have earned their position, reputation is not enough and form is important. Australia is dwarfed in population numbers by so many of the top nations, We have no great secret other than working hard on all aspects of the game. If others can't comit to this ideal then they should get used to the idea of following our lead for another 12 years. Indias batting line up didn't make 200 in either innings (not the failure of one man, Dravid, but of a whole batting line up). Their fielding was terrible. The running between wickets was terrible. It would seem far too much Indian energy is spent on image to fuel lucrative commercial interests and not enough on developing the skills of the game. Australia puts team balance above individuals , I doubt that's Indias approach.

  • Santanu on December 30, 2007, 7:51 GMT

    So, the great game has started.Finding the scapegoat.It just took one Test against Australia for all the cricket enthusiasts to bring out their knives.And weren't this the same bunch of people who a fortnight ago were tomtoming the great Indian cricket team .Then they lost all sense of proportion in hailing the team. Now they have lost the same in condemning the players.Oh, bye the way if you are from South Dravid is too holy a cow to be touched.For the East it is Ganguly,for the West it is Tendulkar and so on.And after three days if these same payers do something wothwhile stand on your rooftops shouting we are the best. How long will this farce continue,how long will a nations' collective intelligence be held hostage by the bunch of marketers who know no better way of selling their products than jumping on our cricket weakness. And by the way it has given umpteen ex cricketers opportunity to mouth inanities in front of the camera.And so have you decided whom to drop Dravid,Yuvraj ...

  • Sudhakar G on December 30, 2007, 7:31 GMT

    Mukul,

    I agree with your views that the decision to have Dravid open the innings failed miserably - especially so given Dravid's lean patch. However, I don't agree on your assessment of Yuvraj. True that Yuvraj scored on a flat track and bullied a hapless Pakistan attack. But then, what would be your yardstick to measure yuvraj's readiness to play test cricket. Time and again we see patches of good innings from Yuvraj and whenever he clicks, he seems to time the ball so well. His attitude is good and his fielding exceptional. If we go by the same flat track bully theory, how will we ever induct anyone from Ranji trophy or any other domestic competition into test cricket?

  • cricket bob on December 30, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    It was good to read that Mukul Kesavan gives the Indian team the boot up the backside they need. I like Kumble as indian captain, at least he has a little bit of heart and national pride in playing for his country. The rest of the team are a bunch of pampered primadona's who don't seem to care that they are representing their country. Apart from their fielding which is below grade cricket standards in Australia, they have the skills to put Australia to the test but they just show no heart for a good fight.They are like the Italian military of world war 2, good at beating up weak opposition but as soon as they come up against a stronger foe they roll over and meakly beg for mercy. Everyone is saying how good the Indian bowlers were on day one but the pitch was crap and Australia's 342 was as good as 500. What happens to the Indian batsmen when Australia plays Tait at the WACA? A test over in 3 days is my prediction. Indian may hold on for a draw in Sydney but I doubt it. 4-0 is my guess

  • Arif on December 30, 2007, 7:15 GMT

    The best batting line up for me would be Jaffer,Sehwag,V.V.S Laxman, Sachin,Ganguly,Rahul Dravid,Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble,Zaheer Khan,Ishant Sharma....And I believe that Dhoni is just the Big name in the game, But his techiques are not good in Austalian pitches..And the problem with Indian Cricket is big name when you can give One Crore for 6 Sixes what else you can expect in terms of performances...Money really talks

  • Max on December 30, 2007, 7:10 GMT

    Sydney test will be a toss up b/w sehwag and yuvraj.Sehwag atleast sorts out the openers slot problem,so I see Yuvraj being dropped .Also , Dravid at No3 is pretty much the same as him opening, i'd prefer Ganguly or VVS at that spot.India will have sehwag& Sachin for variation.They should be bold enough to drop the 'ultra-defensive' Harbhajan OR RP Singh who's not able to create much movement & try Irfan(who can reverse swing on an abrasive sydney wicket),or pick either Pankaj/Ishant.

  • Vipul V on December 30, 2007, 7:09 GMT

    Whoever is taking Yuvi's side need to apply some brain. To be a full fledge Test cricketer, one needs to play all kinds of balls. Yuvi has not been able to play spin balling since long time (wtach 2003 WC against PAK when Yuvi was being taught how to play spin by Drawid right during a crucial match. And in 4 years what did he learn ? Just bully his way into a test cricket ! Munaf was told by selectors to play some more Ranaji before he can before he can play test agian.. perhaps he does not have enough money to warm pockets of selectors. While Yuvi with all his money from Ad etc, got himself in Test when there are othe rmore deservig people should have been there. Hate to say that thye need to get his replacment in going forward. Make him play enough spin - make him play against Bagladesh and Zimbavave in tests and then he may qualify for playing test against Aus. We sacrificed Drawid and lost test because of him. Shame on hims and his supporters..

  • Narsi Santhanam on December 30, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    Like most Indians, I am a bigtime Cricket lover, but unlike most, I'm extremely apologetic about it. This blighted game has been sucking the energy out of the rest of the games in India and what's worse, we are extremely pathetic even at such a silly game. Time for the masses to say No to Cricket and Yes to more productive and much-less time consuming games. While Cricinfo does a great job of serving the game, sorry folks, you are serving the wrong game - please wind up this site and make Indians less addicted to such an abjectly wasteful game

  • Sridhar on December 30, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    The only way to win against Australia is to thrash their bowlers in their land and in front of their crowd. That is possible only by people who can stand their and hit. Cut, flick, pull or drive, do anything. The ball has to reach the ropes and the scoreboard moving. Who can do that. Bring those guys in to bat. Bring in those bowlers who can make a dent into their top order, the rest will easily follow. Test cricket is a different ball game. Honestly Yuvraj, Dhoni and Harbhajan dont fit in this scheme. We should only hope that our politicians (Sorry the BCCI selectors) realise this.

  • vidhyadhar pai on December 30, 2007, 7:04 GMT

    selectors please select a good squad for one-day international as they have already selected stupid test squad. I WILL TELL U GIVE ME A CHANCE N SEE MY SELECTION .EXAMPLE IS HERE. BATSMEN:sachin,ganguly,badrinath,yuvraj,dhoni, uttappa,ghambir,suresh raina ALLROUNDERS: irfan pathan BOWLERS:zaheer,rp singh,pankaj singh,vrv singh,harbhajan,murli kartik

  • vikram on December 30, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    it's all selectors' fault. too much of politics in indian cricket the way i see it. get rid of, dravid, sachin, kumble & ganguly & bring back shewag, gambir, karthik & uhthappa. otherwise, no chance whatsoever of winning the series. i'm an an aussie, but what a tragedy? did anyone see the frightened looks of dravid & ganguly when they faced the fast bowlers? they may be alright on indian flat & slow pitches, but certainly not here in australia. wait & see what's going to happen in perth, the indian team would be annihilated.

  • Rajnarayanan on December 30, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    Jaffer - Karthik pair were doing a excellent job in SA, Bangladesh & England. Jst because he failed in two tests Karthik now doesnt find favor for the opening slot. But in tougher conditions when no one wanted to open he accepted the difficult job and came out with flying colors. Please perceive with him. Why not any body is talking about Tendulkar or Ganguly opening in test matches. They are regular openers in One Day matches. If you ask the conscience of Tendulkar and Ganguly it will tell us how much they fear the opening slot in test matches. One day cricket is pyjama crciket. If past performance is the criteria, then Like Shewag, Sandip Patil can be recalled to the Indian Team. Because he has also scored a big hundred in Australia. Now lets come to Dhoni. Except for 50s in four series his performance is pathetic abroad and in comparison karthik has scored 4 fifties in lesser no of tests. My 11 for Sydney test will be Drop Yuvraj & Bhaji and Include Shewag & Karthik

  • Paki Fan on December 30, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    India Sucks.

    Go Australia Go ........... crush them 4 - 0.

    Sweet Revenge of Paki Fans.

  • vercingetorix on December 30, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    Reading most of the comments here all that I can acertain is Indian supporters are poor losers. Its all about why the team got smashed, why you should have this batsman in favour of this one, so on and so on. You were beaten by a better team in all aspects of the game. I keep hearing about the much vaunted Indian batting line up, all based on previous exploits in years gone by. If you have a look at the ICC ranking the highest Indian batsman is Dravid at 14 and the rest in drips and drabs after that, Australia have 3 batsman in the top 10 Ponting, Hayden and Hussey with a few not that far away. Apart from Kumble at No 4. he is the only bowler in the top 20. 1-0 from 3 Vs Pak and the same against England both under strength. Indian need to win series alot more convincingly then this, and is was the first time in 27 years they beat Pakistan. Hopefully India will put on a good show and mybe win a test, Australia need to lose now and then, it makes them better I fear for India at the WACA.

  • Umesh on December 30, 2007, 6:32 GMT

    It is clear to me now after reading all (well.. most) the comments posted.

    Most of them have never played cricket at any level, naturally it will be difficult for them to understand test cricket and its great servants. Please leave Dravid alone, he will come back with a bang. Let the great servants of indian cricket retire on their terms when then think thier time is up and in dignity. When Dravid won matches (please check records) where were you all complainers? Now is the time he needs support from within the team and outside as well. Please think of opening with Ganguly (he is in good form and more importantly he always insists on opening in One dayers).

  • sean on December 30, 2007, 6:25 GMT

    I agree with Mukul,sadly.I don't think anything will change for Sydney and the same line-up will be persisted with for the sake of consistency.I agree with much of Mukul's article but would go further; 1.Dravid should be dropped from the team altogether;he's been in such poor form this year that he desperately needs a rest from test cricket and to get back to basics on the domestic circuit,like Ganguly did.Like him,it might do him the world of good and most likely,will make him a better player and prolong his test career. 2.No,Sewhag should not be brought back.He's in the same kind of atrocious form as Dravid.Keep Jaffer,give him a longer go and bring back Karthik.I can't recall off the top of my head,if Gambir was brought along,but even he'd be better than an off form Sewhag. 3.Harbajan can't spin the ball for toffee! He's not test class and hasn't been for years.Pathan is a fine young bowler who can bat very well also,it's criminal not having him in the team. One can only hope...

  • ultimator on December 30, 2007, 6:17 GMT

    Sachin tendulkar's averages in mid twenties in ODI agaimst Australia , New Zealand, England and SA in their respective countries.

    To call him the greatest player little master blaster and other such adjectives is an easy way for a new commnetator to secure contracts in India where the amount of cricket played is more than any other nation and the Indian cricket board hails itself as the richets cricket board and there the player from there should be given a special status as in the herirachial Hindu society based on rigid caste System

  • Stan on December 30, 2007, 5:55 GMT

    The Australians exploited the Indian weakness. They gave the Indians the Srinlankan kind of slow pitch where the ball would stop after pitching. It was not the typical Australian quick wicket where the ball would come on to the bat. Australians had faced the embarrassment by giving the Indians quick wickets when they toured here last time. The Melbourne pitch was similar to Srinlankan kind of wicket which has been always the dislike of the Indians. Indians have always failed on the slow & low pitches of Srilanka. On the tactical point they Australians did not prepare such wicket when the Srilankans visited Australia. Vaas & Murulitharan would have had smacked their lips, they survive on slow & low conditions. Howzzat?

  • Fouad Khan on December 30, 2007, 5:46 GMT

    I kinda agree with you, except I have a feeling Yuvi will make you eat your words pretty soon.

  • hari on December 30, 2007, 5:37 GMT

    Spoton Mukul Kesavan. But no takers out there. We alwayspick the team to accomodate X and Y but not to win. Arguably Dravid is the most consistent middle order bat in the world. In the first innings he looked out of sorts still he was forcd to open in the second innings too. I deally he should have beem batting at No.6. They should have sent in Yuvaraj as opener it would have been baptism by fire. If Dravid can open why not Yuvraj by this way India would have given Dravid some time in the middle.

    Coming to ASHOK TRIVEDI's argument, yes, he did come in at 60/4 he batted like a dream that doesn't mean he is good enough to play on Australian wickets. if you remeber some years Douglas Mariliar batted superbly against India then he was no where to be seen these are all flash-in- a-pan types of innings. Coming to your most ridiculous argument--comparing Laxman and Yuvraj. It's just like comparing chalk and cheese. Ask Ricky Ponting or Brett Lee.

  • SaHiL on December 30, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    HII alll!! As we all know tht PAK & INDIA has became gud frndz.BCCI and PCB probably introduce a new board called PICB ( pakindia cric board ). Just think abt it tht wat ll be the playing 11. hmmm

    1.sachin 2.sehwag 3.younis khan 4.M.yousif 5.yovi 6.dhoni 7.afridi 8.pathan 9.kumble 10.asif 11.akhtar

    thn we can probably beat any 1 in the world and it will be world's # 1 team ( subcontinent ). WOOOOOOOOOO

    gr8 thought to look fw. to.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

  • Raja Pakistani on December 30, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    I was just waiting for this to happen and read these reactions from the Indian fans.

    Indian team is the most hyped one in the world, and Indian nation, media and money involved is to be fully blaimed for it.

    Dravid with his 180 balls for a hopeless 21 runs was the top storey of the day.

    We as pakistanis fans....... well we are enjoying ....... good cricket ;)

    As they say....... you aint seen nothin yet, the misery have just begun with a lot more to come.

  • Rajesh NJ on December 30, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    I had responded to one of Mukul's blogs before the series began saying how important was India's batting more than it's bowling. If only they had put up a big first innings score they at least wouldn't have lost.

    The biggest blunder was Dravid as an opener. Dinesh Karthik, even though not in the best form deserved a chance. India could even have included Sehwag as an opener and Karthick as the WK because Dhoni isn't great abroad. Either way re-shuffling the batting order just to accomodate Yuvraj spelled India's doom. It's all well to get big 100's against weak bowling on home turf but batting in Australia is a different proposition altogether.

    India must get their best possible line-up for Sydney. I say best possible coz having taken Sehwag there is no point in keeping him out. It can be Jaffer, Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Saurav, Karthik, Kumble and No.s 9,10 & 11 (I say 9,10 & 11 coz not many choices in bowling And the more they rely on Harbhajan the more difficult it will be

  • GEOFF on December 30, 2007, 5:28 GMT

    Lets face it....Aust would have beaten anyone at home Boxing day test at the moment, they are just too classy ....India are a great side, Aussies are just better all round....and don't start on the umpiring people, we have quite a few years of woeful sub-continent lopsided umpiring to make up for.......leave Yuvraj in, he looks some sort of talent for future. oz oz ozy oi oi oi

  • A.Sharam on December 30, 2007, 5:27 GMT

    Dhoni is no gilchrist or boucher. He is just a slogger who has had is luck and now has started playing defensively at times to show that he has become responsible. Although india won the T20 world cup, giving the last over to a bowler like sharma was stupidity which almost cost india the game, but thanx to misbah it did not. Instead of questioning Dhoni, his desicion to give the last over to sharma became a heroic act and he has become the new aggressive indian captain and a certainity in the team. This has not only put india into wrong hands but its an insult to players like Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid who are made to feel like they havent done enough for the team in the past. To win against Aus or anyother team with a good bowling attack India need to have players like Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman in the team and plyers like dhoni, yuvraj and jaffer are the ones who should be switched.

  • vidhyadhar pai on December 30, 2007, 5:25 GMT

    selectors r bunch of fools by selecting ishant sharma n sewhag ahead of sreesanth and ghambir.INDIA lost the 1st test due to bad thinking as they replaced yuvraj for laxman at no.6.

  • umesh mukundan on December 30, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    india should attack in the remaining matches.bring sehwag as opener and give dravis his traditional no;-3 spot.sreesanth is fit to play,why dont the selectors are trying that option.he can bowl 140+kmph with swing,so that we can replace rp sing.

  • Vinay on December 30, 2007, 4:58 GMT

    This is for ultimator..Why are you criticising someone else to prove someone else great..and to give you some sort of stats sachin's average in Australia is 53, in NZ 42 and in WI it is 48 and in SA it is 41...what the hell are you talking about...just talking in air will not help..

  • Dario on December 30, 2007, 4:50 GMT

    We can only hope that India get a sound thrashing-I wrongly thought that the World Cup debacle would make people smell the coffee but sadly this hasnt been the case. The "Fab 4" are done. THey should be given a testemonial game and marching orders. Bring the youngsters in now and groom them. Even if they get thrashed 4-0 it will be ok as they will still be learning the ropes. These old dogs cant and wont learn new tricks.

    This australian domination of cricket is soooo boooring it's unbelievable. In any other sport have you seen a single team dominate for about 12 years on the trot?! NOOOO!!! Look at soccer the champions league is competitive-you dont see a Real Madrid or Milan dominate for 12 years straight. Look at Rugby League in Oz-lots of competition. The ICC is partly to blame for this and the other countries like South Africa, India & Pakistan. These teams had the potential to beat Aus but instead wilted like cowards in the face of a little Aussie aggression and skill.

  • Indifferent spectator on December 30, 2007, 4:46 GMT

    I neither support Australia nor India. As an outsider India squandered a golden opportunity to grab Australia "by the balls". I suggest India sort up their batting. Just by having 7 batsman doesn't mean big scores will come. I highly suggest 5 batsman, 5 bowlers and a keeper. The fifth bowler should be the all-rounder Irfan Pathan. 1.Sehwag 2.Jaffer 3.Tendulkar 4.Ganguly 5.Laxamn 6.Dhoni 7. Pathan 8. Kumble 9. H. Singh 10. Zaheer Khan 11.RP Singh

    If 1-5 can't score what will Batsman 6 do with the tail considering Dhoni struggles on bouncy pitches.

  • Arvind Agarwal on December 30, 2007, 4:45 GMT

    cont/ 8) According to you, Yuvraj is making it difficult for the team- why so: unlike Dinesh Karthik and Dravid, Yuvraj has scored runs; infact he rescued India from a certain defeat v Pakistan by scoring a momentum -enhancing (counter-attacking) 160+ (isn't that what you want?). 9) Dravid is unhappy. Yuvraj is unhappy. I am unhappy with you. What does it matter? 10) Dravid has been consistent - at what? failing to score? choking in the second inngs? 11) Kumble has kept Dravid in the team because he doesn't want to called "stupid and inconsiderate" from the likes of you. Happy. 12) Dravid is YOUR hero. I understand, I will skip your lessions. 13) Now, you can insult a guy who is scoring runs - OK I understand. Yuvraj is a Northie (not from your area) so you can act Stupid and inconsiderate. Hard luck, Yuvraj will be a hero of yours in ODIs, 20-20s and tests. That is, if you are an India supporter. 14) What is the point of continuing?

  • Sridhar on December 30, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    First things first. Dravid to retire and Drop Tendulkar. Why doesnt the great sunny Gavaskar comment on Tendulkar's technique when he got out twice to stupid strokes. Gavaskar's repeated comments on Sadagopan Ramesh ensured that Ramesh was dropped out of the team. Drop Harbhajan bring in Karthik. That team out there deserves a captain like Ganguly. Kumble is a great fighter but can never be a good captain. He says Dravid doesnt have a choice but to open. Looks like that Kumble does not have options, other than to play in Dravid. Dravid is man who relinquished captaincy and wanted to concentrate on his batting. Now look at the way he is concentratiing. Is he playing for the country or trying to cement his place in the team ? Its time BCCI sends these guys to get trained along with Kapils boys and learn some ways to play like Krish Srikkant. Mohinder was quite right in calling the selectors a bunch of jokers. Dont forget the past.

  • Arvind Agarwal on December 30, 2007, 4:35 GMT

    cont/ 4)According to you MUKUL, Dravid is a blight. Know that Dravid has literally been opening v Pak for all the innings (ie. 6 innings) v Pak. Make up your mind- do you want him to stay at 3? Then of course, Dravid has been a blight at 3 over the last year (even when the openers were put up good runs). Now, how would he do when he facing a tough bowling attack/ fielding unit. Go figure.

    5) Dravid killed the momentum - so did, Jaffer. I am happy with him batting slowly- but he doesn't stay long enough to score to score a half-century.

    6) Dravid is NOT a great batsmen. He is past his best. Dravid has major technical problems. It is OK to leave the ball outside off-stump (which has been getting him out since Pak 06 series, check). Chanderpaul does it. But Dravid can't defend his stumps. He is getting LBWs.

    7) Yuvraj Singh has scored more than Dravid recently. Why put him in Yuvraj's place! Besides, how do you know Dravid would not be able to adjust playing so low down.

  • Ankur on December 30, 2007, 4:28 GMT

    i think its a fair comment by mukul. you cannot move around your best batsman in rahul dravid for the sake of a player like Yuvraj who still has to prove that he has the technique and temperament of a dravid or sachin or laxman. Yuvi no doubt has great talent and potential,but to force your best batsman into doing things he doesn't wish to. Also,giving Sehwag a go at the top would help India score quickly and maybe de-moralise australia's new ball bowlers....

  • Arvind Agarwal on December 30, 2007, 4:25 GMT

    Mukul, I have read your earlier post. This post shows you are blinded with hated. Hate which is clearly directed against the best players outside his regional affliations. If so, remember South Zone team with all of Laxman, Dravid, Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik, Kumble, Uthappa, Rao, Sreesanth, Balaji haven't won anything. Let me explain something. You are over-estimating the abilities of some/most of these players v-v other players.

    Look at this article closely: 1)"it is a PLEASURE to be beaten by Australians" - A disgusting statement. 2)Hogg has improved because he has taken a few wickets against India (Ganguly?). Does that mean Indian will be sitting ducks?? Will Indian bowlers also improve? A stupid POV. 3)How is Hogg getting practice (as if he needs practice) relate to Dravid as an opener? cont./

  • ali_a on December 30, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    All I can say is I expected a better performance from India. THey got the ideal wicket - the sort they made against PAK. Except that Pakistan did not bowled aggressively and Aus did. So there is no excuse blaming Dravid. The wicket was ideal for Indian batsmen but they were mentally overcomed by the Aussie bowling.

    Yeah Makul you can point to dysfunctional fast bowler - aka Shoaib Aktar and Pak side - but the fact is that India was beaten by a good intelligent side.

    Lesson of the day: Don't fly too hi in the air after beating Pak as if India was a world no. 1 cricket team. They have just been given a reality check by Aussies.

    All I can is when you have four fast med bowlers like Irfan Pathan, Sreeshnath, Zaheer and RP, why go with just two bowlers?

  • SaHiL on December 30, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    HII! As I was reading these comments,I come to know few thing's. First of all we all critisize indian team including me but do u thing it was fare?? Indian was not treated well by thier own board and it is BCCI only who never alloted them enough time to prepare for AUSSIES. As u all know recently we had Ind/Pak series which was held on dead rubber pitches.Do uu think the venue selection in home series was fare decision altough we was aware of tht the conditions of the AUSSIES pitch ll be very different. We could have sceduled those INDOPAK mathches on a bouncy tracks so tht players will be prepared a bit and even it could have resolved MASTERBLASTER's concern. Remember we got a statement from SACHIN tht "they didn't got enough time to prepare for the series due to tide schedule of ICC." It is BCCI who should prepare thier playes MENTALLY by giving them confidence and PHISICALLY by selecting the venues as pre currentand upcomming seires. NEW YEAR TO UU ALL. GR7 DAY AHEAD TADA

  • Bharat on December 30, 2007, 4:14 GMT

    Until they decide to retire, 3,4,5,6 slots should be Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly. 9,10,11, at least on this tour, should be Kumble, Khan, Singh. The rest of the team can be picked according to form and pitch though Jaffer should probably be a permanent opening choice. The second opener should also be a specialist so that Dravid is not "effectively" an opener.

  • ali_a on December 30, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    All I can say is I expected a better performance from India. THey got the ideal wicket - the sort they made against PAK. Except that Pakistan did not bowled aggressively and Aus did. So there is no excuse blaming Dravid. The wicket was ideal for Indian batsmen but they were mentally overcomed by the Aussie bowling.

    Yeah Makul you can point to dysfunctional fast bowler - aka Shoaib Aktar and Pak side - but the fact is that India was beaten by a good intelligent side.

    Lesson of the day: Don't fly too hi in the air after beating Pak as if India was a world no. 1 cricket team. They have just been given a reality check by Aussies.

    All I can is when you have four fast med bowlers like Irfan Pathan, Sreeshnath, Zaheer and RP, why go with just two bowlers?

  • indiasucks on December 30, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    india sucks at cricket. i don't know how the players sleep at night, out of a nation of a billion people we come up with these 12 jokers who every time get slaughtered by australia. when they field they field like women, are they so scared of diving and why are they so freakin lazy? or are the scared of the ball? or haven't their mums given them their parathas? pathetic... a real pathetic bunch. i just want to see a bunch of 12 men who are proud to be there, who play like they mean it because they know who they are playing for. at the moment i've only seen that in tendulkar. the rest are just there to collect their match fees and want to keep doing that. and the selectors, they are just a bunch of politicians. the teams they pick displays their lack and inability to have ever played good cricket or to understand the current game. shameful. i can't beleive indians a nation of a billion people are not good at ANY sports, says a lot about our nation. Only if IT were a sport.

  • Sriram V on December 30, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    Right since the World Cup India has been playing cricket without a break! A Bangladesh tour followed by series against South Africa in Ireland, followed by the long tour against England. Then immediately we had the T20 WC, and then a one day series against Aus and then a odi and test series against Pak!!! Now we land up in Aus, without enough practice games(the only game washed out) and face the mightiest team in present generation!! Even a fully rested and well practiced Indian team will find it daunting to face the current Australian side. Is the Indian board that greedy or is it just plain insanity?!

    Agreed, we are in professional era where all players should be able to play in any conditions, but should they be playing all the time?? The worst thing is players cant even speak against the board - they'll be rapped hard on their knuckles. The situation is atrocious. We can proud of team India even if they manage to draw one test against this side!

  • Vishnu on December 30, 2007, 3:48 GMT

    The fact is Vuvraj did not get a bad decision in the first innings he got a very good & precise one. He clearly hit the ball (as all replays & snicko showed) & the match referee was extremely kind to him in a case of clear & open dissent. What other batsman gets to linger at the wicket staring at the umpire for ten seconds after being dismissed? India have very tough choices ahead in what is already looming as a tour from hell. Good luck

  • Sriram V on December 30, 2007, 3:42 GMT

    Right since the World Cup India has been playing cricket without a break! A Bangladesh tour followed by series against South Africa in Ireland, followed by the long tour against England. Then immediately we had the T20 WC, and then a one day series against Aus and then a odi and test series against Pak!!! Now we land up in Aus, without enough practice games(the only game washed out) and face the mightiest team in present generation!! Even a fully rested and well practiced Indian team will find it daunting to face the current Australian side. Is the Indian board that greedy or is it just plain insanity?!

    Agreed, we are in professional era where all players should be able to play in any conditions, but should they be playing all the time?? The worst thing is players cant even speak against the board - they'll be rapped hard on their knuckles. The situation is atrocious. We can proud of team India even if they manage to draw one test against this side!

  • Anonymous on December 30, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    MK your reactionary dismissal of militant trade unions as "time servers" betrays a callous lack of empathy and human solidarity all too typical of the parasitic layer of new Indian arrivistes and parvenus (who are also increasingly evident at cricket grounds mindlessly chanting "India India"). Of course compared to glamorous, risk-taking, asset-stripping, predatory financial sharks of the kind you identify with, the struggles of public sector workers to preserve their living and working conditions (as well as a public sector at all) must seem very tame and old hat. Just remember, however, that notwithstanding the blather about globalisation and its alleged benefits there are still hundreds of millions of Indians who are not allowed into the cosy club you and your friends belong to and for whom a tangible job, guaranteed terms and conditions of work and the chance to give their dependants a basic education and healthcare in a well funded public sector is what matters.

  • Bhavani on December 30, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    It's pity that dravid is putting career in risk for the sake of yuvraj. Let him play in his one-down position, where he made wonders all the way. Open with zafar and Sehwag. Dravid at first down, Tendulkar, Sourav ganguly, laxman, dhoni to follow. Bowlers - pathan, anil kumble, zaheer khan and RP singh. The other thing is never play defensive in australia. The only way to beat them is by playing aggessively, which we did well in previous toor. And finally pathan is the trump card if he bowls with full pace.

  • C Subramanian on December 30, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    Well. The inclusion /exclusion of Yuvraj is difficult to argue. If you are captain and your team member has scored a century, it is difficult to drop to be fair. Let us get into the real problem. Aussies took singles without ay risk. Indian game plan (Do not blame Dravid. He was carrying out plan) was either defence or offense without sense. India really needed to score only at 2runs/over for most part of innings for a winning position. They started thinking of either 500runs or 180overs right at start of innings. Bad planning? Bad captaincy? Bad coaching? You ask. Answer is always team planning. Ha Ha. Nobody takes blame.

    Well regarding Sehwag may be he should have been tried first up in the practice match. Throwing his stationary legs against swinging Lee / Clarke is foolish. Instead you could select Karthik or Pathan! It is high time Tendulkar helps India in a difficult situation. He is the best bat agreed. But he is not even half of Misbah-ul-Haq as a mental player.

  • TrubbleMaker on December 30, 2007, 3:18 GMT

    Gurch said, "...In 4 years time Aussies will be missing some great talent and coupled with India's past greats gone.. India have a great chance..." _____________________ Er... hang on that's what the rest of the world said when Australia lost McGrath, Warne, Langer & Martin and look at where the Aussies are now... I think you might be dreaming again. [:o)

  • Ashok Bhatia on December 30, 2007, 3:11 GMT

    Man "yeh Bombay hai Mathura nahin" as a Bollywood Hindi song says: this is Australia. Also many umpiring decision went against India

  • R.sankar on December 30, 2007, 3:06 GMT

    Yeah, it wasn't right, pushing Dravid to open. But the real villains are the BCCI for forcing the team to go into the first test match with little or no practice. This is Dhoni's first your of Australia, the toughest place to play cricket and succeed. And he goes straight into the middle with nary a feel for the conditions. Spare a thought for him and the others, folks. I have a feeling the batting will do a lot better in the remaining tests but the bowling will come short.

  • TonyP on December 30, 2007, 3:05 GMT

    Brad Hodge has made 5 appearances for Australia, in which time he averaged 58 & scored a double century. Despite this he was dropped as Clarke & Martyn returned to the team.

    Stuart Law appeared in one test, scored 54 not out & was dropped when Steve Waugh returned from injury.

    Martin Love averages over 46 from 5 tests & was dropped when Damien Martyn returned from injury despite an unbeaten century in the last of those tests.

    What is the moral of the story? If a player wasn't good enough to justify their place in the team before the injury, they're not good enough to keep it once the injury crisis is over, regardless of how they do.

    Messing up the Indian team's entire batting order to accommodate Yuvraj on the basis of one century on a placid pitch against a depleted & dispirited Pakistani attack does not make sense.

  • ivan on December 30, 2007, 2:52 GMT

    Mukul You are proving to be a fair weather friend. Yuvraj needs to be backed to the hilt. He is an amazing talent. He might just score a double hundred in Sydney.

    As for Dravid, don't blame team management, BCCI or anybody else. Dravid needs to assess the situation and play accordingly. Perhaps he wanted to but just couldn't ie the Aussies didn't allow him to. However this isn't the first time this has happened with Dravid, which is worrisome.

    Let's keep the faith though in the team. Maybe Sehwag could come in for Dravid/ Jaffer in Sydney but you can't fault the selectors. The team for Melbourne was the best possible one.

  • Mustafa Fayyaz on December 30, 2007, 2:51 GMT

    I think it was pretty obvious to everyone other then in India, that Yuvi will need a game plan better then lunging on to the front foot and driving on the up all the time against Aussies.

    He made 169 on a dead track, against a3 man attack with a has been or never been spinner. They were free runs, absolutely free. The way Dravid has been handled in the past 5 months is atrocious, he resigned from a winning team to concentrate on batting. Yuvraj is a over confident ass. On small grounds in Odis they are feat feats, but here you need more application, and a game plan. The standard of world bowling is so poor leaving aussies out, that flat trackers like Yuvi and Dhoni are consistent in odi cricket, hence pushing a place in the test side. In early 90s, these fellas would be walking wickets.

    If Drsvid is dropped, then he needs to retire and keep his greatness. He has done enough, more then enough, lets really see how bright the future is with Yuvi and co.

  • Jasbir on December 30, 2007, 2:48 GMT

    India failed cos u think they can beat Aus by one quality bowler or one batsman. Its team game and won by team.Dravid,Yuvi or Bhajji not perform well guess what not a single batsmen or bowler perform good as a team.Kumble bowled well in first inning & thats it.I don,t know who u r mr mukul k,look at aus how they perform and won the match as a team.Ur not a coach and I don't think you have guts to hold a bat in hot sunny day ,u will prefer to sit in ac and stir they sh**.U think Yuvraj does't belong in test cricket and is world class oneday player. look at Andrew Symond,what you think about him?How many duck he got in onedays and test matches to reach here.You got to insert one good player and groom him.Same as done with diamonds.If 1 batsman score 100& rest 4 40each,keeper score 20,4 bowlers score 40 and new batsman score 0 and 25 etc. u have 345 on board thats good enough to draw if u can't win.Moral of story is to give him good go if he can't perform give some one else a chance.

  • Zak on December 30, 2007, 2:45 GMT

    I dont agree with Mukul's views this time. Given recent performance, Dravid has not scored little even while playing in middle-order against South Africa, England or Pakistan( 2 fifties in 9 tests).

    Atleast Yuvi scored a century in last test while Dravid could not even perform in the same test. It is silly to think that Dravid would have done better against Ponting & co if he played at no.3.

    So it was unfair to drop Yuvi at MCG, merely because of Dravid's past exploits . So Kumble was correct in preferring yuvi over Dravid in middle order.

    Dravid has failed for more than a year now.Enough is enough.

    Dravid is truly dispensable these days and he should retire honorably after this series.Dravid has got lot of chances to prove himself for last 1-2 years. Dravid has been a BIG FAILURE...this is the fact ...let us not get carried away by his past exploits.

  • Kish Kumar on December 30, 2007, 2:33 GMT

    This match could have been closer, had Mitchel Johnson been given out(ct bat-pad off Kumble)and if Kumble was not given out when he didn't touch the ball. This would have reduced Australia to 295 allout and increased India to 225 All out. Then, the Australian apporach would have been different in the second innings, least to say the Indian approach in the first innings. There should be something done about the umpiring errors!! Everytime there is a fightback, they kill it. It was Sangakkara who suffered in the SriLankan series when he was fighting back with his near-200. Talking about India's chances, I believe we don't have to change a lot. These guys are pros and they know what to do. It just didn't click this time because of lack of preps. Maybe drop Dravid for Karthik or Sehwag(he might end up getting a Kingpair!!). I saw some comments about South Indian Vs North Indian. Please, don't be stupid. Just don't take criticism as racial. Mukul maybe a sikh. India will win in sydney

  • Abhijit on December 30, 2007, 2:28 GMT

    We Indians should be ashamed of ourselves. Most of the posts above show the extent of regional bias. All the South Indians love to pick on a player from Punjab who has been arguably the best Indian batsman in 2007. They blame Dravid's failure on Yuvraj Singh!! The fact is, Dravid has been a terrible one day player all along, and has been a liability in tests as well. I don't remember any match that Dravid won for India. My dislike of Dravid has nothing to do with where he's from and where I'm from. But what I don't like is people blindly supporting a loser just because of regional bias. No wonder we are such average performers in a team sports where we have no dearth of money and infrastructure. People (including the author), please let go of your biases and stop calling somebody with so many holes in his game, career and personality "the wall".

  • Raghav on December 30, 2007, 2:12 GMT

    You are dead right. We started off the tour with what should've been a 4th or 5th plan. Now Indians are caught and exposed to the very important loophope which by all means a possible 0-4 unless some miracles happen. A team with around 100 runs opening stand in tests is most likely to score near 400 and have chances to save a test. On the other hand if the 1st 2 pages of a book you want to read are pathetic, would you go on reading the entire book? We are bowling with only 2 wicket taking bowlers and 2 to 3 batsman who can score less than 50. TO challange a team like Australia, you need lot of game plan and committment. Not trail & error in the most important series of all. Common man in India is more knowledgeable about team composition than the people who select the team. Atleast he knows & understands the strategy well. You don't need stars or icons to win matches. You need playing 11. - Raghav

  • TonyP on December 30, 2007, 2:00 GMT

    It's unfair on Dravid to make him open in foreign conditions with little opportunity to adjust while he's in something of a slump. Let him bat at 3 or 6 & drop Singh.

    All that being said I see no reason for panic, the Indian attack performed very well & can look forward to a spinning track in Sydney. Nor do I see the justification for the self-congratulatory nonsense in the Australian press. I'm Australian, I like it when Australia wins, but there is an art to grace in victory just as there is to being graceful in defeat.

    India have lost one match, their first real hit out on the tour, and are still trying to settle their batting order. They have twice shown tremendous commitment in the field when it would have been easy to wilt & they deserve some respect for that achievement. Kumble is a bowler, when the team is batting it's time for some of the batsmen to step up & inspire the team.

    The Indian batting line-up have all the talent in the world, they must now show some character.

  • paddo on December 30, 2007, 1:36 GMT

    what a shocker want to actually get worried about losing a test looks like Pontings going get another record. I hate to think of pantsing the indians will get get at the WACA its back to bouncy best please india do something in sydney...

  • desifan on December 30, 2007, 1:32 GMT

    I only partially agree with Mukul. Yuvraj can't be blamed for the whole debacle, just as much as bringing Sehwag or Dravid batting 3 down will not magically solve all of India's problems. Dravid has been out of form for more than a year now and should have never been chosen for this tour. Giving younger players like Yuvraj Singh is the only way to go forward for Indian cricket. Hanging on to the past glories of the older crew not only ensures that we don't win the present match, but also prevents younger talent from getting chances to play quality international teams. Think of the guys like S. Badrinath who just wait and get old without ever getting a chance to play, while guys like RD will keep getting picked even if they haven't played a decent innings in a long time. It is precisely this sort of mentality that always plagued Indian cricket. It is disappointing to see "experts" like Mukul preach the same philosophy. Give the young guys a chance!

  • Indyman on December 30, 2007, 1:20 GMT

    As an australian of indian descent, may I make a few observations:

    1. Make Shift openers never work against the best. In the 80's Australia changed their opening line ups many times and the Windies ate them up. I am not sure that Sehwag is the answer either.I like Kartik and Jaffer as a long term opening pair and faith must be shown, over an extended period of time.

    2. Where the hell was the Kartik, the spinner who has a great record against australia? Harbajan is a shadow of his former self and right handed off spinners have always struggled in OZ.

    3. You have to persist with Yourav as our middel order is ageing (rapidly) and if all of them retire together, it could take up to 2 years to rebuild a middle order. Yuvraj is a class player and needs time to learn his craft. He is like Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh was a higly attacking player in his early years but the Aussie selectors stayed with him, partly becuase of his ODI form and partly becuase of his long term potential.

  • Phil Hardy on December 30, 2007, 1:06 GMT

    As an Aussie, I love everything about Indian cricketers and supporters. You have such passion and love for the finer qualities of the game. I love this site and the considered opinions - unlike the ego rubbish on our sites. Your article and the above comments highlight this. It is therefore imperative that India don't try to straight copy Australia's system - merely take that which will work for them and have a man management, creative coach / manager who can make it work for you. I love Ian Chappell but disagree with his comments on coaching. The coach must remain objective and maintains the mental strength when going through rough patches. As for this series, you must include Sehwag and have Dravid at 6 and retain Yuvraj (what he needs is good man management) and then you threaten us to the max. The thing we would most hate would be for India to get an even partly competent BCCI. This is where the gap is and God help us and the other nations if India ever get this even partly right!

  • prash on December 30, 2007, 1:00 GMT

    Lot of interesting comments. In my opinion, India are better off opening with Sehwag and jaffer. sehwag is worth the risk and he's got a very good recorded in australia, as well as not being scared to go after the bowlers. As for dravid...i watched him bat in the first and second innings and never seen such listlessness before. All the boundaries, if any he hit were edges and he was almost out many times. he clearly shouldn't be opening. If they want to persist with him, put him further down the order. Yuvraj is a very good player but i'm not convinced of his test status. Reminds me too much of michael beven, good for limited overs but not tests.

    on the indian bowling front, why play two spinners? i say if sehwag plays he can supprt kumble. Harb sing is good for getting ponting out tho. they should ditch rp singh and bring in pathan or ishant sharma.

  • Anupam on December 30, 2007, 0:59 GMT

    Bring in Sehwag/Karthik and Pathan into the side. Dravid has done enough for indian cricket to be in a position to know what is good for him and the team.If he thinks, that he is uncomfortable opening the innings then one should respect the decision and give him his own no.3 position. In that case we can open the innings with sehwag/Karthik and Pathan, it will give us a right and left hand batting combination at the top to break the rythm of lee and co. Yuvraj should be given a long run as he could be the mainstay of our batting line up in next couple of years as the big four retires. Pathan should be brought in at the expense of Harbhajan. Ishant should be given a chance as R.P.Singh was inaffective except first 30 min on day1. I doubt india will make so many changes because of 1 bad game. We cannot match the aussies in skills but we should try and outthink them so they are forced to play below their potential. Good luck India in SCG.

  • Taran Rekhi on December 30, 2007, 0:56 GMT

    It's follish to say that it was all Dravid's fault, though it seems so coz he did nt give us a decent start. Two questions to be asked: From BCCI as to why did they give precedence to Pakistan tour over warm up games in Australia, that also out of schedule; Answer : To earn money- corrupt bastards!!!. Second question - Why do they blackmail Dravid by saying either open or we do not have place for you. This is the treatment you give to the greatest servant of Indian cricket? I rate DRavid higher than all the other morons in the team; and I mean all. I also agree that we do not have a place for a specialist second spinner in Harbhajan. Use Yuvraj/Sehwag and pick a 3rd seamer for Australia. We are not playing on dust tracks of subcontinent, for God sake. In the end,I THINK WE ARE ALL WASTING TIME WATCHING AND WRITING COMMENTS. BCCI AND PLAYERS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND WHATS NEEDS TO BE DONE; IT'S THIER JOB, THEY DONT HAVE THE PREFERENCE TO WIN;THEY JUST WANT 2 PLAY AS MANY 2 EARN $$$$

  • sameer kaul on December 30, 2007, 0:54 GMT

    don`t agree with u at all on this one mukul.Calling Yuvraj `just a one day player` and saying `he needs to be axed ` from the team is just a knee jerk reaction thats all.It was a column which was filled with comments u hear when laymen discuss the sport ,very unlike a sports column writer.The batting on the whole was disappointing because it lacked positive intent starting from the top of the order with Dravid who is sadly in poor form.As for Mr Ultimator claiming that `Tendulkar is just the most capped player thats it and has records of mid 20`s in aus,sa ,nz` he really doesn`t know what he is talking about.I am surprised that the editors let such baseless comments pass through regarding a batsmen who has a near 50 avg in australia itself! What the indian team needs is a positive mindset in their batting,i still don`t feel that this australian attack is even near the attack the english team faced last summer and lacks experience.Its upto the batsmen now to perform..

  • Pat on December 30, 2007, 0:49 GMT

    Very good analysis Mukul!! Given Dravid's current form we should drop him and bring Sehwag IN. I feel that Yuvraj needs to be encouraged to play his natural game and be given a fair shake before we judge him. I hope that the new Indian captain Kumble will show some courage that he is capable of and make some tough calls.

  • Senthil Kumaran on December 30, 2007, 0:47 GMT

    India doesn't know how to treat their heroes they either do too much hero workship or they do things like they are doing to dravid.

    India needs to know when they have to pat their heroes on their back and encourage them. Dravid was going through a bad patch and everyone goes through them any one cares to remember tendulkar's series of ducks in his past?

    Dropping him from team after he gave up captaincy asking him to open when he is not in great form. Dravid is the key in the past and will be the key if india is to win a series in foreign soil. India have started winning the series outside indian soil and they will never win a series for another 20-30 years if they keep treating people like vermin.

    Dravid deserves better than this.

  • Subid Das on December 30, 2007, 0:33 GMT

    Mukul, your assessment is meaningful as far as Dravid's elevation to the opening spot is concerned. He has been India's most solid middle order bat but unfortunately going through an uncharacteristic and rather extended lean patch. He has perhaps never been through one such before and to select that very moment to ask him to open, and that too against Australia, is rather very silly. However, your other point about Yuvraj not being eligible for a test place is equally devoid of logic. For quite a while now he has been playing wonderfully in the limited overs version of the game, and in tests whenever he has had the opportunity. If pitches are flat in our country that is not his fault, nor should it be a reason for denying him a place. He also happens to be our best fielder. Like Sehwag, whenever Yuvraj succeeds with the bat, quite frequently so in the recent past, India goes on to win. Trashing our best prospect, based on one failure, with an ageing middle order, is rather silly

  • The Dude on December 30, 2007, 0:11 GMT

    I think they should persist with Yuvraj as he will be an integral part of India's line up in years to come both in tests and limited overs. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman are all in their mid 30's and their days are numbered. Dravid is a great player but has been going through a very bad patch over the past 6 months or so. His 2 innings were painful to watch. He came out with the wrong mind set, i.e. just to occupy the crease. He didn't even seem to be making an effort to score runs. As a result India's run rate for most of the match was under 1.5 and over, while Australia were cruising at 3 runs an over just by playing good aggressive cricket. Dravid really did set the tone for the rest of India's batting performance, and if anybody should be singled out it is him. Look at his strike rate (7.5 and 14).

    I think drop Dravid and bring Sehwag back. Keep Yuvraj as I'd prefer India to go out fighting, playing aggressively, rather than that limp performance we just witnessed

  • Bharath on December 29, 2007, 23:53 GMT

    Opinions. Mukul has one, so here is mine.

    The best 15 are in Oz, alnog with a couple of stragglers.Anyone else left home doesnt have the promise or the performance.

    Yuvraj is 26 yrs old - has 10 years of cricket left in him. India needs him in the test side. He can counter swing and bounce, knows how to build an innings. Other than Sachin and Dhoni, no one else can put away good balls for a four. He is absolutely motivated to be in the test side. An average of 34 is not to be scoffed at in tests. India is not Australia to afford a specialist like Bevan.

    India had no preparation going into the tests. One rained out game?? The bit about watching videos seemed like bravado. Australia play 100% percent cricket. No chances let go, bowling, batting or fielding.

    Mukul - its easy to deify Ponting's handling of Hogg. Hogg was ineffective till India were 5-6 down in the first innings. He was being carted around.It is only the pressure created by the others that made him look great.

  • ONESIDED_CRICKET on December 29, 2007, 23:51 GMT

    Yes Mukul very well said but i think considering Yuvraj only a 1day player is not a justice done to a player of his class. I think he will be useful at Brisbane and Perth for sure, if he is persisted that long.

    I too feel that recently cricket has lost its lusture and interest mainly due to all other teams other than Australia bcoz nobody seems to be in race with them. It is said India are the most close and now it feels if they are close where are all other supposed to be???!!!

    One Recommendation for improving Indian cricket along with its Administration: Let the Indian team stay in Australia learn from them and play them every month to get a feedback of their progress. i.e make them play only with Australia in Australia as all others are just the same including Bangladesh.

    Anyway, we will be back and score heavily with other teams at home and keep living with our pseudo belief that we are the 2nd best!

    Next time somene says me v r the 2nd best and i will say just F O!

  • Adam on December 29, 2007, 23:38 GMT

    After going to the game on day 3, I came away wondering how India will win any games this summer. The look unfit in the field, slow and not many of them can't throw the ball a decent distance. There was no energy out there and Australia did as they pleased. When the Aussies fielded you could see a team that was two levels above India in professionalism. The Indian running between wickets was appalling as well. India may do well at T20 when you can slog the ball on a small ground but test match cricket in Australia on large grounds soon shows who the good sides are. Lucky for India, Sydney's ground is quite small so there may be a chance for them to come back into it.

  • rony on December 29, 2007, 23:33 GMT

    Yuvraj is a good batsman but hasn't proved himself against quality opposition. And fact that India has such good middle order, he has not got the enough chances as well. But its also true that the way he played in the last test, he has not done any favor to him also. And its going to a level of irritation the way he stays at the pitch staring at the umpires after getting out. I remember he did that in last series against Pakistan as well. He is a professional cricketer and should act like that. I'm sure his time will come but to me he is not there yet to face the mighty Australians.

    On lineup for the next test, I think India should give Shewag a go. Dravid at 6, 3 or 4. Not sure about Jaffer though. But I don't think India has any option in opening. May be Yuvraj can play in place of him, but not too sure about that also. I think Pathan could have played in place of Bhajji in last test, but as Sydney being a spin pitch, I think he will keep his place. And Dhoni needs to play better.

  • Dave on December 29, 2007, 23:33 GMT

    My assessment of the Indiand team after T1 shows India's problems go far deeper than Dravid/Yujrav:

    W Jaffer - nowhere near as good as the indians seem to think he is. All his weaknesses were exposed and will be exploited R Dravid - finished as a force at this level. He is psychologically damaged VVS Laxman - afraid of fast bowling. he will be totrured and emnarassed from here on in SR Tendulkar - a great batsman, but in decline. SC Ganguly - plays only for himself and not the team. Clealrly in conflict w/Kumble Yuvraj Singh - not good enough and shown to be, Would not make a state team here in Australia MS Dhoni - a joke. Worthless. A Kumble - a heroic effort but a weak and incapable captian. Australia always destroys the cpatin first. He has no answers and his team disrespects him. Harbhajan Singh - pointless Z Khan - a oncve great bowler but a shadow of himself RP Singh - wouldn't make Sri Lanka's side. A joke

    This should be a long, humiliating summer.

  • Venu on December 29, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    Drop Dhoni and include Karthik. Everything falls into place.

  • Anand Vishwamitran on December 29, 2007, 23:30 GMT

    5 Indian men stand out for sheer incompetence of performance in the 1st Test - Dravid, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Harbhajan, RP.

    Surely one of them must be dropped if we are serious about winning. There is a case to be made for retaining the 1st three men: Dravid has experience whereas the other two arguably represent the future of Indian cricket. That leaves Harbhajan and RP to face the axe.

    Sehwag has to be drafted in. It doesn't matter that his selection is a gamble, because that's the point. If the gamble pays off, it pays off big. Sehwag intimidates the Aussies, end of story.

    RP has to make way for somebody with more fire in their belly than Pathan. Perhaps Pankaj Singh or Ishant Sharma, whoever's bowling better in the nets currently.

    The last conundrum is where to play Dravid. He was played at #6 the last time he had similar cobwebs in his brain (at Calcutta in *that* Test) and the rest is history.

    Jaffer Sehwag Laxman Tendulkar Ganguly Dravid Yuvraj Dhoni Kumble Zaheer Ishant

  • Firoz Jokhi on December 29, 2007, 23:23 GMT

    Couldn't have put things in better perspective than this. Very well written.

    To be honest, I wouldn't want Yuvi or Sehwag in our Test team. The way Dhoni plays his I-am-aggressive-and-I-will-play-the-same-even-if-my-team-needs-me-to-play-long cricket, I would kick him out too...just to get his head straight.

    Yes, we do need aggression, but not if players like Yuvi, Dhoni, Sehwag show aggression even when their last 10 scores have been less than 50s!!

  • Sandeep on December 29, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    I cant disagree that the entire batting order was changed to accommodate Yuvraj Singh. It's sad that the best batsman since Tendulkar was made the scapegoat and made to open the order, even though he is not in the best form of his life. It seems like we have come full circle with the selection team's tactics. Coming to Yuvraj, he is not the best starter in any form of cricket. When he comes to the crease he is usually pretty uncertain with his footwork and shot selection. But he is very good player once he gets going. He probably has the potential to be a good test batsman, only time has the answer. It's disappointing that batting form in ODI has been looked at as a benchmark to test match selection. In the past, its been the other way around. Great test players became the best one-day batsmen of their times- Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Hayden, Ponting- are the best examples. I personally think we wont see any great talents in test cricket coming from India unless the 'bosses' wake up.

  • J on December 29, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    Sehwag has done nothing to earn a recall. Hoggard troubled him with short pitched bowling at 78 mph, what do you thinks going to happen when he has Lee and Johnson to contend with. Although if he does play ill place my bets on him ramping a short of a length delivery to the keeper or first slip. If Karthik wasnt in such poor form as well I would have loved to seem him play as opposed to Jaffer who like Dravid must have come to Australia and picked up an allergy to batting positively.

  • Koustubh on December 29, 2007, 23:16 GMT

    I agree with you regarding Yuvraj but another important point to notice is how we lost quick wickets in both the innings after the fall of the 4th wicket. This was because of having 2 attack minded but technically poor players, Yuvi and Dhoni coming one after another. I feel Sehwag should open and Karthik should play as the keeper who would be a better batsmen at No. 7 and one with similar keeping abilities. We need to have a balance of attacking and defensive players and this is where I disagree with you. Dravid should come at No. 3 We would need him to complement Sehwag. The batting order should be Sehwag, Jaffer, Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly, Laxman, Karthik followed by the bowlers. I would prefer Pathan to Bhajji for the Perth and Adelaide matches. Also, it would have been so good to have a right hand-left hand combination at the top to unsettle Lee n Co..to whatever extent that might be! One wonders why isn't Gambhir being sent there given that he is playing for Delhi right now!

  • coolguy100 on December 29, 2007, 23:15 GMT

    Every one is opting for Sehwag to open.BUT he is not in good form either.The situation is similar to Dravid.Dravid may not have failed because he was asked to open, he would have probably failed even otherwise as he is not in a good form.If now Dravid is different from what he was when India was touring Australia in 2004, it is because of lack of form.So the same thing would apply to Sehwag.Please don't have high hopes on him as an opener.He would definitely be a better option than Dravid but form wise both are at the same level.So come third test, we will be facing the same questions.Who should open with jaffar?

  • Prajwol on December 29, 2007, 23:11 GMT

    Team selection has a lot to say about the loss. Just look at the Aussie team, they hardly change positions and there is always a specialist opener in the opening slot and the mid order batsman dont open... Cricket is not just a technical game but a psychological game as well. If you love a certain postion and have performed well in that position, then you dont want to be changed. Yuvaraj is a quality batsman and whether he belongs to the test arena or not is yet to be seen as he rarely gets his chance. He should open if he has to play or get Sehwag in and for God's sake put Dravid in his usual position. For anyone who thinks Dravid should be dropped should better have their IQ checked and if it is way below the lowest digit then please dont put a comment on...its embarrassing. Also dont forget, Aussie have overplayed them with their quality attack. Indians have the talent, its now time to justify it and be more responsible when selecting their shots.

  • Neil on December 29, 2007, 23:03 GMT

    As usual an opposition side has arrived in Australia just looking to "compete" with Australia. England had no need to arrive in Australia with that mindset having clearly outpointed Australia in Ashes '05. Sri Lanka had everything to gain and nothing to lose in the recently completed 2 test series. Now India, which to me, having almost beaten Australia 3 years ago have arrived with that same attitude of "lets just see how we go this time". Ask Ian Chappell for his opinion. There is only one way to beat this Australian team. All out aggression, and tell Harbhajan I don't mean verbal. Ashes'05 proved it could be done. The fact is this test was lost in the first session. I could not beieve my eyes. Zaheer and R.P.Singh bowled beautifully but Kumble set 2 slips and 2 gullies. A full cordon would have seen Australia 3 or 4 down at lunch. Don't drop Yuvraj. Drop Jaffer. Open with Yuvraj and Sehwag and tell them to pretend they're playing 20-20. Dravid number six. Lose trying or just lose.

  • Jimmy Thomas on December 29, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    I totally disagree with the author here. It really seems like, he has some bias against Yuvraj Singh. For me, Yuvraj singh is one of the most talented batsmen in the world. Its a pity that he has not been given a proper run in tests. I still remember his two innings' in pakistan on green tops, against good bowling attacks,when rest of the batting failed. See you can make out a player is good or not even if you bat for even 5 overs, the class, the talent. and yuvraj is a combination of pure talent, class and style. the indian selectors have made big mistake in not playing him consistantly in tests before, hope they do not repeat the mistakes again. Give him a proper run. I personally feel that he should play in the middle order, but in the present instance, with india 0-1 down, and with a threat of going down tamely in the series,3-0 or 4-0, we have to take the risk of playing both sehwag and yuvraj as openers. its a big risk, but worth taking, with nothing to loose, hoping it clicks

  • crickfan on December 29, 2007, 23:00 GMT

    Is there a doubt that Dravid is going through a lean patch? He should follow the example he set by chuking Sourabh out of the team colluding with Greg Chappell. Once he starts scoring in the domestic circuit, he should be back in the team in a justified manner. Regarding Yuvraj, he may not be the best Test batsman India has now, but it seems that some are suggesting to have completely different teams for Tests, ODIs and T20 matches. I think India is a bit short in talent to groom 45 international cricketers at the same time. Be sensible. Some anonymous blogger had mentioned about Sourabh's innings were not for the team but for himself .... God - can somebody suggest a good eye specialist for him please (and possible a psychiatrist as well)!!!

  • S. Anand on December 29, 2007, 22:59 GMT

    The golden rule is "don't fix it if it ain't broken". The selectors should have stuck with Karthik and Jaffer; they play well in tandem. There was no need to slot Yuvraj in the team based on his scores against a depleted Pakistan attack. The populist mindset of the selectors is to be abhorred. Yuvraj MUST wait his turn. And if you wanted to take Sehwag to Australia despite him not being in the 24 probables, why the hell don't you play him?

    The worst thing is that the Aussies have not just affected the way we play in the middle, they have almost ensured that we don't know what to do next - either in the team or in terms of strategy. Talk of being on the backfoot.

  • Aussie33 on December 29, 2007, 22:57 GMT

    Hey mates listen up, I live in Australia and I had the great pleasure of watching my team obliterate India at the MCG at the midwicket/cover boundary. From where I was sitting the ball wasn't doing much but the wicket was wearing off on Day 4. The quicks were bowling as so well and at a good pace that even players like the class of tendulkar or dravid were getting scared. The only batsman who looked solid there was Ganguly and in the first innings Tendulkar. We were immedietely on our back foot as soon as Tendulkar was attacking w/ full force in the first indian batting innings and Sourav was just middling everything. If you guys really stand a chance against us, then I would go w/ Mukul's idea. I was also there at the MCG in 2003 watching Sehwag rip us to bits. If you stand any chance, I would include that guy as an opening option. Plus, torture was better than watching a hopeless Rahul Dravid make one run off every 40 balls. Come on guys, give us a fight.

  • Nikhil Sahai on December 29, 2007, 22:53 GMT

    Dear Mukul,

    Your article is good. Living in Sydney ever since I was 11, and playing for the local club for the past 9 years, I couldnt agree with you more that Rahul Dravid should not be opener but rather bat in the mid order. However, having stated this, I do not see any other batsman in India who has the technical capability to survive an opening spell from Lee & Johnson. Its a given that Dravid hasnt been scoring runs at the top and being the team player he is, has AGREED to open. So taking this point into consideration, I KNOW and most Australian friends of mine KNOW that the runs that India has so far managed to score in the mid order has been mainly due to Dravid playing out the new ball. If he hadn't stayed for 66/114 balls, India would not have scored even those runs that the mid order scored since they wuld hve been exposed to the new ball.

    Think? Why Sachin or Sourav not AGREE TO OPEN. They KNOW they cant handle the new ball.They know the importance of Dravid.

  • coolguy100 on December 29, 2007, 22:50 GMT

    Why is Dravid always made a sacrificial lamb.He kept the wickets in one dayers.He opened in test cricket.Tendulkar and Ganguly have opened in one dayers, then why could not they be asked to open in test cricket? Almost entire nation even children who were interested in cricket knew that Dravid does not fit into an opener role in Australia.HOW COME THE SELECTORS AND THE TEAM MANAGEMENT DID NOT THINK ABOUT THIS??

  • Haydos1 on December 29, 2007, 22:45 GMT

    Rohit, You are a clown. Why don't you pay attention to the facts before you show your ignorance and slag off a whole nation. The poster "Victor Trumper" is an Indian. You just exposed yourself as guilty of everything you claimed the aussies are. Get a life.

  • ozkiller on December 29, 2007, 22:39 GMT

    I don't understand why everyone is after Dravid. What did Jaffer do as a specialist opener? Got out much before Dravid. Dravid, to his credit, at least tried to wear down the fast bowlers. Test cricket is about playing out sessions after sessions, like what Dravid did when he was down under. It's not about playing a quick 40's and 60's and getting out. You must play long to wear down the bowlers in a long 4-test series. Get those bowlers dehydrated, tired and injured. Bret Lee's and Stuart Clark's won't be bowling in the second test if you had played an innings for two consecutive days in 38 degree temperature. People always mention Dhoni's, Yuvaraj's, Gambhir's and Utthappa's make a great future for Indian cricket. If they survive 40 overs of test cricket, it will be considered a great achievement.

  • neutral on December 29, 2007, 22:37 GMT

    No doubt the 4 were great batsmen but i think except for Tendulkar their time has come to retire.People like Rohit Sharma,Uthappa,Karthik have won many odi's for India and they should be tried in test cricket too.They bring a positive attitude to the team and they give the team a youthful, positive and daring outlook.Except for Tendulkar the other three play for their places in the team rather than for the team.Ganguly has staged a comeback of sorts in test cricket and its a good time for him to retire gracefully.Dravid seems to have lost interest in cricket, he is clearly not enjoying his cricket.Laxman has been scoring but he has no attitude about him his body language lacks intensity.Only Tendulkar belongs, as he is positive while batting and in the field.Bring in the youngsters they'll rotate the strike run hard show enthusiasm and bring a positive vibe in the field.They might not average 50+ in test cricket but they'll surely improve the teams performance as a whole.

  • vidyananth on December 29, 2007, 22:31 GMT

    I don't see india winning a test without a big contribution from dravid or laxman. If there are 2 players who can play long innings in this indian lineup, it is dravid and laxman. The MCG test loss should be attributed to the entire batting lineup. I don't understand why everybody just blame dravid when the whole lineup had suffered. I agree he gave the momentum a bit in the 1st innings but he saw off the new ball in the both the innings. He is definitely close to one big score which i see it coming very soon.

  • Victor Trumpet on December 29, 2007, 22:31 GMT

    Here's a theory as to why a country of over a billion cricket fanatics can't beat a country of 20 million.

    In India wherever you go, everyone is a cricket pundit and all the kids play on the streets and many are the men who play too.

    In Australia the same proportion of kids play the game, but a smaller percentage of men play.

    Herein lies the problem - in India too many average players continue to play into adulthood, diluting the playing standard resulting in an overall lower calibre of player.

    In Australia, if they're no good they stop playing and only the quality players are left.

    The kids that play in Australia are also hard mouthed little buggers like Ricky Ponting. It's a more aggressive prevailing mentality and by the time they're adults - they're tough and clinical with only a thin veneer of warmth & mateship.

    I've been called a racist but I DO think Aussies ARE meaner people. When the Indians imitate this, they end up looking silly & childish like Sreesanth.

  • karun on December 29, 2007, 22:31 GMT

    Kesavan's recent posts have been about how the rest of the world has been waiting with bated breath for the India-Australia series. The empty crowds at this Test match shows that even the Australians aren't interested. Only we Indians seem to be crazy about this pathetic sport.

  • Jon on December 29, 2007, 22:31 GMT

    Bad defeat for India, though I'm sure they'll recover. They nearly lost the Lord's Test earlier this year, because of a similar batting collapse but bounced back by winning the very next Test at Nottingham. Dravid is a class player. I am sure his form will improve during the tour, but only if he stops his defensive sort of batting.

  • karan on December 29, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    dont open ur ugly mouth against our brother ur gonan get fuked!!!!!!!!!1

  • chapo on December 29, 2007, 22:29 GMT

    Interesting that in yhis whole post mortem there is not one word about the captaincy of Kumble. Granted he's the new boy but it wasn't a great test - little initial visible support for his seamers, odd field placings and generally timid cricket. And to publicly state that his batsmen will bat where they are told - not smart.

  • vidyananth on December 29, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    Dropping Dravid will be absolutely ridiculous. It would be biggest mistake that india can make and i am pretty sure they wont be doing that. Bring sehwag into the opening slot and have dravid bat at no 3 or no 6 .

  • Sanjay Prakash on December 29, 2007, 22:18 GMT

    Ever since Dravid resigned from the captaincy, his cricket has suffered from bad to worse. Seems like he just doesn't want to be out in the middle. Time away from the nets will be a good start. The desire has to return and then so will performance.

    Australia have continued as they always do. Comments by other cricketing pundits before the test series began that the loss of McGrath and Warne retiring and leaving a gaping hole in the bowling has only inspired the bowlers and the team even more not that they needed any inspiration. It would be best to stay away from needling the aussies.

  • raveesha rathore on December 29, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    i guess dont go so hard on dravid...he did his job for what he was sent for to not to loose wickets early with the new ball which no other batsman can do better than dravid...he didn't score really too much but his first plan was to make the ball old and then to go for his shots..he is known for his defence not for aggression

  • raveesha rathore on December 29, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    i guess dont go so hard on dravid...he did his job for what he was sent for to not to loose wickets early with the new ball which no other batsman can do better than dravid...he didn't score really too much but his first plan was to make the ball old and then to go for his shorts..he is known for his defence not for aggression

  • S. Sen on December 29, 2007, 22:07 GMT

    Another thought: Dhoni's place in the Test squad should be re-assessed. There are, conceivably, other Indian wicketkeepers who are better batsmen in the 5-day game. Parthiv Patel is a far better 'keeper today than he used to be, and a better batsman too, and what's more, he can open. So can Dinesh Kartik. Even Deep Dasgupta warrants a second look. A wicketkeeper who can open the batting and make 40 runs would free up an invaluable slot lower down the order for a fifth bowler - ideally, an all-rounder like Irfan Pathan. Dhoni's "anointment" as the future captain should not make him a permanent fixture at this stage, or any stage for that matter.

  • jaspreet on December 29, 2007, 22:04 GMT

    I just got off phone with Prez. Bush. I explained to him how Aus cricket team has terrorized Team India. He asked me directly if that was terrorist activity. I responded yes. He consulted with someone (sounded like cheney), then he asked if Team India was with the terrorists or against them? (In light of what I just told him, I was impressed with his astuteness). Quickly Realizing it wasn't trick question, I said 'probably against'.

    He consulted with cheney again and said. "Aus circket team is a terrorist. We will neither falter nor fail. Our resolve shall not tire, ever. After all, dammit we spent 1000 years bulding a wall."

    A burden was lifted. Now, if I could only resolve Dravid vs Yuvraj, which is responsible for rarerest of rare defeats in oz.

    [oh please keep this on the downlow. I have a hunch Mr. Bush thought he was talking with Manmohan Singh] signed, Jaspreet Singh

    PS. If I was indian team I'd duck. I am just saying .. You know- last time he got the 'wrong one'

  • Victor Trumpet on December 29, 2007, 22:03 GMT

    Every expert poster here must love Oscar Wilde - talk about the importance of being earnest.

    Truth is the Indian players aren't fit enough to compete with Australia. They seem slow and tired. Perhaps a more balanced effort in the gym is needed - more cardiovascular work and less gulab jamun.

    The way the Aussies run btw the wicket and across the field - they are athletes. Matt Hayden looks like he should be a nightclub bouncer, yet he runs like a 20 yr old.

    India seems to have the misapprehension that cricket is a gentleman's game - display remarkable hand/eye coordination as a youth, get in the team and then stop working.

    In India the fit people are the villagers who work 12 hrs in the field every day and only eat sweets on special occassions. The Indian middle class are all soft and flabby - harking back to the erroneous mentality that fat equals rich.

    The Indian cricket team is a case in point - they are all middle class and can't work 6 hrs in the field.

  • Raj on December 29, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    Too harsh on Yuvraj. If you look deep into SG's test records you will find that he has done very well against certain countries and failed against countries like Australia, SA, WI and Pak (all have good pace attack). His recent big scores in India were all on flat-tracks where the balls were coming in slow motion. Why can’t make such big centuries in SA and England??

    Until recently SG's batting record against these countries were close to 30. Will you write in a similar fashion against your favorite Ganguly? I have never seen you make a case highlighting such facts. You pick on yuvraj. These days international cricket is such that success is not instantaneous except if you are Hussey. It takes a while for the players to settle in. You ought to give players an extended run.

    Ganguly is batting at his best. On form, he is probably our best batsman. To me it does not make sense to play our best batsman at #5. Why not you make a case for him to open or bat #3? RU Trying to Protect SG?

  • S. Sen on December 29, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    How ironic that the bowlers performed respectably and the batsmen were pathetic, and that too on a slow wicket in hot weather against a modest attack. This was hardly akin to facing Lillee in Perth, or dealing with Botham on a cold English morning. At Sydney, it will be essential to play Sehwag and drop Yuvraj. There is no space for Yuvraj in the team at this moment. Dada should bat at # 3 or # 4, with Dravid at # 5 or # 6. If Dravid fails in both Sydney and Perth, then he should be dropped for Adelaide and Kartik should play. At the end of the series, Dada and SRT should both retire immediately, and perhaps Dravid too. The replacements will sink or swim, but at least there will be no more "fabulous batting line-up" nonsense.

  • Anonymous on December 29, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    Too harsh on Yuvraj. If you look deep into SG's test records you will find that he has done very well against certain countries and failed against countries like Australia, SA, WI and Pak (all have good pace attack). His recent big scores in India were all on flat-tracks where the balls were coming in slow motion. Why can’t make such big centuries in SA and England??

    Until recently SG's batting record against these countries were close to 30. Will you write in a similar fashion against your favorite Ganguly? I have never seen you make a case highlighting such facts. You pick on yuvraj. These days international cricket is such that success is not instantaneous except if you are Hussey. It takes a while for the players to settle in. You ought to give players an extended run.

    Ganguly is batting at his best. On form, he is probably our best batsman. To me it does not make sense to play our best batsman at #5. Why not you make a case for him to open or bat #3? RU Trying to Protect SG?

  • siva kumaran on December 29, 2007, 21:51 GMT

    Great article Kesavan. I don't know about statistics, & I don't want to know about statistics - but over the psat 10 years, whenever India desperately needed someone to stay or score runs, it was Rahul Dravid who delivered, & nobody else. There were flashes of brilliance for a series or two from some players, for eg,. Tendulkar in the 2003 world cup, & one sharjah tournament where he actually managed to score when we were chasing ------ but overall I like having Sachin in the eleven, & Yuvraj, though he was an idiot in the first test, should still be persisted. Another problem I have is why Dhoni's place in a test should be taken for granted - he's got no good technique, & except for one good test in England this summer, he's not done well on foreign ground, especially when it mattered - & I think the Australian bowlers will be too good for him this series. Karthik looked solid abroad, & I don't see why he can't open the innings.

  • Indian in Oz on December 29, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    Mr Kesavan, You should probably replace Yuvraj in the middle order and then we can be guaranteed of 500+ scores in every innings thanks to your plundering of the Aussie pacers.

    Critics - I hate them. They have no clue about playing conditions and profess themselves as experts. It takes atleast a month before a cricketer can acclaimatise to conditions in Oz. The Indians shoudl have had atleast 3 practice games on the bouncy wickets.

  • CricketFan on December 29, 2007, 21:26 GMT

    Drop Dravid, Yuvraj. Bring in Shewag & Pathan. That would serve a lot better combination. Dravid in his current form needs to go back to the basics of playing some domestic cricket. As for Yuvraj, he is too good of a player for shorter version of game and should not lose focus with test cricket, which is not of his playing style. Yuvraj, with his away from body technique of playing can never be a test player except for a few sparks here and there. I feel karthik should be given another chance, as he had played well in international venues than Jaffer.

  • Madhu on December 29, 2007, 21:24 GMT

    Absolute rubbish cricket! I have been a great fan of Dravid (ever defending his 'consolidator' role many a times in the past years) but spmehow fail to explain his MCG performance. What was he trying to do (as indeed Jaffer) by scoring at about a run per over for the first 20 overs or so in the first innings? Was India trying to SAVE the test from the second day onwards? Tendulkar & Harbhajan boastfully gave statements that even 400 is chasable. What a shameful performance it was in the second innings.... As for Yuvraj, he should be in the team only if he opens. On the previous performance, even Pathan should be in the team since he scored a century and can also be asked to open. Sehwag not being in the team is a big joke...

    FOR HEAVENS SAKE, understand that runs are needed in test cricket to WIN. There are no winners by just BLOCKING.

  • Sifter on December 29, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    The thing about Yuvraj's body language was good observations, but I noticed that it wasn't just during his dismissals he 'looked' bad. It was in the field too. We heard a lot in Australia how Yuvraj was India's best ground fielder - and then we see him fielding at short leg??? Why I'll never know. It seems India is a good catching team, so surely someone other than Yuvraj could field there. But when he was out in the covers/point he seemed slack in cutting off signals and sluggish when chasing balls into the outfield. To me it seemed like he didn't want to be there at all.

  • skumar on December 29, 2007, 21:13 GMT

    You talk about pathetic Indian batting, thats fine. Please give credit to Australian disceplined bowling. Indians need specialist opening batsmen. Yuvi should be in 11. Dravid should be droipped bcos he is mentally not in test cricket. He has lost motivation. Bajji should be dropped Ishant or pathan should be included. Viru should be included. Australians won with only one specialist spinner at MCG. Dravid plays negative cricket, he should be sent back to domestic cricket or he himself should retire. You need aggressiveness (not talking) to beat world champions

  • Saab on December 29, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    I agree with the mukul, body language and the commitment in the field was not up to the mark apart from kumble, sachin and mainly Dada. These three has shown good commitment. Mind you it is not an easy task for any player to play in MCG. Experience kicks in here, and these three capitalize. In a way the game plan for sending Dravid is to take the shine of the ball, so that other batsmen get going. But unfortunately, we are dealing with Ricky Pointing. We have a good contest here. Our players need a good mind set and show some commitment. We cannot say drop him or pick him, Keep faith on Kumble. I thought we need sehwag as an opener but there is 90% chance of his failure, at least dravid took the shine of the ball. One thing we need to remember is we are dealing with australia, you have to see them in stadium to notice the difference between two teams on the field, I am not talking about feilding tactics but the support to the teammates. They back each other, and disiplane, world champs.

  • Andy on December 29, 2007, 21:11 GMT

    After all I'm not alone thinking that screw-up happened at all levels..Mukul, to share my views on your story, SPOT-ON..You nailed the very aspects that set this colossal failure for the Indian team. Australians play the game with such professionalism and passion, its a treat to watch even their last batsman putting up a fight before succumbing..What bothered me is the fact that the Indians got out without scoring a single run when they last their three wickets in the end..Are you kidding me..This is the 2nd best team in the world?? Not anymore..That humiliation should tell the Indian selectors and the millions who adore their star batsmen, that it is time to refine the selection process ..Worst comes worst, send the Sharad Pawars of India to get some lessons from the Australians.. Even that may not help becos these guys worship mediocrity..I give up any hope for this team to perform in Sydney..and Dravid sucks big time..He re-defined mediocrity in all possible ways one can imagine.

  • Alex on December 29, 2007, 21:08 GMT

    I'd love to know what would convince Mukul that Yuvraj is test class. A century in this series perhaps? Because I really am tired of this hypocritical drivel. Example:Mukul's blog dated 23/11/07-Title-'VVS.Again'-"The rest, I hope, will be history. Laxman came in when the score was 88 for 4 and inspite of losing Dravid on 93 and Dhoni at 208, he steered India to within a boundary of the Pakistan total by close of play." If that 70 odd innings is of historical proportions then why is Yuvraj's 169 in similar circumstances merely an instance of a flat track bully up against a tame bowling attack? Both innings were played on similar pithches against the same bowling attack for crying out loud.Double standards??This seems far worse. I really wish one of these days Mukul would atleast make a lame pretense of being unbiased.

  • tomp on December 29, 2007, 21:05 GMT

    Nikil Can i kindly point out that dravid was the highest run getter india was here so stop jumping ur gun. He has proved himself so often and i am sure he does not have to prove to morons like you who are so tunnel visioned . He is not a natural opener,if the plan was to play yuvraj singh why cannot he open-the answer to that is he is not apt enough.Just to lament dravid for the faliure is beyond me.

  • Arnab Chaudhuri on December 29, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    This article is obvisouly being biased for Dravid. Dravid batted up the order to save his own skin, with the selectors realizing that Yuvi could no longer be kept out of the team, might as well as had dropped Dravid after his abd patch, but if he opened, he would keep a spot for himself open. Yuvi is a great player, and should keep playing in this tour. I think that Jaffar should be dropped to bring in Viru, and we might as well give Pankaj Singh a try, as he might get some bounce with his height

  • Mitesh on December 29, 2007, 21:02 GMT

    Dravid is a very good batsman, agreed, but he has a long history of such scores... just check it on cricinfo. The class of cricket that he belongs to (i.e tiring out the bowlers to get the run) won't really work in Australia(though it did the last time around when almost every batsman of the team was scoring). I personally feel Yuvraj should open along Sehwag. But no matter what combination we play our players need to be fearless, quick in their reflexes, good athletes, sound thinkers, professional cricketers & match Australia on a ball-to-ball terms to succeed even in drawing this series now. And really, lets stop talking about players from either side, just talk in terms of Australian Team vs Indian Team. This is what really matters! Thank you.

  • inder on December 29, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    Shame on Indian fans and cricket experts like you.WHO kust for sake of writing says anything.First in case of Yuvraj,why he is the one signled out everytime??If he scores on falt pitches when did you see other guys scoring on fast tracks.Be a man like Ponting,who understands cricket,he kept on bowling Hogg and made him look like a test bowler.Im sure if mukul had been aussie captain he surely had stop Hogg bowling after 5 overs.SO CALLED CRICKET EXPERTS.AND why SEHWAG,do u forget he just flopped even on flat tracks against PAKISTAN.He was even nt in shortlist.WHT WE do is funny if sehwag is nt there we will say bring him,if he flops we will bring karthik (who also flopped in 5 innings on FLAT TRACKS against PAK)if Karthik fails we will says bring YUVRAJ again.FOR GOD SAKE stop BEING OPPURTUNIST INDIANS WAKE UP,MATURE LITTLE BIT.if Dravid is out of form ,drop him coz he even didn't score on FLAT TRACKS.REMEMBER WHEN YUVI SCORED A CENTURY IN LAHORE HE WAS ASKED TO OPEN FOR GANGUL'Y SAKE

  • Imachuckah on December 29, 2007, 20:57 GMT

    All this ballyhoo about this and that, together with what may and may not have happened - congratulatons to Ricky Ponting and his team for suffocating this underdone team who's egos got a real touch up! - I say drop Dravid, Habajan, and bring Warne and McGrath into the team - That should liven things up - Good Show!

  • suman on December 29, 2007, 20:54 GMT

    Rahul Dravid has aggregated 606 runs in 19 innings (10 Tests) at an average of 35.64, including one century and three fifties, in 2007 –

    Tendulkar’s average in 2003 was around 17 and 2004 it was 23 but he never dropped from team for bad performance Ganguly was non performing captain for almost more than 2 yrs nobody asked his sacking Now the ppl are screaming against dravid even though he secricfied his batting position and his average still good, Even dhoni yuvraj jaffer harbjan failed Superstars also failed Even chela harbajan was wktless in 6 matches but he played full odi series against aussiees and apkistan no senior player dropped just after five bad innigns. the player who performed for team gave selfless service to team for so many yrs consistantly will never get such long chances cheap cricketers turn experts like jadeja, sabakarim, arunlal, yashpal sharma,nikil chopara are doing dravid bashing from last 2 yrs are screaming now for his head biased media..both superstars also failed but nobody has guts speak againt their failure.d But rules does not apply to superstars..

    The way dravid dropped from odi after playing in different positions and now the way he was asked change his batting order again it is clear that vengi had an agenda against dravid

  • suman on December 29, 2007, 20:51 GMT

    it was collective batting failure and very poor fielding cost ind None of batsman tried to stay in wkt even superstars failed master blaster did not balst or tiger did not roar coming in middle order and made some runs to save the face so that nobody will point the finger towards them.. Int the test match atleast they should bat for 6-6 sessions aussies played good cricket and desrved to win the match

    atlast dravid suvived for 1- 2 hrs and faced new balls waht about superstars both played in regular slot indian a collective batting failure even jajjer dhoni yuvraj failed laxman had good start but did not convert into score give credit aussier bowlers and supeb fielding aussies played as one unit accurate bowlong supported by super fielding. and their batsman did good job and full credit to aussies Never give indians a chance to recover bcuz indians are loosing wkts regularly. Even superstars failed to perform..

  • Balli Singh on December 29, 2007, 20:50 GMT

    I agree with your point of view...but what is the point of playing Jaffer who just scored on a meaningless series with Pakistan on a dead pitch... All the Indian batsmen should have asterisk put on their total runs scored, which footnote 80% runs scored on worthless pitches..On paper India team looks awesome but in reality it is worthless because we put more emphasis on personal records (like double century in Ranji means anything)...They got to get rid os all big star players and build a team not just bunch stars who can score ton of run when not needed...these can be saved for B class teams like Bang, Pak, WI so they can make their records...everone is trying to get the next advertising deal, no focus on cricket...

  • Balli Singh on December 29, 2007, 20:48 GMT

    I agree with your point of view...but what is the point of playing Jaffer who just scored on a meaningless series with Pakistan on a dead pitch... All the Indian batsmen should have asterisk put on their total runs scored, which footnote 80% runs scored on worthless pitches..On paper India team looks awesome but in reality it is worthless because we put more emphasis on personal records (like double century in Ranji means anything)...They got to get rid os all big star players and build a team not just bunch stars who can score ton of run when not needed...these can be saved for B class teams like Bang, Pak, WI so they can make their records...everone is trying to get the next advertising deal, no focus on cricket...

  • Guru on December 29, 2007, 20:41 GMT

    We should drop Dhoni and get Karthik in, though I doubt it will ever happen. India has never done well abroad recently without a good opening partnership and Dravid doing well in the middle order. Even if Dravid/Jaffer get a good partnership going, we still need someone in the middle order who can play long innings and none better than Dravid to do this.

  • Sami on December 29, 2007, 20:35 GMT

    Dravid's negativity impacted the entire team in this match. The same way it adversely impacted the team in that 3rd drawn test in England and the 3rd test in South Africa, which India lost. Dravid was a great player who is now in horrible form- let alone win matches for India, he has now actually started losing matches for India. How would you have reacted if a Yuvraj, Laxman or that eternal scapegoat Ganguly played in the same way? I am sure that, many would have suggested that they be dropped for life. A break now will do both Dravid and India some good. If he can come back, that would be awesome, if not then he had a great career and let's remember him for that.

  • Wajeeha Zaidi on December 29, 2007, 20:30 GMT

    In one of the pre-match article someone wrote one of the most insane and ridiculous article where the obsessed writer went too far saying something like Kumble holds the future of test cricket in his hands….where such mad writers are hiding now after this beating.

    All players must concentrate more on advertisements….. playing against Australia is not what these players really can do. They are only god for 20-20 stuff…..I bet if you start even a shorter version of the game like “12 a side for 12 overs”, this team has the real potential…… but test cricket…..sorry…doesn’t belong to Indai.

  • DR CMM SUNDARAM MD MRCP MBA on December 29, 2007, 20:28 GMT

    There are many Monday morning quarterbacks.Ravisastry is one of them.Yuvaraj and Dhoni are dissapointing.DineshKarthik and Pathan should replace them.Murali Karthik is better than Harbhajan.Let us go forward with positive attitude,

  • Geico on December 29, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    Spot on.

    Dravid's average at #3 = 56 His average as opener = 33

    His only successes as opener - at Faisalabad, perhaps the most batting friendly pitch in the subcontinent, against a toothless attack.

    To top it all, he is in a rare slump. The last thing you want to do with a great batsman going through a lean phase is throw more challenges at him, especially challenges he has failed with in the past.

    The decision to draft Yuvraj was not necessarily daft. He is a good player of pace, and could have been used as an opener. Instead, they put him in the middle order, where is almost certain to run into spin, which he, unlike most Indian batsmen, cannot handle.

    The decision to pick Harbhajan Singh was the most baffling of all. He has not looked like a Test bowler for more than a year now. Time to put him to pasture permanently (he is useful in ODIs, not Tests).

    Irfan, or even Ishant would have been a better choice (VRV, even better). I hope they send for Murali Kartik for Sydney.

  • Sami on December 29, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    Good article but Dravid is the past and Yuvraj is the future. The same standards that were used to justify dropping Ganguly should now be used to judge Dravid's place in the team. Peform or perish, a year or two away from international cricket can actually do him good and increase his hunger again. I'm sure he will be back. Yuvraj, Jaffer and Dhoni deserve an extended run. To some pro-Ganguly bashers out there like "Nobody" who state that Saurav should be dropped despite being the best batsman and performing- I guess some dogs will never stop barking. Have some shame.

  • Saadia on December 29, 2007, 20:23 GMT

    Entirely agree with Mukul and most of the comments post4d by the readers. Yuvraj is a petulaant spoilt brat,and it is an insult to an all time great like Dravid to be asked to open just to accomodate Yuvraj, who has many thousands of years t go before he can even begin to think batting like Dravid. If the selectors want Yuvraj in the team,ask him to open (ofcourse they wont because they know he is useless ). The Yuvraj/Dravid problem is not the only one but the is the most obvious and glaring mistake. Shame on the selectors.

  • Siddharth on December 29, 2007, 20:17 GMT

    Not only Dravid but all Indian Batsmen let down the hard work from bowlers. India must improve on batting order and performance. i think Sehwag should open in the next match.

  • Vinod on December 29, 2007, 20:15 GMT

    Replace Yuvi with Sehwag, bring in Dinesh Karthik for Dhoni. Sehwag should open and take the attck to Aussies.

  • Bis on December 29, 2007, 20:14 GMT

    Excellent point by Gopal.

    Memo to Harbhajan: SHUT UP!

  • Siddharth on December 29, 2007, 20:14 GMT

    Not only Dravid but all Indian Batsmen let down the hard work from bowlers. India must improve on batting order and performance. i think Sehwag should open in the next match.

  • Peter P on December 29, 2007, 20:03 GMT

    Well written article and spot on. There were many factors contributing to Indu's performance and asking Dravid to open was one of them. When I first viewed the schedule I was puzzled why the BCCI agreed to only one 3 day tour game prior to one of the toughest tours a team could make. I found at later that the BCCI insisted on this and the late delay was to accommodate their Pakistan test series which was put back due to the twenty/20 group series and one day series against Australia. Test cricket now appears to be an afterthought and as anyone who plays cricket will confirm, you get back what you put into the game. Even the Australians were concerned over the schedule as they had to play a one day series against New Zealand just before the Indian series. The bowlers did respond well in the game, but for me, there were far too many “get out” shots by the Australian batsmen as a result of their one day mode. I think the Australian batting can play better and I know many Australians want the Indians to lift and make this series competitive. I believe Dravid should not open, there is such a different mindset to opening in test cricket, you need to entrust this position to the specialists. He is going though his own problems and needs to address them and clear his mind in readiness for the challenge. Australian is not the place to play cricket with any self doubts. History is littered with the carnage of both bowlers and batsmen in recent times who have been brutally exposed to the mounting pressure this Australian team can conjure. Yuvraj, for all his explosive impacts on ODI’s, really looks short of class at the highest level. His reaction to his dismissals would not have done his own team or him any favours. Anil Kumble played magnificently and gave it everything. The first innings was one of the best displays of leg spin bowling in recent times. I think people need to give Dhoni some respite. I am unsure why many turn on him so much, his keeping was efficient, and a double failure against a quality attack in the first test should hardly be the catapult to boot him out. Ponting failed both innings. This happens in cricket and will continue to happen and every batsman will experience this feeling, many times. I sincerely hope India rise to the occasion in the remaining tests. Perth will be hard for them, but Sydney and Adelaide will suit them much better.

  • rajesh on December 29, 2007, 20:03 GMT

    Mr.Ultimator Sachin Tendulkars record in test matches in Australia is Played 13 tests , 11106 runs, 4 hundreds Highest 241 Batting Average 52.20 . Tendulkars record in test matches in South Africa is Played 12 matches 835 runs Three hundreds Highest 169 Batting Average 39.72. Again Tendulkars record in test matches in South Africa is Played 8 matches 498 runs One hundred Highest 113 Batting Average 41.50. It can be noted that his Batting Averages is not in its Mid 20s as quoted by him. When compared with Ricky Ponting’s record in India Played 8 matches 172 runs NIL hundreds Highest 60 Batting Average 12.28. One can clearly see Tendulkar’s overseas record is very good. Just because India lost the test match doesn’t take any thing from Tendulkar. Tendulkars record has got nothing to do with this blog.

  • Ram on December 29, 2007, 19:41 GMT

    I completely agree with you on the point that Dravid shouldn't be made the sacrificial lamb. It rankles to see people rubbish him the way they have done in the past few months.Aussies fantastic field placement choked most Indian batsmen,not only Dravid. Yes, Dravid didn't look to score runs in the MCG test, but why can't he be atleast credited with blunting the new ball attack (in the 2nd innings)?

    And the talk of Sehwag opening and giving India is that psychological edge is all fine! WHAT IF he had failed in the first test?Given the form he was in, it's not a far-fetched thought! How would that have solved the opening quandary then?

    I couldn't agree with you more on Yuvraj's inclusion in the playing 11. He was all at sea against the fast blowers, to my dismay. As for playing spin, could anybody be kind enough to point to me the last time Yuvi played any sort of spin bowling with ease in Tests? Murali can sleepwalk to the crease , roll his arm over, and claim Yuvi's wicket!

  • Hanu on December 29, 2007, 19:34 GMT

    Well said Mukul, I think for Yuvi to succeed he should change his attitude and let him be the 12th man for the rest of the series. This will give him to learn from the team.

    I agree that Sehwag should open with David coming in middle. With the way Tendular is playing so far, probably the team should think of opening with him. He is showing the urgency and attacking the Ausies, the way it should be played against them.

    The best revenge for us is to deny the Ausies the 16th win.

  • sanjay singh on December 29, 2007, 19:30 GMT

    Come on fellow indians. Stop making excuses. we were outclassed and outplayed by the much better opponents. We are only good on flat- easy to score pitches. thats where rubbish players like dhoni and yuvraj can work their majic. put them on average bowling tracks and we see what cheap players they really are! India- pathetic!!

  • suj on December 29, 2007, 19:28 GMT

    bunch of loosers who dont know anything about cricket but only worried about taxes!

  • Jonbe on December 29, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    First off India is by far the most talented team after Australia. . . BUT! Their ground fielding was, in general dismal and their management in coming to the country with virtually no preparation was stupid. Dravid as an opener was a tragic choice, both for him and India. Sehwag MUST open for the rest of the series. The bowling was serviceable apart from the captain but overestimating their performance in the first innings would be a mistake - sure they held Australia to under 350 and well done, but that was a very poor MCG pitch. India and the rest of the world seem to think Australia has boundless talent - not true we have a superb system, that rewards hard work and commitment. Proving this was some superb ground fielding which kept batsmen on strike for the wicket taking ball. India needs to match Australia's hard work and commitment to the contest, no matter who they play in order to win.

  • Ashok on December 29, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    Mukul: You stole my exact thoughts of batting Dravid at 6 and opening with Sehwag - replacing Yuvraj. I would have preferred Gambhir instead of Jafer to open. We need more aggressive openers. Dravid and Jafer killed Indian batting in both the innings by their tactless defense and total lack of rotation. This got the bowlers on top. I would also replace RP Singh with Pathan to reinforce our batting. If Indian tactics are more aggressive and Dravid bats up to their true potential, India will do well in Sydney.

  • Isaiah on December 29, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    This would be my lineup: I wouldn't mess with it a whole lot, I would say "you are it for this series, go ahead and win it!" - I would like to rotate my quicks, but Zak will have to play all games which is tough on him.

    1. Jaffer 2. Gambhir 3. Laxman 4. Tendulkar 5. Dravid 6. Yuvraj 7. Karthik 8. Irfan 9. Kumble 10.Murali/right-arm seamer (based upon conditions) 11.Zaheer

    I would not have taken Ganguly on such a gruelling tour. I certainly would not have taken Sehwag - but if we did take him, I would certainly play him in the very first test, let him fail, and be done with it! I would have taken Agarkar as right-arm seamer, not Ishant. I would use my secondary spin options in Tendulkar and Yuvraj more tactically.

  • Mahendra on December 29, 2007, 19:22 GMT

    You can't beat Aus if you aren't prepared. If you have to gamble or experiment you have already lost. England in 2005 showed the way: you have to do the homework and plan everything, leaving nothing to chance. The batting and bowling line-ups should have been sorted out long before.

    The problem with India is that it relies too much on 'once a career' brilliance - e.g. Ganguly in Brisbane, and Laxman/Dravid in Kolkata. It won't always work, and the so-called Fab4 are no longer so fab these days. Tendulkar is not the batsman he was. Laxman hasn't done much in years. Ganguly tries hard but against second-rate sides. Yuvaraj should wait for his chance. Dravid is in awful form. Things aren't looking good for India. You need a settled batting lineup in peak form to beat Australia, and they have to slip up. Aus's bowling is better today because of Troy Cooley - their great bowling coach.

    Good luck India - you'll need it.

  • Rakesh Desai on December 29, 2007, 19:18 GMT

    ONE GOOD SOLUTION. GET DINESH KARTIK IN PLACE OF DHONI. BATTING ORDER: JAFAR, KARTIK, DRAVID, SACHIN, GANGULY, LAXMAN, YUVRAJ, PATHAN, KUMBLE, HARBHAN, ZAHIR...THE BEST INDINA ELEVEN 9 OUT OF 11 HAS TEST HUNDREDS.....

  • sree on December 29, 2007, 19:16 GMT

    The bunch looked flustered out there. The fielding and running was abysmal to say the least. They couldnt score boundaries because of the long boundaries so why not run when they have chance. The mind set need to change or are they too old to change? Chasing 499 one thing waws sure Sachin as alwaysin crunch situations,was not going to score so it was left to VVS(who playe better than most but running was awful, he lost his oneday position because of that and he never seem to realise).Also need to dump... (Harbhajan) he can do nothing bring back Karthik. Finally STOP TALKING START PERFORMING! Dump them all enmass and get young guns.

  • Longmemory on December 29, 2007, 19:15 GMT

    I checked out the Ranji scorecards - Gambhir is playing for Delhi and scored 84 in the first innings. This is a guy who was not selected for Australia on grounds that he had a shoulder injury, and this "injury" was used to justify bringing Sehwag (who was not in the 25 probables) onto the tour. The rot in our system runs deep and it takes a tour to Australia to expose it fully. Of course, as long as we can outplay most visitors to India and win the occasional test abroad, everyone's happy.

  • karan on December 29, 2007, 19:12 GMT

    jafer, dravid, laxman, dhoni and yuvraj all didnt play any good so do u want to drop all of them?? india doesnt have guts to win against aussies..players like dravid and jaffer cant give us a better opening,(when i said good opening it doesnt meant to stand there and have 1 run of 200 balls). we need attacking openers. yuvraj and sehwaag would have been a threat.. dravid can play his wall game when india fallin in the middle order but at that time we would have good total at the scoreboar if the opners r as i mentioned. u get it mukal?? dont just point on one player. u forgot to mention how was our fielding?? have a look at kumble he kept himself bowling in the 2nd inning when bhajji was on top with 2 wickets, it was bhajji's time to bowl but selfish kumble kept bowling but when symond hit him for a 4 and a 6 in his 16th over so next over he passed the ball to bhajji. what a smart southindian like u mukal.

  • CoolGuy on December 29, 2007, 19:10 GMT

    According to my view, better batting order would be: 1. W Jaffer 2. S Ganguly 3. R Dravid 4. VVS Laxman 5. S Tendulkar 6. Yuvraj Sing 7. D Kartik 8. A Kumble 9. H Sing 10. Z Khan 11. SreeSanth

    Please feel free to comment. Thanks

  • Rushi on December 29, 2007, 19:08 GMT

    Hi Mukul, The start of your article was spot on. You correctly highlighted the very important role that man management has to play in sqeezing success out of players. The point about not handling Dravid correctly too is valid. However, your observations on Yuvraj are incorrect and wrongly founded. Yuvraj has scored hundreds in the subcontinent, yes, but not always on subcontinental wickets. His first two tons against Pakistan in Lahore and Karachi were on green tops where none of other high profile Indian batsman got their footings. Both those knocks were quality batting against good seam bowlers on seaming wickets. Being a consistent reader of Cricinfo, I know Rahul and VVS are your favorites and they are mine too. However, that doesn't mean that we have to be harsh on Yuvraj. We should bring in Sehwag instead of Jaffar at the top of the order, Sachin should open alongwith Sehwag. Rahul should be asked about his preferences and the others should be schuffled to accomadate that.

  • andy on December 29, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    No matter what Kumble will not drop Dravid or Yuvi. I think we should sacrifice Jaffer. Twice he got out before Dravid playing stupid shots. Jaffer does not have any record against Aussies, give Sehwag a chance. Anyways these guys fail in Sydney , selectors will pick a new side from Test3. In all we might end up losing this series 3-1.

  • Rajiv Jhaveri on December 29, 2007, 19:00 GMT

    You are entitled to your low opinion of Yuvraj, but still a little harsh on Yuvraj after just one test. In his present form and muddled mind set, there is no guarantee that Dravid would have been any more successful lower down the order as you suggest. He wasn't exactly a rip-roaring success against Pakistan even on the dead tracks. If you do not "blood" Yuvraj now who would you have in 2 years when the present quartet will almost certainly retire? I do agree with you, however, that sending in Dravid to open, especially with Jaffer who himself is not a fluent starter, was destined to fail. However, Sehwag doesn't seem to have sorted out his technical problems against fast short balls aimed at his body and I am not too sure he should get the next opportunity. In my opinion, the blame should lie squarely with the Indian board who devised this itinerary giving players no time to acclimatize and sort out selection issues before the test matches started.

  • Raju on December 29, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    Not one of the critics had the guts to say before the test that Yuvraj should not play after the 169 at Bangalore. Why whinge now??? After Bangalore he had "shades of Lara" as some people put it and suddenly after two innings (in a test where Ponting got 3 & 4!! ) he doesn't belong in the tests!! How ridiculous are you Mukul and the same goes to the kings of knee-jerk reactions who have responde to this article?? Some balance will be nice. India are notoriously poor starters on any tour. Remember Lords in June?? Give them time and they will come good in Sydney. Go India!!!

  • sunny on December 29, 2007, 18:54 GMT

    To see all these comments makes me wonder. Has 'much' changed in the last 20 years? Has anything? We still seem to be debating mostly the same issues: application, fielding, running, bowling discipline, captaincy, openers, strategy, fitness, refusal to lose, will to win, world cups, travelling abroad. Is this merely an indicator of the team or is this really a genetic map to us as people? It seems to me clearly, we never learn. Not much anyways. And we try, I mean we have tried. So what is the problem? Are we intellectually bereft of any creativity that we can't seem to have any clarity on anything? Seeing the players field you would think it was a flashback to the 80s. I can only imagine that the practice and training drills are quite old school and useless. Never been a Kumble fan, but I sense that he is the most driven to succeed on this trip. Can he stand in front of the team and ask, "Do you want to be here or no?". "And those that dont, please go back home". Ah, I wish!

  • Sundar Iyer on December 29, 2007, 18:47 GMT

    Coming into this test, we all knew that Dravid's form was patchy at best... When a player's form is not very good, the least the captain and the think tank team should do is to cushion him between two players whose form is good... Openers are supposed to tire the bowlers out but also rotate the strike and take singles.. The odd/streaky fours will keep coming. With Jaffer and Dravid having similar batting styles (dravid being marginally more aggressive), they took their batting so seriously that it gave the Aussies a psychological advantage to get more aggressive. In my mind, the opening pair should be, Wasim Jaffer and Yuvraj Singh. Both of them are in decent form (from Paki Series) and both their batting styles are different (Yuvi more aggressive). One down - Laxman. Two down, Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Down - Dravid. 4 Down - Ganguly, 5 Down - Dhoni. The rest can follow in the same order. Not sure if Sehwag is still the right choice. Time will tell.

  • nikhil on December 29, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    Fine agreed Dravid is a great batsman, but now he is not even close to Harbajan in batting, every the great Saurav Ganguly was dropped, then why not Dravid, get Sehwag in , drop Dravid, Yuvraj does not belong to test cricket now, but I hope you remember that once upon a time even Dravid did not belong to one day cricket but he made a place there, similarly Yuvraj has lot of talent to prove that in test cricket, if he is given a chance... My point is DROP DRAVID, whether he opens or comes in middle order he will still have the negative way. He is an expert in showing how not to score every ball. We could have won the 3rd test in England if he would have not shown his 9runs of 90 ball skill. Look at the way Australians play, they play attacking cricket..I am sure we can get close to that if we do not have Dravid at all in the team

  • Murali on December 29, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    India failed because all of our batsmen failed. Many of them gifted their wicket away. They showed no fight.

    Sehwag has gifted his wicket away so many times as well. Bringing him back will not solve the problem. India will loose both their openers with the score under 20 or 30 even with Sehwag there.

    The simple fact is that Indian batsmen cannot face genunine fast bowlers most of the time. They are scared. The only way to improve this situation is to create fast and bouncy pitches in India. This will take a few years. I am not optimistic that any combination of 11 players from the current 16 will produce a winning combination on this tour.

    Indian players need to feel a sense of responsibility and pride. Other than Ganguly and Kumble, I am not sure any one else on the team is playing responsibly. This is in stark contrast to how the team played in England where the batsman did not gift their wicket away inspite of getting hurt a few times.

  • Subroto on December 29, 2007, 18:40 GMT

    Australia has such a tremendous command in test cricket that when they score a relatively smaller score, the opposite team gets more nervous. They think they are also in trouble. That's exactly how Indian openers batted- they were trying to find that invisible demon in the pitch when probably none existed. The way Dravid and Jaffer batted on second day, it seemed they are batting on 5th day and trying to draw the test match. The decision of asking Dravid to open is a foolish one when we have specialist openers in the team, like Sehwag.If Sehwag is not good enough what is he doing in Australia? The continuance of Dravid as an opener will destroy whatever form he currently has. It will be a tragedy especially when Dravid did so well in the upper-middle order in the last two years.

  • Anupam on December 29, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    Hi Mukul,Nice article.Well the fact remains that Rahul Dravid will remain the greatest Indian test batsman no matter how badly he fared in this match.He has been made a scapegoat by being asked to open .I disagree wid u on Yuvraj .I feel he is a gud enough player to get into the test team but not at the sake of disturbing the balance of the team .The problem is that no one possess the guts to drop a VVS or a ganguly or tendulkar (although thier recent record has been credible) and therefore Yuvraj must wait for his chances wid age on his side.I am not sure why Sehwag is their if he is not going to play.Wat r they waiting for down 0-2 ????Its due to sehwag only that th Indian team was able to give a fight to australia abd other team in their backyard.Its simple , give him next 3 matches .If he succeeds gr8 for India else dump him no issues here.Regarding Harbhajan he is a joker who dont knw how to bowl.Even Hogg was far better than him .

  • Siddhartha on December 29, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    You are spot on Mukul. Yuvraj has to be dropped to accomodate Sehwag, and Dravid should bat at 6. To tackle the might of the Aussies,someone should have a go at them at the top of the order and Viru is the right man. Its sad to see Dravid being sacrified once again to make room for a player who has done so little to suggest that he belongs to the Test level.Yuvi cannot play spin,and he is a very iffy starter even against pace,as he needs about 30-40 balls to get his eye in.It might work against lesser teams,but I doubt if the Aussie bowlers are ever going to give him any freebies initially.Even Bhajji should be given the axe from the Test scene.To start with,he can keep his mouth shut against Hogg and instead concentrate on his own bowling. He never looked threatening at any stage of the match and its high time that we start looking for other spinners,maybe Murali Kartik can have a look in. There has to be a serious change in the Indian think tank,else it could well be a 4-0 scoreline.

  • varun on December 29, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    Mukul, i'd like to ask about your thoughts on dhoni.I agree with your views on yuvraj: he is unfit for test cricket. Does Dhoni warrant his place in the test team? Is his batting technique sound enough? or are his keeping skills enough to keep him in, in place of dinesh karthik, who could provide another 50-100 runs a match?

  • Rahul on December 29, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    Dravid, unfortunately, is now a liability for Indian team. He served our country well for many years but should now consider playing in the domestic circuit (or even English county league) to regain his confidence.

    I don't subscribe to Mukul's position on Yuvraj. He almost sounds like English selectors who, for a long time, asserted that Peterson was only a one day player! I'm sure Yuvraj will perform well in the remaining matches. Dhoni, on the other hand, will expose his poor batting technique on this tour and will not have even a single decent score throughout the series.

    If possible, India should replace Dravid with Gautam Gambhir. Giving another chance to Sehwag will be foolish.

  • Raj on December 29, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    time and again the so called experts and our scribes are missing the point !! when you play in australia and this is good for any team, you cannnot hang in at the crease in the hope that the aussies will tire and throw in the towel for you to score runs later. It is never going to happen bcos the bowlers are spot on ball after ball and the fielders back up their bowlers like every run given is a cardinal sin !! the only way out is to bat aggressively and great players from the past and present like the great Viv to our own Sachin/Sourav have shown it very clearly. Dravid should be rested/dropped and sehwag brought in.

  • ram on December 29, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    Though you are very biased against Yuvraj, agree with your overall analysis; Bringing Sehwag who has been totally out of touch is a big risk, but there does not seem to be any other option at this point; It may be unfair but Yuvraj will probably need to wait some more and may be get some experience in Australia by playing in any of the remaining practice matches. Also what about Tendulkar and Ganguly, are'nt they supposed to be in great form? Why are'nt they converting their scores into big ones? In light of this trashing, we also need to consider the way the Aussies bowled, they were simply outstanding; Hogg was pooh pooh'ed by most of the Indians, and he has had the last laugh; And finally Harbajan should shut his trap and start performing;

  • Kash on December 29, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    Regarding yuvraj, i think he is a big asset on a faster/seamer friendly wicket. If the MCG played like how it played b/w 95-05, yuvraj would definitely have had a hundred this test. He is the in-form indian batsman after ganguly. The thing though with yuvraj is his weakness against spin. It gets exaggerated on slow/spinner friendly pitches. Hence it would be a good move not to play yuvraj in sydney. In perth I am sure he will get a 100 in 1 of the innings if he gets a chance to play. All this means that the Indian batting line up will have a couple of floating positions which is not at all advised in a tour to australia, but at this level, you should be adaptable. Yuvraj is a lot like ricky ponting who is awesome against pace but quality spin will make him look like a novice. ponting's average in 8 matches in india is 12.5 Against SL since murali has become the monster he is, ponting played 6 innings with one 90 and not crossing 30 in the remaining 5.

  • shamoni on December 29, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    iz so unfortunate, but true. peeps say u remove ur hate for yuvi everytime, but he does not belong. test matches r not all about hittin 6's. da record for max sixes in tests is less than 110 in an entire lifetime!

    this series has completely lost all shine for me after da indian battin display in wht could b da most comfy pitch they got. i'm not gonna b surprised with a 4-0 now.

  • nikhil on December 29, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Ok Everyone...PLEASE LISTEN TO ME ITS IMP...

    Rite nw we r shocked n absolutely shattered, the way our battin failed has given birth to too many questions...EVERYONE'S sayin bring SEHWAG back ok bring him back....but i hope these ppl who r askin him to come bak in the team dunno backfire if he too fails coz i kno the mentality here incase he fails we'll be sayin y did we bring him in the team

    so think n then say thx

  • Kash on December 29, 2007, 17:59 GMT

    Those who say sehwag should not be given a chance. Could you take the no. of test series with 3+ test matches where sehwag failed to score a test hundred since 01? The answer would be 1 the SA tour last winter. The problem with the selectors and all the people who think sehwag is not consistent are mixing up ODI and test records, which btw, are entirely different beasts. The unfair thing about axing sehwag from the test team was that he is an extraordinary test opener. 2nd only to Matthew hayden in the last 6yrs. Yet, he was shunted out of the team because his ODI form was poor and he had one bad test series. Very ill-advised and short sighted move. The consequence of it all is what we are seeing. FWIW, they should play sehwag and jaffer as openers in sydney.

  • arjun on December 29, 2007, 17:55 GMT

    Whilst I entirely agree with your sentiments, I find it curious that you only pick on yuvraj singh, who scored his first hundred in pakistan when the team was being decimated by Umar Gul, the second in another tight spot against pakistan, and the third when we were 61/4. I find it amusing that you have not criticised Wasim Jaffer, who realy does only score runs when his place in the team is threatened. Also, you hold Dravid as a knight in shining armour, when he has done little in the last 18 months as number three- remember that awful 12 against England at the oval, where it was ganguly who bailed India out?

    That aside, Sehwag should be picked, but probably won't be, and the experiemnt will persist.

    best line up should be:

    Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar, Gnaguly, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Pathan, Kumble, Harbhajan, Khan

    Pathan only because he is as bad a bowler as RP singh, but the better batsman.

  • Gokul on December 29, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    Nice Article. How many years have we seen India perform this way in Australia.. We demand aggression, Indian batting team demands Australia change their bowlers.. They also want to See Few more Indian Ads near the boundaries to remind them of their duties in Cricket. You need to have Bowlers like Tait, Clarke, Lee, Mcgrath during our batting practice to play well, U cannot have Khan, Singh, Bhajji to practice.. IF THE PLAYER THINKS HE IS ONLY FOR FIT FOR 20/20, PLEASE DON'T ATTEMPT TO PLAY TEST MATCHES. I wish I played Cricket for the Indian team to be in their position to realize, But i would Step down if i feel i'm not fit to play at the International level.

  • Mugunthan on December 29, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    I really don't know why we always talk about bringing new players Sehwag or someone when we start loosing. Just by changing the Indian team or order is not going to change the result of the matches in Australia. What Team India lacks is consistency of battling and accuracy of bowling which never been there before? Accept the fact that Team India is not superior in terms of Cricketing abilities and give more practice to the youngsters. For continuous winning, few rain showers is not the substitute, rather long-term plans for coaching and determination is the prime

  • Raman on December 29, 2007, 17:44 GMT

    I always thought that Kaif was a better test batsman than Yuvraj, when those two were in Contention. Alas, Sourav preferred Yuvraj over Kaif (that's a great decision if u r considering ODI's). Also, when Sourav and Yuvraj were in contention, then some idiots wanted to play Yuvraj. Yuvraj, with his off-side vulnarabilities and his huge deficiency against spin, I wonder how he is even in the test squad. He might make an occasional century, but it is not to going to serve country's purpose. I also thought that leaving out Akash Chopra was a huge mistake. Remember, last time we did well in Aus just becos of this guy, which is not even mentioned. As long as the opening pair is meddled, India is not going to do well this series. Our psuedo-great middle order will do well only if the openers do well.

  • pacman on December 29, 2007, 17:43 GMT

    How come there is no outrage against Dhoni? I think he is just as guilty as Yuvraj. What is even worse is that Dhoni is being groomed to take over captaincy from Kumble in not too distant future.

    Then again why should Yuvrai and Dhoni care about their test match performance, I am sure they know the Bollywood hotties they are dating don't watch test cricket!

  • Amar on December 29, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    No doubt Dravid is one of the greatest test player, India ever had similar to Yuvraj in ODI. But why insist on Dravid and Yuvraj when they are not in form? Dravid should infact be given a break. He should be dropped just like Ganguly.

    Also why everyone forgets Murali Karthik. In fact in the last ODI series against Aussies in India, Murali was the only spinner, aussies were afraid of. If at all, India can win a test in Australia, the team should be as following:

    Jaffar Sehvag Laxman Tendulkar Ganguly

    Dhoni Pathan Kumble Murali Karthik Zaheer Ishant Sharma

  • v on December 29, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    This is very strange, on one hand article is trying to emphasize not to meddle with batting order by sending Dravid as opener while recommending he be sent as number 6 ? to get out of form. On top of it put the blame on Yuvraj for Dravid's unability to bat is preposterous. If Dravid needs to stay in the team because of past achievements then so do Yuvraj and many others.

  • Amith on December 29, 2007, 17:32 GMT

    Mukul, I dont agree that Yuvraj is a pretender, atleast not anymore since the time he has understood the importance of consistency in ODIs. He had already shown that he can graduate to the test level with is 139 in Sydney in 2003-2004 when India had lost 3-4 top order wickets for very less. The 169 that he hit recently in India was also under pressure when the top order collapsed. One more wicket and we could well have lost the match. The current performance in Melbourne by India is due to bad stratagies by the team management. With so much of test experience, they do not know that playing out overs and tiring aussies does not work. Aussies keep coming at you always. Atleat one of the openers should have gone after the bowling after say 7-10 overs. Moreover, why do we blame dravid for playing slowly. He did his job of seeing off the new ball. What were ppl like sachin doing with all that experience if they could not capitalize on the ball being old and the bowlers tired.Stick with Yuvi

  • Jason on December 29, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    In Response to Dario, How can you possibly say that the Austrailian team is boring to watch. No other team in the world scores at their Run-rate.No other team bowls with aggression,flair and talent for making opportunities. To mention their fielding is to quite honestly say that it is a class above all else. As a cricket lover who enjoy's watching all teams play, I must say that it is the Australian team that is the most ENTERTAINING of the lot. The only drwback on this is that they are usually destroying all opposition in front of them and quite often it is a 1 sided affair.

  • jaspreet on December 29, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    TO vr01 and other solution providers-

    I promise this is my last post :) Mukul - please print this. I'll pray for you!

    ok Seriously, You guys just don't get it. Coming up with ridiculous solutions.

    Here we are dissecting the intricate issue of how yuvraj/dravid imbalance contributed to this rare .. rare .. overseas defeat.

    And here you are telling about fielding, running between wickets, building pressure, long term team building! what do australians know about winning anyway !!!???

    We will win with the same strategy (btw it's secret one), same tactics, Same fab-four@home. Dammit we spend 1000 years building a wall !!! do not undeestimate our resolve !!!

    ( oh now my gf tells me that was chinese... but you get the gist!!)

  • Its all planned! on December 29, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    You people dont understand! INDIA PLAYED TO A PLAN AT MCG... Get Dravid to play the most boring cricket possible sothat Test cricket dies out in a few years. Hopefully ODIs will follow and then, with some luck we will reign in the T20 game where we seem to be doing something right! On a serious note, I really fail to understand that if our fielding is so bad then how come we're the T20 champions, a format where you'd imagine that fielding would matter most! Any explanations?

  • Binod on December 29, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    This comment is for Victor Trumpet's post. Mate, in India everyone is a cricket expert. We are proud of it and it is our right to be so. Your comments are offensive, to not just Indians but also to the British (you said Pommies) to NZ (called them a practice team) and in general offensive. If for a change when the Aussies fell victim to their own child (sledging) and cried fowl, then it seems quite convenient to take the moral high ground. But they have learnt and are finally playing as true professionals and that is refreshing.

    If you noticed or cared to read the various posts, you will notice that no one is deriding the Aussie team. Everyone has good words to say about the Aussie players. It is our team management and players that we are criticizing. So Mr. Trumpet, if you wish to 'toot' your horn, do so on the merit or demerit of the Aussie players. There are enough of us to give our players a lambasting and we reserve our right to do so. This is still a cricket blog. Be civil.

  • Nash on December 29, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    There are genuine batsmen (Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly) and a bunch of yahoos (Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Pathan etc.) in the Indian team. I would leave the big four in the team and rotate the yahoos - on his day, one of the yahoos might deliver. Realistically, that's the best we can do, given the bench strength.

    Yuvi, Dhoni, Sehwag...doesn't matter. So bring in Sehwag for the next test, probably Dinesh Karthik too and drop Yuvi & Dhoni.

  • senthil kumar on December 29, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    >> If Yuvraj plays in Sydney and plays well will you go into hiding again?

    I presume that you would know Sydney is a spinners paradise. Even If Yuvraj makes double ton over there it is meaningless. We have see how well he can tough it out during the first test.

  • Supratik on December 29, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    Hi Mukul Agree with you on all barring your take on Yuvraj, as usual! There were many factors to this debacle: 1)India have struggled since eternity in the 1st test of an overseas series. 2)Only 48 overs to acclimatise in Aus, against the best side in the world- ridiculous. 3) Australia has lost just 5 tests at home in the last 12 years (3 in dead rubbers). 4) Expectations were (as usual) high, citing 2003 when the 1st Australian XI didn't take the field. This time its not so. 4) Dravid vs Yuvraj: Dravid has been miserable in the last 10 test matches. To ask him to open was a big risk and he copped it. Yes, Yuvraj doesn't play spin well, has weaknesses outside off stump, but merits a longer stint before we are sure that he is not fit for tests. So Dravid had to open. You can't drop someone who- after SMG and SRT - is India's greatest. Let's evaluate after SCG. Solution? Bring in Pathan for RP and get him to open or swap Sehwag with Jaffer, if Bombay lobby allows it!

  • v on December 29, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    This is ridiculous, laying the defeat on Yuvraj's inclusion. The way Dravid was playing he could not have scored at number 10 forget 6 or 1. Get realistic, Dravid needs a break, he seems unable to hit a ball and it is all in his mind. He obvioulsy looks like who is trying very hard to maintain his place in the side and in doing so doing harm to mimself and the team. We need an aggressive opener, Sehwag is out of form but having the replacement scoring 20 odd runs in two innings in over what 20 - 30 overs, I would pick Sehwag any day. Dravid whole innings demoralised the team and put India on backfoot. He was there giving an impression that the Aussies cannot be scored on no matter what, as one Aus commentator said, he was acting as if each ball is a bomb about to explode. Dravid needs to sit out for his and countrys good and Sehwag needs to come in. Another person who needs to sit out is Harbhajan and bring Pathan back in even if pitch is "going to spin".

  • senthil kumar on December 29, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    What we saw in the indian team was lack of spine and tough it out. If you dont know what I mean then look at how Jeyawardene and Sangakara batted in similar conditions against australia last time.

    Dravid was instrumental in handing back the initiative and the rest of the batters batted without any care.

    Yuvraj scoring century against pakistan in pakistan is not a big deal afterall it was in subcontinent. It appears based on seeing him on TV is more theatrics. Dhoni continues to be a hyped joker.

  • senthil kumar on December 29, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    What we saw in the indian team was lack of spine and tough it out. If you dont know what I mean then look at how Jeyawardene and Sangakara batted in similar conditions against australia last time.

    Dravid was instrumental in handing back the initiative and the rest of the batters batted without any care.

    Yuvraj scoring century against pakistan in pakistan is not a big deal afterall it was in subcontinent. It appears based on seeing him on TV is more theatrics. Dhoni continues to be a hyped joker.

  • aswin on December 29, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Spot on about Yuvi....so much for the exuberance of youth and "fearless cricket" , only class counts...I understand all the talk about Sehwag... But why no talk about Dinesh Karthik .. the pooor guy has 4 bad innings and this is what happens ?

  • Dravid_must_be_dropped on December 29, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    With Dravid's current form he should be playing for Karnataka and not India. One complains about the fact that hes forced to open, well, consider this... Sehwag and Jaffer open and Sehwag is out in the 1st over. Then what happens? Will there be a different Dravid at no3? The real problem with selection is that we've picked Karthik to be a tourist instead of the left handed Gambhir who is also in form. As for the next test we're better off swapping Harbhajan for Pathan who can choke off the runs and bat a bit and have Sehwag, Yuvrag and Sachin bowl spin. Dravid must be replaced with Sehwag.

  • jaspreet on December 29, 2007, 17:01 GMT

    vr01 -

    You don't belong here. You make too much sense.

  • jaspreet on December 29, 2007, 16:55 GMT

    ok I read the comments here and am ready to announce the decision !:)

    Oh! before I get to that. Definition of insanity- keep doing same thing and expect different results.

    ok Now- 1) fab-four@home (dravid a exception) never really win in aus, sa, wcup. Do not confuse occasion centuries with team india winning

    2) fab-four@home are not the greatest fielders(understatement?) and runners between wicket. A 4 saved, is a 4 earned. A dropped catch, is a batsman earned (hey at least it rhymes !!)

    3) fab-four@home are heading to sunset, but there is noone to take their place. Right !!! ?? wrong !!:):) Rotate fab-four@home, Pick up couple of new batsmen, groom and give them extended run. Keep what works, change what doesn't.

    5) Batting legends make records. But winning a team game means a pack of hungry winners (i.e if winning is the real goal. Not having superstars/gods may not get as many clickthroughs on cricinfo ;)).

    phew!!! I feel like i am forgetting something !! ;

  • Captain Swing on December 29, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    It was a real pleasure to see the wind taken out of India's sails. I think the Fab Four have always been over-hyped - reputations made on the sub-continent's flat tracks don't last long on a proper cricket wicket.

    Team India have produced an unusually wretched performance against an inexperienced Australian attack, which would wilt under pressure.

    Never mind, some of your correspondents seem to think that having a billion people gives an incomparable talent pool to choose from. Since those billion support an economy that produces less than South Korea (40 million) and a lot less than Brazil (120 million) I guess that most of them are busy trying to get enough to eat rather than having net practice.

    Another three Tests to go, and panic has already set in.

  • kedar-1969 on December 29, 2007, 16:46 GMT

    I remain of the opinion that Yuvi’s time will come, but he remains overawed by the presence of these fading “galacticos” and only after their eventual purging, will begin to deliver the goods. Perhaps the key is to make him the captain of India A and give him a team of the gen-next players like Rohit Sharma, Tiwari, VRV, Pankaj which should play England, SA and Australia A teams away on a regular basis. But does the BCCI have the necessary foresight to plan this, when the overwhelming evidence points towards their gross inability to arrange a “piss-up in a brewery”! As for India, the current series down under appears to head towards a similar fate met by the previous teams during the 1991-92 and 1999-2000 series, which were a by product of insufficient planning born out of commercial greed and hubris and over hyped players. Just hope and pray that RD’s final days as an India bat do not resemble those of another former India #3 bat Sanjay Manjrekar! Perhaps you should set up a forum for what could be done by the think tank to salvage some positive results from this tour.

  • Arun on December 29, 2007, 16:45 GMT

    Just one thing Mukul, I haven't formed an opinion on Yuvraj yet but I certainly don't think Jaffer should be playing.. he just doesn't cut it at this level at all. I would much rather have Akash Chopra and Sehwag open the innings

  • kedar-1969 on December 29, 2007, 16:44 GMT

    The sooner he is relieved of his burden and released to play first class cricket in say England or SA, the better. Alternatively, he could just rest and work on his fitness and technique as well as regain his mental focus. But all this remains a pipe dream when so much of wealth is at stake, not even for a modern day saint (if you and your cohorts in media are to be believed!) like RD. Regarding Yuvi’s fitness as an India batsman at test level, it is clear that he still can’t play quality spin nor is he comfortable leaving too many balls outside the off stump. But that does not make him a “pretender”. I am surprised that despite your reasonable knowledge of this game and its recent history, you appear to overlook cases such as Mike Gatting or Steve Waugh. Perhaps Gatting’s case is more relevant here. Gatt was by all conventional wisdom a county seconds bully and could really not prove his mettle at the highest level, even had his nose rearranged by my all-time favourite “Macho” Marshall! But TCCB in a rare display of long term strategic thinking decided to persist with him and he went on to contribute quite heavily for the next 5-6 years before fading away.

  • kedar-1969 on December 29, 2007, 16:43 GMT

    RD appears to be mostly a humble chap but for heaven’s sake please don’t make him out to be an inspirational leader. People often attribute his sterling performances during SCG’s glorious reign as the main reason for the run of several overseas Indian wins, but even RD benefited from SRT and SCG’s batting as well as Zak’s incisive spells in England, so these things often happen in a team game, strange that! As for RD’s insipid captaincy, the less said the better. Mukul, you make it sound as if RD’s latest crawl was a one off, conveniently forgetting Oval 2007, Australia 1999-2000, Pakistan in India 2007 et al. RD is clearly reverting to his former “avatar” closer to Ravi Shastri another stroke less wonder specialising in dead bat pathetic running performances, which is his insecure Mr Hyde to his otherwise Mr Jekyll which briefly took centre stage during his 2002-2006 glorious run.

  • Nipun on December 29, 2007, 16:42 GMT

    As Harsha Bhogle pointed out,had Jacques been the one to be replaced by Hodge,then Hodge would have been told to open..Ponting wouldn't have been sent to open,with Michael Clarke being sent to no.3.The same policy should have been followed here-if Yuvraj had to come in for someone,then why disturb the whole middle-order to accomodate him ??? Yuvraj should have been told to open,or Karthik(not Sehwag)should have been brought in to open(as I had written earlier).This is a strange case with the Indian lineup.....

  • kedar-1969 on December 29, 2007, 16:41 GMT

    RD has always remained a highly selfish player, lest it be forgotten that he could not pierce gaps to save his life at the turn of this century and was a positive liability in the ODIs, which was where is then great friend SG brought him in by the back door as a keeper and allowed him to rebuild his fragile confidence. He then struck a purple patch similar to great DB Vengsarkar’s one in the mid 80’s and vanquished all comers in that phase. As this co incided with SRT’s injuries, people had the audacity to place him above the great man. Cricinfo India’s blatant bias for all things southern meant that RD/GC’s agendas were continuously peddled during this period and RD, an essentially clerical back room boy was suddenly being portrayed as a Stephen Rodger Waugh’esqe Captain Marvel type figure!

  • satish on December 29, 2007, 16:41 GMT

    my team shewag karthick dravid sachin ganguy laxman yuvraj kumble harbajan zaheer rp sing

  • kedar-1969 on December 29, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    Mukul your sentiments are mostly correct. However I am afraid I don't agree with two of your key assertions, namely that RD remains a great middle order batsman and Yuvi does not belong being a mere pretender. The first one is patently wrong in the face of some overwhelmingly adverse statistics that RD has produced since the WI 2006 tour in both forms of the game. I have followed RD’s career since 1994-95 juniors and remain a fan. But what really gets my goat is that RD is often portrayed as a total team man, a “quasi martyr” even for his unconditional support and almost clerical subservience to people in power be it Ganguly/Dalmiya combo and then the great white hope in the form of GC. Public memory is very short and indeed for that matter their understanding of this great game remains highly dubious.

  • Arvind on December 29, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    Agree that yuvi didn't play well at all.His theatronics was damn bad. He should not have to play the innocent victim of bad umpiring when he knew that he should be in the pavalion in the previous over itself.. Also agree that Dhoni's technique is a sore to the eyes..But what are you suggesting ?

    Bring back Shewag in place of yuvi ? He was given chances in india and other flatter pitches, and he didnt make use of it. He went to play domestic cricket and couldn't find his touch. Even if you bring back Shewag, given his game (when he was good at it) there is a probability of him getting out cheaply. Now,with current form, I believe its the 'only' probability. So, in sydney, if he fails, do you want him to be dropped and bring karthik in? I believe your article lacks the maturity and it is just playing to the sentiments of spectators..

    Why dont people suggest to drop 'Dhoni' and bring karthik in. Let him open with Jaffer. Let Yuvi have one more chance (atleast)..

  • Pankaj on December 29, 2007, 16:38 GMT

    I read that some people said that Only Sachin and Ganguli showed form . Exucse me??? Since when , scoring 80 runs in 2 innings is form ? This is exactly the mindet why India loses ?

  • Rakesh N on December 29, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    I think we lost the test on the second day itself due to the defensive tactics employed by Dravid etc.Hard to believe that a player of such level of experience should actually employ such defensive tactics against an attack minus McGrath & Warne. And there was no devil in the pitch.Dravid, you need a break for atleast six months.Sehwag has done well in test matches against good opposition and he surely should find his place in Sydney.Anil Kumble surely has his task cut out.

  • Gaurav on December 29, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    True Yuvraj has completely upset the batting order.

    For me the ideal order would be 1. Jaffer, 2. Sehwag/Yuvraj, 3. Dravid, 4. Sachin, 5. Laxman, 6. Ganguly, 7. Dhoni, 8. Irfan, 9. Kumble, 10. Zaheer, 11. R.P.Singh

    Even at sydney I would take Irfan over bhajji and would trust that Sehwag/Yuvraj and Sachin will share the responsibility of 2nd spinner.

    May the commen sense prevails on team management....May the team wins the next test.

  • Gaurav on December 29, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    True Yuvraj has completely upset the batting order.

    For me the ideal order would be 1. Jaffer, 2. Sehwag/Yuvraj, 3. Dravid, 4. Sachin, 5. Laxman, 6. Ganguly, 7. Dhoni, 8. Irfan, 9. Kumble, 10. Zaheer, 11. R.P.Singh

    Even at sydney I would take Irfan over bhajji and would trust that Sehwag/Yuvraj and Sachin will share the responsibility of 2nd spinner.

    May the commen sense prevails on team management....May the team wins the next test.

  • Jeremy Fernandes on December 29, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    You hit the nail on the head. It is rather unfortunate that the team selection gurus always comprimise on the opening slot to beef up the middle order. It worked in England with Karthick complementing the traditional Jaffer, but coercing Dravid into this role is not the solution. Especially to fit in Yuvraj who certainly isn't capable of Test match temperament overseas. Dravid is the most complete batsman in the team, yet he is the sacrificial lamb. Fulfilling the selectors agenda will not win India a single test match on this tour. Yuvraj should be bringing the drinks on the field for the next 3 test matches. Sehwag should open with Jaffer, and have Dravid play at number 6 given his lean patch since Laxman is looking comfortable at the crucial one drop. Our bowling resources are the most depleted this tour, yet Kumble is marshalling his troops well. Getting 9 wkts on the first day was remarkable. I only hope the much touted batting lineup can deliver, & it all starts with the openers.

  • Indian Fan on December 29, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    There is no point in blaming anyone for the team that was chosen. Everybody thought this combination will work well, but it didn't. Forget the past, but learn the mistakes and rectify it. Now, the team should sincerely think about bringing in Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik and dropping Yuvraj and Dhoni.

    It is absurd, if India thinks to give Yuvraj one more chance. This is not domestic or a series being played in India. This is Australia tour and you have only 4 matches. Stop experimenting with Yuvraj and give Sehwag the chance.

    Two advantages of preferring sehwag over Yuvraj. Sehwag is a opener and if he has a good day, the opening partnership will take the game away from Aussies. Whereas if you have yuvraj, we should compromise on opening slot, which is very crucial in a test match against Aussies in australia.

    Yuvi, sorry for being harsh on you. We gave you the chance and you dropped it. You have to wait !! No other go.

  • rohan on December 29, 2007, 16:25 GMT

    aussies are far more better than india(or anyone) as a team ....it wont matter who shld open and who shldnt it simply doesnt make any differene

  • Anand on December 29, 2007, 16:22 GMT

    Brutal FACTS of INDIAN CRICKET. *Old stars are selfish playing for making money not for country *Indian board also same should be blamed first. *Cricket has changed significantlly in last few years. You can not win consistantally even on indian flat pitches ( may occassionally one of test) with so many old horses and Please do not live in past tell me anybodys records. *For winning cosistantly we do not have system in place.(flat pitches,irresnsible media,attitude of board & players) * Look for root cause sack vengsarkar first *India A batters last toured in africa are better than Laxman & ganguly & shewag.Just need right succession planning. *We need Raina karthik kaif VRV Shree why because of attitude,athletisism,intensity etc. PLEASE DO NOT PLAY BLAMEGAME MR KESWAN PLEASE WRITE ABOUT ROOT CAUSE AND POSITIVE THINGS IT IS EASY TO BLAME DRAVID YUVRAJ AND WRITING NEGATIVE THINGS. INDIANS DO NOT HAVE COURAGE TO ACCEPT REALITY WHAT GREG CHAPPEL ASSESED. BEST OF LUCK INDI

  • Manish Gupta on December 29, 2007, 16:18 GMT

    Well, Team India loses first test match. It is a jinx. But I am sure India will gonna win the series and it will be 2-1 this time. On batting order, Sehwag should be included dropping Dravid. India needs an aggressive start to win the test.

  • Rohit on December 29, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    The worst thing about such a defeat is that it gives enough ammunition to these Aussie posters to make crass and condescending statements and feel good about themselves.Some like Victor Trumpet are downright racist and degrading.Get a clue Aussie fans , sure you have a great cricket team , but a bit of civility and humility wont hurt.Humiliating others only goes to show how hollow ,insecure and immature you really are.Appreciate the good in the opposition , instead of just harping on the negatives and adding insult to injury.Its not as if the fans turn out on the field do they?I would have really preferred if England or South Africa would have been on the top of world cricket , at least you can have a meaningful discussion with their fans.

  • Rakesh Iyer on December 29, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    Mukul, you are right. even as an amateur cricketer I understand a) the difference between an openers mentality and that of a batter coming at 1 down, b) the importance of the team not meddling with the position of their best batters. Theres never been a case that any of the greats such as Ponting, Lara etc have been forced to bat at a position other than their natural position. I do not understand why there is a necessity for Indian batters esp the great ones to be forced into batting positions other than their natural ones. Secondly for the past few yearstheres an onus on having newer players (albeit Yuvraj has been there forever) at the cost of screwing the teams chances (the 5 bowler selection fiasco at Mumbai vs England comes to mind). Look at a team like Australia where in a test game everybody plays at the same position forever. I have never seen them ever meddle their lineup even when they are as successfull as they are. Its just arrogance BCCI thinks they can get away with it.

  • MARGASAHAYAM on December 29, 2007, 16:08 GMT

    Its a spot on dictum to the Indian Selectors: a] A team which lacks patience, and temperament to fight aganist the aussies-Why did you selct this team of 5 last time tourists with princely thoughts of monies in the bank ? b] Why selsct 3 openers and play only 1 ? c] Why make the most successful no 3 and opener and destroy him ? d] Why play a spinner like Harbajan who speaks follish unrealistic wishful thinking at press conferences and not include worthy players like Murli Karthik whom the Aussies fear! e]Why make the commitment to agree to a test with 1 match to acclamatize ? Real fools - Pawar and Co....Vengsarkar and Co and even Kumble and Co.... If you have the guts to fight then only you shall be worthy of representing India.

  • indie on December 29, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    TypicalIndia response! We loose a test match against the best side ever. The whole country discovers problem with our side. If Yuvi scores some runs in the next test and Bhajji gets some wickets...you would be writing poems about these two.. The same way you reacted after T20 win and completely forgot the world cup debacle. Calm down and give the guys a chance.

  • MARGASAHAYAM on December 29, 2007, 16:05 GMT

    Its a spot on dictum to the Indian Selectors: a] A team which lacks patience, and temperament to fight aganist the aussies-Why did you selct this team of 5 last time tourists with princely thoughts of monies in the bank ? b] Why selsct 3 openers and play only 1 ? c] Why make the most successful no 3 and opener and destroy him ? d] Why play a spinner like Harbajan who speaks follish unrealistic wishful thinking at press conferences and not include worthy players like Murli Karthik whom the Aussies fear! e]Why make the commitment to agree to a test with 1 match to acclamatize ? Real fools - Pawar and Co....Vengsarkar and Co and even Kumble and Co.... If you have the guts to fight then only you shall be worthy of representing India.

  • anon on December 29, 2007, 16:03 GMT

    i dont understand y yuvraj is being lambasted in ur article? wat about tendulkar? laxman? dravid? they dont even contribute in the field....tendulkar cannot win a game batting second for india and vvs laxman seems to be a master at scoring nice 40s and 50s...dravid needs to be given a few more opportunities at no 3 and if he dsnt succeed it wld be time to move on..dhoni's technique has started to be exposed now too...harbhajan i feel shld be dropped for piyush chawla cuz he is not a match-winning bowler.

  • Abbas Mohamad on December 29, 2007, 16:01 GMT

    Maan..what a disappointment. I was hoping for a Sachin double hundred special. That would have certainly sealed the deal for us. Well, lets hope we come out trumps in Sydney.

  • Sanjay Sunder on December 29, 2007, 16:01 GMT

    Murali Kartik or Powar instead of overrated Bhajji. Bhajji is too Sh** scared to flight the ball and buy his wickets. Bhajji -This is test cricket maan, have some cahunas. Same applies to the selectors.

    Sanjay

  • Mukund on December 29, 2007, 16:00 GMT

    anil is absolutely right. Ganguly's selfishness is unbelievable and it's quite incredible that no one (except anil) can see this

  • Gurch on December 29, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Kesavan is living in past hopes and not looking to the future + lot posting here are getting on Yuvi's back as they are thinking about their heroes before team India! Dravid, Ganguly & Tendulkar will not be around forever & just like the 3 didn't save India, Yuvraj didn't affect the outcome of this match.

    Calling him a 'pretender' is a joke - Yuvraj is a raw cricketing talent in every department and years ago whilst half the people here were moaning the demise of Ganguly... India suffered a major loss of a talent when he injured his knee severely. It’s because of articles like this that the man has so much pressure on him. Mark my words if the selectors keep the faith - after this series Yuvi will be one of the first names on the Test team sheet!

    Also can't wait for Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthapha to be given a chance. In 4 years time Aussies will be missing some great talent and coupled with India's past greats gone.. India have a great chance for the no.1 Test spot!

  • Dev on December 29, 2007, 15:56 GMT

    It was rough to see Dravid struggle in both innings. We got it completely wrong this test. I agree that adding Yuvraj to the mix and messing with Dravid's slot in the order cost us big time. However, going back to the last time that we were here, I would have preferred someone like Akash Chopra opening with Sehwag/Jaffer, given how he blunted Lee and Co. with the new ball. He didn't score a lot of runs but was effective cover to Sehwag. What I just can't fathom though is the lack of match practice that we had going into this test. It was reported that the Indian Board actually requested that number of practice games be reduced to just one, which quite conveniently, was rained out. I hope that side and management treats Rahul with some respect for the rest of this series. As for the series itself, I'm still confident we have the batting to come back.

  • Sujit on December 29, 2007, 15:50 GMT

    Why nobody is discussing India's poor bowling. They gave too many easy runs. RP singh should be dropped, bring or try Pathan.

  • Ketan on December 29, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    This has been the same argument all these years. It's always the guy who didn't pay should've been in the team and we would've won. The result would've been the same even if they had opened with Sehwag. He would've been out in the first three balls the way he plays these days and dravid would be facing bret in the first over. Let's not look away from the real issues. Our batsmen can not play even semi quality bowling. Specially if the ball is moving around even a franction bit. We can not field. We can't score singles (the most important thing to get on top of the bowles). We are too used to scoring tons with fours on our wickets were ball doesn't bounce more than the knee hights and doesn't deviate from the staight line. You had to see how we played agianst pakis to guage our batting capacity. Akthar was bowling fast, but crap and our batsmen thought he was the greatest bowler they ever faced that too on a flat tracks where the ball would go from bowler at 140kmh to batsman at 80kmh.

  • arun on December 29, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    bhavdeep, have you forgotten that it was because of Ganguly that we did not win the 2001 series. His cowardly decision to bat on past 700 should have enlightened people who think he is aggressive. Compare this with Ponting who was willing to declare with just 499 runs and 2 days still to go. That is agression.

  • Huzafa on December 29, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    To be honest with all you indian supporters, you really need to stop pointing back to your draw against australia on your last tour. You guys only drew with them because of the absense of three of their main bowling forces: mcgrath lee and warne - ok we all know warne wasnt the most effective bowler against india but since hogg is doing pretty well who knows what warne could have done in australia....australia's batsmen were as dominant as india's and their back-up bowlers were probably the same also. But now india have arrived where they face the role which mcgrath was responsible for (stuart clark is carrying that out); they are facing lee's speed and also what could have been warne's variation( brad hogg). Now we see india struggle with all of these bowlers. My point basically - india were never really good enough to challenge australia-no one is, obviously =[ -..and they still are not and they do not need to be recognised by everyone as "australia's only weakness"

  • Warnie on December 29, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    At the moment it seems like India are a team of great players and Australia are a great team. There are too much ego in the Indian team (and selectors) to help them focus on attacking cricket. I guess the ego is fired by the rockstar status their cricketers have back home in India. I also don't see the team giving much respect for the Kumble as a captain - he doesn't seem to get the support & respect like Ponting does from his guys. Cricket is a team sport and that's where India is lacking compared to the Aussies. If India's "rockstars" keep this up they'll only prove how over-rated they are... if only they'd just shut-up and focus on their cricket we'd might get an interesting summer of cricket.

  • Jason on December 29, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    This result was entirely expected, and merely confirmed that the Indian cricket team vies with the English national soccer team as the world's most over-rated sporting team in history.

    The failures of Yuvraj and Dhoni were as predictable as the successes of Hayden and all the Australian bowlers. I really can't understand the obsession of Indian's with Yuvraj? He's never even hinted that he will ever be more than a limited overs bully- much like Michael Bevan who also made a couple of decent test match scores as Yuvraj has, but 1 or 2 good innings does not make you a test cricketer. To shuffle around one of India's all time greatest batsman (more importantly one who has had considerable success overseas- a rarity amongst Indians) to accommodate a pretender was baffling... I can guarantee you that Australia won't shift Ricky Ponting from #3 to opener to accommodate some flash in the pan who's scored a few runs in one dayers!

    VVS Laxman at 3 is the right move- he should stay there

  • Ramesh on December 29, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    Let's face it...the Indian cricket team is not in the same class as Australia. They have no killer instinct. They never play to win. Instead they play not to lose. The sad part is that they have the talent. They are just too concerned about themselves because of the megabucks they make.

  • skrishnan on December 29, 2007, 15:31 GMT

    shewag should play he can get India to a good start which he did in the last tour. Australian wickets will favour his stroke play. He can also be a utility bowler. RP sing should be replaced by pathan. India is the only team that was about to take 20 Australian wickets. No other team came close to that. India will surely do well in the comming test.

  • cfmx on December 29, 2007, 15:30 GMT

    Excellent article! I hope selectors have at least half the wit of the author. It is a shame that a player fo Dravid calibre is being pushed around the order.

  • prem sagar on December 29, 2007, 15:27 GMT

    Dravid is opening only bcos other opener is getting out cheaply. First wicket is falling for less than 20 runs on the board. So, dravid has to face the new ball anyway. Its making only little difference to what he has to face. And yuvraj, well he deserves another chance. He is in the form of his life, and on many occassions he triumphed when conditions are not completely favourable. Sehwag, if he has to be played must replace jaffer. I dont see jaffer serving india well in australia..

  • Reza Thahir on December 29, 2007, 15:20 GMT

    drop dravid!!! in Sehwag,

  • Rajesh, USA on December 29, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    India looks to Dravid and Tendulkar to show the way and Dravid showed the wrong way. He is not he only one responsible for the batting failure but he is at the top of the list. He should have been out three times in each innings and that is even when he was not looking for runs. He has been in a terrible form.

  • Nish on December 29, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    Anyone who blindly says "Yuvraj doesn’t belong in Test cricket." without backing it up with proper reasoning shouldn't be writing blogs on Cricket.

    Mukul, perhaps you need a break - take a few months off, and then come back when you can write with better perspective than that of a crying baby's whose candy was taken off him.

  • Senthil on December 29, 2007, 15:15 GMT

    Yuvraj's century at Bangalore was a fluke effort aided by a very slow wicket with low bounce. I dont think he is a Test batsman, the selectors are unwise in keeping him for the remainder tests. Where is Irfan pathan? He is a good batsman and also a pretty good bowler.

    Australians are a ruthless professional outfit and will pummel the indians by thrashing them unless Indians get their act together.

  • Raj on December 29, 2007, 15:14 GMT

    Why is the team sacrificing Rahul Dravid? RD is one of the all-time greats at No.3. He is ofcourse in a worst slump of his career. Common sense would have Dravid drop down the order. If the team thinks it is mandatory to accomodate Yuvraj Singh (because of his terrific form) and have a make-shift opener for the Aus tour then the best idea would be promote Tendulkar/Ganguly/Laxman to the opening slot? Why are they not volunteering. Why isnt Tendulkar asked to open? Or Ganguly? They are in good nick..right? Why RD is coerced to open? Kumble also said 'RD has no other option'.

    Second option (the best one now) would be to keep Yuvi off. He can wait. Or rather has to wait. Have a specialist opener (either Sehwag or Karthick) and RD coming at No.6. Only then can we have a chance against Aus.

    One thing is pretty clear. If RD is forced to open again in the next test, to accomodate Yuvi... we can expect the same result.

    I hope common sense prevails in Indian team management.

    Thx

  • Suresh on December 29, 2007, 15:08 GMT

    I agreed ur statement shewag is a very good opener in the last tour of australia but today he is a good spectator too. Team india plan is very rubbish to sit out aggressive player in the pavilion. Team india the fab 4 is always fear to paly in australia obviously.

  • Apar on December 29, 2007, 15:02 GMT

    The importance of being Yuvraj... In an effort to include Yuvraj in the team, first Akash Chopra was sidelined... that unsettled one of the more successful opening partnerships India had, without giving it a proper run... given the show in this test, its puts into perspective Chopra's performance... he averaged atleast 20 runs more for same number of balls faced, and that start suited a middle order led by Dravid... if Yuvraj was that significant, what was he doing when given all the oppportunities when Ganguly was out of the team?? despite 7 years in the international circuit, Yuvraj was unable to shut out Ganguly's chances of playing Test Cricket... which has something to say about his abilities as a test batsman... including Sehwag in the team because Ian Chappell made a big hue and cry about it doesnt sound right either... Gautam Gambhir, supposedly injured, is playing in the Ranji Trophy... what is going on?? is there no one who can think straight in the Indian management???

  • Ruchir on December 29, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    Over the years when we look down at the Boxing day test then one thing will clearly standout which is Aussies outsmarted Indians. They were fully aware of strong and weak points of each and every field. Field positions could have been given new names as if they were different chords in Guitar. Indians can only think of upstaging Aussies but in order to achieve it they have to outsmart them. They have to go around Ponting's strategies and find a way to attack in an unconventional way. Yuvi has clearly disturbed the batting order. If he wants to fit into the schemes he should take initiative and open the batting. That will really prove his mettle. Even Dhoni is an ordinary player on foreign soil. Karthik can be one of the options. Hopefully the Indians give the Aussies a run for their money and hard work iced with smart work can be decisive.

  • ©hinaman on December 29, 2007, 14:58 GMT

    It is unfair being harsh only on Yuvraj while defending Dravid. The reality is both failed in their designated roles. Dravid had himself endorsed the mantra of a batsman to be flexible to move up or down the batting order. We have applauded his success in opening in the past. So let us stop finding excuses when he fails. The truth is, based on current performance only, (and not by stats nor reputation) the only way Dravid could be selected here was by him opening. We indeed had "other options", we could have played Sehwag and dropped Dravid altogether. Dravid batted no differently than usual, maybe a touch slower. Look back with an honest perspective, his "innings building" successes relies on him playing by his safety first approach; while other players above and below in the order has to maintain the required RR. Time and again we blame others to find excuses for Dravid's failures. It can only demoralise the others. Fairness is essential for good man-management .

  • Rajneesh on December 29, 2007, 14:55 GMT

    I think India were very short of match practise. They should now think of saving the series.the best they can do is to now struggle in the next test and play for the draw (at any cost, they shouldnt loose to Aus). 3rd test they can aim for a draw and try to beat the aussies. the 4th test they should go for the kill and beat the aussies. all tall claims were PHONEY. HOW TO DO IT: take in sehwag, jaffer and karthik and remove yuvraj and dhoni (they have played most irresponsibly)and let dravid come in at 1st down. india should take match session by session (dont loose wickets and try to get as many fifties as possible). if all 7 at the top make 50's they can never loose the game. if one/two of them make 100 its a great comeback. harbhajan should seriously think of his balling and should work in tandem with kumble. pacers should also try to learn from likes of clarke, johnson and even symonds. ganguly should be given ball more often. that the best chance and that is how to dig out.

  • jaideep chatterjee on December 29, 2007, 14:54 GMT

    why are we surprised that india has succumbed yet again in australia? mukul is right that dravid was treated shabbily in a team which was lopsided from the start. what were the selectors thinking when they packed they played politics with a team hoping to beat the best in the world. it was pathetic to see india get walloped in this way. but its happened before and will happen again because we never send the best team.

  • kannan on December 29, 2007, 14:54 GMT

    The whole attitude needs to change..If you are so docile the Aussies will strike upon with no mercy.The whole time it was as if Team India asking "Ok mate! we are bowing down when do you want to smite us"

  • Rohit on December 29, 2007, 14:52 GMT

    India got bowled out in less than 200 in both innings and people are talking about Yuvraj and Dhoni! Our four top batsmen in Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly should take the major responsibility for this batting debacle.

    Another point no one is talking about is the umpiring of Billy Bowden. He was poor and I think the pressure of Lee and the Aussies got to him. Yuvraj, Dhoni and Kumble were suspect decisions in the first innings and there were some close calls in favor of the Aussies on the first morning. There were some favorable calls for the Indians in the second innings but by then they were already chasing 500 in the fourth innings.

    The Aussies always get the better of the umpiring in Australia be it against India, England or Sri Lanka.

  • ramesh on December 29, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    change full team.my best 11 in bating order sehwag,jaffer,lakshman,sachin,dada,dravid,dhoniorkarthik,pathan,kumble,zaheer,ishanth or sehwag,karthik,laksman,sachin,dada,dravid,yuvi,pathan,anil,zaheer,ishanth.Niether dhini notyuvi cannot do anythink in assuies in test.dada in good form,send him no 3or 4.

  • TrubbleMaker on December 29, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    Hi guys... um... er... hasn't it occurred to anyone yet that considering the way the Aussies are playing, it REALLY doesn't matter who India chooses in the team. The only matter of interest will be how much (or little) they will lose by. How about giving credit where its due? [:o)

  • Nick on December 29, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    Everyone needs get over the idea that a good player in one form of cricket, is therefore good in the other forms. The suggestion that a player deserves a position in the Test side because of his form in ODI or T20 is irrelevant.

    In Test cricket each position needs to filled on its individual merit - an opening batter for 1 & 2, etc, a specialist keeper (who can hopefully bat well), and bowlers accordingly. It generally doesnt work to juggle the layout, just because...

    For ODI's the same is true, although the rules a little different, example: keeper who is also a batsman. AUS played Healy as Test Keeper, while playing Gilchrist as the ODI keeper.

    To put a player, a little out of form, out of his normal lineup position is suicide.

    Yes, there has been a lot of hope (hype) that we would experience a challenging series with India.

    The first day of the MCG match was a day of two parts - first session AUS - the rest to India - well done...

    The rest of the match sadly disintegrated.

  • sunil on December 29, 2007, 14:45 GMT

    everyone seems to criticise yuvi and Dravid,what about Dhoni.Can he just himself as test player.We are targetting yuvi and dravid what about jaffer and dhoni.Why can't dhoni open the innings with jaffer? We shud target dhoni instaed of yuvi.I am strong supporter of yuvi.He is our trumph card.

  • ramesh on December 29, 2007, 14:45 GMT

    change full team.my best 11 in bating order sehwag,jaffer,lakshman,sachin,dada,dravid,dhoniorkarthik,pathan,kumble,zaheer,ishanth or sehwag,karthik,laksman,sachin,dada,dravid,yuvi,pathan,anil,zaheer,ishanth.Niether dhini notyuvi cannot do anythink in assuies in test.dada in good form,send him no 3or 4.

  • Khushnood on December 29, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    Sydney test batting line up:

    W Jaffer V Sehwag VVS Laxman S Tendulkar S Ganguly R Dravid H Singh/ Y Singh I Pathan/ P Singh/ RP singh MS Dhoni A Kumble Z Khan

    INDIA will be back. An bold attacking move would be to keep Rahul and include Sehwag. But to write off Yuvraj as a bit part player is ludicrous. The most celebrated wicket by the Aussies was that of Sachin/Saurav and that was closely followed up by that of Yuvraj. The reason is the attacking flair these batsmen possess and that poses the greatest threat to the Aussie side. I think Yuvraj could be dropped to accomodate Sehwag, an attacking opener. Equally they could slot in VVS at the top of the order and then have a more solid middle. They must attack, and that is why Irfan should be included rather than an out of sorts RP Singh. Can they include the tall right armer, Pankaj Singh instead? He may trouble the comfortable Aussie bats a little more. IN ANY CASE, I BACK THIS INDIAN SIDE TO WIN AT SYDNEY!

  • Rajesh on December 29, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    Here we go again. The idiots are out in full force with their own personal agendas. The Australians are trying their best to give 100% support to Stuart Clark and Brad Hogg to take the place of Mcgrath and Warne. And here we are doing just the opposite to our prospects Yuvraj and Dhoni. It is funny to see people wanting to get rid of them after one failure. These are the same people who were coming up with all sort of excuses for Karthik to remain in the side after repeated failures. Karthik is a mediocre batsman and an average keeper. His presence in the team does more harm than good. He takes the spot of someone more deserving such as Chopra or Gambhir or Parthiv Patel. What has the guy done? A couple of decent half centuries and a century in Bangladesh. A very inconsistent wicketkeeper with always a danger of spilling a chance. Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni can be a match winner which Karthik can not be. If we want to change the team, let's invest into some quality and not into fakers.

  • vr01 on December 29, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    As an Aussie the only way to beat us is to match us in all facets of the game. Something that the current Indian team can't do:

    Batting - on it's day can match Aus but will never exceed Aus due to the pitiful running between wickets Bowling - No Fielding - NO Play as team - No Execute plans - No Consistent in all conditions - No Attitude - No - There is a saying "To talk the talk you need to walk the walk". Just like SA and Graeme Smith, plenty of talk and not much else...

    Most of the comments have centered on the batting and yes that's an issue but you have a lot more to fix. India is at least 100 runs behind before a ball is bowled due to poor running between wickets and poor fielding. Go to any cricket field in Aus on a weekend and you will see Under 10's putting in a better effort than what was displayed by India over the last 4 days.

    I would really like to see India challenge Australia but with the current team and administration it isn't going to happen.

  • dilip on December 29, 2007, 14:32 GMT

    Having dravid opening was a very bad decision. But dravid if was not comfortable should have denied the option rather than such a negative act. To win a cricket match you have to score more runs than your opposition or get the opposition out for less than what you score, somebody please remind this to dravid and team india. Wonder when dravid comes back to the pavilion after such a glorious stay at the crease what would be the response from the team. Having one tour match was not enough (BCCI officials s**k)

  • Prasanth on December 29, 2007, 14:26 GMT

    Mukul and the Art of Writing! When Hogg is persisted with despite not doing well, it is man management that builds his confidence. Yet somehow as he ends his article, he manages to tell us that if Yuvraj is persisted with for the next test, it would be a bad thing!

  • indira on December 29, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    There is no point in single out Dravid for the failure. The reason for the defeat is that we went into the match team with out a regular opener just to accomodate one more middle order batsman. The team think tank failed to understand that unless you have a decent opening parnership it will always be difficult for the middle order to perform. Dravid is our best one down bat, but since he is going through a rough patch, he should have been asked to bat at 3 or 4 down to regain his confidence. But instead, he was asked to open the innings , knowing fully well about his recent form. This foolish decision has cost us the match. To succeed against the Aussies you need attacking players at the top like Hayden or Gayle. Sehwag fits in that description. But he was ignored for this test. It was he who top scored in Melbourne when we toured last time(190 runs). India is the only team that keeps on meddling with opening pair and that puts more pressure on the followin batsmen.

  • swanand on December 29, 2007, 14:23 GMT

    firstly, everyone should stop blaming dravid for this defeat.the real curprit is kumble because he is the one who sent dravid to open the innings.when dravid was in form he scored a double century to draw the series in australia.now all the players apart from dravid are in form and they are happy with in 20's &40's.the fact is india have won abroad only when dravid has performed.today we are seeing this condition of india's gretest batsman is because of selfishness of sachin,sourav and other seniors.

  • abhinav on December 29, 2007, 14:18 GMT

    Well for those who are so desperate to have yuvraj in the team, lets have him, but not at the expense of dravid opening. It breaks the foundation itself. Lets have 2 good openers, and drop someone in the middle order to get Yuvraj in, if we are just so desperate to see him play. Atleast I am not, but then there are many, so lets drop one of Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman or Dravid : What say ? Sounds suicidal. Doesnt it ? The reasons for our win overseas have been our openers, be it karthik( in eng) or sehwag( in WI, Aus, Pak etc). Anil Kumble will do a world of good to the Indian team by getting back to our original batting order. Dravids mind is anyway so clogged and he is anyway low on confidence. In that circumstance, asking him to change his batting position is ridiculous. We dont want to lose a test series not because we are not talented enough, but because we tried to fit too much talent, which ultimately boiled down to nothing.

  • Kamal on December 29, 2007, 14:16 GMT

    In my opinion, the problem with indian team/cricket is that they first choose a team made of stars, then choose the 11, and then decide the strategy. If the team is to be run like a corporatio, with the only goal of results, then the strategy would be charted out first, then the roles identified for the strategy, and then the team members picked up for each role. We have to have 2 openers, one of who is at least open to the suggestion of aggression. - Maybe sehwag, maybe gambhir, maybe a new guy, and WHY NOT Tendulkar? he opens in one days, let him go out and be asked to play his naturally aggressive, no holds barred game. with 7 men behind wicket on the off, one hour of his presence will define the innings.Similarly, is there anyone better than Dravid at no 3 in the wide world? no. Number 4 - Ganguly or laxman . Preferably Ganguly, to add the left hand right hand combination. Number 5 - Laxman, Number 6 - wicket keeper - dhoni, karthick, whoever. 3 pace and 2 spin, choose your best.

  • Rohit on December 29, 2007, 14:16 GMT

    Pashir bring on Pakistan and South Africa? You must be joking. The same Pakistan who was soundly thrashed by India and South Africa who collapsed to a weak West Indies, both teams would have struggled to post even 100 in either innings. Take your hateful comments and India bashing elsewhere.

  • shiva on December 29, 2007, 14:16 GMT

    i totally agree with you.

  • Rauf on December 29, 2007, 14:13 GMT

    Mukul... your "Throw Yuvraj to the dogs" excuse is merely to explain away the failure of overly hyped up Indian batting lineup.

    I was able to watch most of the first match on TV and Indians were outplayed by the Aussies in every aspect of the game and that too in sub-continent like conditions. Yuvraj or no Yuvraj... Indians would have lost the match.

    Love them or hate them, there isn't a team in the world at the moment that can convincingly beat the Aussies in any series... home or abroad. The way Aussies function as a team is a site to watch. They may not have a "Tendulkar" or "The wall" etc but it's the total team effort in every department of the game backed by a brilliant captaincy.

    You have to play best cricket in every session and in every aspect of the game to have a chance of beating them and you have to repeat that in the whole series let alone one innings or one match.

    I say good luck to the "team India".

  • Nishant on December 29, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    Singling out yuvraj singh isn't fair.The guy has been in great form recently and leaving him out would have been blasphemous.Infact he's one of the few guys who's capable of taking the attack to the Aussies!All the batsmen,save Sachin and Saurav failed miserably in this match.So why single out yuvraj?

  • Rangam on December 29, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    Mukul was spot on. If Dravid had managed the same 5 and 16 in the first two overs and gotton out, it might have been much better! Since giving up the captincy he doesn't seem to be on the right positive frame of mind to play cricket. May be he should be rested and Yuvaraj given few more chances to mature (unfortunately, once the big 4 of Indian cricket leave, there is not much of - advertised bench strength)! On the same lines, Karthik who played well in English conditions deserves a place. Sehwag's long past history is good, but his recent showings in Ranji against very very low profile teams can work against him pschologically, unless God can help him, with a few dropped catches in the slips and point region to prop him up to belt a century under 100 balls - this can then help the greatest of false tigers in Sachin to mop up another century! Sachin should perhpaps goto to teaching cricket than be in the middle, for he has proved his inability to bat in pressure situations every time!

  • Viswanathan Rajeswaran on December 29, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    Maybe, he will not score and fail, but it is still a risk worth taking, especially, since the personnel in his place are not setting the ground alight with their play. On the other hand, if Sehwag fires, there is nothing like it. No one can forget the 195 he scored in MCG the last time around. Ironically, this time around, the entire Indian innings scored 196 in the first innings. So, if including Sehwag means that we need to leave out Yuvraj, no harm in doing so. Also, a word about Dhoni. He needs to pull up his socks as far as his batting is concerned. He is a specialist batsman in addition to his wicketkeeping and needs to take more responsibility with his shot selection. He could be the vice-captain of the team but, if he keeps failing with the bat, he needs to be reminded that Dinesh Karthik is breathing down his neck. And Karthik is a opener to boot!!! I wish you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year and hope the Indian team can start the new year on a positive note.

  • Chris on December 29, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    Why oh why does every touring team play into Australia's hands?

    We have been saying it for years and in 05 England proved that the ONLY way to beat Australia is to fight fire with fire. When batting, play aggressivley and take singles.

    When fielding, set aggressive fields and cut off singles.

    I fear India will not pick Sehwag (who plays like a Hayden) and this series will be 4-0.

    If they are like England of 06-07 and refuse to take risks (Panesar's exclusion) the results will be the same.

  • Dario on December 29, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    Yes the Aussie team are the best but they are BOOOORRRING also. The fact is the sub-continent sides do not have enough discipline to channel their talent into consistent results especially against Australia in Australia. I think the best India can do is salvage one draw in Adelaide or Sydney. Perth will be a massacre-India to lose in 3 days.

    The T20 victory seems to be a decade ago after this mauling.

  • Dario on December 29, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    Yes the Aussie team are the best but they are BOOOORRRING also. The fact is the sub-continent sides do not have enough discipline to channel their talent into consistent results especially against Australia in Australia. I think the best India can do is salvage one draw in Adelaide or Sydney. Perth will be a massacre-India to lose in 3 days.

    The T20 victory seems to be a decade ago after this mauling.

  • chukabume on December 29, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    I just need to say when was the last time sachin won us a test match? i guess never...and the man (dravid) who is instrumental in every win india has abroad is pushed around to accomodate yuvraj...come on ..the last guy to be moved around should be dravid..infact the batting order should move around to acomodate him..the only way india is going to make any dent here is with dravid in full flow...

  • Viswanathan Rajeswaran on December 29, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    Maybe, he will not score and fail, but it is still a risk worth taking, especially, since the personnel in his place are not setting the ground alight with their play. On the other hand, if Sehwag fires, there is nothing like it. No one can forget the 195 he scored in MCG the last time around. Ironically, this time around, the entire Indian innings scored 196 in the first innings. So, if including Sehwag means that we need to leave out Yuvraj, no harm in doing so. Also, a word about Dhoni. He needs to pull up his socks as far as his batting is concerned. He is a specialist batsman in addition to his wicketkeeping and needs to take more responsibility with his shot selection. He could be the vice-captain of the team but, if he keeps failing with the bat, he needs to be reminded that Dinesh Karthik is breathing down his neck. And Karthik is a opener to boot!!! I wish you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year and hope the Indian team can start the new year on a positive note.

  • victor trumpet on December 29, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    The problem with the Indian cricket team is symptomatic of the problem with India at large - we have no sense of humour.

    Look at the Aussies how they play. They train so hard yet they are always hamming it up with each other, because they know that there are more important things in life - like getting a good dowry and making sure that their children all become doctors and lawyers.

    Look at our commentators like Shastri and Gavaskar - they are so urbane and articulate - they make the Aussies seem like illiterates. Especially the Chappells.

    And yet these morons are so light-hearted and quick to take the piss. If we did that to each other war would breakout. I don't think we should imitate their professionalism. That would only compound the real problem - that we over analyse the game. With the operative syllable - ANAL.

    No we should learn to be foolish and silly and not take this mickey mouse game so serious. I mean look at the comments here for example. Everyone's an expert.

  • resmyrakri on December 29, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    Well Indialost the first game. All is not over. There are three more left. It is important that batsmen should fire. But who the hell this selectors juggling the batting order in such a way that a disaster is created. I would say whoever has made the decision to ask Dravid to open should be sacked. It is the petty p[olitics to find a place for a pedestrian sitting duck called Yuvraj sing that you are making all the non sense adjustments, and the best of the lot is to suffer. It seems that some people with vested interest want to see the back of Dravid exiting test cricket too. Ego clashes should never come into nations pride ansd patriotism. I would say Shewag should open, Yuvaraj should be shown the door and India should play more positively and agressively. India still has a chnace to fight.

  • A.A.Ahamed Afker on December 29, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    Well done Aussie,well done.You are no one team in any form of the game.When they visit last time to your country you are without Glenn and furteer Bradwilliam & Nathan is relatively new.That is why so called Strong Batting line up of India scored so many runs and they said they are the best side who can beat Aussie in Australia.But that is not the truth,they are average team like NZ or WIN.If you are true batsman you should deliver when team needs you more.Here these batsman getting all the 100's and 200's only at own back yard, that also against weakest bowling sides.I think among the current teams IND is the most experience side,they have four players who played more than 100 test matches and few more players more than 50 mathes.No any team having such a experince like them.But still they can not win mathes.Not only that when team needs desperately they never deliver.Example for that is world cup,Malaysia tournament,SA tour. Wait for 4-0 thrash from Aussie.

  • Viswanathan Rajeswaran on December 29, 2007, 13:55 GMT

    For my money, I cannot see Yuvraj succeeding in the Test Match arena against teams like Australia. And more importantly, its no secret that Yuvraj is not a competent player of spin bowling. This realisation may not dawn now on the Indian team management, but it will do so in the near future,probably, by the end of the series. I agree that he is a wonderful ODI player. No doubt about that. But, he has been given chances in the Test matches before and he has not exactly set the world on fire with his exploits there. Virender Sehwag is a proven match-winner in Test match cricket and he has proven that in Australia, even though it was against a second string Aussie bowling in 2003-04. But, now that India has been thrashed soundly in the first test, they need to do something different in Sydney if they need to compete, let alone drawing or winning the match. And, the only one capable of taking the attack to the aussies is Sehwag.

  • Rahul on December 29, 2007, 13:54 GMT

    Vinny your comments - " yuvraj's first hundred was on a green top in pakistan when umar gul(as good as any current australian bowler)was ripping through our great batting line up in 2004. Yuvraj's second hundred was on karachi green top when mohammed asif(better than any current australian fast bowler on his day)was running through our batting line up."- show exactly whats wrong with Indian cricket. To push the case for Yuvraj, you have gone ahead and made the statement that Asif on his day is much better than any aussie fast bowler or Gul is as good as the current lot.Well if you had looked at the stats then S Clark has the second best strike rate in the history of test cricket, Lee after his comeback in test cricket has been lethal and is a much better bowler now with his combination of pace and line/length. Johnosn who is playing his 3rd test is a far better bowler than Asif and equal to Gul. And please Yuvraj has failed more than he has succeeded.he is like bevan classy in ODIs

  • Dario on December 29, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    I am an Indian living in Sydney and it's just embarrassing, to say the least. All Indian supporters should petition for the team to come back home or be replaced by players like Uthappa, Kaif, Rohit Sharma.

    This Australian attack is good but hardly outstanding. I think Lee is decent and Clark is good but Johnson is average and Hogg is hopeless. The demons lie within the minds o fthe Indian batsmen.

    LOL @ people thinking Sehwag should play-he cant even score against Ranji trophy opposition. Sehwag will score 2 fours and get out. At least Dravid occupied the crease and delayed the inevitable-with Sehwag opening India would have been finished off by lunch!

    Yuvraj has talent but is a prima donna and primarily a flat track bully-ditto Dhoni. I feel both should be played for the first three tests and than dropped if they dont perform.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE-INDIA WILL NOT WIN A TEST HERE IN OZ, FORGET THE SERIES.

  • Adam on December 29, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    Will the Indian fans now temper their arrogant dismissals of other teams? I'm seeing little to no evidence that India are the 2nd best team in the world. They are firmly in the middle of the chasing pack.

    One must also ask, where will India be when Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman retire in the next 2 - 3 years. There are no genuine replacements in sight at this point. The cupboards are looking very bare indeed!

  • Avinash on December 29, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    After the 20-20 match against Australia, Dhoni spoke with Ravi Shastri saying that he reads "CricInfo".Mr. Dhoni if you are reading this, then PLEASE GET LOST. You dont deserve to be in the test squad.What was that shot that you played today!!!! Kumble plays better than you.

  • Vikram Soni on December 29, 2007, 13:48 GMT

    Relax guys. this is only the first test, India have not even had a full practice game on this tour. Sachin, Sourav and VVS seem to be in good nick. Dravid should continue to open - even if he is not scoring he has been successful in blunting the new ball threat. A slight change in attitude on his part, could see him transform into a successful opener who can serve India for the next 3 years. Just as India opted for the best 4 bowlers, we have to opt for our best batsmen - the best by definition have the skills to adapt to different circumstances. In any case, I dont think Viru (on current form) or Karthik would have been more successful than Dravid was in this test. Dravid just has to be more positive. If he is insistent on coming in at no 3, we should maybe send RP Singh on top, and then have Dravid coming in at no 3, in the first couple of overs itself - maybe that will help him mentally

  • Viswanathan Rajeswaran on December 29, 2007, 13:48 GMT

    Hi Mukul, You couldn't have said it better. I have the same view as yours. I think Yuvraj should have been said that if he wants to play the match, he should be ready to open the innings. He is supposedly, in the form of his life and so, he should be able to succeed in the openers slot. I am sure he wouldn't have wanted that. It really pains me to see Rahul Dravid struggling. He is the most consistent batsman for India in the last 10 years and seeing him bat the way made me think: Why doesn't Dravid act a little selfish? Why does he always have to put the team before himself? The last year or so has been very traumatic for him. He tried pushing himself down the order in the England ODI series with the team's interest in mind and was written off harshly in the papers by the selector himself. He kept wickets for the team when there was no competent keeper around. And now , he has agreed to open the innings just to accomodate a player like Yuvraj.

  • Amandeep Singh on December 29, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Contd... 7> Dhoni(Was all right behind the sticks which his primary job. Hopefully will fire with the bat at SCG) Bowling line up remains the same as they exceeded expectations at MCG & SCG is also expected to turn. So 2 spinners is a good bet. Inclusion of Sehwag will give us a good 3rd option for a spinner.

  • hawkeye on December 29, 2007, 13:45 GMT

    Sound advice for the indian contingent, who are so fond of making statements they cannot live up to....(Tendulkar's "the match is not over" and Harbajan's "we can make 500" for example) and also including our "expert" commentators Bhogle / Shastri / Mazumdar etc.,...Make it your New Year's resolution to keep your mouth shut till after you produce results. Making profound statements of false bravado, and how you will beat the Aussies, and that we have the best batting line up, is just that much hot air. It does not frighten the Aussies, and worse still, makes you the laughing stock of the cricketing world. Will someone please deliver this to our big mouthed stalwarts of the team, as well as the media experts.

  • Amandeep Singh on December 29, 2007, 13:42 GMT

    I agree with you completely again MK!! My team for Sydney would have: 1> Sehwag(he will not allow Aussies to choke India) 2> Jaffer(he needs to be persisted with considering his test form over the last 2 years) 3> Laxman(The best no. 3 India can have in Aus. Still has the magical touch although the fitness isnt the same as in 2003. But still a guy you can bank on in SCG with 167 & a magical 178 in His last 2 innings there) 4> Sachin( His 1st innings in MCG showed that He still has the flair of the 90s in Him. And is definitely a more solid player now.) 5> Dravid(Out of sorts. But form is temporary & class is permanent. He needs to come down the order "so that he doesn’t have the responsibility of giving the Indian innings a start".) 6> Ganguly(In the form of his life. If India get off to a decent start, he can really cash in & take the attack to the Aussies. Still has some chinks in his technique but they will always remain. No.6 is a gr8 spot for him)

  • Vish on December 29, 2007, 13:42 GMT

    I would say the loss reflects poorly on the job selectors did in selecting the team. They should have ommitted Dravid,Jaffer,sehwag,yuvraj,dinesh karthik from the team and picked some good players from the domestic circuit. Atleast, these guys would have had the urge to do perform.

    Right now, nobody expect a few batsman have the urge to perform.

  • Senthil on December 29, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Very well written. What you have not mentioned, however, is that Rahul Dravid was asked to do one and onlything and nothing else - to take the shine off the ball so that the "best" batsman in the world can hog the limelight. As far as I can see, the politics behind this thinking is that it was taken for granted that everyone of the Indian batsmen will score tons of runs against an Aussie attack without McGrath and Warne. So in the greed to shut out Rahul from performing any sort of heroics he has performed in earlier overseas tours, he has been asked to do nothing more that graft. This was so clear from what Tendulkar said at the end of second day's play that he was quite happy with what the openers had done.

    What is really disappointing is some one like Kumble has let this happen. So much more was expected from him. I just don't think Kumble is good for India if succumbs to commercial pressures and mess up India's chances against the great Aussie team!

  • Sunny on December 29, 2007, 13:39 GMT

    The last time, the aussies approached a world record, it was India who stopped them when we were pushed to the corner. I still believe in the potential of this Indian team even though at the moment it looks good only on paper....

    I am going to stick my neck out and Hope that Kumble does the same by including Sehwag, as not only if he fires....but he also gives the team an additional spin option.

    I have nothing against Yuvraj, but the management must understand that the balance is just not right asking Dravid to open who seems to be cluttered .. and no matter what he may say... I'm sure he would no doubt be happy batting at no. 3 ..

    Give him a lease of life byt not expecting too much out of him once, drop sehwag and believe that you can stop the aussies in their own back yard...

    chasing the record will be a huge amount of motivation for the aussies, but if India gives them a run for their money.... I can tell you for sure.. they wont be expecting it .. and thats the surpris

  • onelinerix on December 29, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    when will we as a nation come to accept the fact that we're simply not as good a cricket team as we like to think we are. making a ton of runs on dead indian pitches against weak bowling sides may make overall individual batting statistics look good but doesnt change that fact. does anyone seriously think that such an overwhelming loss where not a single batsmen scored even a fifty could have been avoided by including sehwag instead of yuvraj? we could have played with 12 men with both sehwag and yuvraj and given dravid double batting at positions 3 and 5 and we still would have lost. accept it!

  • onelinerix on December 29, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    when will we as a nation come to accept the fact that we're simply not as good a cricket team as we like to think we are. making a ton of runs on dead indian pitches against weak bowling sides may make overall individual batting statistics look good but doesnt change that fact. does anyone seriously think that such an overwhelming loss where not a single batsmen scored even a fifty could have been avoided by including sehwag instead of yuvraj? we could have played with 12 men with both sehwag and yuvraj and given dravid double batting at positions 3 and 5 and we still would have lost. accept it!

  • jaspreet on December 29, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    oh please! you can't loose a match this badly because of accomodating yuvraj. That may something to do but not much. Please start seeing things as are and take a look at scorecard again, Indian batting is just not that good in sa, aus etc. Lets get to a rotation policy so we have someone when your fab-four@home-minus dravid leave. We need to have patience to give extended run to young batters in sa, aus.

  • Victor Trumpet on December 29, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    The guy who said the Paki bowling outfit is better than the Aussies must have got his cricket education in America.

    The guy who said from watching this game he thought Tendulkar must be one of the greatest ever bats just behind Bradman, must have been an American.

    The guy who said that Yuvraj, Dhoni and Harbhajan should be dropped, must hate Sikhs.

    The guy who defended their selection must be a Sikh.

    The Indian looking supporters who actually support Australia must not give away our nuclear secrets to the Aussie bowlers.

    The Aussie fans who cried foul when Symonds was lampooned as a monkey, should be labelled hypocrits for allowing their wives to strut around the MCG in imitation of Indian batsmen.

    The only way India's going to beat Aus is if they give up vegetarianism and eat the Australians.

  • Victor Trumpet on December 29, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    The guy who said the Paki bowling outfit is better than the Aussies must have got his cricket education in America.

    The guy who said from watching this game he thought Tendulkar must be one of the greatest ever bats just behind Bradman, must have been an American.

    The guy who said that Yuvraj, Dhoni and Harbhajan should be dropped, must hate Sikhs.

    The guy who defended their selection must be a Sikh.

    The Indian looking supporters who actually support Australia must not give away our nuclear secrets to the Aussie bowlers.

    The Aussie fans who cried foul when Symonds was lampooned as a monkey, should be labelled hypocrits for allowing their wives to strut around the MCG in imitation of Indian batsmen.

    The only way India's going to beat Aus is if they give up vegetarianism and eat the Australians.

  • Rahul on December 29, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    If the team management does not want to play sehwag then i fail to understand the point of having picked him for the series. With regards to Yuvraj, well i cant understand how one innings against a mediocre pakistan attack can justify his inclusion in the playing eleven, when Karthik's performances in england cant justify his inclusion in the playing eleven. The indian team needs to take some harsh decisions and i tink to compete effectively in sydney, the indian line up should read - 1. Jaffer 2. Sehwag 3. Dravid 4. Tendulkar 5. Laxman 6. Ganguly 7. Karthik(Sorry but karthik's performances overseas in both SA and England have been much better and consistent than Dhoni)8. Irfan Pathan ( better go with him than harbhajan as harbhajan's performances were pretty poor in India as well and Irfan gives a bowling all rounder option and SCG will not be too different from the MCG wicket)9. Kumble 10. RP Singh 11. Zaheer. This is the best combination available to challenge Aus in the testseries.

  • Ashwin on December 29, 2007, 13:34 GMT

    Getting Dravid to open was a bad decision. Can't help think that they are setting him up for failure. To think that at the end of day one every one was rushing to write "Australia challenged at last", what a joke we couldn't sustain the challenge beyond day one. Paper tigers all over again, maybe we should think of leaping over the wall now and then like the tiger at SF zoo and cause some damage to the Aussies.

  • Prashanth on December 29, 2007, 13:30 GMT

    Against the moving ball, Dhoni, Yuvraj and even Sehwag are sitting ducks. Agreed, in Australia the ball doesnt swing that much as in England. But what Johnson, Clark and Lee could manage at MCG was good enough. I don't see a solution to the problems that Indian batting is facing right now. Sehwag could be a calculated gamble, but the chances that he would click are slim. Anyways, that would atleast allow Dravid to regain his composure.

  • ravi on December 29, 2007, 13:19 GMT

    I feel a major change in cricket rules to be implemented. Let us have substitute players like in football to replace on the field. This will ensure talent is not left warming the bench. A lot of what if? scenario will be limited.

  • sean on December 29, 2007, 13:17 GMT

    Just before last Ashes series, trescothick felt the need to go home. Individually this was a great shame for him but one can't help but feel that the other mental disintegrations that took place on that tour - Harmison's 1st test wide, Petersen's Adelaide hubris, Flintoff's drinking - were set by this. Dravid's first innings here is beginning to look the same. Mental toughness is paramount at this level of Cricket. Reading the comments on this blog, and those in the past in which India and Australia have competed, the hysteria (and sometime racism) with which Indian fans greet loss or victory shows a similar type of mental brittleness. Not all, but many.

    One comment lamented the loss of Cardus style heroics, suggesting that Australia employed a robotic and unemotional approach to the game. Don't mistake sophistication and purpose in the Australian game for a lack of engagement. In Australia, at this game, the selected men all stand up and are all acountable. 1Bn vs 22Mill.

  • Chipamong on December 29, 2007, 13:17 GMT

    I don't think Dravid should stay in Australia. Sewad should open the next test with Kirthick or? and Yuvraj should maintain his place to make challange himself and try to prove who he is. Dravid opened before many times (with Guru Chapel suggestion) and he openly said he had no problem at all opening the games. But now he is crying for his usual place!!

  • Premanand C on December 29, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    This is definitely a case of planning gone awfully awry. We arrive in Australia having played on dead, low bounce pitches against an extremely sorry Pakistan attack. Our only practice match gets rained off. Our premier batsmen, Rahul Dravid, is struggling for confidence. We draft in a player, merely on the basis of past glory. Sehwag is (was?) a wonderful player. However, off late he has been struggling, even against the trundlers back home. Expecting him to succeed against the world champions in their own backyard is the height of wishful thinking. If we had planned for Sehwag to play in Australia, he should have at least played in the Bangalore test. All in all, given the preparation India has had, only a miracle would've allowed them to compete against the world champions. And in all fairness, we managed to do that till the end of the 1st day. Which is a lot considering how SL faired. There is still hope. But, by the time we start competing, the series might be over.

  • Premanand C on December 29, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    Other than Tendulkar in the first innings, and Ganguly in both innings, none of the Indian batsmen ever looked like being up to it. Rahul Dravid seems to be fighting his own demons in his head. Clearly, it does not look like he fancies the opening slot. I don't understand why India's best batsman is shuffled around so often. Especially, when he hasn't been enjoying his best form even against lesser opposition. This means bad news for Yuvraj Singh and his fans. However, as Sunil Gavaskar has said recently, we need to make some hard decisions, if we harbour ambitions of competing, let alone winning. Also, it will also help if fans lower their expectations and be more patient. We have only lost one test against the all-conquering world champions in their own backyard. One just hopes that the Indian pulls up its socks high enough to at least compete. Other than the first day, this test was painfully one-sided. I hope we at least make it interesting.

  • Premanand C on December 29, 2007, 13:13 GMT

    Other than Tendulkar in the first innings, and Ganguly in both innings, none of the Indian batsmen ever looked like being up to it. Rahul Dravid seems to be fighting his own demons in his head. Clearly, it does not look like he fancies the opening slot. I don't understand why India's best batsman is shuffled around so often. Especially, when he hasn't been enjoying his best form even against lesser opposition. This means bad news for Yuvraj Singh and his fans. However, as Sunil Gavaskar has said recently, we need to make some hard decisions, if we harbour ambitions of competing, let alone winning. Also, it will also help if fans lower their expectations and be more patient. We have only lost one test against the all-conquering world champions in their own backyard. One just hopes that the Indian pulls up its socks high enough to at least compete. Other than the first day, this test was painfully one-sided. I hope we at least make it interesting.

  • Rohit on December 29, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    Sensible comments but none of this would be necessary if we didn't over-hype our chances in the first place. Lets face it, even with the quality in batting and Kumble, India is a slightly above average test side. We had good results in England but were not able to over turn the worst Pakistani side in memory last time round. The Aussies beat Sri Lanka hollow and they are probably the closest thing to condenders right now. Agreed messing with Dravid shows the kind of short-sightedness that is pervasive in Indian cricket. Can you even imagine Tendulkar or Ganguly moving to suit the team? Never happen - Dravid has every right to be miffed. Yuvraj should get his turn but this isn't the right way. More professionalism, better basics and much less hype and we might draw a game or two....

  • Victor Trumpet on December 29, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    The problem for India is that the current crop of Aussie quicks have all learnt to bowl like Glenn McGrath. That is; consistently pitch the ball on off stump at bail height. Richard Hadlee was the first to do it in the 80's and he was so successful that the Aussies could only reply by bowling underarm.

    In fact the only man who can consistently score runs against this type of bowling averaged 99.9 and is dead.

    The really funny thing is that Lee and Johnson are bowling like McPigeon, but 10 km/hr faster. It's lucky that Stuart Clark who snapped India's vegetarian spine in the first innings is only bowling at 135 km/hr. Yeah!

    The Australian's 12th man Stuart Tait bowls at 160 km/hr and has been described as a white, six foot four Malcolm Marshall. The way Mitchell Johnson bowled in the last session you can bet Tait won't get a look in. So let's burnish him in boot polish and deify him so he can play for India. What's wrong with that? The pommies field foreignors all the time.

  • SarmadR on December 29, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    Bangladesh scored 300+ runs in one day against Australia Pakistan scored well in the Boxing Day Test in Australia (with Yousuf's century) Nobody said that Australia were at last challenged or that it was refreshing...this is NOT a one day..don't give comments after just a day of play...there should be a limit to your blind obsession with your team of has-beens...seriously...the Indian fan needs to grow up and stop living in a bollywood dream world where his team is the best and can do anything... 2-0 will be a respectable score in Australia (Although unbelievable...i think it should be 4-0)

  • Vijay Belapurkar on December 29, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    I fully agree with Mukul.Don't mess around with established batting order especially playing against the ruthless Aussies. And all this to accomodate a pretender in Yuvraj Singh who in both innings was totally out of his sorts and lost in wilderness. He may score an odd century on a flat track against an indisciplined attack. Play a specialist opener like Shehwag who is worth taking a chance and can play fire with fire. R.P Singh should make way for Pathan. Our fielding in Melbourne was even below Sydney's club side and awful. What is the fielding coach doing with respect to fielding and running between the wickets. Let us hope these problems are addressed and India puts up a much improved show in 3 days time in Sydney.

    Vijay Belapurkar Sydney

  • indianfan on December 29, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    i think it is now impossible to win this series.giving ausies the upperhand is always fatal. Sehwag has to be in the team and open.we need to attack defence is foolish.I dont agree thet dravid is bad i fell he needs to play no6.Dhoni heeds to concentrate more on his batting his keeping is good but batting very poor.if he continues like this we are better off with karthik as he is a better keeper.our main players have failed to realise that they are professionals.Mr Shastri keeps talking about how professional the ausies were so why cant the indian team do the same. they need to realise that they are serving us poorly. we pay their salaries for god sake the least they can do is give us something to smile about.the need to realise their responsibility towards their country had have some pride when they play not just talk rubbish to the press. the ausies are good at talking leave them to do it and concentrate on what uve gone to do no excuses! the players need to get off their bottoms!

  • Raj on December 29, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    For me what is really worrying is, despite the mamoth loss today, Kumble is still backing Dravid and has told his "batters" to get 350 to 400 runs in the Sydney test!. Is he on drugs!? He just said it was a disappointing batting performance and added that India showed that they could take 20 Aussie wickets in this first test. Wow Kumble! ..that's great analysis indeed!. Listen guys .. THERE IS ONLY ONE THING MISSING IN THIS INDIAN TEAM .. AND THAT VITAL THING IS "COMMON-SENSE". When you bat, you need common-sense, when you bowl you need common-sense and when you field you need that too!. And guess what!? Most of the Indian team don't have it!. Pure and simple fact!. I would like to drop the technical coaches and get a couple of good mental coaches to help the players. Start with basic things like 'run a minute' for test match and 'run a ball' for one-dayers. Howzzat for a start!! The rest of the analysis is all pretty futile honestly!. These over-rated players lack application. Period!

  • JERRY on December 29, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    LAWLZ!

    That was laughable. The famed batting line up crumbles again. In essence,this debacle has proven the fact that these so called great line-up performs only only on pancake flat pitches against modest attacks.

    Tendulkar looked good in both innings but proceeded to throw it away. His inability to convert starts into mountaneous scores a la a Lara or a Ponting should be looked at when debating the greatness of the man.

  • Ano on December 29, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    I think mukul, like most journalists, is jumping the bandwagon. Picking Yuvraj's case is very convenient. Jaffer, VVS, Dravid, Ganguly, Sachin (yes sachin, 50 odd runs in first innings does not mean much) dhoni failed too. After all, we scored less than 200 in both innings.

    Dravid has been out of his game for a while now. There are two things can be done. Give him a break for next test, which can give him time to sort his stuff out or break his confidence as it is the way metality works with most asian people. Or continue playing him on the position he wants to play in. He is out best bet when in form and deserves to play.

    I think playing Sehwag is becoming a gamble india will have to take. He has done nothing domestically to suggest he can contibute to india's cause, but its not like we have any other choice.

    For my money, this should be the line up going into next match.

    Sehwag Jaffer Dravid Tendulkar VVS Ganguly Dhoni Kumble Zaheer VRV Harbhajan

  • Yogesh on December 29, 2007, 12:51 GMT

    Is Mukul Keshavan the pen name of Niranjan Shah the BCCI man? India lost because of a predictable batting failure. Underline the word predictable. Make it capitalized and bold. On pitches that are different from the sub-continent ones, the Indian batsmen always need many good practice matches, not one interrupted one.

    In the series we have done well, recent England and South African series come to mind, we have had many practice matches and / or the one day series before the test series. If I remember correctly the last time we were in Australia we had two practice matches and the first ‘lucky’ match in Brisbane where Ganguly played the best innings of his life.

    The Indian batting will be fine by the third match. It will be too late. Cricket Australia would celebrate. So should cricket India (I know we don’t have cricket India but a board which controls cricket). It is the second series against Aus when the board has not given the team the best chance to compete.

  • shankar on December 29, 2007, 12:41 GMT

    Lets face it. Yuvraj can not play quality spin. Period. Even Hogg is too good for Yuvraj. He got Yuvraj twice in the first test. Will do the same in the coming tests too, unless somebody else scalps him as soon as he arrives. India only has the option of gambling and the gamble is Shewag. He is not in the class of Dravid/Sachin/VVS, but on his day he can be a brutal force. And thats what gamble is all about. Somebody has to show the rest of the batsmen that they can hit the aussie bowlers. Ganguly, Sachin and VVS played well in patches. With a good start, they can do even well. Any cricket loving guy would be in awe of VVS and Dravid and I guess Mukul is no exception. This is not bias towards them and against yuvraj. Its all about cricket, nothing else.

  • Hilal Suhaib on December 29, 2007, 12:39 GMT

    It's nice when it works, Ponting tried the same tactic with McGill and Sangakkara & Co tore him up. Mcgill later faked a wrist injury.. Postmortems were done on Sri Lanka as well. The Lankans were considered to have the finest bowling attack going around with Murali, Vaas and Malinga. None of that helped them much against the Aussies. The Australians think of every minute detail when it comes to winning. An under prepared touring side falls heavily into that winning equation. Our Asian cricket boards should take much of the blame. India has 4 Tests and they will do much better as the series progresses, even Dravid. Sri Lanka had 2 tests and looked severely under cooked.

  • Muhammad usman Aslam on December 29, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    It didnt take the aussies much to remind Mr Mukul where indian stands.... Coz if i'm not wrong it was you who a week back labelled Kumble bearing the burden on his lean shoulders the responsbility of rescuing Test cricket... how gross !!

    feels awesome to see you eat your words this way.

    How can you persist with people like Dhoni , even Yuvraj who dont have a proper technique for such conditions. Drop them for good.

    and for all indian fans...

    Living in Melbourne, i could sense how every aussie was sick of this sort of agression style talk from loonies like Harbhajan..

    U got what you deserved.. and trust me.. there's much worse to come.

  • Premanand C on December 29, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    This is definitely a case of planning gone awfully awry. We arrive in Australia having played on dead, low bounce pitches against an extremely sorry Pakistan attack. Our only practice match gets rained off. Our premier batsmen, Rahul Dravid, is struggling for confidence. We draft in a player, merely on the basis of past glory. Sehwag is (was?) a wonderful player. However, off late he has been struggling, even against the trundlers back home. Expecting him to succeed against the world champions in their own backyard is the height of wishful thinking. If we had planned for Sehwag to play in Australia, he should have at least played in the Bangalore test. All in all, given the preparation India has had, only a miracle would've allowed them to compete against the world champions. And in all fairness, we managed to do that till the end of the 1st day. Which is a lot considering how SL faired. There is still hope. But, by the time we start competing, the series might be over.

  • dwblurb on December 29, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    I would agree with the author. What has been done to Dravid, India's best batsman overseas, is criminal. As an Australian, I rejoiced when I heard that Yuvraj made a century in the last test against Pakistan, as I sensed India would be tempted to pick him for the First test as a result. It is almost inevitable, given his lack of footwork, that he will nick behind against the moving ball. If he gets through that, he is very poor against spin for an Indian batsman. The man is no sping chicken any longer, but seems content to smash it on flat wickets in one day cricket rather than attempting to become a major Test player, as he has done nothing to correct his weaknesses. Ganguly at one point had a similar weakness outside off against Australia, but, to his credit, worked hard to conquer it. Yuvraj needs to do the same, but judging by his petulant performance in this game that would require a complete change of attitude. He seems to think he is much better than he really is.

  • tomp on December 29, 2007, 12:36 GMT

    whilst i agree that changing the batting order was not the right idea especially down under against the mighty aussies . That is half the battle lost when you are not sure of your best combination. I think its a bit too early to write off Yuvraj as a test player and to single out his selection for Dravid's faliure by the author baffling.It was a collective faliure against a discplined attack. The so called big players need to pull their socks up . Shewag has to play even if he gets a pair because he will ivariably get a big one in this series.

  • Rawlo on December 29, 2007, 12:28 GMT

    India were just out played in this game. As an Australian, i enjoyed seeing a battle on the first day, but was disappointed with the efforts of the Indian openers and the fact that the indians didnt go on to post big scores after making solid starts (Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman). If India is to have any chance of winning this series they have to win the toss, bat first in Sydney on a 'spin-friendly' pitch, and post a score of 400+. Another thing that i do agree with is that Sehwag should be brought into the team so that someone will have the confidence to attack the Australians, as he did in Melbourne on India's last tour, scoring 195 with 30 mintues left on the first day.

    Tell me what you think

  • Lakshminarasimhan on December 29, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    contd..from previous blog. Making wholesale changes like dropping Jaffer,Yuvraj, Dhoni et al is not going to help. However following changes are in offing: 1.Karthik inplace of Dhoni, if Dhoni fails to show grit and grip in batting. He completely looked out of sorts in 1st test and looked like as if he was going to give wicket of every ball.His batting technique might have suited Sub-continent wickets but he looks a weak link in Australia.He should be given clear message that he is under scruity and forget about leading Indian Test side for time-being and establish his credentials as Test cricketer first. 2.Going with Pankaj instead of Irfan considering the fact, Irfan is not that quick and Aussie team will take him for ride. However, if Pankaj doesn't deliver the goods, then Irfan can be tried for 3rd test. He will give additional dimension to batting. 3.If Jaffer fails to perform in 2nd test as well, then he should be replaced by Karthik for 3rd & 4th test...Cheers.Happy New Year

  • Binod on December 29, 2007, 12:25 GMT

    Good analysis Mukul. Assuming a foregone conclusion of a 4-0 whitewash, Team India should just bite the bullet and experiment all the way. Good decision by the selectors not to give the Test captaincy to Dhoni. He's so not ready.

    Have Karthick and Sehwag open. Karthick can keep. Have Laxman, Sachin, Ganguly & Dravid come in next. Their class and experience is simply too great to not have them there. Form will come back. Bring Pathan back as the all-rounder and a 3rd seamer option and left-hand bat. Play Zaheer, RP and Kumble. That's 10. Keep Bhajji in for one test and for the next blood the other spinner, I forget his name. And try a 4 man pace attach with Ishant Sharma for the 4th test. Kumble, Sachin and Sehwag can handle the spin department, with Zaheer, RP, Ishant and Pathan giving the Aussies something to worry about.

    Yuvraj and Dhoni can do well in the ODIs.

  • Karno on December 29, 2007, 12:22 GMT

    Yuvraj, Jaffer, Dhoni and Yuvraj barely resembled batsmen in this match. To call Yuvraj a pretender is wrong. If you ask me the whole batting line up are pretenders. So much experience yet such a result! India are not a great team but they're a team with great players.

    Except for Ganguly every single batsman threw away their wicket. To me Jaffer doesn't have the temperament, Dravid does not have the form, Dhoni is a tailender down under and Yuvraj is struggling against consistent bowling. I think India should consider a five man bowling attack, 5 batsman and a keeper. Ganguly should be 4 with tendulkar 3 and laxman 5 with two openers along with Pathan who can score a handy 50.

  • Gaurav Sachan on December 29, 2007, 12:21 GMT

    After this performance,the Indian team should see "The Matrix" and remember the words of Morpheus, "free your mind of all doubts".The team management has just made a Mess with Rahul Dravid just to put in Yuvraj Singh in the team.I just cant comprehend, why is it always Rahul Dravid who has to do something differently than just bat beautifully and consistently over the years to stay in the team.Ganguly as captain asked him to keep wickets so as to incorporate a 7 batsman formula.Now, Kumble, wants Dravid to open just to incorporate Yuvraj into the side. Why hasnt this treatment been given with other "so-called" great batsman in the team. Its a pathetic thought, that your strongest batsman in the team is your weakest link. Doing all this, is doing no good to Dravid and to the teams cause as well. I just feel, for India to do well overseas, Dravid is one player who needs to play his heart out.Till then,the Sachins,Gangulys and Laxmans cant do much, except an occasional masterpiece.

  • Johnny Vane on December 29, 2007, 12:18 GMT

    As a cricket lover I'm frustrated that Sehwag is in the touring party but not in the test team because I'd rather see him for 10 minutes than most other batsmen for an hour. I guess Sehwag is like Michael Slater and Sanath Jayasuraia (I know I got the spelling wrong) some times his method works, some times it doesn't and you have to accept that as he gets older his method works less often, but oh boy when it works he's going to go close to winning you a game! As far as Dravid goes, he was a great batsman six months ago so I can't see why he wouldn't be a great batsman today. There is just one rule with great players, 'Give them every possible chance.'

  • S Rajput on December 29, 2007, 12:17 GMT

    This guy Mukul should be banned from cric info. He is a stupid south indian with no knowledge.He criticises Yuvraj after ONE poor performance despite his tons under tough cnditions and pressure, also he doesnt get a run in the side like other players. He excuses dravid who soaked up thousands of balls to make single runs, i think its clear who is at fault.dravid was even out of form on flat tracks v pakistan and he was in the middle order,yet yuvraj fired a hundred :) what of jaffer who is useless on bouncy tracks, he should be dropped for sehwag. Open with sehwag and Dada. Drop Bhajji who is useless and has done nothing for years and play P Singh or I Sharma.

  • azza on December 29, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    India needs to send Sehwag in to open - they desparately need someone to take the initiative at the start of the inning and put some doubts into the minds of Australian bowlers. The way Dravid played in this test match reminds me of Jason Gillespie at his best.

  • kannan venugopal on December 29, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    mukul,you raise a few pertinent issues.dravid, being asked to open, when in the worst form of his life was a move certain to backfire.why havent we learnt yet that the only way to beat the aussies is by playing aggressively?and dravid put so much pressure on the whole team by his inexplicable crawl even in the 2nd inningswhen there was considerably lesser pressure. i would punt with sehwag opening in the sydney test with dravid moving to 6 and yuvraj making way.depending on the pitch, harbhajan/ ishant to play.we have to take the punt now,when the series is still alive.yuvraj's attitude on the field was disappointing and that is concerning.

  • ashe on December 29, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    going by the number of comments one can guess the interest the Indian intelligensia has in cricket and the team thats playing. We have to accept our limitations though and that fact that we are playing one of the best Australian teams ever. We dont have a single bowler of Lee's calibre. He instills fear in every batsman, not just ours. We must strengthen our limited resources and ask each player to perform 110% on the pitch and stopping dreaming about their sponsorships,wives and 'tax free' prize bundles. They are plaing for India and not for Sahara or Emirates.Dropped catches need to be punished severely because the Australians dont give 2nd chances. Sehwag needs to come, even though its only for 40 runs (in 36 balls). It may be enough to bring down Lee from his high pedestal of invincibility that Jaffer and Dravid have helped him onto at the moment.

  • abhijit on December 29, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    i agree entirely. why should dravid be the fall guy, the good guy who is pushed around. if sachin can be greedy enough to hog the opener's slot in one dayers why doesn't he put his hand up to open? or dada for that matter :) kumble's comment that "he (rahul) has no choice" was in rare bad taste, for the technically best bat in india, the former captain, is being treated like a novice. well, not unexpectedly, he played like one, and his batting appeared as churlish and slow as the whining schoolboy with his satchel and shining morning face creeping like snail unwillingly to school.

  • vidhyadhar pai on December 29, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    i think that INDIA has got a future no.3 batsman in both forms of games i.e. S. BADRINATH . he can attack as well as defend. so i think INDIA got a good no.3 batsman if and only if the selectors and the team managemant plays him at no. 3 , otherwise i think INDIA is moving 2 steps ahead and 5 steps backwards. if someone can make sounds in the INDIAN TEM MANAGEMENT please do it to bring S. BADRINATH AT NO.3 IN BOTH FORMS OF THE GAME.

  • Lakshminarasimhan on December 29, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    I would choose the following 11 for SCG. 1.Wasim Jaffer 2.Virender Sehwag 3.VVS Laxman 4.Sachin Tendulkar 5.Sourav Ganguly 6.Rahul Dravid 7.M S Dhoni 8.Anil Kumble 9.Zaheer Khan 10.Harbhajan Singh 11.Pankaj [no harm to try him] Reasons: 1. Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid are two similar type batsmen and allowing them to open again is wrong.This combination will not give edge to India at all and expecting to change their style of batting to attack is only going to add misery. Virender Sehwag possibly may click only in one of the two innings, however that is more than sufficient as he will keep the scoreboard ticking. Jaffer is technically strong, however should learn to leave offside balls & stay bit longer at crease. 2. It is actually a bit harsh on Yuvraj to be left out, however his time will come when one of the four[Sachin,Sourav,VVS,Dravid] will retire.There is no doubt, he has lot to contribute. 3.Trying out Pankaj will only add to dimension as he is unknown quantity..contd....

  • Deepak on December 29, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    BIG MISTAKES!!

    YUVRAJ is not a test player. If he wants to be in the batting line up he needs to be told to open. Dravid has always been the leanch pin for india, wicketkeeper, captian and now opener. Poor guy, hope he doesnt call it a day, he has been treated really bad. For you YUVI fans, a few runs in the 50-50 and 20-20 doesnt make you a test player. If you look at the last AUSSIE tour of india YUVI failed and the aussies now how to bowl to such a player, who will look to strike every ball, good and bad. Yes the strategy was wrong too! If India batted two days they would have scored about 450-499, but they need to look to score from the outset, and there were plenty of bad balls to be hit. The aussie were having fun with indias negative manner! putting men in all kinds of positions, when this happens the best thing for the batsman is to hit the ball to bounderies and score runs to force the fielding team to push out and defend a little. Good bowling as always from AUS.

  • Ravi Kumar on December 29, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    10 on 10 for your observation mukul, its ridiculous to sacrifice your best middle order man to include the so called future man of the Indian cricket on the basis of a century in a one off show,agreed that he came in at a time when India is in trouble in that match but the bowling attack has not posed any serious threat after that initial wicket burst. You don't mess too much with your best men in team and their slots in the order against an Australian team, who precisely wait to capitalise on such harakiri from their opposition.Its not the right time to push him into the side, nomatter how much he scored in the previous match, he will have to wait to get into the team till one of the Big Four hangs his boots. Unfortunately it looks like they will persist with the same combination. A completely flat track along with a "Open"er minded Dravid or a brilliant knock from someone can possible give us a victory. Lets hope for t worst we might get away with "Fair" on the progress report.

  • Shehzad Ghani on December 29, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    I am a Pakistani and one person/batsman I adore in Indian cricket team is Dravid. Watching him play and seeing his contributions, I believe he is a greater batsman than Tendulkar easily and at par with Gavaskar, waiting to take over as the best India produced. I feel sorry for the guy. Nice chap always gets demands from him just because he is a patriotic Indian. Why could they not ask Tendulkar, or Ganguly to open who open in ODIs or even Dhoni who opens in domestic cricket or even the glamour boy himself who could prove his worth to the side opening the innings. India should also give a chance to more reliable Karthik than stick with Dhoni. I am sure Dravid the captain wanted it.

  • gopal on December 29, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    It is very unfair to call yuvraj a pretender,yuvraj has showed in the past that he is capable of playing on bouncy wickets.who can forget his brilliant innings on a green top at lahore when umar Gul had ripped the Indian top order. The Indian selectors r being foolish in making dravid open,every time there is any crisis the poor chap has been made a scape goat.It would be best suited if he bats at number 3,after all he has the best average overseas after Don Bradman.Yuvi should be made to open the innings.He has a hundred to his name after opening the innings against pak in 2004 at lahore. Harbhajan singh should be kicked out for his gibberish talk instead of perfoming.His bowling average has been increasing steadily in both forms of the game(to be precise 34 in ODIs and 31 in tests).He is simply a passenger in the Indian team.

  • Bis on December 29, 2007, 11:55 GMT

    Agree with Gaurav. Drop Dhoni bring Karthik in. Also drop Yuvi to make way for Sehwag (play Yuvi in the upcoming practice match after the second test to see if he can gain some kind of form). Retain fab 4 for middle order. Bring Pathan in for RP to shorten the tail.

  • anant on December 29, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    couldnt agree more... if there is one thing that got to me about this test was the selection of yuvraj and in doing so compromising dravid's preferred position...

  • Pashir on December 29, 2007, 11:51 GMT

    The display by the Indians in this test match was nothing short of disgraceful, inept and unmanly. They are mentally beaten and they manifestly fear the Australians. Their massive egos have been crushed. Are they really the best India has to represent them - they are a lahghing stock. I wish that the ACB could bring out a team with some guts, some will to fight - the English last year - appalling cowards - the Sri Lankans, hopeless and now these pallid, pathetic and incapable Indians. Why can't we have the Pakistanis or the South Africans? A team with a bit of pride, a bit of desire to actually make something of themselves. Of course, the Australians will still beat them but at least it won't feel like a pushover.

  • Sreecharan on December 29, 2007, 11:49 GMT

    We can blame anyone to everyone for the debacle and even justify our claims as our TV channels would be doing that by evening. But the biggest drawback I see is we missed the entire picture right at the planing stage. Our opening should not have been tinkered with even during the SA series but we chopped and changed it several times till now. Then as Mukul said we have pretenders in our team and we let them blough us and get away with it. I still believe if there is a team to beat Australia in Australia it is either of India or SA but the present indian team is just not good for that. And for goodness sake how long more should we still live in the faith that Harbhajan would do the magic of 2001 and keep him feeding the chances

  • srikanth ks on December 29, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Its all fine to criticise dravid for the way he batted. India lost the match not only by 337 runs but with almost 125 overs to spare. India did not bat 80 overs in any innings. That speaks volumes. Still 20% of the overs India batted were batted by only person(dravid) , who has never been an opener in his career and has been made one just to accommodate the poster boy/ad value boy Mr. Yuvraj. They should have simply gone with Dinesh Karthik and Jaffer and not disturbed the opening combination. . Yuvi came in for Sachin in Bangalore test. Just because he scored a 100 there they have messed up the whole thing and gave the test on a platter to Australia after our bowlers did a wonderful job. It is high time they revert to the original combination and give our best players their best postions. Micheal hussey waited till he was 30 just to get his place in Australian side. Heavens wont fall if Yuvraj waits for one or two years and earn his place rightfully.

  • Sreecharan on December 29, 2007, 11:43 GMT

    We can blame anyone to everyone for the debacle and even justify our claims as our TV channels would be doing that by evening. But the biggest drawback I see is we missed the entire picture right at the planing stage. Our opening should not have been tinkered with even during the SA series but we chopped and changed it several times till now. Then as Mukul said we have pretenders in our team and we let them blough us and get away with it. I still believe if there is a team to beat Australia in Australia it is either of India or SA but the present indian team is just not good for that. And for goodness sake how long more should we still live in the faith that Harbhajan would do the magic of 2001 and keep him feeding the chances

  • Ashutosh on December 29, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    Mukul, you made a valid argument. Dravid's role as an opener, that too in the first game of the series was an absolutely wrong decision. Some of my friends here might disagree, but in recent times Yuvraj has not put a great show in test cricket, atleast against a formidable side and on a competitive wicket. Asking a batsman like Dravid, already going through a lean patch to open the inning was a blunder. Sehwag's inclusion to the side was already a gamble and many critics opined that it could work this time. (WC06 is a past now, still Sehwag did his best to save the crucial game against Lanka.) The team management should have struck to this decision. But, as usual they missed the first opportunity to pressurise the mighty Australians. I also suggest, RP Singh could be replaced by Pathan. Sehwag should open the innings, which leaves Yuvraj with no place in the playing 11. Ashutosh

  • Niranjan Shetty on December 29, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    indian selctors are the one to blame.They spoil the careers of vino kambli by picking up in ODI in severel times indtaed of picking him in Test. His test avergaes is im mid 50's. Ditto to Amul muzamdar & ambati Raydu both are of test materials & they had never ever given a chance to perform. They has to take a leaf from Srilanka who kept their faith in atapattu even though his fist 5 test inninmgs yield single digit

  • HD Stout on December 29, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    After having read all the comments, it is sure this is a team failure. No one performed well. Not even Tendulkar. Many people think he batted well. The fact is he did not. Good batting would have been to stay at the wicket while scoring. He tried to score in the first innings but fell playing a stupid shot. Ganguly and Laxman looked assured so long as they lasted. Dravid cut a very sorry figure may be because of lack of form. Bowlers did fairly well but this is not a world champion team as many dreamt!

  • Rohit on December 29, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    I dont understand all this doom and gloom talk after being beaten by a team who have a near flawless record in their own backyard for the last few years.We are playing our first match on a tour we haven't had serious practice for,against a great bowling line up. To our credit we did manage to bat 70 odd overs in both innings Australia only batted some 30 overs more in total,but the difference in approach and as a result runs has been more than 300.Lets look at the positives- Kumble's brilliant five for,Tendulkar's short but sweet cameo,Ganguly's assured 40's in both , Laxman getting some time in the middle with a 40,Dhoni being decent behind the stumps.Also Khan and RP bowled with a lot of heart,and not much luck.All this talk about batting approach and such is nonsense,we cannot just ape the Australian way, we have to play our own game.Important thing is middle order cash in after a start and score a big hundred,blaming the openers for a slow start or Yuvraj is too convenient.

  • aswin on December 29, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    if indians still dont realise their mistakes they should really bang them selves. the mode dravid plays can neither be said as good or bad, because he has to stand for a long time but he should have taken some runs in the mean while. the bolwers should be given more practise, when compared to the ausies. the team as of now is good except the inexperienced yuvaraj and dhoni as test players but this is the time for them to develop their skills in this form of game. talents are right now hidden and their potents is very high the team supporters, guiders and coach robin singh and venkateshwara prasad should think and plan more to bring the hidden potents out of the players that to at right time. every body knows that india is the only team that can break records and also create records, its high time to break the ausies 15 in a row record.

    I wish all the good luck to win the forth coming matches and break the high pointing ausies nose.....

  • prasath on December 29, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Dravid is a class player no doubt I am a big fan of him but I don't think Yuvaraj will be taken out after all he did't score in one test like most of his team mates scored. The fact is we need an attacking openers like sehwag the wall had done wonders during the last time but look at his scores that he has played in the last one year the wall is crumbling he is out of form for ages and there is no place for him in the eleven other than the opening slot. So it is time for Kumble to take a brave decision.

  • Arsh on December 29, 2007, 11:14 GMT

    Mukul - I must admit - I usually don't read your blog (there is sooo much to read everywhere on Indian crciket!!!) but this one article is spot on. I caould have never said it better.

  • Keyzad Anklesaria on December 29, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    Could'nt agree more with you on this Mukul.Its appalling and outragious to even think of sacrificing a player of Dravid's calibre just to accomodate a player who has yet to show even 1 test innings of class outside the subcontinent.I also agree that after having commited this murderous crime ,instead of rectifying the error they will continue with this combination and take another brutal beating.How can one forget that one of the biggest reasons the Indians did well the last time around was because of the agressive and strong starts Viru and Aakash chopra provided.Also please dont forget that this is a Test match and one needs to have people in specialist position and not play around with the batting orders unless the Non existant Indian think tank thinks that its more important to protect Yuvraj than to protect the team. And all this is happening for only one reason because the poeple behind this move doesnt have the courage to face the back-lash back home if Yuvraj is not selected.

  • souvik on December 29, 2007, 11:03 GMT

    Bhavdeep S Sachdev, you have forgotten that India failed to win the 2001 series because Ganguly was too timid - instead of declaring when India had scored 500 they played on till they were 700. That is timidness, not aggressiveness

  • praneet on December 29, 2007, 11:02 GMT

    U are in awe of VVS and dravid..mukul..nothing wrong but just wake up from ur old world slumber and acknowledge talent.If dravid is in bad form how would shifting him to middle order amke a difference..and why is dravid immune from criticism..why its not his fault?? if its his egotistic nature which prevents him from playing fast then he need to be dropped pronto. and i assure you Mr kesavan your kind of batsmen will become rare..cos at the cricket coaching centre in my samll town is producing plenty of yuvrajs and dhonis and less of ur kinda VVS and dravids. I belong to the state of Punjab and ur comments about Yuvraj are insulting to say the least.

  • damo on December 29, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    if yuvraj had half the chances that Ganguly was given he would have done a better job.

  • anil on December 29, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    has anybody noticed how selfishly Ganguly played, running hard only when he scores and sleep walking when it's his partner's turn. What a pathetic player. What happened to all the Australia bashing in the previous posts from the author and his blind readers.

  • Abhishek. R on December 29, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    Why can't we ask Sachin and Sourav to open the innings? This can make way for other batsmen and a more flexible line-up.

  • Pratyush on December 29, 2007, 10:51 GMT

    (contd from previous commnet)...I guess there is something with the board and his team-mates that is making him feel insecure. I think it is upto Anil Kumble to get him back on track, who not only has played with him for so long but is also a good friend with him. To end your career right on the top is a dream for almost any sportsperson, and it is really disheartening to see Dravid withering away in his twilight days. I am sincerely hoping that somehow Dravid comes out of his present mindset in these three days (Ravi Shastri's chill pill mode can help :)), and does something exceptional (maybe similar to Adelaide test last time). Would do anything to watch Dravid bat like his old days again.

  • Pratyush on December 29, 2007, 10:50 GMT

    It is really painful to see Dravid (greatest Test player India has ever produced) in his present condition.There is nothing majorly wrong in his technique these days as he is looking rock solid as ever. It has to do something with his mindset, which has for some reason looked quite skeptical. The mindset was easily visible during his handshake with Australians at the end of the match. He was simply avoiding them,which is quite unlike Dravid. Sunil Gavaskar rightly pointed out that he is not enjoying his cricket at all. I believe that he still has not overcome the World Cup debacle, which sounds quite absurd, but, I guess it is true. We have not seen one Dravid-like knock since then. He gave up captaincy even after winning the historic test series in England. (Contd in next comment)

  • Ravi on December 29, 2007, 10:41 GMT

    Spot on Mukul. Dravid is the best player of the Indian team and asking him to open the innings instead of playing at No 5 or 6 is a very bad decision. He is going through a lean patch and instead of protecting him, he was made the sacrificial lamb. Dhoni, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Jaffer should be sacked. They do not deserve to play at this level. Karthik should open with Sehwag. Why is not Tendulkar (so called greatest player of all time) or Ganguly who have opened so many times is not opening in test cricket when the need arises?? Only Dravid and Laxman are used for this! Its time we select the playing XI on merit rather than on the whims and fancies of the Board and play agressive cricket as that's the only chance against the aussies as England showed the way in 2005. or we can expect a 4-0 Whitewash!!!

  • GP on December 29, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    Learn to digest. Regardless of who is playing, players have to have a right set of mind to go out and get'um...kill'um. Indians in general lack that...too defensive....thinks of Diwali all the time like T20 but doesn't happen just like that my friends...need to show some chartactor.

  • Ganesh on December 29, 2007, 10:39 GMT

    It is not foolish to play Dravid as an opener.But the thing is that he should have opened with Sehwag.If Sehwag clicked then it would have easily been a big partnership,with sehwag attacking and Dravid consolidating.With Jaffer playing very slow on the other side,it mounts more pressure on Dravid.There is nothing wrong with Dravid but with his partner.Opening with defensive players will not provide the momentum for india.They need atleast one attacking player in the top order.

  • nick on December 29, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    as an aussie im pretty shocked by all the indian comments calling for Yuvrajs sacking already. personally, i would at least give it one more test before making a judgment. as for dravid and jaffer at the top of the innings, i think its fair to say that the aussie openers (1st innings especially) didnt give them the chance to get india off to a positive start. the two times dravid tried to up the anti he was dropped in slips by jaques and caught off a noball by hayden! perhaps the indian openers were just outplayed...as jaques was for the first 30 mins by indias bowlers on the opening session. and a final thought...thank god for kumble. he showed resistance with the bat and brilliance with the ball, play three quicks and kumble. harbajan isnt up to it

  • Imran Malik on December 29, 2007, 10:15 GMT

    I still Consider India as No. 2 Team in the World ranking. It is just a matter of time that few bats man has to come into the form. Dravid is a solid batsman but seems he is losing his confidence. He will come to it. His greatness is beyond any doubt.India must show consistency with selection otherwise they will suffer the same as what is down under with Pakistan. I wish all the Indian team well and I hope 2nd test match will go in their favor. I have the gut feeling that India will win the next match and Dravid along with Tendulkar will be the highest run getters

  • Gorav on December 29, 2007, 10:13 GMT

    Dravid doing opening was not a good decision. I don't agree that Yuvraj should be dropped. He deserves a chance after playing a really good innings against Pakistan. IMO, Dhoni should be out of team to get kartik in as opener with jaffer. Sehwag is an option for opener, but I think Australians are too smart to exploit his technical deficiencies.

  • Pratyush on December 29, 2007, 10:12 GMT

    Very well said, Mukul. But, I believe Karthik would be a much better option than

    Sehwag. There was no reason for dropping Karthik after he was termed as a "find of

    the England tour". Sehwag, on the other hand, had been in terrible form over last one

    year. He had scored some 60-odd runs in last three test matches in domestic cricket,

    and Board picks him up for the tour, just because he had a fantastic tour in

    Australia FOUR YEARS back, which completely makes no sense. I agree with Ian Chappell

    that India need somebody to take up attack straightaway with Australia, but that does

    not mean inclusion of Sehwag who will more often than not gift his wicket and India

    will be back to sqaure one with Dravid walking in early with the mindset of playing

    it out for as long as possible. Karthik is an intelligent cricketer who has the

    ability to punish bad balls and can play out good ones, and would really be more helpful to Dravid's (and India's) cause compared to Sehwag.

  • Graeme Bass on December 29, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    this really is simple no team can compete at the moment with australia whilst the administrators insist on giving the aussies an easy ride in test cricket.

    India are probably the second best team in the world at the moment with wonderful experienced batting line up which on its day may be the best in the world. But no team even the best can go from the slow wickets on the sub continent one week and the next week play against the world champions. Lets not forget that whilst the Indians were playing Pakistan the aussies were putting there feet up having practice matches against the Kiwis. They were able to rest players.

    Why did India not play at least the one day series against the aussies first and then the tests. At least they would have been acclimatised to the conditions. When the Aussies come to England they play a one day series and get used to the conditions ..... and then beat England at Lords!

  • parthiv on December 29, 2007, 9:55 GMT

    Yes, it was totally foolish to play Dravid as an opener. Sehwag should get a chance as opener- replacing Yuvraj- he can hardly do worse. And Kartik can only come into the team in the place of Dhoni. You CANNOT play both of them in the team- neither is good enough to play as a specialist batsman. And if Viru plays and can bowl a bit, Pathan can replace Harbajan- this would strengthen our batting as well as bowling.

  • Keethivasan on December 29, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    Well, India mite win prolly one test all of a sudden by surprise...thats going to be purely by luck...australia is a better side and will have a better hit ratio...it makes no sense to (me atleast) comment on a change after a downfall...its purely a numbers game and we need a good statistician to pick players based on objective variables like ground, batting spot, bowling avg and past performance against teams/players, performance record away from the subcontinent...also, it calls for some subjective decisions like aggressiveness, temperament, rotation of strike etc etc...the list goes on...quite obviously, for a new player into the team, who doesnt have enuf stats, its these subjective factors that come into play...i dont vouch for a particular player because i think its just immaterial to do so because the numbers are right in front of us...if the selection committee takes care of the grassroot level and picks a squad based on stats,the job remains easy for a captain to choose his 11

  • Sumanth on December 29, 2007, 9:44 GMT

    Dravid has played too much cricket to be bogged down as an opener. So he should take a lot of blame. He did show some improvement in the 2nd innings, so he should not be dropped. At the same time, he should not bat at # 5 or lower because he can't make quick runs with the tailenders. So if he's in the team, he should come at #3.

    If India doesn't gamble with Sehwag at Sydney, it will be too late to gamble. So he should be in.

    And Laxman, Tendulkar, and Ganguly are the ones who scored a few, which means Yuvraj has to go.

    And I wonder why Harbhajan keeps getting selected instead of Murali Kartik who is attacking and intelligent. Bhajji has resorted to let his mouth do all the talking, which is becoming more embarrassing with every defeat. If the Sydney pitch doesn't have much for spinners, he should be dropped for Ishant.

  • Sumanth on December 29, 2007, 9:42 GMT

    Dravid has played too much cricket to be bogged down as an opener. So he should take a lot of blame. He did show some improvement in the 2nd innings, so he should not be dropped. At the same time, he should not bat at # 5 or lower because he can't make quick runs with the tailenders. So if he's in the team, he should come at #3.

    If India doesn't gamble with Sehwag at Sydney, it will be too late to gamble. So he should be in.

    And Laxman, Tendulkar, and Ganguly are the ones who scored a few, which means Yuvraj has to go.

    And I wonder why Harbhajan keeps getting selected instead of Murali Kartik who is attacking and intelligent. Bhajji has resorted to let his mouth do all the talking, which is becoming more embarrassing with every defeat. If the Sydney pitch doesn't have much for spinners, he should be dropped for Ishant.

  • CP on December 29, 2007, 9:36 GMT

    Agree with you Mukul. I was thrilled when Sehwag was picked in the squad. But now we have Yuvraj who doesnt look like a test player at all. He had his chances and has failed. I do hope for the sake of the series, Yuvraj is dropped and Sehwag is brought back. The Big Four have a position which should not be tampered with during such an important and difficult tour. Yuvraj can be tried later on.

  • Anand on December 29, 2007, 9:31 GMT

    I think it is a collective failure of the entire team. For starters Indian team selection historically has been based on "knee jerk" reaction. Where is the need to tinker with the opening when Karthick/Jaffer combo did so well in much more seamer friendly surfaces of England and SA? A couple of failures and you are out. Aussie's persisted with Hogg for some time now and look it paid off and so with Clarke in tests and like Deepak mentioned, Hayden is another classic example. Did you see Kumble's body language in the field? Never do that when playing against the Aussies. Dhoni as a Test keeper requires some re-thinking too. There was not anyone in the Indian side who can escape blame. All Indian batsman were setup by the Aussie's and they did provide catching practice to the Aussie fielders. Keep talking about Last Aussie tour and we will perish. Remember the big four Indians and Kumble were 4 years younger. That was another time.

  • mahesh balakrishnan on December 29, 2007, 9:31 GMT

    yes you are right mukund.yuvi & Dhoni r good in one dayers not in tests that too outside india.Tell me one thing guys, Dinesh Kaartick played excellently in South Africa, Bangladesh & England, but he is not in the team, Dhoni doest do good with the bat outside india is still rated high and playing all the matches, harbajan is useless, and Murali kaartick is dropped though he bowled a great spell against aussies in bombay.THis indian team is selected on on the advt.ratings, and not on true merit.sorry to say this if yuvi,dhoni & bajji not dropped for the coming tests india can never win even a warm up match in Australia.open with sehwag/kaartick with jaffer,followed by laxman, sachin,ganguly,sehwag/kaartick, dravid,kumble,zaheer,ishant and the newone pankaj we will win in sydney.

  • srinvasanP on December 29, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    INDIA'S FAILURE IN THIS TEST AND PROBABLY FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES HAS BEEN LAID DOWN BY ONE AND ONLY RAHUL DRAVID-THE GREAT WALL (UNBIASEDLY). HE CREATED A GHOSTLY PICTURE OF THE PITCH AND MONSTEROUS PROFILE OF THE AUSTRALIAN BOWLERS BY HIS OWN UNCHALLENGED WAY OF PLAYING. iT REMINDS ME THE ORIGINAL RAW RAHUL DRAVID AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS CAREAR---- A STRING OF 0'S, SINGLE DIGIT SCORES, I REMEMBER IT TOOK HIM ALL MOST 14 INNINGS TO SCORE A FIFTY. DANGEROUSLY SLOW LIKE A SNAIL. HE IS AT PRESENT IN HIS DIFFERENT SHELL AND IT IS INTERESTING TO SEE HOW HE CAN COME OUT OF THIS AS HE LIKES HIMSELF ALWAYS ALOOF AND AWAY FROM FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES. I THINK WE HAVE ALREADY CONCEDED THE SERIES JUST BY INTRODUCING DRAVID AS AN OPENER. iN FACT HE REQUIRES SOME TIME OFF FROM THE CRICKET TO KEEO HIS HOUSE IN ORDER AND REFILL HIS ENERGY WHICH SEEMS TO BE DRAINED OFF EVER SINCE HE OPTS OUT OF CAPTAINCY. CREDITS TO ANIL, ZAHEER, SOURAV AND SACHIN FOR THEIR EFFORTS. I AM SORRY TO MISS GANGUL'S 100.

  • Observer on December 29, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    The writing was on the wall. Yuvraj sing is NOT a test player yet. Period. Can he become one ? Yes, if tries hard. But not like behaving like a superstar. His attitude was never right for test cricket. Just drop Yuvraj and Harbhajan from the side. Bring back Sehwag and Murali Karthik. Then this team can beat Aussies or atleast put up a decent fight.

  • Hariharan on December 29, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    The talent is there but unable to deliver.See approaching next test by taking a gamble means the confidence level is low.So first Indian batmen should regain confidence with which they can beat any team in the world.

  • Ajith Fernando on December 29, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan who support India against any country except my own.

    I fully agree with Mukul. If you are to beat Australia specially on their own grounds, you have to be aggressive and attack from the word go. Being defensive would not help at all. Asking Dravid to open when he is not at his best form weas a big mistake. 21 runs in 180 balss or so is a disgrace and an insult to him. When you have a player like Sehwag who can take the attack to the Aussie bowlers from the start and then going through that painfully slow innings from Dravid is unbelievable. Dravid can come at number 3 or middle order. Yuvraj will have to wait for the time being. His chance will come in due course. Not yet though. Here you need your best and most experience. If Dravid keep failing in the middle order as well, then bad luck. However great a player he may have been, will have to go out and let Youvraj come in.

    Hope the selectors have the courage to take a risk and go for the kill. All the best.

  • d suresh kumar on December 29, 2007, 9:27 GMT

    india should play the next test at sydney with the opening pair of sewhag and karthik.dravid at no.3. yuvi should be dropped and bring back pathan.his batting is good.

  • Gorav on December 29, 2007, 9:27 GMT

    Dravid doing opening was not a good decision. I don't agree that Yuvraj should be dropped. He deserves a chance after playing a really good innings against Pakistan. IMO, Dhoni should be out of team to get kartik in as opener with jaffer. Sehwag is an option for opener, but I think Australians are too smart to exploit his technical deficiencies.

  • BT on December 29, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    For the 2nd Test, I think India should partner Laxman with Jaffer as openers, Dravid at first drop, and the rest of the order remaining the same. Yuvraj needs another chance to prove himself. He shouldn't be savaged after one bad match.

  • Anand on December 29, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    I think it is a collective failure of the entire team. For starters Indian team selection historically has been based on "knee jerk" reaction. Where is the need to tinker with the opening when Karthick/Jaffer combo did so well in much more seamer friendly surfaces of England and SA? A couple of failures and you are out. Aussie's persisted with Hogg for some time now and look it paid off and so with Clarke in tests and like Deepak mentioned, Hayden is another classic example. Did you see Kumble's body language in the field? Never do that when playing against the Aussies. Dhoni as a Test keeper requires some re-thinking too. There was not anyone in the Indian side who can escape blame. All Indian batsman were setup by the Aussie's and they did provide catching practice to the Aussie fielders. Keep talking about Last Aussie tour and we will perish. Remember the big four Indians and Kumble were 4 years younger. That was another time.

  • d suresh kumar on December 29, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    india should play the next test at sydney with the opening pair of sewhag and karthik.

  • sunil on December 29, 2007, 9:19 GMT

    I guess dravid did not justify his innings , he was too slow , he killed the momentum , sachin showed everyone how to play in that pitch & only ganguly followed but dhoni , yuvi , laxman , jaffer all failed. WE DO NEED SOMEONE LIKE PATHAN FOR THESE TRICKY SITUATION , WE FAILED THIS TIME & LETS HOPE THAT WE DO BETTER IN THE REST OF THE GAMES.

  • Got up at 3:00 AM on December 29, 2007, 9:17 GMT

    Clearly Dravid caused the collapse by his slow batting. He is not in good form for sometime now, therefore him Opening helped nobody. Harbhajan looked very lazy. Irfan should play in his place. For me Yuvraj is India's best batsman in 2007. He deserves to be in the Test team.

  • utthaman on December 29, 2007, 9:14 GMT

    I totally agree with the article line by line.Shewag can't do any worst than Yuvaraj.Shewag has to open to unsettle the Australian bowlers and even if he gets out early it won't be different from what we have know ie. Dravid opening,but if he clicks we will post a huge total and we will have Lakshman at number six to consolidate the batting.Right now once Ganguly is out the Australians know that they can get Yuvaraj with the spinner and Dhoni with pace and then run throught the Indian line up.Dinesh Karthik would also be a good choice of a keeper..just an idea.

  • Ajith Prasad on December 29, 2007, 9:14 GMT

    Good stuff. I have the following view in addition. 1) It was pathetic of the Indian board to play all matches of the pak-series on pain pancake, dust-filled tracks. With Australian tour in mind they should have played at least 2 matches in good pitches such as Mohali or Chennai. 2) The short-sighted Indian board is always worried about cricket as in Onedayers -rather it's a business to fetch money. So are the players because they get paid well for a few hours of effort. They have forgotten test cricket otherwise they wouldn't have picked Yuvaraj Singh on this test side. Yuvaraj is a great stroke maker and fielder but unfortunately fit only for one-dayers or 20-20. Dhoni is no different either, but he gets onboard due to his keeping position. 3) According to me the test batting order should be Sehwag,Karthick,Laxman,Tendulkar,Dravid,Ganguly. This blends agression v/s steadiness/technic. For Melbourne, Sidney they should play two spinners and for Adelaide,Perth only one.

    Ajith

  • Ganesh on December 29, 2007, 9:12 GMT

    India must include Sehwag atleast for the next match in order to challenge the Aussies.One cannot score runs by just driving and glancing the ball in australian pitches with thick outfield and best fielders surrounding the bat.You need to hit the ball hard and ready to take the aerial route if possible.That makes the aussie bowlers to err in line and length and make the fielders spread through the outfield that can help to rotate strike with easy singles.
They most embarrassing thing in indian innings is that not more than one fielder,fineleg,was there in the outfield.So there was no way for singles and rotation of strike.I would like to see hard hitters like Sehwag in the team to built momentum from the beginning.
Even now Sehwag has a better average than others in the team like Jaffer,Yuvraj and Dhoni.He too has an impressive record against the Aussies.So There is nothing wrong in giving him another chance.

  • Sanjay on December 29, 2007, 9:12 GMT

    True True..and can we get guys like Harbajan to SHUT UP..what did he actually do for the team in this game except for giving statements to the press regarding how Team India will win this and even before coming here he was talking about how Bradd Hogg will have a hard time against indian batsmen..leave the talking to someone like ponting who walks his talk all the time and I guess that is why he is the best captain hurts everytime our team loses this way but i guess we have a funny way of forgetting everything and being optimistic the next time our team plays.they should only play against KENYA, Ireland and canada..haven't included Bangladesh because they can still beat us..sad..very sad.

  • aloobhaja on December 29, 2007, 9:11 GMT

    Dhoni is unlikely to be an asset this time around. Him making way for Karthick will kill two birds in a stone. True, Karthick hasn't been in the best of forms, but given the way Dhoni is batting, we won't lose much anyway, would we ?Yuvraj deserves another chance. If he flounders similarly in Sydney, Sehwag could be considered an option.

  • edwin mendonca on December 29, 2007, 9:11 GMT

    mukul i dont understand why my comments are not posted. please explain

  • Kris on December 29, 2007, 9:11 GMT

    Mr.Mukul - This is one of the sloppiest articles of India's performance. Dravid is a number 3 and has come in to bat early in more than half of his innings so I am not sure what difference "OPENING" slot makes and he is 100+ tests mature engh to adopt one position higher. Next the way you write about Yuvraj displays your cheap knowledge and opportunistic journalism on cricket. He is a powerful performer and he will come good. Along with Dhoni he is India's biggest future hopes.Kheldar..Your XI is almost good but I would just change 1 with Dhoni and 2 with Sehwag. That makes a formidable and AGGRESIVE line up to match the Aussies.

  • Deeks on December 29, 2007, 9:10 GMT

    This one is really big defeat for Team India, i hope new indian coach Garry will give some tips to team, i we can hope india will do or will beat aussi in next Match. all the best

  • Arvind on December 29, 2007, 9:07 GMT

    It is easy to criticize team selection after the match has ended. Hindsight is always 20-20. I would have been much more impressed if you had published your views on Yuvi's selection, and the batting order change after Day 1 of this match.

    I dont think it was such a bad bet picking Yuvi over Sehwag(even though it didn't work out great). Sehwag was a good batsman 3-4 years back, but he is going through a real rough patch at this point (he hasn't made a decent score in the past few Ranji matches in flat pitches against weak attacks), is a poor fielder and his bowling wouldn't have made any significant difference to the outcome.

    Yuvraj on the other hand is in the best form of his career, and the best fielder in our team. He might not be competent enough against good bowling, but (despite the batting order shuffle) surely he is a better bet than Sehwag right now! Had Sehwag opened the innings at the MCG, Dravid would have probably been in before Brett Lee had warmed up anyway.

  • blitzkreig on December 29, 2007, 9:07 GMT

    Team India missed a trick. The MCG is a venue where they had a chance to gamble with opening pair of Jaffer/Sehwag. If Sehwag had failed in this test match, Kumble could have asked him to pack his bags and moved on with Jaffer/Dravid or Jaffer/Karthik (at expense of Dhoni).

    Yuvraj must be persisted with at SCG.

    I hope Harbhajan shuts his trap and focuses on his game. Ramesh Powar is a better offy these days with his subtle variations. Is it time to pull a "Ganguly" on Harbhajan?

    Dravid in opening solves all problems on paper but opening is a different mind-set. A smart batsman will survive longer than a skilled batsman in this position. It requires rotating strike and not have bowler devise an elaborate plan to get you out in 6 balls. My team@SCG: Jaffer, Karthik, Laxman, Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Yuvraj, Pathan, Kumble, Zaheer, Harbhajan. Not a big fan of wicketkeeper opening in a test but it will have to do. Jaffer can be dropped for Sehwag but I think we'll see him at WACA.

  • HD Stout on December 29, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    Well written Mukul. We need to change our strategy if we want to be a good team. There was no need to shoehorn Yuvraj at the cost of an opener. It is folly. May be Dravid did it before but he is not at his best now and that fact should have been considered. Any how how many of us really believed that India could beat the Aussies in Australia?

  • ABm Habibullah on December 29, 2007, 9:00 GMT

    Everytime time India loses, somehow indians find pleasure blaming on on someone. They always have to have a scaoegoat. Well, comparing to Aussie, your team is much inferior. It is just the fact. And calling Shoaib Akhtar disfuctional was way out of line.

  • kinshuk on December 29, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    this is called "living in denial"........ mr. mukul kesavan nd all the others who want sehwag in tht side now would hv been the first ones to criticise his inclusion had he played nd failed...........

    and i wonder why yuvraj is being singled out.......the fact is that the entire line-up was simply not upto it..........

    let's face it..... the batsmen simply didn't have the stomach for a fight.....they were simply not good enuf..........

    no matter how much we want to deny it, the fact is that the only time we looked like being in the game was when we were bowling (something else that we have never wanted to accept)........

    make as many changes as you feel like, there's never going to be results until we face the facts........ that the indian batsmen (and batsmen from every other side in the world) are incapable of coping with the pressure of playing in australia.........

  • Patrick on December 29, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    Your are darned right Mukul, but i would like to add that and agian you are spot on...the team looks like goin to be the same and yes in a way i would say it should not be. Just the attitude. Firtsly Dravid muddeled it up. He got the guys into a marsh land/quick sand even before a step was put. It was always going to be difficlut gettig out of a quick sand.Period.Isnt it??. Look at this way. A different test, a different year, a different attutide will change all that the Indian team got into and came stuck. Let the skipper shoulder the blame here. And remember Boys make your wickets count. Hard. If Jaques can play like that how come Dravid cannot a mere 20 % at least. Be positive,passionate and a little bit more courages...A good knock in the head is always good in the begining. See You Guys in Sydney. Now Walk the Talk Guys. This is It. Welcom 2008

  • Indian on December 29, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    I think Sehwag was lucky to miss this test, people will not ask for his heads if he fails in second test than failing in this test. Guys, it is foreign pitch, opponent is Australia, they have plan for each and every batsmen. India suffered most due to failure of Yuvraj and Dhoni and bowling failure. Opening has always been problem in Australia, I have seen India losing 4-5 wickets more cheaply than this test but still they managed to cross 200. There was nobody to support Ganguly in this test. It was a bowling pitch and India allowed good start in both innings. RP Singh was failure. Indian fast bowlers were zero in Aussie comparision. In Bowling they should bring Ishan Sharma back for RP Singh and bring Pathan in place of Bhajji. India should have played a right hand bowler as Aussie righty were more successful. There was no reason to break successful(England series) opening pair. My team. Jaffer Karthik Dravid Tendulkar Ganguly Laxman Dhoni Pathan Kumble Zaheer Ishan

  • rohit saxena on December 29, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    I think mukul's comment that yuvraj doesn't belong in tests is too harsh.It's just that he has to wait for either of the trio(sachin,saurav and rahul)to retire.And then he had scored a century in the previous test, so a hue and cry would have been raised if he hadn't been picked,an air of victimisation being created around him.Of course,if a makeshify opener had to be there,it could've been sachin,who has the experience of opening in ODIs,so he knows how to face the new ball.Anyway,the failure of Yuvraj means that now Sehwag must be picked for the next test.And I think that Ishant will be picked for that game.If the Sydney pitch is a turner,then harbhajan will also be picked,leaving RP Singh out.

  • CoolGuy on December 29, 2007, 8:55 GMT

    Why not Ganguly open with Jaffer? I think, Ganguly is much experienced and brave to play in tense moment. Unlike Dravid, he would be the best to provide some counter attack on Australia. He is in a great form, so team should take the advantage of that. And that's how he will get more opportunity to bat for a longer time as well. 1st down Dravid and then Laxman, Tendulkar, Yuvi and Dhoni would work the best. Shewag was even failed to show performance in home cricket, so doesn't make sense to kick anybody out from this team and bring an un-performed batsman. Don't forget his repetitive failures and irresponsible shots. This team has the best batsman and bowler combination, we just have to re-shuffle. Thanks! What do you guys think?

  • Anand.C.V. on December 29, 2007, 8:53 GMT

    Mukul you're right! Dravid is an excellent batsman.Why does he go into his shell for so long? He has enough experience to play some shots- but he gets bogged down. He needs to be counselled. The BCCI was talking about getting a sports psychologist- Dravid is a potential patient for that kind of treatment. I'm sure his long time friend Anil Kumble himself can counsel him. A dramatic improvement will surely take place. Every one felt that, before this test, the team didnt have enough match practice. Could they not have used the second innings to do that-as they have to play a back-to-back test? Why should the whole team surrender so meekly without any fight? This team lacks balance. Only one spinner should be played at the MCG. But noe common sense will prevail and on a turner, they will play one spinner and lose the test at the SCG! What aila our cricket? We have the manager, a bowling coach, a fielding coach et al- what are their job descriptions? They should all be made accountable.

  • Arvind on December 29, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    It is easy to criticize team selection after the match has ended. Hindsight is always 20-20. I would have been much more impressed if you had published your views on Yuvi's selection, and the batting order change after Day 1 of this match.

    I dont think it was such a bad bet picking Yuvi over Sehwag(even though it didn't work out great). Sehwag was a good batsman 3-4 years back, but he is going through a real rough patch at this point (he hasn't made a decent score in the past few Ranji matches in flat pitches against weak attacks), is a poor fielder and his bowling wouldn't have made any significant difference to the outcome.

    Yuvraj on the other hand is in the best form of his career, and the best fielder in our team. He might not be competent enough against good bowling, but (despite the batting order shuffle) surely he is a better bet than Sehwag right now! Had Sehwag opened the innings at the MCG, Dravid would have probably been in before Brett Lee had warmed up anyway.

  • vijayakumar on December 29, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    It is very easy to say drop him or him,we should see our seam attack a right arm seamer in place of Harbhajan is better way to take more wickets,our seam attack is one dimensional Ishant is a good option,Dravid is out of touch please ask him to sit for sydney test,Dk to open with Jaffer sehwag at 3 is an option for off spin also,we should depend on some young bat,seen in the squad Yuvi is a only young person in the middle order selectors are still seeing stats of senior players give some players a chance.In next downunder India will suffer more than this,Players like Kaif,Badrinath,Raina,Pujara even Uthapa is a good positive looking opener players are not born they should be made,our selection policy must be changed.This team will surrender to Aussies,they belong to another level..

  • Pankaj on December 29, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    as usual Mukul you have made one thing plain obvoius...You have a marked disdain for Yuvraj and it pleases you to see him fail. Flat track bully !(laughable). Perhaps you have not seen enough of him. To single out one player as flat track bully and pretender is disgusting. It was collective failure of team. You have talked about how Yuvraj got reprieve earlier. But you didnt said any thing about how Laxman(yours Fav) was not given plumb LBW on both innings. I am sure you will keep on criticizing Yuvraj while he fails and keeping a marked silence when he succeeds.

    Having said all this I still agree with you that Sehwag would have been a slighter better choice than Yuvraj...

  • skraz on December 29, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    As an australian the other day before the test started i was talking with my mate about who we would put in our test teams, both of us picked sehwag without a second thought, we didnt even consider the fact he might not play.

    then to see someone who neither of us would have picked either (again the thought of picking him didnt even enter our minds) yuvraj at the expense of sehwag making dravid open left us well, lost for words, and then look at what happened, you need to attack us aussies, look at the small crowd on the final day, we hunger for a contest, unfortunatly india this series wont give it.

  • Paul Henderson on December 29, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    As an Australian watching tourists get rolled over, I have a few suggestions for future touring teams:

    a) A good batsman on Aussie is one that can put away good length balls. On bouncy pitches, these good length balls may come over waist high. Indians (esp openers) may want to wait for the overpitched ball..I can only say that we are not as generous as the poms. And Jaffer dismissals were more awful than watching Chris Martin dismissals. Hopefully Jaffer will be replaced with Sehwag in the next match. From the last time I saw Sehwag (ICC World XI), he was the only non-Aussie on sight (apart from Kallis) that could put away good length balls.

    b) Aussie game is built around aggressive players. Aussie selectors look for players that can score fast. A player like Mike Hussey could not enter the Aussie cricket team for 8 years because he could not play as fast as others in domestic matches. Only when Hussey modified his game in 2002 could he get a look-in.

  • How on earth is Kaif not Playing? on December 29, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    And wait...I will add another point. Kaif is a shoo-in into the team for his leadership skills. We know what he did with India-19 and now how he is transforming Uttar Pradesh (a team of absolute normals) into a team of force. I can tell you that Uttar Pradesh can give the Indian national team a run for it's money right on this day.

  • Daniel on December 29, 2007, 8:49 GMT

    I think you are being a bit harsh on Harbhajan Singh who bowled really well for periods in the 2nd innings (admittedly his 1st Innings wasn't so great). More importantly Harbhajan Singh has a brilliant record against Ricky Ponting. He seems to pick up Ponting cheaply every time he plays against him and that has to be worth about 120 runs to india per test with the form Ponting is in otherwise.

  • Sanjay Rao on December 29, 2007, 8:49 GMT

    A glance at the medals tally at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games would confirm the sporting heritage of the Aussies. For a country with just under 20 million people, the Aussies deliver a bigger punch (per capita)in international sports than any other nation. Be it swimming, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, surfing, sailing (and very soon soccer too) the Aussies play it hard and win more often than not. To be fair by India, at the moment, not a single team has the ability to challenge Australia at home. Losing to the Aussies at Cricket is certainly no shame !!

  • How on earth is Kaif not Playing? on December 29, 2007, 8:48 GMT

    I still don't believe that proven campaigners like Kaif, Nehra and Balaji are out. They have done more than these ridiculous bunch of utter faggots ever achieve. They are not the best but they are the best among the worst crop of cricketers we have got.

  • G. Stalin on December 29, 2007, 8:43 GMT

    My suggested Indiant team for the IInd test Sehwag Jaffer Dravid Tendulkar Ganguly (all rounder) VVS Laxmen Dhoni Irfan Pathan (All Rounder) Kumble Zaheer Khan Murali Karthik

    The above team may show some positive results.

  • sandeep on December 29, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    Batting order for next test...

    1.Virender sehwag

    2.Dinesh Karthik

    3.VVS Laxman

    4.Sachin Tendulkar

    5.Yuvraj singh

    6.Rahul Dravid

    7.Saurav Ganguly

    8.Irfan Pathan

    9.Kumble

    10.Zaheer

    11.RP singh

    Bcoz... 1.Rahul and jaffer dont have it in them to open 2.only Laxman,sachin and yuvraj have the game to attack in present lineup 3.sehwag also does but is out of sorts..so one expects only a quick 25 from him and to not concede maiden overs. 4.karthick,dravid and ganguly will consolidate. 5.Irfan will add depth to batting...harbhajan is a liability in creent form

  • deepak on December 29, 2007, 8:39 GMT

    i seriously damn can't understand why does india need to sacrifice its 2 best players dravin and laxman for an inconsistent fellow like yuvraj. i remember in the 2005 ashes hussey was in amazing form in the odi's while hayden was in poor form yet they persisted with the excellent batting line up and now we can see how hayden has matured. here also we have to back dravid at no. 3 which is besy suited for him. if there is a good start he is the best person to capitalise. and not only yuvraj, even dhoni really doesn't merit a place in this side. karthick i s way better keeper as well as batsman. he does like the cut and pull karthick and should do well. as far as yuvraj is concerned i totally agree with mukul he does not have the technique for test cricket

  • kartik on December 29, 2007, 8:38 GMT

    As usual we lose a match and people forget thepast like Mukul here as. I am just as frustrated as anyone to have witnessed perhaps one of our worst batting performances.Alas we have done worse and that too only recently in S Africa. Gavaskar warned us about Dravid crumbling as an opener yet we made him open to accomodate yuvi. I would have preferred sehwag, but could have not in my wildest dreams imagined such a collapse. We keep saying yuvi has not got enough chance.. How many chances did phil jacques or mike hussey need to prove themselves..u can argue the conditions were alien, but for godsakes atleast score 30 runs in an innings...sehwag might be inconsistent, but even then he manages to score 20's and 30's ever so often. the sad part though is that yuvraj is the best batsman we have for our future: and if this is the best then we better be worried. the worst part is that again we Indians are left with more questions than answers.my prayers are with dravid.he doesnt deserve this

  • Vaibhav on December 29, 2007, 8:38 GMT

    Dear Mukul,

    This is the last time I am writing on your blog. You are indulging in oppurtunistic journalism at the best. Sorry, but i have lost all respect I had for your writing. Do you really think one of India's greatest ever one day batsman does not deserve a consistent run in test cricket. The way you are criticising at Yuvraj's dissent at the crease is as if you have a personal vendetta against him. Sure he was out earlier, but any batsman shows dissent when he is given out caught behind if he thinks he did not nick it. Should he be thinking, "oh I was out earlier, so any trash decision against me is well accepted"

    An open question to you: If Yuvraj plays in Sydney and plays well will you go into hiding again?

    I

  • Hari on December 29, 2007, 8:37 GMT

    I agree with you completely Mukul, Dravid is a proven test performer home and away (something Yuvraj, despite the plethora of opportunities, is not) and can win us matches against Australia. Despite his form I still feel he is good enough to hold down number 3 and Laxman slot into 6 but all this means that Yuvraj does not play. By bringing in Karthik, we have someone who is an excellent fielder and partnering Jaffer has made some pretty decent opening stands overseas. It all makes sense, but sense is something sadly lacking in the Indian selectors mindset. Something has to change in the batting however because as you quite rightly implied it could get very ugly very soon.

  • kheldar on December 29, 2007, 8:37 GMT

    very well said mukul. In my opinion, considering that test batting requires a completely different set of skills, i would also like to see Dhoni dropped for a match, so that Karthik gets a look in. Karthik is a batsman who has proven himself as a test opener and he can be used to alleviate dravids woes. In my opinion the XI should be like this. 1) karthik 2) jaffer 3) sachin 4) laxman 5) ganguly 6) dravid 7) pathan 8) kumble 9) harbajan 10) zaheer 11) r.p. singh

    This allows what i would consider as the best batting line up for a test match to play and also a bowling line up that has both strength and depth.

    Lets just hope that the indian selectors read this article and all the comments that have been posted along with it.

  • SHAILESH NAIK on December 29, 2007, 8:37 GMT

    its frist test another 3 so much cricket is still remaining . But despointing performance by indiance batting is the main strainght of india but its never seen in the first test 7 batsman and they not played 90 overs in the both innings 1.sehwagh/karthik 2.jaffer 3.dravid 4.sachin 5.gangully 6.yuvraj 7.dhoni/karthik 8.kumble 9.zaheer 10.harbhajan 11.rp singh

  • ranju on December 29, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    The lesson india have to learn is don't make experiment they are playing the best side against best team in the world.include shewag as opener otherwise 4-0 and a forgettable tour for indians and 4 seniour players.i am sure that now austraila going for kill and make it 4-0.some extra affort need to put by indians to come back in this series.experts and players told that austrailan attack is week without mcgrath and warne looks like our batting line any one can bowl and take 20 wickets because no aggression.no one can blame kumble he bowled beautifully.older and older he is performing better like ganguly.austrailans are difficult to read the googly.i like austrailans approch they showed why they are still best in Test.Morning i wake up at 5am daily to support to indian team but the way they played i don't think they played from their heart expect few players.i think yuvraj should wait for sometime in test.please don't make any changes this tour changes can be done in bangaladesh tour.

  • joe christopher on December 29, 2007, 8:35 GMT

    Have we ever seen a successful 34 year old defender turn into a centre froward? I have never seen a 30 plus change in bowler morph into an opening bowler anywhere. It really makes no sense to convert Dravid(India's best test batsman ever) into an opener. If selectors and team management deem there is no place/need for Dravid they better send him home. They should exhibit some guts and prepare for the future and the possible public backlash. If commonsense prevails and their egos permitting they realise that this chap is crucial for Indian test cricket then they should push him down the order. Remember Sydney test 2004, Saurav came ahead of Sachin, who failed to score a 50 in his last ten innings. This allowed Sachin to get back to form with a huge hundred. I guess the team owes Dravid some favours and its time it reciprocates. Sachin, Saurav and VVS are evidently in good form, wouldn't it be great if Dravid is allowed to come good as well? The fab four will run the OZ close.

  • SUHAIL on December 29, 2007, 8:35 GMT

    HI INDIAN CRICKET IS LACKING THE KILLING SPIRIT YOU CAN SEE DHONI AND YUVRAJ PROVING THAT.IT,S MORE THAN A WORLD CUP WIN TO BEAT KANGAROOS IN AUSTRALIA AND NOW IT SEEMS AUS WILL LOOK FOR 4-0 WHITE WASH AND WHY NOT THEY ARE BEST BATTING , BOWLING AND FIELDING TEAM AND THEY ARE MORE FURIOUS IN THEIR PITCH.INDIAN TEAM CAN BEAT THEN ONLY IN INDIAN SUB CONTINENT ONLY.FINISHING GAME IN 4 DAYS THIS WHAT WE SHOULD CALLED BEING AGGRESSIVE.

  • N.Rogers on December 29, 2007, 8:35 GMT

    Yuvraj should be dropped simple as that! Bring in Sehwag to open Sachin at three VVS at four Ganguly at five and Dravid at six (until he finds a bit of form) also they should drop RP Singh he has done nothing they should bring in Pathan because he can bat and bowl. Pathan swings the ball nicel and would give the Aussies some trouble and also if India top doesn't fire at least they can have faith down the bottom of the order with Pathan most likely batting ahead of Anil.

  • Bhasu on December 29, 2007, 8:34 GMT

    I don't think there have to be wholesale changes made to the team for the 2nd test. Against a team like Australia, there needs to be positive energy and that has to come with attacking batsmanship. With Dravid's current form, asking him to open the innings is suicidal. He is out of form and has to be given the freedom to bat at a position he has been batting throughout his career. Dravid has to come in at number 4 after Laxman. Dravid has done well at both No. 3/4 positions in the batting order. Having said that, the opening combination has to be sorted out. With Sehwag coming into the team, he adds to the team on 2 counts. He can attack the new ball and he has a good test record. Yuvraj can never be a good test batsman. He can only pay well as a test batsman on sub-continent pitches. The numbers prove this. The bowling has been good and will continue to do well during the series. If the batting doesn't fire, the series is over.

  • vidhyadhar on December 29, 2007, 8:33 GMT

    INDIAN 11 FOR SECOND TEST V/S FUTURE TEST 11 OUTSIDE SUB-CONTINENT

    1)SEHWAG 1)ROBIN UTHAPPA 2)JAFFER 2)GAUTHAM GAMBHIR 3)DRAVID 3)S.BADRINATH 4)SACHIN 4)YUVRAJ 5)GANGULY 5)SURESH RAINA 6)DHONI 6)DHONI 7)PATHAN 7)PATHAN 8)KUMBLE 8)PIYUSH CHAWLA 9)ZAHEER 9)ZAHEER 10)PANKAJ SINGH 10)PANKAJ SINGH 11)R.P.SINGH 11)R.P.SINGH

  • Abhishek. R on December 29, 2007, 8:32 GMT

    As someone said on his blog, I too could see this humiliation coming after those fanatic celebrations, causing it to act as salt on the wound. Dravid is a class player, I agree, but he cannot be assured a place in the team because of his past laurels. And certainly having two days to go, we can easily chase 500, at LESSER THAN 3 RUNS AN OVER. Having batsmen of such calibre, we have not utilized them to their fullest potential. And while we talk of Yuvraj and Dhoni being bullies on sub-continental tracks alone, I can't seem to understand the fact on why Jaffer is being excused. After all, he too got out to low scores, while before the match we had so much confidence in him. Let's drop them for Sydney, and experiment whith the classic duo of Sachin and Sourav at the top, as we need aggression, and added to that, they are a left-hand right hand combination. Pacers were good, so let's drop Harbhajan and bring in Pathan. Bringing in Sehwag will provide both aggression and a useful spinner.

  • RR on December 29, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    Well,thank goodness for this defeat.

    Dravid, for all his muddles is infinitely a greater test match batsman than Yuvraj-a wonderful one day and T-20 player.Forcing him to open was more to accomodate him in this woeful run of form; Taking sehwag to Oz to cool his heels is ridiculous.he might as well have been left behind.

    And Jaffer is too much hero or zero to be an impact pl;ayer..but at least he is a regular opener.

    If we must win at Sydney,Viru should be back.Sorry Yuvi,your time will come.

    And Dhoni has also got to watch himself..only benefit of doubt being fatigue and first time in OZ..but melbourne was more like an Indian wicket than any other India is likely to encounter down under.

    Forget the pipe dreams.If we come back 2-0 down,it will be creditable.

  • Kish Kumar on December 29, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Mukul hates Yuvraj as a Test player. It's no secret. Yuvraj is a gun cricketer with plenty of proven fighting spirit and should be given more opportunity. Dravid doesn't look like somebody who got any desire. He has captained India, scored centuries everywhere and won matches for India and now struggling for a while. He is the one who should be dropped. It was folly to play him in this test, after his failures in the Pakisthan series. If India wants to win this series, they have to bat positively and I believe Sehwag or Karthik should open. Eventhough it is too early judge, I am beginning to think that Dhoni hasn't got the fighting spirit one should have to bat at No.6 or 7. If India wants to play him, he should bat at 3 or 4. I don't understand why he keeps walking before the umpire gives him out (he was the first batsman I have ever seen to walk when he thought it was LBW - I am referring to him walking after being struck on the pad by Muralitharan in the worldcup).

  • Denagamage Mahela Jeyewardharne Salluraam on December 29, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Here's something interesting; during their last tour to England (whr India won 1-0), none of the famed Indian batsmen hit a century (in other words, an innings of considerable length). Ofcourse I exclude the valiant Kumble effort. This means there's something lacking in that department. Poor Dravid is like an old condom now, thrown into the garbage bin, fortunately, he fell on the bin's rim :) HE QUIT CAPTAINCY COS, HE NEVER GOT ANY CREDIT (the powers there be, made sure they leaked info, spread rumors and spun negative things). HE GOT ABSOLUTELY "ZERO" FOR LEADING THE TEAM TO ITS 1st Series Victory in ENGLAND after 1986. All said and done, every which way I see, I see he's to blame for everything for chucking away captaincy the way he did. But on the other hand, HE NEVER DREAMT INDIA WOULD WIN T20 CUP. That T20 cup turned out to be his "CUP of WOES". If India had lost in the 1st round, there would have been tangible changes. Hmm, this Aussie tour could be BORING :(

  • Soham on December 29, 2007, 8:29 GMT

    I think you are spot on with most of your comments.However,I don't think Yuvraj is as bad a player as you wrote him to be.And I see that most of us are very sympathetic to Dravid.Well. I am,too,but I feel he ought to take responsibility for his game.Yes,he has been fiddled with,yes,he is out-of-form,but if he really tried,I think a player of his caliber could have done better that 5 from 66.He is hugely responsible for demoralizing the whole team and letting the Australians bowlers be on top.I mean ,what did he and Jaffer have in mind after we bowled out the Aussies below 350?He and Jaffer would have contributed more to the team had they got out earlier.Coming to think of it,India and Australia played roughly the same no.of overs in the 1st innings. If YS is to be blamed,Jaffer should also be blamed.I think India got to really attack the Aussie bowlers at the top,and if Yuvraj has to play ,he should open with Sehwag. That way,there is a chance of punching the Aussies.

  • Anand on December 29, 2007, 8:29 GMT

    India had the best chance to win or draw this match and they blew it, why cant the batsmen take heart from their bowlers who toiled hard and got them right into the frame.When you stary to defend every ball and poke at the deliveries Australians will use that against you. When you be aggressive and hit a few boundries in the first 10 overs they change their game plan.How do I know this is because I live here and invlolved with grade cricket here. The answer use Sehwag as an opener and if he gets a start then watch the aussies keep making changes to fields and bowlers, and if he still there by 25 overs they will not risk Brad Hogg, India you are making the new aussie bowlers look better than they actually are. Lets see what team you pick next match. Good Luck.

  • Go Go Yubari on December 29, 2007, 8:28 GMT

    MK, great assessment. Bottomline: India will be blanked out. They stand no chance. Probably Sehwag might make an impact in two sessions in the next 3 matches, but it is IMPOSSIBLE to dominate a team like Australia over 5 days (more like 3-4 days as the tests might turn out) with a dysfunctional batting line-up and a also-ran bowling lineup.

  • Herman on December 29, 2007, 8:28 GMT

    I have to disagree. You can't leave Yuvraj out, he is the future of Indian cricket. Although Sehwag needs to come in, we need some aggression up the order. Dravid should not open and his form lately has been very poor. Uthappa should have been in the squad. We need some spice, not this slow batting from Dravid, it cost the team bigtime. When he plays aggressive he is such a good batsmen.

    Maybe they should consider opening with DHONI! Wouldnt that be spicey. Either way India need to be aggresive otherwise they will never win.

    Yuvraj is a top player who deserves his spot. He is a proven match winner.

    I thought the field places were a bit poor. Too many singles given, especially off the spinners.

    However India will play better in Sydney, because the outfield is not as big as Melbourne. Harbhajan will win the match for us.

  • SaHiL on December 29, 2007, 8:26 GMT

    Salaam again!! well I think Yuvi deserves a place in test & we should not critisize him at the moment. If uu are playing against world #1 team it is fortunate and u should not forget tht he is just a beginner in test field. If u are crisizing Yuvi u shoould even talk abt MR.DRVID ( so called MR. WALL ) for being unfare with his own reputation. Mr. Dravid!! hope uu will face more thn 80 overs in next test and will socre 0 just to show tht thier is some 1 who can face AUSSIES single handedly for more thn 50 overs.huh

  • Kumar Balakrishnan on December 29, 2007, 8:26 GMT

    It was the worst defeat by India in recent times. Time and again we have proved that we are champions only on flat tracks in our own backyard and don't posses players of calibre who have the courage and conviction to play against real quality fast bowling on fast bouncy tracks outside the sub-continent. That said..the selection for the first test at MCG was in bad taste. A ruthless player like shewag was sidelined to make way for Yuvraj who does not posses the temperment to play at test level. Dravid was pathetic as an opener and Sachin was not batting with a cause. Clearly the fans in India expected a heroic fightback and not a sublime cavein by the so called "World's best batting lineup. To be a champion we need to show consistency in all departments of the game. Let the Indain team go back to the drawing board and chalk out a decent strategy to counter the Aussies in the remaining 3 tests. I doubt whether the turbunator still contemplates an India series win after the 1st test drub

  • Longmemory on December 29, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    Dravid is clearly out of form and a pale shadow of his usual self. Before blaming everything on his elevation to opener, though, remember he played an equally painful knock at the Oval against England when we snatched a draw from the jaws of victory - and before that an equally inexplicable knock in the second innings of the 3rd test against South Africa which destroyed all momentum and handed the match to the Safs. He came in at no.3 on both those occasions. For someone so intelligent, he seems unable to realize that you cannot get into such a defensive rut. All it does is enable the bowlers to get right on top; destroys any confidence your batting partner might have; and makes getting out a matter of when and not if. Finally, you can rearrange this pack of players any way you want, the end result will be the same. The Ozs are the ultimate reality check, and we'll find out how good or bad we really are.

  • Nat on December 29, 2007, 8:24 GMT

    I was at least looking for a fighting second innings but what a spineless display. Given the performance, I agree with Mukul that Dravid drops to 6 to get some confidence back. It makes sense to drop yuvi and get shewag in. Atleast he can score 20 runs in each innings if he bats at 5 and also can bowl 5-6 overs of decent off-spin. The third sensible change would be to drop dhoni and bring karthik, so he can also open with jagger. This pair was doing ok overseas and not sure why the selectors start messing up after one meaningless home series against a second string Pakistan. I'm still optimistic of our chances at Sydney and Adelaide given our decent bowling at MCG.

  • perl57 on December 29, 2007, 8:24 GMT

    Mukul, I do agree that Dravid was a horrible choice for an opener but Sehwag would have been disastrous. Something like first ball out in both innings. His south africa tour was more of an example. Further, what defeated India is not having Dravid Open, Yuvraj fail, but apart from the Great Men (Sachin and Sourav) no one felt ease with an attack that is looking.... well 10000 times less penetrative than McGrath and Warne. You can make it out if you have been watching cricket for some time. Since 1992 tour of Australia, it was clearly seen that they should have one month of absence from cricket before they tour here. But nope, they did not. Then they should have two matches against tough oppositions. Which, Oz did not provide coz they are scared. Yuvraj may not look a great test batsman but whats the harm in making him ease into this role? Horses for..... For Sydney, get Karthick to open, Drop Yuvraj or Dravid. Drop bajju for Sehwag who should come in at middle order & can give us a 40.

  • Serious Guy on December 29, 2007, 8:23 GMT

    Bring back Praveen Amre. He is the only one who can play well under pressure, well, only under pressure. In Australia, we have nothing but pressure.

  • Scarecrow on December 29, 2007, 8:22 GMT

    MK, first & foremost well written. This article goes to prove that there are educated cricket lovers in india, who don't let themselves be carried away with flashes in the pan. The entire house had to be rearranged to accomodate a new piece of furniture, which does not add any value to the rearranged house. People seem to mistake Yuvi's arragonce to be self confidence. He is one of the most selfish cricketers who thinks he is gods gift to earth, well he isn't. He has always struggled against quality opp. in test matches, only capable of scoring against opp. like paki were the bowlers are on par with zimb/bang. ODI success does not warrant an automatic test place. However if his supporters feel that he requires a test place then he should have the balls to open, make an impact were it counts. This series will be a watershed moment to seperate the pretenders from the stars & Yuvi your the former. MK be ready to be assualted by all the Yuvraj fans who think he is indias future. Cheers....

  • Ranjan on December 29, 2007, 8:21 GMT

    The first thing need to know that playing and making century in india will be completly different than in austraila.when you are playing with the best team in the worlld don't change your batting order.it is big mistake.i don't know why they changed the battting order.this is last chance for 4 seniour players and we have win the seriesyuvraj will have the chance once these players retire.it has shown in the past like devang gandi and other openers batted like king in india in dead pitches and failed in down under.earlier we are blaming our bowler.but one must say dismissing austrila below 400 is great achivement for our bowlers.dravid and laxman are the key players in downunder changing their batting line up is biggest mistake the team has taken.jaffer played well in india the way he handled brett lee and others is surprised me.body language is not good from jaffer.include shewag in the side if dravid is told to open why not yuvraj.he and shewag should open the batting.come on india

  • NUP on December 29, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    It is a honest review by mukul. Many fans know that the "team management"-whoever that is, has tinkered the batting order to accommodate Yuvaraj. It is really sad and now we have proof. Will there be any change in the decision makers and Yuvi and perhaps Dravid dropped. We have three openers and all should be played. Dravid has become a liability. He brought passiveness, depression and "losing mindset" to the top of the order. Mahesh

  • jagan on December 29, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    Let us accept the sitiuation. Australia played as a team and indians did not even pretend to be a team. Defensive mindest against australia is death knell to opposition. we did well in india because we were aggressive. Playing in India and overseas are two different propositions, it is important to persist with karthick and jaffer and take yuvaraj out. harbajan shoud bowl better than his speeches.

  • jagan on December 29, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    Let us accept the sitiuation. Australia played as a team and indians did not even pretend to be a team. Defensive mindest against australia is death knell to opposition. we did well in india because we were aggressive. Playing in India and overseas are two different propositions, it is important to persist with karthick and jaffer and take yuvaraj out. harbajan shoud bowl better than his speeches.

  • Rahil on December 29, 2007, 8:19 GMT

    I agree with Ash Zed. Cricinfo writers of day 1 of this test who could not wait a second to proclaim India's challenge to Australia are no where to be found today. Surely, egg on heads of Team India (for preparing for this tour on dead wickets back home) and of these writers who kept egging this circus on and could not see this thrashing coming...

  • Angi on December 29, 2007, 8:19 GMT

    I've always admired Mukul's articles but this time I just can't agree with them. I agree with Mukul that the Indian selectors made a few wrong decisions. Yet, blaming Yuvraj totally is just not right. Dravid has opened before and has done well in this position. Yes, he isn't doing well today, but that's not due to his batting position.

    I am prepared to say that Dravid would have struggled wherever he batted. Every batsmen goes through lean patches, Dravid will soon bounce back. Let's persist with him as an opener and see what happens.

    As for Yuvraj, this harsh criticism especially from Mukul is unwarranted. He is a fine batsman and when he is going, he is capable of really keeping the run rate going at more than 4 an over. India require batsmen like him in the future. Test match cricket nowadays does not mean scoring 200 in a day and remaining satisfied with it.

  • raghu on December 29, 2007, 8:18 GMT

    Mukul said it well perhaps. Still as someone remarked Dravid appears to be spent force at least as of today. Just being analyzing the manner he is getting dismissed I get a sad feeling the writing is on the wall as far as Dravid is concerned. For the second test same team will play or some harsh decision needs to be taken. Yuvi should play the whole series.

  • Abuthahir on December 29, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    India Selection is good but playing 11 is too bad,bcz they omit the oppener , insted of midle order dravid is play for openning its only the wrong decission, If schewag open means india move to better score , If dravid join in the middle order means its go to reach the better score ,, We omit IRfan pathan in this match its also one of the draw back ,, if pathan means we add another one batsmen in the team ... In next 11 Schewag open with jaffer means its well ,, insted of yuvarj dravid will be path ,, instead of RP sing we bowl Ipathan ,, its only better for to meet austrlia in australia...

  • Sayan on December 29, 2007, 8:17 GMT

    There’s a saying, “When you know it, why say it, and if you don’t know it, why say it.”

    Hang on. We are saying too many things, but we don’t know yet. It’s too early. If Dravid hits a ton in the next Test opening the batting, and Yuvraj pinches two smart 50s, then we’ll all be eating our own words, and saying stuff like “they rose to the occasion”, “the Wall has given his critics a fitting reply”, “The Prince proves he belongs at this level” and stuff like that.

    Hang on. One Test does not an Aussie summer make. Viru’s technique has let him down for over one year now, and against the most accurate bowling line-up in the world it’s unlikely that his technique will get India more runs. He’ll still be flashing with his feet no where near the line of the cricket ball. Dravid is a trier, let him wake up and smell the coffee.

  • sahiL 22 on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    wuzzup friendz...i think india could,ve done better than this if they were not 2 defensive in the beginning...and sehwag is a better open option than dravid...he ought to play @ number 5...give yuvi some rest....best of luck...by the way im not indian...

  • raghu on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    Mukul said it well perhaps. Still as someone remarked Dravid appears to be spent force at least as of today. Just being analyzing the manner he is getting dismissed I get a sad feeling the writing is on the wall as far as Dravid is concerned. For the second test same team will play or some harsh decision needs to be taken. Yuvi should play the whole series.

  • Gladwin on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    ALAS! THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB Everybody knows deep inside their hearts that if we have to win test matches then we need Dravid and Tendulkar to perform. Instead we have made the Autralian Job easy by unsettling their positions. I still find no fault with Dravid because he is out there to play out sessions and handling the new ball. What was Ganguly doing in the team he should have taken the responsibility of seeing the new ball out after all he is a good opener. Also I think 2 more people who are misfit in this team is Dhoni and Harbhajan. Dhoni is a world class One day player and a failure in Test. We have Dinesh Karthik who is a good keeper and a opener also.Who can forget the opening jaffer and karthick have provided overseas. Yuvi could be given chances provided he stops pretending and conentrates hard on his batting.With Seven batsmen India could not cross 200 mark in test - Why Single out Dravid and tendulkar? They are world class..icons of Indian Batting. What is T20 heroes doing

  • Mahesh Kumar on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    Mukul, i agree that you are a good writer but you are opinionated against yuvraj. I do not know what has happened between you and yuvraj that you always single out him. I am telling you he is going to be a great test player. I agree dravid shouldnt have opened. They could have instead use yuvraj. whatever, i believe the side had a lot ability which they did not manage and apply well. Had this side manage to get runs everybody would have different comments without considering sehwag as an option. I like sehwag too but whom will you sit out that is the problem. Now, when yuvraj did fail, he seems to the scape goat. whatever, nobody did well in the first test. kumble bowled well in the first inning but not in the second with harbhajan singh the otherway round. RP singh got only two wickets and zaheer could have done better. I think they should learn to apply themselve better. the same team scored more than 500 consistently recently. Best of luck. Mukul, yuvi is gonna be a great player.

  • jitendra singh on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    The way dravid plays in the test its seems like he is not playing cricket its look like is on a battle field. What team expects from a opener is not only to defend but also to make runs and dravid fails in both. When indian selectors not interested to play sehwag in the side why would they select him in the team. we know that he fails in onedays in the recent time but in test his average is almost 50 and he is a type of player who not only gives you quick start but make opposite to think where to defend or to attack. the selectors should use him as how australia use micheal slater in the test. and we all know his performance in the last tour of india in australia. Hope in the next test team will perform well and for dravid i think he should watch the videos of his best performances and can have bit of rest from cricket.

  • junjuno on December 29, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    One observation is the bowling lacked speed, accuracy and subtle variation in length - no yorkers, no bodyline, no bouncers - all deliveries were consistent between 126-132 kmph

    Another view point is why Ishant Sharma has not been picked. He could be a better option than RP Singh in Sydney test.

    Dravid needs to be rested for one test and Sehwag needs to come in his place.

  • Shashank on December 29, 2007, 8:15 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. Fantastic article, every word 100% correct. Open with Sehwag, let Dravid play at no.3 and drop Yuvraj. Bowling in this test was decent but batting was pathetic.

  • Kesava on December 29, 2007, 8:13 GMT

    Gud one Mukul, i do not want to talk abt the batting by our greats (so called)..it was not only dis-appointing, it was attrocious, barring Sachin's 62 there was nothing called positiveness in the approach, dunno wt happ to Dravid, is he goin to use his bat or not?interesting to not ur point abt Ponting's man management. i wd say its the way australia run their cricket n manage it that shd b praised. a guy like Jacques has nearly 36 first class centuries and 54 50's before he was given a chance to play at international level, some one like Hussey has to wait for years to make it to the test team, wt we do? shuffle the entire batting order to give yuvi with one glorious 150 a place in the batting order..bafflin, conusing n irritating..give Rahul the number three slot were he scores like Bradman, let VVS come down at 5 where he scores at faster pace.in my prev reply to ur article i had doubts whetherindia can pick 10 wickets.now am afraid whether the batsmen can play atleast 80 overs...

  • Sudip on December 29, 2007, 8:13 GMT

    Think for the next test... Omit Jaffar.. he is not mentally fit play in Aus.. Include Sehwag give him a chance.. Remove Dravid from Opening..Include Kartick for opening.. Remove Yuvraj... And tell Dhoni that it well might be his last test in Aus if he fails with the bat

  • Supartha Sen on December 29, 2007, 8:12 GMT

    Really I don't understand all these arguments for Dravid opening the innings. If you are a good batsman you should be able to bat at every position. If the regualr opening pair gets out within two overs isn't it that the 2nd or 3rd down comes to do the job of opener. It si limited over cricket where a batsman can be termed as defensive or agrresive. There only batting order can be set according to the need of the requirement of the game. So a batsman falters if he is not in good form whether he bats at opening or at middle order.

  • Mattmanede on December 29, 2007, 8:12 GMT

    Excuses excuses, Last time I looked is was a 11 man game. I can tell you where to start, learn how to field and run between the wickets, and not just blame a few players for a poor performance with the bat, Ricky ponting is ranked the No 1 bat in the world, he failed in both innings. Hussey was not that crash hot either. Thats one of the main reason Australia is so good, they back up their bowlers in the field, put opposition fielders under pressure when they bat etc etc etc. Be good at all aspects of the game and not just your individual role. A team of individuals will not beat Australia.

  • Sunny on December 29, 2007, 8:09 GMT

    I almost agree with what you are saying, and yes I am pretty sure that the same team would be playing in Sydney. Its one thing that nobody expects them to win. That would mean they are underdogs.But from this performance it looks like the players also dont expect to win. Good going guys...Enjoy the nice hot weather...coz you know that you'll get paid even if you lose with such humiliation...as for Dravid...he is playing for his place in the squad and he would open even when he knows that he is not good at it...and well all you die hard indian fans out there...get ready for a 4-0 thrashing..

  • Rajit on December 29, 2007, 8:09 GMT

    Well Said Mukul!!! I too feel that Indian think tank might not tamper with this combination atleast for the Sydney Test but by then..the series would have gone...MCG and SCG were the best chance for Indian team to win a test in Australia. I really shudder at the thought of this batting line facing Lee,Johnson,Clark and that man TAIT at the WACA,Perth ...they will be blown away...I think It's about time Indian Cricket wakes up and prepares sporting wickets for both Domestic and International Matches ( similar comments have been made every time India losses a test Match Abroad) played in India...With all due respect to Sharad Pawar and Co for the administrative skills..I can't stop myself from saying that this regime of BCCI has done no good to Indian Cricket!!!!

  • edwin mendonca on December 29, 2007, 8:09 GMT

    imagine man of the match hayden was earlier dropped by australia to make way for other players and he went back to domestic cricket got better, came back with a vengeance. are any of our senior players dropped for a long time. no we will have dharnas to get them back, even if they are not in good form. to end this sir australia will win 4-0 thats my prediction, looking at the commitment by indian players. well team india go for a shopping spree before you come back and thats what you all are fit for.

  • Kannan V on December 29, 2007, 8:07 GMT

    well said, Making Dravid the openner defies logic considering his own present form and the fire power of Ausiees, if at all someone can unsettle the Ausiees bowlong prowess it is Shewag at the top of the order and like Gangulee, he might prove himself to be a good comeback kid. Bring Laxman to one down and the rest of the batting lineup continues.

  • bharath on December 29, 2007, 8:07 GMT

    I agree with mukul.i never expected this baffling performance by the indians. i cant even believe wats happening with the indians out there in the middle. Indians had a pretty good first day when kumble charged the australians with his five scalps but i would like to add that the momentum of the team was shattered by dravid's awful batting.that even had a big effect on the other batsman too.Dravid is sure to be blamed for his lack of aggressiveness and his liking to stay always on the backfoot.When the target of 499 was set, then instead of fearing a loss which is certain,they should have attacked the aussie bowling.

    If the indians want to win this series,they should do some gamble in the playing eleven. I want sehwag,pathan to be in for harbhajan and yuvi.Harbhajan clearly dont deserve a place and its all coz of kumble n other senior players who r backing him.Yuvi need to wait for some more time. If they don do any change, then there is likely to be a 4-0 whitewash.

  • Rahil on December 29, 2007, 8:06 GMT

    I agree with Ash Zed. Cricinfo writers of day 1 of this test who could not wait a second to proclaim India's challenge to Australia are no where to be found today. Surely, egg on heads of Team India (for preparing for this tour on dead wickets back home) and of these writers who kept egging this circus on and could not see this thrashing coming...

  • Pranav on December 29, 2007, 8:06 GMT

    Bang on, Mukul. I think any sensible cricket watcher knew that you can't eff around with the opening slot in Australia. But add to your observations a whole bunch of middle-aged middle-order bats, who have recently shown the inability to make big runs against all but popgun attacks (Pakistan, Bangladesh). In England and SA their deficiencies were papered over by the fragility of the opposition's batting. Not here. The last Aussie tour was made succesfull by a bunch of guys who could score big runs and bat for long periods. Sadly by now particularly Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly can only conjure up attractive 50s,60s,70s against good sides. The odd battling 90 just won't do here.

  • hari on December 29, 2007, 8:05 GMT

    Let's not intellectualise the whole exercise of the team India's defeat. Its a bunch of tired pair of legs. The Tends and Gangs start collapsing with heat exhaustion (in Oz!!!) when approaching their 40s is ample proof. Each one of them will get a 50 somethings during the tour by the law of averages and this is enough to make us lick our lips and send the whole lot again for the 2011(??) tour. Gosh,what a bunch of jerks....if only they paused and thought 'we are the ultimate 11 chosen from a billion plus people'....life will be that much more pleasant for all of us !!!

  • Barry on December 29, 2007, 8:05 GMT

    As an Australian I do not pretend to have an intimate knowledge of India's test team. However from where I sit there has been nothing in their performances that would warrent any expectation that they could, even on their best day, match it with Australia in Australia. As such the result in Melbourne was entirely expected by cricket followers around the world. What I do find puzzling is the contention by a number of the columnists that India bowled well but were let down by their batters. India did not bowl well, they could not get Australia out twice on a helpful wicket. Australia scored at will at a rate of around 4 runs per over. In contrast if every Indian had applied themselves as soundly as the much maligned Dravid they would have occupied the crerase for 190 overs. As only 188 were on offer they would have drawn the match. As such it was not Dravid who let India down but the likes of Yuraj who managed about 10 balls total in both innings and was out three times! Get rid him!

  • SF 91 on December 29, 2007, 8:04 GMT

    It is another half baked commentary at best - what has sehwag done in the recent past to give him a test cap - seriously? He has been out of form for two years and hasnt done much in the domestic matches either. Please dont fall back to the 2003 trip - we faced poor bowling then - no McGrath and no Warne and Brett Lee was trying to come on his own. This Aussie team is a much better bowling side. I wouldn't give Sehwag an opportunity at the cost of Yuvraj, that just doesnt make sense. If you argue for Dinesh Karthik who has stronger technique and better fit to be an opener then you are arguing fair - Otherwise your article is nothing but a Sidhu style rant.

  • Dhananjay on December 29, 2007, 8:03 GMT

    What a waste of bandwidth, Mukul?

  • P.Satish Kumar on December 29, 2007, 8:03 GMT

    I agree with you a hundred percent. Its been something I've been shouting myself hoarse about. If the thinktank wants to fix this quick then they should bring in Karthik or Sehwag as an opener, drop Yuvraj and push Dravid down to No.6. This would bring some semblance of solidity without having to meddle too much.

    Of course given the muddled thinking on display so far the most likely scenarios are : 1) Same XI plays 2) Jaffer is dropped, DK or Sehwag will come in, 3) Yuvraj is dropped, Dravid is down to No.3, Laxman down to No.6, and DK or Sehwag comes in as opener.

    1) is a recipe for 4-0 (thats a possibility even otherwise). 2) Dravid and Yuvraj still continue in their respective positions so we are where we were. 3) means we will only churn the whole thing including disturbing VVS for no fault of his.

    What a sad state of affairs!! A first test where we should've been on the top of our game and our strategy we experimented and are now in a deep deep hole.

  • Vijay on December 29, 2007, 8:01 GMT

    I liked the article and agree pretty much with it but the fact that yourself as well as those who have posted their comments have forgotten the fact that we have an opener in the test side who was the leading run scorer in England : Dinesh Karthik in quite testing conditions .If anybody deserves a good run in Indian cricket because he adds flexibility to the team .Remember he was a middle order order who is doing a fine job opening the combination and in my view all that mukul says about Yuvi is also true for Wasim Jaffer who has scored lots on Flat pitches like the one in Antigua when he sored 221 or the one at Eden Gardens.Sehwag should be replacing him. If the problem is that he has not got enuf match Pracrise then why pick him when you have Robin Uthappa in fine form.Moreover even the Australian captain admitted that Uthappa was a good find.He troubled Australia in both T20 and the ODI series .So He might do what sehwag did in Tests and an aggressive and flexible opener is the need

  • Sriram Veeraraghavan on December 29, 2007, 8:00 GMT

    The problem with Indian cricket is we overestimate ourselves with our victories against Bangladesh, an England team with a sub-standard bowling attack (w/o Harmison, Hoggard, Jones & Flintoff at his best) and a limping Pakistan team on home soil. No wonder you had the likes of Yuvraj who hit through the line flourishing on predictable conditions against mediocre bowling attack. Dravid clearly is not in good mental state with the recent developments in the last 3-4 months. He needs a break. He is definitely good for another 2-3 years of test cricket. Dhoni's attacking or defensive batting technique (only he knows what it is) doesn't seem to work in test cricket. He is extremely vulnerable in seaming & turning tracks. Moreover he is one player who has been playing non stop cricket and seems to be mentally exhausted (as he sounded recently). Perhaps time to give Sehwag and Karthik a chance in the second test. Mukul, you have aptly addressed some of these issues in your article.

  • suresh kumar on December 29, 2007, 8:00 GMT

    Well said. In fact, I feel this decision to play Yuvraj cost us the match. With a better opening combination of either Sehewag or Karthik (who are aggressive and positive) and Jaffer, the scenario might have been totally different.

  • Siva K on December 29, 2007, 7:59 GMT

    Right on Mukul! India lost the test right when Dravid played his first innings. An opener sets the tone for the rest of the team. 5 of 66 balls is appalling by any standards at any level. I mean, how does it matter how many balls you play if you cannot score runs? +ve cricket means batsmen score runs and not defend balls. It sounds real simple to me and I am intrigued why our professionals don't see it this way. The other thing that irritated me was our running. Not one player (barring Tendulkar) showed any urgency for running. On one too many instances 3's were 2's and 2's were 1's. So, let's do the math: For every 10 balls, we have a scoring stroke and when we stroke the ball we don't take as many runs. WOW! I mean, if you are doing this for a living, are you not supposed to be good at the basics? Opening with attacking batsmen makes sense for India. That means, from the current pool, it is Karthik & Shewag. Drop both Dravid & Jaffer and bring in Pathan. He could bowl and bat!

  • joe christopher on December 29, 2007, 7:58 GMT

    Spot on Mukul, looks like every body be it selectors, team management, mumbai lobby in the commentary box want to insult Dravid by making him the opener. If one feels that Yuvarj (despite his regular nonperformance) is mandatory for test cricket then should have the guts to drop Dravid (the perennial scapegoat of Indian cricket) from the squad. One need not be a Sherlock Holmes to note that there powerful lobby/ies in the BCCI would love to kick Dravid out of the team. These guys however know that they would have to face a severe public backlash, as Australia would bash India easily without the wall. Perhaps they have given up on the series already and have decided to make Dravid, the reluctant opener the scapegoat. Dravid opening the innings will severly dent the confidence of Dinesh Karthick and Sehwag (why was he selected in the first place), the two travellers, the failure might even lead Dravid into retiring from the game. The ultimate loser in this episode is Indian Cricket.

  • Sanjay Rao on December 29, 2007, 7:57 GMT

    From now on its damage control for India. But a 4-0 whitewash is almost certain given the mis-match in talent and skill. India will do well to draw one Test.

  • Lt Col Piyush Sharma on December 29, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    No point moaning guys. The writing was always on the wall. The players and team management had more pressing matters at hand than the Boxing Day showdown....the vexed taxation issue! At the cost of being repititive, a truly world class spineless performance. Name a department we excelled in and i would gladly forsake a month of my salary. We were simply decimated. Players who stand out among the ruins in my view are Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman and Zaheer. Where has the pride to represent India gone? Where is the verve, the josh, the dogged determination to fight with tenacity? I for one did not expect the team to capitulate the way it did. They just threw in the towel! Any self respecting Indian (BCCI are you listening?) would have had tears in his/her eyes. Are these the best we have? It's high time the players were made accountable for thair actions or lack of it.

  • animon on December 29, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    Its again a match which India gave without a fight.... True non proffesionalism from the part of selectors, by sending two defensive batsmen to open an innings were the picth only favoured bowlers who quickly sets to their line and lenght. But it was so pathetic to see the same people opening the second innings were the only solution is a result and get it on our way we need some sort of aggression. Thats why this match is rated as a given off match by the pity indian team.... hats off to Dada... Who played his innings and showed others that if you want to make a game ..... you con.... if you dont want..... you cannot... Come on guys, we are playing against the best team in the game... Would like to request the Indian Team..... Please fight for us. Come on You can loose a game or two.... but please..... do not give up like this..... Fight.... fight.....

  • Someone on December 29, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    Why in the world have they dropped Karthik? He played well against a good pace attack in England. A couple of low scores and he is out...the stability just isnt there. And Dravid only averages 30-something as an opener, so it was never going to work the way India wanted it too.

  • Radha Naidu on December 29, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    Its sad how India played; all the pre-match talk have put us Indians the target of constant taunting by fellow Australians here in Melbourne and will for sure follow us through out the series unless Kumble and Co. produce something sensational. I request the Indian team that please please make their bats and ball do the talk. I never thought I would appreciate how Pakistan batted after each time India scored 600+ scores and able to draw the matches. All those individual scores of 200s & 100s against Pakistan on lifeless pitches with no results are to be blamed, we need to make competitive wickets back home so that when our players come to Aus or SA they shouldn’t hold the bat as if some one has forced them to go in the middle of the action. Once again Kumble played very well and truly led from the front but unfortunately couldn’t lift everyone around him.

  • anand singh on December 29, 2007, 7:53 GMT

    It does not matter what we do with our batting orders or who we select. We are destined for a 4-0 white wash. We simply do not have it to put it across the Australian team. This is not a 20/20 cricket. This game needs determination, consistency, committment and the list can go on for a sustained period of time on & off the field over the 5days and beyond. Now if we sit back and look at these aspects in reference to the two teams I guess it is not too difficult to get the answer. Hence I recommend we do not talk about north indians and south indians and ridicule ourselves. Just accept the 4-0 as a matter of fact and enjoy our holiday period and probably highlight some good things about the Australian team to our kids.

  • dr amod on December 29, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    dravid is at his best at no 3 position india needs genuine opener who is sehwag yuvi is great odi player but he has no place in current test squad

  • Gopi on December 29, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    Mukul, agree with you completely. I think we lost it with the "Dravidian crawl" in both innings. MY team for Sydney would be: Jaffer (better buck up!), Sehwag, Laxman, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Dhoni, Kumble, Zaheer, RP, Ishant/ Harbajan.

  • Murali on December 29, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    What a bunch of losers....they can just talk abut aggression but once on the field the so called greatest batsmen of India with averages in the 40s and 50s are like 'cats on a hot tin roof'. Scoring 20-odd runs against Australia is seeming so difficult. They have been outclassed in batting, bowling and fielding and how the hell can one expect them to come even close to winning a test against the very professional aussies. I feel really sorry for the bowlers, Anil is giving his all, Zaheer and RP have done well, Tendulkar, ganguly & Laxman will show their class for a few minutes.....the superstars (Dhoni & Yuvi) will be stripped naked of their egos and sent home in shame. If Dravid does not perform this series then it should be his swan song. Bring on the youngsters like uthappa, even if India still lose atleast we can see someone 'really' showing aggression against the aussies on the field rather than just all that stupid banter in the press.

  • Nikhil Chandhok on December 29, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    After the conclusion of the first Test,most of us Indians would have said : " There,we go again..." Unfortunately,it has been happening a bit too often to go unnoticed.The crux of the matter being that a dominating team like Australia needs to be ruffled at the very start of a series and I believe India missed a trick or two by not playing Sehwag at the MCG.Dravid's mindset as an opener is fairly similar to that of Jaffer and after having allowed Aussie bowlers to dictate terms,we simply played into their hands and left ourselves a mountain to climb with all the good work done by the rather 'decent' bowling attack going down the drain.I just hope the team think-tank gets its selections right for Sydney and all is not lost yet ...

  • J. JAYARAMAN on December 29, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    Though cricket channel told us about scaores made in 4th innings, this did not indicate how many overs were played by tems playing in the 4th innings of a Test.

  • Harry on December 29, 2007, 7:51 GMT

    I dont think it is fair to single out Yuvi after a failure in single test. Rahul has been performing below par in the last few series' and IMO Dravid opening the batting was a ploy to accomodate Dravid and not Yuvraj( as the article points out). Before someone starts going on about Rahul's previous exploits in AUS...I would like to point out that the last tour success could be attributed to the fact the aussie bowling lacked zing during the previous tour with a half-fit lee and gillespie and a bunch of ordinary medium pacers as support.Brad Williams, Andy Bichel and Nathan Bracken at their best can be termed as average. He was also helped by some pathetic bowling by Mcgill. Rahul has been a failure during the 1999 series against a full fledged Aussie attack and continue to be the same unless bowlers feed him with some leg side half-volleys. I dont see that coming from anybody in the current Aussie setup. My line up would be replace Dravid with sehwag and retain the same 11.

  • Devang on December 29, 2007, 7:51 GMT

    I think India is not going to make 300 runs in any tests. The Result will be 4-0 unless weather helps India in one of the match

  • Bhavdeep S Sachdev on December 29, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    I've said this before and I'll say this again. This team lacks the aggressiveness required to play the Aussies. Do you think Kumble would have declared on the 3rd day with 500 to get in 2 days if Aussies were to bat last? NO. There is no way any Indian captain would have declared. Why you ask? All they want to do is save their own asses. What they don't realize is that you need to be aggressive to beat Aussies at home. Ganguly is the only player that I admire as a captain. Well, he was shrewed, and if what chappell said is true, was not a good man. But he was aggressive and thats what will win you matches. What can I say about Dravid, I just don't want to say anything. Overall, I was happy to see it end in 4 days. At least I was right when I told my colleagues you can never win matches by defending. If we were a little aggressive, we might have lost by a lesser margin and gone in to the Sydney test with good hope. I can only imagine what the team is thinking now.

  • Alan on December 29, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Well said Mukul.

    It's been long said that messing with the top order is a cardinal sin, especially when the movement to bring in another player fails when that player does not perform.

    ultimator, btw, Tendulkar's average against the countries you mentioned away from home is definitely higher than what you said as "mid-twenties".

    The stats show that Tendulkar averages:

    52.66 v Australia 39.76 v South Africa 41.50 v New Zealand

    and against England, an average of 62.

    I didn't rate Tendulkar highly enough before this test match, but seeing from his performance with the bat, i'd class him as one of the best after Bradman.

    Regarding the opening batsmen, i believe their must be a change. Having two similar batsmen at the crease can be detrimental to the team, especially if their style is defensive. The bowlers toiled too hard for the batters to destroy it.

  • Raj on December 29, 2007, 7:47 GMT

    Nicely written Mukul. I had the same feeling as you said before the start of the test. At the end that is become true. Yuve is like Bevan. Good one day player and not suited for test level. Now only think India have to do is bring back Karthik or Shewag as an opener. I always feel bad about Dravid when he is asked to do these type of adjustments. Poor Dravid

  • vidhyadhar pai on December 29, 2007, 7:47 GMT

    INDIAN 11 FOR SECOND TEST V/S FUTURE TEST 11 OUTSIDE SUB-CONTINENT

    1)SEHWAG 1)ROBIN UTHAPPA 2)JAFFER 2)GAUTHAM GAMBHIR 3)DRAVID 3)S.BADRINATH 4)SACHIN 4)YUVRAJ 5)GANGULY 5)SURESH RAINA 6)DHONI 6)DHONI 7)PATHAN 7)PATHAN 8)KUMBLE 8)PIYUSH CHAWLA 9)ZAHEER 9)ZAHEER 10)PANKAJ SINGH 10)PANKAJ SINGH 11)R.P.SINGH 11)R.P.SINGH

  • whizkid on December 29, 2007, 7:46 GMT

    Bang on Mukul!

    I just hope that the selectors get it right in the second test. Drop Yuvraj..Open with Sehwag and Wasim..Drop RP and bring in Pathan would be the way to go..Sehwag can bowl and Pathan can bat so there's protection at both ends

  • Aravind on December 29, 2007, 7:46 GMT

    We can keep on arguing or debating about players opening at a certain spot, bowlers not bowling upto the mark,etc. The FACT is Australia is the best team when it comes to consistency and execution; both home and away in both the forms of cricket - one-dayers and tests.

  • Peter on December 29, 2007, 7:45 GMT

    Sunil, should the Aussies prepare pitches to suit the Indians should they? What's the norm in India? Do they prepare pitches to suit the visiting team? Accept the fact you were belted by a better team with a bit more grace my boy...

  • Anonymous on December 29, 2007, 7:44 GMT

    Indians have always been poor travllers. Lets hope Sachin digs in and shows his class for the last time to Aussies.

  • jimmy spencer on December 29, 2007, 7:43 GMT

    Fully agree with the views expressed herein it was improper to have overexpectations from Yuvraj Singh to perform at the highest level of test cricket when his game is only suitable for the one day format.We seem to have got carried away with his innings against Pakistan on a dead pitch and a club class bowling attack.It is high time we pull our socks up and get our strategy right or else we may end up being blanked out in the series four nil by an Australian team which is very competitive and proffessional in its approach towards the game.By making short term adjustments the entire balance of the batting order was disturbed and with a defensive mindset of the openers there was much more pressure on those following later to stabilise things around which is not easy against a bowling attack like Australia. May better sense prevail and we pick the right composition which can atleast put up a fight rather than succumbing to the opposition who have us by the cruff of the neck

  • Apoorva Trivedi on December 29, 2007, 7:43 GMT

    Its a Pity that we are expecting Indians to win Down Under considering that Aussies are Miles and way ahead whan it comes In Sports.Its looks like there are 11 India Software Professionals pitted against 11 Gladiators on Cricket field.A total mismatch.Time has come for us to stop admiring Indian Cricketers and look at other better sports persons who bring laurels for the country.

  • Nick on December 29, 2007, 7:42 GMT

    To play Dravid is an opener was a mistake and, yes, he should bat down the order until he gets back into form. But, but to play Sehwag as opener would be a huge mistake. Sehwag is woefully out of form. He has performed miserably even in Ranji matches, so to expect him to perform against Australia is asking too much. The team should play Karthik as an opener. He has done well against the moving ball in England and South Africa. He is a much safer bet than hoping that Sehwag can effect a miraculous return to form against the world's best team.

  • David Kirchhubel on December 29, 2007, 7:41 GMT

    Well, this was meant to be the last chance for Australian Test crowds to see the Big Three in action. Dravid was out of his depth; he's hopelessly out of form and was tied down, which handed the Australians the initiative after India's bowlers did well to restrict the Australian batting juggernaut. Tendulkar was aggressive at times, but one senses that he was underdone - he will be better in Sydney. Ganguly was in fine fettle, as he has been since his second coming, but gave his wicket away after he had done the hard work. One can excuse his shot in the first innings: he was left with the tail and it is mighty fragile away from India's benign pitches. Let's hope we see some return to the glory days from the Big Three. By the way, where are their replacements? Jaffer didn't even need a Jaffa to get out. What happens to Indian batting once the Big Three depart (hopefully on their own terms)?

  • Sudhir on December 29, 2007, 7:41 GMT

    We are all talking about and blaming Yuvraj, but pray tell me what have the rest of the seniors done,not just the famous four but even guys like Jaffer and Dhoni...we dont expect the Indians to win a series in Australia ( if they do it will surely be commendable) as hardly any team has challenged the mighty Aussies in the recent past...but the least expected from the Indians was to put up a fight. A sub-200 score in both the Innings and that too in conditions supposedly similar to our own is really appalling...The only thing fans like us can do ... "pray that they dont loose 4-0".

  • Sudhir on December 29, 2007, 7:39 GMT

    True, Dravid's batting in both the innings was as mysterious as a Bermuda Triangle and needless to say utterly baffling. How can an experienced batsman of his caliber, who did so wonderfully in the previous tour of Australia, play as he did here? I am really dying to hear some sort of explanation from him for his pathetic display. Coming to the Yuvraj issue that has rearranged the whole batting line-up, if anything, he should have been asked to open the innings and keep the middle-order arrangement intact. His natural stroke play and positive attitude would had come in handy, given the negative attitude Jaffer. I think, for the next test, they have to take a gamble and rope in Sehwag and open Yuvraj with him. We ought to dump Jaffer as his body language is so weak when he goes out to play, I am still amazed how he made those centuries. Might be another Bermuda Triangle in our Indian Cricket Team's midst?

  • NCN on December 29, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    The article hits the bull's eye !! First and foremost, drop Pathetic Yuvraj and End Misery of Dhoni by sending them back home, where they will do what they do best, modeling for products!!! Get some real talent in the team cause when the fab. four depart( Sachin, Sourav, VVS,Dravid along with spin twins- there is no one left. apart from maybe Zaheer(who needs to maintain better discipline) and to an extent Wasin Jaffer.

    THE ONLY CONSISTENCY I SAW- 1. Ganguly and Laxman scoring- too bad no one gave enough support to them in either innings!!! 2. Yuvraj and Dhoni failing- ALL GAS BUT WITHOUT FIRE. impressive car body but no engine...what more can you say. 3. Zaheer's Noballs- he'd become a better bowler if he maintains discipline- why doesn't he talks to Wasim Akram - all type great left arm medium bowler???

    Get others like Uthappa and Kaif into the team. I'm sure that our fielding tardiness could be lifted by these livewire fielders.

  • Raghuraman on December 29, 2007, 7:34 GMT

    I agree with Mukul. Too much importance has been given to Yuvraj's inclusion by media , the team management had no choice but to alter the batting order just to accomodate him. Yuvraj deserve to be the first choice when any one of the present 4 gets injured ( like in Bangalore when sachin didn't play) .Otherwise he has to wait.THAT'S IT. I hope common sense prevails atleast now for team selection in 2nd test. By the way when was the last time Bajji really bowled well !!!.Even in last PAK series he didn't look threatening at all.He is more of an liability than an asset to the team with his loose talk (on Hogg's inclusion). Promplty he got out to Hogg in 1st innings and to avoid repetition ran himself out in 2nd innings. It came no surprise that Tendulkar in both innings got out to poor shot selection as he has lost his touch to play a long and responsible test innings of late ( more of one day mode)

  • saravanan on December 29, 2007, 7:32 GMT

    India needs to play with the genuine opener like Sehwag / Karthik and leave out Yuvraj from the playing 11. Also they should have included Murali Karthik, who has performed extremely well against Australians in the recent ODI series.

  • Sajish Thomas on December 29, 2007, 7:31 GMT

    Yes Dravid as an Opener is destroying the confidence of Indian Bowlers, who had done the hard work by removing Australia below 400. Indian line up is not getting the start what they needed now. If one of the opening batsman give a good start at least having a strike rate of 50+ then the other one can stable his innings..Dravid is spent force

  • Pritam P. SIngh on December 29, 2007, 7:31 GMT

    Yeah we lost becauz of UV, this is the best a south indian can say. Mukul, Why are you so biased. You single out harbhajan and yuvi for the whole crap india produced. Perhaps it's the punjab connection which you don't like. I agree they are not the force to be reckon with abroad, but what about dravid, jaffer ...what did they do which uv and bhajji failed to do, infact bhajji was better than most of the bowlers second time. and what did ur laxman do, atleast he got a start both times. It was a complete team failure, and because of stupid journalist like you people will be led to believe that a single player of particular state has brought the downfall. Whole of your article had a sense of vendetta for the backlash you got at the hands of cricket fans for your earlier nonsense piece of writing. You were just waiting for yuvraj's failure and we know that soon u'll start crying about badrinaths, or venugopal rao's., as if they played in Perth for whole of their life. U r a loser M. Keswan

  • srivathsan on December 29, 2007, 7:31 GMT

    It is not fair to blame dravid for the debacle.Yes ,he could have gone for his normal game but ,we do not what the instructions were ,but in the second innings,though he scored only 16,he has seen to it that new ball is tamed.as you have rightly said, he is the best at one down & why tinker his position? ponting never opens .Ther is a psychological angle.Even if you come second ball as one down, it is different from opening an innings.We are killing a hen laying golden eggs.The next test should have sehwag in place of yuvraj & dravid restored his right place,if india is interested in redeeming themselves.MUKUL ,ONE POINT YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN TO MENTION THAT IF DRAVID FAILS TEAM INDIA FAILS TOO.THERE IS NO REASON FOR OTHER PLAYERS TO HAVE FAILED AS THEY CLAIM TO BE IN FORM.

  • Krishna on December 29, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    Accept the fact that we lost it anyway.Drop Yuvaraj,Harbajan,Jaffer.Bring Irfan,Ishnat,Pankaj,Sehwag.This tall bowlers can hit the deck hard in Australian surface.

  • Saurabh on December 29, 2007, 7:29 GMT

    Sir I think you have hit the nail right on the head particularly on the matter of team selection. In my humble opinion the selection was not only flawed it was bereft of any logic. It seems that we select sides based on popularity rather than the age old policy of Horses for Courses. And worse, in the process we disturb a batting order which had been doing well consistently. Can anyone explain why a player of Rahul Dravid's class and stature should sacrifice his most productive batting slot for someone who has only played a handful of test matches and that too without much to rave about? Or, why a man who had been one of the pillars of India's impressive show down under, four years ago was left out for someone who has nothing to show against the same opposition? If Yuvraj was such a hot contender he should have been included in the side as an opener(which was the only position up for grabs) and not at the expense of great players like Dravid and Laxman.India will do good to avoid 4-0.

  • Vidyashankar on December 29, 2007, 7:29 GMT

    Mr. Kesavan is bang on. Even our past great Mr. Gavaskar - in his last days of professional carreer came in 2 down. And here we are asking Mr. Dravid - in his last phase of profesional career - to move up the order and that too when he is going thru a lean period. If we need to honour that quintessential selfless team-man Mr. Dravid - it is appropriate we move him down the order until he gets his touch back.

  • Nandakumar Moorkath on December 29, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    Indians bungled from the very beginning of this match, by making bad selection and bad choice of openers and bowlers. Sehwag who has great record against Aussies was kept out, for some strange reason and Dravid was made the sacrifical lamb as opener when he has a great record as one down batsman! Why was Sachin and Sehwag not selected as openers? What has Harbhajan Singh done to be selected and he did not get a single wicket in first innings when Kumble got 5! Sehwag could well have bowled better than Harbhajan surely and this could have allowed to play another pacer like Ishant Sharma! Hope the selectors rectify their blunders and omit Jaffer and Harbhajan for next match and bring in Sehwag and Sharma as replacements and make Sachin and Sehwag open the innings with Dravid as one down batsman! But who knows, our team selectors unfortunately bolt the stable only after horses leave, so any thing is possible!

  • Karan on December 29, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    Spot on Mukul. I think Indians hyped it all up by talking a lot and not following the words with actions. There is no place for empty threats and one player who should really keep his mouth shut is Harbajhan Singh. Good article.

  • Shankar Anand on December 29, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    It is heart breaking to see India going down with out a fight.If we need to accommodate Yuvaraj in the middle order, we should open with either Sachin or Sourav( normally opening in One dayers with success). Dravid is the match winner and number one batsman in our team, where his position should not be altered( for example Mr. Ponting.

    India should go in with the positive frame of mind atleat for a good show.I think Yuvaraj should make the way for Mr.Sehwag. Dhoni should prove himself in Australia with the good scores as he look very ordinary with his batting effort.

  • Jeevan on December 29, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    Absolutely spot-on analysis ! No changes to the team are expected for Sydney. But I think Dinesh Kartik would be better serve the team (as batsman-keeper) than Dhoni in Australia in tests matches Another person who might have worked well in these conditions is Robin Uthappa (though no-where on the radar of BCCI selectors for test matches) At lest he's fearless, agressive & shows intent to score runs.

  • saravanan on December 29, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    India needs to play with the genuine opener like Sehwag / Karthik and leave out Yuvraj from the playing 11. Also they should have included Murali Karthik, who has performed extremely well against Australians in the recent ODI series.

  • Raghu on December 29, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    Spot on. Reality check for the team. It was disgusting to see last series match winner Dravid being forced to open. But I don't see your solution to this to work either in the long term. Sehwag has to understand that every ball can't be hit for a 4 or 6. I would go for the pair of Jaffer and Karthik to open. This match was batsmen problem, next match is gona be bowler problem.

  • vinny on December 29, 2007, 7:26 GMT

    Mukul, I was wondering how a person like you can teach history as you seem to have a memory of a gold fish. You wrote off yuvraj singh to be a bully of mediocre attacks on subcontinent wickets, yuvraj's first hundred was on a green top in pakistan when umar gul(as good as any current australian bowler)was ripping through our great batting line up in 2004. Yuvraj's second hundred was on karachi green top when mohammed asif(better than any current australian fast bowler on his day)was running through our batting line up. Bowling line up consisting of akthar, gul and asif is as good as any bowling lineup in the world. Most recent century from yuvi was on a pitch no different than the MCG wicket and when he walked in India was struggling at 4 for 60 odd runs against your mediocre bowling attack. Yuvi has never been given a long run in test cricket for his potential.We would not have seen players like kallis,stevewaugh,laxman if they were dropped after their initial performances in tests

  • Ravi Josyula on December 29, 2007, 7:26 GMT

    This is a good article. There are some more points to add to it. How can Dravid be asked to open when we have Sourav and Tendulkar who have opened in 250 odd ondays each ? How can one elevate Laxman to one drop when sourav with his mediocre technique kept on coming ahead of Laxman for most part of the last decade ? We have instances where Yuvaraj and Dhone coming ahead of Laxman and i don't understand why sourav, yuvraj and dhoni's did not opt to go one down. Instead they pushed Laxman to one drop. We have no consistent record of Dhone scoring overseas. Karthik who has a better record overseas and particularly on bouncy tracks should be considered ahead of Dhoni. Thank god we did not elevate Dhoni to captain position in Tests. Let him first show that he can succeed with bat overseas. On pure keeping technique karthik is ahead of him. Let us get things right.

  • Deva on December 29, 2007, 7:25 GMT

    ha ha. a typical comment from a fanatical disappointed fan. Come on, they're not gonna win every game. They just need to keep it interesting enough to have the endorsements alive. Did you see anyone play with ambition, resolve or purpose, except maybe Ganguly. They preferred the extra day off than winning or drawning this game. Well, the pitch wasn't gonna get any better, so might as well get done with it. Why defy statistics, 499 is too much to get from 188 overs.

  • rajeev on December 29, 2007, 7:24 GMT

    If you go by avg's for batting(i believe it reflects on talent for example #11 would never have an avg of 50.00) and Sehwag not only bat's at almost 50.00 but also avg's better than most bat'smen in the present test team.I fail to understand WHY he is not playing.One bad tour in SA and he is discarded(for god's sake he is not avg-ing in the 30's)If anybody who is reading and can make a difference in the indian test team selection PLEASE LET SEHWAG PLAY TEST CRICKET and you will see in time India from pretenders will be contender as the best team in world cricket.

  • Neeraj on December 29, 2007, 7:23 GMT

    Whatever Indians do they wont be able to stop the Aussie Juggernaut. To be frank Indians dont have it in them to beat Aussies even if all the players in the best of their form. Test cricket is won by a collective effort, something that is rarely seen from the Indian team. Do we have the bowling to dismiss Aussies twice in a test match -the answer is a Blunt NO!! Do we have the batsman to score runs consistently and score them when required. I will say - depends on their mood!!

    Not able to cross 200 in both innings against an attack that was without McGrath and Gillespie, and on a track that was without bounce and pace is just an indicator of the things to come in the series. Well lets hope for the best!! At least even a fight from Indians will nice to see.

  • siddharth on December 29, 2007, 7:23 GMT

    i've to agree. Add Dhoni to the list of 'pretenders'. He is the supreme example of a subcontinent bully. He, more than yuvi, doesn't belong to the test arena. Harbhajan Singh should be thrown out. i was listening to his interview after the third day. he said that one can't always take 32 wickets. thats ridiculous! the idiot hasn't done anything since then. This was the kind of performance that makes you ant to support Australia. Pathetic!

  • Gautam on December 29, 2007, 7:23 GMT

    I think Dravid did his job, at least in the second innings. India had to play out six sessions. Dravid played out one of them. There are five other batsmen; had each lasted for one session, India would have saved the match.

  • Shri on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    Yuvraj not test level because he failed in both the innings and had the audacity to score against 'weaker' teams at home? Isn't that true about the rest of the famed batting lineup too? We so highly speak about India's last tour to Aussie-land, but wasn't that the weakest bowling lineup that Australia had fielded ever? I wholeheartedly agree with your first paragraph - the rest, I must say, is just meaningless.

  • S.N. IYER on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    There is very little logic in Team selection matters in India.Yuvaraj is only a limited overs player and has never succeeded against good bowling , be it spin or pace.When there are so many youngsters knocking at the door why should we select the old veterans who have only their past records to support them.It is similar to the old politicians wanting to continue in our country though many have now become senile. There has to be an all round change in the mind set if we have to improve our record overseas.

  • limon on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    you are right mukul.sending the wall to the opening slot was a blunder.he gotta bat at 3.get shewag in n hope that he can repeat his feat of 197 from the last tour.at least hes not gonna waste 120 balls for 15.if he stays for 120 balls hez gonna score 100.but it seems that the selectors are gonna stick to the same team n i can see india going down 2-0 already.

  • Neeraj on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    Whatever Indians do they wont be able to stop the Aussie Juggernaut. To be frank Indians dont have it in them to beat Aussies even if all the players in the best of their form. Test cricket is won by a collective effort, something that is rarely seen from the Indian team. Do we have the bowling to dismiss Aussies twice in a test match -the answer is a Blunt NO!! Do we have the batsman to score runs consistently and score them when required. I will say - depends on thier mood!!

    Not able to cross 200 in both innings against an attack that was without McGrath and Gillespie, and on a track that was more without bounce and pace is just an indicator of the things to come in the series. Well lets hope for the best!! At least even a fight from Indians will nice to see.

  • S Banerjee on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    Mukul you've hit the nail right on its head.Yuvraj just doesn't belong to Test cricket and will NOT as long as he continues to be fumbled by spin.He just didn't have any idea as to what Hogg was bowling...it was just a question when he would get out not!The only way forward for India in the series is to pick Sehwag to partner Jaffer at Sydney and get Rahul back at 3 or 6.He's been India's greatest batsman overseas and in his moment of crisis the least the team management can do is give him the place where HE feels comfy.make no mistake:no matter how many runs India's strokemaker make Dravid just HAS to come good to hope to compete with Australia...thoughts of winning can be left for another day.

  • Ashley on December 29, 2007, 7:22 GMT

    Interesting to read the comments from an Indian point of view. The one thing that wasn't mentioned that separates theses two sides is the size in the ability to field.But I suppose that has been apparent for some time now. It has become frustrating that the other sides are still so far behind Australia in the field when they have had so long to improve in this area. I would go with Sehwag to open and hope India comes out attacking with the bat for the rest of the series, they have the class of batsman for crying out loud. If they don't attack and put there talent on show it not only kills the game as a spectacle but also gives them no chance of winning. Australia score at about or just under 4 an over in tests which always gives them a chance to win a game quickly and it puts the opposition under pressure from the word go.

  • Anonymous on December 29, 2007, 7:21 GMT

    The hearing took place after the third day's play. After considering the evidence, match referee Mike Procter decided Yuvraj had not stood his ground in protest. "It was evident that Yuvraj took more time than normal to leave the crease but it was due to the fact that he was shocked at the decision," Proctor said. "At no stage he showed displeasure or dissent at the umpire's decision."

    Well cant do much,when the pitch is made to suit the Aussies!

    Billy is selected to umpire, a match by the Aussies!

    Need a few changes in the batting line in the Indian team!

    Rahul Dravid should be sent home!

    Get Robin Uthappa into the team!

  • Nobody on December 29, 2007, 7:20 GMT

    I completely agree with Mukul on Yuvraj. Players like yuvraj and dhoni have perfromed well at times but comparing them to the likes of tendulkar, dravid or laxman is a big mistake.

    Another bad luck for india is that Ganguly is scoring. He is the one whose spot should be used to groom young players. His innings are usually not for the team and doesnt really matter to the end result.

    Its time india really concentrate on their game and stop being proud of breaking the 10-20 yr old records by beating England, West Indies and Pakistan who have their weakest squad of the past 20 yrs on contrary to indias strongest ever!!

  • Sunil on December 29, 2007, 7:19 GMT

    The hearing took place after the third day's play. After considering the evidence, match referee Mike Procter decided Yuvraj had not stood his ground in protest. "It was evident that Yuvraj took more time than normal to leave the crease but it was due to the fact that he was shocked at the decision," Proctor said. "At no stage he showed displeasure or dissent at the umpire's decision."

    Well cant do much,when the pitch is made to suit the Aussies!

    Billy is selected to umpire, a match by the Aussies!

    Need a few changes in the batting line in the Indian team!

    Rahul Dravid should be sent home!

    Get Robin Uthappa into the team!

  • satya on December 29, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    Its sad we lost the match big way after the bowlers did a wondeful job. Last tour the major factor was the strong opening partnership where Akash Chopra was grinding and Sehwag was attacking which gave the required momentum to the others who followed. Dravid is a great batsman but is out of form and deserved some protection; ought to have come at No 6. Hope we get Sehwag back as opener and Yuvi can wait for longer. Jaffer and Dhoni were out of sorts while Sachin, Ganguly and Laxman could not convert their good starts into big scores. Bowlers did a decent job though and hope we get the combination right for the Sydney test. Its difficult to come back but we got a good team and I am confident we get back on top at Sydney.

  • Vinod on December 29, 2007, 7:17 GMT

    One can't agree more to Mukul'point on Dravid. Dravid has been an accomplished player at number three. And repeating his remarks at few interviews, it makes a big change mentally to adjust to the role of an opener for a one down batsman, however correct technically he may be. One couldn't help but curse the selectors at the thought that this experiment has been done to accommodate Yuvraj, who does not boast of any test credentials outside the subcontinent. That Dravid has not complained speaks a lot about his character. Yuvraj has played as opener in previous tests and should be made to open, if this experiment were to continue. India shouldn't make the costly mistake of playing the matches, with the series effectively lost already due to such irrational decisions. Let's admire Dravid play where he belongs to, for all, this might be our last chance in Australia with the big four.

  • Dnyanesh Nadkarni on December 29, 2007, 7:17 GMT

    I dont agree with both your comments 1) Yuvraj deserves his place in tests and could be the X Factor that Indian Test cricket needs esp considering our ageing middle order. 2) Dravid, being such a great batsman should have been able to weather the bad form and open the innings. I would have agreed to the opener versus No 3 arguement if Dravid has lost his wicket early in the innings. But in both he withstood the early onslaught only to lose his wicket later on.

    If someone can be blamed inarguably for the loss it should be BCCI for not arranging more games before the first test and second test, esp considering that Indians are notoriously slow starters.

    Sydney and Melbourne were our best chances of victory considering the nature of the piches. Would Anil Kumble be able to turn the tide in the Sydney test...He would be really looking to the batsmen to put up their hands up.

    BTW I feel we performed well as a bowling and fielding unit and should look at that as positive.

  • mahesh swaminathan on December 29, 2007, 7:16 GMT

    brilliant article mukul, u hit the nail on the coffin......

  • tinker on December 29, 2007, 7:14 GMT

    How did yuvraj get a bad one?

    snicko showed a clear noise as it passed the bat.

    basically he was out twice on zero.

  • Niyantha on December 29, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    I think Yuvraj is more than just a 'pretender'. He has class and ability and I believe he will be India's leading Test player in the coming years. However, you need to pick horses for courses and in this test match we needed to start aggressively and stay aggressive throughout the game. Putting an out of form Dravid at the top of the line-up was inconsiderate to the great man and was tactically wrong. If at all India wanted to give Sehwag an opportunity, it should have been in the first test when the scoreline was still 0-0. I'm afraid, as you pointed out, India will go into the second test with the same batting line-up and if that does happen, either Jaffer must play aggressively or the middle order must increase the tempo, because at the moment, Dravid seems to be finding survival more important than his strike rate.

  • Sudhir on December 29, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    Great post. Completely agree with you. Kumble at the post match interview, said " Dravid is batting very well. The only advice, I can give him is play each ball on its merit."

    If this advice continues, we can be rest assured that it will be a 4-0 thrashing.

    I have a sneaky feeling that better sense will prevail upon Kumble and he will open with 'Sehwag' and Jaffer at Sydney, drop Yuvraj and play Dravid in the middle order, hopefully not at 3 but at 6.

    Let's hope for the best.

  • Asad on December 29, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    In his present form, Dravid is like a filler used in between acts in dramas and circus. 5 runs from 66 balls and 16 from 114 balls -- is simply occupying the crease (read "disaster waiting to happen").

  • Haydos1 on December 29, 2007, 7:11 GMT

    I couldn't agree more Mukul. How the Indian selectors could justify forcing Dravid to open just to fit Yuraj into the side is beyond me. As an Aussie, I thought it played right into our hands to include Yuvraj in this squad. Even though I thought Dravid would perform better than he did, (and it has been just one test) it did not make sense to upset a great player to include a pretender. I was astounded by Yuvraj's attitude during this test match. It was as if he thought he was a legend and had nothing to prove. However as an outsider of Indian cricket, despite his recent good form in oneday and 2020, I have not been impressed one bit by Yuvraj and can't understand why Inidans hold him in such high regard. He may come good later in the series, but I see no reason to include him ahead of Sehwag.

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on December 29, 2007, 7:11 GMT

    After the first day of the Melbourne Test when India got 9 wickets on the first day, someone wrote an article “Australia challenged at last”……….. May I ask how, where and by whom Australia was challenged?

    Indian team, the board management and the public must understand India is not a competitive team as they are being projected by obsessed cricket writers on Cricinfo. This team is a bunch of those mediocre who have already passed their prime time. The sooner this reality is accepted the better it is for the mad and crazy cricket lovers of India.

    Watch out 4-0 thrashing!!!

  • sunil on December 29, 2007, 7:10 GMT

    how correct Mukul is. Australians are simply brillant. India has the same problem as all touring parties; the pressure of playing Australia. Why tinker with the batting line up; leave Seewag to open and Dravid at #3. Bowling play pathan who is as effective as R.P at least you have a batting all rounder at #9.

  • KC on December 29, 2007, 7:10 GMT

    Absolutely agree with Dravid at number 6. But to label Yuvraj a flat track bully is ridiculous. His hundreds in Pakistan were both on green tracks in hopeless situations with a good attack tearing in. If anything he is a very poor player of spin. He's been Murali's bunny in the past and I'm afraid Hogg is going to make an easy meal of him here. Sehwag is a punt and thats about it. On current form you'd have to send him in on a prayer. A reckless Sehwag is good when in form. Out of form he just looks stupid. Let's cut the crap and bring Karthik back. He and Jaffer looked closest to forming somwehat of a partnership at the top. And don't forget he had the highest average in 2007 until he was dropped.

  • Alf on December 29, 2007, 7:08 GMT

    Well said Mukul but I would like to talk about another point that you have missed - the one about the BCCI for chalking up this itinerary. Everyone knows Indians are slow starters and thus it's imperative India get at least 2-3 warm-up matches before playing the aussies, but what do we have here? India playing aussies after a solitary warm up totalling a mammoth 40 odd overs!

    How can anyone let that one go? Tour to australia is one of the toughest and prestigious tour and I would rank aussie tour on par with the world cup. How can BCCI agree to an intinerary that gives us no chance to be competitive, let alone win? Shouldn't BCCI be responsible for such a c**k up? I hope you raise this issue in your articles and blogs so that someone might take notice of the same. I won't blame players for this debacle as I don't think anyone can land in australia and compete with aussies with 40 overs of practice.

    I am sorry Mukul but this one is on BCCI and indian administrators primarlily.

  • sameer on December 29, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    You couldn't have been more right in your comments about yuvi being a pretender.He doesn't belong to the hallowed test arena.Dhoni is a flat track bully.He can't even put bat to ball on bouncy wickets. Ian chappel n gavaskar cried themselves hoarse about including sehwag.I hope this defeat clears many false notions india have about yuvi n dhoni.

  • Ravi Balkish on December 29, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    what a marvelous write-up by Mukul Kesavan. He is right on money. Greg Chappell long ago mentioned Yuvraj thinks he is a star, when is one in the making instead. Indian selectors have blundered time and again asking Rahul to kep wickets to make room for an extra batsmen, in the past - now they are breaking his grace and honor by asking him to open against Lee and Clark - why did they take Dinesh Krthik and Sehwag

    Harbhajan shouls shut his gob - it is high time - he has been making idiotic statements like "India can still win" etc

    Tendulkar also has been quite boring in his comments - Ganguly, tendular and Laxman have still some class left - Dravid will join this league if restored to his usual batting slot

    first, we should have a coach Ravi Balkish

  • eswaran on December 29, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    so true, well said you have said what needed to be said a painful performance to make room for someone who then performs appalingly (Yuvraj) , both as a batsmen and in the field, was a travesty Sehwag will probably come in for the next test, but unfortunately it will be at Jaffers expense. Harbhajan was appaling as well

  • Procynic on December 29, 2007, 7:05 GMT

    I think the defeat at the MCG was inevitable. But shuffling both Dravid and Laxman to accommodate Yuvraj - that was criminal !!! If Yuvraj really is the test batsmen he is claimed to be - he should prove himself as an opener since thats the only way in. Everyone should bat where they do. Mike Hussey waited for years to get into the side and when he did - he got the #6 spot even though he was an opener for his club sides. Only 14 tests later he was considered so valuable to the middle order that he was overlooked for the openers slot when it did open up. If Yuvraj wants to make a career of playing Test matches he has to work with what he can get

  • Dan on December 29, 2007, 7:04 GMT

    A fine analysis. As always, only consistent aggression works against the Australian team. England in 2005 gave the blueprint. With India's quality, they should have at least made some attempt to score the runs today. 250 per day, two days. How many Indian players already have double-centuries to their names? Was it so impossible? Didn't VVS and Dravid's big come-back in that classic game prove that India is capable of marvels? I was at the game today and begging for India to try to put scare in us. Instead we saw 160 runs in 5 hours. It may have ended sooner had India attacked, but could it really have ended more ingloriously? Bring back Sehwag!

  • Nagappan.M on December 29, 2007, 7:02 GMT

    India’s approach that is in Big Question: It was again one of those pathetic displays by India more in terms of way they approached this run chase and trying to take the initiative while batting in the first innings.

    When any team in the world, when the target set was close to 500 and you have 6 sessions to bat out. There is no way in the world you are going to draw the test match by batting out 180 overs without scoring runs.

    India batsmen are themselves to blame rather anything else by not scoring the runs which eventually would put India in the hunt. Rahul Dravid was the example of India’s aggression as they went on talking in media ,played close to 200 balls to get 21 when the match is up for grabs is kind of aggression India is displaying right now.

  • Gaurav Nayak on December 29, 2007, 7:00 GMT

    I applaud your sentiments Mr Kesavan. One wonders why something that is so apparent, to the intelligentsia of cricket and the local boy down at the pub, seems to escape the minds of the selectors. Yuvraj Singh is not/and will never be a Test quality batsman. And by extension, I would like to state, that neither will Dhoni frankly. On shirtfronts, 20/20, ODIs, their brash, hit-and-miss brute force style might work there. But in Tests, you need application. I think you could do a lot worse, than bring back D Karthik, and someone else technically correct. Akash Chopra maybe?

  • g.s.venkatramana rao on December 29, 2007, 7:00 GMT

    very disgusting, disappointing, pathetic performance from indian team. let them all be dropped on to the indian ocean if they fail to win this series.

  • g.s.venkatramana rao on December 29, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    very disgusting, disappointing, pathetic performance from indian team. let them all be dropped on to the indian ocean if they fail to win this series.

  • Rohit Hippalgaonkar on December 29, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    As usual, Mr. Kesavan, you make it obvious that you have a bias against Yuvraj - you really make it personal when you write against him.

    Still I agree with you, but for different reasons, that Dravid shouldn't have opened - they should have never broken a winning combination... Karthik should have been persisted with, he only had one bad series, and in general the opening combine of Jaffer and him complements each other, unlike Dravid and Jaffer.

  • g.s.venkatramana rao on December 29, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    very disgusting, disappointing, pathetic performance from indian team. let them all be dropped on to the indian ocean if they fail to win this series.

  • Gaurav on December 29, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    Agree with Dravid at 6 and sehwag as opener. I even think that Viru may turn out to be a better spin option than Bhajji. The other alternative is to drop Dhoni and bring Karthik in. Am not so sure about your sentiments about yuvraj's test future though. The scheduling of this tour is awful (1 practice game which never was and playing a 3rd string pak attack on flat tracks before that) - for someone playing tests in aus for the first time, it is even more amplified, only time will tell but it is time to take some hard calls = doesn't look like status quo will work

  • SaHiL on December 29, 2007, 6:58 GMT

    salaam!! well palyed DRAVID.hats off to uu. gr8 team spiRet shown by Kumble & Co. keep it up

  • vas on December 29, 2007, 6:58 GMT

    Think you're being slightly unfair on Yuvraj. For me, he represents the future of Indian cricket? What is more important Mukul? Winning this series or laying the foundations for consistent success in the future?

    If it is the former, then stick with the same team. But if it is the latter, then Yuvraj must be persisted with. He represents India's future, and given an opportunity to play alongside Tendulkar and Ganguly to pick their brains and learn.

    This shows the BCCI must look past egoism and bid adieu to one of the big three, and I think it must be Dravid, not because he deserves the sack, but India must look to the future, and putting them one of the pasture will make a clear statement that profile should not matter. Australia did the same thing for Mark Waugh in 02, and theyve managed to build on their success from then. India ought to do the same.

    Will it be a hard decision? Yes. Will they actually do it though, likely not, seeing the BCCI are an organisation that thrives on ego

  • Naveen on December 29, 2007, 6:58 GMT

    Agree, one hundred percent with your analysis. Dravid is a two down player. Shewag is a better bet than Yuvi and if they absolutely want Yuvi to prepare him as a test player, then Jaffer should be out.

  • Soumik on December 29, 2007, 6:56 GMT

    Well,let me say that the days of Neville Cardus are over.There is hardly any romanticism left in cricket now,what's left is hardcore fight,facts and record.They say that the fundamental difference between art and science is that art can never be repeated but science can.Let's admit that what Australia does is science. Art will give you a Laxman's 281 or Bhajji's 32 wickets in 3 tests.But if you mould the three departments of cricket into science see the results from Australia.Their feats are thus repeatable and they are showing it over and over.There is no shame in losing to Australia.For one,they are always the better side in the field but most importantly,in defeat,you can learn a few things if you want to.We can never beat Australia consistently barring a few occassions through some individual brilliances but we have to find the answer.It's there in their process somewhere and we better find it now before it's too late.Otherwise,dude,this game is done.

  • Siddhartha on December 29, 2007, 6:56 GMT

    I felt embarassed by the Twenty20 celebrations as I could see it coming...and wrote it on my infrequently updated blog as well: http://siddhgyan.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html whereing the Myth 3 I talked about has been, obviously, more lucidly highlighted by Mukul here. Sourav, Sachin and Laxman were the only batsmen who even showed any signs of belonging to this level And I am sure once Dravid is brought to his proper batting position he would show that too. For the rest, the earlier they realise that hitting sixes and making cheerleaders dance is a different ballgame - where will they find cheerleaders who are willing to dance for 5 days:-)

  • Moni Mohan Paul on December 29, 2007, 6:54 GMT

    Can Kumble explain why he has under used Tendulkar, Ganguly and specially Yuvraj as a bowler when it is well known the weakness of Australians against left arm spin? When a bowler is made a captain, either he over bowl or under bowl, in present case Kumble has over bowled by himself and Harbhajan without trying other options in second innings.

  • neer on December 29, 2007, 6:53 GMT

    well very good comments from the writer,always seems anti yuvraj singh.Whether anyone judges or not,the writer seems to be the first one to judge yuvraj as only a one day player,and that too after two innings in the first test.It seems as if he is totally anti yuvraj,and have read many articles by him on yuvraj simlar to this one

  • Karthik on December 29, 2007, 6:53 GMT

    LOL ! You just hate Yuvraj, don't you? But that aside, I can't help feeling that it is the batsmen who let the Indian side down more often than bowlers. With Indians, the moment there's hype, performance takes a dip. We do much better as underdogs.

  • Vijay Srinivasan on December 29, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    Nice comments. I would agree with most of your observations. This side is unnecessarily putting itself into a difficult situation by not scoring much at all. Instead I was watching the batsmen being over careful to the point of being scared. And the good one would take their wicket away leaving the next batsman in more pressure! India does need a strong opener who can get the doom off the middle order. Also, the existing middle order isnt applying itself diligently it seems. Some of the ways in which the batsmen got out made me feel like the shots were unnecessary - swinging at a ball far outside the offstump and nicking it! Anyway, this side needs to decide mentally if they are ready for this Australian team which is aggressive and doesnt let anything get away. Just hoping for somehow things will become right is not going to work.

  • Jey Ananta on December 29, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    Nicely written blog. I do agree with your comments about Yuvi. He is such a wonderful player in ODIs where the pressure is mostly on the bowlers. If they still dont want to go for Shewag i would like to have pathan in place of Yuvi as it adds atleast a better bowling option. Bhajji has to bowl at 80s like Hogg than 90s. It was a disheartening to see such a loss.

  • swaminathan j on December 29, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    when we go down under we go completely down under ! 100 ceuturies between the top 4 batsmen ; some temas do not even have these much putting all 11 together ; around 35,000 runs and the stort gets repeated every 4 years we are not able to convert singles into twos; after the first day ; because of teh ground being so huge all of them were tired ! opening is always an issue apart from the last tour when we bowl well ; batsmen dont deliver and when we bat well bowlers dont deliver ; fielding is always an Issue I guess what is needed is to realise the fact that we are no way close to Australians to give them a run for their money down under If Yuvraj singh has to be accomodated then he does not have a choice but to open and if he cannot u need to keep him out because u have lioterally put an alltime great no 3 batsman under the scanner for the rest of the tour I doubt after what has happended at melbourne he will ever be able to recover for the rest of the tour.

  • Mohan Nayak on December 29, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    Clear up to the point article. It is shocking to see how Dravid is being treated, probably the only person after Tendulkar to have the mettle to handle the great Australian bowling line up (sadly his consistency has deserted him). But no matter what happens we will be outplayed in all departments in this series...a whitewash is on the cards until something totally out of the blue happens...which really doesnt seem to be on the cards.

  • Rangarajan on December 29, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    Article reflects the mind of every Indian cricket lover. It is time pragmatic decision is taken andf Schewag brought in. Yuvaraj cannot be better described. Gambhir and Schewag will be the ideal pair. As could be seen from Australian opening pair, defensive attitude is not going to help in bouncy Australian tracks, the way Laxman went in first innings not knowing what is to be done to chest high bouncer when he is a good puller shows negative mindset can bring down the best.

  • sujit on December 29, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    I fully agree with Dravid fans, that to accommodate Yuvraj, Dravid should not be asked to open. Actually giving Dravid opening slot, his friend Kumble has shown a lot of respect of his calibre. Dravid should have been droped from the final eleven considering his present form. Kumble should immediately drop Dravid from the tean for rest of the series and give Shewag a chance to open who can fight fire with fire and has courage to face Australian bowling. With present frame of mind, Dravid is in no position to cope the pressure. Only Ganguly and Tendulkar has shown form among this bunch in first test.

  • exhasperated on December 29, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    Fully agree , indians never try to put pressure on australia , they played pathetic cricket .. Shewag must play the second test..and kick out dravid and yuvraj..

  • preetam on December 29, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    couldn't agree with you more, mukul. there was no personality in dravid's batting, and if your opener is supposed to set the tone for your innings, then dravid's demeanor left me certain that our a**es would be handed to us by the aussies. not that dravid's to blame- he's a quality batsman going through a tough phase, and shoving him into the face of an incisive attack is hardly the way to help him get back to form. one of the articles on cricinfo today talked about ponting's man-management skills re: brad hogg. it'd be nice to see kumble and the selectors do the same for the second test.

  • Vj on December 29, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    Right on! Class is permenant, and Yuvraj, just doesnt have it, to cut it, against the best, in thr Test match arena. Meanwhile, I dont understand why Rohit sharma, or a certain badrinath havent been given the look-in. Everybody knows that Yuvi, cant play spin. Please! Dont go back to his 169 against a Paki side with danish kaneria. I think if they retain this side, 4-0 is a definite.

  • Srinivas Koripella on December 29, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    "Yuvraj doesn’t belong in Test cricket. He’s a wonderful limited-overs player who, unfortunately for India’s Test fans, scores the occasional century on the sub-continent’s dead wickets to stay in contention." What about the century he scored vs pakistan in pakistan 2nd Test 2003/04 at Lahore when umar gul ripped through our top order. You got to give hime more respect than calling him a pretender Mr Mukul.

  • Derek on December 29, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    I do not agree that Yuvraj does not belong at the Test match level. He has never been given an extended run, which is mainly bcoz the foursome in the middle order have been consistent over the years. In any case, Dravid should not open for the remainder of the series. Dravid scored 21 runs of 180 balls in this test and that is both pathetic and miserable. It is now almost inevitable that India will gamble on Sehwag in the Sydney test. They should, too. Moreover, India's bowlers have many lessons to learn from the Aussie attack, that is, not to gift away as many freebies to the batsmen as they do. That's the main reason why the Aussies pile up big scores and win tests in less than 5 days. India will need to draw on the last bit of their mental and physical energy only to claw their way back in the series, never mind winning it.

  • Michael Jeh on December 29, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    Well said Mukul. It's difficult to believe that years of planning went into this abject batting performance. Did India really think that batting in this ultra-defensive manner was the recipe for beating a rampant Australian team? Have they not learned anything from watching the failures of say Kallis and Bell? Have they not seen that the only way to try to beat this Australian team is to take the attack to them, a la Pietersen, Sangakkara and of course Lara (in times gone by)? Even Dravid himself was a great success on the last tour when he deliberately batted with more intent. It's amazing to think that all the team meetings and video analysis and think tanks led India (and Dravid) to revert back to this mode of dogged shotlessness until a good ball eventually gets you. Where was the upside to this method? This Australian attack (and fielding) will eventually create a chance unless you take the game to them and try to change the pattern of domination. Strange thinking indeed.

  • Salil on December 29, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    Very well articulated. They're killing Dravid with such idiocy. Sadly, there's no one to defend him after such a performance, despite him using all his lung power to convince people he was "okay" with opening "if the team needed it". What was the need to try this arrangement in the first game of a fresh match? It was as good as saying, two of the 16 guys on tour are just not good enough to be in the team. Ultra-defensive, and it's not Dravid, but Kumble and his team selection.

    And what excuse do the "in-form" batsmen have, coming in well after the shine's off the cherry, to get out in 40s and 50s? What's worse, people are hailing these 50s as achievements. They should be flogged for giving wickets away after being in such good nick.

    As about Yuvraj Singh, he has mastered cricket's version of "sliding". We've messed up an entire batting line-up trying to fit one man in.

    And that's why India deserves to lose. For playing timid cricket.

  • Anthony on December 29, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    I'm shocked. An honest evaluation of the Indian team's performance (oh I'm sorry, Team India) from Cricinfo. Be careful Mukul, its a lonely road to tell the truth.

    India needs to stop trying to fit in its glamour boys. Harbajan and Yuvraj are just not Test players. It is not like India does not have examples for the young players: Sachin shows that talent can be mouled into invincibility, Ganguly shows the value of testicular fortitude and Anil Kumble never gives up.

    What a contrast to the petulance of Yuvraj, the arrogance of Dhoni's "technique" (use your top hand for heaven's sake) and the monotony and laziness of Harbajan Singh.

    The administrators should also not be above criticism. Packing a pointless T20 into the tour at the expensive of practice matches. Ofcourse if India win that T20, the sorry scenes of the last few days will be forgotten by everyone, maybe even by Mukul.

  • fatske on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    agree. i think india lost the test match as soon as they sent out dravid to open in the warm up match. as gavaskar said in his interview today, whats the point of bringing sehwag here if hes not going to play. he wud be much better off getting some practice in domestic cricket then sitting on the bench.

  • Swapnil on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    Absolutely spot on,boss................We've nullified whatever advantage we had in our fab 4 line-up by asking dravid to open,which in turn,is putting lot of pressure on the likes of sachin and laxman to up the tempo,since the openers are hardly makning any runs.....Yuvraj is,and will still remain,a greatest one day player of all time and a mediocre in test cricket(just like Bevan).....We must include Sehwag to stand any chance at Sydney.....Otherwise,the dream of the legends to concure the aussie land will remain forever the same...........

  • RRLPV on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    Shocking batting performance, the batsmen were clearly scared of the Austrailan bowling attack and tried to stay out in the middle for as long as they could. Yuvraj should be dropped as you are messing up with a winning formula (with probably Sehwag opening as he will look to score and unsettle their bowlers). One could also argue that Dravid may need a gap year from international cricket like Ganguly but that should be considered after this tour.

  • Kannan on December 29, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    The success of the previous Aus tour was mainly due to the solid opening partnership from Sehwag and Chopra, with Viru scoring at a good rate. It is imperative to succeed against Australia to start well. I don't think one needs to be too harsh with Yuvraj, but Dravid has to be more assertive like Ganguly if he has the best interests of the team (and himself). Kartick/Sehwag could have done a better job.

  • Mat on December 29, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    Great Article, but Yuvraj actually hit his caught behind in the 1st innings, snicko showed, and proved it and there was a slight deflection, so i don't know what he was complaining about! Out twice in 3 balls!

  • Ashok Trivedi on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    This is highly opportunistic. When Yuvraj fails, jump on him. When he succeeds, maintain silence or pooh pooh it. All right he scored on a flat track where there were half fit bowlers, but he did come in at 62/4 or something. If the bowling and the wicket was so poor, then we should have been 300 for no loss really! VVS didn't complete a half century either in this match, nor did Jaffer do anything of the sorts he did in India. Why single Yuvraj out?

  • CHANDANA DXB on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Agree. India lost 1st test. But still 3 more pending. We can see some trouble ( batting order ) in the team.

    Sachin , Dravid & Yuvraj can make better than next matches.

    They should make 400+ to beat AUS.

  • Saumil on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Spot on - In the first innings, Dravid undid all the good work done by the Indian bowlers on the 1st day. Why is Sehwag in the touring team if is not to make it in the final 11?

  • sadat ali khan on December 29, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    very well said mukul... it is idiocy of the highest order to have asked dravid to open when we have someone like sehwag... was he taken only to cool his heels ? he couls have done that here as well... the selectors, it seems, are desperate to push yuvraj... he may be a gud player but atleast not better sehwag if we go by statistics alone in test cricket... sehwag definitely needs to be in the team for sydney...

  • ultimator on December 29, 2007, 6:30 GMT

    I want how bad great players like hayden feel when croonies and new commentators under pressure like Michael Slater and Fleming call a person who gets out to a lousy shot a great player.

    I think the croonies in the commentary box have overdone the best bastmen in the world part , if anythign Sachin tendulkar is the most capped player thats it. With averages in mid twenties against teams like Australia, Newzealeand and SA in their resp countries that title is a far cry.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • ultimator on December 29, 2007, 6:30 GMT

    I want how bad great players like hayden feel when croonies and new commentators under pressure like Michael Slater and Fleming call a person who gets out to a lousy shot a great player.

    I think the croonies in the commentary box have overdone the best bastmen in the world part , if anythign Sachin tendulkar is the most capped player thats it. With averages in mid twenties against teams like Australia, Newzealeand and SA in their resp countries that title is a far cry.

  • sadat ali khan on December 29, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    very well said mukul... it is idiocy of the highest order to have asked dravid to open when we have someone like sehwag... was he taken only to cool his heels ? he couls have done that here as well... the selectors, it seems, are desperate to push yuvraj... he may be a gud player but atleast not better sehwag if we go by statistics alone in test cricket... sehwag definitely needs to be in the team for sydney...

  • Saumil on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Spot on - In the first innings, Dravid undid all the good work done by the Indian bowlers on the 1st day. Why is Sehwag in the touring team if is not to make it in the final 11?

  • CHANDANA DXB on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Agree. India lost 1st test. But still 3 more pending. We can see some trouble ( batting order ) in the team.

    Sachin , Dravid & Yuvraj can make better than next matches.

    They should make 400+ to beat AUS.

  • Ashok Trivedi on December 29, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    This is highly opportunistic. When Yuvraj fails, jump on him. When he succeeds, maintain silence or pooh pooh it. All right he scored on a flat track where there were half fit bowlers, but he did come in at 62/4 or something. If the bowling and the wicket was so poor, then we should have been 300 for no loss really! VVS didn't complete a half century either in this match, nor did Jaffer do anything of the sorts he did in India. Why single Yuvraj out?

  • Mat on December 29, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    Great Article, but Yuvraj actually hit his caught behind in the 1st innings, snicko showed, and proved it and there was a slight deflection, so i don't know what he was complaining about! Out twice in 3 balls!

  • Kannan on December 29, 2007, 6:39 GMT

    The success of the previous Aus tour was mainly due to the solid opening partnership from Sehwag and Chopra, with Viru scoring at a good rate. It is imperative to succeed against Australia to start well. I don't think one needs to be too harsh with Yuvraj, but Dravid has to be more assertive like Ganguly if he has the best interests of the team (and himself). Kartick/Sehwag could have done a better job.

  • RRLPV on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    Shocking batting performance, the batsmen were clearly scared of the Austrailan bowling attack and tried to stay out in the middle for as long as they could. Yuvraj should be dropped as you are messing up with a winning formula (with probably Sehwag opening as he will look to score and unsettle their bowlers). One could also argue that Dravid may need a gap year from international cricket like Ganguly but that should be considered after this tour.

  • Swapnil on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    Absolutely spot on,boss................We've nullified whatever advantage we had in our fab 4 line-up by asking dravid to open,which in turn,is putting lot of pressure on the likes of sachin and laxman to up the tempo,since the openers are hardly makning any runs.....Yuvraj is,and will still remain,a greatest one day player of all time and a mediocre in test cricket(just like Bevan).....We must include Sehwag to stand any chance at Sydney.....Otherwise,the dream of the legends to concure the aussie land will remain forever the same...........

  • fatske on December 29, 2007, 6:42 GMT

    agree. i think india lost the test match as soon as they sent out dravid to open in the warm up match. as gavaskar said in his interview today, whats the point of bringing sehwag here if hes not going to play. he wud be much better off getting some practice in domestic cricket then sitting on the bench.