Samir Chopra May 19, 2010

Brawlgate and the need for moderation

What is consistent about Indian teams is that they are not very consistent
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Thanks to the over-enthusiastic hyping of Indian cricket, Indian fans seem to have confused economic power with cricketing power © Getty Images

Brawlgate is singularly depressing in reminding me of just how ugly the flip-side of Indian fanhood can be. Unrealistic expectations and exaggerated over-reaction, are, as many brighter lights than me constantly point out, the hallmark of this mode of existence. And as in any dysfunctional relationship (from a not-so-great-distance, this is what it appears to be) things won't change till both parties do. The players "simply" need to play better. The task for the fans is much harder.

What precisely is it that creates such over-wrought expectations? The Indian team has never approached the consistency of champion teams. The local maxima of a good performance in one tournament or Test series is very quickly succeeded by the trough of a catastrophically bad performance. What is consistent about Indian teams is that they are not very consistent. Perhaps this roller-coaster induces the exaggerated reactions? But why doesn't it induce the calm of the long-distance traveller?

The answers for that question would take too long to detail in this space. But somewhere along the line, thanks to the over-enthusiastic hyping of Indian cricket (a hyping whose din only seems to have grown in recent years), Indian fans have perhaps confused economic power with cricketing power. And not only that, we seem to have confused the highlight reel, set to music, with the real-time pace of an actual cricket game. What else would make Indian fans forget that our bowlers are always on the mend, or on the sidelines, that our batsmen had not provided any evidence since the World Twenty20 of their improvement against the short ball, that our fielders still lack nous and verve?

That is, when you know your team has significant weaknesses in batting, bowling and fielding (did I leave anything out?), why demand so much? Why not, instead, settle for the pleasure of an unexpectedly good performance if it does happen to come along? I'm pretty sure there will be some later this year.

The purpose of therapy, Freud reminded us, was to get from misery to common unhappiness. Indian fans, like neurotics the world over, would make themselves, and possibly others, less miserable, if they could adjust the settings on their expectation meters and come to grips with the reality principle in their domain of interest.

Which is, in short: you win games consistently if you play the game at a consistently high level. And if we would cast our eyes about, we would notice scant evidence for this proposition when it comes to Indian cricket. (There are Test-playing countries that we have still not beaten in an away series).

My purpose in this post isn't to denigrate the Indian team. They have a pretty rock-solid claim on my loyalties. But I have to remind myself that we don't have the domestic infrastructure of champion teams, that our board is run by non-cricketers, and that our young cricketers are rewarded excessively for too little, too early. In these circumstances, talent-spotting and nurturing is hard, selection policies are Kafkaesque at best, and the motivation of all but the most disciplined is likely to flag. Combine all of this with the undoubted presence of cricketing talent and we have the recipe for inconsistent, sporadically delightful, performances.

Searching for the golden mean is always a good idea. But judging by the evidence from BrawlGate, many Indian fans simply couldn't be bothered to join in this particular quest for moderation.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Thomas on June 23, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I don't agree with the comments that India lacks consistency. In test ranking at the top and the one day ranking 2nd and that is the best indicator for the consistency. Most of the teams have same % age of domestic and foreign matches ( may be except Pak). However I do agree that we have to be moderate in our expressions- win/ loss

  • waterbuffalo on June 2, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    As a Pakistani supporter I want to say thwo things, Dhoni is a good captain, and 20/20 is no big deal, He was probably , along with others, burned out by the IPL, the timing was wrong, it should be three or four months, then the WC, not just weeks. The Indian batting lineup, (for Tests) is second only to Australia, no need to panic at all. Test Series matters the most, and India still have a strong Test side. As far as flat pitches go, all the subcontinent teams have flat or dead pitches, and they still do not want to do anything about it. 20/20 is all front foot batting, of course it will affect the technique of batsmen.

  • Kasi Chettiar on May 29, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    The loss against Zimbabwe last week proved the continuing inadequacy of an overhyped, overpaid unfit group of individuals who given their current state of events would be lucky to caress/stroke my 10 year old's gentle medium pace to the boundary (My little one is even more consistent in his length than the friendly, “please hit me “ line offered by Mr Nehra and Co.). Our swashbuckling need to constantly play on our front foot with no regard for the wide range of back foot strokes on offer ,as we seem to have an innate golfer-like desire to keep driving the ball rather than adapt and change our ways according to the pitch conditions, is simply quite worrying. Our flirtation with golf doesn’t end there. Our partying, young men seem to be imitating Tiger Woods in their hedonistic pursuits but in no way similar to the consistency displayed by the man when he returned to rank 4th in the Masters after a long break. They also seem to have an urge to tee off when they need to stay “putt” ( I couldn’t stop myself from using the golf pun. It was out there in the “green”) as evident in their crippling twenty-20 display against Australia in the Super Eights. The batsmen were too eager to have a one night stand with the ball and send it to the boundary every time rather than have a lasting relationship with the ball which would have proved more fruitful in the scoreboard. This is in no way a comparison to golf and cricket but just a light hearted comparison which will show the discrepancy in the determination and will power showed by the two parties involved. Throughout this season all I have seen is 11 bumbling ever changing young men led by their “brimming with their excuses” captain who seems to think that "well, of course" is a valid opening for all sentences (supposedly he is somewhat of a rockstar in India. The fleeting passions of Indian people for their cricketers is quite an elixir). Well, he might do well to take something from the Spiderman quote that with great power comes great responsibility. His wins have been overhyped while the losses have been reasoned for by their collective IPL exhaustion and their inability to do this and that. One of the matters constantly voiced in the This and That section is their inability to face the short ball. Well, if the rest of the world. They would be the wiser to even watch some of their brilliantly gifted colleagues like England playing in consistently underachieving teams like England (though, I am not so sure of that anymore) can pull the cricket ball so valiantly and flawlessly it makes me think is it the insecurity, fear or just plain impotency to give the shivers to a man in blue when an over 80 mph bowler is hurling a short pitched ball towards you. I have always found pulling the short ball one of the simpler strokes and a definitive stroke for even a semi-accomplished batsman and as I am Indian I can definitely say it is not because of our physical limitations. It has either been completely torn off the Cricketing strokes for dummies (Indian version endorsed by the BCCI) or since cricket is being increasingly played for the entertainment junkies rather than for the art of the game as evident in the IPL which had more glitz and glamour than the Oscars but less of its credibility or purpose. This was highlighted by the fact that serial soap addicts have turned their wavering attention spans towards the joys of cricket through the wonderfulness of the IPL and the saleability of Lalit Modi. Hurrah?! I Guess not.

  • Babs Rai on May 22, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    Samir, how dare you right an article about long distance Indian fans when you have no idea what we go through. I have stayed in the same hotel as the team many times and they don't even say good morning.

  • pakspin on May 21, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    It is so typical of Indian cricket to cover their faults by either inviting or visiting a team that is clearly weaker and has no chance of winning against them. The schedule is cleverly conspired by the Indian cricket board to make a fool of the fans. Case in point, after the horrible perfomence in T20 WC, India will play Kenya, where failed players like Yuvraj and Dhoni will make centuries and win the public back. The fans will be happy. The falied players will stay, and the cycle will continue until their outing in the next ICC event. The same strategy was used after India's horrible performance in the last 50 over WC. Wake up people! Don't get distracted by batsman's selfish performance (centuries) on dead tracks againt weaker teams, but gauge your success by how many ICC events these batsmen perform in and win for you. 50 centuries vs minnows on dead tracks cannot win you the WC.

  • Abhay Nigam on May 21, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    Samir Chopra has changed the whole issue. The issue is not the hyped expectations of fans from Indian cricketrs of winning all the time but we certainly expect a decent behaviour from them after the loss. which cricketer of any dignity and self respect will like to visit a pub after such a shameful exit from tournament. even in the pub these cricketrs were drinking and abusing female fans when taunted by them, which lead to brawl.

  • Akbar on May 21, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    I think the people of subcontinent has an exaggerated response to the results of matches their teams win or loses. It will be much better to consider cricket as a game & donot expect exaggerated results from our sides. If we do so the pain of losing will not be that severe. We can not think of losing,which is part of the game.

  • David Goodwin on May 21, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    I think a big part of the issue is that India as an independent country is very new (I am talking since the end of British colonial rule, I am well aware that India has a proud and glorious history pre colonialism).

    India seems to be still exploring its identity and sense of self, and there is a deep insecurity about their place at the forefront of the world stage.

    For example, the IPL was very much a "look at me" event, parading India's wealth and influence, but it also highlighted many of the things India needs to come to terms with.

    So when the Indian team fails I think many fans see it as a reflection on the nation itself, as if sporting success proves that India is a great country.

    A similar effect can be seen in the jingoistic and over the top reaction in the comments when an article appears on Cricinfo that is critical of the IPL or an Indian player. The criticism is seen as an attack on india itself.

    As India matures as a nation I think we will see more balance.

  • Nishanth on May 20, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    One simple question sir, where were you when india amounced their t20 world cup team? And now accusing indian fans for over reaction is pointless, ipl standards could not even compared to the world class matches then why media people including you kept silence at that time. To be frank i rarely watch ipl because its just like an indian dish which only we could digest. When media made fake heroes out of those matches and paved their way to team why did not anyone said anything. When i see yuvraj on ground i feel pity the way he looks a glance is enough to say if he is fit to play. Anyway a gala event ipl, finished and its like every player literally over its hangover and flew to indies :) and i doubt their commitment for a great game. May be there are too many people thinking alike in our country.

  • Ashok Kumar on May 20, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    One should not blame the Indian Cricket fans for the big "Let down" by a team which failed to make it to the last 4. For T-20 cricket, bowling has to be accurate and economical for full 20 overs. Indian Bowling is attrocious to put it politely. This backed by the "losing" attitude contributed a lot to the team not making to last 4.The team selected lacked some key players like Kohli & spinner Karthick.But even the selected team was good for last 4. Vinay Kumar should have played both the games on a fast track instead of Jadeja. Vinay taught Dhoni a lesson by bowling well on a slow tack against SL. Pathan never played well in any international level matches. Why is he in the 11? Dhoni's team selection & his bowling changes were irrational. He needs a plan of action against each opposition batsmen and needs to be firm with his bowlers to bowl to the field set. So, undisciplined batting, poor bowling and lack of winning attitude caused a poor performance. Fans high expectation was real.

  • Thomas on June 23, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I don't agree with the comments that India lacks consistency. In test ranking at the top and the one day ranking 2nd and that is the best indicator for the consistency. Most of the teams have same % age of domestic and foreign matches ( may be except Pak). However I do agree that we have to be moderate in our expressions- win/ loss

  • waterbuffalo on June 2, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    As a Pakistani supporter I want to say thwo things, Dhoni is a good captain, and 20/20 is no big deal, He was probably , along with others, burned out by the IPL, the timing was wrong, it should be three or four months, then the WC, not just weeks. The Indian batting lineup, (for Tests) is second only to Australia, no need to panic at all. Test Series matters the most, and India still have a strong Test side. As far as flat pitches go, all the subcontinent teams have flat or dead pitches, and they still do not want to do anything about it. 20/20 is all front foot batting, of course it will affect the technique of batsmen.

  • Kasi Chettiar on May 29, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    The loss against Zimbabwe last week proved the continuing inadequacy of an overhyped, overpaid unfit group of individuals who given their current state of events would be lucky to caress/stroke my 10 year old's gentle medium pace to the boundary (My little one is even more consistent in his length than the friendly, “please hit me “ line offered by Mr Nehra and Co.). Our swashbuckling need to constantly play on our front foot with no regard for the wide range of back foot strokes on offer ,as we seem to have an innate golfer-like desire to keep driving the ball rather than adapt and change our ways according to the pitch conditions, is simply quite worrying. Our flirtation with golf doesn’t end there. Our partying, young men seem to be imitating Tiger Woods in their hedonistic pursuits but in no way similar to the consistency displayed by the man when he returned to rank 4th in the Masters after a long break. They also seem to have an urge to tee off when they need to stay “putt” ( I couldn’t stop myself from using the golf pun. It was out there in the “green”) as evident in their crippling twenty-20 display against Australia in the Super Eights. The batsmen were too eager to have a one night stand with the ball and send it to the boundary every time rather than have a lasting relationship with the ball which would have proved more fruitful in the scoreboard. This is in no way a comparison to golf and cricket but just a light hearted comparison which will show the discrepancy in the determination and will power showed by the two parties involved. Throughout this season all I have seen is 11 bumbling ever changing young men led by their “brimming with their excuses” captain who seems to think that "well, of course" is a valid opening for all sentences (supposedly he is somewhat of a rockstar in India. The fleeting passions of Indian people for their cricketers is quite an elixir). Well, he might do well to take something from the Spiderman quote that with great power comes great responsibility. His wins have been overhyped while the losses have been reasoned for by their collective IPL exhaustion and their inability to do this and that. One of the matters constantly voiced in the This and That section is their inability to face the short ball. Well, if the rest of the world. They would be the wiser to even watch some of their brilliantly gifted colleagues like England playing in consistently underachieving teams like England (though, I am not so sure of that anymore) can pull the cricket ball so valiantly and flawlessly it makes me think is it the insecurity, fear or just plain impotency to give the shivers to a man in blue when an over 80 mph bowler is hurling a short pitched ball towards you. I have always found pulling the short ball one of the simpler strokes and a definitive stroke for even a semi-accomplished batsman and as I am Indian I can definitely say it is not because of our physical limitations. It has either been completely torn off the Cricketing strokes for dummies (Indian version endorsed by the BCCI) or since cricket is being increasingly played for the entertainment junkies rather than for the art of the game as evident in the IPL which had more glitz and glamour than the Oscars but less of its credibility or purpose. This was highlighted by the fact that serial soap addicts have turned their wavering attention spans towards the joys of cricket through the wonderfulness of the IPL and the saleability of Lalit Modi. Hurrah?! I Guess not.

  • Babs Rai on May 22, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    Samir, how dare you right an article about long distance Indian fans when you have no idea what we go through. I have stayed in the same hotel as the team many times and they don't even say good morning.

  • pakspin on May 21, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    It is so typical of Indian cricket to cover their faults by either inviting or visiting a team that is clearly weaker and has no chance of winning against them. The schedule is cleverly conspired by the Indian cricket board to make a fool of the fans. Case in point, after the horrible perfomence in T20 WC, India will play Kenya, where failed players like Yuvraj and Dhoni will make centuries and win the public back. The fans will be happy. The falied players will stay, and the cycle will continue until their outing in the next ICC event. The same strategy was used after India's horrible performance in the last 50 over WC. Wake up people! Don't get distracted by batsman's selfish performance (centuries) on dead tracks againt weaker teams, but gauge your success by how many ICC events these batsmen perform in and win for you. 50 centuries vs minnows on dead tracks cannot win you the WC.

  • Abhay Nigam on May 21, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    Samir Chopra has changed the whole issue. The issue is not the hyped expectations of fans from Indian cricketrs of winning all the time but we certainly expect a decent behaviour from them after the loss. which cricketer of any dignity and self respect will like to visit a pub after such a shameful exit from tournament. even in the pub these cricketrs were drinking and abusing female fans when taunted by them, which lead to brawl.

  • Akbar on May 21, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    I think the people of subcontinent has an exaggerated response to the results of matches their teams win or loses. It will be much better to consider cricket as a game & donot expect exaggerated results from our sides. If we do so the pain of losing will not be that severe. We can not think of losing,which is part of the game.

  • David Goodwin on May 21, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    I think a big part of the issue is that India as an independent country is very new (I am talking since the end of British colonial rule, I am well aware that India has a proud and glorious history pre colonialism).

    India seems to be still exploring its identity and sense of self, and there is a deep insecurity about their place at the forefront of the world stage.

    For example, the IPL was very much a "look at me" event, parading India's wealth and influence, but it also highlighted many of the things India needs to come to terms with.

    So when the Indian team fails I think many fans see it as a reflection on the nation itself, as if sporting success proves that India is a great country.

    A similar effect can be seen in the jingoistic and over the top reaction in the comments when an article appears on Cricinfo that is critical of the IPL or an Indian player. The criticism is seen as an attack on india itself.

    As India matures as a nation I think we will see more balance.

  • Nishanth on May 20, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    One simple question sir, where were you when india amounced their t20 world cup team? And now accusing indian fans for over reaction is pointless, ipl standards could not even compared to the world class matches then why media people including you kept silence at that time. To be frank i rarely watch ipl because its just like an indian dish which only we could digest. When media made fake heroes out of those matches and paved their way to team why did not anyone said anything. When i see yuvraj on ground i feel pity the way he looks a glance is enough to say if he is fit to play. Anyway a gala event ipl, finished and its like every player literally over its hangover and flew to indies :) and i doubt their commitment for a great game. May be there are too many people thinking alike in our country.

  • Ashok Kumar on May 20, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    One should not blame the Indian Cricket fans for the big "Let down" by a team which failed to make it to the last 4. For T-20 cricket, bowling has to be accurate and economical for full 20 overs. Indian Bowling is attrocious to put it politely. This backed by the "losing" attitude contributed a lot to the team not making to last 4.The team selected lacked some key players like Kohli & spinner Karthick.But even the selected team was good for last 4. Vinay Kumar should have played both the games on a fast track instead of Jadeja. Vinay taught Dhoni a lesson by bowling well on a slow tack against SL. Pathan never played well in any international level matches. Why is he in the 11? Dhoni's team selection & his bowling changes were irrational. He needs a plan of action against each opposition batsmen and needs to be firm with his bowlers to bowl to the field set. So, undisciplined batting, poor bowling and lack of winning attitude caused a poor performance. Fans high expectation was real.

  • Asif Noor on May 20, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Get 3-4 new batsmen (with good tech. against bouncers), 2-3 new real pacers (not medium pacers) & 2-3 new spinners (not part timers) and aggressive bowling coach.

  • Balaji Viswanathan on May 20, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Samir, I believe you are demonstrating the "Chalta hai" attitude that plagues India so much. We tolerated corrupt politicians, inefficient politicians, mediocre sportspeople, etc. I guess now we want that to end.

    Our generation is not going to tolerate mediocrity. While we will give our cricketers all the money, fame etc when they play honestly, we will pelt them with stones when they play dishonestly and without commitment to their nation.

    And this is just a start. Soon, we will start becoming intolerant of our mediocre politicians, bureaucrats, journalists.

    It is plain old performance based pay - Do well we pat on your back, do horrible and we show our true colours.

  • Ravi Kumar on May 20, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    The problem is not so much with the Indian fan as with people who whip up frenzy either way, depending on the "need of the hour". Take, for instance, rubbish articles titled "Thank you for coming, India". The title ridicules and its desire to whip up anger/ridicule is blindingly obvious. Or take TV junk like Match Ka Mujrim. In a sense, these two are the same thing, presented in two different formats by self-appointed "judges" of the team. If there were genuine intent on achieving balanced reporting, then posts like this one would also have it. For example, Chopra dismisses India's batting as weak against the short stuff. But isn't that tarring the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag etc with the same brush as those that were caught out in the WT20 more so when the last named has actually worked out his weakness and addressed it? Think back to Cricinfo's coverage of the IPL. If restraint is the need, maybe Cricinfo can start by displaying some of it?

  • Binoj on May 20, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    Easier said. It is tough to hone in the passion people have towards cricket. And with the huge pay checks that the cricketers are getting, its only realistic that they justify the same.

  • GS on May 20, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    Good article. I hope the fans in India realize that we are being taken for a big ride with this sport. For a nation of 1.15 billion to commit an obscene amount of money, resources and talent, we have yet to thoroughly dominate the sport. Whats even more embarrassing is cricket is not a competitive sport globally. Outside of South Asia, it is but a secondary sport at best in the handful of nations which play it. This latest debacle in the world cup goes way beyond Dhoni and his boys. Its time to either scrap this facade or make cricket a truly professional sport with appropriate accountabilities at levels - most importantly the BCCI.

  • Harsh on May 20, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    I already said once and saying again. The best way to enjoy sport is to keep 0% expectation for your team and then watch the cricket. Trust me you will enjoy sports like never before. I know its impossible for normal Indian to adapt to. Because, average child is born in India, where their parents want them to become Doctors/Engineer, it doesn't stop there .. they grow up watching movies. And they have to perform good in schools among 50 others. Expectation expectation Expectation every where. Give it up already. "Bachho ki Jan loge kya" and because of that their youth is stolen just like that. Its time for all us to become professional Fans.

  • Harsh on May 20, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    hahaha here we go again, sometimes I wonder ! Are fans actually hyping and have expectations or its Super Media Magic!! The fact is that India had great Individuals as Gerard mentioned but now no-one wants to get over them due to their Cricket legacy. Those trees are so big, people have hard time looking down to tiny plants in process. I mean Give it up, no-one will beat Tendulkar, that doesn't mean new player should be like Tendulkar. Tendulkar didn't score century for long time. He didn't become consistent from day 1. My best tips for Journalists and fans is to ... stop comparing those good players with new crop. I always trust in my team. I like Dhoni, he is learning quicker each day. Last time I remember this is the same guy who gave enormous proud when he and Yuvraj single handed beat Pakistan. Not only that Dhoni is still number 1 ODI player. Give team a time, and proper support. Last time I checked Ind/pak were only cricket country where effigies are burned randomly. Why !!

  • Jay on May 19, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    I don't agree with your point that "Indian fans seem to have confused economic power with cricketing power". No confusion there, this fanaticism is not something new. This is the result of higher expectations on the team that is doing better than ever in the past, albeit inconsistent. But there is no doubt that Indian fans' mentality is the root cause of all evils that are prevailing in Indian cricket. They embraced subcontinental flat pitches, small grounds, and recently a circus called IPL. They love cheap drama that unfolds in those high scoring games where bowlers look like clowns. BCCI is simply catering to these needs. Everything seems to work as long as the team plays in India as things are in their control. Its only when the team goes to play abroad that they are exposed and the ugly truth comes out.

  • mohan on May 19, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    Well judging by one series is just not right...yes we failed badly but that does not mean Dhoni should be stripped of his captaincy..as far as bowling is concerned i definitely feel that Zaheer and Ashish nehra are the best for such a big stage like the 2011 wc...and i do feel this is the best possible team we can have(save jadeja and y phathan and vijay)

  • joshua karikkodan. on May 19, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    Indian players are only after money and nothing else. Just look at dhoni's performance. He played so well for chennai and it was a totally different dhoni we saw in the caribbean. He never wanted it. He was so laid back and negetive. Honestly speaking, he should be ripped of captaincy. Same with Yuvraj singh. He should be rested atleast for one year fron International cricket. I am sure Uthappa would have performed a lot better that yuvraj. same bout pathan. A bunch of useless guys.

  • gerard Pereira on May 19, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Take the big six out of the picture ( Shewag, Tendulkar,Dravid, Laxman Ganguly & Kumble) and India is a nothing team going nowhere. A golden era of Indian cricket which started with the likes of Gavasker, Vengsarker, Amernath, Azar, Shastri and Kapil is surely coming to an end. While every body considered Australia a spent force after the retirement of their own big five it is remarkable that they keep coming up with gems like Bollinger, Warner, North and now Smith. Our own gems like Yuvraj, Bajji, Ishant Kholi etc are turnung out to be duds. Playing for their country means something to the Australians and nothing to the over hyped playboys of the Indian team.

  • Dr.ARVIND on May 19, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Nice one Samir. The problem lies with neoculture of India demanding best every time which is n't possible. Major culprit here is those nonsense Media channels esp who inorder to increase their TRPs and money are doing great disservice to the nation. The hype they give to Young budding cricketers make them vulnerable. Also BCCI is to be blamed for raising the Money showered. This makes them to be defective cricketers. Am sure none of new generation stars ll get even 50% of our Fab Four.

  • Peace on May 19, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    Okay enoigh bashing here. The reality does not change. India is no where near to on physical, emotional and performance level to even talk about number 1 position.

    T20 and another fiasco are in line with Indian attitute and is in waiting. Just by earning money in IPL is not the resolution for world championship. India has a very long way to go.

    Also I do not support Indian team get abused by bunch of american desi drunkerds. I shoud suggest they do that in america and on american teams.

  • Aryaman Gupta on May 19, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    well said bharat dogra. we need to keep faith in our team when they lose. if there is so much din every time they lose, im not sure they will be able to play fearlessly which may lead to further losses.

  • Pratap on May 19, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    GREAT Article. Enjoyed & Agree with each word of it.

  • Vilander on May 19, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Dude whats your drift, Ind is currently ranked 1&2 in Test and ODI, heres the hype they are a good team and should have performed better in T20 WC.

  • P.Satish on May 19, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Mr.Chopra, you being a part of the media I am surprised you have chosen to take on the Indian fan here - as irrational as many of us fans might be.

    But what about the media? Cricinfo continuously makes snide references to Sreesanth even when he isn't playing, a tabloid called him "Endulkar" and when India played Australia Cricinfo's pre-game analysis almost suggested this is an inconsequential match for the two semi-final favourites while tearing into the team 3 games later. Where is the balance in all this?

    The Indian media just cannot take a holier-than-thou attitude and preach on how India, it's cricketers and it's people should behave. A lot of you fan those flames with great delight.

  • Ramesh on May 19, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    If this article is more about the fans than the players, its fundamentally flawed. There is no "average" Indian cricket fan. For every drunk moron who verbally assaults the Indian team in a pub, there are hundreds of true fans who don't get swayed to the extremes. For every person influenced by nonsensical media coverage there are lots of people who are intelligent enough to assess the performance on the face value. Lets just leave aside these outlier reactions - they are similar to the people throwing bottles in a stadum. Hardly representative of the huge numbers who are more rational.

  • Neha J. on May 19, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    It isnt Dhoni's fault that the fans over-react. We need to let the Team be by itself for a while. They need all the seclusion we can give!

  • P Subramani on May 19, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    In the past, Indian cricketers had always been introverts and low profile. That was bad in the sense that it translated on the field of play by reducing them to docility even if they were good in their skills. This may have been true as it explains why we seldom won abroad. With the coming of age of the likes of Habhajan, and Yuvraj under Saurav Ganguly, I thought Indian cricket moved up the ladder. There was this sudden need felt to be cocky. In this the more privileged among the lot like Yuvraj, otherwise also talented have been seen as heros worth emulation by the ones like Jadeja and Sharma. It happens. Now what has happened is that they have got into this mess. I only wish that in adjudicating this matter, the role and condition of each one of those present is taken into account. There is need for tough action. But it should only be against those that triggered this scene.

  • alex on May 19, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    gud article samir....ths s the real fact abt indian cricket and fans..

  • Vivek Jain on May 19, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    If the quality of the product goes down, it the top management that gets the flake. Similarly the BCCI is more responsible, but the word called 'COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY' does not exist in the dictionary of BCCI (as even the players too can't be exonerated of the bad performances). We didn't lost due to BrawlGate but BrawlGate happened after we lost. There was only 5 days gap between IPL and T20 World Cup. Selections were also questionable (Chawla being selected ahead of Mishra). BCCI does not provide the players with the pitches which have enough bounce and carry for the players and expects them to handle the short pitch stuff(Though we have done pretty well,remember we won in Perth after Sydney Fiasco and Monkey gate). Green Carpet was provided to Australians to enhace their bid to conquer final frontier in 2004 at Nagpur (by Shashank Manohar, then President of VCA now BCCI President)not to domestic Indian cricketers

  • Maddy20 on May 19, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    The only logical reason for the failure is team selection. Our supposedly strike bowler(Ashish Nehra) has an economy rate of over 10. Zaheer Khan 8.50+. Why not put faith in youngsters like Vinay Kumar, Umesh and co? Why not help Ishant get his rythm back? As for the batsmen R.Uthappa who is very good against the short ball, and Manish Pandey who has a sound technique and is a proven performer in FC cricket should be given preference over the Jadejas and Y.Pathans. When was the last time these guys have produced a match-winning performance in the international arena?

  • Pratyush on May 19, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    The Indian Fan seems to have lost it completely and so have the media. When we win the fans go over the top, when we lose we seem to find any and every excuse for going after the team and MSD. The team's still good enough, and we should not be setting any unreal expectations. We are the best in Test, atleast the top 3 for sure and I am happy with that. Criticizing a team on the basis of a T20 loss seems to be done by people bereft of ideas.

  • Anonymous on May 19, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    The issue with this team in not so much the performance, but the intent. In an age of globalization, where babudom is giving way to MNC culture in India. why should cricketers not be held responsible and subsequently face actions? Although the pub case might not be their fault, I am fundamentally for accountability of cricketers and selectors. Unfit players representing a country of 1 billion population(almost all of them cricket mad)is not justified to say the least. This is not their fiefdom and they must realise that. It is perform or get out simple. What makes selectors still select the likes of Rohit Sharma is a mystery? I hope these overhyped useless cricketers should be made to learn a lesson by people boycotting any product being endorsed by them, which would reduce their brand value and make them focus more on cricket(which happens to be their job)

  • Sriram on May 19, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    We need to distinguish between Test and ODI/ T20 performances of the Indian team in terms of consistency. On the Test front, we are better in terms of consistency and, hopefully, will remain that way as long as the Fab Four continue with us. On the ODI/ T20 front, we are, as Samir puts it "inconsistent, and sporadically delightful". That dichotomy is inevitable, given the difference in manpower and the inability of newcomers to deliver sustained performances.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    The genie is truly out now for none of the new bucks are likely to be bothered with the trivialities of spending hours in the nets rigorously honing their art, a la Sunny, RD or SRT. The likes of Rohit, Virat and their seniors such as Yuvi and Bhajji are more likely to be found in a night club instead. And why would they, when the circus called IPL pays them in 6 weeks each year what most people earn in a decade for selling their souls? I always felt that the Faustian pact that BCCI made with the Lucifer Modi is bound to exact its revenge someday soon, just didn’t realize it would be so soon. The position reached by the teams of the nineties and noughties was by the sheer dint of hard work and determination; it was no fluke. The 2007 T-20 win was as it proved subsequently a flash in the pan. In its eagerness to cash in on this, BCCI enabled MSD to rid the team of the seniors in a jiffy without much consideration and focused on IPL instead; those chickens have now truly returned to roost! MSD is a sensible cricketer but I have always felt that he was more lucky than most and sooner than later his luck was bound to turn. It hardly helps that he is not a classic test match batsman and is unlikely to be of much use to the strugglers against pace. Those of us brought up on the batting of Sunny, Dilip Vengsarkar, Jimmy Amarnath and their more than capable successors in the shape of the Big 5 increasingly find this macabre spectacle increasingly harder to watch. The sooner BCCI is dismantled and becomes a publicly listed corporation with professional management the greater the chances of Team India returning to the upper echelons of the game. IPL too needs to be severely truncated and the horrid vulgar display of ill gotten wealth must be stopped at once. Only players with 50 tests plus and retired former players be allowed to play in it as the younger brigade could be spared its siren calls given the likely damages Vis a Vis potential benefits. I fear the damage may already be done as far as the likes of Rohit, Virat et al are concerned, but at least the future generations may be spared from its full impact.

  • Gilliana on May 19, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Too much adulation, too much time and too much money. Let the stroke of the pen terminate their world of makebelieve.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    From a purely technical analysis perspective, of course, the age old lacunae of cricketing fundamentals such as the patent inability to play the short ball, run between the wickets, bowl quick Yorkers, vary pace, bowl intelligent spin and field (read as hold catches whenever possible!) are very evident in the latest abject display on offer; however equally what is the culpability of the support staff? The likes of Venky Prasad and TA Sekar singlehandedly destroying talented quicks such as Ishant, Munaf, Srishant and RP et al has almost gone unnoticed. Why are we stuck with the likes of Nehra after what seems like a near lifetime? Harbhajan was comfortably beaten off the field by Swann who is truly a world class spinner with a legal action and has a much wider repertoire (so what if he doesn’t bowl “Doosra”!) None of the new batsmen seem comfortable against pace and it is crystal clear that post the departure of the Big 5, the hard earned apex Test ranking will be lost in next to no time. The likes of K Srikant who was hardly a test class batsman himself is now the head Honcho of the Indian selection team and is earnestly stuffing the team with as many Tamil batsmen as is currently practicable at the cost of more deserving candidates from other parts of India. How else could one justify the inclusion Badri and Vijay in this form? Badri has been found out at every level and Vijay whilst a talented test batsman albeit untested in more bowler friendly conditions is milking an IPL 100 scored against a threadbare attack. He too was found out against real pace as the T20 format is unforgiving to those who can’t play the flat batted shots square of the wicket. It is this sort of analysis that one would be interested in rather than the anodyne and banal pseudo psycho babble currently on offer.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Sameer, many a valid thought being espoused here, although on the whole I find it somewhat superficial. Indeed, inconsistency has been the bane of Indian Cricket since time immemorial, so no surprises there. However rather than merely rehash the same old tosh about incompetent administration, tendency to deify and vilify young talent in equal measures etc, it would also have been useful to look beyond the obvious and explore the current socio economic factors together with some plain old fashioned technical analysis pervading and ailing Indian Cricket. Why is no one talking about the toxic piece of junk that is the IPL?? It is the most obvious Elephant in the room as far as I can tell. The impact of poor scheduling by that megalomaniac Modi for two seasons in a row together with post match raves and parties is bound to corrupt most sane mature minds, let alone the young 'uns of Team India. The sudden influx of untold riches and the near slavish employment conditions on offer (e.g. no

  • Jay on May 19, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    To be a good one day/20 twenty player, you need the temparament of a test player. Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman are great examples of this. Although these players have not featured in 20/Twenty,their showing in IPL proves the point. Also players like Kallis, Haydon, Gilcrist who were test players first and then anything else later. Just try & imagine Indian batting without the aforementioned & you will see how shallow Indian cricket team looks. Its all very well looking dashing on flat pitches of IPL but to look good everywhere you have to learn your trade properly and that can only be via Ranji/County cricket and followed by test.

  • CHITTARANJAN on May 19, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    How can anybody decide that players gave their best? About our team in WI,this can not be said for games lost. If you lose in a close fight, nobody minds.It is also on the % that matters. If losses are above 50%, not much to cheer. All said and done, is media not responsible for anything-hype or ridicule? Is not too much money too early equal to poison? We are a poor country and we can not digest too much of anything we are not used to. Indian money is with Corporate Houses and they do not play cricket or any sport. A few with some money get spoiled in one or two years, if they are young. A balance of many factors of life has to come into play.Most want to make the best of everything they come across, chance given.Consistency is not our forte-forget V. Anand. Moreover team games are not for us.it seems.Items like Wrestling,Boxing Shooting,Archery, Badminton,Chess but again no Swimmimg,Tennis,Cycling,Gymnastics,Racing, Athletics.No general rule.We are not sports-bodied or disciplined.

  • Bharat Dogra on May 19, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    We indians need to learn to have faith in our team. Remember it's the same Dhoni who has bought our test team to No1 and our one day team to no2..Everyone have their bad days and that doesn't mean that we should loose our faith in the team and act like a bunch of maniacs...remeber they are in our national team beacuse they are good enough to be in it(not sure about jadeja), just keep the faith instead of putting them down and they also have rights to party because they are humans..

  • Yogendra Patel on May 19, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    Yes all the players should be ban from playing any type either International or Domestic for ever.The main culprit is skipper Dhoni he keeps changing the batting order any time he likes Rohit Sharma was in form in previous match why he was not sent at number 4 he came and what he did.Also he has done all stupid bowling changes,what else can be said.

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  • Yogendra Patel on May 19, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    Yes all the players should be ban from playing any type either International or Domestic for ever.The main culprit is skipper Dhoni he keeps changing the batting order any time he likes Rohit Sharma was in form in previous match why he was not sent at number 4 he came and what he did.Also he has done all stupid bowling changes,what else can be said.

  • Bharat Dogra on May 19, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    We indians need to learn to have faith in our team. Remember it's the same Dhoni who has bought our test team to No1 and our one day team to no2..Everyone have their bad days and that doesn't mean that we should loose our faith in the team and act like a bunch of maniacs...remeber they are in our national team beacuse they are good enough to be in it(not sure about jadeja), just keep the faith instead of putting them down and they also have rights to party because they are humans..

  • CHITTARANJAN on May 19, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    How can anybody decide that players gave their best? About our team in WI,this can not be said for games lost. If you lose in a close fight, nobody minds.It is also on the % that matters. If losses are above 50%, not much to cheer. All said and done, is media not responsible for anything-hype or ridicule? Is not too much money too early equal to poison? We are a poor country and we can not digest too much of anything we are not used to. Indian money is with Corporate Houses and they do not play cricket or any sport. A few with some money get spoiled in one or two years, if they are young. A balance of many factors of life has to come into play.Most want to make the best of everything they come across, chance given.Consistency is not our forte-forget V. Anand. Moreover team games are not for us.it seems.Items like Wrestling,Boxing Shooting,Archery, Badminton,Chess but again no Swimmimg,Tennis,Cycling,Gymnastics,Racing, Athletics.No general rule.We are not sports-bodied or disciplined.

  • Jay on May 19, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    To be a good one day/20 twenty player, you need the temparament of a test player. Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman are great examples of this. Although these players have not featured in 20/Twenty,their showing in IPL proves the point. Also players like Kallis, Haydon, Gilcrist who were test players first and then anything else later. Just try & imagine Indian batting without the aforementioned & you will see how shallow Indian cricket team looks. Its all very well looking dashing on flat pitches of IPL but to look good everywhere you have to learn your trade properly and that can only be via Ranji/County cricket and followed by test.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Sameer, many a valid thought being espoused here, although on the whole I find it somewhat superficial. Indeed, inconsistency has been the bane of Indian Cricket since time immemorial, so no surprises there. However rather than merely rehash the same old tosh about incompetent administration, tendency to deify and vilify young talent in equal measures etc, it would also have been useful to look beyond the obvious and explore the current socio economic factors together with some plain old fashioned technical analysis pervading and ailing Indian Cricket. Why is no one talking about the toxic piece of junk that is the IPL?? It is the most obvious Elephant in the room as far as I can tell. The impact of poor scheduling by that megalomaniac Modi for two seasons in a row together with post match raves and parties is bound to corrupt most sane mature minds, let alone the young 'uns of Team India. The sudden influx of untold riches and the near slavish employment conditions on offer (e.g. no

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    From a purely technical analysis perspective, of course, the age old lacunae of cricketing fundamentals such as the patent inability to play the short ball, run between the wickets, bowl quick Yorkers, vary pace, bowl intelligent spin and field (read as hold catches whenever possible!) are very evident in the latest abject display on offer; however equally what is the culpability of the support staff? The likes of Venky Prasad and TA Sekar singlehandedly destroying talented quicks such as Ishant, Munaf, Srishant and RP et al has almost gone unnoticed. Why are we stuck with the likes of Nehra after what seems like a near lifetime? Harbhajan was comfortably beaten off the field by Swann who is truly a world class spinner with a legal action and has a much wider repertoire (so what if he doesn’t bowl “Doosra”!) None of the new batsmen seem comfortable against pace and it is crystal clear that post the departure of the Big 5, the hard earned apex Test ranking will be lost in next to no time. The likes of K Srikant who was hardly a test class batsman himself is now the head Honcho of the Indian selection team and is earnestly stuffing the team with as many Tamil batsmen as is currently practicable at the cost of more deserving candidates from other parts of India. How else could one justify the inclusion Badri and Vijay in this form? Badri has been found out at every level and Vijay whilst a talented test batsman albeit untested in more bowler friendly conditions is milking an IPL 100 scored against a threadbare attack. He too was found out against real pace as the T20 format is unforgiving to those who can’t play the flat batted shots square of the wicket. It is this sort of analysis that one would be interested in rather than the anodyne and banal pseudo psycho babble currently on offer.

  • Gilliana on May 19, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Too much adulation, too much time and too much money. Let the stroke of the pen terminate their world of makebelieve.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    The genie is truly out now for none of the new bucks are likely to be bothered with the trivialities of spending hours in the nets rigorously honing their art, a la Sunny, RD or SRT. The likes of Rohit, Virat and their seniors such as Yuvi and Bhajji are more likely to be found in a night club instead. And why would they, when the circus called IPL pays them in 6 weeks each year what most people earn in a decade for selling their souls? I always felt that the Faustian pact that BCCI made with the Lucifer Modi is bound to exact its revenge someday soon, just didn’t realize it would be so soon. The position reached by the teams of the nineties and noughties was by the sheer dint of hard work and determination; it was no fluke. The 2007 T-20 win was as it proved subsequently a flash in the pan. In its eagerness to cash in on this, BCCI enabled MSD to rid the team of the seniors in a jiffy without much consideration and focused on IPL instead; those chickens have now truly returned to roost! MSD is a sensible cricketer but I have always felt that he was more lucky than most and sooner than later his luck was bound to turn. It hardly helps that he is not a classic test match batsman and is unlikely to be of much use to the strugglers against pace. Those of us brought up on the batting of Sunny, Dilip Vengsarkar, Jimmy Amarnath and their more than capable successors in the shape of the Big 5 increasingly find this macabre spectacle increasingly harder to watch. The sooner BCCI is dismantled and becomes a publicly listed corporation with professional management the greater the chances of Team India returning to the upper echelons of the game. IPL too needs to be severely truncated and the horrid vulgar display of ill gotten wealth must be stopped at once. Only players with 50 tests plus and retired former players be allowed to play in it as the younger brigade could be spared its siren calls given the likely damages Vis a Vis potential benefits. I fear the damage may already be done as far as the likes of Rohit, Virat et al are concerned, but at least the future generations may be spared from its full impact.

  • Sriram on May 19, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    We need to distinguish between Test and ODI/ T20 performances of the Indian team in terms of consistency. On the Test front, we are better in terms of consistency and, hopefully, will remain that way as long as the Fab Four continue with us. On the ODI/ T20 front, we are, as Samir puts it "inconsistent, and sporadically delightful". That dichotomy is inevitable, given the difference in manpower and the inability of newcomers to deliver sustained performances.

  • Anonymous on May 19, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    The issue with this team in not so much the performance, but the intent. In an age of globalization, where babudom is giving way to MNC culture in India. why should cricketers not be held responsible and subsequently face actions? Although the pub case might not be their fault, I am fundamentally for accountability of cricketers and selectors. Unfit players representing a country of 1 billion population(almost all of them cricket mad)is not justified to say the least. This is not their fiefdom and they must realise that. It is perform or get out simple. What makes selectors still select the likes of Rohit Sharma is a mystery? I hope these overhyped useless cricketers should be made to learn a lesson by people boycotting any product being endorsed by them, which would reduce their brand value and make them focus more on cricket(which happens to be their job)