July 12, 2011

India in West Indies, 2011

India not ready to embrace possibilities

Dustin Silgardo

India's decision to call of the chase in Dominica is baffling, writes Siddhartha Vaidyanathan on his blog. MS Dhoni can keep totting up as many series wins as he wants but there must be some point where his team aspires to a higher, loftier goal. It’s pretty clear that India isn’t ready for that flight yet.

How is this Indian team so comfortable with confidently foreseeing the future? Sure, run-scoring was hard and six and over was close to impossible but haven’t these players been around long enough to know that it takes precisely one over to change the dynamic of the whole match?

I find that the most disappointing. This is a beautiful game because of the possibilities it throws up. And even without giving those possibilities a chance, Dhoni pulled the plug.

The honour of being world No. 1 comes with the responsibility to "present the game in its best light" according to Suresh Menon. He writes in his blog on the cricketnext website that India did not live up to that responsibility in the Dominica Test, much like they have abdicated their responsibility as the financial leaders of the game.

Test cricket needs good finishes, attacking attitudes and fewer drawn games. Off the field, it needs administrators who can look beyond the here and now and be statesmen rather than politicians. When what is good for the game is in conflict against what is good for a particular team or a particular set of officials, the game must win. And that is another major responsibility of the No. 1 - to place the greater common good above narrow, sectarian interests.

Following the series win in the Caribbean - despite the criticism over their decision to call off the chase in Dominica - India are back to full strength and little is likely to intimidate them in England, writes Dileep Premachandran in the Guardian.

Had Dhoni refused the dangled carrot with a full-strength side some of the vitriol would have been justified. But India played this tour without Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar, three of the cornerstones of their steady progress to No1. Their replacements failed to stake any claim in West Indies. Prior to his 45 on the final afternoon, Murali Vijay had managed 27 in five innings. Virat Kohli's tally was 76. Neither can complain about not being in the squad for England.

In the Trinidad Express, Fazeer Mohammed says West Indies' young top-order batsmen have to learn how to put a price on their wicket like Shivnarine Chanderpaul does.

In the case of Barath and Bravo, the challenge appears to be as much that of temperament as technique. No-one questions their ability and both have shown in the occasional innings just what they are capable of when everything comes together. Still, and Barath needs to learn this very quickly, you can't play a shot to almost every ball, nor do you play with an open face against the new ball.

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Dustin Silgardo is a former sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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