India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata

Dhoni's real issues are in his team

All the talk about the state of Kolkata pitch has deflected attention away from the real problems in the India team

Sidharth Monga

December 4, 2012

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

Virat Kohli flicks en route his half-century, India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 2nd day, September 1, 2012
Virat Kohli is one of India's top order that has yet to deliver in the series © Associated Press
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MS Dhoni must be sick and tired of being asked about the state of pitches and his preferences and groundsmen. He has had a hard time explaining to people that he doesn't want slow turn and low bounce, and can't understand what is wrong with his views. You can argue his way of going about getting that - public criticism of pitches - is not ideal, but his demands are ideal: Mumbai made for far more exciting cricket than Ahmedabad.

It's the result in Mumbai - when Indian spinners were thoroughly outplayed - that has lost Dhoni's idea some fans in India, but the captain is willing to die by the spin sword. Once again, his pre-match press conference was dominated by questions surrounding the pitch.

"If you are not doing that [playing on pitches that turn and bounce], the concept of playing around the world and facing different challenges goes down the drain," Dhoni said in response. "Because if you come to India, why do you want to play on wickets that are flat on the first three or four days? Sometimes you have seen even five days are not good enough to get a result. So I feel the challenge is to play on tracks that turn and assist the spinners. It doesn't matter if we lose a few games or if you win the series…

"It's not like when Australia play in Australia or when England play in England, they win all the games. Still they stick to the kind of speciality they have got. It's the same for subcontinental teams."

Dhoni is not letting one defeat change his mindset. He had to make that clarification three to four times. And by all accounts, he is not getting the pitch he wants in Kolkata. Going by his own description of the surface, Dhoni and his team will have to play on just the track he doesn't want. He expects no help for spinners, and is relying on wear and tear.

At the same time, India could be secretly looking at all this pitch talk as some sort of respite. They are well and truly under the pump. If Indian Test cricket were strong right now, more than half the team would be playing for their places in the side. If this pitch talk had not dominated the aftermath of arguably India's worst Test defeat since they first became a competitive side, Dhoni would have had a tough time defending some of his players, and some of his captaincy moves for that matter.

Deep down, Dhoni will know the pitch is one of the lesser concerns for India right now. For even if they keep getting spitting turners every time, their spinners are no better than an even chance of winning them the match. Only one of their batsmen can claim to be not under pressure. Well, make it two: Virender Sehwag usually doesn't take much pressure either.

It must be getting a little tiresome for Dhoni to come out and defend some of the players. Asked about the openers - and barring Sehwag's century in Ahmedbabad, neither of them has done anything extraordinary for two years - Dhoni said: "We are a side that relies a lot on the openers. We don't really want to put extra pressure on them. What's important is for them to enjoy their game.

"If you see Viru Pa, he just loves to go onto the field and express himself. We just want the two individuals to back the kind of game they play. It's just a matter of time. They have done well if you see the recent few games. Both of them have scored runs; if they score together in the same innings, it will be a great plus for us."

About whether the break between the Tests had been enough for them to sort their issues out, Dhoni said they were not losing sleep over the Mumbai defeat. "Winning and losing games is part and parcel of what we do," he said. "I don't think cricketers get bothered a lot if they lose a game, and they aren't really at the top of their emotions when they win a series or a game.

"The good thing is, the bowlers had to do a lot of work in both the first two matches, so the rest between the games will really help them to come back to their best. It gives time for the batsmen to assess the situation as to what went wrong, so it was a healthy break for both the sides."

There is not much else Dhoni can say when all indications from the selectors suggest there aren't many replacements available for consistently underperforming players. What he needs from his team-mates is the kind of improvement he showed in his keeping after a horrid Test in Ahmedabad.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

"If Indian Test cricket were strong right now, more than half the team would be playing for their places in the side"....This is what is exactly running in my mind, how many of them will be in the XI if the team was strong...at least 5

Posted by drei on (December 5, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

@Rudrajit actually I partly agree with you :) Indian Ranji experts have mastered the art of huge first innings scores in home conditions. Makes it a lot harder to separate the wheat from the chaff. But some decisions are easy... test 4 should hopefully see Yuvi dropped, and Dhoni forced to pick Rahane. Unfortunately Sehwag scored a ton this series, else they could've made two changes in the batting alone.

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 5, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

@sandy_bangalore: I doubt if you are an Ind fan. Perhaps you are someone from our neighborhood masquerading as an Ind fan. But if you are then I guess you start reading some newspapers and keep yourself aware of the sports where Ind is doing well. How about Badminton where Saina Nehwal won Olympic Bronze and is #3 as of now? How about Chess where V Anand is a 5 time WC? How about Billiards and Snooker where Geet Sethi and P Advani have won several WC? How about Wrestling where Sushil Kumar won the WC Gold in 2010? How about Archery where Deepika Kumari won Gold in WC 2012? How about Shooting where Anjali Bhagwat, Ganagn Narang and Abhinav Bibdra have won WC? The reason why Ind doesn't have Fast bowlers is the genetics and the diet, simple. As for Jadeja, yes he has not done too well in Intl cricket but that does not dilute his 3 triple 100s in domestic cricket. If scoring them is so easy why no one else in India has done that? Why u ridicule anything good and highlight the bad ones???

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

MS is just a poor capt, wicketkeeper and Batsman. He wouls not get a game in either England or SA sides

Posted by Rudrajit on (December 5, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

This is unfair. All the good players are playing Ranji trophy. I'll tell you what, a Ranji XI will trounce this Indian XI anywhere in India.

Posted by drei on (December 5, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

It is amusing to see the gloating attitudes on one side and the breast beating on the other side over what is ONE defeat for India. I get the thinking that winning is everything but its normally the same people who moan on and on about flat pitches and tall scores. It would be a good idea to stop beating this guy with a stick because he wanted a fair pitch that takes the toss out of the equation. I want to see the same thing in cricket. England and NZ conditions must support swing, SA swing & bounce, Australia bounce, pace and spin and India spin, bounce & reverse swing. Bowlers do need a little bit of support if we are to see some skills remaining in cricket. look at the record from last week - Jadeja has hit three triples in his first class career, and there is nobody in India who is exactly campaigning to see him back in the test team. Couple of days back South Africa made a mockery of an international attack at their home conditions clobbering. How about a challenge? Dhoni's right!

Posted by cric_fan123 on (December 5, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

kinda sick of everyone complaining about India's loss in Mumbai. If you were awake for last 2-3 years, bouncy pitches in SA has not served SA well. So whats the big deal if India lost on a spinning pitch. Bowlers pitch gives both team a fair chance. And it is not home advantage per se. Home advantage is knowing how your pitches fare, what bounce/spin or quickness is expected. A pitch wehre even your local A level players can perform well (score and take wickets - somethig many players in many teams specialise in). Spinning/green tracks are not. I still think Ahemdabad was much better home pitch than Mumbai even if Dhoni doesn't like to believe so.

Posted by Biswajitbangalore on (December 5, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

@gitapat Yuvi needs to be replaced by someone solid like Badrinath. what you see in badrnath so solid... LOL. mast be joking.

Posted by Mitcher on (December 5, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Seriously, the likes of Dhoni (and most Indian fans) need to stop using Australia as an example where the home team always gets tailor made conditions. Australian pitches over the past 10 years have been flatter and less conducive to movement than at probably any other time in history. In fact, the only time they appeared difficult to play on was when India batted on them recently ( notably not when the home side batted). I think it clear that was more about inept batting than anything to do with the pitch.

Posted by Samar_Singh on (December 5, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Easy solutions : Drop Dhoni from test, Tendulkar retire , Yuvraj not a test player,Bhajji no more required, so give some other youngster some chance .. Simple as that . Regarding Dhoni's comment on pitches, let the curator do his job, he knows his job better than the rest. What if the curator say I want this this 11 player to play the game ? Not cry !!! Have we ever heard any Captain complaning so much about the pitches? My advise to Dhoni is concentrate on your game , u r among the weakest link the current Test team since couple of years . Good luck MSD.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 5, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

The real problem is Dhoni and most of his bowlers dont have the skills or stamina to play for 5 days thats why he wants designer pitches, win or lose. 4 overs of bowling and 40 overs of extreme hit and giggle is what they are capable of

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

:) We should play with our own strength ( spin)

Posted by bumpu on (December 5, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

Why is nobody talking of replacing one man named Tendulkar who has had by far the longest spell of drought when it comes to scoring runs........!!!!

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

well atlast som1 has understood what dhoni really wants...he is not a man hu is going to b bogged down by a loss or criticism from some brainless journalists...the last thng u want is not to have a result in a test match..it is waste of time money energy n what not...when u travel overseas u get the pitch suited to them the best....nothing wrong in asking for a turner...and god alone knws what probir mukherjee thinks hu he is...its his duty to make a pitch what team india wants...if he cant then he has no business sitting there..just runs runs runs on first 3 days...nothing for the bowlers...its seriously worthless..n u mostly win the toss n win the match...time has come to stop criticising the captain for evrythng..n look at a larger picture

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 5, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

@Dhanno: Regarding ... "Nowhere in the world you would see captains talking about pitch/ curators etc before test matches."...

That's cos in other countries they all are implicitly on the same page and no one needs to say something directly to them. They all function as one huge machine, focused on achieving one thing: win for their team. The curator's mind is aligned with the captain's and the team's interest is prime. They don't try to pass judgement on whether a certain tactic is moral or immoral.

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 5:19 GMT)

" It doesn't matter if we lose a few games or if you win the series…", "I don't think cricketers get bothered a lot if they lose a game, and they aren't really at the top of their emotions when they win a series or a game." What is Dhoni trying to convey through such comments? That he, as the captain, isn't bothered whether the team wins or loses? All the brouhaha about good cricketing pitches is well and good, but if a team's captain himself isn't pumped about winning or even a tad perturbed at losing so badly on his own turf, then what is the point of sport?! Has he ever given a thought that, despite all the recent failures, there are still some fervent supporters of the Indian test team out there, and it still matters to them whether the team wins or loses. I completely agree with yoogi here, the players of the previous era lived and died for winning tests for India.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (December 5, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

I find it absolutely amazing that despite we being a one-sport nation(with mediocre players overhyped by media and fawned over by fans), we still can't produce a consistently tough cricket team. No fast bowlers of note, and shockingly no back-up spinners in the land of spin! And we have the likes of RJ, who looks out of place in internationals, scoring 300s for his state. Its the same old story: flat track kings, excuses,lack of fitness..etc. And i dont blame the IPL at all: its the players who are solely responsible

Posted by Rahul_78 on (December 5, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

Spot on Mr.Monga! This Indian side is in a transitional phase. India had to bid adeau to Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid in recent few years. RP Singh, Sreesanth, Mishra and many more who had been invested at great length by selectors have gone off radar. Sehwag is not getting any younger and MSD is an extraordinary ODI cricketer but an ordinary test player. Apart from Kohli and Pujara there arent many silver linings to the dark clouds. An Indian team of couple of years back would never have lost by 10 wickets to Englishmen on that Mumbai wicket. With current Indian team there isnt much balance in the batting or bowling. Indian selectors, coach and captain needs to seat down and put in place a long term plan that will unveil a balanced Indian side that could be competitive against all kind of opposition around the world in few years rather then being content on loosing 4-0 in alien conditions and being boolish about winning in home conditions.

Posted by chin-music on (December 5, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

>>> "selectors suggest there aren't many replacements available for consistently underperforming players." ---- You must be joking! Unless you buy the mindless hero-worshipping logic that a guy who has scored 50 test centuries can endlessly keep carrying on simply o because there is no one else with equal record to replace him --- there are plenty of replacements around. They just need to be blooded - & it is far better to lose a test while blooding a new, young team than losing anyway with a tired lot living on fast-fading past glories.

Posted by dailycric on (December 5, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

number of runs dhoni has scored in this series: 40. number of byes he has conceded: 31. so - is the real problem the team that dhoni has? or the fact that this is still dhoni's team? his batting, keeping and captaincy are all miserable. and alternatives exist. wriddhiman saha is an outstanding keeper, and has been making 50 virtually every time he has batted this season. gambhir and kohli are both captaincy material. so what is this loser dhoni still doing in the side, let alone leading it? and why are no questions being asked about this on cricinfo?

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

"I don't think cricketers get bothered a lot if they lose a game, and they aren't really at the top of their emotions when they win a series or a game." Exactly why India weren't and never will be deserving of the number 1 mantle while that mentality persists. I'd wager a bet that one RT Ponting would have a very different outlook.

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 5, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Yes. Dhoni's actual issues are really with the team and even himself. But still, i would agree with him on the spin pitches. Irrespective fo who wins, i don't want to see the matches played on the road tracks with full of runs. Take toss out of equation. as simple as that. Why take it in negative manner? It is almost next to impossible to prepare a pace and bouncy track in India due to the conditions and the soil nature. Let the tests be more result oriented and the team with better bowlers win the game.

Posted by gitapat on (December 5, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

Dhoni himself is unfit for Test cricket.He must be replaced by Dinesh Kartick. Yuvraj has been given too many chances.He needs to be replaced by someone solid like Badrinath. It was stupid to bring back Harbhajan who is past his prime. This Test will decide as to whether Tendulkar should retire. The only question is who will replace him. Pujara has replaced Dravid and Kohli has replaced Laxman. We need to find someone for Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

Dhoni's issues have moved from team to his mindset. Expecting the groundsman to provide a pitch that would ideally suit India and demanding such a track is absurd, unethical and immoral. Can you imagine Dhoni's mindset after the man with Integrity refused to comply? He will now blame, either the umpires or the Cricket Ball or even find courage to blame lack of UDRS. Dhoni and his team have already lost the series, now the best they can hope is to Draw the Test in Kolkata.

Posted by leslie_alo on (December 5, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

If the wise men of Indian cricket show some guts, Indian cricket fans will have their puzzle solved out. Just show faith in fantastic world class spin players in our ranks like Pujara and Rahane, they're proven and tested. While making Rahane to sit out, India is losing minimum 100 runs per test match. Please dont wait for the ODI players in the test team to fail umpteen times before giving Rahane a chance. We are sure the wise men know all these already, but then if they give chance to this youngster some other super star might lose his place in test team forever, even Indian fans know that :)

Posted by jimbond on (December 5, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

India needs to select the best possible team going into Kolkata. Openers- I would never drop Sehwag at least in India. Gambhir could be rested in favour of Rahane. Pujara automatically fits in. Kohli was playing brilliantly not long ago, nothing much has happened to question his place. The issue of Sachin getting bowled has been over-hyped. Given the way he plays, he has always been getting bowled, more to right arm fast bowlers who bring the ball back. He may not be the Sachin of old, but there is nobody good enough to take his place yet. Yuvraj could do with a bit of rest. Manoj Tiwari with his strength against spin (and his problems on fast pitches) would be the ideal to replace Yuvraj in Kolkata. Dhoni is still by far the best WK/bat in India, and there is no alternative to Zaheer Khan or Ojha at the moment. Ashwin also comes in because there are no alternatives. The only dilemma is who replaces Yadav/Harbahjan. Ishant may be the least harmful of available options.

Posted by cricketizgood on (December 5, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

Dhoni is right about the pitch. Home team captain has the right to say in the pitch because he is the one taking the heat. All countries have the same thing. England have seam friendly pitches. The only difference is that curator at eden garden is stubborn and wants to get mack at MSD for what he said about the pitch on the last one day. He might make pitch that would favor English players more than Indian. To add to that Indian batsman are at low and bowling wise we are worse then ever. We had trouble with seam bowlers but spin department was our strength which is at the lowest from I can remember.

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 0:10 GMT)

Continuing- The way Indian batsmen handled spin in Mumbai was baffling (no disrespect to Swan and Monty, they were superb). They played from the crease without any footwork and tried too many crossed bat shots. You can never do that on a turning pitch, never. Those of you who follow cricket closely would remember the partnership between Azhar and Shafiq in the 2nd innings of Abu Dhabi test. Pakistan were 4 wickets down and still in deficit to Eng's score but both of them hung in there against Monty and Swan who were turning it square. That is one excellent example of playing spin. They took Pak to 145 somehow just by being patient, which the Indian team lacked big time in Mumbai. Eventually Eng were bowled out to 72. My point: Indian batting has got enough in the talent department but they lack patience. May be too much of IPL? Anyways expect to see a good game in Eden Gardens.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

Supporting wickets is the way to go forward if we want to see test cricket live. Dhoni is right in logic to demand supporting wickets but since most of his batsmen are ridiculously out of nick, he is left embarrassed. To be honest, I am a bit baffled by the thought process that is going around in the Indian community. You just can't think of winning 4-0 unless you are 3-0 up after the first three games. I heard Sidhu commentating on the first morning of Ahmadabad test in Hindi and he was all about how Indian will sweep England out. You always respect your opponent. That's how I perceive cricket should be played if you want excellence. Sorry to say India is no where near to be a good test side.I say this not because they are out of talent, but because they are wrong in their mindset. You just cant' find excuses for your loss, you go out their determined to perform better. The moment you point others things for your undoing, you are in trouble. I hope modern day cricketers learn that.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (December 4, 2012, 23:49 GMT)

What? There are plenty of players knocking to get in - Tiwari, Rehane - to name just two. So what if we lose a few games, at least we will give the young guns to fire as the oldies fizz into retirement homes.

Posted by Harry_67 on (December 4, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

There is nothing wrong with the home teams wantimng to prepare pitches to suit their strengths of batting or bowling. So all that hoo-ha about Dhoni interfering in the preperation of the pitches is just that...hoo-ha! However I do agree with Dhanno that there is no ACCOUNTABILITY on the part of the players and or captain. Highest paid sportsmen in their respective sports are also the best, apart from a couple in the Indian team I think majority are just highest paid cricketers in the history of the game. They need to be competent cricketrs first and then STARS, unfortunately its the other way round in the Indian cricket. Occasional failures are part and parcel of any sport but consistent failures need to be addressed and players held accountable and consistent good performances rewarded. No one player or his ego is bigger than the game, players need to feel the pride of representing their nation at the highest level of the game by setting and genuinly apiring to high standards!

Posted by StaalBurgher on (December 4, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

I really don't see the big issue. You want a good contest between bat and ball. The game should last into Day 5 90% of the time, the other 10% Day 4. Any game that finishes on Day 3 is due to a badly prepared pitch. Neither is there anything wrong with Dhoni wanting spin & bounce. For example, I think SA have lost the last 3 home games in Durban which has been immensely bouncy. It happens. A bowlers track opens the game up and as long as it is not too wild that is a good thing for cricket. 550-650 scores should only be scored if the opposition bowls badly, not because the pitch is so flat that the bowlers can't do anything.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

"Dhoni said they were not losing sleep over the Mumbai defeat. Winning and losing games is part and parcel of what we do" - seriously? I think Mr Dhoni is now overdoing the "cool" part. So, why exactly do we have a captain who does not care if we win or loose?

When will the selectors realize that what the Indian cricket team really needs is a team that really cares about winning and loosing; and a captain who is keen to win. The 4-0 at England and 4-0 at Australia did not help the selectors make up their mind. So, will it take a series loss in India to help them make up their mind.

The only time I have really seen Dhoni show emotion is when he won the 54th match in 2010 IPL. See: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ipl2010/engine/match/419159.html?innings=2;page=1;view=commentary -> "Punches himself in the jaw, like a boxer". So clearly winning an IPL game matters to Dhoni. But losing a test match playing for India - not so much!

Posted by PACERONE on (December 4, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

The Indian fans were shouting about getting rid of VVS Laxman and they have no replacement for him.what a big hole in the Indian batting line up.A batsman that can play on any surface competently and the opposition know that they are not going to pry him out easily.They are lucky that a replacement was found for Dravid.The series is tied and lets hope for a good game,with India winning.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

there arent many replacements ?? are u kidding ?? manoj tiwary,ajinkya rahane,mukund,saha,badrinath,unmukt chand,robin bist, etc.c all will surely score atleast 10 runs more than what sachin,dhoni,gambhir are scoring presently !! ur past glory cant keep u in the team for eternity !! either perform or perish !! time up for sachin now enough we dont want walking wicket in the team when many players r in form and hungry for a test cap !! no offence

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

@Sunil Kumar - As Naseer Hussain says, whenever you are not selected, you are the best cricketer that's out there.

Posted by sports99 on (December 4, 2012, 20:52 GMT)

All need is just 2 things 1) Get rid of Dhoni and give captancy to Virat 2) With due respect to Sachin, he must retire immediately.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 4, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

India and the daft Indian fans are going to kill cricket. Spinning and forward pushing are never going to help cricket. It is like playing carom. It is fast bowling and standing tall to pull or hook bouncers that bring entertainment to cricket. India never picked the right things in its history. No wonder in cricket too it makes weird choices.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 4, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

If there is someone with Dhoni's cool sensible talk and decent captaincy , dhoni would have been replaced long ago. Sehwag can't captain , he lacks patience and has foot in the mouth disease. Gambhir is eternally angry. So for me as long as Dhoni keep his ego down and give space to sehwag , dhoni will do fine. Dhoni has to bat in indian condition. He did nothing in last 2 test. Whole team failed mumbai except pujara. Over hyped kohli came back to ground. 1 more failure kohli also has to be replaced. I don't like chopping players often but people need to know they have to produce runs.

Posted by Nampally on (December 4, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

@moBlue:I am surprised why you are "ticked off" with the Curator for doing his job right. Dhoni is the Captain of the Indian team & he should be focussing on his own job of leading his team on & off the field in an organised manner. What would Dhoni do if Mr. Mukherjee the Curator tells him how to do his captaincy job properly - by having the right XI, good field placing, using all his bowlers & inspiring his team to produce their best, as Captain Cook did for England? By the way he failed on all these counts as did Team India. "Mr. Mukherjee has been a Curator even before Dhoni was born"! He is in no mood to be dictated how to do his job. His job is to prepares a pitch which lasts the 5 day duration of the Test match. At Mumbai Dhoni got exactly what he wanted but he led India's batting tail spin!. When he can't play spin bowling why pretend & play politics?

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

Something seems to have been missed here, so I want to open it up. Here in England I don't see so much that we prepare pitches to suit our bowlers, more so that our bowlers develop in these conditions and hence suit the pitches. I imagine that groundsmen in England would love to prepare pitches that turn and bounce, hard wickets will bounce and offer turn, as well as pace for the quick men. The problem is that half the summer it pisses it down with rain and therefore you end up with seaming green tops, especially in April and May. What concerns me here is that there are specific instructions to prepare pitches in order to obtain a certain result - pitches in India are likely to turn anyway so why not just prepare the best pitch you can? The intention should be something that offers a little help to both seam and spin bowlers, but that will reward good batting. If the weather or other environmental factors mean that the pitches turn a little more then fine, anything else is cheating.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 4, 2012, 20:04 GMT)

hear hear kingowl! Viru can express anyone he likes, even Chris Martin of the "dread of bowlers" fame, as long as he gets runs it is good. Else he should be out.

We are championing bad performances on basis of expressing/ natural game play etc while du plessis and others like NZ bowlers are saving/ winning test matches by show of character.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

and one more point before critisizinng any other player or making any point....Mr Writer tell me something about Mr Captain Cool performances in tests for last 2 years....Do you really think he deserves a place in the team????

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

i really wonder...why dhoni wants a spinning tracks...when his players cant play even straight deliveries !!! when he had batsman like Dravid n Laxman, he didnt showed any respect to them...then why is he crying for tracks??? The point is...current Indian team lacks one or two proper test batsmem coz sehwag and gambhir are out of form and sachin is not playing at his best...and the rest are like school kids for the international arena...

Posted by rock_kar on (December 4, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

Bring in Ashok Dinda in place of Harbhajan. Ask Yuvi to bowl. Yuvi should have bowled more in Mumbai

Posted by xylo on (December 4, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

-Sachin +Rahane -Yuvraj +Vijay -Bhajji +Ishant should give MS some respite. If the track is going to assist spin, Yuvraj is a goner. With Sachin, India's scoreboard might as well start with 5/1. Dropping Harbhajan is a no-brainer. As for the next test series, the selectors should do well to look at test specialists like Badrinath, rather than ODI specialists like Yuvraj and Raina.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 4, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

Everybody talks about failure of India's openers. Why nobody talks about replacing the elephant in the room - the so called GOD of cricket - who averages only 15 in this test series. Dhoni, being a street smart guy won't talk about this elephant, but every one knows India can't win with so many non-performers in the team. The opposition, especially Monty Panesar, love this situation because they are 11 men playing only against 8 men.

Posted by YogifromNY on (December 4, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

I guess Dhoni can't really flat out say what he really thinks of the team and their attitude: I do hope he himself does not believe this tripe that he dishes out about the (lack of performance) from his batters, his bowlers, and his fielders - in short, nearly everyone in this team! The selection panel under Kris Srikkanth encouraged this kind of rubbish by their refusal to take hard decisions. Any hopes that Sandip Patil and co might force the issue and call a spade a spade? Sadly, given the kind of purse strings that BCCI pulls and to whom all these people are beholden, I really doubt anything as drastic as demanding accountability and professionalism from the Indian cricketers will be done. As a contrast, you just have to look at the South African and Australian teams to see how matters should be run. I am an Indian supporter myself, but I do not have any hope that BCCI will do anything to stem the rot. How would they? Their actions are the root cause of the disease!

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 4, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

have no problems with captains wanting the type of wicket they and the team want, but they could have so easily told a BCCI official what he wanted without his opponents reporters and the general public knowing, it was that easy. with england were it spins they struggle or at least some of them do. with a typical indian wicket giving some spin at 1st and normal 4th/5th day spin at the end india i feel would win. pitches with the ball turning square from day 1 is a lottery. so perhaps dhoni is more worried about his own teams batting prowess that he feels the need for such pitches

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

bring in Ajikhya and Manoj thiwari for yuvaraj and Gautam

Posted by TRAM on (December 4, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

>>>" there aren't many replacements available for consistently underperforming players".... Excuse me??

Posted by Dhanno on (December 4, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Dhoni is asked about state of pitches because he has made a lot of noise about it himself. Nowhere in the world you would see captains talking about pitch/ curators etc before test matches. They would rather focus on more important things such as team selection/ basic tactics etc. We are stuck at this pitch issue as if nothing else matters. The curator is right, pitches dont win matches, the 11 people on the PITCH need to do that.

The other part is how casually we have been sweeping the personnel problem under carpet. Everyone is playing their "natural" game, be it smashing openers/ or headturning spinners. There is absolute no accountability on players/ captain's part if they dont perform. Because its natural for bhajji to bowl tripe and if he gets smashed we are not supposed to lose sleep. Well Mr. Dhoni after the manner of your defeat, at home, against english spinners somebody oughta lose some sleep, its shame its the few test cricket fans shouldering that responsibility as well.

Posted by moBlue on (December 4, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

dhoni is absolutely right in his comments about turning pitches, and that IND should play to its strength! look, the IND batters in general are way better at handing spin, just like the SA and oz batters are way better in handling pace on helpful wickets, generally speaking. what we didn't have in mumbai were really good spin bowlers! the spin quartet of yore - on the same track - would have eaten ENG up for less than 200 in both innings, no question! this dearth of quality spinners in the IND team does not make dhoni's point moot!

i am ticked off at the curator! give the skipper the track he wants, goshDarnIt!!! who is this tin-pot dictator to deny IND the home-field advantage?!? i remember the track in 2001, and it was a beauty with the ball turning fast and bouncy right from the oz's first inning in which they scored monumentally, by the way, and made IND follow on! so what happened to IND in mumbai is not without precedent! i like games on turning tracks... so interesting!!!

Posted by satish_XI on (December 4, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

That came to me as a surprise package from you Sidharth Monga ..am happy there's someone out there who could understand Dhoni's view about the turning pitches ...exactly, whats the point of playing for a draw when you could get a result playing on a sportive wickets !!?

Posted by yoogi on (December 4, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

well the preliminary paragraph sums up the mindset of players of IPL era. Ask kumble, Srinath, Dravid and even tendulkar of yester years, they lived and died for winning tests for India.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

give unmukt chand a chance as an opener. he is a class act.

Posted by yogi.s on (December 4, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

I dont quite agree with the writer's view that this is India's worst loss. We have to give credit to england, they played a good game. I agree that dhoni's captaincy & form have been very poor off late and I even think it may not be a bad idea to replace him in the tests with dinesh karthik or saha , but I think he is being crucified because he lost on a pitch which he asked for more than the loss itself. Yes it is a truly disappointing loss but definitely not the worst ever. Against good sides it can backfire sometimes and india when they had a good team did it themselves in durban,trent bridge and perth when the condition were hugely in favor of home sides. Lets chin up and agree that this is a side in transition and till we find atleast a couple more good players we should expect this. The sad thing though is from the BCCI president's interview it doesnt seem as though they are taking the losses serious enough.

Posted by Satyam_max on (December 4, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

All the best , Team India ! It's a matter of time when it will be back to the winning ways ....

Posted by KingOwl on (December 4, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

"If you see Viru Pa, he just loves to go onto the field and express himself.": What is the deal with captains always talking about 'expressing themselves"? I hear Mahela saying this all the time too. People don't care whether Viru expresses himself or expresses somebody else or nobody for that matter. People are looking for runs. It's time for action, not word play.

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