India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day December 7, 2012

India's year of denial

India have spent 2012 making excuses for their poor Test performances. It is about time they told themselves some home truths

"We have seen in the last three Tests matches and even in England, there was a lot of grass and that helped their seamers. Once these people come to India we should not be hesitant in making turners, and that's where we would get to know whether they are mentally strong, and [what happens to] the kind of chit chat do they do when we go overseas and they talk about our techniques."
- Gautam Gambhir, January 22, 2012, Perth

Two days after India had lost by an innings inside three days at the WACA ground.

"We also won 2-0 in India."
- Virender Sehwag, January 28, 2012, Adelaide

Third day of the Adelaide Test, when a second whitewash in two away series was imminent.

"Why not [turning pitches]? We were given flattest of tracks during practice matches in England and Australia, and then suddenly presented with a green-top during the Tests. During practice matches, we would face those 120kmph bowlers …If they wanted to be fair to us, they could have provided us with same kind of tracks for practice matches, like what were used in Tests. Especially, when they knew that visiting teams get very less time to practice. Now they would be playing on turning tracks and definitely would know where they stand."
- Virat Kohli, October 27, 2012

Justifying the tactic of not letting England face any spin in the tour games before the start of the Test series, in the process imagining "green tops" in Australia and England

"We also need to consider that immediately after that series when England came to India, we beat them 5-0, which cannot be forgotten."
- Sachin Tendulkar, November 8, 2012

Before the start of this Test series, drawing comfort from an ODI series win last year

"One has to recognise the advantage of home conditions, and this applies across the board. So I don't think we should run down our players by saying we did not do well abroad. Other teams don't do well when they come to India. In England, except Rahul, the batting did not click. But in both England and Australia, we had super-fast pitches."
- N Srinivasan, December 4, 2012

Asking people to not say "we did not do well abroad"

"So what if we have lost a home Test? Not as if we have never won at home… It's not that we have lost the series."
- Gautam Gambhir, November 29, 2012

After the defeat in Mumbai when everything - pitch, toss, first-innings runs - was in their favour

"If you look at the records at this ground, India have played really well. The way the wicket is playing, I am confident our guys will do really well."
- Pragyan Ojha, today, Eden Gardens

After India have conceded a 193-run lead by end of day three with four wickets still in England's hand

Also today, Joe Dawes, India's bowling coach, told - well, who else - the BCCI in an interview that Zaheer Khan is one of the best six bowlers in the world, that Indian bowling is headed in the right direction, that he has begun the process of achieving the aim of developing a group of seven to eight fast bowlers who can be called upon any time. You can accuse the BCCI of many things, but it doesn't lack humour, as is evident through the timing of this piece.

One of these days, India will admit they have become an ordinary side. That currently they are arguably the worst bowling unit in the world, bar Bangladesh. That they are the worst fielding side in the world without any argument, which they kept on proving on the third day as Ishant Sharma dropped his third simple return catch in the fourth match he is playing this year. That the whitewashes in England and Australia didn't happen on doctored green tops. That a proud home record alone doesn't ensure future Test wins. That the ideal response to overseas batting failures is to work on techniques, and not to seek comfort in statistics at home. That no side won an away series with that kind of attitude.

When India admit that, they will start improving as a Test side. Until then, they can hope for a miracle to the tune of Kolkata 2000-01.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jaydutt on December 10, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Tendulkar is the biggest liability.He has prolonged his career for 2-3 years at least ensuring dat we will never get to experiment with d no. 4 slot.say Sehwag coming down d order .Also Dhoni can't bat in Test cricket, that is apparent, so why pick him ?????He is even worse that a non-laying Davis Cup captain ! And his statement that I wont abandon d team as if he was doing us a big favour ! He has been party to Indi's most disgraceful period in Test Cricket ever .4-0, 4-0 and now 2-1 at home.. How can an average person like me see this blatant vested intersest of the BCCI and d public can't .Perhaps they r too buy worshipping their so called "GOD", another ridiculous habit our public has fallen into .But the fact of the matter is Dravid, Kumble and Laxman have been better servants of Indian cricket than he has been(only talking about contemporaries).No-one is even close to India's greatest batsman ever- GAVASKAR, or for that matter even Vishwanath, Kapil Dev rank much much higher!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    I'm so happy to see England wining........... Keep it up guys...

  • Steve on December 9, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Dont change India, stay the same. Laughing stock of world cricket you are and will be for a while yet.

  • Prashan on December 9, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Good analysis indeed. These Indians are only interested in getting quick bucks through IPL. Country comes before IPL. High time IPL is shortened to no more than 4 weeks.

  • Tanveer Ehsanur on December 9, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    "That currently they are arguably the worst bowling unit in the world, bar Bangladesh." That's funny. I thought it was a serious article.

  • Aditya on December 9, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    The current lot speaks with their mouths and not performances. I don't remember anybody indulging in faux bravado during the times of Ganguly and Kumble. Neither did they keep reminding of their past achievements. There is a distinct lack of steel.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    I think this article is quite harsh...India is yet a developing side and they fought for the match with all they had. They are a very good one day side as well. What my suggestion is they should pass a transition period...should more emphasize on shorter version of the game and I do believe they will develop. And calling them as the worst bowling side bar Bangladesh is not also fair...even as a upcoming cricketing power they grabbed 3 wickets of the might English team...give the kids some credit

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    End of Sachin's era and Dhoni's era as test captain. Now team needs to be rebuilt for future Test matches. A solid opener like Rahane with an aggressive openor like Murali vijay is required. I do not see Kohli , Yuvraj, Raina or Rohit playing test cricket as do not seem to have the temperment for test cricket. We have to look out for Ambati Rayadu,Manoj tiwary and few other u-19 cricketers and groom them. Zaheer's also looks like not being the same, india now has to look out for faster bowlers with athleticism and fielding abilitiy from u-19 level. Wasim akram stating Indian quickes not bending their back on flat tracks says volumes about the fitness of indian speedsters. Bring some legendary sesst indian fast bowling coach and a spin coach like murlidharan else we are going to lose all games played in india as well

  • spirit on December 9, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke,dont equate BCCI's money with cricket infrastructure,the grass root level seldom gets the kind of facilities which players gets in Aus & Eng,in domestic cricket the Ranji Teams barely has a professional physio and medics team etc,its only when the players gets selected in indian team that they gets good facilities with the indian team..also more number does'nt means quality bcoz quantity wont give u quality,so india may have more number of players but almost all r of same quality,so does'nt matter how many teams u make all will give u same results

  • Sony on December 9, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Only one positive I can see in these loses is at least now we will make the inevitable changes (hoping so). Zaheer, ishant, harbhajan, ghambir and yuvraj shoul dbe dropped and they should be replaced with pankaj singh, shami ahmed, ravindra jadeja, abhinav mukund or jivanjot singh and manoj thiwary.

    sachin needs to be in team for atleast around 1 more year before this young team gets their feet firm in international cricket.

    many would argue that dhoni should also go. but I can't see any other guy who is good enough to replace dhoni as a captain. saha may be a better keeper, by dropping dhoni, we will lose a captain for whom there is no replacement as of now. also I think dhoni will perform better as a captain if we give him an young team.

    and teh main thing is we need to be patient, anyways its better to loss with a younger team than oldies.

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