India A in the West Indies June 20, 2012

Disappointed, but not panicking - India A coach

44

Lalchand Rajput, the coach of the touring India A side in the West Indies, is disappointed the fancied batting line-up didn't click as a unit, but is not alarmed about the future of India's middle order after a side full of Test aspirants failed to reach 300 in any of the innings of the three first-class matches against West Indies A. The sheer amount of international experience in India A's middle order - Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary - made them favourites going into the series, but none of them scored a century, and India A lost the series even after having won the first match.

"It's fair to say we didn't think the series would go this way," Rajput said from Port-of-Spain where the limited-overs leg of the tour will commence. "They bowled really well too. Delorn Johnson took 17 wickets in the series, and Jason Holder was good as well. Ours was a strong batting line-up that never clicked as a unit. The conditions were difficult, but we should have done better."

India A's first two wickets invariably yielded little, and the middle order always found itself under pressure and exposed to the new ball. In the six innings, the first two wickets added respectively 0 and 1, 4 and 8, 1 and 11, 14 and 14, 16 and 16, and 22 and 1. "We were a very strong batting unit," Rajput said. "But we never clicked together. In six innings we never had an opening stand. We were always 20 for 3 or 30 for 3. If you want a big score, the top three have to fire."

Those who followed gave a relatively better account of themselves: Pujara crossed fifty thrice, Wriddhiman Saha twice, and Rohit and Tiwary once each. One of Pujara's fifties was a special effort of 96 in the chase of 186 in the first match, in Barbados, after the visitors had been reduced to 77 for 6 and 115 for 8. India A would have hoped to carry some momentum and psychological edge into the next match, but losing the toss proved crucial on a pitch that was turning square on the fourth morning. Put in on a damp morning in the third match, the India A top order came up short once again, and even Pujara, who had scored three half-centuries in four innings until then, was run out before he could make a difference.

The first-class matches of this tour were particularly important for the young Indian batsmen after Rahul Dravid's retirement earlier this year. The selectors won't get to watch another first-class match before they pick the team for the first of the 10 Tests this home season. Rajput said there was no need to panic, and that this tour was an important experience for the youngsters.

"It's actually good that we are exposing them in conditions abroad before they get into the Test side," Rajput said. "It will help them. They'll know what to expect when they go abroad. It's a good idea for them to get exposure at an early stage in their career.

"They should know relatively early that playing abroad is different. They now know what they need to work on. Life is difficult when you go and play abroad. You have to work hard. Still they are sound players. Don't write them off based on this tour."

Pujara's temperament, Saha's keeping, Rohit's start, and the surprise package, Bengal quick Shami Ahmed, were the positives of the series, Rajput said. "Pujara's in Bridgetown was one of the best innings I have ever seen," Rajput said. "When you lose eight wickets, you put together that partnership to win the Test, it was tremendous. He showed a lot of character and temperament. Top performance."

The man who stood alongside Pujara during that match-winning effort was Ahmed, who impressed Rajput a lot. "He is strong, bowls at a sharp pace, and throughout the day," Rajput said. "Even in the third spell of the day, he bowls around 140kmph. Even when batting he doesn't give up. You have to get him out. He is one bowler to watch out for."

Saha showed similar resilience, Rajput said, scoring two fifties in tough batting conditions. His keeping on tough pitches was impressive too. Rohit got 94 in the first innings of the tour, but never kicked on after that. It summed up India A's effort: "They got starts, but couldn't convert them. Had they converted them, the story would have been different."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tappee74 on June 23, 2012, 1:51 GMT

    This is a young team with tremendous potential.Some of these names will soon be big in world cricket.Ahmed,Rohit Sharma,Pujara,Rahane,Tiwary ,they will all represent India in the future.

  • on June 22, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik should now be a regular in all forms of cricket. And certainly in test cricket. He can open, bat in middle order too and a better wicket keeper than Dhoni. The Indian captain can be in the team as a late middle order batsman and a captain. Mukund does not deserve any chance more. So also Rohit sharma.

  • mehulmatrix on June 22, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    @Ryan- Some stats for Dhoni since Dec 2010. 13(M) 598(R) 90(HS) 27.18(A). Also his main work of keeping has also dropped below the good standard, which will not be covered by the stats. Yes, he keeps and captains. But the standards have to be maintained. Same yard stick for all! Cant blame too much cricket,etc. India had many fighters like Dravid, Kumble, Kapil Dev, Robin. He has brought good changes in Indian team no doubt, but i don't see them maintained, feel Test cricket going down. Finally no grudges, just observations and thoughts!

  • mehulmatrix on June 22, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @Ryan-First of all its not against Dhoni. I respect him for his coolness and record. I vividly remember his initial years. But have you watched him in tests? His approach and captaincy? I dont think his spirit is there nor the planning upto the mark. His technique has been found wanting in good bowling conditions His captaincy is way too defensive for test cricket. I mentioned for tests, not for ODIs. Ahh... the main batsmen themselves are not upto the mark in last couple of series, nor the bowlers!They doing their job first is important! Support in terms of fighting spirit is needed.

  • on June 21, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    why do they even play T20, aren't they bored of IPL

  • Nampally on June 21, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Mr. Rajput, most of the Indian fans are disappointed as well. There is no need for panic because this is only an Indian team & not necessarily the best India A team. Of course the 4 star batsmen failed & the openers flopped badly. India never produced an opener like Sunil Gavaskar. He toured WI with the Indian test team in 1971 at the age of 21 - made his test debut, with an aggregate of 774 runs in 4 test with 3 centuries & a double century + 3 scores in 60's - average 154!. Although this India A team has some talent but none can even come close to the Genius of Gavaskar - who faced fast bowlers like Holder, Shillingford & Sobers. None of the 4 stars- Rohit, Rahane, Tiwary & Pujara got a single century. These are good batsmen but not in the same class as Gavaskar, who had the best technique, defence & concentration. If any Indian batsman had Gavaskar's technique, surely he would have scored centuries & won the series easily. India needs that kind of talent to succeed on overseas soil.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 21, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    I meant to say HARSH conditions ? the last 2 wickets are Asian in every aspect" slow and low" - I was amazed India didn't even make a contest Rohit SHarma has to be the biggest disappointed he looked to have so much talent but I guess smashing some IPl bowlers on small boundaries does not translate to a more serious format. It's not all India are bad though as Indians on here are stating the young WEST INDIES pace bowlers have some serious talent as do the young batsman Powell and BraITHWAITE in particular I'm sure the shorter version will be closer contest.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 21, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    POOR CONDITIONS ? That is a BAD excuse as both ST LUCIA and ST VINCENT are identical of slow Indian / Asian tracks the first game they just managed to win was at Barbados which is the fastest track out there.

  • Vilander on June 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Rahane's serious inadequacies in batting technique were exposed by second line WI bowlers. He is definitly not fit for test status any time soon. Shami is the find an other 140k indian bowler, Pujara prooved that he can get into to the seniors team and struggle instead of the older guys there, pujara can struggle and lose better than some of the other worser players who struggle and lose. nohti sharma should probably retire as a player with great potiential.

  • Percy_Fender on June 21, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    There will be prophets of doom huddled in all corners with India A having lost the series. But what people must understand is that out of this team only about 3 or 4 are going to be important members of the team of the future. I simply have no doubt that Pujara, Shami Ahmed,Saha and Awana will be there either in the Tests or the ODIs.Rahane is too good a batsman to fail continuously. He was unlucky on two occasions quite distinctly.I would much rather take as a parameter his early baptism in the ODIs in England last year as being his true mettle.He played superbly against all the English bowlers and that is what gives me hope that this tour was just an aberration for him.He must bat at No 3 though simce I am a believer in such things as numbers.Mandip and Suriya Yadav would have been good investment.Rohit is definitely talented but he should not imagine himself as a great already.That may be what is coming in his way.I am sure that Pujara is good captain material despite this loss.

  • tappee74 on June 23, 2012, 1:51 GMT

    This is a young team with tremendous potential.Some of these names will soon be big in world cricket.Ahmed,Rohit Sharma,Pujara,Rahane,Tiwary ,they will all represent India in the future.

  • on June 22, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik should now be a regular in all forms of cricket. And certainly in test cricket. He can open, bat in middle order too and a better wicket keeper than Dhoni. The Indian captain can be in the team as a late middle order batsman and a captain. Mukund does not deserve any chance more. So also Rohit sharma.

  • mehulmatrix on June 22, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    @Ryan- Some stats for Dhoni since Dec 2010. 13(M) 598(R) 90(HS) 27.18(A). Also his main work of keeping has also dropped below the good standard, which will not be covered by the stats. Yes, he keeps and captains. But the standards have to be maintained. Same yard stick for all! Cant blame too much cricket,etc. India had many fighters like Dravid, Kumble, Kapil Dev, Robin. He has brought good changes in Indian team no doubt, but i don't see them maintained, feel Test cricket going down. Finally no grudges, just observations and thoughts!

  • mehulmatrix on June 22, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @Ryan-First of all its not against Dhoni. I respect him for his coolness and record. I vividly remember his initial years. But have you watched him in tests? His approach and captaincy? I dont think his spirit is there nor the planning upto the mark. His technique has been found wanting in good bowling conditions His captaincy is way too defensive for test cricket. I mentioned for tests, not for ODIs. Ahh... the main batsmen themselves are not upto the mark in last couple of series, nor the bowlers!They doing their job first is important! Support in terms of fighting spirit is needed.

  • on June 21, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    why do they even play T20, aren't they bored of IPL

  • Nampally on June 21, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Mr. Rajput, most of the Indian fans are disappointed as well. There is no need for panic because this is only an Indian team & not necessarily the best India A team. Of course the 4 star batsmen failed & the openers flopped badly. India never produced an opener like Sunil Gavaskar. He toured WI with the Indian test team in 1971 at the age of 21 - made his test debut, with an aggregate of 774 runs in 4 test with 3 centuries & a double century + 3 scores in 60's - average 154!. Although this India A team has some talent but none can even come close to the Genius of Gavaskar - who faced fast bowlers like Holder, Shillingford & Sobers. None of the 4 stars- Rohit, Rahane, Tiwary & Pujara got a single century. These are good batsmen but not in the same class as Gavaskar, who had the best technique, defence & concentration. If any Indian batsman had Gavaskar's technique, surely he would have scored centuries & won the series easily. India needs that kind of talent to succeed on overseas soil.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 21, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    I meant to say HARSH conditions ? the last 2 wickets are Asian in every aspect" slow and low" - I was amazed India didn't even make a contest Rohit SHarma has to be the biggest disappointed he looked to have so much talent but I guess smashing some IPl bowlers on small boundaries does not translate to a more serious format. It's not all India are bad though as Indians on here are stating the young WEST INDIES pace bowlers have some serious talent as do the young batsman Powell and BraITHWAITE in particular I'm sure the shorter version will be closer contest.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 21, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    POOR CONDITIONS ? That is a BAD excuse as both ST LUCIA and ST VINCENT are identical of slow Indian / Asian tracks the first game they just managed to win was at Barbados which is the fastest track out there.

  • Vilander on June 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Rahane's serious inadequacies in batting technique were exposed by second line WI bowlers. He is definitly not fit for test status any time soon. Shami is the find an other 140k indian bowler, Pujara prooved that he can get into to the seniors team and struggle instead of the older guys there, pujara can struggle and lose better than some of the other worser players who struggle and lose. nohti sharma should probably retire as a player with great potiential.

  • Percy_Fender on June 21, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    There will be prophets of doom huddled in all corners with India A having lost the series. But what people must understand is that out of this team only about 3 or 4 are going to be important members of the team of the future. I simply have no doubt that Pujara, Shami Ahmed,Saha and Awana will be there either in the Tests or the ODIs.Rahane is too good a batsman to fail continuously. He was unlucky on two occasions quite distinctly.I would much rather take as a parameter his early baptism in the ODIs in England last year as being his true mettle.He played superbly against all the English bowlers and that is what gives me hope that this tour was just an aberration for him.He must bat at No 3 though simce I am a believer in such things as numbers.Mandip and Suriya Yadav would have been good investment.Rohit is definitely talented but he should not imagine himself as a great already.That may be what is coming in his way.I am sure that Pujara is good captain material despite this loss.

  • on June 21, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    here is a long shot ..bring in kaif...... ideally suited for the longer version ...with relevant experience and last season scored well as well in the domestic ranji trophy.....and he was dropped becuase of lack of spots in the test team ..time to bring him since there are slots now

  • Evangelyst on June 21, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    It is critical that all these young batsmen and I would include other upcoming youngsters including Mandeep Singh, Unmukt Chand, Suryakant Yadav etc. get maximim exposure playing in overseas condistions. BCCI should use its considerable financial strength and clout to try and arrange for contracts for these players in English County Cricket and arrange a full series of A team tours. I would argue that that would be far more useful for players like Rahane and Pujara who are already successful in Indian domestic cricket. The WI tour has shown that IPL AND Ranji Trophy success is no guarantee that these batsmen can play well abroad.

  • on June 21, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    The doom on Indian test team is looming large. After forcing Dravid Laxman Sachin and Ganguly, there is not a single test batsman in sight who can even match their standard. Rohit Raina Virat Pujara are great gun in Ranji trophy and IPL only.

  • Min2_cric on June 21, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Wat positives....these players do not stand anywhere in world cricket....u make them play 10 tyms there..bt the 11th tym also u ll get d same result...

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @mehulmatrix just becos the junior player plays well ( saha) it does not mean dat the present player has to be dropped(dhoni). The reason why dhoni's test record looks bad is bcos unlike aus and eng, india's lower order have no discipline in supporting the main batsmen. As for ability, dhoni is up there with the best when it comes to playing the short ball and after initial overs plays the full deliveries well too.And dont forget that he is a rare commodity for an Indian-A Fighter. Before commenting think twice.

  • on June 21, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    Rohit Sharma seems to imitate that 'lazy elegance' of laxman, but he is no way in the same class as the very very special man.

  • on June 21, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    India A lost to West Indies by 10 WICKETS? LOOOL!!!!!!!! I think India A will struggle with a C team let alone a B team :))))

  • on June 21, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    What difficult conditions are they talking about. They were playing in West Indies where pitches are quite similar to home conditions. Imagine the plight when they go to Australia/South Africa. Future looks bleak.

  • on June 21, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    In hindsight, it seems our 'expert' selectors were swayed by IPL performances. That first class cricket is a different ball game has been proved once again.

  • mehulmatrix on June 21, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Coach says, difficult conditions. What difficult? Swing? Seam, More bounce? Or difficult to come after playing IPL? Where is badrinath? Hearing too much about the class of some players, lot of talk and over the top attitude. Coach didn't even admit the issues with player.s Have been observing Saha since a good time, looks really committed and good keeper. Time to get over the Dhoni hype in tests. Where are Ojha, Unadkat,Aaron, Yadav,etc? Ishant has also lost his way after the good start, a common story of sorts in Indian cricket it seems.

  • ooper_cut on June 21, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Pujara can straightaway walk into Dravid's position. Rahane was the biggest disappointment for me in this tour. The openers were pathetic to say the least. Mukund has played in test matches there and he was expected to lead the pack. Yes, poor Badri. Now his age will go against him. Rohit Sharma has turned out to be a one match wonder in any series/tournament he plays.

  • Jishnu.v.v on June 21, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    badrinath is like Mike Hussey of India.. He may be 32, but definately has the talent and fitness to match the youngsters. He has never got a decent run in the Indian team. Hopefully he is in the INdian team for the NZ test series...

  • Naresh28 on June 21, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Well the experience is good for the youngsters. Playing overseas the bounce higher and movement more. Teams should be selected with batsman of tall stature like Dravid. While Pujara is the shinning light of the team for India, also was impressed with the gutsy Shami Ahmed - reminds me if Irfan Pathan. Rohit Sharma needs to wake up to the criticism fans/selectors level against him. He is becoming a wasted talent.

  • Straight-Drive on June 21, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    Frankly Speaking, i was pretty amazed with the selection of the 'A' team. One of the key reasons for India's success against West Indies was our bowling proved competent. Ishanth and Praveen were better than the Windies lot and we won 2 -0. But this team, I saw a lot of lesser known players and when I checked their First class carreer profile, some of them had less than 10 first class appearances. How do you conclude that a person with less than 10 first class appearance as a national prospect? I beleive that even Umesh and Varun are still at 'A' level and havent qualified for the highest level. They may have shown occasional brilliance in some of the tests, but are yet to prove. The Batting selection was pretty okay, though i agree Badrinath should have found a place. Even though Bowlers performed better than Batsmen, i think we should be comparing the Indian Bowlers with Windies lot. So our bowlers were not good enough. Rohit fared well as a bowler, but was below par as a batsmen

  • guppys_classmate on June 21, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Poor Badrinath, for all his amassing runs in the Ranji Trophy, he has hardly got chances - not even 10. While the likes of Rohit get such a long run...

  • on June 21, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    In 1995, England A beat India A 3/0 in India. Close matches, but India lost all matches. From that group, emerged Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. As long as they are developing, a series defeat does not augur ill.

  • satz27 on June 21, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Definitely it's not INDIA struggling at foreign pitches. Players are failed to perform. None of the them scored a ton.

  • on June 21, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    What start is he talking about Rohit..He was the biggest failure of the lot.

  • rahulcricket007 on June 21, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    LOLZ , where are so called experts like manjrekars & shasrtis are now ? they always called rohit sharma & rahane as a class player but never even said a thing about pujara . only pujara deserves a place in the team .

  • satish619chandar on June 21, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @mensan : Yeah.. We had loads of talent available before IPL and now struggling.. Apart from the decade with Sachin, Dada, Dravid and VVS, we never had the depth to do well abroad.. It is the reality and the golden era is a exception.. But certainly, i would accept the team to fail in A tours and learn from bad experience rather than thrown into the national team directly and fail to lose out chance to improve themselves..

  • on June 21, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    manoj tiwary,rohit sharma ,pujara,saha are definetly good players.they should be given another chance. If you look at virat kohli's innings in IND VS WI test series he had scored only one fifty in the three test matches,but later on he proved his presence in the team in IND VS AUS test series by hitting a century and he was the only batsman to hit a century in that series

  • joseyesu on June 21, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Bring on Badri, test him with the same amount of chance as given to other players and conclude his talent. Seems by default some people overrides the other players by popularity.

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Shocking to say the least. Remember they played against WI and not SA or Australia. No doubt, the future looks bleak for the longer version.

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    this is a very good learning curve for the India A team, i dono why everyone is critizising them, take out the positives, pujara, rohit played really wel in this series..wirdhimaan saha played better than MSD

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    The writing has been clearly on the wall for quite some time now. India have two options; i) declare that they will not be playing in more -than-a-day formats (not away from home anyway) or ii)if they cannot dump the IPL circus altogether, at least reduce the ridiculously disproportionate rewards paid to the participants. I suspect they will find the first option much more acceptable. Let us resign ourselves to the realities and content ourselves with the footages of the past exploits of the fab four, still regularly available on ESPN-Star.

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    This is the future of Indian CRICKET Lalchand, dont deny....

  • on June 21, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    Badri is much better than Rhit for the long format ... Rohit is over hyped Mumbaikar like Gavaskar ... He missed his entire career due to our long successs of Fab Four

  • mensan on June 21, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    Long live IPL. India still has depths to fell into. A test defeat against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe is what I expect in a couple of years. IPL has certainly benefitted other teams to beat India in tests.

  • Meety on June 21, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    hmmm! It isn't the end of the world, but.........

  • on June 21, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    bring on Badrinath, he is the top most contended for a test spot without any doubt in anybodys minds, srini and srikant are upto some mischief

  • theswami on June 21, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    Team for ODI: Mukund, Rahane, Pujara, Sharma, Tiwary, Saha, Saxena, Darekar, Ahmed, Prasad, Dinda.

  • on June 20, 2012, 22:51 GMT

    Juniors Following The seniors !

  • on June 20, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    Rohit is another Badri...time to move on

  • hems4cric on June 20, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    The coach in the denial mode here.. same story as always.. doesn't matter if its A team or the national team, we have a habit of being in denial. The 8 test loss abroad did not seem to affect the team or the BCCI. Now this series loss does not seem to affect the coach. If the players have the talent when will they show it? What is the use of the talent if it is not used when you represent the country? Do players only care for the franchises now or is it only the money? I am not against the IPL but it does not mean the players don't need to perform anywhere else. The thing they are ignoring now is what helped them to get into IPL in the first place.. High time all the players are given a shake up or should we just assume the system does not care for test matches.. sad..

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • hems4cric on June 20, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    The coach in the denial mode here.. same story as always.. doesn't matter if its A team or the national team, we have a habit of being in denial. The 8 test loss abroad did not seem to affect the team or the BCCI. Now this series loss does not seem to affect the coach. If the players have the talent when will they show it? What is the use of the talent if it is not used when you represent the country? Do players only care for the franchises now or is it only the money? I am not against the IPL but it does not mean the players don't need to perform anywhere else. The thing they are ignoring now is what helped them to get into IPL in the first place.. High time all the players are given a shake up or should we just assume the system does not care for test matches.. sad..

  • on June 20, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    Rohit is another Badri...time to move on

  • on June 20, 2012, 22:51 GMT

    Juniors Following The seniors !

  • theswami on June 21, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    Team for ODI: Mukund, Rahane, Pujara, Sharma, Tiwary, Saha, Saxena, Darekar, Ahmed, Prasad, Dinda.

  • on June 21, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    bring on Badrinath, he is the top most contended for a test spot without any doubt in anybodys minds, srini and srikant are upto some mischief

  • Meety on June 21, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    hmmm! It isn't the end of the world, but.........

  • mensan on June 21, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    Long live IPL. India still has depths to fell into. A test defeat against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe is what I expect in a couple of years. IPL has certainly benefitted other teams to beat India in tests.

  • on June 21, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    Badri is much better than Rhit for the long format ... Rohit is over hyped Mumbaikar like Gavaskar ... He missed his entire career due to our long successs of Fab Four

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    This is the future of Indian CRICKET Lalchand, dont deny....

  • on June 21, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    The writing has been clearly on the wall for quite some time now. India have two options; i) declare that they will not be playing in more -than-a-day formats (not away from home anyway) or ii)if they cannot dump the IPL circus altogether, at least reduce the ridiculously disproportionate rewards paid to the participants. I suspect they will find the first option much more acceptable. Let us resign ourselves to the realities and content ourselves with the footages of the past exploits of the fab four, still regularly available on ESPN-Star.