July 10, 2001

Indians were guilty of complacency

I was totally convinced that India would fire in the One Day Internationals in Zimbabwe after the Test disappointment

I was totally convinced that India would fire in the One Day Internationals in Zimbabwe after the Test disappointment. It was evident that the Indian team enjoys the shorter version of the game more than the longer one. The Indian team's body language in the onedayers was totally different as they cruised through the first four games of the round-robin league. Perhaps the realisation that they had to bowl only 50 overs had something to do with it. Indeed some of the bowlers looked like having run out of ideas by the time their ten over spells came to an end.

I was wonderstruck at the type of cricket India played in the final. Ganguly's captaincy was below par and I didn't really understand the team selection either. Complacency is the worst mental frame one can have. It's been repeatedly borne out that the Indian batting revolves around Tendulkar and the way our top five batsmen played once he departed was ample proof of that. It was really pleasing however to see West Indies apply themselves and play to a gameplan.

On the contrary, the Indians looked cock-a-hoop and overconfident and every member of the team needs to introspect on the causes for the debacle in the final. Or else they will be guilty of resting on their past laurels. It's about time that the coach John Wright does some plain talking with a player like VVS Laxman who seems to be still living in the memory of his epic innings against Australia. Everyone has been praising our fielding for looking acrobatic and spectacular, yet the opposition scored 290 runs. What is most important is not how showy you are but how effective and that is sorely lacking.

I for one thought this tour would be without controversy. But the stumping incident involving Ridley Jacobs seems to have disturbed a bee hive, with little justification. Instead of Jacobs, the umpire who gave the decision should have been penalised in my opinion. By the same logic, isn't a fielder claiming a catch on the half volley also cheating? In fact Indian skipper Ganguly did exactly that when Darren Ganga swept Harbhajan Singh to square leg where he was fielding, but the third umpire flashed the green lights. Unless sportsmanship is restored in what used to be called a gentleman's game, cricket will become a robotic, mechanical sport in the years to come and administrators will rule the roost.