India's need for change cannot be ignored

India's rebuilding process will entail a few defeats along the way but it's the only way that the batch of 2011 are going to compete against the rest

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

September 10, 2007

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One-day cricket demands agile bodies and athletic brilliance and unless India rectify their shortcomings in that area they run the risk of being left behind © Getty Images
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Seven one-dayers, from an Indian perspective at least, was probably too much after all. They bounced back from a 1-3 deficit and the last-over victory at The Oval would have been a great way to end it all: a series victory in Stormont, a triumph in the Tests and a hard-fought one-day series drawn 3-3. Instead they had to play a decider at Lord's, and their weaknesses were cruelly exposed.

There were plenty of reasons to be cheerful about at the end of a long and exciting tour. Rahul Dravid, with limited resources and plenty of injury concerns, can leave England with his head held high. He led his side to a rare Test series win overseas and fought back remarkably in the one-dayers. The manner in which India bounced back from the depths of Old Trafford, where they experienced a shattering defeat, would have gladdened him immensely.

Sachin Tendulkar's English summer did not include a single international hundred but he sparkled like few others can. He batted with bloody-minded determination in the Tests and unbridled aggression in the one-dayers. Ian Bell might have bagged the Man-of-the-Series award but for sheer mastery, there was no looking beyond Tendulkar.

India found a new spin partnership, a pair that joined hands because of the disappointing World Cup and delivered in almost every match. Piyush Chawla excited - his subtle variations and attacking bent of mind promises to take him far - while Ramesh Powar appears to have carved a niche for himself. Another good series in tandem and both could be pushing for Test spots.

The negatives though simply cannot be ignored. While India's Test graph is curving upwards the one-day team is currently in no-man's land. A commendable fightback helped light up what began as a one-sided contest but the number of inadequacies shouldn't be lost on anyone. India run the risk of entering a dangerous phase, one where they're neither winning nor moving ahead.

Three of India's top four run-getters in this series - the trinity who have in all probability played their final international in England - are unlikely to play the next World Cup. Two of their fast bowlers - Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar - might have also ridden into the sunset by 2011. This leaves them in a precarious position. They're relying on their elder statesmen, yet they have needed to huff and puff to even stay afloat in this series.

There was no way India could have competed without the performances of the senior players but there must come a time, sometime over the next six months, when the selectors find a way to build a one-day side for the future. The ICC World Twenty20, where India have chosen to gamble with a relatively young side, is a good start and those who perform well could be eased into the one-day plan. There are 12 ODIs at home against Australia and Pakistan following the Twenty20 and India need to begin rotating players to give the newcomers a fair chance.

The performances of Chawla and Robin Uthappa confirm that the domestic talent pool hasn't entirely dried up and it's only when the toddlers are thrown in the deep end that one will know what they're made of. The current England team, probably the only outfit that's likely to remain intact until the next World Cup have reaped the rewards of backing youth and India must take a cue from that policy.

One-day cricket demands agile bodies and athletic brilliance and unless India rectify their shortcomings in that area they run the risk of being left behind. It's a process that needs to be engineered with tact but, without it, India could be wallowing aimlessly. With the present imperfect and future tense, it's high time one attempted to rebuild. It won't be easy and it will entail a few defeats along the way but it's the only way that the batch of 2011 are going to compete against the rest.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by ksum006 on (September 10, 2007, 13:21 GMT)

"There was no looking beyond Tendukar", as the article suggested. His incredibly bad luck with the umpiring decisions was unbelievable to say the least. However, in saying that, I was very happy to call my self an Indian when he walked of the pitch with such self control and dignified frustration. Our God is getting old, he can barley walk up the steps back to the pavilion after a painful 90 and I can't blame him. Chawla and Robin Uthappa have showed some promise, I really hope they don't dry up like some previous new comers.

I agree to this article to some extent. However, as one of the commentators put it in the 7th ODI, "fielding is not taught to young aspiring cricketers with the same passion as batting and bowling until it is too late". I feel that comment is quite true. Indian cricket is all about batting and bowling while fielding techniques have to take the backseat. In my opinion that is what is being reflected on the pitch.

Hat's off to the English. Well played

Posted by cosair89 on (September 10, 2007, 12:56 GMT)

The one day matches in England have clearly shown some weaknesses in the Indian team. 1. Captaincy is not to be taken lightly. Dravid is not a good captain. He had the better of the tosses and yet he did not show that he could read the pitches. In the final match he should have bowled and he decided to bat. 2. You do not win crucial matches with 2 substandard spinners. You have to go in with a minimum of 3 seamers. The fact that both the spineers did not take many wickets is evidence of this. 3. Field placingsby the captain was no where as effective as by the English captain. You need a plan and a good cricketing brain. unfortunately Dravid is lacking in this area. 4. Fielding was a glaring weakness in the Indian camp. In one days giving away 20-30 runs will lose a game. 5. Running between wickets. This was dismal in the Indian team. Taking quick singles could earn an extra 10-15 runs. 6. Fitness is another area of concern in the Indian team. this should be addressed.

Posted by Mukho on (September 10, 2007, 12:48 GMT)

I don't understand why you are constantly harping on the fielding factor too loudly.Have the Indian fielders allowed too many balls to go through their legs or allowed too many conversions from 1-2 & 2-3's.I did not find that.The batsmen who are able to convert 2-3's are themselves gr8 runners between wickets.//What I feel that there are areas which need improvement. One which came to my observation was refocussing after spending a few deliveries @ the non-strikers end.Saurav's dismissal at OVAL.Before he holed out to Pietersen at cover he spent 14 deliveries at the other end.Then when Broad came in to bowl the very 1st ball was a yorker which he dugged out with effort instead of effortlessly.That effort should have been the signal for him to defend a few deliveries yet he went for the heave over cover but failed. Ninty Nine times a batsmam will commit the same mistake but refocussing for few deliveries would have converted that score to a much bigger one.Similarly Sachin @ 96 got out.

Posted by anny on (September 10, 2007, 12:03 GMT)

Yes Indian one day team is just sinking, we need changes, but changes does not mean bringing in players without any system. First of all the board needs to come up with the requirements for example

1.Good fielding skills 2.Quick between wickets 3.ability to adapt to different conditions 4.ability to clear the ground etc

then select players based on these now the players selected will be really good in certain areas and average in others these players should be given guidelines to imprive the average skills and then based on their performance either selected or rejected.

The general attitude of players should be changed many players in indian team tday play for their places and not for the team,that should certainly go.

Hope we get to see a an indian team which is as good as the westindies team of Clive llyod :)

Posted by SR10dulkar on (September 10, 2007, 11:17 GMT)

Nice article and the name who immediately springs to mind is Suresh Raina who I hope gets his chance again.

Posted by GuRuPaarth on (September 10, 2007, 10:14 GMT)

I think Raina needs to brought back into the scheme ASAP. In the future, he should be sought to open the innings with Uthappa. It will be the closest possible pair, in terms of potential, to Tendulkar and Ganguly. As of now, lets consolidate the number 3 position. India should look to promote its best ODI player to that position. In our case, it would be Yuvraj. They are hoping on that they will receive an amazing start which can be capitalized later with Yuvraj and Dhoni lower down. Well that isn't exactly happening. let's stop wasting their talent. If they do want that to occur then Dravid should look to be more positive by promoting himself to that position. He should worry about the team being top-heavy since quite often the top order fails to impress. My key is Sehwag at 6...Since he is a SIXER (har har har) Nevertheless, I don't know why this was considered such a bad idea before the world cup. He certainly provides a balance to the top heavy idea and also free Dhoni and Yuvi.

Posted by GuRuPaarth on (September 10, 2007, 10:14 GMT)

I think Raina needs to brought back into the scheme ASAP. In the future, he should be sought to open the innings with Uthappa. It will be the closest possible pair, in terms of potential, to Tendulkar and Ganguly. As of now, lets consolidate the number 3 position. India should look to promote its best ODI player to that position. In our case, it would be Yuvraj. They are hoping on that they will receive an amazing start which can be capitalized later with Yuvraj and Dhoni lower down. Well that isn't exactly happening. let's stop wasting their talent. If they do want that to occur then Dravid should look to be more positive by promoting himself to that position. He should worry about the team being top-heavy since quite often the top order fails to impress. My key is Sehwag at 6...Since he is a SIXER (har har har) Nevertheless, I don't know why this was considered such a bad idea before the world cup. He certainly provides a balance to the top heavy idea and also free Dhoni and Yuvi.

Posted by GuRuPaarth on (September 10, 2007, 10:06 GMT)

PART 2- I think Sehwag at 6 would be the right solution for team India. It allows Uthappa/Dhoni to play freely and as genuine batsmen. They are gems and you don't want to lose their talent to slogging. Uthapaa doesn't seem in line for his genuine opening position but I suppose it is better to have him in the team. However, the future of team India lies in the hand of an all rounder. This has to be a fast bowler all rounder who can bowl during the Powerplay overs. This is where the future of Team India is very very bleak. Two choices exist- Joginder Sharma and Irfan Pathan...The first is a poor batsman and the later has become a poor bowler. I think its time to see some new blood through. I would love to see an inner circle guarded by Yuvraj, RAINA, and Uthappa...maybe Karthick or Kaif too...depending on whose is more promising in the future. You have to acknowledge that Greg knew his batting and he placed his faith in Raina and Pathan as batsmen. I think Raina is the future.

Posted by GuRuPaarth on (September 10, 2007, 10:00 GMT)

This was a good performance by Team India. They were struck hard by a resurgent English Team; however, they did well to keep the series alive. They have quite a few problems to address. The most important being the number 3 position. It would be ideal to see that Dravid comes at number three followed by Yuvraj and Dhoni. Dhoni seems to keep rejecting the position of number 6/7. He isn't playing that belligerent closer role anymore and seems to get out quite often. It is most evident with his shot selection. He is trying to be more cheeky and playing less down the ground which used to be his biggest asset. With mid-on and mid-off position on the straight boundary it is easy to see why this is happening. He wants to play at three so he can be in the power- play session. It would allow him to play straight. The same thing is evident with Uthappa. I have a feeling that if he continues to bat down the order then he will lose his aggressive and boundary hitting manner. Sehwag at 6= ANS

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