October 11, 2007

Brought to earth with a bang

If India are to seriously build they have to put the win in the World Twenty20, and the attendant clamour over youth, in perspective
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India fell flat on their faces on a pitch that should have suited their bowlers, rather than the opposition's © AFP

Someone once said that if hangovers preceded the act of drinking, far less people would drink to excess. Similarly, had India known the pain likely to follow in one-day cricket against a team like Australia, they might not have been so euphoric over their success in the ICC World Twenty20. After five one-dayers in varied conditions and different climates, on myriad surfaces, the Indian team has been brought rudely back to terra firma, most clinically and emphatically in the fifth one-dayer in Vadodara.

While you can hardly expect any team to steamroll the Australians, a team with a batting line-up like India's should not fall so flat on their faces, especially on a surface that turned square and should have suited their bowlers more than the opposition's. Even given that the Indians were unlucky to lose Sourav Ganguly to a run out early on, and Yuvraj Singh to an inside edge that was well caught, and Dhoni to a flick down the leg side, there was no justifying the first nine wickets managing only 107 between them before being saved from absolute embarrassment by a 41-run last-wicket stand.

The easy thing to do would be to pan the Indian team, but that would be futile. Ganguly fell early, and Rahul Dravid - who now has 44 runs from five knocks in this series - was out first ball to a peach from Brett Lee. Had it not been for Sachin Tendulkar batting ominously well in his 400th outing, Australia's rout would have been even more complete. This only underscores how much this team still depends on at least two of these three to fire if they are to succeed, especially in big matches, against tough opposition.

Sure, India went all the way in the World Twenty20 without its illustrious trio, but the celebrations that followed, with phrases like "fearlessness of youth" and "great spirit in the dressing room" being dished out with greater regularity than the cash awards that politicians within and outside the Indian board offered, revealed the possibility that India might have lost touch with reality. The likes of Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma put in sterling performances but you need more than cameos in 50-over cricket.

If India are to seriously build, and play with purpose over the next few months, they have to put the win in the World Twenty20, and the attendant clamour over youth, in perspective

That's where the class of someone like a Tendulkar comes to play. Even in Chandigarh, when he was struggling to hit the ball as well he could, he ensured he put the highest possible price on his wicket, and 79 runs materialised from somewhere. More importantly, in starting the way he did, with Ganguly, the innings had backbone, a solid structure around which other freer spirits with lighter hearts could express themselves. On Thursday, once that safety net was gone, with Ganguly and Dravid both out for ducks, it was left to Tendulkar to plough a lone furrow, and it was never going to be enough.

The one person whose role is most critical in Indian cricket's ever-changing scenario is Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Batting where he does, sandwiched between the bankable seniors and the booming juniors, he has to be the glue that binds the innings, in the literal sense. He should be able to build an innings, beginning solidly and ending explosively. But, equally important, as captain of the team and the strongest link between the side that played such inspired cricket to win the World Twenty20 and the one that has hit an abrupt low in the ODIs against Australia, he has to ensure that good sense prevails.

Fortunately for Dhoni the selectors - some of whom are not averse to making public statements that put their own players under pressure - have resisted the temptation to ring in sweeping changes. But that's just for now. Pakistan will be no pushovers, and then India travel to Australia for the toughest of all assignments. And, while Australia brush off their Twenty20 loss, almost pretending it never happened, you can be sure they'll be reviving memories of this series when India land on their shores in December.

If India are to seriously build, and play with purpose over the next few months, they have to put the win in the World Twenty20, and the attendant clamour over youth, in perspective. Otherwise, more such rude shocks are in the pipeline.

Anand Vasu is an associate editor on Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY vinnyr on | October 12, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    So what was so wrong with the Twenty20 team that beat Australia: Gambhir, Sehwag, Uthappa, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sharma, Pathan, Harbhajan, Joginder, Sreesanth, RP Singh.

    I would replace Sharma with Tendulkar and Joginder with Zaheer Khan. Other than that it is a much better team. Dhoni already hinted that the young players are a bit intimidated by the "legends", so why have so many there especially when they are not performing? I admit dropping Ganguly is a bit harsh as he has been performing reasonably well until this series. But Sehwag and Gambhir gave india superb starts in the Twenty20, usually in one-day mode, only going ballistic in the second half of the game.

    So: Gambhir, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Uthappa, Dhoni, Pathan, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, RP Singh.

  • POSTED BY Abhimanyu on | October 12, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Irfan Pathan must be given a NEW BALL, he can swing the ball both ways and is currently bowling the right line and length, in order for him to do this, he has to be given a new ball not a 15 overs old ball.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently showing NO TRUST in Irfan Pathan. His, not so good captaincy is costing India big time.

    As you all saw in the 4th ODI, Rahul Dravid came before Robin Uthappa in the 40th plus over, when India needed a lot of power hitting to score quick runs, made NO SENCE whatsoever. Even though India won, you still can not hide Mahendra Singh Dhoni's bad captaincy. And even in the 5th ODI ater the 2nd power plays when India needed to stop the easy singles, he was still protecting the boundaries when Australia needed only a single run to win the game. That is enough to show that India needs a new captain.

    India need a captain like Ricky Pointing. You think it is impossible to find one ? Wrong, we all know what he is capable of ..... "Mohammad Kaif". Yes.

  • POSTED BY Nilangsu on | October 12, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    I don't see how one of the posters, Alexk400, sees politics in the Indian team. It's only those with questionable intelligence that fail to interpret numbers. Each with above 1050 runs in '07,Tendulkar and Ganguly are the highest run-scorers this year for India. In recent times, India have won only those matches where they got a start from this pair. In the Future Cup,Gambhir got a couple of chances and failed. Rohit Sharma couldn't utilize the chance that he'd got. Uthappa is still in the 20-20 frame of mind, and should realize that ODI cricket needs more than cameos.Dravid,though,has suddenly gone off form (and is a reason behind India's batting woes: this doesn't mean that you drop him). Yuvraj fired on a day when everybody else failed. The bowling, a real pain nowadays, has allowed Aussies to score 300 runs in 3 matches so far, and 280 in another. The trio(except, temporarily for Dravid)aren't the reason why India have failed time and again.It's a combination of many OTHER factors.

  • POSTED BY Aspiration on | October 12, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    Anand Vasu has said correctly.We like to enjoy history and sit on our laurels.No doubt we did a fantastic job in T20 but we should not forget that 50-50 is altogether different ball game and requires much more capability and skill sets and consistency.The younger generation is all hype and low on performance.There is not a single younger player who is consistent in Indian team.The fact is we cannot win a single 50-50 game without contribution from the big 3.And remember one thing- Out of 15 member current Australia team, 9 are 30 Plus.So age has nothing to do with performance.We need to curtail the media hype once any younger player hits a 50 or 100 or becomes Man of the Match and start comparing him with the big 3.U become famous only when u perform at a certain level against all top teams in all conditions.

    Chandan Kumar

  • POSTED BY kannanisgood on | October 12, 2007, 3:41 GMT

    India has just won the 'hit out or get out' version of cricket world cup, accept. But in 50 over matches you need more skill and temperament. After the win in last match, I was disappointed seeing people discussing in news channels about the opening partnership from Sachin and Sourav saying they actually hampered India's total under 300. It was a terrific partnership under pressure and difficult conditions.

    The pitch at Chandigarh was much greener than the one in Vadodara, yet we saw how our heroes of 20-20 managed their stay when the ball is swinging.

    Tendulkar and Ganguly are only two Indian batsman to have scored more than 1000 runs this year. As Sachin said for place in the team, age should not be criteria.

    They may not be as athletic as others but they put money on their wicket and of course yesterday India dint loose the match because of their fielding.

    Boys can finish the innings in a bang but we need men to fight it out in front.

  • POSTED BY Ananth83 on | October 12, 2007, 0:59 GMT

    Well, we don't have to drop the big three just like that. Just choose/drop the players based on their perfomance. Thank God they dropped Agarkar. He was one plater who should've been out of the Indian side 2 years back. Similarly, Dravid hasn't been perfoming well in the last few outings. If he doesn't revive his form in the next couple of games, he can be given a break and can return after regaining some form. Moreover, I don't see any reason to drop Sachin and Sourav since they are in good touch. India has to definitely put more concentration in the bowling department. Yes, we did win the 4th ODI because of our bowling but Murali Kartik and everyone got thrashed in the next game. Our bowlers don't have the consistency. I still do not know why they dropped Sreesanth as he was taking wickets in the first 3 ODI's. Selection must be based on perfomance. I thought they dropped Sreesanth just to give chance to other bowlers. I am just hoping that somehow we will improve our perfomance.

  • POSTED BY Dingo1983 on | October 12, 2007, 0:37 GMT

    What people have to remember is that the World 20/20 is a completely different version of the game. In same way that regular ODI's are different from Test Matches.

    Whilst yes it can be said that the big 3 are getting older, and that there are younger, fitter players running around, how can players be dropped based on age? If Australia did this, where would they be? The oldest side in the world, and currently the best side in the world.

    Whilst this system may work for Australia and not India, there is no current requirement to say hooroo to the Big 3. What would India have managed had Sachin Tendulkar not been around in the 5th ODI? 60? 80 maybe?

    If India were up against Bangladesh and this was the scorecard, then there maybe a reason to worry, but this is the World Champions that India are playing. The result here needs to be put into perspective.

  • POSTED BY KMAN on | October 12, 2007, 0:16 GMT

    It was just a day off for the Indians. They really put up a great fight so far in the series, so one dramatic lose to Aussies shouldn't become the one to judge the composture of the Indian team .Its just too early to say that the India is out of the contest. And making the T20 victory look just a matter of fate is absolutely not acceptable. Thats a different format of game and Aussies have to admit that they were thrown out of the T20 game for not being able to live up with the pace of T20. They would rub it off because they haven't been good at it. India did put in great effort to get to the TOP which the Aussies couldn't and definitely India are the champions in T20 and they are making their way into the 50-50 format as well. There is no denying the fact that Indians need a great appreciation for their T20 voctory.This series has been a real threat for the Aussies and they are under more pressure than Indians who are keen to dethrone the Aussies in 50-50 as well.

  • POSTED BY Indyman on | October 11, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    Fraggy, the series should be 5 nil, India was lucky that Australia choked in Game 4, so even if India could manage to win the last 2 games, it would be hollow victory given that Australia easily beaten India in 3 of the games, scored 309 in the first game and only lost by 8 runs in the other game. Looking at this results analytically, India has been comprehensively beaten so far.

    Drop the Big 3 - Wow, this would be a huge move as Ganguly and Tendulkar have performed more consistently than any of the younger players in this series, so to blame them for the current result is plain incorrect. Hayden, Gilcrest, Sanath, Brag Hogg, Pollock are all excellent cricketers - Who you boot them out just to bring in some young and inexperienced players. I dont think so

    Get over The T20 win already!! It occurred in a different form of the game, more suited to younger players and it wasnt even a World Cup. This win doesnt not translate to winning in ODI or Test Cricket!!

  • POSTED BY albertpinto on | October 11, 2007, 23:44 GMT

    If Anand had written the same article immediately after the 20twenty World Cup, it would have climbed quite a few rungs in the list of good analytical writing on Indian cricket. The team has shown good attitude and seems to have a good depth of talent and willingness to perform and compete. It is important to understand there is no end state in development and growth. You have to get to the top and continously work to stay there. Celebrating success is critically important. Euphoric abandonment of sense over world cup win is good for the man on the street, but not for the players. This series was a great opportunity to bring Australia under tremendous pressure by beating them in this series immediatley after the 20 twenty, and seriously challenging their authority. We have a few more games and I won't write India off. If both teams play to their potential, India will come out tops 9 times out of 10.

  • POSTED BY vinnyr on | October 12, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    So what was so wrong with the Twenty20 team that beat Australia: Gambhir, Sehwag, Uthappa, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sharma, Pathan, Harbhajan, Joginder, Sreesanth, RP Singh.

    I would replace Sharma with Tendulkar and Joginder with Zaheer Khan. Other than that it is a much better team. Dhoni already hinted that the young players are a bit intimidated by the "legends", so why have so many there especially when they are not performing? I admit dropping Ganguly is a bit harsh as he has been performing reasonably well until this series. But Sehwag and Gambhir gave india superb starts in the Twenty20, usually in one-day mode, only going ballistic in the second half of the game.

    So: Gambhir, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Uthappa, Dhoni, Pathan, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, RP Singh.

  • POSTED BY Abhimanyu on | October 12, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Irfan Pathan must be given a NEW BALL, he can swing the ball both ways and is currently bowling the right line and length, in order for him to do this, he has to be given a new ball not a 15 overs old ball.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently showing NO TRUST in Irfan Pathan. His, not so good captaincy is costing India big time.

    As you all saw in the 4th ODI, Rahul Dravid came before Robin Uthappa in the 40th plus over, when India needed a lot of power hitting to score quick runs, made NO SENCE whatsoever. Even though India won, you still can not hide Mahendra Singh Dhoni's bad captaincy. And even in the 5th ODI ater the 2nd power plays when India needed to stop the easy singles, he was still protecting the boundaries when Australia needed only a single run to win the game. That is enough to show that India needs a new captain.

    India need a captain like Ricky Pointing. You think it is impossible to find one ? Wrong, we all know what he is capable of ..... "Mohammad Kaif". Yes.

  • POSTED BY Nilangsu on | October 12, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    I don't see how one of the posters, Alexk400, sees politics in the Indian team. It's only those with questionable intelligence that fail to interpret numbers. Each with above 1050 runs in '07,Tendulkar and Ganguly are the highest run-scorers this year for India. In recent times, India have won only those matches where they got a start from this pair. In the Future Cup,Gambhir got a couple of chances and failed. Rohit Sharma couldn't utilize the chance that he'd got. Uthappa is still in the 20-20 frame of mind, and should realize that ODI cricket needs more than cameos.Dravid,though,has suddenly gone off form (and is a reason behind India's batting woes: this doesn't mean that you drop him). Yuvraj fired on a day when everybody else failed. The bowling, a real pain nowadays, has allowed Aussies to score 300 runs in 3 matches so far, and 280 in another. The trio(except, temporarily for Dravid)aren't the reason why India have failed time and again.It's a combination of many OTHER factors.

  • POSTED BY Aspiration on | October 12, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    Anand Vasu has said correctly.We like to enjoy history and sit on our laurels.No doubt we did a fantastic job in T20 but we should not forget that 50-50 is altogether different ball game and requires much more capability and skill sets and consistency.The younger generation is all hype and low on performance.There is not a single younger player who is consistent in Indian team.The fact is we cannot win a single 50-50 game without contribution from the big 3.And remember one thing- Out of 15 member current Australia team, 9 are 30 Plus.So age has nothing to do with performance.We need to curtail the media hype once any younger player hits a 50 or 100 or becomes Man of the Match and start comparing him with the big 3.U become famous only when u perform at a certain level against all top teams in all conditions.

    Chandan Kumar

  • POSTED BY kannanisgood on | October 12, 2007, 3:41 GMT

    India has just won the 'hit out or get out' version of cricket world cup, accept. But in 50 over matches you need more skill and temperament. After the win in last match, I was disappointed seeing people discussing in news channels about the opening partnership from Sachin and Sourav saying they actually hampered India's total under 300. It was a terrific partnership under pressure and difficult conditions.

    The pitch at Chandigarh was much greener than the one in Vadodara, yet we saw how our heroes of 20-20 managed their stay when the ball is swinging.

    Tendulkar and Ganguly are only two Indian batsman to have scored more than 1000 runs this year. As Sachin said for place in the team, age should not be criteria.

    They may not be as athletic as others but they put money on their wicket and of course yesterday India dint loose the match because of their fielding.

    Boys can finish the innings in a bang but we need men to fight it out in front.

  • POSTED BY Ananth83 on | October 12, 2007, 0:59 GMT

    Well, we don't have to drop the big three just like that. Just choose/drop the players based on their perfomance. Thank God they dropped Agarkar. He was one plater who should've been out of the Indian side 2 years back. Similarly, Dravid hasn't been perfoming well in the last few outings. If he doesn't revive his form in the next couple of games, he can be given a break and can return after regaining some form. Moreover, I don't see any reason to drop Sachin and Sourav since they are in good touch. India has to definitely put more concentration in the bowling department. Yes, we did win the 4th ODI because of our bowling but Murali Kartik and everyone got thrashed in the next game. Our bowlers don't have the consistency. I still do not know why they dropped Sreesanth as he was taking wickets in the first 3 ODI's. Selection must be based on perfomance. I thought they dropped Sreesanth just to give chance to other bowlers. I am just hoping that somehow we will improve our perfomance.

  • POSTED BY Dingo1983 on | October 12, 2007, 0:37 GMT

    What people have to remember is that the World 20/20 is a completely different version of the game. In same way that regular ODI's are different from Test Matches.

    Whilst yes it can be said that the big 3 are getting older, and that there are younger, fitter players running around, how can players be dropped based on age? If Australia did this, where would they be? The oldest side in the world, and currently the best side in the world.

    Whilst this system may work for Australia and not India, there is no current requirement to say hooroo to the Big 3. What would India have managed had Sachin Tendulkar not been around in the 5th ODI? 60? 80 maybe?

    If India were up against Bangladesh and this was the scorecard, then there maybe a reason to worry, but this is the World Champions that India are playing. The result here needs to be put into perspective.

  • POSTED BY KMAN on | October 12, 2007, 0:16 GMT

    It was just a day off for the Indians. They really put up a great fight so far in the series, so one dramatic lose to Aussies shouldn't become the one to judge the composture of the Indian team .Its just too early to say that the India is out of the contest. And making the T20 victory look just a matter of fate is absolutely not acceptable. Thats a different format of game and Aussies have to admit that they were thrown out of the T20 game for not being able to live up with the pace of T20. They would rub it off because they haven't been good at it. India did put in great effort to get to the TOP which the Aussies couldn't and definitely India are the champions in T20 and they are making their way into the 50-50 format as well. There is no denying the fact that Indians need a great appreciation for their T20 voctory.This series has been a real threat for the Aussies and they are under more pressure than Indians who are keen to dethrone the Aussies in 50-50 as well.

  • POSTED BY Indyman on | October 11, 2007, 23:49 GMT

    Fraggy, the series should be 5 nil, India was lucky that Australia choked in Game 4, so even if India could manage to win the last 2 games, it would be hollow victory given that Australia easily beaten India in 3 of the games, scored 309 in the first game and only lost by 8 runs in the other game. Looking at this results analytically, India has been comprehensively beaten so far.

    Drop the Big 3 - Wow, this would be a huge move as Ganguly and Tendulkar have performed more consistently than any of the younger players in this series, so to blame them for the current result is plain incorrect. Hayden, Gilcrest, Sanath, Brag Hogg, Pollock are all excellent cricketers - Who you boot them out just to bring in some young and inexperienced players. I dont think so

    Get over The T20 win already!! It occurred in a different form of the game, more suited to younger players and it wasnt even a World Cup. This win doesnt not translate to winning in ODI or Test Cricket!!

  • POSTED BY albertpinto on | October 11, 2007, 23:44 GMT

    If Anand had written the same article immediately after the 20twenty World Cup, it would have climbed quite a few rungs in the list of good analytical writing on Indian cricket. The team has shown good attitude and seems to have a good depth of talent and willingness to perform and compete. It is important to understand there is no end state in development and growth. You have to get to the top and continously work to stay there. Celebrating success is critically important. Euphoric abandonment of sense over world cup win is good for the man on the street, but not for the players. This series was a great opportunity to bring Australia under tremendous pressure by beating them in this series immediatley after the 20 twenty, and seriously challenging their authority. We have a few more games and I won't write India off. If both teams play to their potential, India will come out tops 9 times out of 10.

  • POSTED BY Roofus on | October 11, 2007, 23:38 GMT

    I think supporters of the Indian cricket team and its players must put into perspective their winning of the T20 world title. 2020 its self is a game of calculated risk and often it is the team who survives these risks that comes out on top. To think that this success will some how translate to 50 over or even test match cricket is just wrong. Both the mental and technical shortcomings of Indian cricket will be exposed in the upcoming tour of Australia where the fast bouncy pitches and a fired up Aus team will overwhelm India's young players. This being the case to drop the big 3 of Indian cricket would be disastrous for the Aus tour and even the remaining 1dayers in India(which Aus have dominated with much of the resistance coming from Tendulkar and Ganguly).

  • POSTED BY v2rsweet on | October 11, 2007, 23:37 GMT

    All I can say is that they got unlucky and they have to put this defeat behind them. Indians have a strong side and have the ability to play better then they have played here---- however it is unfair to blame one specific person for the whole game. They were unlucky oh well----- lets go on and try to win the next--- they have the power, they have the players, they have a great captain and they deserve to win.

    I AGREE TOTALLY WITH FRAGGY.

    Hats off to Dhoni who still kept him and his boys cool when they came to field. He brought out a SPINNER for the attacking orders---- he was thinking out of the box and the team was responding

    Instead of pointing fingers on how they lost lets look at how well zaheer and rp played those last few overs---- They kept there cool and know that it is ok to lose sometimes

    They won the T20 series and lets give them full respect to them for that.

  • POSTED BY Ravishankara on | October 11, 2007, 23:20 GMT

    We treat every cricket match like a Bollywood film. Rip apart on failure and glorify on success. No one wants to handle the reality, that we do not have strongly evolved cricketers. I am amazed how these Aussies be their first match or 100th match, play so effortlessly and without fuss.

  • POSTED BY Bilbo on | October 11, 2007, 23:03 GMT

    It is actually even worse from India's point of view, as they were ridiculously lucky to win even one match. Tendulkar was out 3 times (1 caught behind, 1 plumb lbw, and 1 virtually plumb lbw) before he had scored 5 the other day. India would have lost by a bucket load of runs had any of those straightforward decisions been given. Again umpiring is a problem. These are all - and there are always a few in every game, going both ways - clearly decisions that with the greater aid of technology could be avoided. Why the hell do we still try to dwell in the dark ages!?

  • POSTED BY ragomsk on | October 11, 2007, 22:53 GMT

    I strongly disagre that the euphoria over the World 2020 success has been brought to earth. The team that won that contest is not the team on display now. The only similarity is that Dhoni is the captain. The elder statesmen now in the team have to be jettisoned as this is a gladiatorial meet not a diplomatic exercise.

  • POSTED BY bombay4u on | October 11, 2007, 22:36 GMT

    I agree with Vasu, even when top 3's time is ending, their services should not be ignored or underestimated, they are players of class that has been proved time and again, we cannot treat them indifferently, like we have done in past with the likes of Kapil Dev, Kirmani etc. India has the capable youth that can carry on where senior have left off, however, I propose more of the rotation, India A & molding them into fine players, vs. sending them out there cold. Senior can provide them with technical, mental mold that newcomers would benefit from, I propose a rotation policy by which enough youngsters are given the opportunity to bat and bowl alongside the seniors, in doing so, and we would have ensured a complete knowledge transfer to the new generation.

  • POSTED BY Sanjay_Jha on | October 11, 2007, 22:22 GMT

    If one does not get hangovers before or after the act of drinking, there is no point in drinking less, adequate or to excess. That is what Indian cricket had been like with so called technically perfect and senior players. They have brought Indian cricket to such a level that for the first time this year Indians started having a de-taste for the game, after the world cup debacle. The scribers are doing a mistake of downplaying the T20 achievement so often that I feel that it would have been better if we had not won the same at all. One needs to understand that people in India were so eager for Indian team's success, whatever format it was that slowly and reluctantly but first media and then BCCI and others started recognizing the feat. Now when Indian team is not performing the same media has started pulling the youngsters by expressing their irresponsible comments indicating that they have to get out of the happy feelings of winning T20. Why was the winning team disturbed at first pl?

  • POSTED BY cricvirgo on | October 11, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    I fully agree 100% with Alex400's comments. The politics that the seniors bring with them has been killing the team growth. Athleticm has to be a big factor in qualifying for competitive cricket. Many of our players, especially the seniors are so unfit physically and athletically.

  • POSTED BY cricvirgo on | October 11, 2007, 21:33 GMT

    I think it is time to retire the seniors. What I note between this series and the T20 is that we have reverted back to a timid form of cricket. The seniors defenitely affet the team morale and confidence. They don't have any killer instinct. Moreover, the seniors are very poor runners and fielders which affects the team in a very negative way. They just can't rotate strikes with quick singles. The runout of Ganguly is a good example. I think Sachin was at fault here.

    Dravid and Sachin should retire immediately, especially from ODI's. Ganguly still seems to have some steam left in him and can be left in the team for a while. Heck, if we are going to perfom so badly with the seniors, it can only help the future by playing only the youngsters.

    One glaring question we should ask is why aren't our batsmen able to handle swing? This problem has persisted for the past many decades with not much impromement. Apparently, our training lacks something big in this area.

  • POSTED BY MohanB on | October 11, 2007, 21:08 GMT

    Sambit Bal ("The Big 3 Conundrum") already said all there is to be said with nregards to the Big 3. Let us not read too much into this latest thrashing at the hands of Australia. After all, ever since Ricky Ponting took over the reins of Australia's ODI team, India have not gotten within a mile of beating them in a crunch match. Remember the India-Australia matches in the last VB series in 2004? After managing to stay close in the first three games (winning the second one), India got blown out of the park in the reminder of the series including the finals.

    The slectors should keep their promoise of implementaing a rotation policy and developing a larger pool of players. To this end, it would be reasonable to "rotate out" Tendulkar, Dravid and Zaheer - all of whom played all the five games in the current series - and bring in Sehwag, Raina and Munaf for te final two games.

  • POSTED BY themusicmonk on | October 11, 2007, 20:06 GMT

    Anand Vasu : Excellent article. If India are to seriously build, and play with purpose over the next few months, they have to put the win in the World Twenty20, and the attendant clamour over youth, in perspective. Otherwise, more such rude shocks are in the pipeline. -- well said. Tendul was extraordinary while others had no clue. Like a slot machine T20 has a bigger chunk of luck element, while in 50/50 has very little luck element present, only Sheer class will win the game against the best teams. Indian team lacks it. T20 win might fetch a porsche for Yuvi but yesterday it did not fetch anything for him.

  • POSTED BY RAMESHH on | October 11, 2007, 19:38 GMT

    Yes, I do agree with Anand. These Indians are carried away from the Twenty20 World Cup and also at the same time they make aggressive statements against the mighty Australians. Its not that you have to be feared of them or play defensive game with australia. If you imagine how hard india had to play to win the world twenty20 by beating England, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in the Final in a succession. They have to just think about the Australians, they have won the world cup three times in a succession, and the consistency in their performance for nearly a decade. They(Australians) do their basics right and deserves the victory. It is ridiculous that the Indian team are very good giving statements not playing aggressively.

  • POSTED BY Saleel-XI on | October 11, 2007, 19:34 GMT

    Realize that being #1 in Twenty20 does not mean we are #1 in ODIs. The fact is that we even recently lost to England in an ODI series. So, losing to a fantastic side like Australia should not be such a big shock. I dont know how people expect us to just steam roll the Aussies based on a series-loss against England. India cannot take anything besides momentum from the Twenty20 World Cup into the ODI series. When India take on Australia in the Twenty20 match in Mumbai, fine, ok, maybe then they are entitled to some bragging rights. But NOT in ODI's. I initially used to love aggressive behaviour like Ganguly, but atleast Sourav could back his talking with his team's performance. Sreesanth is a nothing in international cricket so far, and for him to be banging shoulder-to-shoulder with Vaughan and sledging to a man who hit 140* against India in a WorldCup final is not only wrong but disrespectful. Let the bat and ball do the talking. Let cricket be selection criteria, not commericial value

  • POSTED BY Khushitez on | October 11, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    I have tried to post here before, but you usually don't bother to publish my writing! For what its worth, here's what I think. I think Mr Vasu has summed it up pretty well. India did take their victory in the 20Twenty to an extreme, but not the celebrations. No. I think they celebrated in the only way a CHAMPION would! Go India! They won what was the inaugral world cup of what is going to be the premier competition in world cricket, and the Aussies are going to suffer for it on the long run. They know that India are the new challenge to them. So obviously we are going to see the best they can offer right now. Come Sunday we may see an Indian side galvanised. The media hype in India affects them quite adversely. Lets hope they keep faith with this 11. They MUST toughen up mentally I think Dravid will come good and this was the strongest line up India have. The batting order should be as follows: Ganguly Tendulkar Dhoni Yuvraj Dravid Uthappa Pathan Harbajhan Murali Khan RP

  • POSTED BY tammimi2010 on | October 11, 2007, 19:00 GMT

    well this article yet again raises the issue. The aspect of bringing in youngsters can backfire easily especially with series against pakistan in near future.

    for me i must say that ganguly and tendulker form teh second best one day opening combination, first one being gilly and hayden. But even thoug it is sad to admit i must say that there is no place for dravid in the one day side as of now. he must concentrate on tests.

  • POSTED BY rajachandra on | October 11, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    There are some posers for the Indian Cricket's New Poster Boy and Great captain:

    1. Was it wise to bat first on this wicket ? After Kochi's blunder this assumes importance and where have all the critic of Rahul during UK tour hiding ?

    2. Why this shuffling with Batting Order ? After Chandigarh, Dhoni's said of Rahul as Great finisher and wanted him to come ahead of Robin and suddenly here he pushed him as one down and wanted him to play anchor Role. He even pushed Robin ahead of himself !! is there something more sinister cooking in this flip flop decisions ?

  • POSTED BY BrianLara2000 on | October 11, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    Agree 1000 percent with Anand Vasu. India were dealt a solid blow today and the Aussies could not have been more emphatic in their clinical disintegration of the esteemed Indian batting. The Twenty20 win was overdone but then again - how often do folks in India get to celebrate such achievements in Indian cricket. Not too often. Yet, the line must be drawn and this brings the team back to where they belong. An inconsistent but talented bunch. After game 2, I had predicted a 5-1 drubbing which will soon come to fruition. Even though today proved that a senior is needed to fire, we cannot depend on them at this stage of their careers. Whatever they do should be a bonus. Youngsters should be shouldering the load. Anyway, enough said. Lets hope the next two losses are closer than this.

  • POSTED BY khmayecha on | October 11, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    It is true that the Indian Euphoria was far too much but it is natural for all celebrations to overflow. It is no doubt imminent that youngsters need to be drafted in and the best way would be to drop Dravid for One dayers and Saurav for Tests. That way there will always be a slot for a youngster. Sachin i feel still commands a place well earned and deserved in both forms of the game. Just like one great win does not make you a champion - one great loss (Vadodara's) should not be the benchmark for judging the team. It is true that all teams fail miserably on some off days and the less post mortem on it - the better for cricket - and the players. Instead of bikering over a loss - lets encourage our team to give it a real hard shot to draw level the series. Come on Dhoni - Aussies ko "dho de".

  • POSTED BY Six_Wickets on | October 11, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    India has been plagued with the marquee collapse even with high quality talents. It is not the acheivements of stars but the failures that have eluded India the quality which have made great teams like Australia. Most analysis and fan reactions pivot around perfromance of indivduals, but surely as Anand points out something more fundamental is amiss- something to do with administration. Money is now linked with unprecedented volume of cricketing. Scant improvements have surfaced on mechanisms to BUILD a national team. Selectors and coaches still prevail an atmosphere of intimidation. What else can explain the fear of failure in players? Success also depends on working methodically eradicating reasons of failure. And India over the ages have remained a team with potential and stars and have won mostly when the fear is gone or things have gone their way. Aussies on the other hand have trained and fine tuned their methods to excel under ANY circumstances. Fans- time to put BCCI to task.

  • POSTED BY raj7 on | October 11, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    Its obvious that they overlooked the upcoming cricket. Also I felt like they made the moment as if they are not going to get it again in their whole life or in the future of indian cricket. i dont agree to those guys who deny saying that these are two different forms of game, but its all cricket as a whole.

    I feel the trounce for india in 5th ODI showed up in the fourth ball of very first over. I will all blame this on sachin for getting sourav out, who 'showed up' very confident.

    As Indian selectors are really looking forward for the game with young team and opted Dhoni as the captain, similarly they should think the same way for the proper combination on the batting line up. I strongly belive either Sourav or Sachin should be dropped down the order and should give an youngster a chance to open with one of these seniors. And my choice will be going with sachin playing at 1 down.

  • POSTED BY Venkatgr on | October 11, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    Compare the track records of all the players against Australia, VVS Laxman stands first in the list. Anywhere anytime he is the best Indian player against Australia. Even many Australian players openly agree that VVS Laxman is great player perticularly against Australia. He is the one who created history stopping Australia from consecutive test wins. Selectors need to stop politics and give chance to VVS Laxman atleast in remaining oneday matches. Also they should make him Captain in Test matches against Australia.

  • POSTED BY cricket_DD on | October 11, 2007, 17:42 GMT

    I can not believe how the selectors are giving warning signals to the seniors. Just look at the past 20 ODIs and see who have delivered better, the seniors or the youth. Twenty20 is a different format, there is less pressure and little camaeos can work, but ODI is a different game, it requires skill, temperament and experience. There are some good youngstors coming up no doubt about that, but have they done or proved enough? Can you imagine having Joginder sharma bowling to Hayden, Ponting or Symonds in ODI and containing them? Another example is Rohit sharma.. Dont make him a superstar so early.. he can be a next Raina (remember he was the future of indian cricket youth once.. where is he now??) Also most of the matches india won in recent times have been because of a good contribution by the seniors. Right now indian team is a good mix of experience and youth. If they had stuck to the twenty20 team for the Aus series, all ODIs would have ended like the 5th one.

  • POSTED BY AjayAG on | October 11, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Both the formats are different. The temperament should not change though I feel. Playing Austratia does bring out the best and Worst out of any time. For the time being India is at the receiving end. Its the Quality, nature of the cricket standards that are getting tested out here. I feel, talking age as a criteria is completely rubbish. Look at Aussies: Matty, Gilly, Hogg are in mid 30's, but still performing. But you need to look at the rest side of the team. India, at present lack good upcoming talented players. You need to have some one like Clarkes, Watsons who are in their prime ages mid 20's and are playing with huge responsibility. India in Game 3 had a slight chance: if Pathan, Rohit Sharma stayed there and showed some kind of maturity and supported Yuvi for whom Aussies had no solution for. Playing with Responsibility and under the nature of the game is call of the day, sooner Indian cricket circuit understands it , better is the chance for india to escape such embarrassments

  • POSTED BY pratn on | October 11, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    As far as I can remember, Australia has always been a far better side than India. Barring a few games (like Sharjah 1998), India has always struggled against them. Especially when you compare the matches since World Cup 2003, when most of the times we've been killed! I won't be surprised if the series ends 5-1. However, India remains a great team on paper, under-performing more consistently than it should. On the rare occasion that it does do well, the pundits and more importantly the media tends to get carried away. Which is not surprising considering we have only one sport in the country. So, I guess the mantra is to be happy when they win, but not expect them to do it consistently.

  • POSTED BY birjv on | October 11, 2007, 17:26 GMT

    I believe its high time tendulkar, ganguly & dravid quit the odi format and focus on tests. Maybe they could feature in a coaching role for the odi format. With them 3 in the field India concede at least 30 runs, which in odi cricket can be crucial. The likes of Kaif, Raina, Rohit Sharma need a long run in the side. They shouldn't be punished after a few bad performances, instead be nurtured and groomed into consistent players. It won't happen overnight but the same can be said with some of the Aussie lads. Haddin for example has always been a squad filler for the Aussies but as we have seen in the current series, he has come batted quite superbly and surprisingly overlooked for the last two odi's. Also with the young guns it will do wonders to the fielding and create much energy and enthusiasm! Imagine Yuvraj, Kaif, Raina, Uthappa, R Sharma, Karthik in the inner ring egging each other on! Its time for India to move on.

  • POSTED BY tendravid on | October 11, 2007, 17:25 GMT

    Yeah agreed fans are emotionalNo point in calling for the seniors heads exp Gang and sachin have played well. Dravid is in a self inflicted rot.Seems to be lost he was better off as captian. But the top three have to contribute thats whay Aussies are a successful one day outfit. i dont care what pitch they are playing rahul has to bat at No3 and score some runs else drop the bloke. It is a crime not to play the full quota of 50 overs it is just plain indiscipline in the batting. We have to buckle up and put a huge score in the next 2 matches

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | October 11, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    The one aspect of Indian batting that I notice of late is that Indian batsmen are now far more comfortable playing on pitches with true bounce and not on flat tracks or on tracks where the ball does not come on to the bat or pitches with low bounce. We all make such a big fuss that Indians can't play on bouncy tracks, but the truth is that this team has performed reasonably well on bouncy wickets in the last three to four months. The England attack was a very decent one, and our batsmen performed reasonably well. So was the case in South Africa.

    It is rather unfortunate that our own pitches are appearing "alien" to our batsmen now. I wonder if enough thinking has gone into pitch preparation for this series. Slow/Low wickets don't help good cricket at all.

  • POSTED BY Harneet on | October 11, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Technique is the backbone of a solid team. You bet Australia will rule T-20 format too in near future. In 50 Overs and Test match format they are almost untouchable. They have the perfect combination of Youth, Aggregsion, Technique, Ultimate Fitness and Ultimate Think-Tank.

    Unless India applies their model, we shall never succeed. Some players in Indian lineup lack technique. This ain't T-20 or T-10 or Cameo Match.

    Remember Dravid, Gangulay and Company scored over 400 against Sri Lanka in World Cup in England. Therefore it can be done with technique and flair rather than ruthless batting and crappy shots.

    Afridis, Uthappas & Co. have a very short shelf life while the masterclass players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Hayden are forever - no matter what the format is!

  • POSTED BY shuja on | October 11, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    I dont think the Indian Cricket team has gotten carried away with the celebrations of 20/20. its the indian media who gets carried away with every win of the Indian cricket team. ever since i can remember as soon as India wins something team india is billed as the "second best to australia" and all previous horrendous lossess are forgotten and indias poor away record is smartly forgotten. This euphoria lasts as long as the home series lasts because once India go on tour their weaknesess become apparent for all to see and this same media who bills this team as champions goes about with a new mantra of a "New Look" indian team with a lot of youngsters. The same goes for any youngster who performs for India. the poor guy is lifted to heights of heroism by the media before realizing he is carrying drinks the next series because not every body is a Wasim Akram or an Imran Khan.

  • POSTED BY viv1975 on | October 11, 2007, 16:53 GMT

    whats the point? we had all our "seniors" taday and it did not make a difference. I thought we were extremely lucky even in the last game. we just squeaked thru. If you want a gradual transition thats fine. The way you do it is probably by just playing one of the three in the team and rotating them so that you find a slot for the youngsters at different positions. Playing all three you are never going to cultivate youngsters. you might also argue just dump the three and take defeats in stride till the team gets to its winning ways. so what if we lose? the fighting spirit is all that matters.

  • POSTED BY CrickFan on | October 11, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    Excuse me! "This only underscores how much this team still depends on at least two of these three to fire if they are to succeed, especially in big matches, against tough opposition." What do you mean by India still depends on them... IF and only IF India gives chance to youngster in big matches then only they will know how much India is dependent on these three...

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | October 11, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    Anand Vasu's comments do give out a great deal on the current state of Indian cricket. India has got a great advantage of having the right mixture of both youth and experience at the same time.

    Tendulkar and Ganguly were the backbone of this team in England ODI's and in of the matches where they gave a good start, invariably the team did well. What India needs is a good batsman in the middle order, some one like Rohit Sharma or maybe a youngster who can stick around when the ball is moving around and also get the run-rate up when required. Rahul Dravid - the man for these occasions is sadly going through a rough patch !

    Where India also lacks is a good attacking spinner, Harbhajan Singh these days has reduced to a bowler who is interested in bowling economically than buying wickets..something which Powar did well in England !

    Lets hope India give a good fight to the World Champions.

  • POSTED BY swapnil_kmaps on | October 11, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    Not at all...another way of looking at it is- when there were no senior players in the team, we won the world cup. We brought the seniors back and this is what we got. Somehow, I feel that the fighting spirit that we showed in the T20 world cup gets lost when the seniors are in the side.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | October 11, 2007, 15:59 GMT

    Sachin and big 3 may still better than any youngsters in temperament and batting , you have to understand young people bring energy , enthusiasm , fielding , athletiscism and no baggage and politics.

    I recommend to BCCI drop all big 3 at same time. Yes that is the only way to avoid politics. if you keep dravid , sachin and ganguly bengal mafia will cry.

    Initially india will get affected with youngsters may not perform that well. We even get bowled out for below 50. It will happen. That is ok. India will recover. We have to do someday. Earlier is better for next world cup preparation.

    Reason aussies are confident because they bring athletes to play. Man to Man aussies are 100 times better in physical and athletic abilities and even skills except for sachin and dravid.

    And india really really need just one FAST bowler who can bowl in 150kmph consistent. Can't you find that one person from 1 billion people. Do not tell me india do not have the talent. i can't agree with that.

  • POSTED BY fraggy on | October 11, 2007, 15:05 GMT

    NOT at all!!! Both are different formats of game!!! India players are trying to do their best. It's not their fault. Still 2 matches to go and after the series will be over, we will say that instead of such a great lead ausies have failed to register a series win in India.

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  • POSTED BY fraggy on | October 11, 2007, 15:05 GMT

    NOT at all!!! Both are different formats of game!!! India players are trying to do their best. It's not their fault. Still 2 matches to go and after the series will be over, we will say that instead of such a great lead ausies have failed to register a series win in India.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | October 11, 2007, 15:59 GMT

    Sachin and big 3 may still better than any youngsters in temperament and batting , you have to understand young people bring energy , enthusiasm , fielding , athletiscism and no baggage and politics.

    I recommend to BCCI drop all big 3 at same time. Yes that is the only way to avoid politics. if you keep dravid , sachin and ganguly bengal mafia will cry.

    Initially india will get affected with youngsters may not perform that well. We even get bowled out for below 50. It will happen. That is ok. India will recover. We have to do someday. Earlier is better for next world cup preparation.

    Reason aussies are confident because they bring athletes to play. Man to Man aussies are 100 times better in physical and athletic abilities and even skills except for sachin and dravid.

    And india really really need just one FAST bowler who can bowl in 150kmph consistent. Can't you find that one person from 1 billion people. Do not tell me india do not have the talent. i can't agree with that.

  • POSTED BY swapnil_kmaps on | October 11, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    Not at all...another way of looking at it is- when there were no senior players in the team, we won the world cup. We brought the seniors back and this is what we got. Somehow, I feel that the fighting spirit that we showed in the T20 world cup gets lost when the seniors are in the side.

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | October 11, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    Anand Vasu's comments do give out a great deal on the current state of Indian cricket. India has got a great advantage of having the right mixture of both youth and experience at the same time.

    Tendulkar and Ganguly were the backbone of this team in England ODI's and in of the matches where they gave a good start, invariably the team did well. What India needs is a good batsman in the middle order, some one like Rohit Sharma or maybe a youngster who can stick around when the ball is moving around and also get the run-rate up when required. Rahul Dravid - the man for these occasions is sadly going through a rough patch !

    Where India also lacks is a good attacking spinner, Harbhajan Singh these days has reduced to a bowler who is interested in bowling economically than buying wickets..something which Powar did well in England !

    Lets hope India give a good fight to the World Champions.

  • POSTED BY CrickFan on | October 11, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    Excuse me! "This only underscores how much this team still depends on at least two of these three to fire if they are to succeed, especially in big matches, against tough opposition." What do you mean by India still depends on them... IF and only IF India gives chance to youngster in big matches then only they will know how much India is dependent on these three...

  • POSTED BY viv1975 on | October 11, 2007, 16:53 GMT

    whats the point? we had all our "seniors" taday and it did not make a difference. I thought we were extremely lucky even in the last game. we just squeaked thru. If you want a gradual transition thats fine. The way you do it is probably by just playing one of the three in the team and rotating them so that you find a slot for the youngsters at different positions. Playing all three you are never going to cultivate youngsters. you might also argue just dump the three and take defeats in stride till the team gets to its winning ways. so what if we lose? the fighting spirit is all that matters.

  • POSTED BY shuja on | October 11, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    I dont think the Indian Cricket team has gotten carried away with the celebrations of 20/20. its the indian media who gets carried away with every win of the Indian cricket team. ever since i can remember as soon as India wins something team india is billed as the "second best to australia" and all previous horrendous lossess are forgotten and indias poor away record is smartly forgotten. This euphoria lasts as long as the home series lasts because once India go on tour their weaknesess become apparent for all to see and this same media who bills this team as champions goes about with a new mantra of a "New Look" indian team with a lot of youngsters. The same goes for any youngster who performs for India. the poor guy is lifted to heights of heroism by the media before realizing he is carrying drinks the next series because not every body is a Wasim Akram or an Imran Khan.

  • POSTED BY Harneet on | October 11, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Technique is the backbone of a solid team. You bet Australia will rule T-20 format too in near future. In 50 Overs and Test match format they are almost untouchable. They have the perfect combination of Youth, Aggregsion, Technique, Ultimate Fitness and Ultimate Think-Tank.

    Unless India applies their model, we shall never succeed. Some players in Indian lineup lack technique. This ain't T-20 or T-10 or Cameo Match.

    Remember Dravid, Gangulay and Company scored over 400 against Sri Lanka in World Cup in England. Therefore it can be done with technique and flair rather than ruthless batting and crappy shots.

    Afridis, Uthappas & Co. have a very short shelf life while the masterclass players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Hayden are forever - no matter what the format is!

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | October 11, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    The one aspect of Indian batting that I notice of late is that Indian batsmen are now far more comfortable playing on pitches with true bounce and not on flat tracks or on tracks where the ball does not come on to the bat or pitches with low bounce. We all make such a big fuss that Indians can't play on bouncy tracks, but the truth is that this team has performed reasonably well on bouncy wickets in the last three to four months. The England attack was a very decent one, and our batsmen performed reasonably well. So was the case in South Africa.

    It is rather unfortunate that our own pitches are appearing "alien" to our batsmen now. I wonder if enough thinking has gone into pitch preparation for this series. Slow/Low wickets don't help good cricket at all.

  • POSTED BY tendravid on | October 11, 2007, 17:25 GMT

    Yeah agreed fans are emotionalNo point in calling for the seniors heads exp Gang and sachin have played well. Dravid is in a self inflicted rot.Seems to be lost he was better off as captian. But the top three have to contribute thats whay Aussies are a successful one day outfit. i dont care what pitch they are playing rahul has to bat at No3 and score some runs else drop the bloke. It is a crime not to play the full quota of 50 overs it is just plain indiscipline in the batting. We have to buckle up and put a huge score in the next 2 matches