May 28, 2010

Shape up or ship out

Plenty of frontline Indian players have serious work to do in the off season, none more than two who have let themselves go to seed
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The off season, when there is no game tomorrow, no tour next week, no newspaper to read to know what columnists are saying about you, can be very nice, very therapeutic. And an opportunity to do things you wouldn't have time for when you are on the circuit. You could get a niggling injury sorted out, read a few books, tweet… Committed, professional sportsmen use the time to do strength training, some others could do much-needed sprint training. Or you can wait for the controlling authority, the BCCI in this case, to tell you what to do.

The last of those is the easiest alternative, and like with most easy alternatives, should present itself as the most flawed. The best sportsmen plan their own futures, they listen to voices they trust, one of which must lie within, and plan accordingly. The off-season work ethic is an indicator of commitment and of ambition. It tells you that a player is thinking of how he can present a better package to his team in the weeks ahead.

That is why this series against Zimbabwe, though it seems to give young players an opportunity, isn't the best idea. Yusuf Pathan, for example, would have done well to work on batting against the short-pitched ball, which is so clearly going to block his international career. Suresh Raina, who has much more going for him, could have worked on a similar theme to try and earn the Test place that seems so distant at the moment. And Rohit Sharma could have worked on trimming a few inches off his middle - but more on that later.

The short-pitched ball has, a bit surprisingly, shaken Gautam Gambhir too. Luckily for him all he needs to do is to iron out the niggle rather than make major changes to his style, and missing out on Victoria Falls will not hurt him too much. And Irfan Pathan has some work to do before reclaiming the spot that seems to be waiting for him - an opportunity few are allowed.

Dravid isn't an athlete, has never been, but he is giving himself the best possible chance of surviving in this game. He would make a great mentor for the next generation, if indeed they were willing to do what he has

The two who should be the busiest are Yuvraj Singh and Rohit, amazingly gifted players who are coming in the way of their own progress, and in doing so, showing a little less responsibility to the team they must proudly represent. Yuvraj, in particular, has a serious career-defining decision to take. It has nothing to do with his extended bad patch, for that can happen to the best. Rather, it is about the way he is moving on the field and the weight he is carrying. For someone who was an amazing fielder, he looks embarrassingly unfit, and I fear it is something that could end a career that I am convinced has much more to offer.

It could be because of a knee surgery delayed, but if indeed that is the reason - and I don't know if it is - then he must rectify it now. If it means a few months out of the game, so be it, for sitting on it any longer will do him and Indian cricket no good. Unlike a bureaucrat who can keep a file pending, a cricketer cannot keep his fitness pending. Hopefully he will take a call on his fitness, not the selectors, who I hope have already had a word with him.

Sadly Rohit Sharma treads the same path. For someone who has just turned 23, he is in terrible shape. It won't interfere with his game just yet, for he is in the prime of youth, a lovely phase when you can drag your body through hell and high water and it won't complain. But that he allows himself to possess these contours is indicative of a worrying mindset, maybe a slightly lackadaisical work ethic.

He doesn't have to look too far to understand the great value of a fine work ethic. Rahul Dravid turned 37 this January, which means he gives 14 years to Rohit, and looks in fabulous shape - the result of extraordinary discipline. Dravid isn't an athlete, has never been, but he is giving himself the best possible chance of surviving in this game. He would make a great mentor for the next generation, if indeed they were willing to do what he has.

Mentoring is an area the BCCI has never really believed in. But that needn't stop a young player from seeking it out on his own. But maybe that is for another day.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 31, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    cricinfo has this trend of finding hilarious pictures to point out at niggling instances of bad performances, low fitness/morale. india and specifically Rohit Sharma/Yuvraj singh/Zaheer khan: shape up or ship out!

  • tick on May 31, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    @dhanno.look son and don't take me wrong.the last decade had been best of india and worst for pakistan.and this is an independent assesment and yet in this decade pakistan and india playing each other have almost similar record.so best of india is equal of worst of pakistan.but stats comparing pakistan with india will surely be not good for you.pakistan is far better in cricketing records than india.and even if you compare there records of them playing each other you will be highly disappointed to see your indian team is behind.i really didn't want to say this but its interesting that team in your opinion"""with 6 guys taking oath to oust the captain and do everything to bring national team down, a WK cribbing and dropping dollies/missing runouts 'cause he is pissed, another guy who mistakes ball for an apple, some take drugs, some live on drugs!"""is better than your own team.cheers and must reply after seeing stats guru

  • Dhanno on May 30, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    Article title: Shape up or ship out Intellectually challenged: Harping about India becoming Bermuda Oops.. my apologies to Intellectually challenged, maybe I should not compare these to you guys..

    Still the essence of article: players, be fit physically and mentally and if BCCI does not warrant it to take action against Yuvis of India, then in 5 years Indian cricket will be like that of the nation on our west. Where Yuvis will play when their egos allow, Kohlis will have swagger from T20 success; so if you wanna avoid that, shape up or ship out!!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 30, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    @ Dhanno! Just wait till the World Cup. The world will see the so called Top ranking India replacing Zimbabwe and Bermuda!!!

  • FIASNAHK on May 30, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    For those who are saying that this is indias B team, then it is a scary thought that in 3-4 years time this will be there A team. Tendulkar will probably retire from ODI after worldcup, and who is there to replace him? murali vijay and dinesh karthik. These guys are good in ipl where each team has only one good bowler, but in international cricket they wont be able to cope. Indias bowling is especialy worrying, i dont see any good bowlers on the horizon, dinda might be eventually though. This article riminds me about another article i read about west indies cricket. All the young indian players think about is fame and money, and dont play patriatism, but at least the west indian players are fit. I only see suresh raina as indias only good fielder, everyone else is very poor indead. Pakistan used to be asias worst fielding side, india are on par now.

  • asthomas911 on May 30, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Think Rohit Sharma has started to read cricinfo LOL ..btw, great article Harsha..

  • nlambda on May 30, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Pak lost a test match to Zim by an innings, England, Aus, all have lost to Zim, so let us not get carried away by India's defeat. That said, yes it is a little embarrassing to lose to a weaker team

  • on May 30, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    ya i completely agree with harsha bhogle

  • Dhanno on May 30, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Yeah Shahzan.. its weak, not week !! Besides its funny people who live in glass houses (with 6 guys taking oath to oust the captain and do everything to bring national team down, a WK cribbing and dropping dollies/missing runouts 'cause he is pissed, another guy who mistakes ball for an apple, some take drugs, some live on drugs!) have so much time throwing stones (or statistics about India's losses to Zim) on others. Only honest assessment of this Indian team is: with mismanagement, by allowing indiscipline we will be like Pakistan in few years. And if ever there was a scary thought, this is it!!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 30, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    @ Croc_on_mara says in his comment that the Current Indian is Team B. One wonders whether India has got Team A also. We have been looking for India Team A since ages. If they call the current Indian Team , a Team B because of the absence of Tendulkar, Dravid and Yuvraj etc then what one should say about their performance when they couldn't stop Zimbabwe in chasing their big totals many times. Take the statistics of India vs Zimbabwe, you will see that not only this time Zimbabwe beat India but former has been humiliating India in India also. Shame for the so-called top ranking India..huh!!! I'm India's fan but I can't see them losing to Zimbabwe and other week teams so sheepishly!!!

  • on May 31, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    cricinfo has this trend of finding hilarious pictures to point out at niggling instances of bad performances, low fitness/morale. india and specifically Rohit Sharma/Yuvraj singh/Zaheer khan: shape up or ship out!

  • tick on May 31, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    @dhanno.look son and don't take me wrong.the last decade had been best of india and worst for pakistan.and this is an independent assesment and yet in this decade pakistan and india playing each other have almost similar record.so best of india is equal of worst of pakistan.but stats comparing pakistan with india will surely be not good for you.pakistan is far better in cricketing records than india.and even if you compare there records of them playing each other you will be highly disappointed to see your indian team is behind.i really didn't want to say this but its interesting that team in your opinion"""with 6 guys taking oath to oust the captain and do everything to bring national team down, a WK cribbing and dropping dollies/missing runouts 'cause he is pissed, another guy who mistakes ball for an apple, some take drugs, some live on drugs!"""is better than your own team.cheers and must reply after seeing stats guru

  • Dhanno on May 30, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    Article title: Shape up or ship out Intellectually challenged: Harping about India becoming Bermuda Oops.. my apologies to Intellectually challenged, maybe I should not compare these to you guys..

    Still the essence of article: players, be fit physically and mentally and if BCCI does not warrant it to take action against Yuvis of India, then in 5 years Indian cricket will be like that of the nation on our west. Where Yuvis will play when their egos allow, Kohlis will have swagger from T20 success; so if you wanna avoid that, shape up or ship out!!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 30, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    @ Dhanno! Just wait till the World Cup. The world will see the so called Top ranking India replacing Zimbabwe and Bermuda!!!

  • FIASNAHK on May 30, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    For those who are saying that this is indias B team, then it is a scary thought that in 3-4 years time this will be there A team. Tendulkar will probably retire from ODI after worldcup, and who is there to replace him? murali vijay and dinesh karthik. These guys are good in ipl where each team has only one good bowler, but in international cricket they wont be able to cope. Indias bowling is especialy worrying, i dont see any good bowlers on the horizon, dinda might be eventually though. This article riminds me about another article i read about west indies cricket. All the young indian players think about is fame and money, and dont play patriatism, but at least the west indian players are fit. I only see suresh raina as indias only good fielder, everyone else is very poor indead. Pakistan used to be asias worst fielding side, india are on par now.

  • asthomas911 on May 30, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Think Rohit Sharma has started to read cricinfo LOL ..btw, great article Harsha..

  • nlambda on May 30, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Pak lost a test match to Zim by an innings, England, Aus, all have lost to Zim, so let us not get carried away by India's defeat. That said, yes it is a little embarrassing to lose to a weaker team

  • on May 30, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    ya i completely agree with harsha bhogle

  • Dhanno on May 30, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Yeah Shahzan.. its weak, not week !! Besides its funny people who live in glass houses (with 6 guys taking oath to oust the captain and do everything to bring national team down, a WK cribbing and dropping dollies/missing runouts 'cause he is pissed, another guy who mistakes ball for an apple, some take drugs, some live on drugs!) have so much time throwing stones (or statistics about India's losses to Zim) on others. Only honest assessment of this Indian team is: with mismanagement, by allowing indiscipline we will be like Pakistan in few years. And if ever there was a scary thought, this is it!!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 30, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    @ Croc_on_mara says in his comment that the Current Indian is Team B. One wonders whether India has got Team A also. We have been looking for India Team A since ages. If they call the current Indian Team , a Team B because of the absence of Tendulkar, Dravid and Yuvraj etc then what one should say about their performance when they couldn't stop Zimbabwe in chasing their big totals many times. Take the statistics of India vs Zimbabwe, you will see that not only this time Zimbabwe beat India but former has been humiliating India in India also. Shame for the so-called top ranking India..huh!!! I'm India's fan but I can't see them losing to Zimbabwe and other week teams so sheepishly!!!

  • Tom1m on May 30, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is spot on with this article. I hope Yuvi and Rohit are listening.

    I also wish Harsha would talk sense like this on TV too. If there is anything worse than watching India lose, its watching India lose while listening to commentary from Harsha. Its terrible. Harsha please continue to write for Cricinfo, but stay away from broadcasting.

  • Rahul_78 on May 30, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Well, we all can comment and argue here about these players but important thing is do these players give 2 hoots about what we have to say for that matter what someone like a respected cricket commentator harsha bhogle has to say. These guys have best available facilites at their disposal. Personel trainers, physios and massuers but after having all this they are so terribly out of shape. Gary kirsten must have had personel 1 on 1 wth these guys on the issue long back but what is the result? I used to follow yuvraj on twiiter and made a mild inquiery in very polite terms on his weight and wished him luck to get in shape soon. The result , I was promptly blocked by him. And I m not making up this story. This is exaclty what happened. I was aghast and disgusted by this kind of attitude towards fans and followers. I guess guys like yuvraj have only grown accostomed to hearing false praises and fake stardom. They ll only listen if left out of team for good long duration.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on May 30, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    I thought the Indian players were super fit? When did veggie munchers start getting fat, I thought it was supposed to help them being on a superior diet? I also though MS Dhoni wouldn't complain about the IPL and excessive cricket, but he proceeded to do a U-Turn that was rounder than Yuvraj's stomach and complained about excessive workload...

  • Farce-Follower on May 30, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Did someone say Murli Vijay is unfit? Why should he be fit? Even if he puts on an adiitional 10Kg, he will be the default replacement opener in Tests and ODIs. Talk about Job Security !! Manish Pandey and Robin Uttappa, tough luck...

  • sramesh_74 on May 30, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    Nice piece Harsha. One fails to understand how pseudo allrounders like Pathan and Jadeja keep making the squad. Their current game will never make the grades required at the top. Dravid's example is a great one. The 'experts' always say he is not gifted as a SRT. But what is talent?? It is a manifestation of all the effort and dedication that goes into becoming a legend. Sachin, Rahul and Kumble are true legends of Indian cricket. The common trait one would notice among these giants is dedication and settling for nothing but the best. India's current crop unfortunately does not understand this. They think a couple of slambang innings in the IPL or a few wickets give them the god given authority to think they are great. BCCI is as always oblivious to this fact. If India's defeat to Zim does not have the alarm bells CLANGING, God help Indian cricket. I shudder to think what would be the condition of the game in the country when the legends move on.

  • Croc_on_mara on May 29, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    Nice incsisive article Harsha. Rahul and Yuvi has a lot to think about in the off-season. Its a real shame though that the editor chose not to block out filthy responses such as those from this Pak-fan hahzanHaiderBukhari who is just indulging in mindless anti-Indian rant. To begin with this is practically India-B team thats currently travelling in Zim filled with youngsters and debutants even. No harm done. Please remind him that even with full strength Pak was hammered by Zim in the T20 world cup. Also, we all cherish the innings and 64 runs drubbing that Zim handed to Pak filled with their untalented so called 'legends' like Akram, Inzi etc. To add to the shame, Pak has lost a Test series against Zim in their own country thanks an easy 7 wicket win in Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar in 1998. The over-rated middle order of Inzi and Mohd Yusef could not even handle the slow medium pace of M Mbangwa who ripped through them with 6 cheap wickets!

  • on May 29, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    As TheOnlyEmpperor pointed out at the beginning, these problems are ever present since day one in Asian cricket. What Harsha has said is more about the weight they are putting up. One cricketer suddenly jumps into mind when talking about putting up weight and that is Inzimam. Always fielding at slip, an ocassional dive here or there, but still making up for everything he lacked with his batting alone. Harsha, weight is not the problem for Yuvraj, the problem lies somewhere else. he doesnt look hungry!!

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 29, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    Yeah I do agree with you Harsha! Indian players are fed up with excessive cricket and IPL. That's the major reason they have started losing matches even to inexperienced Zimbabwe team, a team which struggles against Bangla Desh, Kenya and Bermuda. Indian team shouldn't be blamed ruthlessly for the current as well as the upcoming series of defeats. The cricket fans will witness how India gradually falls from the top ranking to the lowers. They have lost the spirit and enthusiasm of the game. They lost all their three matches in the Super 8 T20 World Cup and was humiliated by Sri Lanka( Kapugedera hit a massive six on the last ball of the match). The body language of the Indian players was self-explanatory in all their recently lost matches. They surrendered quickly. They were aware of their defeat. Kapugedera revived the innings of Javaid Minadad who gave a nice treatment to Chitan Sharma when he did the same thing( by hitting the last ball for a huge six) in the Austral Asia Cup 1986.

  • Evangelyst on May 29, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    There are clearly two aspects to this. The first one is related to the attitude and approach of the young cricketers which has been rightly described by everyone to be completely lacking. Secondly its the system. BCCI with all its riches can certainly do more. How difficult would it be for the Board to: 1) create a calendar for the year which balances international matches with adequate period for rest, fitness building and finetuning skills and making technical adjustments, so cricketers are in the best shape when playing for the country. The country's top 50 players and the most promising U-19 and domestic cricketers should be included in this program. This should then be extended to junior cricket. 2) make international standard (read fast and bouncy) pitches at some of our cricketing venues for cricketers to get adequate practice with playing shortpitched bowling. I dont think any of this is rocket science and is well within the capabilities of the Board and the cricketers

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 29, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    This is not the first time Zimbabwe beat India in ODI. Zimbabwe has got impressive records against India, Bangla Desh, Kenya and somewhat W.Indies and New Zealand. The follwing statistics show their chasing records against India, the so-called Top Ranking Team.

    289/4 48.2 5.97 won v India Bulawayo 28 May 2010 284/9 49.5 5.69 won v India Jodhpur 8 Dec 2000 277/9 49.4 5.57 won v India Faridabad 7 Mar 2002 197/4 44.2 4.44 won v India Kochi 13 Mar 2002 171/7 33.4 5.07 won v India Centurion 7 Feb 1997 139/2 25.5 5.38 won v India Bulawayo 15 Feb 1997

  • dodinss on May 29, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Harsha forgot to mention Zaheer and even Vijay Murli who also do not look fit

  • S.N.Singh on May 29, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    WHY ARE WE MAKING SO MUCH OF SHORT LIFTING BALLS, IF YOU ARE GOOD BATSMAN THAT SHOULD NOT WORRY YOU. ROHAN KANHAI CALLED THAT TYPE OF BOWLING " LONG HOP ". BOWL THAT TYPE OF DELIVERY TO KANHAI,VISHWANAUTH OR JOE SOLOMON IS FOOD FOR THEM. THESE TYPE OF BALL END UP IN THE BOUNDARY. A SHORT BALL IS A BAD BALL . A SHORT LIFTING BALL IS BAD BALL AND IT SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH. A GOOD BATSMAN SHOULD BE ABLE TO STEER THAT AWAY AND CAUSE THE BOWLER NOT TO BOWL IT AGAIN. I D'ONT KNOW WHAT ALL THE FUSS A BOWLER SHOULD NOT ALLOW TO BOWL THAT BALL. S.N.SINGH USA

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on May 29, 2010, 11:40 GMT

    Wow!!! Great article by Harsha!Welcome to our commentary box!You explained many things beautifully and very much explicitly. This is a big slap on the faces of BCCI and the Indian players who give themselves an air of grandeur and the class which only Indian player has i.e, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. No one in Indian cricket history can be compared with him. He is in true sense the hero of the first innings. He is the master blaster who fails to win matches especially when India needs him to chase a big total. He is going to score 100 centuries in ODI and 50 centuries in test cricket. The only batsmen in the cricket history who has mostly scored his centuries in the first innings but failed to save India from drastic defeats. After all he's a human being!!!

  • CMIS on May 29, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    @tick, I have been hearing excuses like yours on behalf of the pakistani and indian teams for two decades now. The fact that people like you fail to understand is that without a high level of fitness, a team can never be competent over a long periiod of time. That's what has happened to pakistan and India. They display individual brilliance that can win them a couple of matches and a tournament at the most, but over the long term they falter because they don't have their basics right. As harsha says it all comes down to work ethic, be it western or from timbuktu.

    And tick, you don't hear aussie or sa fans giving excuses like yours. Is it a coincidence that those teams are also the most consistent?

  • tick on May 29, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    India and Pakistan cricket is not based on text book fitness plans and exercises.the cricket is played with passion and hunger and with talent.yet Indian and Pakistani teams with poor fitness levels and other such factors done marvouslly because they make up for these factors with their immense talent and passion.if Pakistan had not done well recently its because of players indifferences and disunity and yet they have been able to give teams alot of scare.similarly India has its own issue.sehwag unfit without a reason and zahher and yuvraj not giving 100% are the reason rather than these westren fitness issues.both these teams at there full strength and passion are the best teams in world.not playing cricket like roborts.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on May 29, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    I really wonder what sort of interviews journalists and commentators do when they interact with players. I seldom see them asking them about their fitness and exercise regimen, about how players benchmark and raise their standards of performance on the field...be it the time taken to run the 1st, 2nd and 3rd run, the time taken to run 70 yards from the wicket to the boundary for instance while fielding, the number of laps they can do of a cricket ground in 30 mins; the speed of ball throw, the distance of the ball throw, the slide and dive techniques at the outfield, diving forward techniques, diving in the air techniques, high catches at the boundary line, the dive technique while running bet the wickets, quick reflex catch practice, collecting and running out techniques behind the stumps, etc. Now don't tell us that Indians practice all of this for it sure doesn't show on the field!

  • agreetodisagree101 on May 29, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    After a long hiatus I get to read the Harsha we know of. Fitness was never the strength of the Indian team but that should not stop the team from meeting the thresholds for an international player. Not all aspects of the game can be left to the natural abilities. We would love to hear your thoughts on what BCCI plans to do with the short pitch stuff which seems to be making a mockery of our batting lineup. Are we in for a series of dust bowls to set the record straight for the statisticians or the system has the gumption to accept its shortcomings and address the issue. Knowing our system...I am waiting for the next shortcut to celebrate the team's success even if it is against the minnows and leave the rest for moments of individual brilliance. The team can wait....

  • timelord24 on May 29, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    wonderful article harsha. candid and to the point. you have described all thats ailing our cricket. and gautam would do well to develop some biceps. his throws from the deep are embarrassing.

  • on May 29, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    Harsha is right. This attitude of Yuvraj and Rohit that they are the next big things after Sachin, Rahul, Laxman and Kumble is just rubbish. They think they have come of age just because they do well in T20 and ODIs. What about tests. They will never be able to come of age there. And please Yuvraj, YOU DONT HAVE TO TEACH SACHIN HOW TO PLAY TEST CRICKET. FIRST LEARN TO PLAY GOOD CRICKET LET ALONE TEST CRICKET...Stupid and arrogant new breed of Indian cricketers.. If they continue like this, Indian cricket will go to the dogs......

  • on May 29, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    well said Harsha, more than anything else, it is the duty of every player to get himself fit for the TEAM.

  • on May 29, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Rohit has tremendous potential as a batsman. He should take his fitness seriously else he is out. Its a combination of attitude and fitness- Yuvi and Rohit should work on those.

  • jkaussie on May 29, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    In Australia we do a lot of physical training at school, and all of our training right from a junior level involves fitness; with cricket it's mainly around fielding and running between the wickets. Can you guys tell me...does this happen in India? I am just wondering if started early in school, it could become a part of the player's culture and they do it automatically almost.

  • Farce-Follower on May 29, 2010, 2:56 GMT

    At last...atlast...Harsha, you have finally named someone and not spoken of in third person. We need articles like this. Was always wondering why it is just the likes of Ian Chappell and Tony Cozier who would speak frankly...Harsha, welcome to the club.

  • on May 29, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    There is a reason why Sachin and Dravid scored more than 10K runs in the only kind of cricket that really matters. It has got a lot do with their talents, but it was even more about the desire to do well and hunger for success. I hope Yuvi and Rohit realize this sooner than later.

  • Baisoya-the-Gujjar on May 29, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    Its not good to see the indian's players physique. I work with KPO, and i always worry why my tummy is coming out, and why i am not fit, i know that my work doesn't allow me to do regular exercise. But, what about these players, whose main goal is to keep fit himself.

  • mamboman on May 29, 2010, 1:58 GMT

    Honestly - a vapid, irrelevant and lazily written article which just serves as another excuse for Harsha Bhogle to scribble another chapter in his hagiography of Rahul Dravid. Honestly, sir, if Dravid took a dump in his Indian cap you'd find a way to make it seem like the second coming. I am frequently dismayed at what passes for journalism and commentary on Cricinfo these days,

  • KEVIN_DRAVID on May 29, 2010, 1:44 GMT

    Well done Harsha. I'm always a big fan of his commentary. Pointing out at Yuvraj and Rohit is gonna affect your relations with them. What about Ashish Nehra. His feilding standards are terrible. Even a school going kid's feilding skills are better than him. I dont think Zaheer is any better. The only fittest person in the team is tha captain MSD. Look at Australian, South African, English squads. You can barely point out one unfit player in the team. Where Mahi can hide these unfit palyers in the feild ? Just keepit simple 100% fit in the team. 99% or less out of the team.

  • boris6491 on May 29, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    In the case of Yuvraj, I think it just exemplifies his poor committment to the game and his inability to have the attitude of a proper athlete. Sharma similarly is so extremely talented and I would hate to have Rohit waste his talents due to lack of fitness as Yuvraj has. Once upon a time Yuvraj was the best fielder in the Indian side, no more. He moves around sluggishly and lazily is merely a shadow of his former self in the field. If the BCCI could muster the 'courage' to drop Yuvraj, they would be taking a step in the right direction. We saw this last season with Robin Uthappa in the IPL. He came back this time fitter, stronger and better and I think it was obvious that he had come a long long way. Yuvraj in particular tries to be bigger than the game and his indifference towards maintaining the weight of an athlete is evidence of the same. Someone mentioned Tendulkar's extra weight, I say that at least it has not rendered him immobile and lazy.And he was never overweight when young

  • TheUglyTruth on May 29, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Now i know how sangakkara felt when he had to deal with yuvraj in KX11. Ppl were saying its Sanga's fault for stealing the captaincy from sumone who rightly deserved it! Give me a break! Yuvraj cant lead himself let alone a team. Sum ppl jus refuse to look beyond the truth. His indifferent attitude and ego drive me up the wall! India has so much young talent...y on earth is he still in the team! I blame the media like neo sports for having segments like 'prince yuvraj' and building him upto b sum kind of god! Only Sachin deserves his own show !!! ;)

  • on May 29, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    This goes well with one of videos i seen of Harsha's lecture wherein he says.."beyond a certain level its not the ability , its the attitude that counts.."...it is something that not only our cricketing professionals but our nation has to learn...we are bundle of talent in every field but then moment we see talent we dont nurture , train it...we just fill it with so much hot air that it flies high but then comes down fast...Rahul is an epitome of hardwork and also reflection to middleclass people of our nation (inc. me) of what can be made with skills that you have got and if you are ready to put in that extra hardwork...people say that there can never be another Sachin , but for me there can never be another Rahul Dravid...a true unsung hero of Indian cricket but importantly who respects the game and also understands the demands of the game...someone put some thought into those poor spoilt rich kids on the cricket pitch, atleast prove that you are worth of every penny…..

  • sainath_murali on May 29, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    This goes well with one of videos i seen of Harsha's lecture wherein he says.."beyond a certain level its not the ability , its the attitude that counts.."...it is something that not only our cricketing professionals but our nation has to learn...we are bundle of talent in every field but then moment we see talent we dont nurture/ train it...we just fill it with so much hot air that it flies high but then comes down fast...Rahul is an epitome of hardwork and also reflection to middleclass people of our nation of what can be made with skills that you have got and if you are ready to put in that extra hardwork...people say that there can never be another Sachin , but for me there can never be another Rahul Dravid...a true unsung hero of Indian cricket but more importantly who respects the game and also understands the demands of the game...someone put some thought into those poor spoilt rich kids on the cricket pitch , atleast try to prove that you are worth your every penny...

  • sihota on May 29, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    You do not need to lift heavy weights to be fit. None of the football players lift heavy weights and they are extremely fit. Problem with Indian cricket is that they need all round training, running, sprinting, weights and other sports. As professional players we would expect them to do this anyway.

  • sihota on May 28, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    A player should be able to play the tournament and also train at the same time. Perhaps the coaches are not doing their job?

  • US_Indian on May 28, 2010, 23:13 GMT

    Well written article from Harsha. I have played and followed cricket since i was 10. Indian team was never a good fielding side or for that matter any school/club level team( u can elaborate this because it is the starting point from we get our playrs) have neverlaid emphasis on fitnss or good fielding, so its not a surprise, ofcourse there are a few exceptions like Abid Ali,Solkar, Brijesh Patel, Kapil, Venkat, Srikanth, Yashpal Sharma, MAmarnath, Azhar, Robin Singh,Ajay Jadeja, Mohd.Kaif etc., who were really good and some others,i cant list all of them here were better than average fielders, rest as u all know. My suggestion is select sides purely on fielding basis, take most of the catches, stop most runs, help your bowlers take wickets and create fear in the opposite teams, thats have battle won. Good fielders are good runners between the wickets, so they get few extra runs and put pressure on opposite bowlers if they can bat or bowl its an added bonus-no compromises.

  • on May 28, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    They should get Sourav Ganguly as Indian team's fitness consultant. In the prime of his slump, he could still, as a captain get the best out of his team - others led by example, he by counter-example (I know Harsha will quote me on this, if you do, at least acknowledge :)). So, given his past credentials and his woeful fitness - he seems the ideal candidate.

  • on May 28, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    Harsha, if it reached you somehow. Please send the message to Indian Selectors not to select team on the basis of 20-20 Format.

  • on May 28, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    Discipline and attitude are the key factors. Fitness follows. Mr Patil looks in better shape than Rohit in the pic!

  • on May 28, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    What does it take to look and field like Mohammed Kaif? Pity his batting disintegrated.

  • satyachowdary on May 28, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    Too much of partying causes a bad body shape.... now you know where our cricketers got this shape from...

  • YESITSME on May 28, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    Agree with Fan Cric......IPL is complete nonsense

  • on May 28, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.... KICK THAT OVERWEIGHT BY DA NAME OF YUVRAJ SINGH OUT!!!!! he is TOTALLY useless..............also bring in sum good bowlers....bcause the BOWLING dept. is what that is killing this team.......

  • on May 28, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is 23??!!?? You must be joking Harsha! Its like Abdur Razzaq is only 29 or Shahid Afridi is just 30 LOL LOL LOL. One look at Mr. Sharma not only shows clearly that he is unfit but also shows clearly that he is anything but 23. So lets stop kidding ourselves. People who do not have work ethic, people who do not perform will not remain in the team. We have had plenty of examples - irfan, rp, ishant, munaf, and so on and so forth. We can add a few more in some time. Rohit and Yuvraj - RIP :) :)

  • AB99 on May 28, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    What about the fitness of Tendulkar and the extra weight that he carries these days? Yuvraj is the proverbial spoilt apple that spoils the rest in the basket and best is that he shd be dropped from the team ... if ViruS was dropped for fitness in 2006-2007, then what is wrong in dropping Yuvraj who is no patch on Viru and anyways he is not test material where he is failed countless times. Rohit Sharma and Raina have a long way to go and they should remember the next auction may not fetch as much as they expect. Yousuf is a blue eyed boy and will be persisted like his brother for a while and then like brother would be dropped for good. Virat Kohli comes with baggage of attitude and that has to be addressed. Harsha would agree that "the technical flaws" can be ironed out with practice but when these are "attitude and approach flaws" as with Youraj, Rohit, Kohli and the rest of the IPL rich young brigade (Developers vs pampared BPO/Call center staff syndrome), there is nothing to be done.

  • on May 28, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    who is this writer? one day he sings praise of IPL and other day he sings about National Duties. Please teach him some Cricketing fundas. IPL is the biggest evil haunting Team India. Team India and BCCI is madly obsessed with Stupid, Rubbish, Non-Sense, Obsolete, Commercial event IPL, which is selling 6s and 4s on Lifeless Pitches. IPL-Mad Team India is losing Skill, Inspiration, Motivation, Hunger, Determination, Committment and Fitness to play International or Test Cricket on lively Pitches. Curators, Commentators and BCCI Officials are working for IPL growth rather than Cricket growth. Until IPL is not thrashed, Team India is not going to perform well in International Tournaments. Test, ODI & T20 Cricket is great to watch at International level on lively pitches, unlike IPL Teams which looks like club cricket and played on lifeless pitches.

  • wanderer1 on May 28, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    3 words: High Altitude Training. I'm massively surprised people in the sub-continent haven't taken to this yet, which is surprising because the sub-continent possesses some of the biggest mountain ranges in the world. Why can't the Indians take a training camp in Nepal or Bhutan for a few weeks, or build their own? For Pakistan it should be even easier since much of Pakistan is high mountains anyway, they can build simple training camps in Skardu or Hunza areas (Karakoram/Himalayan), away from civilisation and concentrate on the training alone. High Altitude Training burns calories at a much faster rate, builds fitness and stamina, really gets muscles used to lesser oxygen levels and helps build lean muscle. 2 weeks in High Altitude conditions focusing on intensive training is better than a month at lower altitudes where the training is more 'optional'. It would be perfect to have a week at High Altitude before setting off for major cricket series around the world.

  • on May 28, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan has problems only with the short ball. If he gets over that with much practice, he could become a world beater. Gambhir is not suspect to the short ball. Probably the bounce of back of a length deliveries caused him some surprise. He will get over it if he has not already.Rohit Sharma is supremely talented but probably weak of mind. He needs counselling. He will do well to realise that but for cricket he would just be a face in the crowd.Irfan Pathan has lost his pace because I feel he does not use his his body weight before and on the delivery stride.I wish he would watch Nannes, Steyn, Johnson and more that anyone else, Wasim Akram. All of them have a very noticable shift of the trunk of their body backwards following which they transfer weight as in a cartwheel and then go into the delivery stride. Pathan bowls only with is arms. He has the hieght and the weight. His swing will return if he gets his pace.He needs to bowl consistently at 140 kmph.

  • Arvian on May 28, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    May be it's the cricket we should blame because with big tummies and loads of extra fat you can still be a cricketer. Inzamam and to some extent Sachin tendulkar, could they fit enough to play any other sport other than Cricket. Harsha couldn't find a second mentor for the next generation because there are hardly any in India. Kumble could be another one but no way could you say Sachin or Sourav as they always carried extra weight. You hardly find athletic cricketers in India and there are only very few exceptions like Dravid, Kumble as Harsha said may not be athletic but always in good shape. Kohli and Vinay Kumar looks good in the younger generation, and all these players plays for RCB and I don't know its got to do anything with it. Sorry mate, I am not from Bangalore and for that matter not from Karnataka either.

  • ww113 on May 28, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Harsha,let them enjoy their hard earned IPL cash during the off season.Doesn't matter if a few have gone pear shaped.Life is good for them !

  • sunilgopi on May 28, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    Hiring a fitness coach won't help. The players believe they are above hard work due to the hero worship of them. I remember Graeme Smith complaining about Sehwag and Inzi when he played in the rest of the world squad. He said he tried to get them to join the rest of the team in fielding practice and they just laughed at him. Clearly Harbhajan Singh knows nothing about fitness stating he wouldn't go to the gym because he thinks going to the gym will make him bulky when fitness 101 will stress the importance of resistance training to increase metabolism.

  • ahmedjawwad4u on May 28, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    India's problem with short ball is more deeply rooted than an off season, though consistent work from their extremely talented international players can give them a respite at top level only. To address it fully, they have to make supporting pitches for fast bowling in regional cricket.

  • knowledge_eater on May 28, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    May be that is answer to my question !! Fellowship Clerkship Mentoring, its everywhere. Let's all cross fingers (what ever that means) and hope all will be well. As soon as team starts to win, every problems will go down. When team starts to loose, everything will pop up. Rohit needs to playing more test. Raina shouldn't worry about test yet, he needs to be on top of his form in coming world cup. Yuvi needs to dazzle once again. Yusuf need to fix technique, so he can be consistent hitter, because he is holding his place for his bowling. Irfan needs to be given chance at least once, he has been quite unlucky. Its quite sad to see his brother is holding his place. AND I need a break from Cricket. So Cheers. Peace. Stay Fit everybody.

  • vineetkarthi on May 28, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    Relevant article - someone should hand over a copy of the article to the new wonder of Indian cricket - Yousuf Pathan. Almost as if to make Harsha look prophetic, Mpofu (surely no relative of the great West Indian fast bowlers) bowled two bouncers in the 50th over and Yousuf Pathan scored nothing of both (left one and missed the other). Wonder what the Indian Selectors are thinking when picking him.

  • thealmighty on May 28, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    Well said harsha.always been a fan of your writings.I think a Indian fan has every right to get upset with the way they performed in the carribean as we cheer for the team like no one does when they excel.The problem is while we do understand that they cant win everytime its the way they play and loose that hurts.Its the attitude thats pinches fans.Yuvraj Singh hasnt justified his place in the palying 11 and the way he carried himself(Horrid Big belly) on and off the field was both shoddy and uninspiring.I mean here is a guy who millions of us look upto and the way he performed not only let us down but made us questio our own choice of sporting heroes with a ''What if they turn out to be like Yuvraj?''. Jadeja simply doesnt look international material and his selection raises big question marks without any answers.We indians love cricket so my only request to the team is please do not reduce the game to mediocrity. Play with Passion.Win with Dignity and loose wth Respect.

  • on May 28, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Well said Harsha. If we really want to retain out No. 1 Test ranking for a longer time fitness is the key. And as we see the stars of past 2 decades are on the verge of retirement the mantle of Indian Test Cricket lies on these talented young players. But you argue that its a distant call for Suresh Raina to be included in Test Team. However I belive this is the right time for him to be in the test squad. Talking about Irfan Pathan we have seen in the last IPL has not yet regained his swing or the peace fully, hence including him in test team I think won't be a good decision.

  • spk12 on May 28, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Well said. They should learn by looking at some tennis players, who show complete commitment, passion and respect for the game and country they represent.

  • on May 28, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    I guess they should learn a thing or two about fitness from the Sage of Indian Cricket...Sachin can certainly outrun the whole bunch of so-called young legs..!!

  • on May 28, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan has problems only with the short ball. If he gets over that with much practice, he could become a world beater. Gambhir is not suspect to the short ball. Probably the bounce of back of a length deliveries caused him some surprise. He will get over it if he has not already.Rohit Sharma is supremely talented but probably weak of mind. He needs counselling. He will do well to realise that but for cricket he would just be a face in the crowd.Irfan Pathan has lost his pace because I feel he does not use his his body weight before and on the delivery stride.I wish he would watch Nannes, Steyn, Johnson and more that anyone else, Wasim Akram. All of them have a very noticable shift of the trunk of their body backwards following which they transfer weight as in a cartwheel and then go into the delivery stride. Pathan bowls only with is arms. He has the hieght and the weight. His swing will return if he gets his pace.He needs to bowl consistently at 140 kmph.

  • on May 28, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    indian cricket team is the most physically unfit team....shame on ya guyzz

  • Capitalist_Cricketer on May 28, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Harsha - Spot on. Especially about the mentoring part, This generation is talented no doubt about that but the mental make up is very different compared to Sachins, Rahuls, Kumbles etc. They need to sponge from these legends as much as they can if India needs to mantain its no 1 slot in Test cricket, 20-20 is a video game, Jesse ryder, rohit sharms and yuvraj all can hit sixes for 10 overs so thats no issue.. But in Test Cricket its a different ball game. A Dravid and Laxman temprement doesnt come easy. Irfan Pathan in my view is the one who needs to come back into the team , Gambhir is the best 'new generation' person with the 'old generation' temprement and then there is Veeru... i love u team India.

  • on May 28, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Actually this fitness thing should be a matter of great shame for all these players. I would seriously be ashamed to stand in the same field with an Australian team or a South African team comparing the body shape while I am earning far more than they would do! Its high time BCCI did something to shapen up their players. Cricket of this day and age is as much about fitness as the natural talent that these individuals that Harsha pointed out posses!!

  • on May 28, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    fantabulous... great to see some journalists have the guts and ability to call slack a slack.. beautifully written and realisticly presented.

    rohit is another yuvraj in making.. i wish harsha's work makes them realise what they need to achieve also nice reminders to gambhirs and rainas ..

    guys need to remember once they are out of the team , it can be pretty tough coming back in..

    anyone who doesnt want to belive talk to IRFAN and KAIF.. they might tell u thing or two

  • CHARLA on May 28, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    YUVRAJ HAS TALENT,ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT EQUATE HIM WITH SACHIN,SEHWAG OR DRAVID.REMEMBER,HE HAD AMPLE OPPORTUNITIES IN TESTS BUT COULD NEVER PROVE HIMSELF. SAME IS THE CASE WITH ROHIT SARMA,WHO ALWAYS COMES UP WITH ON AND OFF PERFORMANCES.TEST MATCH TALENT-I DON'T THINK SO. WHAT BOTH OF THEM HAVE IN PLENTY--AND MORE SO YUVRAJ--IS A SWAGGER AND ARROGANCE WHICH IS THEIR DOWNFALL.THEY MUST FIRST LEARN HUMILITY. WHILE YUVRAJ'S (MIS)DEEDS ARE WELL KNOWN,ROHIT'S ARE DECIPHERABLE BY HIS BEARING.ONE SHOULD RECALL THE COMMENTS OF HIS BOMBAY RANJI CAPTAIN MAJUMDAR A FEW YEARS AGO CRITICISING HIS ATTITUDE. I HAVE A FEELING HIS SELF IS BLOATED UP BY HIS IPL MATES,GILCHRIST AND SYMONDS.HE WOULD DO WELL TO COPY THEIR FITNESS ALSO. THE SELECTORS SHOULD COUNSEL THEM ON THEIR ATTITUDE AND DUMP THEM UNTIL THEY BECOME FIT AND HUMBLE. CHARLA

  • AsifRathod on May 28, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Indian cricketers always have some sort of comfort zone around them, and that's why Indian bench strength doesn't get chance to grow much. Some harsh decision must be taken to the cricketers who are not quite, 100% fit, just throw them out. Some good players like, Dravid, Sachin, will not be there with team forever. And, surely, India team will sink badly in absence of such names. Yuvraj is not a gr8 ODI cricketer and not good enough test player. Selector must sent him to domestic level and ask him to get his fitness back. Take decision harsh or team will go in thrash...

  • Russelltiffin on May 28, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    Thats true. Indian team needs to work on their weaknesses. All the way through it has certainly proved that cricket is becoming more & more commercial. It is certainwhy Australia is No. 1 for more than a decade. Their pitches & ability to adapt is awesome. Have any indian pitch given a whip to the batsmen close to a decade. Certainly No!...

  • Praks on May 28, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Good article Harsha, bang on and very timely indeed! I think you said it all and said it better than anybody else can.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 28, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    A sportsman may take his sport, or his commitment to his sport for granted. He may say, I am committed, because I play the sport most of my time. This is a sign, that he has other preoccupations. Perhaps, the parties of the I P L match nights, was the spoiler, as the players had more to do, in terms of work, to make up for the partying. A player must not party, even if partying is permitted by the cricket board, as was done by the B C C I, on I P L match nights. Why do the best succeed in cricket? Because they are committed consciously to their sport, even though they may not be involved in the sport at the present time.

  • BillyCC on May 28, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    It seems to me that Indian fans are quite harsh towards their team at the moment despite the fact that they are number one in the world. Yes, in test cricket, the only cricket that matters. No one cares about T20 cricket World Cups if you are Test champions, and so India shouldn't care about it. India still have the most solid Test playing batting lineup in the world. And this emphasis on the short ball is a mistake. In T20 cricket, you are trying to set up for an attacking shot every delivery. In Test cricket, a batsman always sets up for a defensive shot first before contemplating an attacking shot. Gambhir doesn't have a problem defending the short ball in Test cricket, otherwise he would have been found out two years ago.

  • Sukhboy on May 28, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    i really beleive in fitness.. few years ago same happened with zaheer and sehwag ..once they loss some weight they were back to their glory.. its sad zaheer got bulky again and lossing his lustre again... i know yuvraj has fatal knee injury but their is hundred of other exercises he can b fit... i dont thing with this fittness he should belongs to indian team and rohit i dont know abt him.. this guys has golden oppurtunity in their life to be one which millions of this country wants to b and they only dreamt abt it... this must b easy to b fit and become the star of millions.....

  • aps_amrit on May 28, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    I hope that BCCI would wake up and take the remedial action.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 28, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    I never believed, that the Indian team under coach Gary Kersten could be so unfit, but now I have the photograph above to bear testimony. How, may I ask, can Dhoni's team be unfit? Dhoni has come from a modest background, which has never been sedentary, on account of his pursuit of the sporting culture. Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, comes from a distinctly more pronounced urban culture, as does Yuvraj Singh. I, personally, am more pear shaped than Rohit, perhaps, we both don't need, in our everyday lives, to exercise our bodies, except only when exercise is needed, in a significant manner. How, may I ask again, can Dhoni, and Kersten have an unfit team? If players are unfit, how are we playing them? I am sure, that Rohit would not complain too much if he were dropped. A sportsman knows, what he is doing, and he is the best judge of his physical and mental condition. Is cricket among Rohit's main priorities? If so, then is he aware of the fact, or is it taken for granted?

  • HK_Sachin on May 28, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    Dear Harsha . Good call outs/much needed ones at those. I think the white elephant in the room is for Yuvraj is: his mental fitness. Having actually worked out besides him in a gym in Jamaica in '05 - I can tell you he LOVES fitness. And I dont mean mental fitness ie lack of depression etc, I mean the ability to put country ahead of who's captain, who's leading and so on. He's hungry for love/recognition, till he gets wiser he wont be a good leader. Being wise is about being ready 'be lead' for the country. If he wants to, he can shed off the weight in weeks. Here's where I feel the BCCI needs to "manage" their players well. Australia seems to do it well, they seem to have a very early recognition system for players with leadership potential. but whats important about that system isnt the leaders its the followers. ie the rest of the team is "managed" to feel good right through their careers.

    Rohit: a shocker to see a pudge on him. post-adolscent-ness? Mental fitness again.

  • iBilal on May 28, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    sorry to tell you brother, but you are double sided. I can still remember your article where you were insisting on having Yuvi in the T20 team. Y the U-turn?

  • on May 28, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    @littlefinger Sir i respect ur commitment to the indian team all these years. But let me tell you that India is World no. 1 in tests and no 2 in one days. I know they had a bad time in west-indies but this is the main time when we guys should actually support our team.

  • LittleFinger on May 28, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    I have supported the Indian cricket team ever since I was 6 years old. I have travelled to New Zealand, England and West Indies (and of course within India) to watch them play (I got to Barbados during WC 2007. But they never did!) They have lost more of the games that I have watched live or on TV or followed on Cricinfo than they have won. It didn't matter ever if they won or lost. I was always going to support them. But following their latest shenanigans in West Indies during T20 WC, I am finally done. Most of this bunch shows no pride in playing for India, and as such, I can't bring myself to be an unflinching supporter. These folks conduct themselves with a sense of entitlement. How can they forget how privileged they are to get a chance to represent their country? They need to earn that privilege every day. I will now only follow Test Cricket till Tendulkar and Dravid are playing. I might last as long as Laxman and Sehwag are around. I am done with the rest of these ingrates.

  • on May 28, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    harsha is bang on while saying that some players need to be fiiter also he is right abt rohit sharma and suresh raina great article harsha probably the best from u i have read

  • agr_ajay on May 28, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    frank article harsha....nice to see you so direct and clear and abolishing diplomatic/soft approach. sometimes,we need to be harsh to put the point across.hope yuvi and rohit read this article.

  • vyas_hyderabadi on May 28, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    There are only a handfull of cricketers over the world who have sustained their fitness for the whole of their career. most of the cricketers in the present generation are flamboyant. Rohit and Yuvraj, both are too good a player to be missing on indian team because of fitness. Too bad that rohit idolises yuvraj and not sachin and gavaskar. Both guys need to get their act together on their fitness and most importantly seal their middle order berths yuvi on all 3 forms and rohit must atleast try to get into all 3 formats. Probably a coach like Jose Mourinho who is capable of handling these type of cricketers must be hired !!

  • Rajit on May 28, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    IPL has given "easy" money and instant fame to youngesters like Rohit & Yusuf.Some how they do well for their franchise ,get India call and fail miserably at he International level.Difference between these two guys is talent.While ROhit is extremely talented,I doubt Yusuf Pathan will wear India colors for long considering his short comings with Short balls,whereas Rohit on the other hand has an attitude problem.He behaves like a star,while is not.These youngsters plus "senior" like Yuvraj needn't look beyond the work ethics of Dravid,Sachin & VVS.If they trade the path of these 3 in terms of work ethics careers of Yuvraj,Rohit,Raina,Kohli et al will prosper or else India will lose some serious talent.

  • ganeshram78 on May 28, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    bhogle proving that he isnt always pro-players, pro-establishment by criticising a few players! these guys need to shed 20kgs to get match-fit again. i dont see that happening for the amount of beer they drink.

  • jomesh on May 28, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Well said Harsha. Indian cricket is at a very crucial phase - it is nearing a make or break point. Like all good things of the world, the true worth of these stalwarts of Indian cricket for the past decade or so, will be known after they are gone - Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, (Kumble & Saurav already retired, and no one till date has been a worthy replacement, atleast in Tests). Some time along the start & middle of this decade, it became apparent that the future of Indian cricket rests to an extent, on the fate of Sehwag & Yuvraj. These are immensely talented and whom capable of holding aloft the torch that Sachin & Dravid have so proudly held. While Sehwag has done no harm to this hope, Yuvraj has been disappointing. Not that he is a complete loser - but it is a tribute to the immense talent that he possess. For some one so talented (perhaps next only to Sachin), he has clearly under-achieved. It would be in the best interest of Indian cricket that he takes his fitness seriously.

  • on May 28, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    Mentorship is something that the BCCI must take into consideration. Shane Warne states in his book how there is immense respect for anyone who has worn the baggy green in Australia, and this in turns leads to cricketers listening to them. Who better to go to if you want to iron out issues about your technique then other cricketers who have gone through the same thing. If youngsters like Sharma and Pathan would just give the greats a ring, I'm sure they'll get that little hint which will iron out any issues they might have with their technique.

  • gzawilliam on May 28, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    I do not go to gym too much as I do not want to build muscles and look bulky... That might affect my bowling. Harbhajan Singh is not a big fan of strength training

    That just says it all about india's team doesn't it? They think strength training is just to get bulky. Honestly? WHere is their conditioning coach?

    Out of the 20/20 wc you could see 90% of the indian players weren't fit enough to be professional athletes. Maybe skilled cricketers but not athletes. And the game is requiring athletic abilities more and more. Look at the Australian and English teams. All looking fit, lean and full of energy. COuld you say that about Yuvraj and raina? I doubt it. Time for india to learn that fitness is a key to success. Or else they will be left behind. Maybe then they might even make pitches that aren't so crap and actually improve their abilities against short bowling.

    Idiocy

  • on May 28, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Mentorship is something that the BCCI must take into consideration. Shane Warne states in his book how there is immense respect for anyone who has worn the baggy green in Australia, and this in turns leads to cricketers listening to them. Who better to go to if you want to iron out issues about your technique then other cricketers who have gone through the same thing. If youngsters like Sharma and Pathan would just give the greats a ring, I'm sure they'll get that little hint which will iron out any issues they might have with their technique.

  • whitemonk on May 28, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Harsha, very happy to see you take some risk and call a spade a spade. You are very likeable and many cricketers are your friends but good to see you (finally) uphold your obligation to constructive criticism as a journalist.

  • SUNDOS on May 28, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    One can't agree more.Fortunately team India has a coaching team who Im sure will initiate action away from the media glare,now its up to the Administration to wield the stick (enough carrots already offered),but do it in an effective way,this is transition time for India,Dravid/Tendulkar/Lakhsman are in the twilight of their careers,their replacements must come from the bench strength" India professes to have. Cricketing ability aside ,fitness and attitude should be the essentials.One last lament..Irfan Pathan..what will it take for you to rediscover your lost zing and zip??

  • Vintej on May 28, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    I largely agree with what Harsha says. But instead of Dravid, Kumble is a better person to mentor the youngsters. Just for the IPL matches, Kumble appeared in top physical shape, and we all isghed at what the Indian team was missing. By far the most respected leader, Kumble can do wonders.Hope BCCI wakes up to this opportunity. Amen!

  • on May 28, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    As always Harsha, a very insghtful article... Think it is time to give opportunities to ppl like Pujara, Tiwary and Rayudu... the latter looks hungriest of them all

  • hollandindian on May 28, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    I really shocked a few months ago when i saw yuvi "running" on the field. Same with rohit. And look at the Aussies, they just look fabelous.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on May 28, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Fitness should be driven from the top. The captain must insist on it, lead from the front and be fit himself. India set out a bad precedent in appointing Saurav as captain. Bowlers who can't bowl for 7 overs at a stretch, should not be selected for even first class cricket. Spinners have no excuse to carry a paunch. There are innumerable weight management programs available today that can help a player maintain weight. What's the BCCI doing, but then look at the office bearers themselves! Physically unfit people should not be allowed to associate with competitive sports. This is commonsense. Is there a stamina check on athletes? Is there an effort to improve their running speed between wickets? Some of them run as if they run on a treadmill! Make them run out in the open and not in the gym!

  • Percy_Fender on May 28, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan has problems only with the short ball. If he gets over that with much practice, he could become a world beater. Gambhir is not suspect to the short ball. Probably the bounce of back of a length deliveries caused him some surprise. He will get over it if he has not already.Rohit Sharma is supremely talented but probably weak of mind. He needs counselling. He will do well to realise that but for cricket he would just be a face in the crowd.Irfan Pathan has lost his pace because I feel he does not use his his body weight before and on the delivery stride.I wish he would watch Nannes, Steyn, Johnson and more that anyone else, Wasim Akram. All of them have a very noticable shift of the trunk of their body backwards following which they transfer weight as in a cartwheel and then go into the delivery stride. Pathan bowls only with is arms. He has the hieght and the weight. His swing will return if he gets his pace.He needs to bowl consistently at 140 kmph.

  • D_h_E_e_R_a_J on May 28, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    So darn true and it saddens and frustates me to know that we are losing one of the most talented batsman of the his generation because of him not being passionate/committed enough to the game. Yes, I am talking of Yuvraj Singh. He was my hope to be with Sehwag in the generation to follow Tendulkar/Dravid/Laxman/Ganguly. Going by current standards, Tendulkar may play ODIs for longer than Yuvi. Hope he realizes his worth and potential to shape up!

  • ravirrs on May 28, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Good point Harsha. But it is certainly not going to make a difference till the Captain / coach /selectors point the same to the players. Zaheer went through the same patch and worked his way back to team. If a player is returning from Injury, they should proove the fitness in domestic prior returning to National side. BCCI is unliekly to take that approch and these folks have taken their place for granted

  • Percy_Fender on May 28, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Indian cricket has been ill served by the media is making so much young players who have given the odd moment of brilliance. So Yuvraj Singh has a safe deposit for life because of his forceful debut against Australia and of course, the six 6s in the World Cup of Stuart Broad. Fittness is of little relevance to him as seen in his present state of health. I wonder if he has ever realised that he is perhaps the biggest under achiever in INdian cricket over the last decade.The sad part is that with all the money that comes his way in endorsements and the IPL, he could'nt care less. Is there something genetic here I wonder. Yograj was believed to be pacier and more talented than Kapil Dev by Desh Prem Azad, who coached both of them. But where Kapil became an alltime great, Yograj chose the comfort of his business and wealth in Chandigarh. The point to worry about is that Yuvi's glamour provides instant appeal to the young and impressionable who choose to emulate him. He should be kept away.

  • forzaps on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    To me, Rohit Sharma's shot selection is a bigger problem than his fitness, though his fitness (or lack thereof) is probably symptomatic. I've watched him knicking a ball wide outside off-stump (for Mumbai and India) multiple times, while winding his wrists lazily through it with his feet nowhere near the ball. He must learn to earn his runs. I will never give up on Yuvraj. To me, he has shown that he is capable of great resolve, hopefully he will regain whatever it is that makes him awesome.

  • Wisecrack on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    The best article Mr. Bhogle has written. Rohit Sharma's attitude is an extremely worrying sign and Yuvraj has been given upteen oppurtunities to change his work ethics but unfortunately both believe India cannot do without them and they are clearly mistaken; moreso Yuvraj Singh.

  • srinivasvijai on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Well said Harsha! It's high time cricketers like Yuvraj are brought in line. Not only is he spoiling his own career but also setting a bad example for young cricketers like Rohit Sharma. I was shocked to read some days back that Rohit idolises Yuvraj. And to think that he comes from the city of Gavaskar and Tendulkar! If the Indian team continues to accommodate arrogant and egotistical cricketers like them, I am afraid it will lose a lot of fans in the years to come. It's when you look at these guys, do we realise how lucky we were to have ppl like Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman represent our country.

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  • srinivasvijai on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Well said Harsha! It's high time cricketers like Yuvraj are brought in line. Not only is he spoiling his own career but also setting a bad example for young cricketers like Rohit Sharma. I was shocked to read some days back that Rohit idolises Yuvraj. And to think that he comes from the city of Gavaskar and Tendulkar! If the Indian team continues to accommodate arrogant and egotistical cricketers like them, I am afraid it will lose a lot of fans in the years to come. It's when you look at these guys, do we realise how lucky we were to have ppl like Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman represent our country.

  • Wisecrack on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    The best article Mr. Bhogle has written. Rohit Sharma's attitude is an extremely worrying sign and Yuvraj has been given upteen oppurtunities to change his work ethics but unfortunately both believe India cannot do without them and they are clearly mistaken; moreso Yuvraj Singh.

  • forzaps on May 28, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    To me, Rohit Sharma's shot selection is a bigger problem than his fitness, though his fitness (or lack thereof) is probably symptomatic. I've watched him knicking a ball wide outside off-stump (for Mumbai and India) multiple times, while winding his wrists lazily through it with his feet nowhere near the ball. He must learn to earn his runs. I will never give up on Yuvraj. To me, he has shown that he is capable of great resolve, hopefully he will regain whatever it is that makes him awesome.

  • Percy_Fender on May 28, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Indian cricket has been ill served by the media is making so much young players who have given the odd moment of brilliance. So Yuvraj Singh has a safe deposit for life because of his forceful debut against Australia and of course, the six 6s in the World Cup of Stuart Broad. Fittness is of little relevance to him as seen in his present state of health. I wonder if he has ever realised that he is perhaps the biggest under achiever in INdian cricket over the last decade.The sad part is that with all the money that comes his way in endorsements and the IPL, he could'nt care less. Is there something genetic here I wonder. Yograj was believed to be pacier and more talented than Kapil Dev by Desh Prem Azad, who coached both of them. But where Kapil became an alltime great, Yograj chose the comfort of his business and wealth in Chandigarh. The point to worry about is that Yuvi's glamour provides instant appeal to the young and impressionable who choose to emulate him. He should be kept away.

  • ravirrs on May 28, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Good point Harsha. But it is certainly not going to make a difference till the Captain / coach /selectors point the same to the players. Zaheer went through the same patch and worked his way back to team. If a player is returning from Injury, they should proove the fitness in domestic prior returning to National side. BCCI is unliekly to take that approch and these folks have taken their place for granted

  • D_h_E_e_R_a_J on May 28, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    So darn true and it saddens and frustates me to know that we are losing one of the most talented batsman of the his generation because of him not being passionate/committed enough to the game. Yes, I am talking of Yuvraj Singh. He was my hope to be with Sehwag in the generation to follow Tendulkar/Dravid/Laxman/Ganguly. Going by current standards, Tendulkar may play ODIs for longer than Yuvi. Hope he realizes his worth and potential to shape up!

  • Percy_Fender on May 28, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan has problems only with the short ball. If he gets over that with much practice, he could become a world beater. Gambhir is not suspect to the short ball. Probably the bounce of back of a length deliveries caused him some surprise. He will get over it if he has not already.Rohit Sharma is supremely talented but probably weak of mind. He needs counselling. He will do well to realise that but for cricket he would just be a face in the crowd.Irfan Pathan has lost his pace because I feel he does not use his his body weight before and on the delivery stride.I wish he would watch Nannes, Steyn, Johnson and more that anyone else, Wasim Akram. All of them have a very noticable shift of the trunk of their body backwards following which they transfer weight as in a cartwheel and then go into the delivery stride. Pathan bowls only with is arms. He has the hieght and the weight. His swing will return if he gets his pace.He needs to bowl consistently at 140 kmph.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on May 28, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Fitness should be driven from the top. The captain must insist on it, lead from the front and be fit himself. India set out a bad precedent in appointing Saurav as captain. Bowlers who can't bowl for 7 overs at a stretch, should not be selected for even first class cricket. Spinners have no excuse to carry a paunch. There are innumerable weight management programs available today that can help a player maintain weight. What's the BCCI doing, but then look at the office bearers themselves! Physically unfit people should not be allowed to associate with competitive sports. This is commonsense. Is there a stamina check on athletes? Is there an effort to improve their running speed between wickets? Some of them run as if they run on a treadmill! Make them run out in the open and not in the gym!

  • hollandindian on May 28, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    I really shocked a few months ago when i saw yuvi "running" on the field. Same with rohit. And look at the Aussies, they just look fabelous.

  • on May 28, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    As always Harsha, a very insghtful article... Think it is time to give opportunities to ppl like Pujara, Tiwary and Rayudu... the latter looks hungriest of them all