August 23, 2011

A few urgent repairs

India need to take a long, hard look at themselves, starting with the bowling
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India have suffered a thrashing at the hands of England and Indian cricket is currently in crisis mode - at least the fans and media are. What mode its management and the BCCI get into after the series is finished will be interesting to see, and obviously, critical to the team's future.

This is not the first time India have been embarrassed like this in international cricket, but it is the first in recent times, and that worries me a little. I'm concerned this defeat may be brushed off with "It happens sometimes", "You can't be winning all the time" and "How can the No. 1 side suddenly become a bad team over four weeks?" If that happens, there may not be any significant action taken after the tour, and with the three-Test West Indies home series coming up next, matters will be "resolved" automatically.

It is essential for the long-term healthy growth of Indian cricket that a question be raised: Did this Indian team have an off series in England, or are they going to find it increasingly difficult to take on the tougher challenges in Test cricket?

This series against England was grade A Test cricket, and the one that follows is grade B. India clearly should look to excel at the former, and that is how they will also be able to get their No. 1 status back.

Let me make it clear that we are talking specifically about Test cricket here, for we tend to make the common mistake of not looking at the three different brands of the international game differently. It is a trap even the selectors are guilty of falling into. Think of the differences between Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina when you need to remind yourself of the difference between Test and limited-overs cricket.

My answer to that question, whether this Indian team has only stumbled and will quickly bounce back, is no. India's soft underbelly has been exposed in England - specifically, their reliance on one man to form a decent bowling attack to complement the batting.

India needs to declare an emergency as far as their bowling is concerned. They have to start by first accepting the hard fact that Zaheer Khan coming back to spearhead the bowling attack for any length of time seems unlikely now. If, like Dravid and Tendulkar, he gets a second wind, that will be a huge bonus, but to move forward without counting on that would be the sensible thing to do.

Praveen Kumar has been nothing short of a revelation, but to have a 70mph bowler with two months' Test cricket experience leading the attack in England showed the world how inadequate India's bowling was.

The only other bowler who seems to have the potential to take over from Zaheer is Ishant Sharma, but Ishant at this stage of his career needs someone like an Imran Khan to teach him how to put more balls in the areas where batsmen don't like them. For all his ability and attitude, Ishant is just not probing enough consistently enough to be a world-class seamer and leader of India's attack. Currently, though, he is the only one who seems to give India that hope, and that is why they need to take good care of him - though this is easier said than done.

I have been very disappointed with Sreesanth. After his performance during the South Africa tour I thought India had found a world-class bowler to complement Zaheer, but once again Sreesanth has shown that he can only provide occasional flashes of brilliance amid a lot of mediocre bowling. Maybe that mediocrity has a lot to do with his overall fitness. India cannot place faith in such players.

Munaf Patel belongs in the same category - of those not having enough promise for India to invest time in. It's time to look beyond these players, and while doing so, the think tank needs to give preference to bowlers who have some athleticism; that sort of bowler doesn't break down all that easily.

Did this Indian team have an off series in England, or are they just not good enough anymore to take on the tougher challenges in Test cricket?

The time has also come to prepare for life after Harbhajan Singh, and the West Indies series is a great opportunity to do just that. Play R Ashwin in all three Tests. Don't give him the feeling that he is only coming in for one game before the senior stalwart returns and takes his rightful place. That never gets the best out of a young talent.

Ashwin is considered a limited-overs specialist and many think he may not look as impressive in the longer form. To them I say: I have seen Ashwin trouble batsmen in limited-overs cricket when they are looking only to defend against him. Also, let's not forget that a few years ago we thought Virender Sehwag was a one-day specialist. It was the same with Praveen Kumar too.

If Ashwin fails to impress, Harbhajan can be brought back for the Australia tour, in which case he will hopefully be fired up, stung by being left out. A similar snub before an Australia tour worked wonders with Sehwag; maybe it will with Bhajji too.

Tackling the batting is more difficult. They have had a rare failure as a unit, so this one is a little complex. There is, however, one thing that you don't get to see well on television, and that is the overall energy of the team in the field. Even in defeat a No. 1 team has to look the part. Think Australia here. Having all these veterans in the field doesn't quite help India when the chips are down. VVS Laxman's lack of athleticism has been taunted, albeit discreetly, here in England. At some stage Indian cricket will have to set fitness standards in the field, and when they decide to do that people like Laxman, for all the value he brings with the bat, may find it difficult to carry on playing for India with just one skill.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    Also BCCI should start allowing its contracted and non contracted players to play in county. Without such experience it is impossible to win in England. Else Raina, Kohli et al will never learn to deal with swing and keep on failing. We have quite a few young pacers like U Yadav, Unadkat, Vinaykumar, Aron etc. and they need plenty of league experience in England like conditions. Even before A team tours let them play in leagues so that there will be good cricketing habits and culture within. Another observation is now days journey is from T20 to ODI to Test matches. Why can't we have A grade matches to Test journey? Look at case of Badri, selectors waisted his talent by trying him in ODIs. Just like any other profession Cricket as well is practice oriented profession and simple solution here is to let them practice more is foreign conditions, so that there will be more good Cricketers not superstars. Well an opinion from a fan else many talented and political people are there for this.

  • POSTED BY RFeynman on | August 26, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    It is ridiculous to think of dropping Laxman because he had one bad series. I guess it is easy for some people to forget that the reason India managed to stay on top for so long was because they never lost a series before England for around 2-3 years. Who was instrumental in maintaining that record? Laxman! For those with memory loss like Mr.Sanjay Manjrekar, he was the guy who won the test for us against Australia in India, scored many a match saving hundreds in third and fourth innings against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. I am sorry I would rather see a "non-athlete" Laxman score match saving fifties and hundreds than a "fit athlete" Raina save 5 runs in the field, because Raina for all money is not going to contribute with bat anywhere outside the sub continent.

  • POSTED BY sanjutaz on | August 26, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    isn't it funny dear sanjay that you suddenly are talking about laxman's fitness and form? weren't you aware of his lack of so called athletisism when he was continuously saving and winning matches for indian since 2002?laxman is not a great athlet ,but he is the safest slip fielder india ever had.except from raina ,tell me one name from the test tem who can be termed as a good fielder.and what about dhoni's performance as the wicket keeper batsman? has he done enough to justify his captaincy? what about bringing a parthiv patel or dinesh karthik as his replacement? why you are not considering this fact?

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 25, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Yes, I knew this was coming. One bad series and VVS has to be slaughtered. And what's that thing with Dravid & Raina vis-a-vis Tests & ODIs? Utter tosh! When you think of Dravid, you just don't think of Tests alone. You think of Tests, ODIs and T20s; the most versatile, rarest of rare genius plus unmatched discipline, hardwork and skills in the most selfless batsman India has ever produced, you think of wicket-keeping and specialist slip fielder; all kinds of players rolled into one. When you think of Raina on the other hand, you don't even think of ODIs. You think of T20s alone. Enough of your thingy like Dravid and the art of defence and trying to stereotype him. Guys like you do a lot of disservice to Indian Cricket while playing and while commenting as well. Nuff said....

  • POSTED BY amitcricketcrazy on | August 25, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    First of all welcome for every cricket lover.this is my first comment. now everybody talking about india and england after loosing india 4-0.still i belived that neither india is diserve to stay as no.1 team in test nor england is great team. when you seriously watched both team record in past 2 years both team won home series only except 3-1 ashes sries.when you comapare to late W.I. team and australian team both team are far behind and i dont think that any team will achived that result.look at australian team record 2 times 16 win in row,hold no1 ranking for more than 7 year. can both england and india do? never will do. so we just think that india now worse and england great team.its only time factor that its happen and still belive that india,australia,england,africa,srilnaka both all are same caliber team non are great and neither can compare with late W.I. and austrlia.finally 2 teams are only great in cricket history that W.I. nad australia.neither team can match up them.never.

  • POSTED BY samonly007200 on | August 25, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Why praveen kumar is ok to bowl with his speed and Irfan Pathan not. They both ball at the same speed... Both are swing bowlers. Irfan Pathan has taken test had trick in first over and has good record when playing outside India...why is everybody given a chance but not him.. ? Why was rp singh chosen ? Why not irfan Pathan? He should have been persisted with and should have been given good run and confidence. His presence will solve the all rounder problem India always had. Perhaps IP has pressed a wrong nerve with dhoni and Shrikant. Irfan Pathan s career is being destroyed...when he is a person who can replace Zaheer khan when time comes... We cannot expect a miracle to get a bowler bowling at 150km/hr.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    Poor Sanjay.... Why u r crying on Laxman...??? U r hilighting Laxman's athleticism after losing to England...?? Why u didnot asked about Laxman's athleticism after Srilanka or Australians test series last year....???

    What about Sehwag and Ghambir's athleticism...?

    I think u r trying to cover Sachin...!!!

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 24, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    Even a #1 team can look like Minnows when they are caught on the wrong foot at the wrong place. India lost Zaheer, Yuvraj, Harbhajan & Kumar due to injuries and Sehwag, Gambhir & Ishant were playing injured. When 7 out of their best players are unfit, how can you win. To be fair India lost their top 3 bowlers from an already an average bowling side. But the worst blow was loss of the opening pair Sehwag & Gambhir which put the batting in disarray. India only need to get their players in peak physical shape by physio & conditioning. In addition India need to replace Bhaiji with Ashwin. If the new fast bowler Aaron can be trained in length & direction then we have Ishant, Kumar & Aaron in pace + Ashwin , Mishra & ojha in Spin. A number of talented young batsmen & bowlers are also knocking at the door. So India has a good pool of young players.This loss to England has caused unnecessary panic. But if India had its full strength injury free team, they would have won this England series.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | August 24, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    VVS not being athletic is a known thing. So was Ganguly. But VVS' presence makes an intangible difference. In any case, he is a slip fielder who doesn't need athleticism as much as quick reflexes. I'm not saying that we condone such lack of athleticism, but just that VVS' inclusion is justified due to other valid reasons. True he did bad this series, but he'll come good soon. And I'm sure if he is on the plane to Australia, he WILL deliver there. I'm confident. We'll soon be talking about him like how we are now about Dravid. My only worry is Dhoni. He is clearly a class act. Maybe the poor guy is just emotionally drained. He needs a break. I hope he gets to sit out of the CLT20. i don't know if it's in his hands to decide that, but for his sake I hope he can skip the CLT20. I'm a CSK fan and I'm more than satisfied with their performances. Now I want to see retribution! I want India to maul the hosts next time they visit England.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | August 24, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Yep I agree with a commenter below. You either drop a player and wait for him to show some performances before including him again, or you press on with him and hope he will come good sooner rather than later. What's the point in just dropping for 1 series and bringing him back on especially if you publicize it like this? He will just use that time to go on a vacation and turn up even worse for the next tour. If Bhajji needs to be dropped, then he must not be included until he shows credible performances that make for a compelling case to be included again. Give Ashwin and Ojha more chances. Give Mishra some more chances. Now is the best time to make some radical team changes because we've already hit rock bottom and a few failed experiments will not raise any more eyebrows. On the other hand, a few positives that may emerge will only serve to help the cause of building a good Test team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    Also BCCI should start allowing its contracted and non contracted players to play in county. Without such experience it is impossible to win in England. Else Raina, Kohli et al will never learn to deal with swing and keep on failing. We have quite a few young pacers like U Yadav, Unadkat, Vinaykumar, Aron etc. and they need plenty of league experience in England like conditions. Even before A team tours let them play in leagues so that there will be good cricketing habits and culture within. Another observation is now days journey is from T20 to ODI to Test matches. Why can't we have A grade matches to Test journey? Look at case of Badri, selectors waisted his talent by trying him in ODIs. Just like any other profession Cricket as well is practice oriented profession and simple solution here is to let them practice more is foreign conditions, so that there will be more good Cricketers not superstars. Well an opinion from a fan else many talented and political people are there for this.

  • POSTED BY RFeynman on | August 26, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    It is ridiculous to think of dropping Laxman because he had one bad series. I guess it is easy for some people to forget that the reason India managed to stay on top for so long was because they never lost a series before England for around 2-3 years. Who was instrumental in maintaining that record? Laxman! For those with memory loss like Mr.Sanjay Manjrekar, he was the guy who won the test for us against Australia in India, scored many a match saving hundreds in third and fourth innings against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. I am sorry I would rather see a "non-athlete" Laxman score match saving fifties and hundreds than a "fit athlete" Raina save 5 runs in the field, because Raina for all money is not going to contribute with bat anywhere outside the sub continent.

  • POSTED BY sanjutaz on | August 26, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    isn't it funny dear sanjay that you suddenly are talking about laxman's fitness and form? weren't you aware of his lack of so called athletisism when he was continuously saving and winning matches for indian since 2002?laxman is not a great athlet ,but he is the safest slip fielder india ever had.except from raina ,tell me one name from the test tem who can be termed as a good fielder.and what about dhoni's performance as the wicket keeper batsman? has he done enough to justify his captaincy? what about bringing a parthiv patel or dinesh karthik as his replacement? why you are not considering this fact?

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 25, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Yes, I knew this was coming. One bad series and VVS has to be slaughtered. And what's that thing with Dravid & Raina vis-a-vis Tests & ODIs? Utter tosh! When you think of Dravid, you just don't think of Tests alone. You think of Tests, ODIs and T20s; the most versatile, rarest of rare genius plus unmatched discipline, hardwork and skills in the most selfless batsman India has ever produced, you think of wicket-keeping and specialist slip fielder; all kinds of players rolled into one. When you think of Raina on the other hand, you don't even think of ODIs. You think of T20s alone. Enough of your thingy like Dravid and the art of defence and trying to stereotype him. Guys like you do a lot of disservice to Indian Cricket while playing and while commenting as well. Nuff said....

  • POSTED BY amitcricketcrazy on | August 25, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    First of all welcome for every cricket lover.this is my first comment. now everybody talking about india and england after loosing india 4-0.still i belived that neither india is diserve to stay as no.1 team in test nor england is great team. when you seriously watched both team record in past 2 years both team won home series only except 3-1 ashes sries.when you comapare to late W.I. team and australian team both team are far behind and i dont think that any team will achived that result.look at australian team record 2 times 16 win in row,hold no1 ranking for more than 7 year. can both england and india do? never will do. so we just think that india now worse and england great team.its only time factor that its happen and still belive that india,australia,england,africa,srilnaka both all are same caliber team non are great and neither can compare with late W.I. and austrlia.finally 2 teams are only great in cricket history that W.I. nad australia.neither team can match up them.never.

  • POSTED BY samonly007200 on | August 25, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Why praveen kumar is ok to bowl with his speed and Irfan Pathan not. They both ball at the same speed... Both are swing bowlers. Irfan Pathan has taken test had trick in first over and has good record when playing outside India...why is everybody given a chance but not him.. ? Why was rp singh chosen ? Why not irfan Pathan? He should have been persisted with and should have been given good run and confidence. His presence will solve the all rounder problem India always had. Perhaps IP has pressed a wrong nerve with dhoni and Shrikant. Irfan Pathan s career is being destroyed...when he is a person who can replace Zaheer khan when time comes... We cannot expect a miracle to get a bowler bowling at 150km/hr.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    Poor Sanjay.... Why u r crying on Laxman...??? U r hilighting Laxman's athleticism after losing to England...?? Why u didnot asked about Laxman's athleticism after Srilanka or Australians test series last year....???

    What about Sehwag and Ghambir's athleticism...?

    I think u r trying to cover Sachin...!!!

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 24, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    Even a #1 team can look like Minnows when they are caught on the wrong foot at the wrong place. India lost Zaheer, Yuvraj, Harbhajan & Kumar due to injuries and Sehwag, Gambhir & Ishant were playing injured. When 7 out of their best players are unfit, how can you win. To be fair India lost their top 3 bowlers from an already an average bowling side. But the worst blow was loss of the opening pair Sehwag & Gambhir which put the batting in disarray. India only need to get their players in peak physical shape by physio & conditioning. In addition India need to replace Bhaiji with Ashwin. If the new fast bowler Aaron can be trained in length & direction then we have Ishant, Kumar & Aaron in pace + Ashwin , Mishra & ojha in Spin. A number of talented young batsmen & bowlers are also knocking at the door. So India has a good pool of young players.This loss to England has caused unnecessary panic. But if India had its full strength injury free team, they would have won this England series.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | August 24, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    VVS not being athletic is a known thing. So was Ganguly. But VVS' presence makes an intangible difference. In any case, he is a slip fielder who doesn't need athleticism as much as quick reflexes. I'm not saying that we condone such lack of athleticism, but just that VVS' inclusion is justified due to other valid reasons. True he did bad this series, but he'll come good soon. And I'm sure if he is on the plane to Australia, he WILL deliver there. I'm confident. We'll soon be talking about him like how we are now about Dravid. My only worry is Dhoni. He is clearly a class act. Maybe the poor guy is just emotionally drained. He needs a break. I hope he gets to sit out of the CLT20. i don't know if it's in his hands to decide that, but for his sake I hope he can skip the CLT20. I'm a CSK fan and I'm more than satisfied with their performances. Now I want to see retribution! I want India to maul the hosts next time they visit England.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | August 24, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    Yep I agree with a commenter below. You either drop a player and wait for him to show some performances before including him again, or you press on with him and hope he will come good sooner rather than later. What's the point in just dropping for 1 series and bringing him back on especially if you publicize it like this? He will just use that time to go on a vacation and turn up even worse for the next tour. If Bhajji needs to be dropped, then he must not be included until he shows credible performances that make for a compelling case to be included again. Give Ashwin and Ojha more chances. Give Mishra some more chances. Now is the best time to make some radical team changes because we've already hit rock bottom and a few failed experiments will not raise any more eyebrows. On the other hand, a few positives that may emerge will only serve to help the cause of building a good Test team.

  • POSTED BY SRAM20 on | August 24, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    Dont place too much emphasis on Laxman. How long is he going to continue playing? We need to find a new and younger anchor. Giving chances to guys like Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rahane, Kohli would be the way to go. The 3 seniors need to be urgently spaced out of test cricket. First to go would be Laxman (because Sachin's presence itself always gives the team respectability and he has done very well in the last 2-3 years). Same with Dravid. Ashwin should replace Harbhajan once and for all. Try guys like Aaron, Umesh Yadav and find a replacement for Zaheer. Throw out guys like Munaf, Nehra, RP Singh, Sreesanth once and for all. They are all temporary fixes. Praveen shows good temperament, so retain him. India need a major reality check. A 'horses for courses' policy where test specialists are given preference in tests should be adopted.

  • POSTED BY Vnott on | August 24, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Sanjay, u hv really hit the panic button here. If we look at the root of the problem,the main issue was India not being able to play a settled side in the entire series. During the last decade, India steadily rose to the top through consistent batting - In Every match atleast 3 among Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman scored big in each innings literally. To the extent their averages over a 3 year period was reading 70+ for sehwag, tendulkar and gambhir and in fifties for Dravid and Laxman. Here barring Dravid others did not do well and in the case of Gambhir and Sehwag they were not there for half the series. The other big big factor is the injury to Zaheer and the retirement of Kumble. Zaheer was needed. Both Ishant and Sreesanth are confidence bowlers. They need an arm around their shoulder to do well. Ashwin shd be given a go. Raina shd be avoided in tests. If Virat at 6 and Aaron as express fast r added, we shd turn things around down under. All we need is a fit team

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | August 24, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    Lets learn from England..when you don't have enough local talent, just import them. India either doesn't have or can't find respectable local fast bowling talent. Why don't we try the English ploy...import them! Give citizenship to Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Aamir (don't worry, BCCI can get his ban order repealed). While they're at it, they might as well get Saeed Ajmal too who is far better than Bhajji at the moment.

  • POSTED BY kkorn on | August 24, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    Come on, people! Sanjay Manjarekar was an average batsman and a average player whose analysis is equal to his playing ability. India were beaten by a superior English team and that is a fact. But don't forget that this India team won the world cup and prior to that had a string of good performances. The reason they were beaten thoroughly by this England side was that they were under prepared, tried to get players that were coming of injuries to play too soon and may have been playing too much cricket (fatigue??). To me it seemed as though most of the Indian cricketers seem to lack any fight. Was this just mental fatigue? Was it that leading up to the world cup there was so much pressure on the players that once they did win it, they lost fight and motivation? While it was a superb performance by England, it is a little premature to label them among the all time best sides. They are definitely good but to be judged in the "All time greats" they need to sustain this level of dominance.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    Manjrekar looks confused, to opine that Zak will not come back is an under statement, for that part, Zaheer has faced similar situations in the past and has made comebacks. Surprisingly he uses this article to attack Sachin and VVS which is not the talk of the hour, we should groom at-least 4-5 players in both bowling and batting dept, make them comfortable and then groom them for the succession of the Fab-5 or Fab-3 in Batting & Bowling respectively. He seems to have forgotten Irfan & Balaji as well

  • POSTED BY crazysloggers on | August 24, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    the bowlers bowled thier hearts out. teh captain was just keeping and behind teh stumps..poor field placing and no encouragement cost us the game.

  • POSTED BY 3Cents on | August 24, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    Don't forget that the finale of the test championship will be held at Lord's (most likely we will not qualify but at the least we should aim for it). Clearly Gambhir and Sehwag are the best openers we have got and only an injury is the reason to drop them. That leaves only Sachin, who scored a lot of runs in the last 3yrs but not necessarily the high quality ones. Also, he is not getting any younger. Once he gets his 100th hundred, hopefully against the WI, we should let him go (don't wait for the Aus tour, we want to try more young blood there). We should give Laxman and Dravid together another 2yrs (with some rotation later against weaker teams, when we can use those tests to groom with atleast one of these stalwarts playing). Importantly, this should be discussed in detail with these guys well in advance, so we can give them the right kind of farewell they deserve for all those moments of great joy they have given to the average Indian fan. Sachin should retire after his 100th 100.

  • POSTED BY 3Cents on | August 24, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    Dear Sanjay,

    Very disappointed with your analysis. If we focus on the Top 5 batting slots in the current Test Team (the 6th one anyway is open and up for grabs), we have Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin and Laxman. Of the 5, on current form and fitness and keeping in mind age and future utility, the only one who has the least impact on the team's fortunes is ironically Sachin. Dravid is back big time with his display on the difficult pitches in both WI and England. Laxman has consistently proved to be India's 911 man till the England series. As already highlighted, he is India's best slip fielder (rarely drops catches anywhere) and his lack of athleticism is hardly a hindrance. His ability to score runs in the high pressure situations consistently is way more important for team India, if we harbor any hope of being in the top 4 for the test championship later. On current form Dravid can't be dispensed with on difficult pitches.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    "If Ashwin fails to impress, Harbhajan can be brought back for the Australia tour"

    It's this exact attitude that's got us in this kind of mess multiple times. You either give a player a good run or you don't. You either drop a player and ask him to show form somewhere else before bringing him back or you keep him in the team and hope that he returns to form soon. Either show faith in the player or have faith and conviction in the decisions you make as a selector. It's retarded to drop someone for a single test series and then suddenly bring him back the next.

  • POSTED BY sanjutaz on | August 24, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    lakshman has been india's most prolific run scorer and the saviour since 2002..he has won more matches than any [he is the one who performed consistently than the so called legends in the last 2 years]..if he gets dropped for this one failure,the concept of class will be wiped away from cricket..

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | August 24, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    This defeat has probably happened at the right time.The BCCI will know now that the World Rankings of the ICC are not 10 year fixed ratings.Dhoni will probably realise that he can lost at times and lose as badly as he has done.I am surprised that Sanjay Manjrekar has suggested a name in regard to coaching Ishant alone. What we need is a good bowling coach immediately who is able to communicate with his wards without any language barrier.Eric Simmons has been a good regular coach reportedly in South Africa.But he seems to have failed miserably in India. It could be because he is not able to exress himself.Players like Varun Aaron, Ashwin, Bhatt,Abdulla,Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey the Tiwaris and Cheteshwar Pujara need to be given their chances by resting the seniors in all the forthcoming series at home. I am more than sure then that one will get to see who the future core group will be made of. In 96, the future did look bleak.Then Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman happened.

  • POSTED BY dunque on | August 24, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Lack of preparation must be one of the main factors. the fact that India are preparing for the ODIs with 3 warm up games yet managed only one warm up for the test series surely speaks volumes.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Off form, exception etc. can be for one test or two. It can't be for all 4 matches. Inability to cross the score of three hundred repeatedly, all batsman except Rahul failing in crucial times, bowlers being absolutely ineffective and finally on fielding - less mentioned is better. This are all symptoms of being less serious, without preparation, may be bit complacent. I agree that the entire team can't become mediocre in 4 months but they can definitely become over-confident. They are human beings and they prioritize in their mind. World Cup, IPL was before English tour for sure. Finally, I shall not be surprised if they jump to play in CL and again get tired as well as injured. Australians earn less than Indians but they avoid IPL for country duty. Our board will not force players to take rest and CL is their creation. Only way out is public opinion. We need determinate England in the upcoming series in India. For that we need to do whatever it takes, if required stop CL.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Surprised that Sanjay Manjarekar thought Sreesanth a world-class bowler after the SA tour ... Sreesanth averaged 42 with ball in that series!! That guy sucks on many levels and should not be selected. Perhaps BCCI should organize first class cricket tours in Eng-SA-Oz so that Indian cricketers on the bench get familiarized with those conditions. I am not too worried about SRT and VVS. VVS had his first failure of a series in 2 years while SRT paid the price of taking Eng too lightly. These 2 blokes will get back on track soon.

  • POSTED BY Swamin on | August 24, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    Selectors should have given preference to Ashwin instead of Ojha. Dont understand why they have not replaced Sreesanth with Munaf in the last test.Indian fast bowlers should be willing to play in county matches which will help them bowling in any condition. Or BCCI should prepare green pitches atleast for domestic matches.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Lol even my cricket club couldve put up a better fight then india. The world has seen how good india are espically against chin music smell the leather type bowling i cant thank enough for IPl for destroying the indian cricket LONG LIVE IPL time and time again i post comments that india dont have a 'fast' bowler they do have medium fast bowlers you need the likes of AKHTAR or LEE. Now whats going to happen is that india will beat west indies at home and believe they still are #1 and then go to australia and get beating just like they got one from england if i got a beating like that from a team i would quit cricket and now we have to see who is brave enough to take the first step and retire indian cricket RIP

  • POSTED BY srikumar_radha on | August 24, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    Looks like Manjrekar, like Naveen888 has lost track on who bailed out India in the last three test series before this - against South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. Was Laxman's fitness an issue until now? He was hailed as the unsung saviour of the Indian Team. Test cricket requires temperament and fitness is not an imperative attribute, although helpful. Purely fitness is not going to win you test matches and while I accept that Laxman's backfoot technique did not suceed in England, he is bound to do well everywhere else. Yes, his fitness in the past became a "pretext" for dropping him from previous world cups by we all know who.

  • POSTED BY deepak_sholapurkar on | August 24, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    No comments on Dhoni's Wicket Keeping..!. It was worst. He was trying to stop the balls not trying to collect

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    "VVS Laxman's lack of athleticism has been taunted, albeit discreetly, here in England. At some stage Indian cricket will have to set fitness standards in the field, and when they decide to do that people like Laxman, for all the value he brings with the bat, may find it difficult to carry on playing for India with just one skill. "

    How many catches has vvs laxman dropped in the recent past or how many runs has he let go. Here is one batsman who has time and again rescued India from precarious positions and just one bad series, people are gunning for his head. When will the so called experts recognize Laxman's value to the team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    I don't think so. I only know that Indian team didn't played with its potential and this effected in the defeat. Just go through the team that took our nation to no 1 spot and most player for that combination was not fit.

  • POSTED BY umkhan on | August 24, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    teams always win test matches through bowling. when pakistan were there england reach 300+ two time out of 8 inn

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 2:30 GMT

    I agree with Snajay bhai. India should now prepare a team with a good bowling attack. We should perhaps breed people like varun aaron, arvind who played for RCB etc., India must please forget sreesanth for good. He has too much attitude and too limited talent. As far batting, India may talk to a couple of seniors and ask them their future plans. I dont agree some comments on Laxman. He has had a very rare complete failure probably after the Mendissed Srilanka Tour. And mind you he is playing only test cricket. Being athletic is not the point. See Dravid whom you would hardly call athletic but he is fit. Raina requires a little more time I guess to be accepted as a test player. I hope he does not go the Yuvraj way. He is an attacking player down the order and would be an asset. If BCCI or some players can we should send some of them to play County cricket. LIke Praveen, Ishant, Vijay and Raina so that they get to know how to play swing bowling.

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | August 24, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    @cricket_conneisseur: an all 'rounder is and always has been a luxury, not a necessity. A team needs a strong batting line up, a safe keeper, and a good attack. An all 'rounder adds some starch to the batting and/or an extra bowling option but if the rest of the lineup isn't doing their job then they're called on to carry the team, which isn't fair. If the rest of the lineup is doing their job then it doesn't matter whether you have an all 'rounder or not. Teams (including England) have caused themselves problems by trying to find (or create) an all 'rounder rather than ensuring the rest of the team does the job.

  • POSTED BY only_sehwag on | August 24, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    @Naveen888

    Seems like you have forgotten the WI series couple of months ago when laxman saved us from defeat...dhoni and sachin should be retired from the test team..

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2011, 1:58 GMT

    Mr. Naveen888 age doesn't have any thing to do with playing cricket, most of the Australian players are selected when they are in their early 30's so that doesn't have to do any thing with age this also goes to all the ex players who commented on the present Indian team. What the present Indian team needs is some changes some players need to go and some need to come in. gcsa\

  • POSTED BY mohsin9975 on | August 24, 2011, 1:56 GMT

    I think fast bowlers r the most hardworking guys in cricket. Also their shelf life is shorter than d batsmen bcoz of the physical strain they undergo. They r most prone to injuries nd miss matches which really is a great disadvantage for a bowler. Who will want to b a fast bowler then?Also the indian mentality is of being laidback nd look for easy money. Its obvious batting is less exhausting, long term nd more rewarding job considered by us. Same can b said abt spinners. Thats why india is a land of batsmen nd spinners. If d batter is a boundary hitter its an icing on the cake eg. Sehwag, laxman ,sachin. I think to inspire kids in india to b fast bowlers bcci shd pay twice the salary of batsmen to bowlers. Only this incentive can change the mentality of budding indian players. Implement this nd am sure results will show within 2-3 years. I think all boards need to do it. Give d poor guys their due

  • POSTED BY VK10 on | August 24, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    Surprised that Sanjay Manjarekar thought Sreesanth a world-class bowler after the SA tour ... Sreesanth averaged 42 with ball in that series!! That guy sucks on many levels and should not be selected. Perhaps BCCI should organize first class cricket tours in Eng-SA-Oz so that Indian cricketers on the bench get familiarized with those conditions. I am not too worried about SRT and VVS. VVS had his first failure of a series in 2 years while SRT paid the price of taking Eng too lightly. These 2 blokes will get back on track soon.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 24, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    All these talk is absolute waste. Until india find that 150km fast bowler , it is all just waste of time. if you ask selectors or bcci people , they will say we have no talent in domestic leagues. They are not thinking why no talent is there?. There is no setup. There is no rewards. There is no motivation for people to bowl faster. No pitch favors fast bowling. And the factor of selection policies that no one dare to talk about. enigma.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | August 24, 2011, 0:38 GMT

    India need pace. They should stop developing spinners and concentrate on developing some 145kph+ pace bowlers

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 23, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    The tour to Australia will be a test of patience for Indian supporters. They must look for improvements in all three disciplines and cannot realistically hope to win a test, let alone the series. I would suggest that Duncan Fletcher will impress the need to set the right tone and this is best done in the field. The Kiwis always punch above their weight because they make the most of what they have - and how is that shown? By smart, snappy fielding where pressure can be exerted and the bowlers lifted by the team effort in the field. I know that this has not been an Indian strength, but it is vital for a side that wants to regain self-respect. In this respect, MSD can set the standard if he can improve his glovework. Better bowlers, Sanjay yes, of course - but whilst these are learning their trade, give them the backing in the field. Was there a weak ground fielder in the England side? When a ball was heading for the boundary, two and sometimes three were in pursuit. Learn, India, learn!

  • POSTED BY ian_ghose on | August 23, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    Is Dhoni the new Darren Sammy? :p

  • POSTED BY Naveen888 on | August 23, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Laxman is useless. Don't care about the 281 he made in Australia, for which he seems to get too much respect for - that was one innings a long time ago. His average is below 50 - his 35+ year old team mates average 50+ and are legends - and in this series he managed only to score as many runs as Stuart Broad in twice as many outtings.

  • POSTED BY Astroturf on | August 23, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    Well said Sanjay. One of the pitfalls of the increasing commercialization of the game is that there are far and few voices of reason left to question the BCCI way. Its only fair that a team which was better planned and prepared won. Renewed respect for the basics of the game. So much money made from the game, not even a penny invested in creating a facility to simulate pitches in SA, AUS, NZ or ENG. To mint money we have had an overkill of India and SL this year on dry weary pitches. No love lost for the players...yes but definitely feel cheated as a loyal fan. Time for the fans to take things in hand...boycott the BCCI tamasha, save Cricket.

  • POSTED BY somu1984 on | August 23, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    We must accept that we failed in every department of cricket. This should serve an alarm to higher authorites to select horses for courses. We went there looking at our reputation and not performance. Indian players lacked confidence, body language dropped. Beware English fans, you guys are yet to travel overseas to gauge yourself whether you deserve No.1 tag or not.

  • POSTED BY Matty0507 on | August 23, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    We were at Taunton to see India play Somerset as their first warm up game for the tour.Seeing that team, you immediately knew that they were not here to win or play passionately, but just for the ride. There was no discipline in their warm up routine.Oh sorry - there was no warm up - because they are superstars and warm up routines are for the minnows. Where was Duncan Fletcher and his team? why not have a brain storming session with the Somerset players + Andrew Strauss, and pick up some ideas. BCCI should have looked at somebody of the calibre of Stephen Fleming, who would have brought some new ideas & thinkin and would have a young warrior who expects the best from superstars or minnows - his track record with NZ speaks for itself. As for the batting superstars - the least said, the better - "Yes, it's true: We can't control the wind or the rain or the other vagaries of weather. But we can tack our sails such that we can steer the course we desire." - Unknown Bowlers - What bowlers?

  • POSTED BY testcricketisdying on | August 23, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    With a population of 7 million, the West Indies produced the following great or notable fast bowlers in their history: Martindale, Constantine, Hall, Gilchrist, Griffith, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Croft, Marshall, Clarke, Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop, Patterson. With a population of 350 million at independence and 1.2 billion today, India has not produced one bowler who could hold a candle to those guys. Kapil Dev was lively in his early years but was never express pace. Even Pakistan (with similar climate and pitches) has produced Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar among notable quicks who have left their mark on test cricket. India is quite unique in this way. Back in the pre-Kapil era, we did at least have some great spinners. But since then, only Kumble would qualify as a great spinner. India is a desert as far as good bowlers are concerned. Why is that?

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 19:36 GMT

    Sanjay is right in every sense as far as his suggestions are concerned but I would like to elaborate batting failure. we would have performed better if we had regular openers for whole series. Zaheer's injury prevented us from taking 20 wkts but it was absence of regular openers which contributed to batting failure. Dravid did a good job as makeshift opener but opening with him was like India is already one wkt down. that also forced Laxman to come at 3 which made the lower middle order weak. India had escaped from top order failures coz of laxman at no. 5 in recent times but he wasn't there this time. Even mighty aussi's could not win Ashes in 2005 from lesser English team so full strength Indian team might have lost 1-2 but there would have been some competition. Even if there were Jaffer and Mukund as openers in all 4 matches still we would have performed better considering that at least once they would have seen off the new ball in 4 matches.

  • POSTED BY DazTaylor on | August 23, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Guys, England fan here. Just to add I think Praveen Kumar has been a joy to watch. Yes, he has no pace but he swings it a mile and he has a massive heart. Second name on your teamsheet for me, after Dravid.

  • POSTED BY DazTaylor on | August 23, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar said "Let me make it clear that we are talking specifically about Test cricket here, for we tend to make the common mistake of not looking at the three different brands of the international game differently". Well said Sanjay - shame most of your nations fans dont tend to realise this. At least those that comment on CricInfo.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    VVS should be Number 6..We need stable and healthy opening pair and one good support.. Mukund can be persisted with as he showed some fight...We need to start finding replacements for Middle order and Kohli, Pujara and one all rounder needs to be groomed..Why bring RP back when Irfan could have bowled better and batted as well..I think we need to bring him back and give him confidence..he can be a great asset to play 5 bowlers..We need to find some fast bowlers..Aaron, Unadkat and umesh yadav may be used in parts..Zak should play only when he is fit.. Dont kill him. He is still the best..PK should be retained as 3rd seamer if needed..We need to groom Abdullah and Ashwin to support mishra in spin..

  • POSTED BY saaacheeen on | August 23, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Selection should focus on getting good intelligent bowlers who can take 20 wickets in any condition. Must be able to read the batsmen and the condition, and have physical fitness for playing 5 days. You need to have atleast 2 in the team. like Mcgrath/Warne, Vaaz/Murali. Remember, India climbed up the #1 spot when Zak and Bajji were fit and doing well.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | August 23, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    Agree with Jonah58. India badly needs bowlers who can take 20 wickets! Batting will take care of itself. Batsmen are under lot of pressure, if the bowlers keep leaking runs like in this series. Selectors need to find bowlers first, it's poor job by them that they can't come up with any new bowlers rather than keep giving same set of bowlers a run over and again.

  • POSTED BY abhimanyusingh on | August 23, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    i think some amount of consideration needs to be given to the fact that India did nt hv the hugely successful opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir at its service... and shows that a good opening stand can lay the foundation for the big 3 in the middle order.. also i feel that Pujara should be the 1st choice to replace Dravid at no 3 wen the time comes.. and kohli should replace laxman or tendulkar.. .. bt the bigger problem lies in the bowling department where no replacemnts fr Zaheer and Bhajji seem to cm to mind.. although Abhimanyu Mithun has impressed on occations..

  • POSTED BY cricket_conneisseur on | August 23, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Need of the hour is genuine all rounders. Where is Irfan Pathan? the management needs to instill confidence on this bloke. if people criticise his bowling, he can still bat,

    What about our younger speedsters in MRF pace foundation? Bowlers from every country get benefited out of this institution...

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | August 23, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Sreesanth became a failure because his head swells more than bowling and his antics and stare did the talking than his bowling.Player power also plays a role;why did Dhoni stuck with Raina with repeated failures;is he because Chennai buddy? Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY sarathy_m2 on | August 23, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Correctly said, Fitness is very important for everyone, and persons sticking in the team with one skill must show extraordinary performances otherwise throw them away.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    The best way for repairing the damage control is to dispose IPL from Indian Cricket, the fitness problems with Sehwag,Gambhir,Harbhajan,Zaheer Khan,Yuvaraj,Ishant Sharma give them sufficient rest., Infuse new budding cricketers give them opportunities to boost up their confidence will result better yielding results

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    No changes required. Same team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    VVS should be Number 6..We need stable and healthy opening pair and one good support.. Mukund can be persisted with as he showed some fight...We need to start finding replacements for Middle order and Kohli, Pujara and one all rounder needs to be groomed..Why bring RP back when Irfan could have bowled better and batted as well..I think we need to bring him back and give him confidence..he can be a great asset to play 5 bowlers..We need to find some fast bowlers..Aaron, Unadkat and umesh yadav may be used in parts..Zak should play only when he is fit.. Dont kill him. He is still the best..PK should be retained as 3rd seamer if needed..We need to groom Abdullah and Ashwin to support mishra in spin..

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | August 23, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Solution. Tendulkar,Dravid (despite his batting- easiest among batting,fielding and bowling), Sehwag,Zaheer,Laxman, Harbhajan must be forced to retire. All this players have played more than 100 tests. Zaheer may have played less but he is in plan f things for close to 150 tests. You cannot expect any fielding from these. At the most they can be in slips or on Long on/off. And Mishra could turn up to be a new Ravi Shastri as he will turn into a batsman instead of the reason he is selected,exactly what RaviShastri did.Please do not encourage this. If Mishra fails as bowler sack him.

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | August 23, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    In fairness to Munaf, he wasn't even given a chance. He should have played automatically rather than RP Singh in the 4th test. Still, I agree totally with Sanjay about rebuilding bowling dept. Eng tour, despite being a disaster, clearly exposed Ind team's weaknesses. 3 bowlers who might find it hard to come back are: Sreesanth, Mishra (not counting couple of useful knocks) and RP Singh. Praveen is not suitable for tests due to his speed (though a fighter, no doubt). Sanjy didn't dissect the batting dept as much as he did with bowling. Sachin, Laxman should definitely give way to youngsters now. RD may play 1 more yr to guide the team.

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | August 23, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    With the series lost - as a way forward, the BCCI should identify a group of 15 to 20 bowlers(both pace and spin) from the under 15s and 18s and groom them. Provide them with the best of facilities and mentorship. Hire the best bowlers of the past to coach and share their learnings. We need to look beyond Zaheer and Bhajji. They have done well for India and we should be proud of them - just very recently they won us the world cup, but we need to move on. If they serve us for the next couple of year, fine but planning has to be done for the next decade now. Same goes with Batsmen - we need to plan for the time when the big 3 go. Way to go would be to send a select group of 10-15 batsmen to all these countries and play A level or county cricket. It is only going to make them better and equip them for the challenges when they ultimately play test cricket. BCCI needs to show some foresight here. Things can turnaround.There should be no short cuts. India will need to fight it the hard way.

  • POSTED BY ChuckyDoll on | August 23, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    Brilliant analysis... simply brilliant. Not surprising though, even for a spectator like me. The real question is: does the BCCI have a will to fix things ? Or, are they trying to kill test cricket ? I saw some footing of Varun Aaron and I am concerned with his 'probing' ablility as you have mentioned here. I am really worried if he can "control" his bowling in Australia or England. IPL, for the probing capability, is completely useless. First class cricket in that sense is very useful but then you are driving your pace bowlers into ground on the Indian wickets. Why can't we have a pool of 5 or 6 good young bowlers and then live & die by them for the next 3 years ? At least it will be a directed effort. Same with batting, let's persist with a pool of promising young players. Always hoping for a comeback.

  • POSTED BY Dronaa on | August 23, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Very true. We dont have bench strength. And by that I mean real quality bench strength. Look at Australia, they had Langer and Hayden, then came Katich and Watson. Even in bowling, they have gone past Mcgrath, Warne, and most important they had and still have good backups even if they are not of the same class atleast the reserves give their 200%. Thats the price of the baggy green. If I look back at India Only Dravid, SRT,VVS and Kumble come up in that category, the rest just speak big. Look @ RD, and you will see how much he values his India blue. The rest just talk big. I think we should invest in openers and numbers 4,5,6. PK and Bhajji are no mugs with the bat. And most importantly blood Aaron. The Vinay Kumars, Gony's will come and go but Aaron seems a good bet to bowl along with Ishant, with PK coming as 1st change. Maybe thats the change Ishant needs. ZK when he is back can take over. And please, let Dhoni concentrate on keeping. His captaincy was pathetic to say the least.

  • POSTED BY ttzulu on | August 23, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Batting: A rare failure as a unit !!! not one 300+ score in 8 innings is rare?? Get a life manjrekar.. barring Dravid, the whole batting was pathetic and clueless. Need new batsmen who can play pace and swing... Lets not pass this off as "RARE" and expect a change in fortunes when we travel to Australia...else same "rare" failure will occur again.

  • POSTED BY NALINWIJ on | August 23, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Since Australia dropped out of world number one there has been South Africa and India held the number one spot before England has emerged as the genuine number one. This defeat was in the cards. India has relied on the Fab 4 like Australia relied on an outstanding crop of players born between 10/69[warne] and end of 71.This group have reached 40 or about to do so and have retired and Australia is in the process of rebuilding but India has more emerging talent in batting and spin than Australia but has to bravely and gradually replace the remaining fab 4 with players such as mukund, vijay, pujara and kohli before next world cup and accept that they will not be world no.1 until they have done that successfully. Ishant, Ashwin and Mishra have the talent to be the nucleus of their bowling. Fielding needs to be sharpened and hopefully this could be the only positive spin off from IPL.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Barring the last decade India have always been a mediocre test side. That is not being controversial but a fact. Even in the glory days of Gavaskar, quartet of spinners, Kapil Dev, Vengsarkar, Kumble & Sachin (in their formative years) test wins especially outside India were few & far between. Last 10 years starting from the Kolkata test of 2001, have been a golden era for Indian cricket that will soon be drawing to close once Sachin & Dravid retire. Growing up following Indian cricket from the 1970s onwards, to suggest that one day we could have made it to number one was a wildest dream. That we got to that goal was an achievement in itself. Lets not mope about what has gone wrong, let's celebrate the good times & be thankful for the memories.

  • POSTED BY henchart on | August 23, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    Amidst all the that is being written about Indian cricket team this article comes like a whif of fresh air.Manjrekar has analyzed spot on especially about Harbhajan.The guy needs to be retired compulsorily .I would suggest let Kohli and Pujara be groomed as replacements for Laxman and Raina.Anyway ,Indians need bowlers who can take 20 Wkts on overseas pitches.How much are Kapil and Kumble missed.

  • POSTED BY Wesley1 on | August 23, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    This is from an English perspective. The Indians have not trained hard enough, fitness and fielding are the two things in cricket that you can control and these have been awful from India. No-one would say that Bell/Cook/Pietersen are better then Sehwag/Dravid/Tendulkar necessarily, and I would say Zaheer is equal to Anderson, but they have been completely turned over and made to be embarrassed. I praise the Indian selectors for sticking with Raina even though he was playing poorly, he is still a good batsman and just needs time. He is 10 years younger than the rest of your team. If he was replaced with Kohli and Kohli failed whats the difference, you get much better experience from a defeat and a poor performance than an easy win.

    I hope India lose the ODIs so the failure is compacted and a real lesson can be learned. "Talent without Hard Work will not get you to the top".

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 23, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    @Graeme Pollock. Since there are several who call for Ifran Pathan without analysing his performances, I have decided to post his test bowling summary for u. Vs. Aus =47.35, vs. Eng=39.37, vs. Pak =49.92, vs. SA=58, vs. W.I.=46.5, vs. Sri Lanka=26. Now vs the minnows: 21 wkts in 2 matches vs Zim at 11.28 and 18 wkts in 2 matches vs. Bang at 11.88. If those are the few matches he gets hype from well my goodness, the media is to be blamed. The only team where he has only played 1 match against is W.I. and although he can't be judged by just 1 match, it was still poor. He did well vs Sri Lanka in 3 tests but I DOUBT HIGHLY he can repeat it with players like Dilshan and Samaraweera being much improved. Even if he is a decent bat (in the subcontinent, surprise, surprise) his bowling performances vs decent teams resemble that of a part timer. So please, if you still think he is test material, please explain.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    one series loss doesnt mean u press the panic button...i just cant believe people want sach,dravid n laxman to retire just coz of one odd series..we lost mainly due to our bowlers who were not able to exploit the conditions as english bowlers were...

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    Hope the future test team looks like this after dravid laxman tendulkar retirement :

    1. V. Sehwag 2. G. Gambhir 3. V. Kohli 4. Badrinath 5. Yuvraj Singh 6. Dhoni 7. Irfan Pathan 8. Zaheer Khan 9. Harbhajan Singh 10. Rahul Sharma(leg spinnner) - IPL FAME 11. Varun Aaron

    BENCH STRENGHT : SREESANTH , MUNAF, RAINA , RAHANE , ASHWIN , ISHANT ROTATE THESE PLAYERS ACCORDING TO THE PLAYING CONDITIONS

  • POSTED BY chopramo on | August 23, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    I think, we as Indians start to make our own plans when our team goes through one of these disaster tours. What is important is what the BCCI and the selection committiee thinks of this. Will they enforce an investigation? They should as a lot of things besides what we see on the field has gone wrong. Like, an unfit Sehwag flew to England, I felt Mukund would have given us a much better start if we would have stuck with him. Zaheer was clearly unfit, otherwise how can an international athlete get a hamstring after bowling 13 overs? Puzzling. We need fast bowlers, and I mean serious bowlers who only concentrate on the task on hand and as the BCCI is filthy rich they can afford a couple of bowling coahes. We also need steady middle order batsmen who can rescue the team if the openers fail, in this series neither Yuvi, Raina, Laxman, or Dhoni could help steady the sinking ship. There is also no all rounder in the Indian team which is such a drawback. The team needs a complete overhaul.

  • POSTED BY 7477 on | August 23, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    i think we should now bury the hatchet of the test series and concentrate on the ODI series. lot have been said and many names have come up. but my question is can India salvage some lost pride during the ODI's? the runs will be piled up but who is going to take the wickets for them? who can be the 5th bowler and bat at number 7? they have a fairly long tail too. wil Praveen Kumar play eventually? why keep half fit Gambir? the line up would look as below. 1/Tendulkar 2/Dravid 3/Kohli 4/Dhoni 5/Raina 6/Rohit S 7/Praveen K 8/Ashwin 9/Vinay K 10/Munaf 11/Ojha. the pivotal number 7 is very essential to determine the balance of the team. this is where the Yousuf Pathan factor comes into play. please decide to choose yourself!

  • POSTED BY douglondon on | August 23, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    I think the best thing India could do is to encourage a selection of promising young players to play a couple of seasons of county cricket. This might mean them foregoing a couple of seasons of IPL, but if they were told that it would improve their chances of representing India (and therefore their long-term career prospects), I'm sure many would take it up. This used to be a more common route among Indian players, and I think a drawback of the IPL could be that it discourages young Indian cricketers from having a season abroad and thereby rounding their game out.

    County cricket would help young Indian quicks, because it would encourage them not to drop pace off, and would also help teach them swing/ seam bowling, rather than just bowling cutters. It would also help India's batsmen, by testing them in foreign conditions, i.e. playing on bouncier pitches against a moving ball.

  • POSTED BY vinodkumar on | August 23, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    I agree with Sanjay. Its going to take a while for India to get back to no. 1. With the amount of cricket being played, I think we need a larger pool of players - especially for the test matches. For the WI series (testa), let there be a whole new lot of guys playing. It will give the others some rest before the four month long grind in Australia. Murali Vijay has had his chances, but I would still include him for the WI matches. Let him or Parthiv open with Abhinav, bring in Virat at one down and Badri at no.2, Rohit at 3, Raina at 4, Ashwin at 5, Mishra at 6. That kind of batting order should do a good job against WI. The fast bowlers can any three from be Aron, Balaji, Sreesanth, PK, RP. I seriously think the present Indian team (which lost to England) should play 5 regular bowlers. When you don't have guys like Ganguly, Sehwag who can send in a few overs when required - you just can't afford to play with 4 specialist bowlers.

  • POSTED BY 7477 on | August 23, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    MY MAN OF THE MATCHES FROM INDIA FOR THE 4 TEST MATCHES ARE

    1ST TEST - ZAHEER KHAN 2ND TEST - GAUTAM GAMBIR 3RD TEST - VIRENDER SEHWAG 4TH TEST - R.P.SINGH

  • POSTED BY Kaze on | August 23, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    India cannot get back to number one. They didn't deserve it in the first place and with the current lot of lousy young indian players, you are living in a dream world with number one.

  • POSTED BY george204 on | August 23, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    To be fair to Laxman, he got three deliveries from Jimmy Anderson (one each in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th tests) which would have cleaned up anyone. He's pretty safe at slip, had an outstanding year before this series & has a great record against Australia, so he should keep going. I hope Pujara gets fit again & gets a spot in the order - he looks a seriously classy player. Not only was India's bowling poor, the levels of fitness & enthusiasm in the field from the bowlers was terrible (I suspect the two are linked).

  • POSTED BY shakkw on | August 23, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    To see Praveen Kumar heading the bowling attack for India must have been very painful to many if not all Indian team supporters.

  • POSTED BY dariuscorny on | August 23, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    at once induct Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron to introduce raw pace forget about line and length just to hurry batsmen.be ruthless in your approch build a healthy fast bowling culture.i see more of bowling deffiency of India than its Batting.you cant blame the batsmen for the loss.the bowling lacks depth,sting and raw pace.had the bowlers bowled eng out to mediocre total it wud hv made batsmen's job way too easier.BCCI has embarrased Indian Cricket.why every now n then they recall sreesanth,munaf,rp why they shud look beyond them it is not that India does not hv the resources.India is ocean of cricketing skills just we need to extract those.in the spin dept put in Ashwin drop bhajji.now the time has come to build a pool of 5-6 good genuine fast bowlers for India who can create problems for opposite batsmen even on dead placid wickets.we need to back these young quicks wen isay back them continue with them for a longer period of time build confidence within them

  • POSTED BY tariqzishaan on | August 23, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    Ban IPL as simple as that.

  • POSTED BY cricconnossieur on | August 23, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Sanjay , it is unfair to single out VVS amongst the batsmen, that too coming from a class batsman like you. Remember VVS is a terrific slip fielder, one of the best that India has ever seen.A value few realise because of the nature of our bowlers or the lack of pace. Even Rahul drops catches, in fact he did drop sitters in the last two series played, but VVS has been safe. You cannot have untempered and uncooked techniques and temperaments of the likes of Rohit Sharma and Rainas to replace Laxman, for the sake of athleticism. India did not loose out in Eng due to lack of athleticism, it just bowled down to lack of ability, technique and temperament. Please give concrete suggestions as to where to find them !!

  • POSTED BY rajattiwaari on | August 23, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    its awonderful aricle.but dont agree wd wat has been said of laxman.few months back every one including sanjay manjerkar was praising laxman for his heroics in colombo,mohali n durban.the man deserves sm respect n credit fo his brilliance.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | August 23, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    This seems a very sensible analysis by Sanjay. He is absolutely correct in suggesting that you begin a rebuilding programme with the bowlers. To this end it is vital that those who are identified as the test attack of the future are kept away from T20 stuff as the skills required in test cricket (consistent line and length, seam movement, swing with a new ball, reverse with an older ball, etc.) are at complete odds with the defensive mindset needed in the cuckoo version of the game. Once these youngsters have been identified, they need to learn their trade - travelling to play in different climates should become part of the programme. Finally, to make the best of your bowlers, no matter how average thay may be, you have to ensure that the fielding standard is brought up to scratch. India's fielding this summer has been substandard and that only served to dishearten the bowlers. D Fletcher knows that he has a huge job on. Will he be supported or will he become a convenient scapegoat?

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    It is strange that everyone has forgotten Cheteshwar Pujara in this debate. He is the only technically correct player who managed to avoid getting drawn into ODIs and get into the Test team on prowess. Another Test-quality player, Badrinath, was destroyed by ODIs. And now Rahane is set to enter that process.

  • POSTED BY Jonah58 on | August 23, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    India will never get back to #1 unless they have a bowling attck that can take 20 wkts in a match in ALL condidtions. India will never have a balanced attack while the wickets in India drain the soul out of fast bowlers. With all the money the BCCI has surely they can invest some of it to develop 1 or 2 grounds in India that give some help to pace bowlers. As things stand any up coming young Indian quick sees the state of the track and develops into a line and length bowler at 70-75mph bowling cutters and slower balls as their stock ball. In the last test at the Oval Ravi Bopara Englands 4th seamer was bowling at about 80mph which is as fast as the Indian quick bowlers. Bresnan, Broad and Anderson are capable of bowling long spells at 85mph+ As an aside Mukund and Kholi need a run in the side to develop, from what little I have seen of both they have the potential to be world class given time and support.

  • POSTED BY himanshu.team on | August 23, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    While I do nto agree with the term "panic button", it hink India have ignored a few key aspects in the past and now those have caught up against a side, that had the talent, temprament and preparation to exploit it. 1. Bowling: Indian bowling has just not been upto the mark on a consistent basis. On and off they have dismissed sides twice, but not on a consistent basis. Fact that Bhajji was off the boil, and Zak was injured, did not help matters either. But as a team you need to have proper plans to back such things up. 2. They need to have a retirement plan for the Sachin, Laxman and Dravid. As of now, not even 1 batsman has come up as a worthy replacement. They have tried many but none succeeded. That is a serious problem at hand. 3. Coach: Garry Kirsten took extra steps to ensure that he and the team were prepared for the challenges ahead. That is not the case with Fletcher. If he focuses on improving individual players more and less on tactics, he will never succeed

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    For India, the test match series have been lost since the second day of the first test match at Lords once Zaheer limped out of the match. According to the fans , former Indian cricketers and other cricket pundits: if Zaheer was there, he would have made a difference to the 4 test match series. But, let us be candid and ask the question to Zaheer Khan, whether he was fit enough to be included in the team? An honest answer from him should be a big 'No'. One should also be mindful about the fact that it is the responsibility of the player to look after himself and keep fit through various training processes. Remember about the great Kapil Dev, how many test or one dayers he missed because of injury. To be honest, as long as India can not induct players like Kapil Dev's consistent fitness level and cricketing ability, Indian cricket's future at least in the longer version of the game is very very bleak

  • POSTED BY peeler on | August 23, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    The team is a mirror of how we generally are. We want position & no accountability. All lack it - players, 5 wise men, FTP planners, curators & Board. All are giving excuses for non-performance. Being professionals, performance should be rewarded- individual, team and series in this order. Non-performers should be given a nudge/ push. Past should be respected but not overlooked for looking at the future, no special treatment. Players to be groomed for patience. Domestic games to be played over 4 days and live pitches. Test players should be treated with utmost care and caution. All of this is not new, but current crop lacks patience, occupying the crease. Have the attitude - ALL FOR ONE and ONE FOR ALL which was lacking in this & W'indies series. The mace will take some time to return. We, however, need to start now, - in & off the field, to snatch it and keep it.

  • POSTED BY ryan001 on | August 23, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    Without Zaheer Indian Team is not complete as well as India won the World just because of Zaheer. I hope India will get a fast bowler after Srikanth resigned ...!!

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | August 23, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    @Dashe

    He also has a knack of getting out after starts rather than converting them to hundreds, has no real fielding ability and averages only 33.71 in cricket this year. Considering Indias 3-5 are all borderline retirement age (plus Sehwag iand Dhoni also in their 30s) and there is no way Sachin willor Dravid will be dropped (Sachin because of who he is, Dravid because he's the best batsman in the side) someone needs to make way for a new talent to have a couple of years before the rest retire.

    Sorry VVS, but that someone is you.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | August 23, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    @Amol Deshmukh Yuvi can't play short balls at high speed. Also he can't maintain fitness.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | August 23, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Laxman has to go. You know if a sportsman appears like a weaklink the opposition gets its tail up. Replace him with Badrinath. He messed it up in Windies but he is good. Being 30 is young consider how Rahul performs. And th personality factor. Ashwin is an indomitable like Kumble. He will succeed. India must plat 5 bowlers. 5th is Rahul Sharma in place of Raina. Again the indomitable Praveen will add value; retain him. Ishant & Aaron to open bowling. Dhoni should look after No 6. Drvaid opens with Sehwag. Kohli No 3 & Tendulkar No4. Team India--Sehwag, Dravid, Kohli, Tendulkar, Badrinath, Dhoni, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Praveen, Ishant & Aaron. Bench---Pujara, Rahane, Abdulla, a pacy paceman. No Raina please. If Zaheer returns replace Praveen.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Good Advice that they need someone like Imran Khan to teach them. Even they can take advantage of Wasim Akram. Forget about his nationality but appreciate his skills and offer him bowling coach's job.

  • POSTED BY ABP235 on | August 23, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    Very well written piece by the real technical master when he was playing, and a complete analyst now as a commentator/blogger, Sanjay Manjrekar. Only a wonderfully gifted Rahul Dravid could replace this technically correct batsman in 1997! Well, on the ills, we must live without Zaheer and Harbhajan for not just one series, but for one full year. Whatever claims they have on fitness (Zaheer) or form (Harbhajan) should be proved by playing the domestic cricket for one full season. If we can lose this badly with full strength, we dont mind losing to WI by trying the youngsters. Ashwin indeed must play every test, and so should be one new gifted fast bowler at least. We must also start living with Pragyan Ozha for the spin department if & when we need 2 bowlers.Mishra does not have capability to help in taking 20 wickets. People like Manjrekar, Shastri and Gavaskar who have a great rapport with the board and selection committee should make these points clear to them.

  • POSTED BY Kothandaram on | August 23, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Instead of thinking too much about the losses in england... it is time to groom younger players and give them a decent run. It is time to give Ashwin a go in Tests too. he is an intelligent bowler and can make rival batsmen think. ALso, there needs to be moderation in the number of matches India plays..

  • POSTED BY OffStumpLine on | August 23, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I do normally agree to most things you say, Sanjay but I do have a disagreement with the title of your article itself this time round! We need to look at our bowling yes and very desperately so. But do we really need to start the process with our bowling?! Why not our fielding / fitness? Or for that matter, why not with our batting? Bowling has never been our strength whereas batting has ALWAYS been our biggest asset. That it failed us in ALL of the 8 innings, what does this tell us? I for one believe that if our batters had performed and scored heavily, we would not have done as badly in the bowling department as well. If our strong areas cannont work for us, then what will? The loss must absolutely hurt and badly so. It must hurt, so we can see some tangible action plans for the future. I dread that we'll be back to playing in more helpful conditions where our batters will once again go slam-bang and all will be forgotten - until ofcourse, we get drubbed plaing abroad all over again!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    I feel that the main reason behind the india's 4-0 series drubbing by england is only becuse they kept 'sustained pressure' on the whole indian team from day one in this series. I observed that their media n commentators also were very keen on disturbing the psyche of this current depleted indian team and they have succeeded in doing so.Mind games also plays major role in longer version as the pendulum swings swiftly between the sides when time goes on. My sincere advice to this heart broken indian team is that they have to erase this series loss from their memories as soon as possible and try to concentrate on the future. As for as changes are concerned BCCI will have to make the indian bowling department more disciplined,energitic and reliable for the longer version of the game.I think they needn't worry about the indian batting as india always have enough strength and calibre in batting department.Hope india will come back strongly in rest of the england series.

  • POSTED BY dashe on | August 23, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    If VVS Laxman gets dropped on the back of 1 bad series I am not watching India play for years.

    The guy has averages 70 in tests last 2 years before this series and saved our blushes on so many occassions.

    Give him the respect he deserves. He has another tour of Australia left in him

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    At first,find someone who can clock over kph consistently..then teach him to bowl within stumps unlike sreesanth or RP singh who bowls either way outside of stump..or down legstump. Then invest in some batsmen who have sound technique and nurture them till they are ready...find out a retirement plan for sachin,dravid,laxman,zaheer,harbhajan etc:and also find a spinner who bowls within stumps,jus like kumble did..forget harbhajan.. he is a damn waste.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Well Sanjay, do u think Raina and Dhoni is test material. Show me a test series where Dhoni scored lot of centuries or even Raina. You are saying Laxman is not athletic but his batting which saved a lot of time for India.Suresh Raina is not a Jonty Rodes in my view. They are many good wicket keepers in the country and Dhoni's defense batting is going on for a long time in test format especially. Ok he might be great hitter in ODI's or T20 but is he test cricket material. I am not taking about only this test series even in the past series too Dhoni was below average in batting and average wicket keeping and he put on a lot of weight as well. He might be calm captain,etc etc but most secured place in India side is Dhoni only, no one can touch his place, that is why he is calm and cool. Why when series is lost many talk about Laxman or Sachin or Dravid performance, they are match winners.Well in bowling lot of plys were ignored like Balaji,Irfan Pathan,Tyagi,Ohja,Ashwin,Mithun&list goes

  • POSTED BY here2rock on | August 23, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    I agree with Sanjay for once, Zaheer, Sreesant, Munaf and Harbhajan have to go. They are unfit and unmotivated to play test cricket. India needs a bowling facelift.

  • POSTED BY ravis123 on | August 23, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    Sanjay, lets accept the fact that India will stay at 4-5 Rank for the next 3 yrs. Like England, our Selectors need to blood youngsters into the team while reliable players like Dravid, Laxman and Dhoni are still around. I do not count Sachin, Sehwag, Zaheer, Bhajji and even Gautam as reliable, at this point in time. We have enough players inthe bank, but the selectors need to show vision and dynamism, which the current bunch is incapable of. There has to be two seperate teams for T 20's and Tests. And two Captains as well, if necessary. One needs to think radical as these are exceptional circumstances, else we will go the Aussie way - who hv not been able to recover from the loss of the 4-5 biggies..Ravi Shankar

  • POSTED BY rahulcricindia on | August 23, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    i know if SRT would have got 3 100s like rahul in loosing cause , those 100 would be tagged as selfish 100s now rahul has got it no one is saying that ..guys it is all about team ....SRT did not got his 100 yesterday as he was not an inform innings but still kudos to great man for hanging in ....guy who got 99 international 100 s surely knoes to play in any situation ...i know my great man he cares a damn about numbers , its the fans and criticizers and statisticians who always loves the number game .....EVERYONE KNOWS YOU JUST CANNOT ACHIEVE THE NUMBERS BT JUST THINKING OF THEM ..YOU SHOULD HAVE IT IN YOU TO GET THERE AND SRT CERTAINLY POSSES THAT!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    Cont'd: 1. In the first place, they should have replaced Harbhajan with Mishra after the tail wrecked in first test.. Ashiwn with all his variations would have been a stronger candidate against the English as Bhaji has become so predictable. 2. Zaheer should not have toured with injury which unnecessarily puts so much pressure on other bowlers right from first day of first test. 3. Mukund should have played third and fourth test after that century in place of Raina. He would have used up 200 balls which would have been vital for the result of fourth test. 4. there cannot be any bigger blunder in bringing RP Singh in.Even irfan pathan would have bowled better than him and would have batted 10-15 overs. 6. Sreesanth does not fit into any class and does not deserve to play tests.Why Munaf was not considered for last test. Sometimes, change can do wonders and Dhoni was not willing and you end up thursting dravid for four good days on field when Mukund could have played up.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    I believe Yuvi , Rahane , Virat , Rohit , Manoj Tiwary and Raina (Yes even after all these failures) will form the core of Indian Test batting in near future . Many of them r already pretty experienced in ODIs . They should be groomed properly. I think the tour down under could be the last one for VVS . So that makes two slots available in Test side Yuvi & Rohit should make them thei own . The bigger worry is bowling unit. Dhawal, Aaron, Umesh , Unadkat ,Sreeshanth (only if he shows exceptional improved form & fitness - for the talent is there & he is still young) ,Mithun, Ishant are the only ones who are needed to be groomed with Zak. Spin bowling is a worry Ashwin & Rahul Sharma are the only two bright talents. Though Pragyan Oza & Iqbal Abdulla are impresseive but they seem to be more of restrictive kind of bowlers than wicket takers.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 23, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    I think Ashwin and Iqbal Abdulla will do the job; Ojha is too one dimensional and thus very predictable) for me and Mishra always bowls a boundary ball an over besides lacking the bite. Try anyone in ODI's but for tests we need to stick with Aswin and Abdulla. Young, dynamic, good in the field and with the bat. India's fast bowling except PK, once in a blue moon Ishant and even more inconsistent Sreesanth IS LOOKING PRETTY TERRIBLE.

  • POSTED BY Graeme_Pollock on | August 23, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    To add to my previous comment - the main reason the Indian batting suffered a "failure" is that England could employ attacking fields and bowl an attacking length for lengthy periods of time, given the runs they had to play with. If you don't have bowlers who take 20 wickets, you will not win - even with the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. Bill Woodfull said the exact same thing after the 1934 tour to England - Australia would still have survived without Bradman, given their vast batting resources but would have completely buckled without Grimmett and O'Reilly. Take care of the bowling and the batting will take care of itself!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    What ails Indian Cricket right now is quality and variety in bowling department more than anything else for the simple reason that we get carried away by the dominance of spin in the sub continent. At 70 mph, we stand no chance to compete with teams like Australia,SA & England where you have assistance for pace bowlers. The immediate need is to find young fast bowling talent and nurture them in MRF as was done with Aoran. We need to have a trial of some 100 pace bowlers across all regions go through trials at NCA under the inspection of MRF with the likes of Lillee, Srinath and Selkhar picking some 10 of them as potential bowlers and invest on them at MRF and nurture them. The BCCI and selection committee lacked vision when they picked up the squad and made several blunders added to which there were blunders by Dhoni as well as coach in picking the XI for the 4 Tests-cont'd

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    I feel that the main reason behind the india's 4-0 series drubbing by england is only becuse they kept on maintaining 'sustained pressure' on the whole indian team from day one in this series. I observed that their media n commentators also were very eager to disturb the psych of this current depleted indian team and they have succeeded in doing so.Mind games also plays major role in longer version as the pendulum swings very swiftly when time goes on. My sincere advice to this heart broken indian team is that they have to erase this series loss from their memories as soon as possible and try to concentrate on the future. As for as changes are concerned BCCI will have to make the indian bowling department more disciplined,energitic and reliable for the longer version of the game.I think they needn't worry about the indian batting as india always have enough strength and calibre in batting department.Hope india will come back strongly in rest of the england series.

  • POSTED BY Graeme_Pollock on | August 23, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Zaheer Khan must play for as long as possible even if that means bowling only very reduced spells each game for the next 2-3 years at least. His presence on the field lifts the other bowlers. He is the sole reason India ascended to #1 in the first place. To continue without him at this stage would be nothing short of disastrous. He needs to be around until someone like Ishant Sharma is skilled enough to lead the attack. To compensate for Zaheer's reduced overs, bring in Irfan Pathan as an all-rounder. I am sure he would be doubly keen to succeed after his long hiatus! Also bring in R Ashwin - an attacking bowler. So the attack should read - Zaheer, Praveen, Ishant, Irfan and Ashwin . And groom Varun Aaron well so he can come in once Zaheer retires. The thrust of the Indian team management moving forward needs to be - LETS BUILD A TEAM AROUND AN ATTACK THAT CAN TAKE 20 WKTS AND GIVE UP THIS OBSESSION WITH BATTING! There is enough talent and reserves in batting to fill the top 5 slots

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | August 23, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Sanjay, The idea of Ashwin looks fantastic to me.. Also, Badrinath or Parthiv or Kohli would have done better than Raina... its the stupid selectors gamble that has failed...

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Dear Sir Manjeraker:

    You are again avoiding the truth. You have to accept serious flaws in Indian Batting ( so called world class batting) How can Indian Batting be best when they cannot even counter simple seam bowling. Remember Indian batsmen were not facing express battery of fast bowlers, They were bowlers who very reasobaly quick with ability to consistently seam the ball in typical English helpful conditions.

    India must drop their senior batsmen. How can Mr Sachin Tendulkar be World Best, When he is scared of batting at No 3. Remember All the graets always batted at No 3 Ricky ponting, Vi Richards etc .

  • POSTED BY palkiadialgaarceus on | August 23, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    R Ashwin is the solution for India. If you've seen him bowling in the IPL you'd know about all the variations he has. He can bowl the carom ball, which to me is much more lethal than the easily identifiable doosra. He can bowl the arm ball in which he applies revolutions on the ball but spins it in such away there is no turn. He can open the bowling and get the new ball to turn.( In an interview he said if the proper amount of revolutions are applied, the new ball turns more than the old ball.) He is the spinner India need. In the batting, in the upcoming dead rubber West Indies series, India should pick either Tendulkar, Dravid, Or Laxman in the team for the whole series and give Kohli Vijay and/or Mukund a go. That way they will have a different mind set and know they will be there for the whole series without being dropped even if players come back from injuries. And in the fast bowling department Ishant Sharma and Zaheer should go with the spinners of ashwin and mishra/ojha/rsharma

  • POSTED BY Balumekka on | August 23, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Import bowlers from Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY 100_rabh on | August 23, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    brutually honest article by Sanjay. Dont think any other former cricketer would have written it. By curbing Sreeshanth's agression, Dhoni has made him a redundant bowler. Laxman, despite his match winning abilities, is aliability and its high time to have Rohit and Virat/Irfan at no 5 and 6. With young legs in the field, we could have stopped England's rampaging lower order in first 2 tests and you never know what would have happened after that.

  • POSTED BY nilmanigautam on | August 23, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Sanjay, the current crop is one which has been nurtured for future over past few years..u mean to say we lose all games for next 5 years on the name of infusing new talent, how is that different from greg chapell theory..u cant lose and current matches take a back seat in the name of future..and might be change the guard every few years in the time frame when u seem to get nurtured player?..the current ones are there because they are shoulders above others available in the country..they just need to be taken care of and have a scheduled plan rather than individual whims and fancies to play/ not to play/ when and where to play..the same set of people cant change overnight from world beaters to be puns..more than players, board has to do a lot of introspection..and may be experts and media themselves need to be restrained in both praise as well as downfalls..!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    There are a few questions that need to be asked and asked immediately. 1. Whats the contribution of Eric Simmons, I understand the importance of Zaheer, but Eric's contribution baffles me, he must be removed immediately. 2. Why is everyone quiet about Tendulkar, he choose to rest and never looked best in this series, if a player chooses rest and flops , then he must be dropped. 3. Why did the BCCI plan 7 test together, forget about rest to players, why not have test and ODI alternate with the schedule, that way the test team can rest when ODI is played and vice versa. Like after WI test series have the ODI series in England and then have the test series. 4. Why not schedule ODI first on any tour, and send test team there early for adaptation, the ODI team can experiment and if you unearth someone good use him in the form of his life, for example in SA Virat looked menacing and so was Yusuf, if the ODI was played in SA first , these two folks could have got a chance

  • POSTED BY prasannakh on | August 23, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    I guess the foremost point is after worldcup the number one team had gone into comfort zone and that is the perfect Indian mentality to relax after a big leap(World cup win) . They never expected and were never prepared that Eng will hit them so hard . Indian team needs a work ethic , which is lacking in this current team except barring few individuals. Even the great Mr Sachin was not prepared and looked ragged and unfit to play test tough test series. If you see how Eng were prepared in each and every department and tha showed in there on-field performances. So according to me along with important issues mentioned by Sanjay a descent work ethic for everybody is very important to complete against good teams.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    There is so much to fix for team india, they are at cross- roads and needs to think beyond the immediate to come up with future potentials which can replace the current batting pillars..have india ever produced a genuine fast bowler?? I do not see India coming up with No.1 ranking any soon with teams like SA, ENG and AUS around..!

  • POSTED BY sharanidli on | August 23, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    A word on our fielding-- Laxman is still one of our safest slippers, if not the safest. And unfortunately, none of the younger brigade can really catch at slip. Rahul Dravid-- and I do not intend to be harsh on a man who has had a dream series-- has dropped nearly a catch a match over the last year or more. His slip-fielding has slipped and no one talks about it.

  • POSTED BY Mann123 on | August 23, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    It is very nature of indians to be laid back and lack athleticism or why would we not have a world class soccer team or athletes. What we can do and have done well in past is to have great batsmen and couple of good bowlers backed by decent fielders who are no jonty rhodes but atleast likes of sachin in youth who are not a liability in field. I agree the seniors should be rested against WI. Otherwise youngsters would have to wait till after Ausssie tour to get a chance. We need to develop multi talented cricketers, if you cant bowl part time, you need to be a great fielder or you dont bring enough to team. Same with bowlers, either you contribute something with bat or you need to work really hard on fielding to be in team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    I also believe its time to separate the captaincies and put Gambhir on the fast track by making him the captain of T20s and One days. Dhoni has won the World Cup and his greatness has gone down in history but its time to look beyond him. This will have two benefits (1) We start blooding in the next keeper (2) We wont have the situation where we cant sack Dhoni because he is the captain but not contributing with bat (i am not worried about the keeping as Dhoni was never the most talented keeper)

  • POSTED BY IndiaNeedsBowlers on | August 23, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Well India needs Ganguly. He was the one who got Harbhajan, when Anil Kumble was injured, and a lot of others who form the core of the current Indian team - at least ODIs. Or someone like Ganguly. But then is there anyone like him?

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    While admitting mostl the criticism on Sreesath's bowling, hes far better than Mr. Sanjay Manjerekar thinks! He was bowling very well on his come back test(2nd test of this series), but every time he took a wicket MS Dhoni removed him from attack and brought on either Ishant or Praveen, why he never let Sreesanth to continue while hes taking wickets and in rhythm??? then after the 2nd test where he bowled brilliantly ,national selectors announced an one-day team where hes not in the squad. How can a player keep on motivating himself without support from the board ?Even though he give away some runs selectors forgot that the matches are in England and also once he get couple of wickets early he could be more than handy unlike Zaheer who mostly rely on reverse swing. Ofcourse he need to develop variety like good yorker and good bouncer but even Ishant dont have a troubling Yorker!

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 23, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    Yup, Grade A test failed. Ind need to unearth bowlers from U19 level, the current crop bar Ishant are woefully inadequate. @veernax. Yusof Pathan? No way, he even struggles when the ball bounces in ODI's. He will do even worse than Raina. In fact neither of the Pathans are good enough. Ifran's record is very poor when you exclude his performances vs Zim and Bangladesh, you don't have to believe me, check stats guru. Don't know why the Pathan brothers are still hyped up to this day. Maybe thats the prob, hype tends to override substance too often and not just in cricket.

  • POSTED BY blondblackberry on | August 23, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    should give youngsters a chance in india especially rohit,ashwin,aaron,rahul sharma should b in the team.i'm impressed with rahul he got control,belief and spirit of kumble.leggie with offie ashwin is the right combination.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    To be a world class bowler requires physical stamina and mental aggression. This is one reason I like Praveen Kumar -- 70 mph and all. He is physically fit and looks to take wickets all the time. Get his speed up to 80s without losing his movement and you have a world class bowler. I agree on Ishanth being nurture -- maybe a country stint will help. We desperately need to find a 90+ mph bowler -- raw perhaps but fast -- who can be molded and be ready to make it into the side once Zaheer retires.

    As for spinners, where are the wily spinners? Feel like Indian spin has become dumb spin -- all about RPO. Ashwin looks aggressive so that bodes well. But we need to encourage aggressive spin bowling in India else we lose a key strength of our side.

  • POSTED BY veeranx on | August 15, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    India has to try new players in the Windies series and rest the aging players. Laxman is needed in Oz, but I would rest him, sachin and Rahul when West Indies come. Same for the spinners and seamers. The choices:

    Opening bats: Mukund, Gambhir, Sehwag #3, #4, #5, #6: Kohli, Badri, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan ( yes he will do good in Oz in tests),

    I would play Sehwag at #3 if Dravid retires or Gambhir at #3 with Mukung and Sehwag opening. Pathan is a tough customer. He will take hits but a lose ball and he will thrash it and demoralise the opposition.

    Spinners: Rahul Sharma, Ashwin, ??

    Seamers: Gony, Vinay Kumar, Seamer from Kerla ( team mate of Sreesanth )

    The rope for Sreesanth, munaf are over.

    Overall, no matter who is picked the attitude needs fixing. There is too much of lethargy in the team. Everyone needs to have set goals. I would also see Kohli taking leadership responsibilities in the future and a #4 in tests.

  • POSTED BY anilkp on | August 15, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    Come on, Sanjay! You have been there, seen that for yourself. And you are concerned just a little bit? And while talking about lack of world-class fast bowlers, you suggest investing in R Ashwin! It is strange to note how cricket experts become lame statement-makers when there is a crisis. The problem is, Indian think tank always felt "all is well", and it still continues to do so. That's precisely why long-term prospects were never found and nurtured. There are no alternatives now; so the team will keep breaking down more often. Better late than never: they should go on a massive talent hunt and make a core of 20 players, invest in them no matter how is the result. Then, maybe in 5 years down the road, they can walk with their heads high.

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  • POSTED BY anilkp on | August 15, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    Come on, Sanjay! You have been there, seen that for yourself. And you are concerned just a little bit? And while talking about lack of world-class fast bowlers, you suggest investing in R Ashwin! It is strange to note how cricket experts become lame statement-makers when there is a crisis. The problem is, Indian think tank always felt "all is well", and it still continues to do so. That's precisely why long-term prospects were never found and nurtured. There are no alternatives now; so the team will keep breaking down more often. Better late than never: they should go on a massive talent hunt and make a core of 20 players, invest in them no matter how is the result. Then, maybe in 5 years down the road, they can walk with their heads high.

  • POSTED BY veeranx on | August 15, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    India has to try new players in the Windies series and rest the aging players. Laxman is needed in Oz, but I would rest him, sachin and Rahul when West Indies come. Same for the spinners and seamers. The choices:

    Opening bats: Mukund, Gambhir, Sehwag #3, #4, #5, #6: Kohli, Badri, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan ( yes he will do good in Oz in tests),

    I would play Sehwag at #3 if Dravid retires or Gambhir at #3 with Mukung and Sehwag opening. Pathan is a tough customer. He will take hits but a lose ball and he will thrash it and demoralise the opposition.

    Spinners: Rahul Sharma, Ashwin, ??

    Seamers: Gony, Vinay Kumar, Seamer from Kerla ( team mate of Sreesanth )

    The rope for Sreesanth, munaf are over.

    Overall, no matter who is picked the attitude needs fixing. There is too much of lethargy in the team. Everyone needs to have set goals. I would also see Kohli taking leadership responsibilities in the future and a #4 in tests.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 1:05 GMT

    To be a world class bowler requires physical stamina and mental aggression. This is one reason I like Praveen Kumar -- 70 mph and all. He is physically fit and looks to take wickets all the time. Get his speed up to 80s without losing his movement and you have a world class bowler. I agree on Ishanth being nurture -- maybe a country stint will help. We desperately need to find a 90+ mph bowler -- raw perhaps but fast -- who can be molded and be ready to make it into the side once Zaheer retires.

    As for spinners, where are the wily spinners? Feel like Indian spin has become dumb spin -- all about RPO. Ashwin looks aggressive so that bodes well. But we need to encourage aggressive spin bowling in India else we lose a key strength of our side.

  • POSTED BY blondblackberry on | August 23, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    should give youngsters a chance in india especially rohit,ashwin,aaron,rahul sharma should b in the team.i'm impressed with rahul he got control,belief and spirit of kumble.leggie with offie ashwin is the right combination.

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 23, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    Yup, Grade A test failed. Ind need to unearth bowlers from U19 level, the current crop bar Ishant are woefully inadequate. @veernax. Yusof Pathan? No way, he even struggles when the ball bounces in ODI's. He will do even worse than Raina. In fact neither of the Pathans are good enough. Ifran's record is very poor when you exclude his performances vs Zim and Bangladesh, you don't have to believe me, check stats guru. Don't know why the Pathan brothers are still hyped up to this day. Maybe thats the prob, hype tends to override substance too often and not just in cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    While admitting mostl the criticism on Sreesath's bowling, hes far better than Mr. Sanjay Manjerekar thinks! He was bowling very well on his come back test(2nd test of this series), but every time he took a wicket MS Dhoni removed him from attack and brought on either Ishant or Praveen, why he never let Sreesanth to continue while hes taking wickets and in rhythm??? then after the 2nd test where he bowled brilliantly ,national selectors announced an one-day team where hes not in the squad. How can a player keep on motivating himself without support from the board ?Even though he give away some runs selectors forgot that the matches are in England and also once he get couple of wickets early he could be more than handy unlike Zaheer who mostly rely on reverse swing. Ofcourse he need to develop variety like good yorker and good bouncer but even Ishant dont have a troubling Yorker!

  • POSTED BY IndiaNeedsBowlers on | August 23, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Well India needs Ganguly. He was the one who got Harbhajan, when Anil Kumble was injured, and a lot of others who form the core of the current Indian team - at least ODIs. Or someone like Ganguly. But then is there anyone like him?

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    I also believe its time to separate the captaincies and put Gambhir on the fast track by making him the captain of T20s and One days. Dhoni has won the World Cup and his greatness has gone down in history but its time to look beyond him. This will have two benefits (1) We start blooding in the next keeper (2) We wont have the situation where we cant sack Dhoni because he is the captain but not contributing with bat (i am not worried about the keeping as Dhoni was never the most talented keeper)

  • POSTED BY Mann123 on | August 23, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    It is very nature of indians to be laid back and lack athleticism or why would we not have a world class soccer team or athletes. What we can do and have done well in past is to have great batsmen and couple of good bowlers backed by decent fielders who are no jonty rhodes but atleast likes of sachin in youth who are not a liability in field. I agree the seniors should be rested against WI. Otherwise youngsters would have to wait till after Ausssie tour to get a chance. We need to develop multi talented cricketers, if you cant bowl part time, you need to be a great fielder or you dont bring enough to team. Same with bowlers, either you contribute something with bat or you need to work really hard on fielding to be in team.

  • POSTED BY sharanidli on | August 23, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    A word on our fielding-- Laxman is still one of our safest slippers, if not the safest. And unfortunately, none of the younger brigade can really catch at slip. Rahul Dravid-- and I do not intend to be harsh on a man who has had a dream series-- has dropped nearly a catch a match over the last year or more. His slip-fielding has slipped and no one talks about it.