Sambit Bal
Sambit Bal Sambit BalRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
Editor, ESPNcricinfo

England v India, 2011

Learn the lessons of failure

Things are not likely to get better for India in a hurry. Those in charge of the game in the country must brace themselves and manage the descent as best they can

Sambit Bal

August 24, 2011

Comments: 226 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar walks off after being trapped lbw for 91, England v India, 4th Test, The Oval, 5th day, August 22, 2011
It's for the best that Tendulkar didn't get his hundred at The Oval; that would have softened the blow, which India don't need © Getty Images

Victory brings the warmest glows but the cold light of defeat can bring clarity. The great thing about success is that it is often self-perpetuating, but the trouble is, it can sometimes obscure flaws. If India aren't sick to their stomachs after being handed out a drubbing reminiscent of their dark ages, they don't possibly care enough; but not everything will have been lost if the pain of this defeat spurs the changes essential to prevent a free fall.

It was just as well that Sachin Tendulkar didn't go on to get his 100th hundred at The Oval. It denied India a distraction, a glimmer of feel-good in their hour of misery. Indian cricket doesn't need the blow to be softened at this moment; instead it needs to feel the full impact of this devastating loss, feel the pain, look within and ponder the future with a clear understanding of their failings.

Success highlights strengths but failure often offers better opportunities to learn, for it exposes weaknesses. Those who remain successful for long periods use lessons from failure to their advantage.

India didn't fluke their way to the top of the Test table, or to their World Cup win; indeed, they scrapped every inch, digging into their deepest reserves and drawing on the exceptional skills of a core group of cricketers. They won the World Cup despite the thinness of their bowling attack and despite being the most unathletic team in the tournament. They drew the Test series in South Africa despite not having played a practice game and despite losing the first Test by an innings and some. They managed to beat Australia in a Test by adding nearly 100 runs for the last two wickets in the final innings. In the series before that, they came back after a huge defeat against Sri Lanka. The rescue act was bound to go awry some day, and England were too good a team to let India come from behind.

The appraisal must begin with honesty. India will do themselves no favours by wishing this away as an aberration. A return to winning ways in one-day cricket or against West Indies at home should change nothing. There has been talk about them not respecting their No. 1 status. The truth, perhaps, is that they backed themselves to overcome the lack of preparation, bench strength and general fitness.

Zaheer Khan turned up with a paunch and without match practice; Tendulkar came off a holiday; Virender Sehwag chose to postpone his shoulder surgery until his team had been knocked out of the IPL, and landed in England after India were two-down; Gautam Gambhir, who played the IPL with an injury, chose to sit out the second Test because of a painful elbow. India delayed calling for an replacement for Zaheer until the second Test. Eventually RP Singh was summoned from Miami, and he arrived looking every inch a man who had been enjoying the good life.

It is one thing for a team to believe it can fight its way out of the worst adversity, another to repeatedly put itself in adversity. India ticked every box for how not to prepare for a big series.

Administrators and players must be honest about where they stand vis a vis Test cricket. The No. 1 spot in the format was attained not by design but through the burning ambition of a small group of Indian cricketers, for whom the Test version remained the pinnacle. The awakening among the administrators came only after the team became No. 1. Hastily a one-day series against Australia was rearranged to accommodate two Tests. Much in the same manner, an additional tour game is now being sought before the Test series in Australia.

Administrators bristle and players shy away when it is suggested that not everything about the IPL is good for Indian cricket. Of course, there is no denying it its place. Crowds love the entertainment, players love the financial security it provides, and administrators love the might the money brings. But the real challenge for India is to keep Test cricket attractive to players, and it won't be achieved by mere sloganeering.

The biggest problem with Twenty20, and particularly with the IPL, is that it provides disproportionate rewards for too little work and limited skills. Who would pass up the chance of earning in six weeks what might otherwise take a couple of years? There is no other reason why even those Indian players who had withdrawn from playing international Twenty20 even before the IPL began, would never consider missing an IPL season.

Since they dictate terms in most matters, how difficult can it be for the Indian cricket board to draw up a schedule that gives their cricketers the best chance of success in all three forms of the game?

It is up to the Indian board, if it wishes to back its words up with deeds, to provide enough incentives to keep the players interested in Test cricket, which requires far greater toil, not merely on the field but also in preparation. To turn up and deliver four overs of change of pace might not be as simple as it sounds, but weigh that up against maintaining the intensity over 60 overs against international batsmen. Since they drew up the rules of the IPL and possess the cash to call the shots in world cricket, it is not beyond the means of Indian cricket's overlords to make the Test game the most remunerative form.

And since they dictate terms in most matters, how difficult can it be for the Indian cricket board to draw up a schedule that gives their cricketers the best chance of success in all three forms of the game?

If Indian players have looked utterly spent during the English summer, consider this: half the team will drag themselves to the Champions League three days after they complete their one-day assignment in England, then take on England in a five-match one-day series, and cram in a full home series against West Indies before flying out to Australia for four Tests and a one-day triangular.

India's future without their batting greats is too gruesome to contemplate, but the bowling is already in crisis. Zaheer faces an uncertain future, Sreesanth has been a huge disappointment, and that Praveen Kumar, resourceful and skillful as he is, was India's spearhead in England, must say something. The spin front is even more depressing: Harbhajan Singh has continued to slide and not one credible contender is in sight.

One way of looking at the ruins of this tour would be that it cannot get worse, but Indian cricket must brace itself that it's unlikely to get much better in the immediate future. As a Test team India have peaked and descent is inevitable. How well this is managed is to down to the leaders.

The role of the captain and the coach will be vital. It is a test of character for MS Dhoni, who took over an upwardly mobile team and led them to heights never achieved before. But he will be required now to extend himself beyond the field - for players will need to be nurtured and managed. Duncan Fletcher is no stranger to building a team, but he must now demand and be given the powers he needs, and the space to help shape a team not merely capable of winning back the top spot but of holding on to it.

The most important cog in this wheel will be N Srinivasan, the BCCI's president incumbent and widely acknowledged as the most powerful man in Indian cricket. More than anything else Indian cricket needs its priorities sorted and a roadmap set. It is inconceivable that a country so passionate about the game, with so much wealth and so many people, can't produce, by will and planning, another set of winners.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sambit Bal

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Scube on (August 26, 2011, 18:01 GMT)

3. Rohit looked a very promising player when he first came on the scene! Now, after four sparkling IPL years, he doesn't even look good enough to play ODIs against the top teams! Sadly, he is one of our best bets for tests in the future! 4. In a year or two, we'll move from having been the best test middle order to a middle order full of late twenties and early thirties! Don't think that I'm talking abt age here but actually averages! 5. We'll then be in a fierce competition for the basement honours with WI, BD & Zim for the next decade. Then, narrow-minded fans like me will stop following cricket for good while visionaries like you can provide consultancy to BCCI to expand IPL from 10 city teams to 200 city teams so that it can be played year around! Why would a tournament serving such a holy purpose of providing livelihood to the poor Indian citizens be restricted only to 6 weeks & 10 cities a year afterall!?!

Posted by Scube on (August 26, 2011, 17:58 GMT)

@ Dravid_Gravitas, Looks like I'm utterly wasting my time, but will still give another try for the love of cricket! 1. As some other like minded souls pointed out here, the solution to addressing a problem starts with first defining the problem correctly. If the people that matter conclude that the reason for the disastrous series is due to the ageing players and everything will be fine by including younger players in future tours, that's a bigger disaster than the actual disaster! 2. After the last home series against Australia, there was an article about Pujara after his match-winning performance that while he had nothing to do with India reaching the # 1 status, he'll play a key role in deciding how long India stay there! Now, he is busy recuperating from the injury he sustained training for the holy IPL! I'm not even sure if he is still in the radar as a test prospect! TBC

Posted by 5wombats on (August 26, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas; This is the Brotherhood of Cricket - because of it we all speak the same language here. Cricket is a game that people pay to watch. What happens after that is not something we can control. If it can improve peoples lives - then so be it.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 26, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

@RandyOZ - Bell is a fantastic batsman at the moment. Watching Aus batting recently has obviously dulled your senses.

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (August 26, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

By far and away the best article I've seen written about India this summer.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 26, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

@5wombats, much respects to you bro. I read your post about IPL and the conditions in India for the commoner (I couldn't respond there because the comments are now closed). I bow my head in appreciation for what you've said. Yes, instead of asking for a multi-million dollar business to die, let's see how we can preserve that form of the game that is part and parcel of our souls; better still see how it can help the cause of the society. BTW, The Champion Kallis plays IPL and he is still probably the best batsman in the world as we speak. If the younger players have it in them, they'll make it. Religion is very personal. But aren't we using it to help mankind? Choice of Cricket Formats is also very personal but we can strive to use it in helping mankind, if possible. If it can't help mankind, let's follow it religioously and give it our support so that it doesn't die. Let's not ask for IPL, Big Bash, T20 World Cup, ODIs, World Cup die.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 26, 2011, 12:03 GMT)

@Randy bro, I can't believe you said that about Bell. Bell is an exemplary batsman. If you aren't convinced as yet, wait. See him when he will be 35 years old. I would wake up the whole night to see him along with the others I mentioned.

Posted by Kula_Bowls_Inswing on (August 26, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

I think Tendulkar should retire from ODIs. It is likely that he will not be around in four years for the next world cup, so retiring from that format now and going out on top, on the back of India's world cup win, would present the perfect opportunity for India to blood a new batsman. This would hopefully extend Tendulkar's test career and would leave India's ODI side without any of the big three (Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman), meaning that the young batsmen would have to take responsibility and grow up quickly.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 26, 2011, 4:33 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas, how can you put Bell in the same list as those players, disgrace!

Posted by ImKelvin on (August 26, 2011, 1:29 GMT)

I felt so sick, I couldn't eat anything whole the day in sadness. They destroyed our hopes, emotions by this super flop. Whats wrong in expecting thing? They blame Sachin, Laxman, zaheer for this! Damn these selectors..why cant they see the evident failures of the series.They talk about Talent, swing, quality performances, just see what they have done here with their epic selections.

Raina : At his age Sachin , Dravid had become consistent performers. Today Selectors calls him a talent who doesn't even know how to hold the bat. In thie series whenever it needed a Performances raina ended with series of Zero.

Ishant, Sreesanth , R.P Singh : The wickets picked by them aren't even close to that of taken by Broad, single handedly. Ishant, Sreesanth tagged with the fast bowlers kept on struggling for 1-1 wicket...and the economy of ODI matches. Does a Bowling become blunt just for a loss of Zaheer's Injury!

Posted by 5wombats on (August 25, 2011, 19:07 GMT)

@palinaresh11; you're right. If IPL is an effective wealth creator/re-distributor - we can cry as much as we like - but business is business and we cannot stop the inevitability of profit a la BCCI. We here on wisden/cricinfo afterall are purists and must stand for purity, if we can. If, as @Dravid_Gravitas says; that IPL is a way of making life better in India - who are we to say otherwise? Nevertheless there has still to be a place for purity because purity has its own virtues, or the game becomes worthless.

Posted by maxymax on (August 25, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

Contdā€¦ Hey buddy @ Dravid_Gravitas, money is not everything. Of course, development and modernization is good for any country, but only when it is well planned and regulated. But a overnight boom is destined to doom.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

well, sachin,dravid,laxman are all going to call it a day within the next few years. its going to be a dark phase for indian test cricket for sure. i hope bcci would have invested the money they have to improve the standards of indian domestic cricket few years ago , but that could have only happened if either they had some brains or if they were genuinely interested in in the upheaval of indian cricket. why cant we have a well paid coach like a gary or a duncan at the domestic levels and all the technologies there. if that happens then one day there wont be a need to invest in the international sides. the way it is going, within the next few years bcci should stop sending india outside the subcontinent otherwise the confidence will get so low that india would not be able to win in the subcontinent as well

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 25, 2011, 17:02 GMT)

@Scube, yes IPL may be cacophonous and vulgar in comparison to the classics composed by Dravid, Bell, Kallis, Sachin, VVS, KP, Lara, Ponting, Sanga, Mahela.... So what's your point? Who said IPL is classic? As long as it is churning out money, I'm all for it. Nude dance and Classic dance example doesn't fit the context. There are laws and rules governing explicitly sexual material. Here we are talking of a sport. Come up with a relevant example. Nice try mate. But sorry, your example doesn't cut a thing.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 25, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, for all your descriptions of Test Cricket, I can add 10 more. Did I ever say that t20 is better than test cricket? It's totally out of context that you should venture out to explain what is meant by test cricket. Sadly, that's the premise some misinformed people are basing themselves on without understanding the scope and enormity of IPL with regards to the money it spins for/in India and for many people across the globe. What all I'm saying is nobody will take you guys seriously if you pray for the death of IPL (which seems to be the case with you and some other members here) just because it may be killing Indian Test Cricket. For all the emotional bonds you share with Test Cricket, I share an emotional bond with test cricket and also with the pain, living circumstances and hunger of people. But it's fine with me if IPL haters can come out of their cocoons and see the world for what it is worth. Amidst recession and poverty, you want a business to die! Wonderful!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 25, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

@David_G: OK, you've nailed your colours to the mast! I understand that IPL benefits many people in India - provides employment, etc. Are there many phlanthropic millionaires grown fat on the back of IPL who are sharing their wealth with the common man and his family? Or are you simply thinking of ground staff, street-sellers of mangoes, TV camera teams, advertisers who are surely amongst the poorest and most deserving of any members of society? I'm trying.. who are you thinking of? Point to a charitable organisation that derives the majority of its revenue from the IPL. (The BCCI doesn't count!). Do you think that the entertainers (i.e. the hired participants who play this game) care about anything except the easy bucks they are 'earning'? Do you think that the entertainers have a deep loyalty to their teams? No, they'll go. any play for the best money foresaking their true allegiances. You want it! Fine! Says something about your values though: they are not mine. Cheers,@Scube!

Posted by palinaresh11 on (August 25, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

Most of the points made by all of us are very valid, but the fundamental problem remains which is - how do we make sure that BCCI takes some measures which are for good of the the game in the long term in India and not focused on making money in short term? Despite whatever we write and other commentators say or write, does BCCI really need to take an action? Why will they? What happens if they don't change their way of working? India may get whitewashed in Australia as well, so what? Does that really impact BCCI? Probably not, they'll continue to make money from future IPLs and ODI series. Think about it, how does all this venting and cries by all of us impact BCCI? Unfortunately, it does not. Sad but true.

Posted by samonly007200 on (August 25, 2011, 15:40 GMT)

Good article.. but Irfan pathan is not mentioned... Why is he left around and not given a chance where his swing bowling would have worked. Why RP singh choosen insted of irfan pathan? Praven Kumar and Irfan pathan bowl at same speed. IP looks like a successor to Zaheer khan.. He should be given support and confidence and not kept as a discard and given a bad treatment. If he can bank a good price at IPL with his allround skills, why cant he be given a a chance in current Indian team? NEED AN ALLROUNDER...!!!

Posted by Scube on (August 25, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas, are you really a Dravid fan to have such a screen name or is it just a coincidence!?! Nude dance will have a lot more fan following & also provide direct & indirect livelihood in a much bigger scale as compared to any of the Indian Classical dances! Shall we as a country start promoting Nude dance!?!

Posted by praful_cric on (August 25, 2011, 14:06 GMT)

Very well put by Sambit Bal. IPL is the curse to cricket but unfortunately most of the indian fans are crazy about it.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 25, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

@David_Gravitas (2nd post). Please explain to me and many others who think deeply and care greatly for tc, precisely what the virtues of T20 cricket are. How is it superior to tc? For me a useful comparison is in another pleasure of life, universally enjoyed - going out to eat. T20 is the fastfood outlet; tc is the 5* restaurant (though I wouldn't have given the mockery of tc on offer this summer v India 5*!). You may have to wait for your meal, but it is, I hope, well presented, deeply satisfying and nutritious. Your T20 burger makes you fat and tastes like warm crap - but you can smother it in sauce to disguise it. Of course I recognise the fact that T20 makes a huge profit, but this bears out the truth of an old Northern expression: 'Where there's muck, there's brass!' So millionaires, who care little for quality cricket, will serve up this cuckoo, throw in the razzmatazz, and market it to the masses. It is dumb entertainment, not something for those with taste or discrimination!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 25, 2011, 13:27 GMT)

@David_Gravitas. I am concerned for ALL test cricket! It is the finest form of the game IMO. It is tc that lies at the heart of the game; it is the form when the highest skills of the game are on show; it is pleasing on the eye; it has given rise to some of the greatest literature written on any sport anywhere; it is a game that reveals in some detail the character of its participants; it is a game that has a long and fascinating history; it is a game that engages the intelligensia in all cricket-playing countries. It is as peaceful and as civilized a form of sport that is to be found on the planet; it is a true bond between great nations, different racial groups, people from different religions and has the potential to assist in international affairs (e.g. India/ Pakistan). I could go on! T20 cricket is cuckoo cricket (you'll know about the subterfuge practised by that bird to appreciate how apposite the term is!) and has none of the virtues of tc. It is a dumb version of a gt game!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 25, 2011, 13:13 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, you asked somewhere, India should decide if they want to play decent cricket or endless IPL; you seem to take an objection to IPL in every other post and seem to be 'worried' about Indian Test Cricket and how IPL ruined it. OK listen to this now, yes India has decided that we will play endless IPL which helps to give decent life to many commoners apart from many many cricketers and umpteen kinds of other work forces involved; generating jobs and livelihood. Indian Test Cricket gets killed? You don't worry about that. Please take #1 ranking a 100 times. The owners of IPL have to be morons if they sacrifice a revenue generating industry for the sake of purity of cricket. May be England is so rich to sacrifice money and economy for the love towards purity and domination in test cricket. Don't you worry about Indian Test Cricket. Let us Indians worry about that and also about the common man on the streets; and IPL is one of the ways in bettering their lives. Nuff said....

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 10:34 GMT)

re: James Pickles - I agree with what you say. However, I would not be fully confident of making these arguments to a 18 year old who is deciding his practice schedule for the year. He might agree with me that 2-3 years of test cricket (or first class long form) will be great grounding for his game. However, he might well be wary of becoming like Dravid and Laxman and would rather be a Pollard.

Posted by ravi-1967 on (August 25, 2011, 10:04 GMT)

Hi Raghurish. Please look at the FTP calendar of ICC.

Posted by raghurish on (August 25, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

The writer says that India are gonna cram in a full home series against the Windies before flying out to Australia later this come.. The schedule doesn't have any such Windies home series for India...

Posted by RupsRocking on (August 25, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

The Indian team nad BCCI should get this Drubbing. See how Australians maintained their No.1 spot for years, why cant an indian team do that?

Posted by bhaloniaz on (August 25, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

"It is high time everyone realizes that cricketers are human beings too.". Yeah every other fast bowler is breaking down one time or other. See what NZ missed in Bond(potentially the very best quick). NZ fans accepted the loss and moved on. Sometimes we have hard time accepting any form of defeats and we try to find faults and excuses. Its counterproductive. Whole 2005 England bowling line-up went through injuries. Now they have a world beating team. Its not IPL. Its the nature. Its hard to be a player in subcontinent. I appreciate the way Dhoni, Dravid, Sachin have handled themselves with fans who would not accept anything other than "top" position. No team will stay on the top forever and its good for the game.

Posted by 9ST9 on (August 25, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

@Truemans_Ghost - true that the IPL gained its place by showcasing Test and ODI stars, and by killing Test Cricket it would be like killing the top of the chain, but we have to remember that there is a particular Pollard who became a star through domestic T20 tournaments world wide (Yes he was an ODI player but his popularity came with T20). Worryingly, one by one more domestic T20 tournaments like BBL are expanding and will at a point produce young T20 specialists, and at that point T20 cricket will reach self-sustainability.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

Dhoni took over Indian team after the 2007 debacle and then worked with an underdog team in South Africa to win the Twenty 20, he was blessed in having some good players, but give him an oppurtunity to rest and plan.The captain was really tired in this series. Here are some suggestions. 1. Allow Dhoni to captain only with teams that have a ranking of at least 1 to 5. The rest of the series should not feature Dhoni, Sachin, Laxman or Dravid, better still it should not have zaheer as well. 2. Have Test and ODI planned in such a way that 2 test series never happen together, it should be ODI , test, ODI, test sequence. 3. Always plan the tour with ODI first , that way we get to play our resource pool of youngsters and use the best for the test series as well.

PLAN Indian BOARD plan or else you will have a duck that is impotent to lay eggs...

Posted by yuva19 on (August 25, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

Pls revive indian cricket...atleast play ipl once in 2 emotionally drained indian

Posted by Knandini on (August 25, 2011, 5:20 GMT)

Of course, India did not reach the top by fluke, but by circumstances. India had been the beset of the teams for the last 2 years, bt are not convincing enough as they did not win a series against neither at aus nor at SA. World cup win is a deserved one, though there could be one possibility of home advantage. however, India have been much more convincing as a ODI squad rather than a Test team.

Posted by likeintcricket on (August 25, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

In the older days when a player performs as bad as Raina and Gambhir did ( 13 and 17 averages) they will be dropped and forgotten forever. But the things are different now. Soon they will produce a great performance in IPL or T20 and whole of India will start dancing with them. I have seen Dravid trying to hit sixes in IPL as he also wants to make money as Raina and Co are doing but whether these guys deserve it or not, its a question mark.

Posted by rraheel on (August 25, 2011, 5:01 GMT)

@Minhaj Ahmed Rinku Sachin's average in Australia 59, england 56, srilanka 68, 47, n.zealand 50. Sachin have 99 hundreds & 57 hundreds are outside india.Dravid avg outside ind is 55.So check stats first & then comment.

Posted by willmot on (August 25, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

IPL or not a comprehensive drubbing was always on the cards from any informed objective observer. The Indians are simply nowhere not good enough overseas.

Posted by vk6848 on (August 25, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

Absolutely right Peter Moon; Even 'great' oldies start firing less and less frequently but stay on, as the team sinks (I saw that even Tendulkar had TWO ten-innings spells in 2003/2004 when he barely scored runs but followed with a double century). Such 'resurgences' means they stay on for another 2-3 years. I feel sorry for the younger cricketers who cannot get a sustained opportunity. One almost needs to get to 30 before getting a chance these days- the lucrative income has ruined everything and I agree that there should be a compulsory retirement age!

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 3:59 GMT)

Below is a statement from Ponting.Read trest of his interview.It answers all of India's problem That's the big worry I've had about Twenty20 cricket, and even other shorter forms of the game being played at really developmental times in kids' careers. Cricket for me, when I was growing up, if I was batting, it meant I was batting until someone got me out, and if that took them a week then that's how long it took them. The guys who played in my era that's what it was all about - not going out there and facing two overs and then being told that you had to go and stand in the field; that's not what cricket is. And that's the worry I have about a lot of the developmental phases. Even Under-17s and Under-19s now, they're playing T20 games in national championships, and at the detriment of two-day games. Good state players these days are averaging 35. If you were averaging 35 when I was playing, your dad would go and buy you a basketball

Posted by suresh_ramamoorthy on (August 25, 2011, 3:45 GMT)

Hope Varun Aaron clicks. Munaf not being in the side is a disappointment, and Ravichandran Ashwin ought to take the place of Bhajji, who is overrated. Add Ishant to the mix, and you have a good enough bowling attack. As for the batting, what can I say? Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni pick themselves. Let's look beyond Dravid, VVS and Tendulkar and see who else can be nurtured. BCCI - are you listening?

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 3:42 GMT)

Tendulkar, Laxman are spent forces. Dravid is like the burning candle- sparkling before ----. Yuvaraj Singh, Raina, Rohit Sharma - no comparison to those big names in terms of skills. The batting skills of the youngsters- who come up through ODI & T20- can never be better than Tendulkar, Dravid & Laxman. Bowling skills there is nothing beyond Zaheer Khan. It is pity Harbhajan Singh is still playing. So the future of Indian cricket- will be same like Bangladesh, Zimbave for next few years. Let us not get worried. Let us go back to the drawing board & build / find Gavaskars, Tendulkars, Kapil Devs, Prasanas, and Venkataraghvans & Kumbles. This can happen only when T20 & IPL are totally stopped

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 25, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

landl47, that's probably the best I've heard from a Brit regarding IPL and Tests. You are probably the only Brit who isn't talking about wanting the IPL to die unlike other Brits who say that they are 'deeply concerned' about Indian Test Cricket and will insert their venom without fail against IPL in the very next line. Too bad that they don't realise that IPL's success feeds on the success of not only Tests but ODIs also. Yes, IPL lays golden eggs and that's why Indian Test Cricket and ODI cricket shouldn't die because success in those two formats will add value to IPL. My hats off to you for saying the obvious and maintaining the decency of not looking forward for the death of a billion dollar business in a developing country.

Posted by Dr.Rajdhillon on (August 25, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

Really liked the article. It makes lot of sense and the way the editor have scrutinized the recent drubbing of our team is very logical. Thumbs up. Hope the BCCI goes through this article and use the intellect they have, if any.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 25, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, you have to mention IPL in almost every post of yours while expressing your 'concern' for Indian Test Cricket. Let me inform you that IPL will serve India and her people better than Indian Test Cricket. Did it ever occur to you that IPL is bigger than Indian Test Cricket? You need to wake up. You are dreaming a lot!

Posted by TissaPerera on (August 25, 2011, 3:06 GMT)

Didn't Sri Lanka Play much better than India. They gave a good fight, Only lost one match due to a mad session. Few of Batsmen got Good Centuries. Won few ODIs too. But Yet, why not many people recognize Sri Lanka as a better team than India. Just Wonder......

Posted by Sheela on (August 25, 2011, 2:14 GMT)

A few harp on limted overs superiority. In these limited overs matches, field restrictions are in place and shorter boundaries. These will not test the skill of players. Limited overs is meant to demean bowlers and nothing less. In TEst matches wicket taking is the object of bowlers and not merely saving runs Hope this is clearly understood by a few who oppose Test cricket.

Posted by Number1Sucks on (August 25, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Who cares about test cricket when the coffers are full with money earned from IPL and other shorter formats of game. I love test-cricket because luckily I was born in the 80s. Young Indians born in the 90s or later will forget what test-cricket is..!! And thinking logically, test-cricket is a dying form of cricket, it is like the simple equation of demand and supply. But I wonder if India one day vanish from the test-cricket scene, how will Indian fans react to IPL. Success of IPL is too much dependent on the success of the national team. Or may be India will be world beaters in T20 format to keep IPL alive and I think that is the future. I do not like this future but this is the reality..!

Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 1:26 GMT)

The root cause of the Indian thrashing in England is as the same disease as Australia had (and still has). Too many all time greats getting old, but playing on because the pay is so high now. In the good old days players retired about thirty then got a real job, and those coming up directly behind them got their chance to play at the highest level while still at a reasonably young age. Not now. Those that could have been moulded into worthy recipients of high honours have also retired and found that real job, because the opportunities were taken up for too long by the all time greats. Those from the generation coming after the unfortunates have then not done the full craft as yet so down the team goes. The world needs a compulsory retirement age for aging cricketers!

Posted by Nimoy on (August 25, 2011, 1:19 GMT)

Team India needs some changes and in changing this Indian selectors play the lead role. I still dont understand why was Cheteshwar Pujara not picked when he played so goog against Australia a match winning innings, also why was Munaf Patel not played in fourth test when he was already present there was no need of RP singh as he had not played test since 2 or 3 years.The problem with our selectors is they dont give enough time to the new comers take the example of Saurabh Tiwary he is a goog batsman but not given enough opportunity and then made him sit on bench and ultimately dropped. I dont know weather selectors are going to read this or not but if someone can pass this message to them and they open their eyes it will be good for team India

Posted by sjitendran on (August 25, 2011, 0:48 GMT)

The interesting thing to note is that the team which was playing extensively in IPL has been thrashed and subjected to ignominy by a team who shunned playing IPL except couple of characters. Engalnd players were playing proper test cricket whereas indian players were no were near. Hopefully BCCI learne this hard lesson andcorect the anamoly. May be this is a wishful thinking.

Posted by only_sehwag on (August 25, 2011, 0:23 GMT)

as long as a Murli Vijay or a Raina makes more money than Dravid/Laxman, this circus will continue...

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 24, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

For me IPL is not a factor at all. All we have is mediocre players and awful bowlers in domestic leagure. Whether they want to play IPL or TEST , it does not matter. You all shouting as though IPL spoiled India. For me IPL allowed more players make money and show off their talents. But you still do not find that Dream 150kmph fast bowler. Because no one gets motivated to bowl faster. No reward for the bowlers who puts every once of his energy when trundlers like irfan pathan makes 2 million dollar for good at nothing. There is a general system failure. India as a country never appreciate athletes and physical specimen. That is core of the problem

Posted by Chris_P on (August 24, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

The cast is et. The BCCI has given the direction that Indian cricket will go, & that's the T20, ODI way. The infractructure currently set up simply cab't generate Test standard players who can compete at the highest level. Consider this, 6 of the first 7 batsmen are over 30, add Bhaji & Zaheer, that makes 8 out of 9. Where is the future? Masters cricket? The young players are too full of T20 mindset & technique to succeed over a period in tests. Dim, make that dark days await India in the future. Low test rankings beckons team India when the legends leave. All this talk about getting this type of bowler, this type of batsmen, doesn't happen overnight, there has to be a program, & it's simply not set up. Deal with it, expect the worst is in front of you, & you won't be as disappointed.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (August 24, 2011, 21:51 GMT)

@ravichakra...#3 is the best spot for batting. Dravid has to open in absence of regular opener because he is our #3 batsman. If he is getting the best slot to bat 90% of the time, he has to bat at the pricky spot when required 10% of the time. Good that Dravid doesn't try to eat a cake and have it too like you are suggesting. As far as VVS batting at #3, he has said n number of times that it is his preferred spot. So whenever Dravid is not at #3, VVS is. SRT's preferred spot has alays been #4. So I think all 3 greats are getting what they want. What exactly is your problem...Let me guess. You are one of those who have to hate Sachin in order to love Dravid. Trust me you can be a fan of all of them.

Posted by jmns on (August 24, 2011, 21:42 GMT)

india need 4 fast bowlers who can bowl 135mph to 150mph all the time.

Posted by ChrisRa on (August 24, 2011, 21:40 GMT)

I can see how anyone can deny that IPL is having a big effect on the technique of the Indian cricketers when it comes to test cricket. People seem to concentrate on how batting technique has been negatively effected which is undoubtably true, but what about the bowling. It is a hell of a difference bowling 4 overs a game and merely trying to keep the scoring down compared to bowling over 20 overs a day and trying to get people out. This has been clearly shown in this series by all the Indian bowlers, they ae simply not consistantly dangerous over a period of time.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 21:28 GMT)

Firstly very good article. But I was wondering what are the BCCI administrators thinking actually. Articles and wisdom is great, but if the administrators don't feel this way or if the message doesn't reach them, would it even matter how great this article might even be?

Posted by JohnnyRook on (August 24, 2011, 21:21 GMT)

@ravichakra. What exactly does this "useless runs" thing mean. I have never really understood this. May be you can help me. Is any high score made in a loss useless. Going by that logic, all of Dravid's runs in this series are useless and selfish personal records (such a great disservice to the man). SRT's 91 might have saved us the match had Dhoni and Raina played a little better. And by the way what do you have to say abt our shoddy bowling and terrible batting by people who would make Indian batting lineup after Sachin retires. I guess you must be happy with them bcoz they din't make selfish/useless runs. Oh wait, they din't make any runs. Just think abt it mate. Whatever you call selfish/useless runs are loads better than no or less runs.

Posted by sharidas on (August 24, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

Who wins matches ? Batsmen or Bowlers ? A subject which has been argued on for ages. But , if you look at the recently completed test matches, it certainly were the Bowlers who won the matches. Against Pakistan ,though ,England came up on top, their batsmen were never comfortable against Amer,Gul, Asif ,Wahab or Ajmal. India is slipping on the playing eleven and bench strength and would do well in blooding young talent and giving them enough opportunity. It may not necessarily be the big scorers and the high wicket takers in domestic cricket that we need to look at,but players with the mental strength to go on when the going gets tough.

Posted by pallu11 on (August 24, 2011, 21:03 GMT)

how could india get whitewashed? they were the #1 team in the world. in 2 of the matches they got an inning defeat. i hope for better results in later test series.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 20:19 GMT)

Great Article by Sambit Bal as usual! Agree totally on Test Cricket needing superior compensation -- test cricketers shd get some sort of management waiver or careful monitoring of their IPL commitments. The key lies in the Board's roadmap & planning -- don't expect much there tho!

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 20:19 GMT)

Indian's defeat reminded me of Pakistan performance in Australia couple of years ago when Pakistan team lost all the test matches one after another. No doubt, Indian fan will be totally disgusted with their team performance. One thing all teams in sub-continent lack is consistency. They don't know how to keep the winning momentum going. Also, I feel bad for the Indian team, who are playing cricket like there is no tomorrow. T-20, IPL, Test matches, one days, counties. Time to give them a break from all forms of the game. After all, money is not everyhing.

Posted by BravoBravo on (August 24, 2011, 20:07 GMT)

Keep on writing my friends about glory and ignominy till the start of ENG vs IND ODI series. For IND camp it is a matter of hard choice whether to disregard ICC ranking or not. On the same day, they slipped to #3 in Test and ODI both. A downward slip in ODI ranking will further tarnish their image of Champions of WC2011. By the time they finish their AUS tour, they will be competing with NZ for their right spot on ODI ranking. In summary, IND is just an ordinary team when they play outside, away from their homegrounds.

Posted by m_ilind on (August 24, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

Nice article. Winning or losing is part of the game. But, it's the manner of the losses that hurts Indian fans the most.

Posted by Heart_of_Oak on (August 24, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

To S.N.Singh, there is one more thing to say. I'm an Englishman and proud that our team is now number one. I hope we can stay number one. But I hope no Indian forgets what Sachin Tendulkar has done for cricket over the years. Imagine the football world without Pele, Zidane or George Best. It would be a poorer place without these gifted sportsmen. Sachin has been like this for cricket. Players with his ability come along only rarely. Cricket has been a richer place thanks to him.

Posted by likeintcricket on (August 24, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

Test Cricket is not a format, Its just pure cricket where a team like Ireland can never beat an English side as they did it in the world cup. England's victory against India is not a fluke but their are so many factors behind it and Age and Fatigue are the biggest one. The Hero worship in India is so great that no one dare to ask Sachin, Laxman and Dravid to retire. Dravid scored four centuries in the last two tours but all of them were chancy ones as he was dropped on several occasions. But this humiliating defeats has just open the gates of criticism and the senior players are coming out and asking questions.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 18:52 GMT)

A very nicely written and well-thought out piece on the plight of Indian cricket. Yet, it is too diplomatic, too wishful and borderline delusional. Sambit Bal is being too congenial and not able to correctly ascertain the very deep malaise, in particular, the depth of damage done by T20. The terrible format has disrupted intelligent cricket, it is the cricket version of WWF, and the unwitting Indian public, disgusted from its corruption scandals and choke hold of inflation, has succumbed to some TV entertainment that is disguising as meaningful cricket. The cricketers have responded exactly as free markets would deem - seek the most buck for their minuscule efforts. Does the BCCI have the character and intellect to stem this rot - Tiger Pataudi has it right: they have neither the intent or the desire. So good times will roll for the rubbish T20 with astronomical sums offered to players to slog for 2 hours. Test cricket future for India - abysmal!

Posted by Desihungama on (August 24, 2011, 18:36 GMT)

Well, then Sachin should have played the West Indies Series to get his other 100. It isn't likely that he is going to get it anytime soon unless BCCI invites hapless Ireland or Zimbabwe.

Posted by sam_usa on (August 24, 2011, 18:18 GMT)

Time to groom some fast bowlers Time to build some fast paced pitches in India. Don't have to change all pitches but we have to have some.

Posted by ravichakra on (August 24, 2011, 18:17 GMT)

@Dr.Vindaloo : How did he get out after scoring his century when chasing over 400 runs against SA when they were here? Same sweep shot that went awry immediately after the hundred. Irrespective of what shot he played, what was annoying that while all other players' positions were shifted, he remained rooted to his customary no. 4 position and did not deliver when the team needed him to. All his runs in this series have been futile and came at a time when the result was a foregone conclusion which he was not capable of reversing with his batting.

Posted by ravichakra on (August 24, 2011, 18:07 GMT)

@sachin620: Naturally, SRT will bounce back in the next Test as it is going to happen in the flat pitches of India against WI. All these lambs will now become tigers on flat batting beauties doling out centuries after centuries. Use the same yardstick that you apply for others while criticizing a player. After the SA series, you all were gunning for Dravid's head, many also mentioned that the Eng tour will be his last. Good he has proved once again that he is the best Test player India has ever produced.

Posted by ShashidharHundi on (August 24, 2011, 18:06 GMT)

BCCI & Selectors, please, please give oppurtunity to youngsters in the upcoming WI Series. Invest in the future. I suggest the following team. 1. Abhinav Mukund 2.Rehane 3.Rahul Dravid 4. Virat Kohli 5.Laxman 6. Pujara 7. Dhoni 8.Mithun 9.Varun Aron 10.Aravind 10. Ashwin. Give break to Sachin & may be for Dhoni as well. Dhoni can be replaced by Parthiv Patel. This bolwing attachk may suprise many but it will not be bad than one we have. INVEST IN YOUNGSTERS. WI Series is the good oppurtunity.

Posted by Rahulbose on (August 24, 2011, 18:02 GMT)

I expect India to go the way of West Indies, at least in test matches. They had a good run on the backs of some exceptional talent but much like the WI they squandered the advantage by ignoring the next generation . Combined with the lack of vision from BCCI, this will result in a prolonged slump. India will soon be rubbing shoulders with Bangladesh and Zim in tests.

Posted by ravichakra on (August 24, 2011, 18:01 GMT)

@johnnyrook : Don't look at the aggregate runs in the series and comment. Most of SRT's runs came when the result was obvious and never ever bailed the team out or looked like bailing the team out of danger. They were all inconsequential to the team cause. His 40, 53 and 91 all were mere personal accumulators and really had no significance to the match situation or result in as much as they were in the SA and SL series.

Posted by MJLRGS on (August 24, 2011, 17:52 GMT)

India should accept that they have made some serious mistakes, and have been quite sloppy. MS Dhoni should accept that his selection was not very good, and he seems to have already done so, as he takes on new players Varun Aaron and Ajinkya Rahane but I feel that India need more new bowlers, like Iqbal Abdulla. They should train these new bowlers aswell as Ashwin and Balaji for Test cricket, as I feel that this should be India's priority, as it is this form of the game which they were recently top in, but have fell disappointingly. They should take this in their stride for the ODIs and T20s.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (August 24, 2011, 17:48 GMT)


Posted by bhaloniaz on (August 24, 2011, 17:38 GMT)

Cricket should live on even if my team is not the top. We sometimes miss this point when we are too much involved in the process of wanting my team to win. It makes us blind. So what England beats England in a series? Good for the game. Otherwise we become unforgiving to our team when it lose and worship the team when it wins. Zak was injured. Yuv/Dhoni had a decent series. PK was a find. No matter how much talented Indian batsmen are some young batsmen would go through a problem of adjusting to the pace friendly wickets (It might have to do with India's flat wickets and resultant effect of lack of pace bowlers). So introducing new batsmen is really hard for india. Do you give Vinod Kambli some slack because he did so well in the domestic wicket or do you let him retire at an early age with a 50+ average?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 24, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

Once the Indian team has returned home, I would hope that there is a public statement issued to the cricket fans of India. To help in the wording of this, I would suggest something along these lines: "The BCCI apologises unreservedly to the fans of India for the disappointing performance on the tour of England. We were, in all honesty, unprepared for the tour and acknowledge that we should have been more careful and detailed in this respect. We share your pain and are determined that we will learn the hard lessons delivered by our humiliation at the hands of England. To this end, we are looking closely at the IPL and intend to dramatically reduce the number of matches to fit into ten days of cricket to be played at a time when it does not interfere with our test match preparation. Further, we state categorically that Test cricket is our absolute priority and nothing will be allowed to distract us from delivering the success in the test arena..etc." Am I dreaming? Will this happen?

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

False hopes by Mr. Sambit Bal

Posted by Scrop on (August 24, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

I think the Centrally Contracted Indian players must be allowed to play only a handful of games in IPL. Like 7-9 games at Leagues stages and 1 semi and 1 Final (if their team is qualified).

Player rotation is not a very big problem in IPL when you have good international players and good pool of Domestic players.

And even when on rest period they have to maintain their fitness levels.

Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (August 24, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

Disagree with AyrtonS's comments about Sachin's sweep shot. It wasn't reckless, it is one of his percentage scoring shots against off-spinners. One thing India had done well in the series was not letting Swann settle and pre-meditated sweep shots were central to this strategy. He was perfectly justified in attempting it even though he ended up misjudging it.

Posted by Commenter123 on (August 24, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

@shamlaatu - Pretty Ordinary teams can't win test series abroad. They were good, not consistently good. Very few teams consistent, others just get some individual records and make up for it.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 17:02 GMT)

Home crowd and appraisals make India arrogant. They did face the music with a loud sound. Now, they will be very humble until they win some games at home.

Posted by G.AJAY on (August 24, 2011, 16:56 GMT)

The bowling dept. is struggling. Stats show that batting struggled: only one 300 score in last 8 innings. But it is the bowling which is a major concern. 4+ 500 scores, with tailenders scoring half centuries/centuries- it is simply unacceptable. It was a major concern in WC and it is exposed out in the Test series. The experienced players like Harbhajan, Zaheer hardly play any domestic cricket. BCCI should enforce the rules that no player will be allowed to skip domestic cricket. Practicing under nets is not going to help out winning matches. Also, it lifts the morale of the domestic players as well since they have the opportunity to learn playing alongside the Indian team player/s.

Posted by palinaresh11 on (August 24, 2011, 16:47 GMT)

In continuation of my earlier post -

We, the common man, need to make sure that we are not taken for granted by BCCI, Corporate world and TV Channels. If we collectively stop watching cricket match on TV, just imagine what will happen to TRP ratings of cricket telecast and hence the revenue that TV channels earn from advertisers. If we do not go to watch a cricket match in the stadium, how will BCCI/IPL franchisees get their entry fees and in stadium advertising revenues. If we boycott the brands that are being endorsed by cricketers, why will any company select cricketers to endorse their brand? Think about it this entire issue - the whole issue is around money and flow of money from one entity to another. What we often forget is that we, the common man and the ardent fans of this magnificent game are the source of this money. My sincere request to all my friends on Cricinfo is to take some drastic steps for next few months listed above, this is only way to make BCCI sit up & listen.

Posted by palinaresh11 on (August 24, 2011, 16:39 GMT)

I think some thing drastic needs to happen to change BCCI, selection committee and players' attitude. If you think about it, why does the entire cricket setup in India has such callous attitude. My simple argument is that because we have way too much money in cricket and people who should be caring about cricket in our country has stopped taking any logical action. All the arguments and suggestions on this site by Sambit, Harsha, Sanjay, other greats and friends all over the world are quite valid but how do we ensure that BCCI and players actually take action on these suggestions. I am inspired by the recent movement led by Anna in India and youths all over the Arab countries. If you look at the source of money for BCCI, this is how it works : BCCI gets tons of money from corporates, players earn lot of money from IPL franchisees and corporates for brand endorsements, guess from where corporates and franchisees recover their money - it is from us, the common man.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 16:35 GMT)

I am not surprised the way India lost the series. It was predictable before the series. India is simply an ordinary team outside India. They may have talents like Tendulkar, Dravid, Kohli, Yuvraj, but these players are ordinary when it comes to playing cricket outside India.

Posted by Nampally on (August 24, 2011, 16:24 GMT)

Lessons from this failure are quite a few. Firstly, any team selected should have physically & mentally fit guys. Indian squad had Zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Tendulkar coming straight out of the injury recupperation. Clearly they were not only physically unfit but mentally unprepared and lacking in practice. Added to this Harbhajan, Kumar, Yuvraj & Gambhir were injured while playing in England. So a crippled Indian disjointed team faced a tough team who had fully fit XI. Playing in English conditions under which these guys had very little practice made the Indian batsmen look like Minnows . Surely, these are the biggest lessons from this series. If England had played with the same limitations, I am sure the results would have been reversed. Indian Selectors & BCCI were jointly responsible for creating such a scenario. New Manager & lack of intensity of the Indian team were the next major factors. Conclusion: Indian team is still formidable if they remove these limitations.

Posted by FitzroyMarsupial on (August 24, 2011, 16:18 GMT)

As the aussies also know - talent is cyclical. In the past 15 years, India has had as many as 6 players who would/could make an all-time India XI (Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, VVS, Kumble and Zaheer). We bemoan the IPL encouraging a 20/20 mentality - but has it really? No form of the game puts fielding at a bigger premium than 20/20 - yet this team (Raina apart) looked fat, unfit and tired - and dropped catch after catch. If I wanted to see overweight Indians - I can look in the mirror. The entire team (yes, even Sachin) should take a long look at the Eng v Ireland game tomorrow. Ireland will not have the natural talent, back-up, cash, or opportunities - but they will still be 2-3 x fitter and better drilled than India this summer. The Aussies are at a low ebb, but their fans will never be shamed by a team who simply don'ty care enough to run the extra laps and eat one less parantha. I can take losing - England is a fine team and richly deserved it - but this was shameful surrender.

Posted by Flash03 on (August 24, 2011, 16:15 GMT)

A lot of people think that it is an over reaction to one series loss. Winning and losing is an inevitable part of the game but the way India lost is the reason for such a dissection as to what went wrong. Out of the four test matches, two of them went to the 5th day only because it rained. The other two ended on the 4th day. That says a whole lot. A Tendulkar 100 would have surely masked the blows to an extent and I am happy he did not score a 100 for two reasons: 1. The fan reaction to this 4-0 drubbing would have been a little different. 2. To celebrate a 100th 100 under such gloomy circumstances does not do justice to the effort Sachin has put all these years.

Finally, it is not how you fall but how you get back up that matters the most. In India's case I hope they come back roaring.

Posted by KrishnaIPS on (August 24, 2011, 16:14 GMT)

Sachin is only playing because he wanted to open with his son.That is the record he is eying now a days, not the matches he presently playing. Sehwag assumes Dhoni shouldn't have this following when he is performing below average (thinks he is only winning the cups just because the best eleven). Gambhir feels he deserved the man of the match in final. He still feels we won in final because he saved the collapse and argues with any one he is better than Dhoni as a captain. Harbhajan and Zaheer don't like Dhoni to have this credit being they are seniors to him.Lxaman really had a bad excuse him (not because I like him). Sreesanth is a waste bowler,just in the team because sreekanth is in selection. Raina with all the nuisance above,he wanted help dhoni by filling all the can'wear pants that doesn't fit for got puppy shame. Dhoni pressed the bad luck button... In reverse, being most of their players are choosed in IPL Englnd are very angry,so they want

Posted by rsurya on (August 24, 2011, 16:03 GMT)

IPL 14 league matches + 1qualifier+ 1eliminator+ 1final, Total 17 matches for a player in any IPL team. Every player may require to field for 17X20 = 340 overs. Maximum a batsman plays at an avg of 5 overs a match ( Its more than maximum) 17x5 = 85 overs. And for travelling they are not going in foot board of a government bus, they are well cared of with flights and A/C buses. There is a day off after every match and mostly there are 2 days gap between every match. I DON'T KNOW WHERE THE FATIGUE COMES FROM???? One possibility is if they party over night...(make strict rules) other is they are not build enough to withstand this 340 overs of fielding over 2 months and 85 overs of batting in the same 2 months. Last, they gain injury during the IPL (He may even gain it by slipping in bathroom). PLS DON'T SAY WE ARE NOT MACHINES.. A TEST match comprises of 90x5 = 450 overs and each team requires probably 225 overs to field. Does a 2 Test match in a row makes a player fatigue.

Posted by Kaushal_b on (August 24, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

@shamlaatu....we must not forget that India is the only team to have won atleast one test match in all test playing countries (both in and outside the subcontinent) over the last 8 years. No other team in world cricket (besides Australia) has managed to do this......England haven't won in SL since 2001 while SA haven't won in SL either. So I don't think it's fair to say that India have been consistently ordinary outside the subcontinent. But I do agree that India have been fortunate to have been collectively in good form to achieve this with the bowling attack relying mainly on Zaheer Khan currently, and on Anil Kumble before that.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 15:39 GMT)

Mr. Bal, as Harsha keeps pointing out, whenever you rarely come on his show, you are the quintessential cricket romantic, who sees a silver lining in dark places. But here speaks a quintessential cynic, who believes that as long as it doesn't affect its revenue, the BCCI will do nothing, and the time will come when India's defeats on the world stage will start affecting their revenue, because the Indian public will not continue watching the IPL if their team is losing more than they are winning. And till the day happens when India is not interested in seeing the IPL, because the IPL 'stars' so to speak are playing rubbish at the World Stage, India's performance, in test cricket, at lease will continue to dip.

Posted by 6forus on (August 24, 2011, 15:36 GMT)

why sreesanth has been huge disappointment, what bout ishant sharma? did he perform well... he was juz runnin in and bowling tz it.. no plans nothing... where to bowl, try something new .. he dint do anytin even a yorker? he dint bowl this whole series.. its easy to blame someone.. instead of blaming try something so that we can forget this and focus on the future.. when these 3 guns retire( sachin, dravid and laxman) our test cricket future will b gone, bcci has to do someting right now..

Posted by Navin84 on (August 24, 2011, 15:35 GMT)

India should see this as a blessing is disguise, this should have happened a long time ago. Look at it this way, suppose the series was drawn at 2-2 or India lost 2-1, they would have still remain no.1 and India will just go about doing their normaly business without realizing the hole they are creating. When Tendulkar (38), Dravid (39) & Laxman (37) retire in the new couple of years, who will replace them? As for their bowlers, only Parveen Kumar i see is capable of doing something, Zaheer dont have much longer with his injuries. This series gives them the oppurtunity to search for new talents and groom them b4 it's too late.

Posted by timus6778 on (August 24, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

Let's see how many of us have the courage to say that "INDIA WILL MISS RAHUL DRAVID'S SERVICES MORE THAN SACHIN TENDULKAR(PURELY IN TERMS OF CRICKET )"???...Surely, Sachin gave us a belief and the reason to watch cricket..but guys, let's talk cricket and not fame and adulation...let's not go into the debate that who is the best but who has been more pivotal in India's success in test cricket over the last decade and the previous one...Both are greats...Sachin definitely does have an edge,,but let's be honest....COMMENTS,GUYS???

Posted by K.A.K on (August 24, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

Very well written analysis. I will add to that India and Indians loosing interest in Test cricket will be a disaster for this format of cricket and it will not be good for this sports.

Posted by cyclist00752 on (August 24, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

A simple rule should be in place: A player in the IPL cannot be paid more than what he has earned in the last year playing for his country (or for the state/county/city for domestic players) or maybe a fixed multiple of what he earns for his country.

Obviously the big players like Tendulkars, Sehwag, Ponting, etc will able to earn the big money still, but the side players will now have to first earn in domestic competitions or county cricket and then get their so called IPL earned money!

And note I dont say he cant play in IPL but he just cannot be paid that much. So maybe a Paul Valthaty can get his fame in the first year of the IPL, get into Ranji teams or English county teams on fame (and eventually class) and then maybe reap the rewards the next year in IPL (this also ensures the youth dont get too much money too soon).

Posted by NairUSA on (August 24, 2011, 15:13 GMT)

The picture is shocking! The Indian Team showed up for an important assignment unprepared and uninterested. The responsibility of this debacle squarely falls on the BCCI, Selectors and the players. None can pass the buck in this case, especially Dhoni.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

They should send back home the current players and make the rest of the series more of a "build-the-future"

Posted by puneet_usa on (August 24, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

Team India's success was based on a master plan created by their famed coach GARY KIRSTEN- who unfortunately is no longer in charge- He had the Team India going whether it was at home or abroad-he managed to get maximum output out of all the players who were not world class but manage to pitch in their 2 cents on consistent basis which eventually added up in final analysis and therefore Team India did well overall- Mr. Duncan Fletcher took over the world champions thinking that the team will move on its own from the high of being Recently Crowned World Champions and with big names like Sachin,Sehwag,Dravid,Dhoni,Laxman,etc in team- One or the other will fire and get the results single handedly but the calculation went terribly wrong with unforeseen injuries to the big guns and not enough ready to play and perform bench strength that Duncan has nowhere to hide but to expect these big guns to fire at least in the final test- Hope he gets in touch with GARY soon for few words of wisdom.

Posted by cric4zh on (August 24, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

play more IPL matches and earn more money.

Posted by ShamimH on (August 24, 2011, 14:56 GMT)

Ganguly must be laughing - of all the humiliations he had to endure it is time to recognize how political these cricket boards have become in the sub-continent. It is time to leave the playing and selection to the Coaches. Hire the best Coach money can buy - give him the resources - provide incentive bonus and then leave all the rest to him. And this applies to Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka as well.

Posted by zico123 on (August 24, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

Dhoni should take break from IPL and CL, atleast he should give up captaincy and wicket keeping in IPL and CL

Posted by ampalam on (August 24, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

yes its a good article.The administers of the Indian cricket should act very quickly so that test cricket does not die in India.They should draw a line that how many matches in the IPL each players can play and before a tough series like the English one how much they train and prepare.They just cant come and play test cricket after being out for some time.Over confidence killed them in England and lets hope they dont repeat those mistakes again.

Posted by zico123 on (August 24, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

There ought to be superior remuneration or compensation for Test cricketers compared to IPL or CL, if India wants to produce great young test players, otherwise all we would get is good young T20 players

Posted by zico123 on (August 24, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

india lost badly beause of injury and fatigue inflicted by IPL, which caused most of our players to skip WI tour and so come Eng tour we were under prepared, it is too much cricket which is affecting quality. get rid of IPL and CL, india would go back on top again. our big 3 is stil lthe best. if BCCI gives so much money and importance to IPL india would never produce great young test players, all we would get is good young T20 players

Posted by zico123 on (August 24, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

that is not fair to call for heads of our big 3, india lost so badly not because poor performance from big 3, dravid scored 3 hundreds and sachin scored 90, india lost badly because the younger lot failed likes of Raina, Gambhir, Abhinav, Sehwag, Dhoni etc, our big 3 is still the best, none of the younger players are good enough to replace them, no young player have grabbed no.6 spot yet, how can they grab no.3, 4, 5!! eventually 3,4,5 should go to Kohli, Rohit and Pujara, but first let one of them grab no.6 firmly, what longer run for younger players we are talking about, Raina already got a long run and he failed terribly, he is not a test cricketer for god sake, nor is Yuvraj.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 14:47 GMT)


Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 14:46 GMT)

It is high time everyone realizes that cricketers are human beings too. The body cannot cope with so much cricket. After a grueling week at office, we all know how important it is to take an off day on Sunday. 275 days of Cricket in a year without rest breaks isn't a joke. Add to that the hectic travel schedules and the body is sure to take a beating. More than anything else, the players need to have some mental peace. All people who are criticizing the performance of the players need to understand that the easiest thing to do is criticize. The players are representing India only because they have done something that others haven't. Therefore, they are the best judges of what is happening than all the fans out there.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

hats off to ENG!!!! Ranil From Sri Lanka

Posted by cric_follower on (August 24, 2011, 14:36 GMT)

Unofficially India has already shunned the test format. Bowlers in domestic cricket are growing up thinking how to restrict batsmen to 7 an over. They are not thinking wickets. Batsmen are thinking about hitting boundries on flat wickets. They are NOT thinking technique. What we saw in the UK was a small preview of what to expect in the next few years. EXPECT FEWER ENGLISH TOURS for sure. More subcontinent matches. The masses will be happy. The elite will suffer. BCCI is only conceding to the crowd and are making boat loads of money. This will be forgotten soon.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (August 24, 2011, 14:31 GMT)

Very good analysis. It all boils down to the BCCI giving the players the rest, and giving them the option that they can miss some games in the IPL. Till now the BCCI's attitude has been one of "iss any international series or game but not the IPL". That has to change. Cricket's soul is still international cricket not franchises.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Looking at the mindset of the top brass at BCCI, the scenario is likely to be just the opposite to what Sambit Bal suggests. The moment they feel that India has poorer chance of regaining the top ranking in tests, but better chance in shorter forms, they will further downgrade tests, not only in their scheme of things, but also influence ICC to follow suit. That will be the most tragic, unwanted, and unwarranted outcome. But I won't be surprised if it happens! What a shame!

Posted by BravoBravo on (August 24, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

I am surprised to see the flurry of articles about IND humiliating defeat in WHITE WASH category as to why IND failed so badly. The shameful defeat is a reality, it is not theory anymore. Let's see, this is an undisputed fact that among AUS, ENG, WI, PAK, SA, and IND, India has worst win to loss ratio in Test Cricket, even in other format of games. What, IND must be playing cricket for some 80 years, and played like 350+ test matches, their hundredth test win comes against SL only recently (like 20 months ago, BIG WHOOP), and at the same time PAK was winning their 105th Test match in NZ. The media got crazy and article started pouring in describing their 100th win as milemarker of excellence in the game. IND should have been embarassed on the fact that 100th test win came after such a miserably long time. IND know their weakest link are their batsmen, that is why they have a SA coach while taking their caravan to SA, and they have a ENG coach while camping in ENG. Try AUS coach now.

Posted by PTtheAxis on (August 24, 2011, 14:22 GMT)

dhoni dhoni dhoni ... the main problem. take him out and even the current bowlers will appear good. problem is not with bowling even though an out & out fast bowler will hep india. it is field settings. Ishant was never given a forward short leg which a bowler of his type should always have. KP made his 200 after lobbing at least a dozen balls in that region off Ishant. spinners require men around the bat no matter what the conditions. dhoni spreads them like t-20. dhoni is not interested in this job as test captain or even cricket as a whole. also time to get youngsters like pujara etc. in. dhoni should not even be seen around a test match let alone play in one.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 24, 2011, 14:17 GMT)

Ind has gad its golden period where it performed creditably both at home and away in its cricket history between 200-2011 (until WC). The team was lucky enough to have had a core set of players who played their part in its rise. The main problem is that the next phase after the retirements of key players was not well thought or executed. The later half of India's rise also coincided with increasing popularity of T20 and easy money it offered even for hopefuls. So, the youngsters instead of honing the skills for test cricket, where you must be very good at at least one skill (batting, bowling or wkt keeping) to earn a spot, became avg multi-desciplined cricketers. With No.1 ranking gone, Ind should go for a new look test team. Might sound harsh, but that is the way to go to build a better team for future.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 14:09 GMT)

I'm highly delighted by the performance of England against India as the home team rallied to sweep the series 4-0 to show that India really lacked motivation, effort, practice and determination which was really essential for it to give a good performance. India really needs to make a significant improvement after four consecutive big losses. It was not a competition and the match seemed to be played in between an elephant and a rat where the elephant always has a comparatively greater edge. It is shameful to know that India give high priority to older generation of players rather than younger generation of players. The need of the time for India is to make sufficient place for young generation of players which will definitely raise the performance in the future. Otherwise, India will have to face the similar crisis which has been faced by the present West Indies team. After registering comprehensive victories, England has climbed to No.1 and pushed India further down to No.3.

Posted by ABP235 on (August 24, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

Dear Sambit, you bring a lot of hypocricy in this blog. On one side you say we need to be honest to address the truths (which is correct) and on the other, you do not really do what you preach. Just look at this. Dhoni. Do you still believe that he is the man for test match cricket - despite the two chancy knocks at Edgbaston? Leave alone captaincy. He has made sure, by his smart political maneouvre that Dinesh Karthik (and to some extent, Parthiv Patel too) is kept as far away from the Indian team and thats why he keeps choosing a puppet like Saha. There is no doubt that Dhoni should be kept with his CSK, India T20 and India ODI side and we have to move over to Karthik or Patel. He shows himself to be a batsman in T20 and ODIs promoting himself ahead of batsmen, coming in at 4, but in tests, he prefers to send a night watchman in his place. let us be honest Sambit, your blog hardly demonstrates anything as a real honest step. Gambhir/Sehwag whoever fit can take over test captaincy.

Posted by Er-.S.R.shankar on (August 24, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

A decent article on the road ahead for Indian cricket after the fall--[sparing bashing of BCCI&IPL in excess].But I am disappointed at the statement that there is no serious contender for Harbajan's place. R.Ashwin and Ohja [to a limited extent] are good investments for future--They have proved this whenver they were offered a chance in ODI--Give them an extended run as given to Harbhajan despite his listless showing They would sure give the desired output

My request to the gentlemen who post their views--Do not pass uncharitable comments on seniors--Do not ask for their heads--Rahul,SRT & Laxman would retire on their own--Have you reviewed the performance of their replacements-abysmal-Raina in England and Kohli in West Indies

It calls for a judicious transition from the seniors to new incumbents--In bowling suddenly India looks thin on resources--Pace and Spin both require talent search and nurturing- lest the future looks uninspiring for Indian cricket

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:54 GMT)

Its wrting on the wall that the test cricket is on its demise - not because India lost or England won this series. its because of the nature of test cricket which requires extraordinary focus and 200% fitness. This in addition to that a sense of patriotic or nationalistic zeal is needed to push the envelope. We need to be fair on the players with the amount of cricket being payed these days when compared to a decade or earlier. So bye bye test cricket .

Posted by shamlaatu on (August 24, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

Instead of twisting, tweaking and playing mental gymnastics, Mr. Bal why don't you be brave enough to accept that India has been consistently a very ordinary team outside India?

Posted by InnocentGuy on (August 24, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

Actually I won't be surprised if the BCCI slowly starts downplaying Test cricket and works toward increasing the volume and spread of limited overs cricket because, financially, it makes more sense. But I hope, for the love of the game, that Test cricket prevails and India regain the top spot. Personally, I used to hate watching Test cricket but I've come to enjoy it more than the other formats. Reasons: 1. Test cricket is the purest form of cricket; cricket as it was a 100 years ago. Very few sports retain their form over a century. 2. In Test cricket, victory is achieved only if you are consistent over long durations, so in a way Test cricket helps identify true talent and grit over luck and flashes of brilliance. 3. Cricket isn't meant to be a sport that showcases muscle and sweat. It's a bit like golf, tranquil, and yet a game that needs loads of physical effort, talent and determination to be successful - a true gentleman's game. And so on...

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

Yes thats correct that it's for the best that Tendulkar didn't get his hundred at The Oval; that would have softened the blow, which India don't need. Should understand that India's cricket is first. Here don't mean to degrade Sachin, He is magnificent and legendary of cricket. The golden era of Indian cricket is almost over. Players like Ganguly, Kumble already retired, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman soon to retire and Players like Zaheer and Sehwag are fighting with injuries every now and than. Harbhajan is off color for quite some time now. Who will be the next. Yuvi, Raina, Mukund, Murli all tested but failed miserably in test cricket, Yuvi and Raina are more suited to shorter format of the game. There is no shortage of talent, players like Rohit, Virat, Unadkat are knocking the Door...

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:36 GMT)

India should try to phase-out VVS so that 2 youngsters can be tried at numbers 5 & 6 alongside Dravid & Tendulkar. This could extend the retirement of RD & ST since the Indian cricket depends heavily on them. I am hoping RD can finish ahead of Kallis & Ponting before retirement since Kallis seems to get injured often and Ponting is on way down. VVS is the most mentally strong but with the weakest techniques among DLT. As seen often, youngsters would always have opportunities at the opening slot since there are always injuries.

Posted by sanjaykn on (August 24, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

Nothing will improve here! Indian pitches wont improve so does our players! Test cricke t is a liability in modern era! Under ganguly india improved as there was still internet revolution to catch up! Now no body has time to watch 5 days of meaningless cricket! Hence t-20 and one day have taken precedence. With this being the case, the pitches cannot improve as they are loaded with runs! Indians will never do well in aus,sa and england! You will continue to get thrashed if you go a week before test cricket on these bouncy and swinging pitches! No amount of analysis would help! hope they keep doing well in one dayers for some time to come! other than that, barring australia vs england ashes test cricket is doomed to die! peace!

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

HONEST INTROSPECTION. Two key words! It will be interesting to watch whether the people involved , from Mr N Srinivasn to the fringe players, are capable and willing to display these two traits! Future depends on that. If they do, everything will gradually fall in place.

Posted by AyrtonS on (August 24, 2011, 13:28 GMT)

I think that England has had a great team for the last five years or so and for me personally I could not understand why they were not performing the way they did over the last month or two. Anyhow, finally they are proving me right. As a West Indan fan of TEST cricket, I think that it is a wonderful thing that England is doing well.

** CONGRATULATIONS to the English team and their fans on a great performance. ****

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 13:25 GMT)


Posted by AyrtonS on (August 24, 2011, 13:14 GMT)

If you really want to know how the IPL's T20 nonsense affected test cricket, just take a second look at the shot that Sachin played in the first innings of the 4th test that got him out.

Let me get this straight ! your team is fighting an uphill battle after just losing the previous three test matches and now you are chasing a total of 600 runs , what shot does Sachin play? just review and you will see, there is no way in the world an Austrailan or English player would have played that shot. That is totally a T20/50 over shot.

Same goes for Dhoni, all of a sudden he seem to have lost his good sense of judgement, in the third test with Dravid fighting tooth and nails with Yuvraj, as soon as Yuvraj gest out, what does CAPTAIN Dhoni do? He goes in and immediately tries to play T20 style cricket. Very sad that these guys are adored by millions of fans and yet does not give a damn about the pride or feelings of those fans.

On another note Rahul Dravid was amazing !!

Posted by cloudmess on (August 24, 2011, 13:10 GMT)

The no 1 side in the world, a team full of stars, goes on tour against a good, but not great-looking side, a home side arguably lacking in household names. The tourists are led by a cool, undemonstrative man, who has enjoyed great success as captain at both domestic and international level. The visitors are unexpectedly thrashed 4-0. England's tour of Australia, 1958 - 59.

Posted by bumsonseats on (August 24, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

india should heed this 4 - 0 beating. and their supporters should demand more from the bcci and the payers. they should forget, wait till u play india at home, when i was a kid i used that against anyone who bullied me saying my brother will get u. instead of paying sums of $2.2 million to a opener like GG to play IPL it should be looking at young openers to play 3 day cricket sending them to the uk like 100s of indian cricketers did for years playing league cricket. and send fast bowlers to play county 2nd 11 cricket and pay them and the 2nd team good money, z khan was a better player after he played for worcestershire .dpk

Posted by Sheela on (August 24, 2011, 12:59 GMT)

For decline of Indian Test team performances, part of the blame should squarely, at least in part, to the Indian spectators who throng only for pure entertainment in 50 over and T20 matches. In the limited overs taking wickets is not the main aim whereas in Test btaking 20 opposition wickets, good batting, good fielding all vitall for intelligent cricket are absolutely essential. Obvioulsy most of Indian cricket crowd are not conversant with the huge demands of Test cricket over the shorter formats. Unless this attitude changes, the present Indian Cricket Board, its selectors etc. will never change.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

Re Yogesh Upadhyaya:

I love Test cricket too and would like to hear administrators and players argue more coherently in its favour.

I think the argument for its primacy over the shorter forms of the game (and T20 in particular) stems from the fact that a key component of sport is about the pursuit of excellence and the enjoyment that comes from achieving, or witnessing, excellence. There are so many areas of skill (and possibilities for excellence) in test cricket that just aren't there in T20. T20 is full of artificialities - particularly on bowlers in terms of over restrictionss, fielding restrictions, bouncers, short boundaries - that for me undermine the essence of cricket - the battle between bowler and batsman. Its about the identity of the sport as well - T20 and baseball are not dissimilar. Test Cricket and baseball are massively different.

Posted by buntyj on (August 24, 2011, 12:51 GMT)

thru fascination with yuvi n kaif n by making odi success the way into contention for test places indian selectors ignored giving timely n sufficient test opportunities to s sriram, venugopal rao, badrinath; had these 3 been given timely breaks and sufficient opportunities (and kept away from over limit formats) they may have developed into decent test bats even if not comparable to top 5. in that case the imminent transition wouldnt have been so difficult today

Posted by phendel on (August 24, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

I for one enjoy cricket as a whole....T20, ODI & Tests....they all hold different places in viewer's hearts.....but saying Test cricket is the far superior format does not help the sport because it makes the best players not want to play T20's.....when a specific goal of T20 was introducing cricket to non-cricketing countries and spreading cricket what's T20 without the biggest names in cricket playing it.....not attractive....& i also believe tht the best T20 cricketers are some of the best test & ODI cricketers too....but T20 overkill is hurting the sport too....& the massive incentives doesn't help the choices WI players have had to make about supporting the IPL franchises instead of representing their county (Trinidad) or representing WI in the 2 new T20 Int'ls against England next month

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 24, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

one looks at it, it was just as well that this happened against the best side in the world at the moment. The reasons for this abject performance have been mentioned by many people. Everything said on the subject seems to be fairly accurate. At this point India needs to think about the remedial measures. Since it has now been appreciated that Test cricket is the most important of all formats, losing in which has pained all of India so much, that is the format in which most of the planning should be. The other two formats and planning and preparation thereof should flow from the scene for Tests.Some adjustments/changes may be necessary for the limited over games of course, mostly in regard to personnel.Since money has already affected the psyche of most players and is important, the BCCI should contract the Test player list separately at the highest level of payment. They could also make some changes in th IPL rules to relay the emphasis on Test cricket. The BCCI will need to think now.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

India was dammn lucky to win the world cup. After losing Shewag and Tendulkar and regretfully bowling change error by Sangakkara to take out Malinga and drop catches at crucial time by Sri Lanka India would have been history. At the end they played well and Sri Lanka gave up. even Sri Lanka didnt get a thrashing like this from England. India can bounce back

Posted by buntyj on (August 24, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

thru fascination with yuvi n kaif n by making odi success the way into contention for test places indian selectors ignored giving timely n sufficient test opportunities to s sriram, venugopal rao, badrinath; had these 3 been given timely breaks and sufficient opportunities (and kept away from over limit formats) they may have developed into decent test bats even if not comparable to top 5. in that case the imminent transition wouldnt have been so difficult today

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

Excellent article. A realistic analysis of the Indian team's performance. They've made it a habit to wriggle out of tough situations but England team were too god to allow that of course aided by tired Indian bowlers and constantly changing batting lineup. It's funny how people get to conclusions so quickly. Remember the only venue where India lost a test series in the last 5 years(if you exclude the current series) was Australia and that was Australia still in it's peak. They won at England, NZ, WI, Bangladesh and drew in SA and SL.

Posted by buntyj on (August 24, 2011, 12:27 GMT)

bhajji could still play a season or 2 of tests but without expectations of taking many wickets , so long as he can keep it tight if india strengthen seam attack (zak,pk, ishant, aaron if all match fit could bowl india to wins over many teams on helpful tracks), stay fit n score runs as there are no quality spinners in sight in india, he n mishra are the most competent batsmen among indian spinners, and he has more experience than mishra n fewer no balls while neither is going to bowl india to a win on most tracks vs most sides.

Posted by buntyj on (August 24, 2011, 12:22 GMT)

also youngsters already in ipl who wish to focus on tests and show some aptitude should have their ipl contracts bought by the bcci so that they can opt out of ipl without financial loss and tests should be more paying - the test squad retainer contract by bcci should be higher with clauses insisting on fitness and nets regimen, restrictions on other activities (advertising) for specified periods before tests series, and a requirement that test squad players play a minimum of a specified no domestic first class games a season with talented youngsters being required to play county cricket at bcci's expense. pay for playing tests and performances therein should be 15 times that for odi/t20 (i may not be uptodate but i believe currently 5 times); bhajji extracted even less from the pitches in tests 1, 2 than swann n threatened eng batsman less than swann threatened indians despite the fact that indian team has most accomplished players of spin;

Posted by opium_abs on (August 24, 2011, 12:13 GMT)

Sambit Bal always very interesting ..... anyway i'm gonna be brief this game of test cricket is made for the rich people and should be played between riches country like england, australia, new zealand, ireland,...... cos they play for pride for there country and the asian players playing for money for personel interest......

Posted by buntyj on (August 24, 2011, 12:12 GMT)

the problem with the fringers is to distinguish between those cut out for tests n those cut out for limited over formats; an inability to bat on adverse conditions, handle movement or seam or to defend should normally lead the batsman concerned to over limit formats; but india selected kohli, raina for tests n rahane (more suitable to the long game ) for odi! pujara, rahane, aaron (who likes to attack n not bowl to contain), rahul sharma, maybe abdulla for the long game and they should be sponsored by bcci for a county season to finish their pre test cricket education; raina, rohit, kohli etc will deliver in over limit formats generally played on flattish pitches with almost no movement n with severe restrictions on bouncers; similarly munaf will be more effective in limited overs while aaron should be more effective in tests; in future under 22 cricketers shouldnt be given ipl contracts till theyve finished 3 seasons of domestic cricket in the 4-5 day formats;

Posted by Herath-UK on (August 24, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

This time the comeback won't be so easy from the ones in the past you mentioned because on this occasion most of the stars are over the hill and the cupboard looks empty with the young ones like Kohli,Raina and Mukund etc do not look in the same class,an exact replica that has happened to Sri Lanka with the ageing Jayasuriya,Vass and Murali etc.IPL is a main issue to both countries and hope some saner council will prevail.In fact worse case is probably with the new blood indian bowlers and here at least Sri Lanka have unearthed a better crop.It is no good that all three big asian teams are floundering at the moment. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by soumik on (August 24, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

The difference in test cricket and T20 is the difference between Dravid and Raina.Also to my opinion Sachin himself doesn't know when he will retire.He has a rough idea though-he will retire only after Kallis and Ponting retire from test cricket.He is so much obsessed with runs and records that he has long forgotten to put the team's cause in front of his own.It may be his way to achieve greatness which is not wrong.How many of us have seen Bradman playing?Probably none.But everyone agrees that he is the best cricketer ever.Why?It's because his test average -99.96.So Sachin is not flawed in reasoning if he wants to establish himself as the greatest cricketer ever - statistically.Maybe 50-75 years from now people will judge him on the basis of runs that he scored.Not by how many # of matches he won or in which condition.He is neither a GOD not a genius,but a very good player with unmatched hunger of greatness and discipline.

Posted by jupiterlaw on (August 24, 2011, 11:54 GMT)

I signed on to what I thought to be the website of Cricinfo and realised that I had entered a twilight zone when I saw the word "abject" used to describe India. Could somebody get me out of here and direct me to the Cricinfo website.

Posted by tigers_eye on (August 24, 2011, 11:46 GMT)

Give credit where credit is due. Not for once there is a mention of Gary K. Gary had prepared Ind (in every series and WC) mentally and physically. The preparation for this series was horrendous to say the least. The only change with this team and the other teams that played against SA, Aus, where they didn't win but didn't LOSE, is Gary and his staff.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 11:34 GMT)

It is a pity that the efforts of a core group of dedicated cricketers comprising of Ganguly, Kumble, Dravid, Laxman & Tendulkar who painstakingly made it possible for India to reach the pinnacle of Test match ranking was simply frittered away by absence of any planning for the series, players walking in and out of the team, no match preparation and above all a lack of committment to handle the grind of Test cricket. The Indian Board must also take the blame for treating this series so casually. In hindsight, it was afterall good that we lost so badly. Let this be a rude wake up call to all involved.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

No body seems to be talking about the elephant in the room (never did) I am not talking about SRT..(a lot is being said about him)..i mean captain coooooooool..his keeping and batting even before this series were suspect and what about his stature as a test player..for rebuilding to happen Captain and Coach are the most vital elements..and what to do when you have a captain wo his mediocre in cricket...!!!

Posted by asifkay on (August 24, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Hey be realistic. India got the drubbing because this is exactly where they stand. India was very lucky (probably if Luck has anything to do with it) to win the world cup, more for other teams failures rather than by their own high quality of play. that is exactly how they became the number one side in test cricket, plainly other teams went low in quality. They can be compared to the Manchester United which won the premier league without any exceptional game or game plan. In west Indies when India did not even go for such a probable victory in the last test to win so much more than just a test showed everyone their worth and their temperament. This is not the way world champions or world number one teams play. India is now totally exposed and the only way now is down ... for quiet some time to come. one expects a nation with over a billion people to atleast produce one genuine fast bowler. Please dont judge the Indian Cricket team by their media power, it is not a very good team.

Posted by magic_torch_jamie on (August 24, 2011, 11:17 GMT)

Let's not forget that the BCCI has it within them if they decide they're not happy, simply to kill off Test cricket. Maybe if they're feeling kinder they should look to less duplication of players in the national teams in various formats so they can keep planning insane schedules with impunity.

Posted by ambujkumar on (August 24, 2011, 11:14 GMT)

too much T20 cricket and IPL has diverted players' attention from the longest format of this game.Players performance in domestic seasons like Ranji Trophy should be taken into consideration for selecting a team for ODI's n Tests. Selecting merely on the basis of records in past tour may not help as in the caes of RP Singh. BCCI must make sure that players get adequate time for rest n practice before an international series.There should be restriction on no. of matches an indian player should play in events like IPL n CLT20 because these games affect these players and they get exhausted and are then unable to perform well in international encounters.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

I love test cricket. That is why I want to see a well articulated non patronizing argument on why it should be preserved. Most of these articles, well written though they are, start from the premise that IPL (and T20) is inferior to test cricket. I understand that you have to be more skillful in test cricket. But so what? Please help me with a good set of arguments on why tests are worth fighting for as far as BCCI is concerned.

Posted by Bengaluru_Rennie on (August 24, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

Duncan Fletcher & Nasser Hussain could not bring England to the top slot. Have a look at their records in Test Cricket both as Batsmen,Captains and Coach. The first person that needs to be kicked out if it can be done is Duncan Fletcher and please do not let us have the whining Nasser Hussain on telly.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 24, 2011, 10:58 GMT)

There is a real risk for IPL than it relies on test cricket more than it realises. Part of the appeal of IPL (although I don't watch it myself) is seeing global stars like Warne, Gayle, gilchrist, sachin etc. play glitzy cricket. But they became global stars playing test or at least ODI cricket, not IPL. Can IPL create its own stars, without International cricket? If IPL does damage test cricket, doesn't it risk killing one of its own appeals?

Posted by mysecretme on (August 24, 2011, 10:47 GMT)

Well, the fringers got a chance in west indies and everybody failed apart from Raina and to an extent, Mukund. There were no surprises in the squad selected when the tour started. It is only after the tour progressed that the squad seemed inadequate. The main reason was Dhoni's captaincy and the immaturity of individual players. Dhoni consistently kept horribly and persisted with Dravid in the slips inspite of Dravid dropping numerous chances right through the WI series. He kept pushing the slip fielders away even when a lot of catches went through the gaps in the squadron. He had a horrible time behind the wickets to go with this. The key players who lost this series were Laxman and Ishant. Laxman threw his wicket quite a few times when well set with foolish shots. Ishant did not have the stomach to crush England when he had them on the mat. He could've bowled from a shorter run up and bowled a lot more overs. But his immaturity cost India the series.

Posted by wibblewibble on (August 24, 2011, 10:47 GMT)

Bhaji never looked threatening in the first two tests, but those wickets really did not suit an offie (ask Swann). It would be wrong to give up on a world class spinner like him. Rest him, get him back into training, get him amongst the wickets and he'll come good.

Posted by CSK-FAN on (August 24, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

Is BCCI afraid or respects seniors a touch more?. Nothing against Seniors. All speak about planning youngsters entry into Ntional team.Why dont they address retirement phase for any proven senior lads. Worldcup teams cant be planned a year before the schedule. Let Dada be the last unfortunate Legend of the Indian Cricket.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

India need to learn that their status as World Cup champions was achieved 6 months ago - and has no importance whatsoever to their perfomance in their next match. As Indian fans are fond of noting England were beaten by Ireland and Bangladesh in the World Cup - but they still thrashed India 4-0 in the test series (and tied with them in the World Cup). Great perfomances of the past are fond memories - but it's the next game that should count most to the players.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:36 GMT)

What's interesting is that it appeared that the prevailing attitude was that India, having attained the number 1 spot in test cricket and won the world cup, had fulfilled their destiny as the richest cricket nation in terms of hard cash, passion for the game and a population of a billion people to pick from, and from that point onwards they would always be top dog, no other country would ever be able to compete. The arrogance from players and particularly fans and administrators before this series was breathtaking. It was England who were going to be on the wrong end of a kicking from India's superstars. They have all been given a serious lesson in sporting hubris. England should take note.

Posted by ravis123 on (August 24, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

The BCCI and Selectors have to summon all their guts and courage and talk to the ageing cricketers on a retirement plan and that has to be no more than 1 year for Rahul, 3 mths for Sachin and 2 yrs for Laxman (in Tests). If Badri had been blooded 5 yrs ago, he wud not be languishing at this level, until he is 30yrs... Same applies to Rohit, who is nearing 25 now. When will all these players get a chance into the team? That is one of the reasons they are moving toward T 20, where there is bucks, lesser hrs Of work at Office and more fame... This is SOLELY the collective fault of the BCCI and Selectors, who have no vision, foresight and even commonsense, to put it very mildly... Waugh was removed from Aussie side at his peak, so was Bevan in ODI, so was Hayden in Tests and now its Katich... India wud have made all of them play, as the authorities lack the guts and the vision to take matters head-on... What a shame these bunch of jokers are... Ravi Shankar R

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 24, 2011, 10:28 GMT)


Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (August 24, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

Excellent article. Hits the nail on the head. I have long thought that BCCI should be able to use the profits of IPL to invest in Indian test cricket, whether subsidising ticket prices for tests, improving academies, or just marketing test cricket better. That way everyone would feel comfortable about the IPL and its place in the game, and be able to recognise it for what it is - a cash cow rather than a meaningful cricket competition. Not sure in practice how this would work as the franchise owners would want full return on their IPL investment but there must be a way.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

it was great that tendulkar did not get 100 in this series, if he got his 100 would be blamed for indian loss.

Posted by gskgk on (August 24, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

I feel the main reason we lost is bad bowling attack. Bring a new rule in IPL that at least 3 of the bowlers should be Indians (at least 1 pacer and 1 spinner). May be even say that at least 1 bowler should bowl at least 140kmph. This should make the guys with the money go scouting for talented fast bowlers in the country. A country with a billion people cannot produce 10 good fast bowlers in one era ????

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

Hello Frnds, One bad series will not decide the fate of the Team or the performance, Sure, India will fight back to NO 1 Spot shortly, and INDIA WILL BEAT ENGLAND NEXT YR IN INDIA,,,,,,,,,,,INDIA WILL TAKE REVENGE...................JAI HIND,


Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:17 GMT)

Well done England !!!! from Sri Lanka

Posted by george204 on (August 24, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

I winced when I read this: "If Indian players have looked utterly spent during the English summer, consider this: half the team will drag themselves to the Champions League three days after they complete their one-day assignment in England, then take on England in a five-match one-day series, and cram in a full home series against West Indies before flying out to Australia for four Tests and a one-day triangular." It's going to get worse, a lot worse, for India before it gets better with scheduling like that.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 10:09 GMT)

@CricIndia208...But Pakistan still managed to win two tests in England, one against Australia and the other against England, which India didn't. LOL !!!

Posted by Haleos on (August 24, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

@Rakesh_Sharma - u missed the gr88 Wall and Some Very Very Special. Serious liabilities in the field. Dropping dollies. Reject a run when there is a single, 1 run instead of 2, 2 instead of 3 and so on. They conserve thier energy. For what?

Posted by Haleos on (August 24, 2011, 10:02 GMT)

The fall started in West Indies when the so called greats decided they needed time away from cricket. Yeah right, they wanted to spend more time with family and they were tired after the IPL. Surprising fact is. This are the players who can afford to take thier family along with them even if BCCI does not sponser it. Also they have made enough money to play for pride rather than money. They still crave for more money and rush for IPL instead of representing their country. They are going to retire before turning 40 neway so thay can have as much time with their families as they want. Add to this Dhoni did not go for the target of 84 in 90 balls with 7 wickets in hand. Reason we had the great players who play with strike rates on under 40 regularly and he was scared of loosing too. I still support India with all my heart but am Sick of the players attitube.

Posted by bobmartin on (August 24, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

I think the article says it all.. When there are fortunes to be made for bowling 4 overs of dibbly dobbers or thrashing a quick few runs against such bowling, in a few games over a few weeks, how many people want to endure the weeks of being on tour..endless training and perhaps spending 2 or 3 days out of every 5 chasing a ball, bowling maybe 20 overs, or batting for hours to try and save a game. It's small wonder that test cricket is starting to lose it's appeal for younger players.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 9:54 GMT)

Forget about BCCI they will never change,I am watching BCCI for last 10 years nothing has changed for them,they r busy only on collecting cash,India won the world cup by sheer talent of players with the help of some luck,not by the effort and planning of cash greedy BCCI.

Posted by ravi-1967 on (August 24, 2011, 9:39 GMT)

A very thought provoking article whcih has analysed the performance threadbare and at the same time does not create any sensation by making absurd comments on the performance of the team.

Yes things cannot go worse for team India and the BCCI / Coach / Captain should now look at what needs to be done for the near future and also for the next 5 years. We have young budding group of cricketers who can be moulded by the stalwarts Sachin, Dravid and Laxman.

One point to note is players should decide what is priority giving 100% to your country or 100% to your club (I am indicating at the attitude of Sehwag).

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

Spot on Mr Bal - to your comments about the IPL one more thing need to be added. Not only does IPL offer disproportionate reward for too little work, it also offers disproportionate reward for too little skill and effort. Swinging the bat for ten overs is infinitely easier than facing proper bowling backed by attacking fields on a proper ground for fifty or sixty overs; bowling a three over spell is so much less work than bowling a twenty over spell; fielding for 120 balls is a doddle compared to maintaining high standards for two days. IPL offers more reward for deskilled cricket. Its a cricket event rather than a cricket match, and it actively produces an audience that is not able to see to appreciate the real skills that cricket demands from both players and audience.

Posted by edcilnoronha on (August 24, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

more importance shud be given to the fitness of the players. coz if u see the australian and the england players none of them have a big belly lik the indians and they are way more athletic than the indians. If an Indian player is injured then he increases his weight and comes back in the team without evn thinkin of being fit for their matches. That has been a big negative point in the Indian Team. Test cricket is test a players patience, skills, talent and temprement in the game where as IPL just shows hittin the ball out of the ground. T20 cricket doesnt help a batsmen in maintaining a stamina and also a plan for the game while test cricket makes u learn the art of Batting and also the Art of Bowling which is not shown in the Indian players. Fast bowlers lik irfan, ishant, zaheer etc used to bowl at 140kph and now they struggle to get above 130kph and therefore its been easy for the other batsmen to play them..... IN SHORT THEY SHUD FIND SOM NEW PLAYERS AND LET THEM PROVE THEMSELVE

Posted by Farce-Follower on (August 24, 2011, 9:06 GMT)

The truth is : the captain cannot maintain intensity for 5 days of Test cricket. He is neither cerebral or intuitive about test cricket. He may win the Champions League for CSK. That may please him, Mr. Srikkanth and Mr. Srinivasan more. Therein lies the tragedy.

Posted by edcilnoronha on (August 24, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

well i really agree with u Mr Sambit coz u have spoken abt how IPL have kept the players injured and unfit for the England tour and also how BCCI have been managing the Indian Team. Frst of all the Indian team have been motivated only in the terms of money. They have not been playin cricket for the love of the game and for the country. They choose to play for IPL coz they know tht they are earning more than wht thy earn from each test and ODI match. As for wht i say is tht they shud stop IPL o either make sure tht the IPL is played at a time whn there are to tours right after the IPL so tht the players cas get enuf rest before the tour.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 8:54 GMT)

India is not a good team. england should be 1 test team

Posted by truebleue_cricfan on (August 24, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Sambit, they are more likely to embarass the clarity of defeat.

Posted by Herbet on (August 24, 2011, 8:47 GMT)

The Indian players are treated like kings at home and it shows, on their wastelines. I'd imagine the Indian players have the best of everything in India, and as much of it as they want. It's the same with footballers in this country, except footballers train very hard all week and play at least 1, usually 2 physically demanding games everyweek. If the Indian players are eating in the best restaurants and living it up, whilst doing a few net sessions a week and, if things go badly, just sitting in a pavilion all day or standing in the slips then they're soon going to get podgy. T20 will excentuate this as the games are even shorter and less demanding and the rewards greater. India are lightyears behind England and Australia and a good way behind SA in terms of fitness, if they want to get back to the top without Dravid and Tendulkar that will have to change.

Posted by blondblackberry on (August 24, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

but i don't want a total reform and wait for 5 years lose the same like this.buddy the question to english is simple if they lose in subcontinent by a big margin who will they blame or bring new reform like that and show the world that should b done and odi's,t20's hav a lesser has to accept has bad time for india it was the case.also, remember they just defeated a half full indian side having 5 players out of injury.any team without top 5 players will look below par and ordinary.

Posted by Mann123 on (August 24, 2011, 8:16 GMT)

Indian cricketers are making tiredness an excuse, can someone please explain what is Yuvraj doing at Lakme Fashion week rather than staying home resting and recovering. Agree its finger injury and he can't practice, but how about loosing some love handles. Its just an example of how off time is managed by our cricketers and no one is there to question them. Remember what Rafal Nadal says about practicing, top players have to slog it out whether they like it or not or results show on court/field. Learn from it, there would be enough time after retirement to sit and smile about your achievements.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (August 24, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

Well this same team with different personnel can again be a force to reckon with rahane,pujara,virat,rohit,raina all are good fielders and primarily I urge BCCI to allow indian bowlers and batters to play minimum 2 to 3 seasons of county cricket all these guys are 24 and less than 24 all technical flaws and to face swinging ball issues can be dealt with if they play county games why not pay ECB millions of dollars earned from IPL for getting all youngsters playing county games Well this same team with different personnel can again be a force to reckon with rahane,pujara,virat,rohit,raina all are good fielders and primarily I urge BCCI to allow indian bowlers and batters to play minimum 2 to 3 seasons of county cricket all these guys are 24 and less than 24 all technical flaws and to face swinging ball issues can be dealt with if they play county games why not pay ECB millions of dollars earned from IPL for getting all youngsters playing county games

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

No doubt India will come back strongly.

Posted by sachin620 on (August 24, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

Dear Rakesh_Sharma, First of all Sachin Tendulkar is not almost 39 there is one more year till he turns 39. You have said that Sachin should retire hahahaha, you critics just because he performs bad in one series you cant just say he should retire. Now when he will have an average of 90 the next series all of you critics will say he is the best batsman in the world. The point I am trying to make is that everyone makes mistakes including Sachin you cant just say he should retire because of 1 bad series.

We will talk in the next series when Sachin goes crazy and replies the critics with his bat!!!!!

Posted by koolmax_v on (August 24, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

This proves that India is not suitable for world champions. Coz 2011 World champions lost all 4 test matches in this series.if Zimbabwe or Kenya were there they will mange to draw at least one match. But 2011world cup winners lost all matches. Still I believe Sri Lanka is the World Champions when we compare with this results.Hope others also agree with me.

Posted by 9ST9 on (August 24, 2011, 7:53 GMT)

For a country that hosts the worlds most lucrative T20 league, with up-coming youngsters playing alongside international stars, India have earned very little in the format, their T20 record is very ordinary and apart from the win in the 2007 T20 WC, their other World T20 campaigns in 2009 and 2010 have been disastrous. It seems the IPL is not doing it's bit towards improving the game, but simply stuffing the pockets of the BCCI.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 24, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

If you look back at the last 14 months, India have had a poor record with Drawn series flattering them. Most Managerial teams would be looking at why they lost one game in each series. In most cases they were missing Zaheer for the Lost match due to him breaking down just before the series, that alone should have sent out a few alarm bells. add on that the scores from the middle order have been on a downward trend for over 2 years and every alarm in the mangement team should have been going off. The simple truth is the selectors have always taken the easy route and picked the same old faces rather than the more difficult route of looking at new faces and giving them a run of 15-20 tests.

Posted by puneriMisal on (August 24, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

Seeing the England tour , i would like to ask as to ; unlike Lasith Malinga why does Zaheer Khan not concentrate only on T20 and One dayers. We do have good fast bowlers like Atul sharma, Varoon Arun, Umesh Yadav etc who are fit and can play in test matches. Wasim Jaffer should have being considered for Test Matches though...Test Matches tests a players fitness also , a player cannot be one dimensional which was seen aplenty in England...

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

to those who dont understand the effect of lack of practice in later matches a. If u r 2-0 down ur moral , momentum , confidence id down and at the same time ur opposition's are high and also it help batsman to come in form and bowlers to come inform b. U wont know which person is fit and which is not and u which person is in form and which is not and as a consequence u losses the only strike bowler u have for whole series . Though i agree that its not an excuse if u losses 4-0 4-0 means completely dominated and destroyed by the opposition and have no of reasons including poor cricket. congratulations to Eng and pak :)

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Mr.Botham, you are saying England will stay 5 years in No: 1 position. First congratulations for that. And u never become world champions in any format before. now you become no:1 test side only. You have to stay at least one year, then you can say you will be the KINGS OF CRICKET......... I can't see any future like that for ENGLAND.. Any way best luck Mr. Botham and prove it. Its only beginning ....

Posted by golax on (August 24, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

@Rakesh Sharma: Although I'd rather discuss the sad state of affairs of the test team, I do feel your comment "India scrapped through by elimination of better teams by some other teams" is a bit out of place. We beat Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The other major forces were South Africa who we lost to and England with whom we drew. Other than South Africa choking and not making it past the first elimination game, I don't think we had it easy at all. Let's not trivialize contributions for the sake of doing so.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

India need some good bowlers, fast and spin, batting line is still good, i dont think u can replace Sachin Dravid or Laxman.but when batting team see over 600 score there under immense presure to perfom.if India had good bowlers they could presurise english too.Plz. if Waseem can coach KKR why not team India's bowlers, try it atleast.

Posted by Kashi0127 on (August 24, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

Let us face it. India Lost to a damn good team. And India played badly except for Dravid and to some extent Praveen Kumar. Why the bundle of excuses and that to contradicting themselves? One one had we hear players are fatigued coming directly from West Indies. On the other we hear Dravid benefitted from playing in West Indies. On one hand we hear IPL is good for Indian Cricket (or Cricketers and BCCI pockets) and on the other it has cpoiled Indian Cricket. India as they have become are poor losers these days

Posted by PingCricket on (August 24, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

It is simple why India lost... they were just not fit enough both physically and mentally... Due to IPL, domestic Ranji scene is taking a hit and this means that there are no reserves for Test cricket.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

It is quite apparent that Bhajji,Sehwag,Gambhir,Sachin, Raina, Sreesanth did not wnat to be on this tour. I would give Zaheer the benefit of doubt although he did not make himself fit. However Sadly I do not see any half decent replacements. Pujara ( if he has not lost his motivation due to failure in this years IPL) and Badhri ( atleast for commitment) come to mind. But other than that the cupboard is bare.

Misery awaits the INdian cricket fan

Posted by redneck on (August 24, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

india need to address their overseas record, the fact is no.1 team or not they havent won more that 1 test in any series outside india since 2004! i would go out on the limb and put that down to ineffective bowling outside the sub continent amoung other factors. so pick a couple ranji venues and make seaming wickets, yes we all know india love their dust bowls but they are not doing your team anygood. they inflate batting averages and kill off promising seam bowlers as they get little to no reward for alot of work on thankless pitches. this would also teach batsman temprement as you need to be more watchfull on a green top. also mr bal mentioned sloganeering in the article. how about using sloganeering to sell team india the test team, instead of pushing hero worshiping which results in people following sachin or dravid and not the team. at home india bat infront of near full houses but bowl infront of empty seats. use sloganeering to make kids want to bowl not just be like sachin!

Posted by rajattiwaari on (August 24, 2011, 6:35 GMT)

The major problem indian cricket is facing currently,is lack of impact fast bowlers.I believe second string fast bowlers from ENG,PAK,AUS n SA are better than the frontline bowlers of IND.Perhaps,we must observe how PAK has been able to produce such world class bowlers despite the same kinds of pitches n weather(as in IND). Also we as indian fans must stop sulking about this loss and accept that we were outplayed by some amazing display of skills,both with bat n bowl.Personally,i was mesmerized by the performance of this ENG team.However,if they said IND were not true no. 1 coz they never won in SA,AU;ENG too will have to proove themselves in sub-continent.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT)


Posted by JohnnyRook on (August 24, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

@Rakesh Sharma - If age is the criteria, Dravid should be kicked out too since he is even older than SRT. Or you can take a more rational and a lot simpler approach "keep who play well and kick out those who dont". SRT scored only 273 runs in this series and still he was second highest scorer for India. This says a lot more about people you are planning to replace him with than him. One series with an average of 35 instead of 55 and everyone starts yelling. If we start firing people for this performance in one series, nobody will be left in any team including Bradman. Harby had a bowling avg of 40 for full 2 years and he was out only bcoz of injury. Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Suresh Raina, Abhinav Mkund were abject failures this series but hey they are young, so just keep playing them. Has to be tough being Sachin Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

Well written and very well said!!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 24, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

(continued)... the IPL has to be cut short and test players should be given TOUGH fitness regime and be tracked by personal trainers with a regular report given to the selectors. We cannot have lethargic and unfit players like Sehwag, Zaheer Khan. Senior players shouldn't be given the option to skip ANY overseas tour. Tendulkar skipping the Caribbean was a big mistake. It's time to talk to the seniors and let them know that the team wishes to progress forward. The BCCI shouldn't care about reputations. India needs to field a young side. Clearly the Indian team looked like grandpas with their slow movements. This is ridiculous and frustrating to everyone. Lastly, players who choose to play in the IPL and get injured SHOULD NOT be allowed come back into the national team no matter how great they are. Unfit players are a liability and extra baggage. Indian fans rather see FIT and YOUNG players playing a test match. A lot of work ahead for the BCCI in coming months.

Posted by Nirmal250187 on (August 24, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

Sachin Will get 100th Test hundred in first test of Australia Tour.BCCI Should Concentrate On Schedule of Indian Cricket Team.Dravid Played an Outstanding Series.Hats of to him.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 24, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

I commented under another similar article about how the BCCI were creatures of hindsight. They always wait for disasters to happen before making the move. This is not an efficient way to run any organization let alone the world's MOST POWERFUL cricket board. I think the power has got to the heads of the BCCI members. They have to remember that power with purpose and responsibility is viewed highly by everyone. India can forget this tour. This is professional sport and if a road map is set with planning and strategy, there is nothing that can stop India from becoming no.1 again. England have demonstrated it and other countries should follow suit. In this regard, India are in the most CAPABLE position to do exactly what England did, simply cause of the money they can invest to put into place the proper personnel and infrastructure. Young cricketers are TOO SOFT in my view and readily embrace T20 cricket. The Ranji trophy has to be prioritized with remuneration.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

I would add a couple of suggestions to an excellent article: 1)Strictly limit the IPL to players above 23 years. 2) Cap the salary to any player in the IPL at 500,000 USD( 2 crore Indian rupees is not bad for six weeks of T20s.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:14 GMT)

India lost the series because they were unable to sustain the pressure on themselves to keep winning after winning the ODI world cup after 28 years. After the exhausting run, they were forced by their IPL masters to play in the IPL as it is not only their income at stake but that of the franchises they play for. They did not play particularly well in the West Indies soon after and they started carrying injuries once the England test series got out of control. Dravid and Kumar did well because they had something to prove -- neither of them played in the World Cup.

I expect the Indians to bounce back by the end of this year but there is no point having their best play in meaningless one-dayers. They will be forced to play in the champions league by their masters -- no way out of it. That is something the cricket fraternity should look at -- should T20 just be for professional leagues and not countries and should there be a limit on how many T20s are permitted in a season.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

Congrats Englishmen on this great performance. Time to win in India, and begin to do something about the all important zilch in the WC column. Then I can really start to think about respecting English cricket.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:06 GMT)

The question is do we have 10 good bowlers who are test standard? This had ben the failure of us, all along. A country where cricket is treated as religion and with the fans backing, media backing, sponsors backing and all have not resulted in unearthing 10 decent test standard bowlers who can bowl in all conditions.

The above is the crux of the matter. This is not a one time exrcise whenever, you open the cupboard you should know who is going to replace whom. This should be true even in your sleep.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:03 GMT)

Grt analyssis Sambit bal !!!! I find it very hard to fathom how India are to come out of this rut they have created !!!! And I also am very much worried about the 4-0 thrashing we are going to get from Aussies in the year end Untill the planners do some soul searching and something good !!!!

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

I am glad to see that finally the real reason behind India's defeat is being brought up: the IPL. Everyone is making too much money with the IPL to say anything against it.

Posted by ashfak59200 on (August 24, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

the prime lesson for the indiann cricket team is to forget the exaggerated way of being satisfied being the winner of world cup 2011 award. they should not make themselves busy for nothing. concentrate on cricket and enjoy playing it...........

Posted by zain29 on (August 24, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

I just did. Why have they not been included. It was an objective / intelligent analysis of the way forward for Indian cricket. Or people are a bit "touchy" about any form of criticism these days???????

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 5:45 GMT)

I don't understand what lack of practice are they talking about. That can be an excuse for the first 2 days. When you lose the last 2 tests by an innings too, do you still attribute the loss to "lack of practice". Isnt one month in England enough to get acclimatised to the conditions.

Posted by zain29 on (August 24, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

Please as a supporter of Indian cricket - get one thing right. Clearly draw the distinction b/w limited overs cricket and the Test Match arena. Following from this if you have a strong Test team transferring that success onto the limited over format is much easier then going the other way round. Case in point : the West Indies team of the late 70's & early 80's, and subsequently the Australian team from 1995- 2007. Secondly and more importantly beating Australia or South Africa (or England these days) on their home turf (and not drawing a series) should be the yardstick by which a team should be ranked in the top drawer - otherwise all other measures of being ranked No. # 1 seem meaningless . Start with building a strong test team !!!

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 5:15 GMT)

great greeting to England from PAK

Posted by CricIndia208 on (August 24, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

There are no lessons to be learnt. INDIA ARE THE BEST. WE HAVE THE WORLD CUP. I am happy as long as we continue to knock out pakistan from the World Cups. LOL!

Posted by Garth11 on (August 24, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

This article rightly talks about the impact of IPL , but I think rather than bashing the IPL (which anyway is not going to stop) we should go ahead and plan for the future. What our selectors and coaches need to undertsand is that there is no substitute for a genuine fast bowler... we need to take young bowlers immediately and make a pool of fast bowlers , spinners and batsmen and send them to the NCA . One or two of these guys can be sent to tours along with team india and given a chance whenever there is an inconsequential one day/test match. Some bowlers who can be immediately taken are varun aaron, unadkat,yadav,srinath arvind and pankaj singh. Among the spinners piyush chawla,rahul sharma,bhatt,abdullah and ashwin for batsmen there is Pujara,S Tiwary,Rahane , Mukund and M Tiwary.That way we wouild never be short of people when one our our main guys leave in the middle of a tour and the selectors would never take a stupid descision like bringing RP in.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (August 24, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

The shrewdest among all those who were associated with Indian Cricket team is Gary Kirsten. He quit when India was at the top. Now Indiaan fans will always think if Gary was there things would have been different. If Tendulkar had retired , he would have been always thought that way. Good it is exposed that Just Tendulkar means nothing to a team, otherwise unnecessaily credit goes to him. You need to be Bjorn Borg of any sport. Quit when at the peak. All great players in sport quit when they are at the peak not till they are finished.Tendulkar is almost 39 as well as played the highest number of Tests in history still not quitting.Others must be given sufficient time in Tests to horn their skills. If all main spots are blocked by this over 36 years players how can other get chance in a Country of 1.2 billion. It is ok for small population with even lesser followers to persists with few players not India.No cricketers in Indi must play more than 10 years so that next gen is planned.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

BCCI is responsible, they have strengthen themselves to dictate ICC. Looks like the white wash will continue in T20 and ODI series as well. Still a good time for Tandulkar to retire. Maniac Sehwag should go for mental asylum.

Posted by landl47 on (August 24, 2011, 4:40 GMT)

The BCCI may find that putting the IPL ahead of test cricket reaps its own reward. Indian fans were happy to watch IPL when the Indian side were best in the world, World Cup champions and #1 test side. Now they have been shown to be not even close as a test side. If they start losing ODI's as well (and based on what we've seen on this tour, they will) the Indian fans will suddenly be confronted with the fact that they are paying to watch second-raters. Since the only lure of the IPL is its stars, when those stars lose their lustre the whole product is tarnished. Unless India starts getting its act together in real competitive cricket, the IPL is doomed. I give it five years, maybe less. The BCCI needs to remember that to lay golden eggs, you need a goose.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (August 24, 2011, 4:40 GMT)

I can't beleive that just winning one odd test in a series without ever winning series in Australia or SA is considered as winning.

And with regards to World cup ,infact India scrapped through by elimination of better teams by some other teams and taking massive advantage of home conditions. What other way do you have to justify things in all Indian centric articles. I thought Cricinfo is a neutral site but however good Sambit Bal is he is focused on India. He is hurt by India 's defeat and excited with its wins. My friend remember that India has hardly won when opposing teams have exceptional bowling. Like India did manage to beat England when their attack and team was poor. I bet England in 2005 could have beaten India as comprehensively. It was a very strong attack as well. If Sambit considers winning just one odd test is like winning series in 2005 when England toured India without lead players they did win a Test match .

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 4:38 GMT)

Very true.. All the best for Indian cricket team for the next series...

Posted by SanjivSanjiv on (August 24, 2011, 4:38 GMT)

Excellent article Bal. The humilation of 4-0 whitewash raised many painful questions for Dhoni and BCCI to ponder over. The lessons of defeat, if learned, should help them regain the lost ground. Sanjiv Gupta, Perth, Australia

Posted by   on (August 24, 2011, 4:22 GMT)

media and former cricketers should stop criticizing indian players,,after all only with their own hardwork they gained no 1 status in test and rest of the glories..its not just they destroyed so others hardwork..they can do it again...........dhoni can do it again...

Posted by TamilIndian on (August 24, 2011, 3:59 GMT)

Voice of reason!! - are there keen ears listening?

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Sambit BalClose
Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

    The man who pulled New Zealand from the precipice

Brendon McCullum's runs and leadership have rescued New Zealand cricket from its lowest ebb. By Andrew Alderson

'In front or behind the stumps, he was out there for a battle'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Adam Gilchrist's temperament

Glovemen apart

From eccentrics to game changers and now to leaders, where will - or won't - wicketkeepers go next? By Jon Hotten
Download the app: for iPads | for Android tablets

    A rock, a hard place and the WICB

Tony Cozier: The board must deal with the striking players practically if it wants any resolution to the embarrassing crisis

Flirtations with Jesse

Beige Brigade: The boys discuss if Ryder can stay good for the summer, the West Indies pullout, and the Alternative Cricket Commentary's return

News | Features Last 7 days

The insecure kid who never grew up

Kevin Pietersen missed the point of life in the second half of his career, failed to show maturity, and has regressed to being the bitter youngster who left Natal years ago

India's other keeper stumped again

Throughout his career, Wriddhiman Saha has suffered from being in the same generation as MS Dhoni. However, those close to the player believe that Saha has never been one to take rejection personally

Kohli back to old habits

Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala

A rock, a hard place and the WICB

The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully

Highest ODI averages, and Leap Year babies

Also, fewest boundaries in a T20 innings, most runs in a Test, England's international record-holder, and a pest named Fruitfly

News | Features Last 7 days