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Commentator, television presenter and writer

Defeat could be good for India

It will force the players and those in charge of them to introspect on what has gone wrong and what needs to be done now

Harsha Bhogle

December 13, 2012

Comments: 130 | Text size: A | A

India nipped out four wickets in quick time on the fourth morning, India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 4th day, December 8, 2012
The decision to opt out of a tour should be taken not by players but by someone responsible for the team © BCCI

While none of us likes to lose, and we often try as hard as we can to delay or overcome defeat, there are times when it is not always the worst occurrence. Just as pain is a body's way of attracting attention to something wrong, and we ignore it at our own peril, so too can defeat be an alarm going off somewhere. It is how we react to defeat that tells us how serious we are about learning from it.

England admitted that defeat against Pakistan in the UAE opened their eyes to how much further they needed to go, and said it contributed in no small part to their success here in India. During the first IPL when the Rajasthan Royals had just had a winning streak broken, Shane Warne suggested such a kick up the backside was needed to get the team focused on winning again. That is why I think defeat in this series may not be the worst thing to happen to Indian cricket. It will force introspection that, for whatever reason, might otherwise have been overlooked.

Teams rarely introspect when they are winning; there is camaraderie, celebration, and no one is really keen to see why the team won. Sometimes defeat can be met with denial, a refusal to accept that there is a problem, or the feeling that the tide will turn when circumstances change. I suspect India allowed themselves to go through that phase in 2011-12. There was the world No. 1 tag and a World Cup glittering in the office and on bio-datas, so any suggestion of a weakness, like not crushing West Indies 2-0 in June 2011, was cast aside. No one wanted to hear about it, probably.

When India lost in England and won 2-0 at home against West Indies (it is not always remembered there was a win between the two 0-4 results), it reinforced that India were champions at home (even though there was a scare in Mumbai). That is what probably led to the feeling, even after Australia, that all India needed to do was play at home and happy times would be here again. The one-sided series against New Zealand confirmed that, and with England due in November - let's be honest, everyone thought they would be run over - an analysis was postponed again, if indeed it was contemplated.

Now that India have been driven to the brink, there is no choice but to realise that the weaknesses displayed in England and Australia were indicative of deeper fissures, that the illness had spread to home conditions. If India had won a one-sided series on rank turners, it would have covered up fundamental weaknesses for a little longer, and with 14-15 away Tests approaching, India could have been further exposed.

Is domestic cricket producing the players India needs? Why have India been out-spun on their pitches by, of all people, English spinners?

And so there must be a review of every aspect of Indian cricket; a review that asks uncomfortable questions, because otherwise it will be like solving only the problems you know how to solve rather than tackling the ones you don't in preparation for a mathematics exam. The questions you ask determine the answers you get, and any review must consist of people who will ask uncomfortable questions.

Is domestic cricket producing the players India needs? Or is there a problem with domestic cricket? Is the IPL influencing the way youngsters are playing domestic cricket? Why are there no spinners anywhere on the horizon? Why have India been out-spun on their pitches by, of all people, English spinners? What have they done right? Does India have the right coaches at grassroot level? Are the right people running the academies? There will be many more such questions; these took a minute to generate.

Some of the answers to these questions are staring us in the face. The Ranji Trophy has been poor for a long time. It is the highest form of India's domestic game and playing it must be an accomplishment. If players on the ground are saying that fast bowlers are being influenced by the IPL to think in terms of only four overs, that is an issue to be addressed immediately.

I would, in fact, advocate a public review, a communication to the fans, who are responsible for the power of Indian cricket, for dissent and acceptance of dissent are signs of mature organisations.

A review must also go beyond structures and into addressing player issues. Currently the stance is that a player is free to opt out of a series if he is tired or jaded. That option must be taken away and given to someone who has responsibility for the team. It seems to be working with England, and while systems cannot always be duplicated, it is worth analysing why something is working. England, Australia and South Africa all seem to think that having the same captain in three formats can be draining, so there must be some truth in it. And yet having different captains playing under each other in different formats is doomed to fail. Leadership cannot be worn and discarded like clothes. A solution must be found - maybe the captain gives up playing a format.

None of us, much as we would like to claim otherwise, have all the answers. But answers are what Indian cricket needs very quickly, because, irrespective of what happens in Nagpur, the time for major decision-making is here. A lot of good can come out of this series if we are willing to listen to what it is telling us about Indian cricket.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

Where are those Indian pundits who were predicting India winning 4-0. In India cricket is a business,not a sport.People come to see individuals not the team.I believe all the stars in this side have enough of stardom,money etc.. They are no longer hungry to work hard.

Posted by bimalshah on (December 17, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

I think only a radical overhaul that enables competition between management teams (including coaches, selectors, support staff) will help ensure talent is found and polished. India has the talent and population but is stuck in 1st gear because of a bcci monopoly. Allow anyone, who meets certain financial and good governance criteria to promote a team. If that team wins an internal competition then it is the Indian team for the next year or two. Different sporting philosophies can be tried. I bet in a few years you would have 4 or 5 top class Indian teams vying for that spot - each with its own SRT etc. The bcci can participate but not be guaranteed to win. Its up to the sports ministry to step up.

Posted by Samdanh on (December 17, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

After the first Test win, there were calls for pitches with more turn, perhaps assuming India can finish matches in 3 days instead of 4 or 5 days. After the Mumbai Terst loss the call for doctored pitches gradually fizzled out and by the time Kolkata Test was lost, the call for doctored pitches completely died out. Instead, to perhaps reduce the prospects of 1-3 loss, and keep the series loss score line as 1-2, the nagpur pitch was made out to be low bounce and slow pitch with limited or no turn most times, so that England seamers and spinners are blunted, and match drawn to limit the score line to 1-2 loss. India seems to have lost faith in the team's abilities

Posted by Samdanh on (December 17, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Harsha, so, would you like India to keep losing the forth coming sereis as well? :)

Posted by Nampally on (December 16, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding: I agree with you if a team works on its weaknesses, as England did. But the Cricket Culture in India has gone South! Even after 2 successive 4-0 series whitewashes in England & Australia, the BCCI President is on record as saying that these defeats do not mean anything! When the Selectors' choices have been over ruled by him, there is no chance for Mr. Fletcher to get his choices.The strange part is if a Spinner is being groomed by being in the squad for 4 or 5 series in a row, albeit on bench, the new Selectors wipe him off totally - e.g., Rahul Sharma replaced by Chawla for Nagpur Test! The same happened to several batsmen & bowlers. The squad is never selected on Form, Fitness & performance. The basis for selection is unknown.This clearly suggests that a shakedown from Top to Bottom is essential.Lessons from defeat are only learnt where Cricket culture exists & governs.We need Cricket literate guys leading BCCI who are dedicated to building a best available Team!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 16, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Every one learns by making mistakes and teams learn by losing, often you learn a lot more by losing in cricket especially at home than you do winnings, just as england found out in the summer and in the UAE, do you think that had they won in the UAE they would have been in this position in India, it showed their weakness, and they worked on it.

Fletcher will have been waiting for this so that he can put his plans into place, I hope the BCCI dont remove him, as he needs the same control over the team he had in England, that means he gets players he asks for not the ones hes given, he gets a captain that sees his vision of the way forward and works with him like Nass did.

Posted by nabeel89 on (December 16, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

no disrespect to anyone, but I think some of the Indian players got cocky after defeating West Indies and New Zealand and thought they will do exactly the same with England, what happened to them in Australia and England. There was a lot of talk and "mouthing off" before the series about beating England 0-4 and a payback and India could have very well done so if they had prepared a little better! their strength has been their downfall in this series. none of the batsmen (apart from this test) scored or batted like they are playing at home. there was no authority and were simply clueless against English spinners. surely it must have been other way around. I really do think India got a little too cocky and concentrated on sledging and media tantrums than working on their game in the nets!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 16, 2012, 1:23 GMT)

@jimroberts: Are you a sooth sayer ? How can you even be so sure that nothing will be done ? First of all, some English and Aussie fans here need to understand that the Indian culture is DIFFERENT to theirs. That also applies to the way sports is handled in India. Indians as a people have the habit of a 'laid back' and 'lazy' way of doing things. Being proactive is something that doesn't come naturally to many Indians. They are a people of hindsight. You have to understand that at times instead of being overly critical. The same applies to most of the sub-continental nations. Asians are slow to react and the introspection usually arrives much latter than other countries. Even after this defeat, there WILL be changes but not at the scope of the Argus report or the ECB review following the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia in 2006. But there will be changes. As Indian fans, we only want a speedy make over.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 15, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

Being beaten is sometimes even better than winning. To think after a match, we did everything well and they did it better is actually uplifting.

To lose knowing we were lousy is never uplifting !

Posted by Nampally on (December 15, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

Harsha, As a follow up to my earlier input where I said that the change must start at the top, I like to add that during the past 5 years, very little has been done to curb the growing dictatorial attitude from the top. Right now there is no visionary who has an established "Succession" planning of the Cricketer.E.G., When guys like Dravid, Ganguly & Laxman retired there should have been a succession plan in place - who is being groomed to take their spots - assuming around 37 as retirement age. The same applies to Captains- need 3 different captains for each format. India has enough talented players to be format dedicated. Similarly, there should be more India A Tours abroad + India U-19 + India U-16, each with a visionary plan. I read Cricinfo comments regularly & think that some Fans have more constructive ideas than BCCI - who have None!.So I beg to differ when you say "None of us, --have all answers". Fans have most answers but their comment go into thin air & deaf ears!

Posted by Thamara on (December 15, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

Defeat could be good for India only if India understand their problems correctly. Despite having 1.2 billion people, India haven't been able to find good enough bowlers to play at international level. I don't know much about Indian domestic setup. But I can assure one thing that there is something wrong at grass-roots levels of Indian cricket. India have more resources for cricket than any other country have. People are highly passionate about cricket and there is enough money to be spent on cricket. In spite of those positive things, India haven't got to the standard they should have got by now. As a Sri Lankan, I know that we don't have as much resources as India have by any means. Still We have been able to keep up our quality of cricket over the last two or three decades. The biggest problem that Sri Lankan cricket is facing is the lack of money. I don't understand why India cannot become the world's best team despite having all the things required.

Posted by Nampally on (December 15, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

India can learn from its defeats, if & only when there is (a) Root Cause analysis (b) Corrective Actions Implemented. India got whitewashed 8-0 in England & Australia, Items (a) & (b) above were totally ignored. When the President of BCCI is so Cricket illeterate as to say that "It is OK to lose abroad" - we play well at home, there is absence of Cricket Culture & winning attitude in BCCI.This is where the problem lies. First delete the Clause 13 (a) (IV) + put a Retired & Action orientated Test Cricketer at the helm of BCCI. BCCI exists because of Cricket & it is not a money making machine. Let BCCI have one Head but 2 divisions - one dedicated to Cricket & the other to Finances. Let Mr. Srinivasen head the Finances & a Cricketer head the Cricket side.The President should be able to co-ordinate the functions of the both without interference & should hold each division Accountable for any short comings.Change must start at the Top with a streamlined set up to ground level - My Answer!.

Posted by jimroberts on (December 15, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

The same thing was said when India were down 2-0 in england, that defeat will make india introspect, but nothing happened. Same was said in Oz, but nothin happened. N ur tellin the same now n nothin will happen! Btw, u don't have to underestimate english spinners! Monty has an Indian origin, so thats y he is such a force to reckon with n caused a turn around!

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Okay - if Harsha Bhogle in his heart of hearts believes that he is not kidding himself, much less the readers of this column, I would doff my hat to him. Review of weaknesses in India? Come on! Who will show the mirror to these superstars with super-sized egos? Sachin Tendulkar is at the top of my list to whom that mirror has to be shown. MSD is next. Followed by the remaining 9 members of the team. When we do not have foresight to challenge ourselves after an 8-0 whitewash, to hope that a series defeat against Poms (of all of the teams) will lead to serious introspection is day-dreaming of the highest order. Come on Aussies, its your turn now to have your share of fun!

Posted by kharidra on (December 15, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Sweeping under the carpet is not a solution at all.The overcoming of demons in the mind is something that needs to be seriously looked at. One such demon produced the lbw of the most promising batsman just after completing the century. The captain with demons in the mind also succumbed rather innocuously when free flowing fluent strokes could have brought in the century and also many more to make a realistic pursuit in quest for victory. Once the mind allows for a free flowing approach with judicious attack and defence then the fitness aspect needs to be looked at. Just at the beginning of the on going series there was this article suggesting improvement in physical fitness for better showing of the bowlers in alien conditions. The same is required in home conditions as well. Better fitness permits the player to practice a bit more to hone skills and improve upon defects that have crept in due to not being on the winning track and trying too many things and end up being at wits end.

Posted by alarky on (December 15, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

arvin, you cannot be more right. I guess that there might be some serious secret negotiations for an India-Bangladesh test series to try to brighten up at least one face and save some heads from rolling! Did I say "heads rolling"? I must be going crazy? Hey it's India cricket I'm talking about! If you hear very soon the announcement of an India-Bangladesh test series, maybe even before Christmas, don't be surprised. I am looking straight into the crystal ball of the Gods of denial.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

completely agree, this is what should happen to india so that atleast they will be on the mark to play against australia. and the domestic format should have drastic changes. performances on dead pitches is not required, it should be on live pitches. indian batsmen are known for their good play against spin and they had a fallout in the same which a real shame, this shows the importance of retired seniors. the newcomers should have been given a chance to play along them in touch conditions so that they get some knowledge looking at their game and dont know what the selectors are up to, they should have gone back to the old horses like jaffer, kaif and others who are performing very good at the domestic levels

Posted by CalvinHobbes_123 on (December 15, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

Dear 'howzzatt_out' - Please read my post again.. I am against blaming Dhoni ALONE.. The word in 'caps' wasn't an aberration due to a malfunctioning keyboard!! It emphasized a meaning.. Sadly though, people with biased thoughts will remain that.. As per Harsha covering other points, just read what he offers as a solution, very succinctly he mentions - "A solution must be found - maybe the captain gives up playing a format".. & that's where I differ, just the Captain ALONE?? Just HIM?? Really?? & look at your post - You are blaming Raina, Rohit & Jadeja for debacle in Indian TEST Cricket?? Really?? Which Rohit & Jadeja are you talking about?? The Rohit who hasn't played a Test yet, the Jadeja who has just made the debut??

Posted by Vasi-Koosi on (December 15, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

I do not agree with Harsha on the introspection. The Team, the Support staff might have the luxury of not doing that. What the hell is happening with the selection committee. They have been elevated from being honorable members to a paid position. They need to meet and introspect after each game & each series; if not I will question their salary.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 15, 2012, 3:02 GMT)

Hi Harsha, very insightful article bout IND cricket. Btw how are you enjoying watching sachin play over the last 4 tests? Remember you said "It could be this series, it could be another, it could be longer; but suddenly Tendulkar the cricketer feels finite. And so I am going to go to the next four Tests and just enjoy watching him bat." Well to me he feels old/ jaded/useless and carrying on for no reason whatsoever, dragging his feat putting us in situation where we pray the old man retire this series and not wait till next. But you happen to be genius, so I am sure what you said is more correct. I for one could not see him bat much, because I stay up all night in NYC for him to come in & bat but he shows up for 10-20 mins. Also since I am not genius, I only predicted on cricinfo ( i comment, i dont write articles, thats reserved for geniuses ) that sachin will get one score of 80 and rest times he will fail. I guess I was more correct on that, but that doesnt really matter.

Cheers !

Posted by Ven61 on (December 15, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

Good to see a rare show of intellectual honesty from an Indian commentator.

However, he has stopped short of discussing IPL's impact on Indian cricketers and Indian test cricket. IPL represents over 90% of the monitization of Indian cricket and drives motivations in the Indian cricket ecosystem. Not just for players, BCCI and franchises; but also many others including writers and commentators.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 1:51 GMT)

Well this article has come very late from this writer as well. We Indians have the tendency to look for hero worship and make them indispensable immortals and suffer the burden of their arrogance and poor performance !!!. The BCCI is loaded with politicians who show their class while taking decision which culminates in poor selection and performance. Had it been Australia,England or South Africa the seniors would have performed better or would have been eliminated by this time. Even commentators from India suffer from the same disease. Long live Indian Cricket.!!!i

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 0:41 GMT)

Once Dhoni is confined to the shorter formats, Sehwag is dropped for a few series, and Sachin retires gracefully at the end of this match, at least three spots can be filled with honest hardworking youngsters of test calibre. That may partially solve the problem with test cricket's batting part.

As far as Bowlers are concerned, we do not have very many to compete at the international level. Nature of the pitches, obsession with IPL, whimsical selections etc will continue to create shortages of good bowlers. That leads to the main problem. That is the people who run the cricket show in India, A deadly cocktail of money, power , & politics (of all varieties) have intoxicated their minds and thinking process. That 'nasha' (intoxication) also had reinforced their desire to cling on to their positions, and would prevent any change which may reduce their strangle hold on Indian cricket. By hook or crook!

Sorry to say, I don't have much hope!

Posted by   on (December 15, 2012, 0:27 GMT)

@Chetan Srinivas. You wrote: He (Dhoni) should selflessly step down from Test cricket & continue to play,lead shorter versions of the game.He is guilty of breaking the team-spirit & his partnership with N Srinivasan is solely responsible for the current state of this team. Sachin will go after this series!!

Fully agree with you. In the unholy partnership, you SHOULD include Srikkant too, who, after finishing his term as Chief Selector, is playing "holier than though game".

Also agree, fame fortune & accolades also came too easily to Dhoni too, which seem to have affected his,what appeared like coolness, humility, ability to inspire, and skills to keep disparate elements together. In the case of test cricket,there is another problem: he is NOT test material. Atleast for that reason, he should quit test cricket. And, confine to the shorter formats. Hopefully he may correct the other frailties there. At least, as a player, he is good in shorter versions.

Posted by arvin on (December 14, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

after each series against eng / aussie / sa which india is going to lose badly there should be a series against teams like bangladesh or nz or sl ... there players are part of ipl teams and will be only too wiling to underperform and lose to india for fear of losing all that ipl money... and it will keep chest thumping idiotic indian fans happy as well with false sense that they are world champions...

Posted by hannibal_king on (December 14, 2012, 22:27 GMT)

lol Mr. Bhogle really criticised here for this article I think when pakistan were at their peak it was just chance not amazing plannig cause the pcb sux, same with indian cricket, when they rose to no 1 it depended a lot on zaheer khan and their middle order. Iam sure a new middle order will emerge but india needs to accept that Yuvraj and Reina are excellent odi players and Rahane Tiwary and maybe sharma should be given a chance in tests. Maybe some new test spinner for them will arise till then they have to made do with ojha and ashwin.

Posted by getgopi on (December 14, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

I am surprised by Kohli's lack of performance in this series. I thought he was the one guy who would stand head and shoulder above the rest even if only for effort. Maybe he will hit a triple ton!

Dhoni said in a recent press statement that everyone was in a cheerful mood in the dressing room. What?! Seriously? No one is experiencing a sinking feeling that they might be axed after the series? Then that is not good because the wrong work culture is being encouraged in the team.

Swann and Monty are real surprises.

Posted by Ashiskha on (December 14, 2012, 21:33 GMT)

I wonder if the BCCI was expecting results like these and brought in a coach who is considered a 'Transition' coach.'With Dravid and Laxman out this was to be Tendulkar's farewell tour and he just got too greedy. He should have just said that he will retire after the end of this tour and hope the young side would go the extra mile to get him a triumph. Now, even when he says, 'I quit', I can imagine, more people saying, 'Oh Finally' rather than 'Oh No.' With monumental changes very prominent on the Indian side Sachin's retirement announcement will now rather be seen as a relief. Oh well, I guess, he did not expect this to happen. What India really need is a penalty system where they take out a portion of their remuneration every time they fail taking into account several variables such as team average, opponents avg, bowlers credebility, the manner in which they got out etc.

Posted by laxmanrules on (December 14, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Defeat or no defeat. It is clear that wholesale changes are needed. Drop Tendulkar and Gambhir. Bring in Rahane and Rayudu. Fast bowling is good with Yadav and Ishant and our spinners are as good as anyone elses! Only, the English batsmen played them much better.

Posted by Ajayvs on (December 14, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

If 8-0 loss was not a good enough kick on the back side,i'm not sure what else would have been a better wake up call.Any self respecting side would have already started the review seriously!! The most painful thing in all this episode is the attitude of the players and officials to even acknowledge the failures.Please,please,please somebody shake up these dumb wits in BCCI and tell them some thing has to be done other than governing IPL and looking at TV contracts..

Posted by MeeraKrishna on (December 14, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

Good article..I would love India to loose this test..for the first time I am going through such a feeling in the past 20+ years I follow cricket..we need something like an Argus review for Indian Test debacle at home..or other way could be BCCI implement a ranking system for the domestic players in all 3 forms and all depts (batting, bowling, allround & wk) let the top players from each group represent the country in all 3 forms..one time investment but effective...

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

there are a few comments on harsha...but the focus here is indian cricket and not a writer!..I think India winning the world cup at home was a curse in disguise to our test cricket team!..it sort made them think they are the same in test level...whereas you had someone in past putting their hands up in crisis ( we had a few laxman / dravid / pujara innings),the current lot dont seem to have the heart for the grind at test level...It took a generation of great focussed inviduals to lifet the indian team...it will need to take another crop of such individuals to restart the process...unfortunate thing is they have to learn and get tougher / motivated all by themselves at the test level....hang on !!!...i forgot the elephant teh in the room..IPL!...what a carrot for the dhonis/gambhirs to get forget all the bad test memories!!!...haha

Posted by Qadeer_Dayo on (December 14, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

I think it do not matter more that who has written, but it is important to note that what is written, so I feel that like Harsha everybody having the right to comment, and in the end when it comes to "Game", then no one is bigger than it, but with due respect in India these guys , Sehwag, Dhoni, Sachin, Gautam and so on, are bigger than any result. No doubt Dhoni leadership made it come true in shape of WC but now it is past and if you think that all should be continued in same way because Dhoni leadership was the key in winning the WC, then seriously u are denying the situation.Considering the situation, I think that Ricky Ponting is the man to learn, and Australia Cricket role is worth notable that despite the Ricky contribution in Australian Cricket, when he could not perform he was no more on screen. So we should have to change our attitude and look for the betterment of Game, and this will also explore the new talent as well.

Posted by Ragothsun on (December 14, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Mr.Bhogle, There is a basic difference between the current crop of Indian cricketers and their foreign counterparts. For the foreign players, they seem to be aware that they are shouldering the responsibility of advancing the cause of their nation's cricket. They seem to have a sense of history and they seem to appreciate what it means to be the best cricketing side in the world. Do you think the likes of Virat Kohli or Ishant Sharma or even Ashwin have any sense of cricketing history at all? How will they play for national pride? It's all good wrap the tricolor and parade after a world cup win, but the larger context of representing the national team and being the custodians of its cricket, do you think they are even aware? That's why they don't take it seriously.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 14, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Well.. I agree with Harsha. A defeat is the ONLY way we can see things changing with Indian cricket. The complacency, indiscipline, laziness, ego, non-planning etc. are some of the key attributes associated with the Indian cricket system. It's time to shelf all those lousy adjectives and move forward. England look set to go 3-1 up in Nagpur and it's time to bring down the axe on many players. For a start, Tendulkar is DONE ! He should be gone after this series. His presence is creating a web of negativity around the team. His fans will NEVER understand and let them keep worshipping him. His time is simply up, not IFs or BUTs. Secondly, Dhoni and Fletcher should both be sacked from the team. Dhoni shouldn't play tests any more. Also, it's time to look at Sehwag as a middle order player. Lastly, India's pitches need an ICC review. None of the pitches are of test standard. Also, the Indian domestic system needs a complete shake up.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

Harsha is entirely correct. The problem with Indian cricket is that it is still hounded by big personalitites,big money, and fiefdoms, rather than by quality, or the desire to succeed. There is no science involved in player development (from the school level), grooming, pitches, player training, or evaluation for selection. The BCCI has a lot of money, and so do the players, so the incentive for change is not there. In which other field will non performers like Tendulkar, Dhoni, Gambhir, etc. be kept on for a long time, only based on their reputation? Form simply means response time, fitness, desire to succeed , work ethic, and grit. All of this can be measured before a tem selection is made. No one should be a permanent fixture in the team. Rather the selection should be made on the basis of recent form.

Posted by NH777 on (December 14, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Good to see my comments copied:) I said exactly same thing in one of my comments... I don't like to India loose...but good for Indian cricket if we loose... Sachin/Dhoni (no use at all) can think (or selectors) what have to do next... Very sad... I also mentioned...if no Tendulkar and Dhoni we can say we building team.

Common change the captain... he is not Test captain at all... Dravid is far better than him(I thought Dravid captaincy is bad). Dhoni should play only ODI/20's not eligible for tests at all...please chance other wonderful keepers like Dinesh Karthik/Parthiv Patel(they are making tons of runs there and doing better keeping than useless test player Dhoni) saha... don't kill their career...

But I want Dhoni be captain for ODI and 20's...

Posted by arvindsrin on (December 14, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

What a lot of people forget is that one day cricket and technology have had a huge impact on the standard of test cricket. The bowling is far more accurate, aimed at weakness with a lot of innovation in field setting that is exposing Indian batsmen's defensive techniques. Even this time, Tendulkars bat is angled, Gambhirs goes pushing at a widish delivery and Pujara if he gets over feeling bad should start reflecting if he is playing off-spin correctly (he had a similar dismissal in the second test). Selectors are supposed to judge players talent as well as technique and give the ones with the right technique a longer rope.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

Harsha writes the same article after every defeat :)

Posted by Dhanno on (December 14, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

"The one-sided series against New Zealand confirmed that, and with England due in November - let's be honest, everyone thought they would be run over - an analysis was postponed again, if indeed it was contemplated." Really Harsha ?? Lets be honest, it is YOU, Gavaskar, Shastri who might have thought that England will be run over. I maintained during the NZL series, that it is 2 match series, else NZ will improve and be competitive. It ended 2-0 but 2nd test was much closer, same happened with WI remember? Or you just see 2-0 and say that series is one sided so english will roll too. I said India has no fight for 4 test matches, they will lose this 2-1 ( its gonna be 3-1 now!) Besides, As someone else pointed, you guys are all genius, but dont find fault with IPL. Even in your article, you question twice if IPL is the reason for all this. You have no gumption to admit that yes it is the reason, IPL and sh!t players/ management which comes with it.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 14, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Harsha says, "And so there must be a review of every aspect of Indian cricket; a review that asks uncomfortable questions" - and he follows that up with questions about Ranji, Spinners, IPL, Youngsters' inabilities....... What's uncomfortable in asking those questions? You didn't ask any uncomfortable questions there. Nobody feels uncomfortable to question our domestics, Ranjis, Youngsters etc. Almost all the people who write these columns feel uncomfortable to ask questions about Statchin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan.......There was a writer on Cricinfo who put Statchin alongside KP before this series started. Was that you Harsha, by any chance? Talk of asking uncomfortable questions!!! Oh, you didn't do that even in an article where you yourself propose that we need to ask uncomfortable questions. So, give us a break from this beating around the bush.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

@Chandrurec. Whom are you trying to talk to? And, what are you trying to get across. (We know, you have a Thesaurus. What else?)

Dear Harsha, One of my dear faculty colleagues, and perhaps one of those who taught you, when you did your MBA at IIMA (Late Prof. S.C. Kucchal) would have used some colorful language to respond to your comments.

4-0 didn't wake up those guys. 8-0 didn't wake up. Now 11-1; would it make any difference, to those who control Indian cricket? Kucchal would have said.

"You can drag a reluctant horse to the drinking pool, but it is up to the horse to drink water or make water".

Even if they honestly introspect, would they make the right moves? Again, Kucchal would have said:

"If you have pain in the brain, no use applying jelly on the belly"

Chandru, you missed knowing guys like Late Prof. Kucchal. Then you wouldn't have wasted your money on the Thesaurus.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

while talking on the subject about cricket can u name out a single administrator like Mr Chinnaswamy Mr Wankade Mr dungapur [who i can remember] who are unselfish and given lot of time to the cricketing body from the present/near past BCCI committee [including cricketers administrators like kumbles, vengsarkars, Mores] by the way harsha why cont u write article about them instead of these kind which of no use

Posted by marlboro19 on (December 14, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

@Ahmed - what do you have against chemical engg buddy? :) . I am a chem engg and and appl mathematician , and i enjoy cricket as well as other enggs . @chadrurec- While it's good to practice your vocabulary , i suggest you get hold of Fowler's dictionary of English usage- 1) Coterminous , used attributively , will always compare TWO events or things. It relates and compares two ideas.2)Contumacious like? It's really out of place here, BCCI does not govern the lives of cricket fans in India ( I would have been more apt if you were talking of Russian revolutionaries in 1918, for example) 3)nugatory thus...our- a logical mistake. How can your "remonstrations" , or the article for that matter,ensconce YOUR allegiance to something you are remonstrating against at the first place.4) Cynosure for censure? That's grotesque . 'Cynosure' Doesn't only mean something that attraction, it connotes something that attracts attention because of good qualities. 5) DeafeatS...It..procsenium ?

Posted by suman2 on (December 14, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

If the process is right the results may or may not be favourable. If the process is not right, however, the result is guaranteed to be unfavourable. The reality is that India's reserve cupboard is bare. Where is the talent search programme started under Dalmiya after the Azharuddin scandal which unearthed talents from small towns of India such as Dhoni or Zaheer? Why people are again starting to accuse that team selection is based on parochial interest. We thought that we corrected that malaise under Ganguly and Wright. Most of all why do people not talk about the elephant in the room: conflict of interest. Why would a board president be allowed to own/associate with a regional team, why does BCCI produce the telecast and pays the critics such as Mr gavaskar and Mr Bhogle? These are the most influential people anyways. Where is the true freedom of expression. How can such a flawed system generate results anyway?

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (December 14, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

In the highly unlikely event there is an independent review the findings will be that the batting didn't click in 2012 because it was an inauspicious year. The likely solution will be that it's just a matter of time before Sehwag and Gambhir find form and before Tendulkar comes out of his slump, spinners are inexperienced and that there is nothing wrong with the IPL and there reason why our fast bowlers keep breaking down is because they don't enough meat and the physios aren't doing their jobs and the groundstaff were not able to prepare pitches at home that suited India but not the opposition.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Harsha, good article. but you miss the point, if serious introspection was done after the crushing defeats against Aus and Eng, we would not be in this situation. Indian cricket is the gooden goose and everyone has cut it up for their own vested interests. Indian cricket no longer interests fans like me as there is no integrtiy in the system.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

hi harsha you are from management branch just tell me what would have happened if the same thing happened in an MNC. have they waited for so long into the deep sea and spared who are responsible for the mismanagement. certainly not. u may argue that sports cont be compared to business. but are these BCCI officials and players are not paid for their duties? in so many ways. can u check the fitness levels of playing eleven. just name one player who is fit enough to play even for a county league!!! note: please check recent dravid's comments about it. PS Sachin the great i have not even played gully cricket, but admirer of cricket please ask your inner self before taking any decision which may help Indian cricket

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

I dont care what Harsha thinks by the looks of it Cricket is going the hokey way, just look at the current Ranji Season scores of 500and 600 Plus are the norms of the day, four days are not enough to complete one-one Innings i dont know if pitches are that bad or the teams dont have bowlers to take wickets but what ever it is i just dont see any bright spot on the horizon. Hope and Pray that I am wrong which I am usually!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

Harsha - i really hate seeing such an article from you. though you have never played professional cricket yourself your insights were very good. a 4-0 thumping and loss of the world no.1 team ranking did't lead to any introspection, a 4-0 thumping at the hands of australia which was on a down slide for a couple years didn't lead to any introspection, will this series do it? i seriously doubt it. australia, south africa and england always talk about plans to regain the no. 1 ranking, indian cricket has no direction, neither the captain, selectors nor the board president have any plans to restore india's rankings. their main goal is to get better and bigger endorsement and sponsorship deals. In conclusion, indian cricket board will start introspection only when the sponsors stay away, when the coffers empty up. till then indian cricket will never improve. RIP!!!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

sehwag and ghambir full of egoo,,,,thats why they r struggling

Posted by salilm on (December 14, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Rubbish! Once they beat/draw pakistan and draw Australia they will think they are moving up.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

Spot on harsha..!! As always this one too shows the truth..!!

Posted by Allan716 on (December 14, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

In India overseas defeats were always accepted as the team is not supposed to be strong in foreign conditions. Now that they are losing in tailor made conditions at home, they popular opinion is that they are playing against a quality opposition who should be lauded for their performance. Indian cricketers according to Mr Gavaskar should not be measured as a Board of Directors measures a CEO. However, he is now saying that the coach should be sacked after 8 overseas defeats. When India lost in the 80's it was understood that they were a struggling side with a lack of facilities. Now, India is the super power of cricket and everything is controlled in India. People have to change their perspectives and demand performance and not accept this MEDICORE BS that the team is putting out. CULTURES can be changed and it is CORPORATE India that should call the shots and withdraw support of these overpaid, unaccountable performers.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

Harsha with all due respects to your cricketing knowledge (theoretically though) strongly feel your acumen is questionable here.Irrespective of a defeat/a miraculous escape for Team India at Nagpur, we NEED A CHANGE. Change in the team structure, change in leadership & change in the attitude of the players. For heaven sake I don't want India to escape defeat here - this will mean brush away the shortcomings & move forward to the high profile meaningless Indo-Pak series.Dhoni doesn't command respect from his players anymore.In your recent article you mentioned youngsters have to be advised on how to handle success and money early in their careers but how do you handle individuals like Dhoni having same the very problem. He should selflessly step down from Test cricket & continue to play,lead shorter versions of the game.He is guilty of breaking the team-spirit & his partnership with N Srinivasan is solely responsible for the current state of this team. Sachin will go after this series!!

Posted by applethief on (December 14, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

@Ahmad Uetian Well said. Along will all the problems facing Indian cricket, high among them must be that somehow Harsha Bhogle is considered to be an authority on cricket commentary

Posted by Criketanand on (December 14, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

so the guy criticising harsha seems to have played cricket at some level then. so how does he explain poor captaincy in WC despite which we won it. ---kept including piyush chawla despite him being tonked for runs all the time. how do u explain same rohit sharma that u r criticisng been given umpteen chances by dhoni despite tiwary not getting many despite scoring in whatever chances he got- again dhoni's choice. how do u explain wonderful captain dhoni instead of trying to plot a wicket with bowlers and field placements instead seems to everytime a spinner gets hit for a 6 or a four changes the field, in test cricket that too where u can plot a dismissal by giving false sense of security to batsmen when leaving a strategic opening to tempt them to hit to that gap in pursuit of runs chop is a good option when batsmen or bowlers like zak/harbhajan/tendulkar/sehwag/rainas etc take their places for granted and dont perform.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

Thanks Harsha for writing this article and I totally agree with you that India should loose this test match for its own good. Surprisingly the action that should have been taken after 0-4 thrashing at the hand of England is yet to be taken. There is no point in gloating over the past success when we know that every match is a fresh start in cricket where past performance does not count. Dhoni and Co might have scripted a brilliant WC win but so have Kapil and Co done way back in 1983, does that mean Kapil is equally good to play today. Everything has an expiry date and certainly the way our ODI champions are playing at the moment it seems some players like Tendulkar,sehwag,Dhoni are playing beyond their expiry date. More than the good performance we need more competitiveness on the field which is surely missing from the scene now.

Posted by venkatesh.raghunathan on (December 14, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

I somehow seem to be shocked at the title. How can something good happen until there is a real effort to look at the actual issues. Even if you do, we need to come up with realistic solutions rather than taking one for the sake of taking. Lets review this series. 1. Need openers to fire, when they didn't for 3 tests, why wasn't Rahane tried even once? 2. Spinners need to dominate, lets accept that Kumble even now would be worth a million, no offense to Ashwin or Ojha but they can be good only as much as their captain supports them. But selection of Bhajji & Chawla are howlers 3. india or wherever, fast bowlers are required. Not sure when team mgmt are going to understand that.4. Last but not least Captain cool. Am a big admirer of him, rather was. But as Aakash Chopra had written sometime back.Seems sad that the once imaginative and practical person has become so rigid and wanting to prove his incorrect decisions are correct and unless the captain takes the rt call, nothing can change

Posted by Soulberry on (December 14, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Winning can also be a teacher and between the two, most would prefer winning to take their classes. But as you say, you cannot avoid learning from losing, unless of course there are no students in the class. Do you think a certain veteran player could be one of the lingering mistakes India is making? I can see where you are coming from in this article..am convinced it isn't as shallow as it is being made out to be... and dare I say I detect an element of anguish behind it?

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Plz Indian cricket face the reality dont run away from that....it's the high time to say good bye to tendulker if he's is not willing to go give him a farewell test bcoz he is a gr8 ambassador to cricket and change the test captan a new opening pair should be tested so sehwag and gambhir go back to 1st class cricket and score some runs kohli should be given 2 series more in tests...

Posted by sitaram58 on (December 14, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

so who cares about test cricket in India. If the BCCI wants to spin the situation and manage it they should arrange a series of test matches against WI, BD, NZ, & SL (doesn't matter if we play them home or away). India should refuse to play against England, Australia, SA and Pakistan unless they agree to play under our terms and conditions - slow low wickets, in the best weather with their best fast bowlers (and spinners too) resting (no Anderson, Finn, Swann, Panesar - we prefer Bresnan, Broad, Samit). Besides someone needs to remind Petersen about his multi million dollar contract with Delhi (atleast do so before he goes out to bat in the second innings).

Bah Humbug

Can't wait for the IPL

Posted by screamscorpion on (December 14, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

Hi Harsha, Where is the question of analysis & introspection, when this Indian team and its officials are not even ready to admit their short comings. It is still baffling to see AR warming the benches, when some body who is technically no where with respect to bat & ball walk straight into the test team, just because he scores a triple century, against mediocre domestic bowling. MSD & SRT are both smart enough, now that they have passed the ball to the selectors to take a decision on their future. Long Live this Indian Team!! Cheers

Posted by RazorMach on (December 14, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

Harsha, the writer of this article is as much an Indian fan as anybody else, so I feel for him. If anything, my takeaway from this article is that we are facing a time of desperation and no one is doing anything about it. So, Harsha is trying to awaken the powers that be, albeit in a very gentle manner. Hats off to him for that!

However, as far as the general cricket fan base in India is concerned, it is not so forgiving or gentle, and perhaps for good reason! Very few BCCI personnel may have played cricket in their life time, so, I ask you, why are they at its helm, if not for other motivations? Do we see a problem here?

I do not agree with everything that Harsha has said. For instance, he assumes that rotation of captains for different formats is "doomed to fail"? Really??? What is its basis? Is it a cultural thing, or have we failed to understand the role of a captain? If this is the case, I ask Harsha to pick up his pen, once again!

Posted by SOHEALPTEN on (December 14, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

Hi Harsha, Superb Article. If there are True Lovers of Indian Cricket In Indian Management Team they should go through you article. Becoz now the time has come to think of India (COUNTRY) first and second priority to players. No GOD no amazing Talent only cricketers who get opportunity to serve for the Country. I have been reading the comment posted. And think most of the people making comment are very emotional. I m not too good to say but they lack Cricketing sense. All you suggested what other teams like ENG, AUS, SA teams are applying are showing that they are rising, whereas Indian Team is declining. Time has come now to go to basic need and requirements. And give message to Domestic Players that there are vacancy in the Team India and invited to fill those gaps if they can match the requirement of the GAPS in Indian Team. NO ONE IS BORN WITH TALENT ITS HARD WORK. e.g. AMONG ALL TALENTED PLAYERS DRAVID WITH THE DINT OF HIS HARD WORK AND FITNESS SHOWED HARD WORK PAYS. THNKS HARSHA.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 14, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Harsha says, "And so there must be a review of every aspect of Indian cricket; a review that asks uncomfortable questions" - and he follows that up with questions about Ranji, Spinners, IPL, Youngsters' inabilities....... What's uncomfortable in asking those questions? You didn't ask any uncomfortable questions there. Nobody feels uncomfortable to question our domestics, Ranjis, Youngsters etc. Almost all the people who write these columns feel uncomfortable to ask questions about Statchin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan.......There was a writer on Cricinfo who put Statchin alongside KP before this series started. Was that you Harsha, by any chance? Talk of asking uncomfortable questions!!! Oh, you didn't do that even in an article where you yourself propose that we need to ask uncomfortable questions. So, give us a break from this beating around the bush.

Posted by RSBali on (December 14, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

Why do we have to learn the hard way? Selection should be purly based on performance and people with conflict of interest should be made to resign.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (December 14, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

why should you lose to know that players need to be replaced. What are the selectors doing ?

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (December 14, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

@Viv: Well said. Why can' t we Indians give credit where it is due and say Swann and Panesar are way better spinners than what we have. I have no clue how ENG lost the first match, now it seems a more of an aberration. I agree with the title of this article, but don;t understand the timng of it. Look, we had the same domestic setup when Dravid, LAX, Ganguly, SRT were playing and wiining. Why did u or anyone question the domestic setup then. Further all these 4 stalwarts of India played county cricket in ENG which helped them to who they are today and what they have achieved. Instead today's youngsters like Kohli's, Raina's, Sharma's want to play in IPL. As Dravid rightly said we lack the ability and talent to play test cricket. I guess the talent is there it is the lack of application what worries me. It is still not to late, pl ban IPL or else we will lose our Test Status and rightly so. Pl publish.

Posted by CandidIndian on (December 14, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

Well those two whitewashes were enough if changes had to happen,test cricket in India has become a big joke.Pattern of debacle is the same in every innings for Indian batsman from so long now and even a common fan knows what changes are needed .Its just that people running cricket in India does not care about what fans think and they are still in illusion of team being great with lots of legends in it.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (December 14, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

One win or another good home series and we will forget the dreadful past 12-18 months we have had.

We are an extremely forgetful nation! and history as witness we will never be pro-active!

With DRS, cook wont have piled up all these runs in past innings.... NOTE: BCCI!!

No Technology is perfect, it is always evolving...and improving.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

Indian team needs no introspection. It needs an axe. And I agree with most comments here. If 8-0 could not bring a catharsis, 11-1 wont too!

Posted by Batmanindallas on (December 14, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

I agree a loss would be the best thing....there is talent but seniors need to vacate...maybe not a sachin or sehwag of yore but definietly there are better players than what they are now playing ranji

Posted by unregisteredalien on (December 14, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

As usual, Harsha tamely following the trend and delivering the banal. This remark did interest me, though: "And yet having different captains playing under each other in different formats is doomed to fail." Why, exactly? First, this is a wholly unsupported assertion. Second, if it is in fact correct, it is symptomatic of a rotten culture that values hierarchy and individualism far beyond what is healthy, and is far removed from what is a needed in a modern, professionalised sporting environment.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Accidental World Cup win , and one week at # 1 position , really these are the best achievements for Indian cricket ? Harsha you are good writer , but the questions you need to ask , Is India Ever will be a better cricket team ???.

Posted by sshadab on (December 14, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Hi Harsha It is time we change the entire setup immaterial of the result of this test match. We have been losing for the last year and half, and losing for one more year with a new team should not be a problem, because the problem is not with losing but the manner in which we lose. So here is the new team, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina/Manoj Tiwari, Ravindra Jadeja, Saha/Dinesh Karthik, Ravi Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha,Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar/Ishant Sharma, 12th man Parwinder Awaana. What is good about this team, atleast they are hungry, they are very good fielders, fast runners between wickets, will listen to the coach, and will not take their places for granted. Skipper I will take a punt and make Ravi Ashwin with Virat as the vice captain. The sooner we ring in the changes the better for Indian team as a whole.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

The reason that India find themselves in such a mess is the failure to recognize the danger that our team was nonperforming throughout this year and attribute this to the pitch conditions . The reality was even against NZ this year and WI last year the batsmen werent in the best of touch and selectors should have recognized this and brought in in-form players .The lack of taking bold decisions has left us in a bad shape now . If we do a man to man comparison between the teams England definitely have far more experienced bowling attack with good spinners . It is Indian batsmen's tentative approach which has made them look far more superior . The bowlers have come in for a lot of criticism but both Ojha and Ashwin arent all that experienced and spinners definitely need some time to acclimatize to international cricket .It would be unfair to drop them at this stage .It is the batsmen who have been the biggest let down and they need to be replaced

Posted by samya1980 on (December 14, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

A politics driven country like India where even a cow gives milk under political influence, a defeat can't change the scenario. There was dungarpur era, there was dalmiya era and now it's srini era. Personal interest matters more here not the external issues.

Posted by RameshRayaprolu on (December 14, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

I don't think any "introspection" will do some good now...Because nobody in the current team is feeling responsible. They can't get better in next 2 or 3 series, it can take up to 5 years for this in-experienced team to realize the importance of test cricket.

Until then, Harsha...I think we can just watch what happens and go along !!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Agree with Ahmed, Harsha is a nice guy who. Is more style than substance when it comes to cricket.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

Ur right Harsha change is needed ...but I believe change WAS needed long time ago..It is too late- the self belief is gone .The confidence is sinking more so than ever. It is never easy to rise again once u have fallen from the top. It is easy the first time to get to the top from bottom which india did well.I believe this is the end of India cricket's dominance world.Sachin will be forced to retire.Some key players will be dropped and the sponsors wont be ready to pay big sums

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

Harsha, u were very blunt in ur twitter message when Zaheer was axed, we need the same attitude n u shld 'firmly' put in writing that it's time for Sachin to go 'more' importantly it's time for MSD to go as well, so we cricket fans will b releived to see his fav like Chawla, Jadeja, Raina to name a few playing n making a mock of test cricket

Posted by ManzurManutd on (December 14, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

If India loses the series , the equation would be very simple . Previously all the sides just didn't have good spinners unlike this English side. For such a long time India hasn't given birth to good spinners , lets not talk about fast bowling department.

Actually IPL has changed the psyche of Indian cricketers. If you can earn astronomical sums , even without playing a single test for your country , how could a quality cricketer be born in such a strange situation.

Even a boy from street who just know how to move his arm has the dream of playing IPL and earn in crores and buy a Ford or BMW like Pravin Kumar. This is what cricket means in India these days.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

1. IPL - Mother of all evils 2. Give more importance to Ranji Trophy and prepare GOOD cricket wickets for domestic games 3. Have A-Team tours to other countries

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

Nothing will change in Indian cricket, for all that the officials and players are concerned about is the amount of money that they can make from the game. There is no question of personal or national pride, for in India we value gains - even ill-gotten gains - far above principles and integrity. So let's watch European Club football, American college basketball, or play carroms, learn knitting, breed termites...

Posted by SudeepSharma_Nepal on (December 14, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

It is a high time, Indian supporters should introspect and think twice before following a cricketing event. They had a run for the money but not any further. People selecting the team, playing for the side and analysts are mockingly disgraceful and unconcerned about the followers and they are the ones who have plundered and robbed off our priceless time and in fact betrayed our care and love. We can turn our back to cricket and face our own challenges in life ahead. Cheers!

Posted by chin-music on (December 14, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

@murli786 - agree with you! Harsha is too good a cricket writer to actually believe that the cozy mafia-type alliance of BCCI / selectors/ star players like Dhoni, SRT etc is somehow unaware of what the problem with Indian cricket is. Or, that they need any defeats on field to open their eyes. Their real issue is that they are fully aware that they themselves are the main problem with Indian cricket & since they can hardly fire themselves , the endless charade of denial , excuses & complete refusal to make changes. Pity that Harsha also feels the need to pussy foot around these harsh truths.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

Simply put, there is no immediate panacea. The cupboard is empty and we do not have replacement. We need quality pace bowlers as well as tweakers, unfortunately we do not. At least for another 10 years, Indian cricket is going to struggle for sure.

Posted by doubtingthomas on (December 14, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

Barely 6 countries play serious cricket in the world. Out of them, India are currently ranked 5th. Enough said.

Posted by doubtingthomas on (December 14, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@Chandrrec5 : "cynosure for much censure" is wrong usage, might loose some vital scores in the GRE.

Posted by ChannuKapoor on (December 14, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

I really like to say that, I was thinking the same way, It would be great for Indian cricket if they loose this match too, as selectors will wake up & will take some bold decision.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (December 14, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

Harsha, please stop this politically correct style of writing. Indian writers rarely muster courage to name the culprits, unlike Aussies and the English. No wonder, we have many in the media contemplating that SRT will be touring South Africa, when in fact, he should have been dropped long back. And our fans are no better - still talking about MSD leading India to a WC win. By that yardstick, Ponting and Waugh could have carried on till 50.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

so 8-0 with some of the heaviest defeat in cricket history didnt help.hmmmm. denial.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

There's about as much chance of the BCCI conducting a serious review of the rotting corpse formerly known as Indian Cricket as there is of my three cats being elected co-chairmen of that august institution.

Posted by itismenithin on (December 14, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

a bit dissapointed to see the comments, not sure if ppl understood the article or just frustrated by the performance of the Indian team. Indian cricket hasn't been doing well in test cricket for past few years and it is the right time to do an honest analysis to understand to the problems faced by Indian crickets and work out ways to address all these issues. As harsha pointed out BCCI might sweep thinks under the carpet if the team performed well at home.

Posted by Agie73 on (December 14, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Poor article. He does not have any guts to call a spade a spade. But that is the nature of most of the india's ex cricketers and commentators. Few, who even suggest some negative comments against established cricketers will be taken to task. You can clearly see why a Bedi, Amarnath are not taken into BCCI fold for anything.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Nice article by Harsha. Just one problem with his observation and comparison to sides like England and Rajasthan Royals...This Indian team is not one whose winning streak has/will been broken in this series with England. This team was whitewashed in both England and Australia. Humiliatingly. Shamefully. Mercilessly.

If they could shake that off and not give a rat's behind about it, what makes him think that they will be all hot and bothered about losing or drawing a series in which they actually managed to win one of the tests? No, the most likely outcome will be that India needs to invite New Zealand /Bangladesh and prepare some spicy pitches and win a couple of series. Then all will be forgotten and everything will be back to normal.

Anyhow, who makes the most money in the cricket world? Indian players! Who get the most ad contracts? Indian players! Who has the most glamorous life? Indian players! India's players have already reached the peak that other players can only dream of..

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 14, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

I have been following CricInfo for years and my comments at Cricinfo are followed by my numerous fans. I have to declare that this has to be one of the worse articles written by anyone around here. This article makes no sense. Are you suggesting that India needs more defeats to have a so called wake up call. When is enough is enough? India has lost 10 of their last test matches. In modern day cricket history, no other team( even ordinary teams like B'desh) have suffered such humiliation. India lost in Pakistan 1-0 in their last series(2006), India lost 4-0 in England, India lost in Australia 4-0. India barely drew in SL and SA. What exactly has India won? India is about to lose at home again. Yes, defeat is a step towards winning but India has not lost, they have been thrashed in India and outside India. India should be pursuing excellence and perfection instead of trying to look for non existant positives in their thrashings.You would never see All Black(NZ rugby) with this attutude.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 14, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

When South Africa beat India 2-0 in 2000 in India it did seem that despite all those who went on to form the core of a great resurgence things did look very bleak.Sachin was the captain and what is more, the team was pretty good.Apart from the very good batting, they had Srinath Agarkar,Kumble and Kartik as bowlers.Yet they lost at home pretty badly.The point is that Sachin for all his undoubted greatness as a batsman and a man who thought cricket even in his sleep, he never had the luck to be a great captain.Dhoni was a lucky captain on the other hand who won a lot. I have never figured out how.Now his luck has run out and a change at the helm is what is needed. After the nadir of losing 0-2 at home to South Africa, Sachin resigned from captaincy.Saurav Ganguly took over and initiated the resurgence.As Harsha says even if India loses this series, I am sure the same resurgence will come about. Already I see Ishant come on really under Dawes' tutelage. I think we are seeing the corner.

Posted by buntyj on (December 14, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

ps- no points for 1st innings lead; all test players must play regular india a tours abroad players being groomed should be encouraged to play a season of first or good club cricket in eng, oz or rsa ipl- too late to shut the barn door but can be reformed- no u-23 players to play ipl or get contracts; then 2-3 year contracts with 2-3 year breaks in between for players to readjust to long format. restriction on player may be challenged; but through regulating of franchises may make this feasible. separate teams/captains for different formats- fast bowlers lacking body strength be included in 1 day; test strike fast bowlers with necessary fitness be restricted to tests; all levels- fitness n training camps test selectors- should be 3 professional paid selectors+captain+coach; if bcci seeks or has say than bcci pres may chair selectors and have 2 fulltime only. coach- role should be defined, empowered sponsors/media-transparency bcci- transparency, accountable, professional

Posted by buntyj on (December 14, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

start with pitches - improvement needed but not only bounce or seam, variety needed at jnr level matting is better than flat top schools- there should be no over limit cricket in schools or junior club leagues u-19/schoolboys tours regularly to oz n eng should be revived first class- ideally there should be 5 teams representative at all india level we will never achieve this in ranji due to politics and competing claims and need for representation improved standards in central and east now permit duleep to become that premier tournament; but on league basis 1 home 1 away only on test centres (ridiculous that for some indian players the first time theyve played on a particular home venue is in a test) with top 2 teams qualifying for a final points should favour wins highly over draws, equal only for ties, bonuses for wins away, or dominantly (innings, 9/10 wkts , over 150 runs), small bonus also for beating a team that was higher ranked after the last season or follow on

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

While I really hope some introspection will take place on Indian cricket and corrective measures adopted, I positively insist that Chandrurec5 be banned from cricinfo and asked to take his brand of English elsewhere.

Posted by vin77 on (December 14, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

The series in West Indies prior to the tour of England was a great indicator in itself.Anyway let us get rid of Tendulkar first & foremost he has payed his part let us just accept it.Then Dhoni has over stayed no doubt , with this RP Singh,Raina & Piyush Chawla can also kiss their Test Career Goodbye.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

first at the start of this test in newspapers and in press and media there was a noise that this series is considered as a rivarly series but after the the result in the two test matches in mumbai and in kolkata no one could have thought team india should get this type of postion they are urge on series deafeat in india and if that happen it cause a great damage to the indian cricket i personnaly thinks nagpur will be won by team india by a great margin and i wish team india a good luck my dream is to talk to with harshabhogle

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

Harsha you are a Chemical Engineer who has never played Hard Ball Cricket...You will simply never understand cricketing logic..1). You wrote article on Harbhajan saying he is legend after he had taken 400 wickets (Whereas he was the most ineffective Indian spinner) & look where he is now ??..2). You said Rohit Sharma is next big thing in another article (He has no defense whatsoever) & look where he is now ??..3). U are fascinated by occasional bollywood finish type innings but in cricket it is the consistent performances that produce par scores is what matters..4). u r same ardent fan who have v short memory & forget that Dhoni was the man who took Ind to WC victory & No1 test spot just an year ago ..5). U always look for chop & cheese but the fact is the same proven guys must recall the strategy that they employed when they played well by looking at videos like what Sehwag said he did in 1st test vs Eng..I think it's the time you introspect & give up cricket writing & commentary.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 14, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

Harsha, well written piece but ur attitude to the English teams smacks of condescension. What do u mean outspun by the English spinners? Ashwin and Ojha arent exactly Prasanna and Bedi that u should be surprised. It is this attitude of eulogising and making demigods out of average players that is one of the problems facing our cricket. Mediocre players put in some performances in 20-20 cricket and then suddenly start thinking they are world-beaters. Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly et al didnt make their reputations in such a fashion.

Posted by thomasx on (December 14, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Even if he has some problems, the naughty Sreeshanth, Dohni killed him. I think now India need is put him back. At least there will be a competition in fast bowling department.

Posted by murli786 on (December 14, 2012, 6:37 GMT)


There have been times when i have been in awe of your writing skills. Today as i read this piece, i felt you lack courage to talk against the establishment and stooped low -''written for the sake of writing''. I recollect your admiration for Peter Roebuck and if you need any inspiration, just go back to 2008 Sydney when after Australia won that match, Peter comes back with a scathing attack on Ricky Ponting and the Aussie team. That to me is courage. Have the guts to write what your heart tells you and in doing so, you will do a great deal for Indian cricket and its fans.

I am not asking you to ''hound'' Tendulkar just as the media did to Kumble, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. Our media forced these guys to retire and forgot to check the cupboard. Instead of being ''goody goody'' about Tendulkar, be brave and forthcoming. Ian Chappel may be nasty, but he is honest. I am sure you understand what the fan wants.

Posted by UglyIndian on (December 14, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

There will be no analysis, no review. You would ask, why? Well, its simple. Indians just don't know how to analyze, and they're even worse at gathering unbiased information. Why do you think judicial cases in India go on forever?And if you've read or heard interviews of Gambhir's boorishness and refusal to look facts in the face, you'd get a pretty good idea of why its so difficult to have an analysis and review of people in denial. Heads in the sand, and money in the bank lads :)

Posted by venkatesh018 on (December 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

A series defeat indeed will be the best thing to happen to Indian cricket. But I doubt even then will anything ever change for the better?

Posted by omairhr on (December 14, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

@Chandrurec5 ... "Also it is important not to put up an panglossian attitude. " LOL

Posted by howzzatt_out on (December 14, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

@CalvinHobbes_123, dude you got the interpretation you wanted, protect your captain India??? As for your info, Harsha did point out several other issues which cover your concerns. BTW, you forgot those figures you've mentioned about 6 stalwarts are still better than others. Don't forget, MSD and his favorite picks (Raina, Rohit,Jadeja and whole others) are to be blamed for the debacle in Indian test cricket.

Posted by Paddle_Sweep on (December 14, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

This is a strange article and really sad to see Mr.Bhogle writing such articles. If 8-0 is not good enough for anybody to introspect then am not sure what else is required. Anyway Harsha has to write this article because he has to contribute something 'useful' to Cricinfo every week. So, I won't blame him. Cheers.

Posted by SillyPoint2009 on (December 14, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

@Chandrurec, put away the thesaurus

Posted by pitch_curator on (December 14, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

@ Chandrurec5 -- Preparing for GRE I guess. This is a cricket forum. Display your linguistic skills somewhere else.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (December 14, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

Harsha, you have to pay attention to these words in your last sentence 'willing to listen'. if BCCI is anywhere closer to "willing to listen" they could have been a different org altogther. I have seen many articles from you with suggestions on this and that. Point is, it's not lack of ideas...more lack of willingness. I dont think the richest board surely would not run out of 'how' part...

Posted by Chandrurec5 on (December 14, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

Harsha, You are a genius and this article is not coterminous and it is just what the doctor ordered for contumacious fans like. You have convinced us that any vituperative remonstration from fans is nugatory thus ensconcing our allegiance in Dhoni and his men, who in recent time has been the cynosure for much censure. We shall not be wheedled by the defeats for it is just a proscenium. Also it is important not to put up an panglossian attitude.

Posted by Ashish_514 on (December 14, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

I had noticed earlier that even at home and against weaker teams such as WI and NZ, India had only once(or twice maybe) crossed 500 in an innings. So, I had a feeling that it's not only about overseas performance, but there was something basically wrong with the batting. Bowling has always been a weaker point, but when Indian batsmen fail regularly to get to 400-500 in home conditions, it's the time to worry. Before Dravid and Laxman retired, it was almost the same team that had wo in England in 2007, drawn in SA and given mighty Australia a scare in earlier tours. And the same team fell 4-0 to both Eng and Aus this time.The form of the stalwarts both old and not that old have gone off collectively. Harbhajan out of team,wicketless Zak Dhoni and Gambhir failing even at home. Big4 failing except Dravid in England,i don't think it's coincidence. Something is wrong with man management rather than selection or domestic cricket. Either captain, coach or both are responsible for this mess.

Posted by sony_sr on (December 14, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

To be honest losing in nagpur will do more good to indian cricket than winning it. Afterall a drawn home series is not going to improve our reputation by an inch. but a loss will trigger a lot of changes for good.

Posted by The_Manimal on (December 14, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

Argus review was done in Australia. I wonder whether Mr.Srinivasan has the guts and gumption to bring about such a review of Indian cricket. There are vested interests prevalent - Mr. Srinivasan is associated with CSK as well as Board President. So was Srikanth - while Vengsarkar was asked pulled up for writing in the press when he was an MCA functionary!!

Honestly, what is going on with the BCCI and Indian Cricket can be likened to Ramalinga Raju and the Satyam scandal in corporate history. There, it took the stature of Deepak Parekh to resurrect Satyam, similarly in cricket, someone of stature and high level of integrity must be put in charge - I cannot think of anyone better than Kumble for that role.

But power is too nice a thing to give up just for petty things like betterment of cricket, I guess, so I will be waiting to see Srinivasan speak about this. Unlike the IOC which derecognised IOA for its misgivings, ICC is a toothless against the financial clout of the BCCI!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Public review very much required ... BCCI needs to be kicked out of its stupor .. taking India for granted ..

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

And so Harsha has contributed yet another article on a Friday to Cricinfo and will laugh all the way to the bank. Never will you see these 3 folks (Harsha, Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri) admitting or pointing that the IPL is the root for all the malaise in Indian Cricket.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

While it is an earlier time, but where was all this profoundness when India was being lead by Dravid. The team was good, the veterans younger, but a horrible streak of captaincy was bringing everything down. People would say we won in WI after 36 years and in England after 21 years, but right through them, a better captain would have created better results for the team. But we never questioned the captaincy, and specially these experts. Dhoni's team may be losing, but this is the team and captaincy that has got us all the riches. So I believe, with better captaincy, better thoughts also come up.

Posted by CalvinHobbes_123 on (December 14, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

Really sad that, someone of stature of Harsha has indulged in buck-passing & joined the bandwagon of blaming the captain ALONE.. He talks about dearth of Spinners, ineptitude of young talent, but no mention of stalwarts?? Really?? Has Indian society stooped to such levels of hypocrisy?? Just a brief into stats for last 11 matches against Eng & Aus - Dravid 655 runs @ 47 in 8 matches, Sachin 670 @32 in 11, VVS 337 @21 in 8, Sehwag 492 @27 in 9, Gautam 497 @26 in 10, MSD 414 @24 in 10.. Just 4 centuries (3 by Dravid, 1 by Sehwag) & 18 halfs.. Even shocking is 'not-outs', just 4 (2 by Dravid, 2 by MSD) clearly suggesting inability of Batting Giants to preserve their Wickets, the very essence of Test Cricket.. A captain can't win matches when 2 legends retire, & remaining 3 of the Batting pillars comment - 'I'm enjoying my game', 'I play my natural game', 'I'm still part of the best opening pair'!! & Harsha - you suggest that Captain ALONE drops out of a format, NOONE ELSE!!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Harsha, defeat, leading to introspection, was exactly what I had hoped for. But the tragedy is that there seems to be no evidence to suggest that introspection is a word that the BCCI is familiar with. In the short term, in my view, these need to be done : 1) Raise the rewards from playing tests (eg. playing fifteen tests in a year, can get a player say, 4 crores? There will be an automatic desire to play tests for India. 2) Responsibility for player rests lie with BCCI (as you rightly said; why would a player want to lose crores and rest on his own?) Over the medium term : Each and every pitch in India needs to be sporting : 30% of pitches fast and bouncy, 30% spinners paradise, and the balance, batting 'pattas'. Pacers and spinners will be encouraged on 'bowling wickets' and challenged on batting wickets. And vice versa : Batsmen will be challenged on 'bowling wickets' and 'have a ball' on the batting pattas.And only then, will we have true players, able to perform in all conditions.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (December 14, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Same old stuff!! Reviews, sporting pitches, grassroots coaching,IPL...the list is unchanged. One T20 victory is enough for the public and the advertisers to go to the other end and continue their unabashed adulation of the planets most overhyped sports team!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 3:51 GMT)

I like that mathematics exam analogy. It is a good defeat to have; given that the team is in a transition phase, coupled with the fact that England have a good team. It will help the team introspect within themselves and become better as a unit - just like we did after the World Cup 2007 defeat. I am happy with the questions you have asked.... those are the questions that I would ask myself if I were in BCCI/ Team India.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

I think that our bloated selection committee structure has a lot to do with it. Plus, there are mixed signals for the captain. He has little input on selection of the squad, but complete control of playing 11 selection. So, if he doesn't like a player, that player won't get selected. Badri, Rahane, Tiwary and Dinda are good examples of this. Either give the captain more influence on squad selection with the caveat that if there are major failures, he gets the sack or force him to add variety to team selection. Also, Dhoni is an unimaginative captain. His strength is his personality which helps to keep the team egos at bay. But a good captain creates strategies based on resources and doesn't try to forcefully mould a team to be something it isn't. We are not a team of tear away pacers. Lets accept that and plan accordingly.

Posted by nellaiseemai on (December 14, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

The problems are with BCCI and fans. BCCI want to earn money through T20 and fans like that version. Have you ever seen Dravid or VVS selling anything through advertisements like these younger generation - Rainas, Kholis etc. These people earn money in a short time and through less work by IPL. Fans as well as these younger generation never care about test matches. In contrast look at England they have a bowling coach for spin and pace and a batting coach. What does BCCI do with all the money it earns? nothing. Secondly, the administration itself. How come a franchise owner of the most popular shorter version of the game be the chairman of the BCCI with the caption of that franchise being the caption of the national team as well? Bowlers now from India are looking to get wickets through the variations that may be good for IPL where the batsmen go after every ball will not work for tests same for batsmen as well. It would be very difficult to find a good test batsman in future - gone.

Posted by SP48 on (December 14, 2012, 3:20 GMT)

I totally agree with you Harsha. Well said.

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Harsha BhogleClose
Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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