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If India don't hurt, they won't rise

Plenty of excuses have been offered over the last year and a half; the time has come to acknowledge reality

Sambit Bal

December 18, 2012

Comments: 380 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni tosses the ball in a practice session, Bangalore, August 29, 2012
Does Dhoni think India's horrendous streak can be put down to factors outside his and his team's control? © Associated Press
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The time for fudging is over. In dealing India the kind of defeat that no one, including the most optimistic England fans, would have seen coming, England have bestowed on India a favour: all possible escape clauses have been removed. Indian cricket has no choice now but to look deep within and confront the magnitude of this failure.

Defeat, it is said with good reason, is a far better teacher than victory. It is impossible to say if the outcome of this series would have been any different if India had absorbed the lessons from their serial disasters overseas last season; but perhaps they might have approached the series with a keener sense of reality.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a remarkable man in many ways. His ability to isolate himself, and by extension his younger team-mates, from the cacophony that surrounds Indian cricket, has helped him, for the most part, keep his balance and stay as the pivot of Indian cricket. Even at the worst times he has retained his composure around the team. He could be faulted on tactics, but to lead the Indian cricket team, you need a thick hide and nerves of steel. Dhoni was the leader India needed.

But there is a thin line between insouciance and being blasé. Somewhere in the torrent of defeats, and in the scramble to make sense of them, this line has been obscured, and reason and perspective have been lost. It's impossible to know what Dhoni really thinks of the defeats that have piled up under his watch in recent times, but if you went by his public posture, you'd think he believes them to have been outside his control.

So the 8-0 wasn't because India lacked energy and fitness, or skills were waning with advancing age, or the players didn't give themselves the best chance to prepare, or the fast bowlers had regressed and the spinners couldn't spin the ball anymore. It was because their opponents laid out pitches that discriminated against India.

After India had been bowled out inside 63 overs on the first day at Edgbaston, the Indian camp, which contained a coach with intimate knowledge of English conditions, let it be known that rarely had there been a pitch that afforded so much seam movement. At the end of the first day, England had careened to 84 without loss, and they ended that innings at 710 for 7. In their second go, India slumped to 89 for 6 before Dhoni and Praveen Kumar took them past 200. A similar vein ran through the tour of Australia: the pitches had been spiced up, they had more pace and carry, and even the Sydney Cricket Ground had no spin.

And when the time came for India to return empty-handed from the World Twenty20, Dhoni reflected on the cruelty of the format. What, in the final analysis, had cost India a place in the semi-finals was a heavy defeat to Australia, which Dhoni, staggeringly, blamed on the wet ball. Batting first, India scored only 140, and Australia knocked off the runs in 15 overs, losing just one wicket, when they were on the doorstep of victory. Yes, it did rain at the break, but India still opened the bowling with a spinner, and Irfan Pathan, who had opened the batting ahead of six specialist batsmen (and consumed 30 balls in scoring 31), came on fourth change with the ball.

The external pressures make captaining India the toughest job in world cricket, and perhaps owning up to mistakes and shortcomings is much harder in an environment inflamed with passion, and one in which people are prone to exaggeration. But a feeling has grown that so cloistered has this Indian team become that it has started believing its own excuses. Through its miserable run outside its own shores, a sense of indignation had been building up within the team: let them come to our backyard, we'll show them.

Series wins against West Indies and New Zealand at home kept this belief alive, but even in these contests, India failed to see the signs. West Indies stretched them in Delhi, and might have beaten them in Mumbai. Twice India conceded big first-innings leads, and their spinners looked out of depth for large stretches. Despite the 2-0 scoreline, even New Zealand ran India close: in the second Test, they were a wicket away from causing panic on the final day.

The decline of the Indian Test team has perhaps been unstoppable, but the process has been exacerbated by denial

England have left India with no place to hide. The last time before this that India lost a series at home, it was to one of the greatest teams of all time. Back then, India competed better. They got themselves into a position to win the Test in Chennai before the rain came, and in Nagpur, Australia were gifted a pitch that played to their strengths.

England are a good team but not yet a great one. They are a resilient, spirited and committed group with some skilful bowlers, a couple of resolute top-order players, and one great batsman. They were hopeless against spin in three out of their last four Tests in the subcontinent before this series, and were outplayed at home by South Africa. But they ended up beating India, thoroughly and decisively, at their own game. Their spinners outbowled the Indian ones by a ridiculous margin, their fast bowlers produced better reverse swing, their batsmen showed greater application and flair, and they had the superior wicketkeeper-batsman.

After losing by ten wickets in Mumbai on a pitch made to order to doom England, India were driven to despondency over how to find a way back into the series. In reality, it was their starkest moment of truth.

Externally, they had everything under control. England had been denied practice against spin in the lead-up to the series; at Mumbai, India's captain had demanded, and been provided with, the pitch he wanted; they had picked three spinners; and even the coin had rolled their way. Yet they had been outspun and outbatted. Kolkata was an inevitability; the force had already been drained out of Indian cricket.

The decline of the Indian Test team has perhaps been unstoppable, but the process has been exacerbated by denial. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were never going to be easily replaced, and the time has come for India to look beyond Sachin Tendulkar too, but the frightening thing is that they haven't produced a world-class spinner since Harbhajan Singh.

Every crisis can be an opportunity. Indian cricket can start by recognising the current one as such. Dhoni, as has become customary with him, sought to scale down the magnitude of this defeat by terming the 2007 World Cup a bigger disaster. Really? One bad day against the worst run in Test cricket spanning more than 12 months over three continents?

In the absence of a better alternative, Dhoni could still be the man to lead India in the near future, but India can't start rising until they accept how low they have sunk.

Indian cricket has the financial might to bend the rest of the world game to its will. But the real wealth lies in the quality of cricket its players produce on the field. In business terms, the Indian national team is the biggest asset of Indian cricket, and the cricket it plays is its most valuable product. With its wealth, passion and pool of players, there can be no excuses for India not producing a world-class team in every form of cricket.

For Indian cricket to renew itself, this defeat must hurt. It should rankle. And the way forward can only be forged with honesty, foresight, the humility to accept inadequacies, and the courage to address them.

The team to play the next Test for India needs to be picked not merely with the next series in mind but the next season. The Tendulkar question will hang heavy, but it will be, as has been suggested widely, unfair to leave the answer to him. Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt.

India's fall has been swift and dramatic. But the regeneration could be slow and painful. It would require commitment, perseverance and patience. Even to the most gifted, success has never come easy.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Animesh_Rathore on (December 21, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

This was a disappointing show from India. Selectors should now look at future and should blood in performers in Ranji Trophy. Giving Virat the opportunity to Captain will lift his game further. Here is my 11 -

1. JJ singh (Punjab) 2. A Rahane (mumbai) / G Gambhir (delhi) 3. C Pujara (Saurashtra) 4. R Sharma (Mumbai) / V Sehwag (Delhi) 5. V Kohli (delhi) - Captain 6. R Jadeja (saurashtra)/Bhuvneshwar Kumar (U.P)/ I Pathan (Baroda) (depends on wicket) 7. P Patel (Gujarat) 8. R Ashwin (Tamilnadu) - No other spinner around 9. P Ojha - No other spinner around 10. I Sharma (Delhi) 11. U Yadav (Delhi)

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 21, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

@Dravid Righly or wrongly, the perception of the Indian players is that with the IPL earnings that they get they do not need Test cricket, which does not pay. People forget that, until India briefly reached #1, the BCCI had enormously reduced the programme of Test cricket for the side and concentrated much more on T20 and ODIs. It's hard to care when your big bucks do not depend on Test match success. Of course, if players don't have Test cricket as a shop window to sell themselves that may have an effect down the line, but we don't know that for sure yet.

Posted by Prats6 on (December 21, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

Great on Sambit for this. Hope someone from the BCCI and all Indian players read it. The defeats have hurt the fans, and this one has simply devastated us and burst the only remaining bubble of tigers at home as well. No amount of IPL/T20/ODI win would change that. Its time for major changes and that begins with the top. MSD need to be given a break from leading in all formats. He should not be leading India in Tests for sure maybe T20's as well. I'd want Kohli/Yuvi leading the T0 side, MSD the ODI. For test we need someone who has the patience & stability - My choice is Pujara, has it seems he likes leading (his batting performances go up drastically when he is a skipper) or Kohli (slightly more plucky and aggressive but maybe thats the way to go). Start building a pool of Batsmen & bowlers and play them based on current form only. Increase India A tours to Eng/SA/Aus/WI. India has young spinners, put in place a spin coach. Make people fitter and dont tolerate unfit players.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 21, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

Part 2: We can make adjustments based on results. So we have 10 players there already. The remaining slot can be filled by an upcoming seamer. Badrinath, Unmukt, Mandeep, Jadeja and Sreesanth should round-off our squad of 16. But we have to make sure that Statchin, Dhoni, Zaheer and Harbhajan shouldn't be allowed anywhere near our test team's dressing room. Fletcher and Dawes, these two are to be booted out first. Remember how far off the mark our own bowling coach was when he affirmed that Zaheer is in top 6 in the bowlers list at present? If that doesn't give it away about our bowling coach, then I don't know what would or what can ever! Fletcher can't even run one mile with our players. He just can't sit there and collect his pay. Sorry, he has to look for some other profession. I don't know who told him that coaching Indian team means sitting and collecting a fat pay cheque. Please give our test team one last chance before fans like me can move on from Indian Cricket. Please! (End)

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 21, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

Alright Sambit, here is my observation. Our players don't seem to be too interested in test cricket. I don't know if I'm being skewed but, to me, it's clear that our players are more interested in the shorter formats, from what I've seen of them in today's T20I. It's their life. They are professionals. They chose their careers. So, it's their wish as to which format they want to play and what interests them the most. But my only request to the selectors is, before longtime fans like us can look elsewhere for quality cricket, please make either Sehwag or Gambhir as our Captain and put them on strict notice (we can afford to lose one or both of them if they fail). Let 3 to 5 be occupied by Pujara, Rahane and Kohli. Give another 3 slots to Ashwin, Ojha and Yadav. Saha or DK as our WK. In fact, DK can even play as a specialist batsman. (TBC)

Posted by fguy on (December 20, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

statements like terming the 2007 World Cup "a bigger disaster" (yes 1 bad week is worse than 18 horrible months according to his logic) & india's body language on last day where dhoni, sehwag etc were grinning away as if they were the series winners & not eng show how much they care abt the game & the fans. sehwag expecially acts as if he's doing a favor to us all by even being on the field. it seems losses hurt us fans more than these people

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 20, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

Hi Sambit, I have a couple of questions for you. So, you say if this doesn't hurt, then India won't rise. I guess many of us can understand your conclusion. So, my question is: Do you think this hurt the Indian players? If if it didn't, then why it didn't? If it did, then why do you think it did? My position is, no neither this series loss nor the previous 8-0 overseas losses hurt our Indian players nor the selectors nor the BCCI.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

And finally, I know the article itself is not meant to suggest positives, but it would at least brighten up the doom and gloom. Plus, India actually did fine in the recent ICC World Twenty20, and it could be argued that Australia didn't try hard enough to beat Pakistan before India took on South Africa, and that they were crudely content with not chasing down the runs, despite the fact that they destroyed India. And enjoyed your article after the disastrous Sydney Test at the start of the year, and wish you and your family a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

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

@YorkshirePudding, are you really so serious about the online petition? Come on, you are dealing with multi-millionaires here who also have rotten minds! Can we really think our online petitions and posts here on cricinfo will even make them think for a second? They will, of course, start thinking if underperformances lead to a loss in remuneration for them. That's why I hope the underperformance of our team in tests will be a catalyst for some much needed and long overdue changes. For the starters, Statchin, Dhoni, John Dawes and Duncan Fletcher have to be booted out. One more thing, you can clearly see from today's T20I that Indian players as a whole seem to be more pumped up, or interested or what have you, in the shorter formats than in the long format. If that indeed is the case, then there's nothing much that can be done about it, as it is their life and they will have interest only in what they want to do. We cannot make these professionals love the format that we love.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Completely agree with most of the stuff that has been mentioned here, and following the shambles of the last two tours away from home, as well as Indian cricket in general of the last eighteen months or so has been painful to say the least. It could be argued that it has been an accident waiting to happen since the appointment of Duncan Fletcher as a coach, an ex-England record whose record away from home only serves to speak for itself. Also, since the retirements of three of the fab four, and especially the recent ones of Dravid and Laxman, India has been unable to genuinely replace them. If they can get a new coach and embed new talent, coupled with a new captain and renewed belief in the squad as whole, only then will they recover from this mess and the steep and shocking decline suffered as a result. Also, change is needed within the BCCI, and they need to accept that DRS maybe beneficial in the future, although I am not saying it is the answer to the longer-term problems.

Posted by FarSight on (December 20, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Excellent piece. Indian cricketers and thier masters did not feel any hurt when England whitewashed India 4-0 last summer. They didn't feel any hurt when Australia did the same thing last winter. The current one doesn't hurt either. It will be business as usual.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

Completely agree with the points made her, but would like to add a few more. Why is Dhoni persist with the tried and tested players as in Jadeja, Rohit, Piyush Chawla to name a few? These may be exceptional domestic talent but it has been proved time and again that coming to international level, they have been utter failures. If Dhoni is trying to step into Ganguly's shoes by nurturing young talent for the future, as Ganguly did when he was the captain in Zaheer, Bhaji, Sehwag, Yuvraj etc, he has to realize that these are - were - genuine match winners. A player in Manoj Tiwary gets a man of the match in one game has to sit out for nearly 8 months for his second chance for a non performer in Rohit, take 4 wickets and score some descent runs in the next game, half century in the following, had to sit out again for a while for the next chance is ridiculous. Irfan or Yusuf Pathan fails to grab one or two opportunities, in comes the talent of Jadeja or Rohit, only to waste others chances.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 20, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar, thank you, I'm a fan of indian cricket, I loved watching some of the great names of the past (Gaveskar, Dev, Dravid, etc).

I think there is some hope, Yadav looks the part, and its a shame he was injured during the first test, Pujara has a promising career ahead of him, Ashwin as well, though I would have him as a Batting all rounder (Shane watson style), than a bowling all rounder (Kapil Dev), Gambhir seems to get some stick but was 3rd (4th?) highest Indian batsman in this series, Jadeja and Ojha look promising as well, and could do with looking at the lines & lengths that Swann & Monty bowled as well as trying to get more revolutions on the ball.

Have you thought about starting an online petition to get the BCCI to sit up and take notice?

Posted by dork29 on (December 20, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

Good article. For the unintiated, the author is not trying to give solutions - all he is saying is, to accept that there is a problem. That is the first step in resolving a problem.I do not agree that our bowling is a problem - it has always been a problem. On Indian pitches, Bhajji and Kumble could prise out the opponents cheaply - but that was rare. Our strength has been our batting. We used to put up big scores and defend them. That is the ability we have lost. Viru is devastating, but not consistent. Gauti has never been the same after the knock on the head in England. Rahul and Laks are gone. Number 6 has been empty ever since Saurav left. And the biggest albatross of them all, Sachin Tendulkar.He has been the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. He has become a liability and is pulling the ship down with him.Instead of a massive overhaul, we just need to juggle things around a bit. Drop Sachin. Bring Viru to number 4, open with Rahane. Jadeja could be the #6.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 20, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

England have been in this situation and it hurts... or it least, it should do. To me the most urgent problem is the bowling. India has and always will have a store of decent batsmen but, one area with the emphasis on T20 is really hurting, is in the bowling: who wants to be a bowler these days? Seam bowling has been a problem for several years. India can and in the past has got around this by having a strong suite of spin bowlers, but the spin resources seem thin too. Ojha has shown what he can do (14-10-8-6 for Surrey last season shows that he can do it in English conditions too), but he was ploughing a lone furough against England with no support. Is Ravi Ashwin picked as a front line bowler or as a batsman? If he is a batsman, why does he come in at 8? If he's a bowler, is he good enough at this level? Chawla does not look promising, so where was Mishra? Is Mishra way past his sell-by date like Harbhajan and, if not, why was he not even considered? Is there anyone else to try out?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 20, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding, the addict analogy is spot-on. Bravo! Couldn't agree more. Now, if only our BCCI can read our comments here and take us seriously.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Nice one Sambit. The starting point is the acceptance that there is a problem. A case i n point is Australia who realized that their team was the pits and got the Argus review in. Of course we will not follow Australia. The challenge is everyone has an agenda and sadly Indian cricket's development is not on any of the key people"s agendas. There are many obvious things that strike the cricket lover. Dhoni should not be test captain.Tendulkar should plan to leave. Yuvaraj should prove his fitness for the longer forms of the game. We will beat England in the shorter formats, though I am not sure about our ability to beat Pakistan or handle Ajmal. We are at the bottom and can only go upwards. We can do that if we dont live in denial and sadly it seems a big "if" to me. Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 20, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

@Amit Bhatnagar, first of all you need people like Sambit to highlight the issues, then most importantly the powers that be (Selectors, Board) need to accept that these are the issues, and that they need to be fixed.

All Sambit and other journalists can do is make these arguments until the latter stop sticking thier collective heads in the sand and act.

As Meety said after the 2009/10 ashes CA accepted there was a problem, as did the ECB after the 2005/6 ashes, they moved on, Indian cricket doesnt even seem close to admitting theres a problem. Its like trying to help an addict, until they accept theres a problem they wont solve the problem.

Posted by SridharKalyan on (December 20, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Sambit - why dont you guys just bite the bullet, instead of dancing around with words? Dhoni, Sachin and Viru have to go - but what do you see? Yuvaraj is back in the T20 squad- becase that is what Dhoni wants the Selectors to do!!!! Yes - he has Srinivasan's backing, but what prevents Sandip Patil to suggest dropping the captain even if he were to be overruled? That is Indian Cricket for you - not what we see on the field. But nothing is a surprise any more, not after R P Singh can be re-called straight into a test match from a miami-holiday!!!

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

For however well Sambit has written this article, it does not offer the cricket lover any insight into how Indian cricket can resurrect itself. The article dwells on problems, which an average cricket lover like me is completely aware of. In times like these, leadership roles become important. But to expect the BCCI officials to look beyond money would be foolhardy. So, the future is bleak. Unless a miracle happens. And I do not believe in miracles!

Posted by Meety on (December 20, 2012, 3:00 GMT)

Sambit Bal is 100% correct. I just wonder at what point does Indian cricket need to descend to, BEFORE some Argus-like inquiry/report into performance is actioned? Oz didn't do the Argus Rpeort after we lost to Sth Africa in 08/9, we played good cricket & were narrowly beaten 2-1. We lost the Ashes in bitterly dissappointing MANNER, we were off the pace everywhere & were out-thought. That was the catalyst to turn things around. It has taken several years to start implementing the review recomendations. That means, that at this point, given there is no review in place, it is unlikely that Indian cricket will see any significant up-swing before the 2015 W/Cup! The only thing that can save them at the moment is if Pujarra & Kohli become the 1st & 2nd highest ranked batsmen in world cricket, & Yadav becomes a premier paceman in world cricket. Other than Ojha, I don't see any great (or potentially very good) spinners.

Posted by sharidas on (December 20, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

A very, to the point article. Has India ever been a great side ? I do not believe, that we ever reached that stage. But over the years we have had some very good sides. Yes! we need some new players and that can happen only if the promising youngsters are thrown into the arena. SAchin Tendulkar was good at a very young age and the selectors at that time had the guts to try him out and he came up aces. Why not do the same now? Include promising pace bowlers too. So, in the final say, we need Selectors with guts.Guts to drop Sachin Tendulkar, if need be.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 20, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

Good article by Sambit. The way to rebuild is to cut the dead branches - Tendulkar Sehwag, and Ishant Sharma, from the Indian team. Then you give budding players a chance. That means giving a chance to batsmen like Rahane, Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Mandeep Singh, etc. We have a lot of good medium pacers in Shami Ahmed, Awana, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, B Kumar, Rishi Dhawan, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ishwar Pandey, etc. In fact we have so many good fast medium bowlers that we can form a pace battery like West Indies used to have 30 years ago, or like Pakistan used to have 15 years ago.

Posted by Dr._Cricket on (December 19, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

Inida, as an Engand fan, I urge you, please don't get rid of Sachin Tendulkar just yet. He is is the best batsman most of us will ever see in our lifetimes. OK he has had a mediocre year, but I think he still has something to offer and can still bounce back. If he continues, I predict at least 5 test centuries over the next two years. Talents like this are to be cherished, we may not see the like for many years to come.

Posted by NairUSA on (December 19, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

Samit has journalistically said what the average Indian fan is saying - change the Captain and bring in fresh blood. It certainly would take India years to form into a world class eleven. At least, the indian fan will not have to witness the lacklustre and bored performance from the current crop.

Posted by Nampally on (December 19, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

Mr. Bal, What do you mean "If India Don't hurt" -you got to be specific as to who? The President of BCCI has already OK'd defeats abroad. How can anyone hurt when there is no Accountability?How can India accept reality when the President of BCCI openly says it is alright to be beaten badly abroad?Leadership is lacking from BCCI to all levels below it. It is the Cricket Fans who are hurt the most from the comments I see from Cricinfo columns. The players from Captain Dhoni down to others, give only excuses (Pitches, Batting, Bowling, fielding, Umpiring, etc) after miserable flops. So the BCCI, the Selectors & the Players are directly contributing to the Wins & Losses. Unless the guys who are directly involved really feel the pain & take appropriate actions by Winning, nothing will change.Many things can be done but it is up to the 3 parties involved to rectify it. It looks like there should be an Ombudsman/Auditor evaluating the BCCI, the Selectors & the Players+ hold each Accountable

Posted by bored_iam on (December 19, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

I think the issue is primarily that there is a collective loss of batting form. Think about it. our bowlers have NEVER won us a game. India isnt that kind of team. We've built our success on batting oppositions outta the game and then going for the kill. Barring Durban 2010, every famous victory has been built on the back of our batting order. So until we: 1. Fix no. 6 2. Get openers that click 3. Do something about Tendulkar; we will NEVER win. The 1st match, won on the back of strong batting. All the matches in England & Australia: we lost cause we didn't score over 300.... The Batting is the bigger worry in my opinion.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

BD fans (unlike the Indian fans, who are regularly snatching away da test status from BD) are not eager to take away the test status of India and give it to the Ireland/Afghanistan even after this super failure in the home soil! But wanna say to Shewag that "England is not India", in response to his humiliating comments on Bangladesh that " England is not Bangladesh"...and Darren Sammy and da whole W. indies team now know what Bangladesh actually is.......

Posted by cjscanada on (December 19, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

all teams go through changes and WI's have still not got anywhere near. It takes a while. We have to be patient in India. @Parivar Singh I do not agree with your opinion of Ishant. Wonder if you watched the game, he was the only bowler from India who looked like taking a wicket on this dead track of Nagpur. I hope they get a hold of the Mumbai curator and appoint him the head for all pitches in India. I do not think our bowling is empty. You have Umesh Yadav who is genuine. Irfan would have put a balance to our attack. and Ojha is good. Ashwin for his guts in batting I would consider him as a batsman than bowler. There is a guy named Shammi. he reminds me of Irfan when he was knocking at the door of the National team. The team selection itself was wrong and we did not prepare for it even before the series in England and Aus. I felt Rahul Sharma a good bowler of spin. Dinda and Awana have not been tried. Also a very hard trier was Pravin Kumar. I do not know why he was not considered.

Posted by MitenD on (December 19, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

Well done, Sambit. This article is BANG ON

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (December 19, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Maybe India should lose their Test status.

They care more about the other formats. Let them concentrate on those formats.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

I do agree fully with Mr. Sambit. Inadequacies have been glossed over as temporary phenomenon. Lack of strategy was told that just one match failure. Pitches were blamed aplenty. A good batsman must be able to play in any pitch in the world, provided of course it has been prepared for good match play. Dhoni, after Gangs, did bring about team unity & won matches. His shelf-life is over. And Sachin must voluntarily retire, as no one will drop him. Sehwag & Gambhir are over the hill, like Zaheer & Bhajji. Yes it wll take time to rebuild, but, give chance for Unmukht Chand, Rahane, Badrinath, etc etc. Forget about past performance, look at present. Hope I am right.

Posted by sukhi_77 on (December 19, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

their is no shame in loosing but it should hurt, the seniors have to take responsibility and show the way they appear very casual

Posted by hnlns on (December 19, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

One important criteria for selection to IPL must be "A player must have played at least 20 test matches with a 40+ avg for batsmen with more than 5 centuries and 80+ wickets for bowler at an average of less than 30 runs per wicket" This way the greed to get more money without achieving anything meaningful will be nipped in the bud. One reason why Indian test team has come to this sorry state is because players know that they earn a lot more in IPL by putting just a fraction of the effort needed in test matches. Our players must be made known what is their true worth. It is time BCCI wakes up to this reality sooner than later.

Posted by smjr on (December 19, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

Further to my comments below. India success from in last 10 years and attaining number one test ranking is due to attacking spin king duo of Kumble and Harbajan and master swing bowler Zaheer. Had any one of the above three are not in the team they might not be able to attain number 1 spot in test cricket. To me Harbajan Kumble alongwith Warne are the most attacking and menacing spinners in all time test cricket.

Posted by md4cric on (December 19, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Within the test arena if we discuss the future then I see NO future.Doen't mean abolish IPL but "too much" entertaining cricket has been played around the world and Financially Very Well rewarded so Why a bowler would run "2500-3000 yeards and walk as many " when he could earn Many times more by doing 1/5 th of the work? Reward Test playes amt of money sothat they need not play or asked NOT to play more than 1 tounaments.I think Sachin may shed more light as he's seen it all.He himself is LOst.He'll find the reasons for it and come over. No way India will be anywhere near No 1 for next Pentyful of years to come.The Indian cricket pride is unlike Eng or Aussies ot yes making Dhoni scapegoat is not going to help.

Posted by Fan1969 on (December 19, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

The TEST cricket crisis needs urgent attention. IPL salaries and ODI popularity are built on the success of good quality TEST cricket.

ACTION: 1. Retain Dhoni for TESTS for NOW. Kohli is young and one should not reward Sehwag / Gambhir with captaincy on indifferent performance. 2. BCCI to have 3 coaches: SPEND 10 cr per annum on each COACH if need be a) SPIN COACH like Murali, Kumble, Saqlain for Ashwin, Ojha who are quite inexperienced. England had better spin bowlers! b) PACE coach like Shaun Pollock, Donald, Fanie de V, Gough, Gillespie, Walsh. c) Batting coach like Dravid / Laxman 3. Selectors must talk to Sachin / Sehwag / Gambhir on longevity and performance. 4. For Home series against Aus concentrate on winning. Let Dhoni bat at 6 and Ashwin at 7 (He IS a good bat - Build on positives). More batsmen in SA. 5. Get 4 more bowlers. TWO SPINNERS Ojha and Harmeet (Under 19)/Piyush/Rahul/Iqbal etc. TWO PACEMEN - Umesh with Awana / Shamim / Varun. Zaheer & Ishant lack penetration.

Posted by smjr on (December 19, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

The failures of indian team in test cricket is also contributed to Dhoni defensive captaincy,field placing,bowling changes. I believe the Nagpur pitch is intentionally kept a slow turning and low bounce because india is afraid of Panesar and Swan as they are very menacing in Bombay and Calcutta on good bouncy pitches. This is in fact a very defensive approach. I think india is good enough team and they should be in top 3 in world if the play with attacking mindset

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

India is entering a new era, Shourav, Dravid, Laxman gone, Tendulkar at the end of his playing age, the batting line up is no longer what it once was. And India's bowling has been terrible for years.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Get rid of Sehwag and Gambhir at the top and replace them with two young fighting team players and India should be fine with their services rather than those two losers from Delhi.. Kohli should be groomed under Dhoni for another year and dhoni also need to help kohli out with his temperament and composure!

Posted by smjr on (December 19, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

I am from Pakistan and has to say that people are criticizing indian team for no good. I mean there senior players are approaching towards retirement. Indian team is in a phase of transition and in this period the performance do suffers. These things happen in test cricket. Rise and fall do comes to all test playing nations. Now it is the responsibility of Captain, Coaches, selection committee and the management to look for new players but I think the indian cricket management is not looking into it rather they resist in making change in fear of losing. Look at the number of test played and age of retirement of Australian, England, South African and W.I or even Pakistani players which is less than majority of indian players. India should bring young cricketers like Rohit sharma, Anmukt Chand, Rahane, Tiwary along with Pujara, Kohli. I think only Sehwag will hold his place in indian batting because he is a difference maker. Gambhir is nothing player, Tendulkar should retire now.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

Title of this post made me think about Batman Trilogy.

"Why do we fall Bruce?" "So that we learn to pick ourselves up"

The Dark Knight rises...

Darn so the end result is I will watch those three movies again now.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Time to wake up for BCCI. Bowling cupboard looks bare especially in spin dept.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

It won't hurt- there's too much money being made.. Correct that and you'll see some change..

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

Noticable is, what is the reason that after the world cup win we have seen the downfall of Indian cricket team,nothing is same as before,their bodylanguage,their fielding,in every field we can see the downgrade. Is it the change of coach,that make so big differences? Secondly Y dont India have one of a kind of fast bowler which all the other team have, which can blow the last three to four wickets quickly? The answer is the pitches that we have in our country dont allow fast pacers to devlop. Although we have such a good platform as IPL to devlop them. I dont say to devlop all the grounds with fast pitch(remind u we have two pitch on ground, y not to devlop one out of these two pitch into fast pitch) but at least in IPL we can give the players the fast pitches, so that the long awaited search of fast bowler for INDIAN cricket team ends. Remind you the next WORLD CUP is not in INDIA subcontinent. And if we dont give our fast bowlers to flourish then its goin againt us only !!

Posted by Vilander on (December 19, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

The result was expected,English team is a very good team, they have atleast 7 world class players, India at the moment has none. Only Pujara and Ojha are good players, the rest are rubbish. its not a big deal, India will still loose to SA,Eng,Aus it does not matter, BCCI should now turn its focus on tests for a while thats all, throw a lot of money at the problem.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (December 19, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

I do not know if India (read BCCI, Selectors, Players) are hurting but Indian fans are definitely hurting. Inspite of the knocking our team have been getting match after match, series after series and tournament after tournament I am still looking forward to the T20 and the ODI matches to follow. What curse is this? I think the selection of Indian team should be conducted like the Lok Sabha elections. All of us should vote and decide who plays. Get rid of these selectors and more impotantly the BCCI officials who have soft/hard corners for their own kith kin near dear ones/twos/threes etc..

Posted by Kcila on (December 19, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

What an excellent article. My fear is that India are simply treading water when they play Test matches simply to meet their obligations to the ICC's Test Match programme.

The BCCI and the players from Dhoni downwards seems totally preoccupied with T20 thrash cricket. The crowds, who used to turn up in the tens of thousands to fill the great grounds like Eden Gardens for Test Matches and make the stadiums hostile cauldrons for visiting teams, can't be bothered either. Just look back on all those swathes of empty seats during this last Test series. Shameful when you think how often we are told how much Indians love their cricket.

The BCCI's greed in changing the rules regarding photogrphy and broadcasting doesn't help either.

As you say Samit, Indian needs to have a good long hard look at itself and decide whether playing tough atritional (but in recent years incredibly exciting) cricket is what they want or whether they will simply become a nation of Kiss Me Quick T20 cricket.

Posted by Webba84 on (December 19, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Dravid for coach, with VVS as batting specialist. Please, please, please India it was funny to watch at first but now the rest of the world also wants you to try and be good at cricket again.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

This is a very well said statement. - The Tendulkar question will hang heavy, but it will be, as has been suggested widely, unfair to leave the answer to him. Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt. - The selectors have to take the responsibility and speak with Tendulkar and should let him know what is important for the team. We van clearly see that Tendulkar is not a GREAT PLAYER now as he used to be three years back. He can't keep playing till he is 60 and people keep on saying LET HIM DECIDE WHEN HE WANTS TO RETIRE.

Posted by fr600 on (December 19, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Like Bangladesh, India should focus on only ODI and T20.

Posted by Azfar on (December 19, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

Absolutely agree with you Sambit, this is a new low for Indian Cricket. We need to come out of denial and accept that we need a major overhaul right from domestic level. The first thing BCCI should do immediately is to plan a week long brainstorming session. Call ex-players, respected journalists, analysts, neutral observers, umpires and discuss in detail what can be the long term plan to get back to No 1 status. Then come out with a 5 year plan and the 10 year plan for the revival of Indian Cricket. Things can no longer be swept under the carpet. We understand that we are in transition but where is the Transition Plan. The most concerning thing is that there is hardly any exciting young bowlers coming through. India was the land of spinners, now the cupboard is bare. There are 25+ Ranji teams, and we can't find one good spinner, it is pathetic. Just look at the number of comments for this article, which shows the Indian Cricket fans are up in arms.

Posted by Baber_Baloch on (December 19, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

In next matches India must do well in t20 & ODI dont worry Indian cool.....

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

first things first. what India needs to do now, is not to change all their players but to start winning. you cannot bring in youngsters to your side when the team is loosing all their matches. that would spoil their confidence level too. a transition should happen when the team is doing well. precisely, what India is experiencing now is due to our lack of preparation 2-3 years back. a transition needed to happen then and we needed to realize that the legends such as sachin,dravid and vvs could retire anytime then. we did not do that. any young cricket needs the support and moral back up of experienced players to climb the ladder. so if we bring in youngsters to the team in this kind of a scenario, where the morale of experienced players is down that would not help them. this is the team that took India to number one. let them get back on winning ways and then they can start to slowly make way for youngsters. else they would have the guilt that they ran away from their responsibilities.

Posted by venkiraps on (December 19, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

I am not a big fan of MSD but I think he should lead the test team for couple of years and kohli should be given a chance to lead ODI team and then when the time comes kohli can get the test captaincy.

As far as SRT I think he is trying to get reach another milestone to be one and only International player to play 200 test matches.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

I think its only matter of time, Indian performance in this series was not good but it is not end of the world. But, Yes, they have to worry about their performances outside sub-continent. Two things which are hurting Indian cricket are 1: Indian fans will forget everything if India wins against Pakistan in coming days, this is usual in India. This is not right they should find the solution for their bowling department. Its alarming that they don't have any aggressive fast bowler in population of over a billion and Indian spinners also perform in Sub-continent only. 2: BCCI should come out from money making mind set and should invest in their bowling department. I don't know what they do with fast bowlers, when any Indian fast bowler come to the scene, he use to bowl at around 135 or 140 KPH , but suddenly after 2 sessions he starts bowling at 125 KPH. You can not change or alter fast bowler. fast bowlers always used to be natural , don't kill their natural extinct.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (December 19, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

As an England fan who remembers the 1990s, I think India's next couple of years are going to hurt. Look for lessons from 90s England: at some point, they got everything wrong. There were things they did right, but a lot that was not.

In dropping players, be certain that you aren't chucking out the baby with the bathwater. In the case of Tendulkar, the first thought is to say he's finished, but there are players who have come good after 40 (think of Gooch after his torture at the hands of Terry Alderman). Give Tendulkar more time.

You can't rebuild overnight. Players need a decent run. IPL is not the reason (England played Twenty20 way before IPL). Don't blame the coach, coaching is a long-term goal. Specialist coaching for the bowlers? The batsmen might be more motivated if they feel like they've got a chance. Should Dhoni keep or captain in Tests, both is asking too much of him. He has the talent to play as a batsman.

Above all, they need support now, not just when they're winning

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 19, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

Similar problem with Sachin Tendulkar, if he had retired after the World Cup he would have gone out at the top. However, he wanted that 100th century (understandable) and that turned into a quite long and painful hunt. So, in the search for another high point at which to go out, he has stayed on for the revenge series v England, which has not quite worked out as planned so now, most likely, he will feel the need to stay on for the Pakistan series. What happens if the Pakistan series goes wrong too? One of the greatest arts in sport is to know when to get out when people are asking WHY you have retired, not asking why you didn't retire some time back. Sport is cruel and his legacy outside India (and, to an extent, inside) will be tempered by fans looking at the last 18 months or 2 years of his career and wondering with the fickleness of short-term memory, how he came to be regarded as one of the nearest challengers to Don Bradman.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 19, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

Let me explain what is dhoni's captaincy. Dhoni has zero tactics. He play waiting game. All his success directly related to sehwag's play. If any Test dhoni won because of sehwag. if sehwag scores it makes others pile up runs and dhoni play waiting game. Sheer amounts runs made opposition makes mistakes. Dhoni pissed of his bread and butter player sehwag after world cup 2011. It is downhill ever since. Without fast runs india can't win any game with our half baked bowlers. There is no need for dhoni to be captain if we can'ts core 600 runs at home games. That said dhoni kept his job mainly because he never openly negative on people. In corporate culture people like people who speaks politically correct things. Concept is don't mess up whats working with stupid stuff like sehwag pissed of whole nation. if sehwag captain he may start war against pakistan with poor choice of words. Evolution is by product of accidents. Hope Bcci evolve after so many lossess.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 19, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

@Bunny Mehra Just look in the decline of Sehwag's numbers over the last 3 years: it is one of the biggest factors in the Indian decline. His record against England is particularly poor (he averages under 30 over 17 Tests). Overall career average: 50.05; average over last 3 years, 44.4; average over last 2 years, 30.5; average over last 12 months, 32.2. How many Test sides can afford the luxury of an opener who averages in the low 30s and who has, in the last 2 years (17 Tests), produced 1x100 and 3x50?

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

I think Indian fans are grossly over reacting to what has been a result that a lot of neutral fans expected. England are the second best test playing side in the world at present. India won one test handsomely. Calm down, it is not the end of the world, India are in a bit of a rebuilding phase and will be back, they just need a little time... If I had to add my voice to one piece of advice to the BCCI, it would be; let Sachin go... There is a changing of the guard happening all over the world, Ricky Ponting went gracefully, Jacques Kallis is still making runs... But Sachin...?

Posted by Mayan. on (December 19, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

if india dont hurt? what, they've been loosing series after a series, and still not hurt? this is a pretty good result for a team like india actually, stop fooling ur self, india isn't a proper team, stop going after players they did their level best, seriously what more u can achieve with a team like this?

Posted by ChuckyDoll on (December 19, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

Why exactly is India playing Test Cricket ? Why would a youngter aspire to play Test Cricket vs. T20 ? Country vs. Club ? Pride vs. Money ?

Posted by Hash_Tag on (December 19, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

Friends - we have brought this on ourselves. Capitalism has brought tremendous gain to our country there can be no disputing it. However, we have a board of control that is bent on profit and only profit. It sees no interest in the common good of cricket in the world. The BCCI does not understand that it sits within a world framework of cricketing countries ALL of whom want to see the sport in their respective countries flourish and prosper. The BCCI is self-centred to the exclusion of all else - it does not understand that without the rest of the world cricket in India might as well not exist. There are quite a few posts on here and on other pages across many series in the past two years that show quite clearly that India is not ready for the responsibility of leading world cricket. Indeed - it is not India's to lead and India should not attempt to dominate. Rather, we should work within the world cricket community in order to secure the richness of the greatest game for all time.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

Its very funny to see comments on few guys... som1 is telling drop Sehwag (he is the second leading scorer of series) and someone is making his own team with players like Mandeep, Tiwari, Vijay, Kartik (plz note its International team not a local team) someonme is telling Jadeja doesn;t deserve chance (but he is the one and only Indian scored triple Hundred thrice and average in his debut).... Guys grow its Team India (Except Captain Ms. Dhoni and old boy Tendulkar rest all team is fine, though we still have great doubts on Aswin what he wanna represnt a Bowler or Batsman because he is a big time flop as a spinner. Plus Change the Monopoly of Dhoni he needs to understand to take credit for loss and not give useless comments on pitch... He really need a long time break better give chance to Veeru or Gautam to show their Captaincy skills

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

ADVANTAGES of TEST matches without MSD: * MSD will get some rest and can contribute to india in ODI & T20 by playing along career

* Really talented W/K batsman who can alteast play the bascis shots like FLICKS & DRIVES can get a chance (Karthcik,Patel.Saha..etc)

* Rebuilding of TEST team under a new captain and some young talents can be started immediately as the team in transition phase already.

* India can perform better in TESTS

DISADVANTAGES of retaining MSD: * MSD will be ruiened both mentally and physcaically and some day he will become most unwanted person by the country (like Sachin today).

* India will lose more matches in all formats.


Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

india can not beat eng in t20,s.Eng is much better than india in all formats.

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (December 19, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Who want's India to rise, Not the BCCI nor the players. Every one is interested in short term Goal's of self interest. This is true for Cricket and for any thing in this country.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 19, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

the BCCI and Selectors really need to look at themselves, they are very similar in thier approach to england in the 90's, a few old hands are untouchable, while any player that scores a ton or takes a 5'fer in the weeks before is then selected, if they dont do well then they are dropped as a failed experiment.

As with 2011 the biggest problem for the Indian team is thier overall fitness, young guys like Jadeja, Ashwin etc were very energetic in the field, others like Zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir, SRT (understandable as a 40 year old) seemed to trundle when chasing and give up on 50/50 balls. This is where things need to change first.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

Dhoni should retire from Captanicy and i think it is the right time for Tendulkar to retire on good faith,before selector drop him

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

Most of the senior players and the captain are sure that their place is secure and so don't show the urge to perform. When the Packer circus started the entire Australian team aligned themselves with Packer.CA still chose a team that beat India 3-2 . Some players came out of retirement to support CA. Will BCCI think on similar lines ?

Posted by killerfantacy on (December 19, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

now there is need to change team india what happen if we chang and give it in the the hands of new players they will take some time to win so what where are we winning now so change it give a chance to new team let them play 20 tests then we can evaluet there performance if the are able to win 7 out of 20 and able to draw 5 then its very good thing let them give chance my team will be for aus tour will be 1 P Dogra Open 2 Jiwanjot Singh Open 3 Cheteshwar Pujara 1 Down (c) 4 V Kohli 2 Down 5 M Manhas 3 Down 6 Aatish Bhalaik 4 Down (W) 7 RA Jadeja 5 Down 8 IK Pathan 6 Down 9 UT Yadav 7 Down 10 IC Pandey 8 Down 11 M Gupta 9 Down 12 Ankeet Chavan 12 Man 13 Harshad Khadiwale Sub 14 AT Rayudu Sub 15 Duvvarapu Shivkumar Sub 16 Shahbaz Nadeem Sub

Posted by mtalhas on (December 19, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

decline comes as a cycle. so it should be dealt with patience. pakistan and australia have also lost their power which was there in the last century, and that is basically the reason why the overrated indian team achieved significant success recently in some games as the other two giants lost their mighty touch, so indians should be happy of a decade of improving their stats while others struggled for success. other than that the biggest problem which seems to persist specially in subcontinent is the politics. the worst hit is probably bangladesh who have made no significant progress at all since 2 decades.

Posted by kc69 on (December 19, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

If not Dhoni...can anyone tell me who is the next best option for captain

Posted by BDforever on (December 19, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

India had already become minnows before starting this England series. So it's not a big deal for minnows to lose a series.

Posted by israrak on (December 19, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

@ UNNITHAN @reality_check27 and to all indian fans .... you guyz needs a medical chap u just think that india is the only country who is the super power in everything and the biggets joke is that pakistan never won a overseas series in last 6 yrs... what about in NZ in 2011 ??? they beat nz 1-0 in NZ drew 1-1 with WI in WI thrashed Eng 3-0 in nuetral venue and loo at your team was thrashed by eng in eng by 4-0 than you guys started saying that we will take the revenge when eng will tour to india now what happened where is your revenge ???? and for pak away record pak won series in srilanka in 2006??? when did your team win there ??? in 1996 in 1992 we defeated eng in eng drew with them in 2001 drew with SA in SA in 1998 drew with Australia in eng in 2010 ... we defeated aus in odi series in aus and also won the cb series in 1997 in aus. and most importantly we deafeted u guys in 2006 1-0 and in india in 1999 ... thtz says all ...

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

Its a very thoughtful article. But the fact of the matter is, the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Ganguly never failed so many times or one did'nt feel that they were out of big league. Tragically, that has happened now. Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhjan, Ashwin, Dhoni and including Tendulkar are all look outclassed. One cannot even imagine our present team faciing a bowling attack of fierce Windies of 70s and 80s.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

Ofcource its Dhonis fault, wat about playing Jadeja, ahead of Rahane, when ur top order is so fragile, one reason out of many

Posted by SamRoy on (December 19, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

I agree with Sambit on most grounds. A captain needs to set attacking fields for spinners and pace bowlers and ask them to attack batsman which Dhoni never did, in fact he set fields for bad bowling which is why he is a bad captain for test cricket. But a captain cannot teach his batsman to bat. One reason why India has lost so much has been the abysmal failure of its batsman. It's high time Tendulkar and Sehwag are permanently dropped from team. (Sehwag's fitness is terrible and Tendulkar is simply not good enough to play international cricket) Gambhir also needs dropping until he goes back into first class cricket and start scoring hundreds. Then he can come back into the test team. Dhoni can be a part of the test team only in the sub-continent and he must be dropped from test captaincy or he must give up test captaincy. Currently both Pujara and Kohli need to be interviewed and the more impressive guy to be given test captaincy.

Posted by shantiratnamaj on (December 19, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

The results might hurt the supporters and fans, but it is the correct return on investment as far as BCCI is concerned. They have not invested to win or develop Test cricket. Please compare these two teams and tell me which is better:

Vijay, Rahane, Pujara, Kholi, Rohit, Mandeep, Tiwary, Ashwin (Capt), Ohja, Karthik,Ishanth, Irfan, Umesh, Vinay, Chand

OR the team that played and lost 10 out of 11 tests recently?

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

The problem in my opinion has much to do with the domestic structure and the pitches that are rolled for these matches. firstly, since 2000 there has been a lot of emphasis on having pitches that produce quality fast bowlers, hence the so called sporting pitches were prepared to encourage fast bowlers. As a result the quality of the spinners available started to recede. Indian home advantage has been chiefly built on quality spinners and in making seam conducive sporting pitches the Indian administrators lost the plot. Hence today, spinners at the best can toil in the sun for two days and can contain, but cannot be any team's wicket taking option. Gone are the days when domestic sides used to rely heavily on spinners to take wickets. Also the amount of domestic cricket played by the national team players has also reduced considerably. I am not very sure when was the last time Dhoni came out to play for Jharkhand. How can u expect to bank on home advantage when u have no experience ??

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

Its not the dhoni's fault. whole team is playing everyone have to understand his responsibility. Indian combination is good that includes youngsters like kohli, pujara, ashwin and seniors as well but they need to do their best. Dhoni has proved himself as one of best captain in Indian cricket history. Player may see ups and downs and they have to face criticism but They can raise again and win matches for their countries..

Posted by FAB_ALI on (December 19, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

I think Dhoni should retire from Test Cricket. He is a tremendous one-day & T20 player+captain and should stick to the same. He can also prolong his career doing the same and serve India for a longer period. In the end, you should see what are your strengths, what you are good at and do the same. Who would replace him in the Test side as captain and as wicket keeper is a very big question nevertheless.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

now india should play a 3 test match n 3 ODI with Bangladesh that will really help both team .

Posted by Sugath on (December 19, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Well India is back to pre Durrani, Borde, Venkat days. After that there was Bedi, Chnadrasekar, Kumble and on. Now the cupboards are empty and the current lot very ordinary. Start looking for new talent if India are to bounce back

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

Gambhir can not even be a shadow of Dhoni even at his worst days. Dhoni has done so much for our country and also he is a proven leader and a match winner unlike Gambhir or Sehwag when comes to captaincy.. So i dont mind Dhoni captaining for another year and groom youngsters like Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Ashwin, Jadeja and hand over the captaincy smoothly to Kohli or even Ashwin(who is a very efficient all round cricketer with matured head).

My team would be 1. Rahane(Most deserving to make a debut) 2. Vijay(Far better than Sehwag and Gambhir) 3. Kohli(no 3 is the best slot) 4. Pujara(Can bat any where with the same class) 5. Ashwin(Genuine All rounder) 6. Raina(Based on his form and performance he might be considered as no 5) 7. Dhoni(Captain) 8. Jadeja(Line and length bowler to keep runs down) 9. Ishant(Supporting pacer for yadav) 10. Ojha(Agreesive wicket taking spin bowler) 11. Yadav(Aggressive Wicket taking fast bowler)

Posted by srivastavm on (December 19, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

Next comes the Australia if we need to win the series against Australia we need changes in the team Rahane should be picked and viru should ne left out of the team we need two new openers

Posted by mlkt on (December 19, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

retrospectively, i think it would have been better for us if west indies or newzealand had won those test matches...indian cricket would have been shown the true mirror then only......and amends may have started earlier...........

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

Congratulations England, you outplayed us in every game except the first, you deserve the victory. You are a good team that came up against a mediocre team. There is still room for improvement but you can be happy with your performance here.

As for us, we seem to be in a state of denial. We seem to believe that we have are great at home and that not being consistent everywhere is ok if we're great at home. We couldn't be more mistaken.

Firstly, we are not great at home. We are mediocre. We used to be great at home, but that was before the current era of players. We are so smitten by our own notions of invincibility that we've failed to plan for proper succession of retiring greats as well as rewarding actual talent. Test cricket is not the IPL, the moment we realise that we'll take a giant step towards honest introspection. Selection has to be performance driven, simple. We are currently giving unnecessary importance to reputation. No one should be above this rule.

Posted by cricmen on (December 19, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Stop the witch hunt you desktop cricketers, if you are/were so good you should have been on the field instead sitting behind the computer screen and criticizing the team especially Dhoni, Sachin, Sehwag and others. When India was winning for last decade or so you elevated each of these players to the status of 'God' and when they show that they are human you start singling them out. Let them being human they are rather than an infallible God. Do keep in mind that India did beat England in Ahmadabad with the same players in not to distant past.Learn from the mistakes and do take the corrective actions but please stop the witch hunt and condemnation of the players. There is no need to humiliate them when they themselves must be disappointed. I fail to understand the logic when someone called the English team as an 'ordinary or mediocre team' consisting of one great and few good players. It's an absolute fallacy and an insult to the players of English team. England was ranked one recently

Posted by joebee on (December 19, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

Reasons for India's decline in tests are :

1) Priority to IPL and T20. 2) No replacements for Rahul Dravid & VVS Lakshman . 3) No good pace bowlers and no match winning spin bowlers either.

Positive steps to be taken by selectors:

1) Continue with the current Captain Doni and also encourage Sachin as their experience & expertise is important to build the future team. 2) Encourage young batsmen like Pujara, Rahane and promising youngsters who have fared well in Ranji matches. Encourage bowlers like Piyush Chawala ,Pankaj Singh, Mithun(Knk) and those in form 3) Have a good standyby wicketkeeper Tare- Mumbai. 4) Slowly develop a strong bench of 25 - suitable for Test,T50 & T20 . 5) Develop and Keep a strong core team of 5 - 6 players and rotate and give the youngsters 2-3 games at a trot and boost their confidence. 6) The selectors apart from listening to tips of the Captain should also have a permanent advisory body comprising of Top retired Cricketers -Dravid,Lakshman & Kumble.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

This series shows that might of money and influence in ICC board ( two of BCCI's biggest targets), doesn't win cricket on the ground. Present Indian players need to understand that Cricket needs international standards of Fielding and determination, these don't come automatically with money, needs hard work. Time to look ahead and find younger blood, give their fielding as much value as batting or bowling. we can only go forward from this dump!!!

Posted by SriniSwami on (December 19, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Here is my team: 1.A.Rahane, 2.M.Vijay,3.C.Pujara, 4.Rohit Sharma, 5. V.Kohli, 6. M.Tiwary/Badrinath, 7.Dinesh Karthik/Saha, 8.R.Ashwin (for batting), 9.Harmeet Singh (U19), 10.Ashok Dinda, 11.Umesh Yadav

Posted by thegoodgame on (December 19, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

For all the glamour and money which BCCI has, there are ZERO facilities for grooming children in correct techniques even in big cities. There is no academy which has developed any scientific approaches - which can be desseminated by accredited coaches. Most private "academies" hire some ex local circuit players who are themselves suspect - and for every 50 batting coaches, there may be one bowling coach. So while we're lucky great talent emerged in past years, it has never been a systematic approach to develop the game. For BCCI developing the game means getting more money through broadcasting rights! And they distribute some of it liberally to ex cricketers so they keep their mouths shut. IPL is partly good because it gives financial security to a lot of players - both Indian and foreign. But it also gives a false swagger to the youngsters - where they start believing themselves to be better than what they are. Cricket in India needs an overhaul.

Posted by KukaSekhon on (December 19, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Fire Dhoni,Sachin,Viru,Gaauti,Zaheer. Then fire Duncan Fletcher. Then fire crooks of BCCI Pawar, Shrini,Manohar,Shukla... Then fire some commentrators like Gavaskar, Shastri, Haarsha ....

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Well the truth is Dhoni and the Indian selectors are not learning and seem to have an I dont care attitude.... the stark truth is we are running out of reserves.........the fast bowling options revolve around Zaheer Khan , Ishant Sharma , Vinay Kumar and Abhinav new fast bowling talent is being given a break.........on the spin front Ashwin and Ojha have been perennially hopeless but still we have been persisting with them. On the batting front Sehwag has failed miserably yet he is in the team based on reputation , Gambhir hasnt got a big score for ages still we are persisting with him...........THE ONLY ANSWER to the current slump is injection of new players........they will take time to deliver but as it is we are not winning with the current set of players so wont get worst

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

The most obvious thing people are overlooking at the completion of the series is that all the problems evolved from the stupid idea of Dhoni and Gambhir that total spinning tracks can help India win the series and it was so ordered but the Pitch is not like Shirt that you order and will be delivered in certain time.To lay a proper pitch will take minimum 4-6 months of proper tending and handling. Its not the wheat dough that you just roll out and leave bereft of water ? Another aspect was Dhioni 's dependence on Ashwin and he persisted even when he was not effective and one thing Dhoni lacks is use of his armoury at his disposal. We have seen time and again that a part time bowler, he had the pick of ..Kohli, Virendra Sehwag, Yuvraj and even Sachin, does help help in getting break throughs when the regulars fail and that is what he did not even try once...and when Ashwin did succeed in getting Cook out he took the new ball in the next over instead of continuing with old ball.

Posted by Humdingers on (December 19, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

And can people please stop talking about Tiwary and Badrinath. They are not exactly setting the Ranji on fire are they? Time for a renewed team. Look at investing in the U19 squad, A-Squads and reserve bench.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Now, this is a good article.. Depicting the Reality... We need to accept the downfall.. Get going with corrective measures...

Posted by Humdingers on (December 19, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

If you are not hurting after 4-0 and on top of that another 4-0, you are delusional. You want hurt, turn off their endorsements and make compensation based on results and accountability. Let's see if you fish outside off-stump or don't dive to save that four then.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

This should be the team.

Unmukt Chand Rahane Pujara Kohli Dhoni Gambhir Ashwin Bhajji Ojha/Ishant Awana Umesh

Batting coach : sachin bowling coach : Kumble water boy : R Jadeja

Posted by blackstallion74 on (December 19, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

It is high time that India and Indian Cricket as a complete Unit starts thinking as to what is good for the team. The reason today that the Indian team is performing so badly is because there is more importance to individuals instead of the team. The Indian stalwarts are still lying back on their old achievements assured that they have a spot. If consistency is to be achieved then it is high time that the BCCI start thinking like the Australian board atleat of old. Even Ponting was given a clear idea what his plan of action should be. I remember the days when even a player like Dean Jones or Mike Waugh were dropped as soon as their performance dropped. Here we have a Sehwag who is so sketchy that we feel pity for Rahane and there are so many such young players who might become stars if they are given an opportunity. Dont we all think that a chance given was what made a Sachin or Sehwag so famous. Please guys we as Indian feel Pride and Sadness with youll and we know you can do better.

Posted by crindex on (December 19, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

My impression is that Dhoni is masking the problems India (BCCI) is facing with excuses. These excuses about pitches and batting failure are all baseless - as he himself may well know it. The real problem is India's money power has gone out of control and its hard to find true and sustained talent and to retain them . Players such as Ashwin and Ojha may not last as long as Kumble or Harbhajan for the simple reason that the pressure to succeed at all 3 formats is more now than before and ever increasing. This is the same with batsmen such as Pujara and Kholi. They wont have the time Dravid (ofcourse Sachin) and Sehwag had in their hand to prove their mettle and cement their place in the team.

Posted by gravapine on (December 19, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

Better late than never. Our bowling has been declining even before we won the 2011 WC. But since it is a limited overs game it has been side lined. India lost 10 of the last 12 test matches played with England & Australia. I think it is a dismal record. There is no doubt Dhoni is failing as a captain in tests. I think we need to go for leadership change. Also we need to change the bowling coach. As our bowling department is in dire straits.

Posted by sweetspot on (December 19, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

So typical of India and Indians to kick someone who is down. Arguably, this is Indian cricket's lowest point in a long time. But I'd gladly exchange such lows for the highs of being the WC winner. Dhoni has delivered despite an ageing team in the Test format, and now that age factor is showing. He has always been an encouraging captain, and doesn't really blame anybody too much. Why is it so hard to accept that England have actually played better and deserve to win? India may have played below par, but England certainly deserve the kudos - let's not take that away from them. If there's a faster horse on the course, you can beat your horse as much as you want, it won't win! All dramatic Indian fans want big changes in the Indian team, including removing Dhoni. That's not going to help. The biggest elephant in the room is the question of whether Indians care about Test cricket any more. Nasser Hussain asks the right questions in his article.

Posted by deoshatwar on (December 19, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

This is simply mind boggling; is it not obvious that Dhoni, simply, cannot understand the Test game? He does not mind if the spinners he has chosen do not have the Test quality, he rather tries to defend them. It is easy to blame the batting, but has he been the 'selfless' Dhoni of the old as a batsman? Had he been batting like old Dhoni, he would be bashing the ball all around and had a Gilly like presence down the order.The whole approach and man management has been a problem, and as a Test player he is simply over rated. Let us do an SA, give the mantel to Kohli who at least understands what technique is all about; or hand it over to Sehwag to keep the seat warm till Pujara or Kohli are ready to take over.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

Batting did not click; bowling did not click; Fielding was sub-standard; and the Captain lacked good judgement and hardly looked if he had any plans - What else was lacking in cricket in the just concluded Test series. And perhaps the additional reason in the earlier twin series in England and Australia was unfamiliar turfs!! So, where is any external reason. And the common non-performer was the coach! If the selectors are not willing to call a spade as spade, it trickles down to the team and its captain to point fingers externally. When are we going to stop adoring past performers caring less for the country's honor and be more forthright and modern in our approach and stop this conservative approach of sticking to old failed strategies?


Posted by getsetgopk on (December 19, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster: On the contrary, whats idiotic is that BCCI has no interest in test cricket anymore and they are still playing and loosing with ease, dragging the country's name down the gutter, for no apparent reason. If you cant focus on something why waste your time, money and honor above everything. This current Indian team is a joke and what I mean by that, you'll understand just by looking at sehwag's waist line! or listen to dhoni's freshly baked excuses after each drubbing. Fans like you get on here and talk about money and how rich BCCI is? I mean thats not even funny. Who's rich and who's not who's what and what not, has anything to do with cricket? You got thrashed, home and away and everywhere, bottom line! Now for the sake of cricket in your own country you should start making sensible comments from now on. If there's anyone responsible for these disasters, its your own BCCI, they are not adequately educated to run cricket, find some guys who know a thing or two about criket

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 19, 2012, 4:47 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster: You are making comments right left and centre with zero reserach and knowledge. Your comments about India running the cricket are totally flawed. While, it is true that bulk of revenue is being generated by Indian viewers, however,India has not shown any leadersip on field and off field. What exactly India has given to cricket in recent years? Over paid players, inflated egos, opposing DRS, opposing innovation, a flawed T20 circus ruining their own players techniques and hub of match fixing. No country, player or administrator is bigger than the beautiful game of cricket itself. Your comments are utterly disappointing as England has conntributed the most to game of cricket. Can you name any good thing that India has done on field or offfield? England gave rules, regulations, structure and administration to game of cricket. India is no better than current Chinese cricket team so ICC should consider promoting Chinato test playing nations. More revenue, better structure!

Posted by soumyas on (December 19, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

15 men selected..... Sehwag, Gambhir, S Dhavan, Pujara, Kohli (capt), Rahane, U chand, M Tiwary, Rayudu, Ashwin, Yadav, Dinda, Ojha, I Sharma, V Aron.... make a team out of the 15 players..... there is no place for Dhoni, harbhajan and tendulkar in team... i was die hard fan of tendulkar, but he is letting me down.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (December 19, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

Well I guess 99% of us cricket fans with some knowledge of cricket know the problem areas of current Indian cricket. An exhausted captain, a senior coach with his wings clipped and mouth gagged, non contributing and non serious seniors, youngsters trying to find their feet in international cricket and trying to fill in big boots emptied by retired stalwarts, spinners of lesser pedigree, selectors with limited power and made to abide by certain protocols made by BCCI big wigs and a legend who is desperately holding on to his spot and creating unnecessary distractions for the team. Now if only the authorities, selectors, players and administrators show the willingness to correct the wrongs then in couple of years India should have a decent enough test team.

Posted by cnksnk on (December 19, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

The problem with this team is that in the mind of the respective players and their supporters every one has done just enough. So Viru scored a century, Gambhir average 42 without threatening to score heavy. Sachin remains well Sachin - one fifty and every one thinks that 1 fifty is a turn around, facts suggest other wise. So while he has every right to choose his time of retirement the selectors have the duty to take a call. Pujara and Kholi are the future and have scored. The no 6 position continues to be a meery go around, Ashwin has now got a taste of law of averages. Ojha is steady and good. Fast bowlers are either not fit through the series or the wicket is un responsive. Net net every one has done just enough to retain their place. However one can change the captain but with the current team it is setting him up for failure. Hard decisions are required and if we loose a couple of series with a young team than that is for the better.

Posted by on (December 19, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Very well said. There could not be a better article on Indian cricket right now.

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 19, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Very well written. India's fall could also mean the beginning of the end for the test cricket, if it is not handled properly. Becuase, with India having no hope to win any serious test series, there is a danger of shifting the focus entirely to the T20's. Other teams haven't got enough followers like India to keep the format going forward. It may become England v/s Australia affair again like in the olden days.

Posted by g.narsimha on (December 19, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

LILIAN THOMSOM- Where did PAK WON MORE MATCHES IN AUS, SA , WI , as per the stats available in this very WEB u r team is fared meserably vrs AUS,. SA , even home & away ,we won more matches vrs these 2 teams , till date no series win in WI, WHERE WE WON 3 SERIES ,in ENG both IND, PAK won 3 each but u r last series win in ENG was in 1996, where as we won in 07 , u r team was also got white washed in ENG in 2006 -3-0 , last time 3-1, IN aus-3-0, 5-0 in 2010, than what for this whining ,we won a series in 2004 in PAK WITH WAQAR,WASIM,SAQLAIN & so called fastest bowler AKHTAR , what a sane mentality if we have good players , we are lucky , SO IT APPEARS U CANT STOMACK ANY THING POSITIVE ON INDIA,

Posted by Capt.Harry on (December 19, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Cricket is a cycle and is a mental game.There will be times everything you try as a captain/coach/bowler/batsman will not work on a particular day or an entire game or even a series.That is just the harsh reality of everyday life.The Indian cricket hierarchy should not go chopping and changing wildly.Otherwise they will end up like Pakistan.. an abundance of talent but enough match time given to players to learn or gain experience from their defeats.It is said that luck is 90% and talent is 10% in any sporting game...wise words to remember.The one dayers are about to begin.Sit back and watch how Indian cricket's bad luck will turn around into victory....a West Indian supporter...

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

me thinks India may end up losing the Bordel- Gavaskar Trophy as well next year. both teams have not so good spin bowlers but Australian fast bowling is ok while Indian 'fast' bowling is non existent. not much difference in the batting either Sehwag vs Warner both hit or miss , Gambhir vs Cowan both get starts but dont know how to bat on. Pujara vs Clarke both in very good form Kohli vs Hussey both are fighters but Hussey more so than Kohli pretty sure whoever else in India's top 6 will be as iffy as Hughes & Watson While Dhoni is on the way down while Wade is on the way up.

Posted by basusri133b on (December 19, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

As long as we have the likes of Srinivasan and Shukla in charge of Indian cricket, nothing will change. Change has to come from the top. Since the top is rotten, I do not expect any change in the fortunes of Indian cricket. We will limp along from pillar to post, and things will go on as usual.

Until the day the entire structure of Indian cricket is changed we will face similar defeats.

The IPL is providing enough money to keep every one happy. Nothing will change.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

To me a very good article and good eye opener. Attitude and not making corrections after so many failures are main reasons. The last sentence by Samit cannot make things more clear "Even to the most Gifted success has never come easy. T20 probably has killed decent cricket. But the money it has brought T20 will never go. It is like asking a house wife who tasted money thru other means to give up her new habit. And amid all these politics, corruption, selfish players and money power Indian cricket cannot be saved even by God. Indian cricket team now is in the bottom half same as WI, NZ, Bangladesh. No need to say that SA, Australia, England,Pakistan and Probably Sri Lanka are in top half.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 19, 2012, 4:07 GMT)

If we want India to do well in test cricket, we need to drop following 3 players for good - Tendulkar, Sehwag, and Ishant Sharma. They have not performed in past 12 months. We have better batsmen in Rahane, Rohit, Tiwary, Jiwanjot Singh, etc. We also have much better bowlers in Shami Ahmed, Awana, Sandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, etc than the useless I can't take a wicket Sharma.

Posted by sray23 on (December 19, 2012, 4:00 GMT)

I think it's high time to realise that it is the Indian mentality to relax after achieving something great. It happened after '83 world cup, after the aus series we drew to ZIMBABWE in 2001, and again in 2011-12. Lets face it - int'l sport is a tough job - if your commitment, dedication & training intensity if off by even 0.1% you will be exposed. And the tendency of Indian players is to relax, some by 0.1%, some by 1%, some by 5% maybe....but the general trend is to not be as hungry. This is made worse by all the craze in India lifting players to 7th heaven afterwards.

So the national selection system in India should be geared around the fact that India is at its most vulnerable when on top. For 2011, the selectors should have realised that all top players were going relax after the WC (if you're in any doubt they relaxed check humpty-dumpty figures of Sehwag & Zaheer in England!) and immediately put the top players on notice that though the WC was won they were still on notice.

Posted by g.narsimha on (December 19, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

LILIANTHOMSON-I know why u dislike SAHWAAG,SACHIN,it appears who ever performs vrs u r fixers u people always try to rubbish them ,the prime example is KOHLI after his master class inning in DHAKAA in ASIA cup where he thrashed u r overhyped including the bowler hiding in fullsleeves he too become a mediocre player for u people, the way SACHINl,SAHWAAG THRASHED U R so called great bowlers where ever they met, only after the advent of these players we started not only winning but dominated during the last decade. get well maan if we do better those are inflated ,if we loose, good for nothing, i always find few people like u & kiwirocker ,only spreading hatrade, u pretend to be well wisher of INDIAN CRICKET, instead of loosing u r sleep over INDIA OR CELEBRATING OUR LOSES PL CONCENTRAT ON U R TEAM let u r team win a series at least in SL,WI , no body is interested in visiting u r place, WE ARE STILL RANKED HIGHER THAN U IN 2 formets.after ur SA TUOR WE WILL BE IN LEAD IN TEST also.

Posted by Cricketcraze912 on (December 19, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Sehwag gambir pujara rahane kohli dhoni jadeja ashwin z khan ojha yadav

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

i bet if anyone who mattered will read the article...especially the selectors, the players nd the so called captain cool...!!!

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 19, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

This is the main main issue going around Team India. No one is acknowledging the losses. in turn, they are just discarding the losses. No one is taking the moral responsibility for those. Zak broke down in England and performed below par in Australia and in home. The likes of Sachin, Viru and Gambhir who are the senior members failed to make a mark that was significant except for one century from Viru - which eventually went on to give a big momentum to lead to a big win. Dhoni who used to attack well is now a mere watcher from behind. He just lets the game off the hook even if it is in his hands. Kohli and Pujara should be the last ones to blame.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

I have seen dhoni blaming the batsmen all the time...I haven't seen any captain discouraging their players like that.Captain should take responsibility and need to avoind the words Bats men and Bowlers.He should not mention one particular Unit...That creates the difference between the team.I dont think dhoni is the best captain.At his captainncy all the players were in form and a little bit of luck is also in favour of him...Now the batsmaen and bolwers have lost the rythm and his luck is also pointing finger at him...Lets see how the BCCI reacts on this defeat against England...Try to encourage new talent BCCI.Keep rotation policy.Keep chaning the players all the time...So that you could find some new talent as well...

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 19, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

Some of the Indian contributors to this thread are mistaking their country's influence.

India is economically dominant in cricket, but devotes much of its attention - and cash - to ODI and T20 cricket, which are games in which technically flawed players can flourish, as Messrs Gambhir and Dhoni showed in the WC Final. Moreover, these forms of the game appeal most to the least dedicated cricket fans, whose attention can just as easily flit to movies or other pastimes.

Outside the subcontinent, Test cricket remains the Gold Standard, but also in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand it pays the bills, with the Boards selling 15 (NZ) to 35 (England) days of TV rights per year.

We would like India to become more engaged in Test cricket and to lead rather than bully. But if they won't, we're quite happy to carry on without them.

The Pakistanis have had 4 years without IPL and big $$$, and it has left their standing as a Test nation higher than it has been for years.

Posted by Jan on (December 19, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

The reason behind India's dismal performances is not not having quality batsmen or bowlers but its because of the mind set they are in. Every player in the squad are capable of giving their best everytime but they simply don't want to. We have seen many a times that, when put under pressure (individually), each player make sure the critics are shut. But what they forget here is they have put the critics to sleep only until their next match. From next match onwards they go to the basics which is poor performance. Only when players learn how to remain consistent India will become a super power even on the field. Being aggressive is not needed but being consistent is. Team game doesn't mean that every batsmen score 40+ runs and leave the rest to others and survive with that mindset for years together. Only if every individual chase for individual records the team will shine.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

very good article. only problem is indian players do not understand words like insouicance and blase. of course the writer is not writing for the indian players. but he should be writing for them as well. because he's talking about them. and at least they (indian players) should understand what he's (the writer) trying to say. only then can they begin to appreciate what this is all about. even now the indian camp is saying fletcher hasn't been of much help. yes they are living in true denial. but ultimately who's responsible for taking them to this state of denial? i think the writer knows the answer to that one too. the indian media is squarely responsible for taking the indian players to this state of utter denial. demi-gods can never be wrong. isn't that what the india media has been telling them all along?

Posted by NileKrish on (December 19, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Ganguly had players who were scoring, Dhoni has players who are not consistent; why Gavaskar and somebody is not talking about it. Gavaskar and every other captain who lead India knows how difficult it's to compose a better team when star players are keep failing.

Posted by ccrriicc on (December 19, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

We are not talking about good or bad people. Is Tendulkar a bad person? Is Dhoni a bad person? That is not the debate. The debate is who is a good crickter today - not yesterday. The answer is simple - Tendulkar is no good any more - so how long should the country pay for his greatness? Dhoni was never a good test player - he is undoubtedly a terrific ODI palyer - should we continue to allow him to lead India to dust while blaming everything - from pitch to providence! In a nation of a more than a billion why can not we have great 11 players - ? The answer - unethical and corrupt BCCI. Do not blame your players.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (December 19, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

Does any body know about Ashwin's "misery"oh sory "mystery bal"?i hav been waiting 4 it for more than one month.lolz

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

I have got another reason for England's victory. This is winter. If it is summer I bet it will be our 4-0 series. But our cricketers are sooo sensitive to play in heat, they can opt even for a defeat but they dont want to play in summer.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

Why do you say that <Quote>no one, including the most optimistic England fans, would have seen coming<UnQuote>/ Everyone knew thta Swann is one of the three best spinners in the world (+ajmal and herath) and monty was the persistent one. We all knew that trott and bell were the accumulators and england's pace attack was far better. In England they had a 4 man pace attack bowling at consistently fast pace. This was the nearest to the old west indies pace machine.

So get real. We need batsmen who can ward of the fast pace and then accumulate. We need 3 good pacemen in every match since our spinners can no more win matches.


Posted by Pb2Oz on (December 19, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Denial - is the only explanation that I could give for India's poor run in test matches.There was not enough preparation, planning and hard work done. The focus was only to make turning pitches and Dhoni & Co assumed that will win them the series. Dhoni- go to the basic my dear! Moreover, why can not we have a decent genuine fast bowler? Why can not we produce one? This series loss is a slap to the face leading to radical changes in domestic preparation. Esp making changes to the pitches-make young ones play on grassy and bouncy pitches-BCCI wake up and put some money in searching and producing at least one fast bowler.

Posted by Victorian-Roo on (December 19, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

Well...the Indians have always been flat track bullies. But now not even that. They're a highly inflated, exaggerated team. Although I wish I never said this, the Pommies even showed that they could outbat and outspin them, which is a rarity and a pleasure to watch. However, I still believe that the English are yet to bury their spin demons. Unless, India come up with a high quality spinner and 2 high quality fast bowlers, they're likely to remain in their current state. @Sambit, you write very well mate, I always learn new words whenever I read ur article :)

Posted by Punjami on (December 19, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

All the 11 players can be changed but change should not be for the sake of change. Selectors, coach, support staff can at the most be the "will do factor". The "can do" factor lies with the 11 men on the field. Name and fame does not guarantee anything. A Sachin does not start his innings with a "hundred" but like everybody with a zero. Names like Zaheer or Kumble or Harbajan does not mean they have a five-for at the start of an innings. Like Sunny bhai says " earn your India cap" and respect it. Perform on the field. Forget about rankings, numbers stats and records. There is no better time to learn than when you have failed and pride is hurt.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 19, 2012, 1:24 GMT)

@Narbavi, let me correct you. India only won 2 test matches in Australia from 2000 to 2010 period and NOT 3! Win in 2003-04 in Adelaide was when Warne and McGrath were missing. Pakistan drew a test series in SA in 1997-98 1-1. Pakistan beat England 2-1 in 1992 and in 1996 in test series in England. Pakistan drew 1-1 in England in 2001 as well. Pakistan's test record has only been weak against Australia. Their test record against other teams is absolutely fantastic. They managed to beat England 3-0 in a neutral venue with less crowd support too.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

We can give rest to Dhoni and try with Different caption in ODI series , Dhone is playing Tireless Cricket for Long time

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 19, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

@getsetgopk, well said. Pakistan has the recent best test and ODI record of all sub continent teams in England. I will never forget the 2010 Headingley test match which Pakistan beat Australia. Great bowling indeed. But if Shane Watson caught Imran Farhat in the 2nd innings, sadly the result would have been different. I saw Pakistan winning the match with a boundary live.

Posted by ZedInLosAngles on (December 19, 2012, 0:49 GMT)

India need GOOD ew bowlers. Both Pace and spin. Excluding Yadav, who seems to be learning and getting better, the rest (Ojha, Ashwin (as a bowler) are not TEST material. That includes Ishant. He has not yet learnt to fully utilize his height or the right line and length. Sehwag and Gambhir are both past their prime and oppositin have figured them out and they don't seem to have their priorities right. Gambhir should be dropped to give other potential candidates to excel. Sehwag is still good enough for tests, BUT only 5 or 6 down. Fletch needs to go, his modus operandi is not suited for the Indian team/mentality. Dhoni, captaincy is not good, but no other option for now. Tendular should retire at the end of the Aus series. What we need is good bowlers. If we can bowl em out, we can't win.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 19, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

I don't agree that India should prepare pitches that assist pace rather than spin. Every country offers a different challenge and that is what test cricket is about. If every pitch is the same, it would become monotonous and would kill whatever is left of test cricket. India could still prepare pacy pitches as well as pitches that assist spin for their domestic cricket and groom some fast bowlers. As it is, Umesh Yadav is an impressive young paceman. He bowled really well in Australia without the results to show for it. If he could work on his fitness, then he would be a handful for many teams. Aaron is an exciting prospect too. Ishant Sharma must be the most unfortunate bowler in the world. I think he is a good fast bowler too.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (December 18, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

@ Cpt.Meanster on (December 18 2012, 20:02 PM GMT). What a load of jingoistic tosh from you! What is it you say?... "ONE pillar that's held the Asian game together in the face of the WHITE domination coming from England and Australia. The past 100 years shows what those two have done for the game. Lastly, the day when an Indian stops viewing cricket, cricket as a sport will cease to exist". What on earth are you talking about. What BREATHTAKING PRESUMPTION. Do you really think that India cricket is so important? Do you really think that if India crash from test cricket that England and Australia will be taken down also!? Rubbish. England and Australia invented international sport as we now know it. They were playing fine cricket setting the standard well before India "powerhouse" (!). Without India this magnificent sport of test cricket is quite safe in hand of England, Australia, South Africa, etc. If you don't want to play - that is fine, take your stumpes with you.

Posted by cricmatters on (December 18, 2012, 23:17 GMT)

The problem with BCCI is that they are always looking for excuses instead of fixing the problem. England won the ashes in Australia last year because they meticulously planned and worked on each and every little detail. When India tours abroad, hardly any planning or preparation is done in advance invariably losing couple of tests before they being to find their feet. Why not hold a boot camp before every away series and arrive a bit early to play some practice games to acclimatise to the conditions? Also be aggrasive with selections and pick on form instead of past reputations. It is not rocket science. I seriously doubt any thing will change as there is no clear leadership structure in India to shoulder the responsibility of making those tough decisions and to be held accountable for bad performances.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

Getting Rahane in the team and getting themselves fit would make a big difference. They won't find a great bowling attack out of nowhere but they have to get some of the basics of fitness right.

Posted by Nilesh_T on (December 18, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

Sambit has summed it all up superbly and accurately. he talks about "....honesty, foresight, the humility to accept inadequacies, and the courage to address them..." all of which are sadly totally lacking within the current team which has sunk to the lowest of low depths and yet unwilling to accept the stark reality of 10 out of 12 losses on the trot. The excuses are wearing thin,that bravado as Nasser Hussain rightly commented, has truly hurt India badly. The "come-we-will-show-you-in -our-backyard " bully tactics have backfired big time. High time BCCI makes some tough calls - farewell Dhoni,Sehwag,SRT,Zaheer,Harbhajan,Gambhir alongwith the so called 'coach' Fletcher at the earliest and rebuild with the new generation. Enough is enough.

Posted by GrindAR on (December 18, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

Team India slept once in a while like this before on three occasions not so long ago... history does not fold in 1 or 5 yrs. It goes well beyond couple decades. So loosing 3 test series at home in last decade, means it is a frequently occurring events/stories. Folks, just forget this one as previous ones and move on. Mediocre home team with mediocre visiting team, they won the same margin as their team composition. 1 batsman clicked per match with average 2 batting contributions, with 2 effective bowlers won the series against a team with 1 batsman clicked per match with average 1 batting contributions, with 1 effective bowler. The difference is one bowler short for the loosing team. Do you call these test matches a competitive one? Atleast the quality of the competition? There was no quality bowling from either team, but for sure, on average pathetic batting from 85% of the top 7 batsmen in each innings from both sides. 1 man performing with bat was the result. The gap decided winner.

Posted by tests_the_best on (December 18, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

@bobmartin - "There are still some deluded people who are harping back to the old days." I think you are the one under delusion because I don't think Indian supporters ever thought their team to be invincible as you mention. There were consistent performances both home and away throughout the 2000s decade which their supporters recognized was because of a stellar batting lineup and a workable bowling lineup, but beyond that there was no aura of invincibility that the fans attached to the team. I think most Indian fans recognized that once the big 3, kumble etc retired, there would be a decline in the team's fortunes, the only surprising thing being it has happened in such a dismal fashion. Maybe you came across a few who thought that way and ended up generalizing for all Ind fans. In fact some of your own supporters got delusional and started calling the Eng team among the top 5 teams of all time, comparing Anderson/Broad to McGrath/Warne etc.

Posted by Biggest_Cricket_Fan on (December 18, 2012, 21:44 GMT)

I think in simple terms, the time has come to tell Tendulkar that "Thank Your for your services to Indian team, but we can not continue to use your services further". In perspective of business world, does any one think any company would allow any of their employee so below par in their performance for so long? Company would have shown the door to employee long back. I dont understand is there a fear factor involved telling Tendulkar, if he himself does not understand it. Is selection committee worried about their personal interests. Sometime, it is necessary that people need to be told if they dont understand or dont want to understand something. Same for Dhoni, Sehwag, Gambhir etc. Its shame Gambhir is considered as future India captain after Dhoni. He has been having trouble chasing out side the off stump balls for so long. If he can not rectify that issue, what example he is going it setup in front of other players. Its just pathetic to see what Indian cricket is going thru now.

Posted by SatyaMevJayate1221 on (December 18, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

OK...why are we so much concerned about India's test record?? Who watches test? Get ready for IPL....

Posted by DSUS on (December 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

We still need to replace Kumble and turn back the clock on Zaheer. In the end you can bat as much as you want. But you are not winning any tests unless you are confident of getting those 20 wickets.

Posted by SDHM on (December 18, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

@Amitava - the problem with Fletcher is that he is the right man for the job, he just got it at the wrong time. As he showed when England were at their lowest, there are few better at rebuilding sides around a youthful core, exactly what India need at the moment. He was never going to be successful inheriting a side full of characters like Sehwag & Zaheer - those completely uninterested in fitness & work ethic. Basically it's an enormous catch-22 - Fletcher doesn't deserve to stay after the results India have had, but there is no-one better for the challenges that lie ahead.

Posted by pulkit10 on (December 18, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

To be brutally honest, they have a better shot at replacing Dravid and Laxman than they have at producing a decent bowling attack right now. Pujara and Kohli both have the talent and the temperament to do well for their team - Pujara scored a double ton, a ton and 2 fifties while Kohli scored a ton. What the team lacks however, is a decent bowling attack. Both Ashwin and Ojha toiled hard for 2 days against an above average English batting line up and couldn't make an impact - that should tell how dire the situation is. Ironically, things aren't look too bad for the seamers as you have Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma - both capable of bowling decently if they want to.

If India wants long term success, they'll really have to invest in making great athletes. You have people like Bishan Singh Bedi, Kumble, Srinath, Akram available, why not use their talents and teach youngsters? The BCCI should really take a lesson from CA/CSA or India will always be dependent upon a few good players.

Posted by M.FarooqUsman on (December 18, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

it is very shameful for India to lose a series against a country that was whitewashed by Pakistan, Dhoni thinks that by looking cool and calm he can win everytime.

Posted by tausif.khalil on (December 18, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

Rickyponting was the only captain who adviced for all cricket world that "IPL is harmful for international cricket".And it (IPL) most effect harm for Indian cricket only.I suggest IPL should be stoped. And rest about bowling side of India, I dont think India need bowler there should be only batman and allrounder in Indain Team, because bowler not doing enough job for India, they never succed to even once beat England batsman.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 18, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

@getsetgopk: Another idiotic post from you. You and KiwiRocker must really be the SAME person because I see so many similarities between you two. Anyway, if India stops playing cricket altogether, you are kissing almost 90% of the game's revenue good bye. Secondly, you are losing ONE pillar that's held the Asian game together in the face of the WHITE domination coming from England and Australia. The past 100 years shows what those two have done for the game. Lastly, the day when an Indian stops viewing cricket, cricket as a sport will cease to exist. It will become a side show played between a handful of countries based upon fixated calendars and non-events. The biggest victims of this situation will be EVERYONE other than India itself. Like it or not, world cricket is run by Indian money or at least the bulk of Indian money.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 20:01 GMT)

Wonderful piece Sambit! Really impressed with the way you have thrown out the brutal truth. Dhoni is a remarkable man, but his excuses are becoming so lame nowadays even his team-mates probably can't stand it. Sometimes you just have to accept the truth, accept that we were outplayed at home and abroad. Talent is definitely plenty; Rahane, Mukund, Tiwary, Sharma, etc. And yes India has not produced a world-class spinner after Harbhajan Singh, but R. Ashwin and P. Ojha are learning, slowly yet steadily. As is Virat Kohli, who treats every game as a learning curve.

It's just the application and mindset that's been lacking; too much complacency as well. Dhoni needs to step it up, as a batsman, 'keeper, and most importantly, captain. The last year or so post WC 2011 has been really depressing for Indian fans, to see a star-studded non complacent team become so nonchalant. Hope this changes, quickly. It starts with acceptance of course.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Very good article - To cut the long story short we need to consider follwing - 1. Coach Duncan Flecher has to go,period. 2.Indian ckt needs strike bowlers 3-4 of them..BCCI should spend fortunes for it if reqd-strike bowlers is the way fwd for geting top rank in test ckt.3. Dhoni should give up test captancy & concentrate on his game-he has good3-4 productive yrs as a test player-being a quality player we cannot lose him & like Sangakara we may look to play him purely as a batsman in tests with Saha or Parthiv as kpr 4.BCCI shd reduce importance of IPL(restricting IPL to a month) & give more importance to Ranji Trophy-roping in foreign players for Ranji is a good idea 5. Tme is now ripe for Sachin to decide on his future & it should not be now left to him as the Shastris,Dravids & gangulys keep on suggesting..selectors hv to take charge on Sachin issue,we cannot be emotional any longer..Sachin's a legend but he's human.6.Seniors like Sehwag,Gambhir(maybe next capt) shd take more onus .

Posted by sirviv on (December 18, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

Well hopefully Pakistan can shake off their terrible recent record against India and further give fuel to this article

Posted by anupkeni on (December 18, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

This series defeat is India's only 3rd series defeat in a bilateral test series in 25 years dating back to the 1987-88 season. The only 2 previous series defeats suffered by India at home in a bilateral test series include 0-2 defeat to South Africa in 1999-2000 and 1-2 defeat to Australia in 2004-05. However this series defeat seems more like end of an era of Indian cricket as compared to the previous two series defeats suffered by India at home in the last 25 years.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

Dhoni is the best and only option right now.he led the team in 2 world cup wins also a no-1 test team in the world.

Posted by realfan on (December 18, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

i remember a situation in 90's . when sachin out for low score , its all over for india.

i think its the same with india now... if there had been a decent partnership of 60+ runs between sachin and other players, it would have taken the pressure of kohli and dhoni... and all of a sudden if 2nd wicket fell, the sachin wiil be out even before adding 15 runs to the scoreboard, it will not be easy for kohli to handle that pressure as he is just emerging in test, and that would result in falling of another 2 wickets.... so it remains like this, until sachin goes india's score will mainly depend on partnerships between 1st and 2nd wicket plus whatever useful runs scored by the tail enders. with such a score of only 3 or 4 partnerships , none team can win even if they have world class bowlers.

that needs to be noticed by the everyone, and an young capable player like rahane, tiwary should be replaced to sachin ASAP

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 18, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

@char160: You sir/mame are being a hypocrite of the highest class. On one hand you expect some changes to the team and on the other, you expect an average Australian team which is just as bad as the Indian team to mow them down. You cannot think of it both ways. Firstly, I truly believe that any kind of change is GOOD for this Indian team. Change is a sequence of steps and everything cannot be implemented in a matter of two months. Besides, India play in some T20s and ODIs where they are VERY VERY good. So the foot will be off the peddle for a while till the Aussies come around. This blunder should be blamed on the BCCI because they schedule the itinerary. Besides, sacking MS Dhoni and Fletcher from their respective roles should do India a huge favour to begin with. Many teams have gone through this in the past, it's not the first time and it won't be the last.

Posted by VAS4 on (December 18, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

We do say all the time that bowling and fielding is our problem. I thought after this series we can add that batting also is our problem. Players are happy and confident that they are not going to loose anything, they will still be paid millions in ipl etc, and they dont value the test spot any way. Dhoni is probably the good option at the moment as captain. But is he getting enough support from his players? I totally disagree with Sehwag's attitude, he is selfish and not a team man. Sehwag should never be the captain. Kohli is too young, captaincy at this time can only destroy him.

Posted by awjaleel on (December 18, 2012, 19:05 GMT)

No one is of two opinions regarding having split captains for formats, but do we have any options available at the moment. What we have to do is find good talent and back them to the full. We have to make sure that we have the bowlers who will take 20 wickets in test cricket. We have to back spinners we have seems they are ok it will take some time before they become world class. Everyone would not be an Ajmal, or shane warne. Even before having split captains we have to make split team. Seems India is concentrating more on ODI and T20 if yes thenwe should make sure that we excel there at least

Posted by TamilIndian on (December 18, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

As always a great piece by Sambit. In pro-sports teams do well financially ONLY when they are also winning. The biggest problem is, for Indian Cricket finance keeps coming irrespective of the team's performance. This leads to the sad truth where the team can just show up, get defeated, give excuses... rinse and repeat. Meanwhile the money keeps flowing.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Well said! But let me ask you this, is test cricket a priority in India? With the IPLs, T20s, WC win, test cricket in India has taken a back seat. The management seems to care less about it. And this is reflected by Dhoni's comment as WC exit of 2007 being much lower point compared to 3 test series losses. Strauss focused on test cricket only and took Eng to no 1. Same is the case with Graeme Smith and Clarke. So, the first problem to solve is to set the priorities right. Then, solutions to other problems will be clear.

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

@kiwirocker - I think you are focused on the negatives too much. You are forgetting that the world is lucky to have India provide positive leadership in cricket, and take a major role in popularizing cricket around the world. Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Dhoni etc are amazing role models for youngsters around the world. Think for a minute if a country like Pakistan had been in a leadership position. The role models would be match fixers, ball tamperers, jail visitors etc that the Pakistan team is full of. Quiite a contrast isn't it? I am glad that India is in a position, and can take victory and defeat in my stride.

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

There are still some deluded people who are harping back to the old days.The old days are possibly where the rot started.Ask yourselves seriously, was India's rise to the top to #1 because they were a strong team or for other reasons, eg were most of other sides weak. Whatever, that rise gave the team and supporters a false sense of invincibility. Once again I use England as an example: England rose to the top by beating a sub-standard Australia and a supposedly strong India side at home. Suddenly we had this euphoria that we were a great side. How quickly that evaporated in the ensuing series when Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sth Africa brought us back to earth with a big bump. No major changes in personnel were made, simply because it wasn't necessary. but an almighty change of attitude certainly was. I think the England team now realise that reputation doesn't win tests, application and maximising your potential does. That's a lesson India would to well to take on board.

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

Good assesment. Dhonis forte is politics not cricket.He has mastered the art of navigating defeats deftly and placing blame elsewhere .It is an old trick .Deflect and prevail to deflect yet another day. BCCI as we all know is also a political entity whose business is first making money and second using cricket and cricketeers as a tool for doing so. This captain should have been replaced after two drubbings overseas and a T2o world cup loss. Instead he was given a longer leash when he should have been given a stern talking to. Three things have to be done .1. Replace the captain.2.Drop Sehwa and Sachin and request Zaheer to retire,he should have been dropped from this side two years ago.and 3. Bring back Raina.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

Great article! I dont think test cricket is a priority anymore. With the IPLs, T20s, WC win and what not, test cricket in India has taken a back seat. The only reason we did relatively okay was because of Dravid and Laxman, who are gone. On the contrary, England under Strauss concentrated only on tests and took his team to no 1. Same is the case with Graeme Smith and Clarke. So, we need to sort the priorities followed by suitable actions - team selection, exposure to youngsters and so on.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 18, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

This team is stagnant. Dhoni is not special. No one is. You win you become special. Loser will never become special in good evolving society. We need to promote winners and dump losers. Until cricinfo gets that because they have a job to do. Do not promote losers. More people read if you talk about winners except sachin ofcourse. Dhoni is a loser for me. These loses do not hurt dhoni because if it would have , he would say i take full responsibility if i am not the man you think , you can find better captain. He did n't say that. What he said is bunch of baloney , he repeats after every test loss and test series. Either you all are oblivious to these are stone deaf. Indian team needs complete overhaul. Continue in same track is big no no unless the people incharge of cricket in india has some other vested interest than winning the matches.

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

It's amazing how everyone is after MHD's blood. What can he do if batsmen don't perform, bowlers struggle and fielders are slow?

We don't have a pool of fast bowlers who consistently bowl 140+ kph mark. I am using 140 here but SA, OZ, England have bowlers who are close to 150 mark than 140. Administrators are idiot who play Ravinder Jadeja and no Rahane who has been with the squad waiting for his chance and let's not even talk about selection of Chawla. This whole thing is media driven than performance. BCCI is an embarrassment to Indian cricket but again it would be same even if you replace it with another committee.

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

I'd been a supporter of Dhoni but after his comment that 2007 WC exit was worse, it clearly looks like he has truly lost it. He, along with Sehwag (no captaincy for him too!), Gambhir (sorry again!) and of course, Sachin (unless he is pushed out, he won't go), need to be dropped at once. It is time to make a fresh start. If they lose, it won't hurt so badly and it would certainly not on account of not having passion.

Posted by tests_the_best on (December 18, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

To provide some perspective, it might be informative to look how the aus side has fared since most of their top players retired over 2006-2008. Apart from whitewashing a declining indian team, the aus team has struggled with its transitions as well. Twice in a row they lost to SA at home, lost by a big margin against eng at home and dropped a home test against nz. On overseas tours, a 2-1 win in SA, a 1-0 win in sl (a weakened side post-murli), a 1-1 draw in SA (the infamous 47 all out series), 2 series defeats in india and an ashes loss in england. These results pale in comparison to the way they performed in the first half of the decade. This only goes to show that Ind fans need to be patient. The legacy built by the likes of dravid/vvs/srt/kumble can't be easily continued, if at all. The next couple of years should throw some light on the direction this team would head in.

Posted by tgevans on (December 18, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Mr. Bal: First, your match reporters appear to only have a superficial understanding of the game, compared to writers like Akash Chopra and Ian Chappell. Second, Dhoni is the best captain for India, but it is clear that he is mentally exhausted by the burdens of wicket-keeping. (BTW Matt Prior was hardly the better keeper - ask Panesar.) The best thing would be for India to recruit a different test wicket-keeper and let Dhoni lead from the field. Third, India is losing, not because of captaincy, but because of the lack of batting, bowling, and fielding talent. Zaheer, Tendulkar and Sehwag should be put out to pasture, and Gambhir should be on probation. India needs consistent batsmen and not aging war-horses. Sharma bowled his heart out, but the other bowlers looked like they were playing for a draw.

Posted by Seamer_Singh on (December 18, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

The problem BCCI always have had is their bowling and fielding department. The batsman have most of the time, saved/won matches but now the big '3' have retired and the fourth closing in, the other frailties are more exposed. BCCI have future talent.... Umesh, Aaron, Ishant, Chawla, Ashwin, Rahane, Tiwary, Jadeja, Kohli etc... but the coaching, development and handling of these players have been rubbish! We need Gary Kirsten back!!!!!!!!!

Posted by SidTan on (December 18, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

All right!!!! So they say that there's no solution!!! Dhoni is having his leanest patch, Gambhir and Sehwag are nowhere close to being replacements and Kohli is too young and inexperienced for test captaincy... I just have an idea which is not as ridiculous as it may sound... How about recalling VVS Laxman and handing him the test captaincy for a year with a completely new team without SRT Sehwag Gambhir until the successor is ready....He is a complete natural as captain.....It would be the same as Ani Kumble mentoring the Indian side before MS Dhoni was ready to take over!! Its an idea which might stabilise Indian cricket in the near future...

Posted by TMSer on (December 18, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Dhoni is only half a captain- cool calm and nerves of steel yes. But top captains also posess that other crucial facet- proactive attitude and tactical bravery. For all the talks about 'staying relaxed and maintaining processes' Dhnois philosophy never dealt with the issues that were creeping into the then number 1 indian test team, which were lazy batting and fielding and blunt and defensive bowling attacks. i dont get the feeling that dhoni is the sort that would light a firecracker under his teams backside when plans werent being followed. Would Ganguly have allowed this passive decline?

Where are the leaders on the indian cricket field?

Posted by SunilSrr on (December 18, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

India has been a poor 'test' team historically as stats speak, we have lost more than what we have won. When we lost home series in 2004/05 the captain was unchanged. After Aussies & English tours, we won 2 Home Series to WI & NZ. When the ship is full of holes, captain has much less to do to save it. Further, we shouldn't imagine that the team captainship is a rose, it's only a thorn. No serious player wants to 'suicide' his own 'career' by taking captaincy. That also we have seen be it with Sachin or Dravid or Sehwag. Now, even the non captains are not playing while the captain is atleast trying to show the bolder face of the team. This has been in English tour when he was MoS in ODI and played well in tests too. In this series also, perhaps the best partnership was between Dhoni & Virat. Keeping was also not bad at all. in last 1/2 years, stats speak that Dhoni, Virat & others fall under the top 4-5 players who have performed. So the revival still largely rests with Dhoni for India.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

i only say that the time has to came that we have rebuild indian team

Posted by char160 on (December 18, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Aussies must be licking their lips at a prospect of thrashing India when they play them in Feb/March. I am certain that the changes which will be made will be so cursory that it would make no difference. Wonder how many fans like me will tune out as the debacles are repeated.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

india india india poor fans what can they do when the team is performing poorly ....good luck to selectors still stuck with old horses and indian team will sunk further it is the time to break free from the stardom of Tendulkar and drop him from the team along with gambir and sehwag and include young players ......we want to see our rivals in situation to compete with us however Pak team have a very good record still...

Posted by Rahulbose on (December 18, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

Samit Bal did an interview of N Srinivasan recently without asking him any questions about the poisonous impact of IPL on Indian test cricket. Now this article doesn't even mention IPL. Very curious.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 18, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

India lost 10-0 and not accepting team is not good. Dhoni keep finding excuses and sugar coating things. One thing i give to him ,the minute he accept responsibility , he will be thrown out. He is a smart politician. For me what bothers me is BCCI leadership who do not have clue about cricket. You do not reward incompetency. Never. Dhoni may be best we have but he has to go for me. I can live with gambhir and kohli. Accepting incompetent leadership is lunacy. Dravid is supposed to be have great brain fumbling again like he did in 2007 and saying we need dhoni. People should stop listening to dravid , He is clueless as well. The thing we have better option? Probably not. Gambhir is as close to dhoni in terms of rallying the troops. We must change leadership otherwise we continue to lose against top teams. I rather have young players playing and losing and learning in hard way. DHONI MUST GO Knowing bcci chief, he will block it. if thats case bcci chief has to be replaced.

Posted by getsetgopk on (December 18, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

It is baffling to say the least, how exactly will it affect test cricket if India is banned from playing tests? For a start, we will have a universal DRS and matches will be alot more exciting than the old inferior ways of leaving every thing to the umpires two ears and two eyes, matches riddled with howlers will become a thing of the past, matches will be more competitive, of the last 12 tests India played did any of those matches evoke any interests? The match between SL and Auss was far more interesting and competitive than the combined 12 matches india palyed. Nobody will docter pitches as they do in India, special tailor made wickets. We probably will get rid of this bollywood show called IPL, which is destroying the real cricket, Pak has not played india for about five years and our players dont play IPL, we are doing great without india, the rest of the world can do the same, its not like the Indians are there shouldering the sky above our heads and it will fall if they dont!!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

The bottom line is:Indias bowling is pathetic....a guy like ishant sharma is consistently picked in the side...tht must be the biggest joke of all...he is not good enuf to be even a fringe player in most teams and here he is indias premier "PACE" the spinners the less said the better...anil kumbles retirement was the biggest and influential event in the last 20years..he was our only match winner atleast in home conditions...a bigger impact player than the so called "little master"in tests...kumble>dravid>sehwag>sachin at least in tests...from now on india can only hope to be a decent odi and t20 team where real talent doesnt really advice..just stop playing tests to avoid being found out everytime...just b happy wid ur IPLS..and t20s...

Posted by fguy on (December 18, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

here's a radical idea (which means the "dynamic" bcci willl not like it) -

1) make Ganguly the head coach & non-playing captain for tests. 2) the on field captaincy is rotated every series (so no one thinks that they are the "real" captain). 3) all strategies & planning is done prior to the match & last minute changes as per match situation can be communicated via 12th man with drinks or relayed from the boundary rope. test matches allow you that leeway & arent like odi/t20s where there's no time to do that.

also there should be a huge pool of u-19 players from which they are sent on tours of all test playing nations with matches held throughout the year so that whatever the time of year a group of india hopefuls are getting exposure to foreign conditions. the rich bcci can afford atleast that much.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

@reality_check27, you say Sri Lanka have only won 2 test series at home in the past 5 years. Wrong! Since late 2007 till today, here they are. We beat England 1-0 in late 2007, we beat India 2-1 in mid 2008, we beat Pakistan 2-0 in mid 2009, we beat NZ 2-0 in Sep 2010 and beat Pakistan 1-0 in 2012.

Posted by jim0001 on (December 18, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

i've said it before- theres no grand vision in indian cricket- india doesnt realise how good it could be with everything it has in its favour. indian fans, players, administrators need to step back for a moment and realise what they have- recourses, unrivalled popularity, india should be to cricket what the usa is to basketball- virtually unbeatable in all formats and in conditions

Posted by Fantabulous87 on (December 18, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

I think the point missed out by many and also a major thing missing in this currentteam under that the "wanting" to win is missing...i can't see it...i thin what sambit has stated here about hurting...the players dont feel hurt... They just want to do the "processes" right...they feel they are destined to win...that they're any loss is an aberration to them...coz then they expect thenext match is theirs to win...which really SUCKS ! Thats a terrible attitude to have...they hardly look disappointed to have lost match after match after match after match !!! Its only once they feel lile underdogs will they come out fighting...theres no fight in them right now...everything abt the team luks very casual... Talent is needs an attitude correction...drop sehwag, gambhir, sachin, zaheer...thts the only way forward...coz only youngsters will come in with an attitude to fight it out...atleast we'll see some fight in em...!

Posted by fguy on (December 18, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

stop repeating the "there is no alternative captain" line. pick anyone else from the younger lot. & no gambhir is not an alternative. he & sehwag are the most selfish players in the team. in this series he has played solely to save his place & his few 30s havent made a whit of difference to the team. i was a big fan of his till the 2011 WC. after that he has become completely arrogant & it seems he has a huge chip on his shoulder after dhoni "stole" his thunder & MoM award in the WC final.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Short & [Not so -] Sweet.... Dhoni is the Only option for captaincy at the moment... Its like Mr Dent said: You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain... !!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

I think the problem is not new but the current coach of indian team is not able to address the issue lying with indian national team to improve indian cricket as Gary kirsten did. So the only way is to choose a good lucky coach for india. As the team remains same which had made blenders and in abscence of laxman and dravid kohli and pujara have did well but they r in learning curve. The most biggest problem lying with india is quality of bowling attack that india have is not reliable. And with mere batting india cannot win matches alone some time even batting may collapse and u need ur bowlers to overcome the loss of poor batting which hasnt happen in indian cricket from decade....................

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Hi Sambit:

I agree with you.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a remarkable man in many ways.

So is Sachin, so is Darvid and so are you.

Among many things that Dhoni realize and accept is the fact that most Indian players, for whatever reason (diet, genetics or habits) are not athletics and aren't physically fit, strong and agile. This has been true for years. Given that, the Indian team has to always work with this 'handicap' in mind and therefore, focus on things that depend more on skills and less on stamina such as spin bowling and batting.

Past few years India has let spin bowling fall. As you correctly noted, after Harbhajan, there has been no great spin bowler. Even when Harbhajan and Kumble were near pick, there was no serious competition to them. Indian spin bowling resources are seriously lacking and it needs immediate serious attention including coaching, mentoring and suitable pitches.

Batting problem is temporary with Rohit, Rahane, Dhawan, Mukund, Vijay, Tiwari waiting...

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

we need goodbowlers..good pacers atleast one good mistry spinner...

Posted by TRAM on (December 18, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

Why there is no good replacement for Dhoni now?? It is because DKarthik the better technical batsman than Dhoni and better keeper was wasted in the opening slot which he never was made for. Especially after Greg Chappel praised DKarthik of captaincy material, Dhoni made sure DKarthik is not seen around. That is the truth.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

A quite brilliant article.

Posted by bobmartin on (December 18, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

If it's done nothing else, at least Sambit's article coupled to the loss of a home test series has brought it home to all Indian supporters that their team is not as invincible as they had previously thought. And thankfully this has resulted in an unusually high number of thoughtful comments about it. This is how it should be. All genuine cricket supporters want to see a resurgence of Indian cricket, just as we wanted to see the Windies become a force in the game. It would also be good for the game to see Bangladesh make some serious improvements to their game. Test cricket needs strong teams to make it an attractive proposition.. because no-one, except the most rabid supporters, wants to watch teams being regularly beaten.. The BCCI, should be thoroughly ashamed that they have let Indian test cricket degrade to its current level... Come on guys, get off your bums, earn your salaries, and get it sorted out. Signed: An England Supporter

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

The denial has to stop. However, there is no alternative to Dhoni at the moment. One century after five failures and Kohli should be me captain, even the thought is ridiculous. If centuries decide who should be captain, then Pujara scored two, make him captain. Kohli has a lot to learn, let him concentrate on his batting. Secondly, Indian selectors need to find a way for the likes of Rahane and Rohit Sharma to be in the test side and keep the likes of Pujara, Rahane and Sharma concentrate on test cricket. The process of rebuilding has to begin and Indian players need to show some humility during that process. Accept they have failed and they have much to improve.

Posted by orb88 on (December 18, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

Hi samit. I have some constructive comments about this and all the other articles you have written. I have no doubt that you are a tremendous talent in sports journalism and thank you for your contribution so far. However, whenever I read your articles the adjectives and verbs used are extremely complex. I have to use the dictionary everytime I check cricinfo out. It does improve my vocabulary. But are we really here for English lessons? I'd love to read an article that is simple, to the point and not painful to read. I have stopped reading an article so many times just because I got bored. My point is let cricket be cricket and not an english essay. This does not only apply to Samit, but all the other writers on our favorite website.

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

The thinking in India has to change. with BCCI. with selectors and with team management.. Hardly anyone can be successful in all three formats of game..thus thinking & selection has to change. Groom the players for format they are good at. India's pace bowling has been a disaster for decades.. what has BCCI done to groom talent.. the richest cricket board is the poorest in grooming and lacks, drive, imagination and creativity. To not demand and reward the best..Create a system where people are rewarded for being consistent (underlined) performance and replaced when not at peak.. RETIRE.. indian players need to learn when to retire.. and nurture youngsters. & please the indian commentators. dont be afraid to critique.use your expertise to benefit the game and not to save positions..Time to say good byes to many talents and save their space in history- prepare for next 2-3 years and grrom youngsters.. line up 30 top players 3 for each position.. it cant be hard where Cricket is religion

Posted by Siyen1988 on (December 18, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

Superb Article Sir!!The state of Indian cricket has been said well. A captain who thinks winning is not under his contro alonel, test stalwarts retired , young players don't have the skill and temperament needed in test cricket, senoir bowlers and batsman golden touch vanished , openers lost their patience . plainly to say Indian test team comprises of players who are fit enough to play test cricket!!! BCCI and its administrators are to be blamed primely , they have concentrated more in making more money , rather than developing quality teams in all formats. Hard times ahead for Indian test cricket!!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 18, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

How can the country with the biggest population following cricket and the most money behind cricket find itself in this position. Big changes need to be made at administrative level.

Posted by sanjeevmukherjee2006 on (December 18, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

It seems getsetgopk kiwirocker feel pride in bashing us dont worry pak hasnt beaten us in wc we r always victorious in 2010 aus whitewashed pak in aus remember?

Posted by AamirJadoon on (December 18, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

beautiful artical sambit and great reflection of India team. Actually in my opinion one of reason to failure of Indian Cricket team is the replacement. in recent years they only find the two or three batsmen, Virat kohli is the great find and prospect of cricket. I will not say Indian cricket because he is not only for India cricket team but also for the game he is a great prospect and a great batsman. Indian Future is a bright in batting but they really need to find the bowlers to take 20 wik in test match and that seems to be no where specially after the Kumbley and Bhajji . Ashwin is just an ordinary bowler, if We think Ashwin a very good bowler then?????????? and also its time to take a decision abt Sachin as well. I wish I could see the Indian team start winining again because as a pakistani we want a strong indian team to play against...

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

The point is we are soooo tired of getting angry after seeing india playing so miserably over the last two yeards that we hardly expect anything to improve even if you overhaul this entire team. It may provide a brief solace to the hurt indian sentiments but it might not be a panacea. What we need is a disciplined system in place that could produce quality players for all formats. Also BCCI should endevour to encourage our fast bowlers by providing bowler friendly pitches in india. Actually there are so many wrongs need to be corrected that you actually feel kind of lost and desperate and you wish that India loose many more matches in near future so that at the viewership declines and BCCI would be then forced to make overall changes pending for a long time.

Posted by RajArya on (December 18, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

I see perhaps one MAIN contributory factor for the recent failures - DUNCAN FLETCHER - He is keeping very quiet and happily banking his salary without any fuss LOL... Does he care though ? If he did why is so quiet and not explain the recent results under his management.

He was chosen over New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming and former Zimbabwe skipper Andy Flower.

Guess where Andy Flower went?

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (December 18, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

getsetgopk. Pakistan played their home series in England against both England and Australia in the summer of 2010. They lost 3-1 to England. The losses were all heavy. They squared the series against Australia though 1-1.

Posted by sanjeevmukherjee2006 on (December 18, 2012, 15:53 GMT)

@kiwiroker there u go india beat pak in pak in 2004 india drew series against eng in 2002 and won thre in 2007 india drew test series against aus in aus in 2003 andyes we drew againt sa in sa in 2010 we won asia cup in 2010 and we beat pak in last two asia cups in wc in all wc dont forget we won series in wi and nz wat pak done nothing so dont comment

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

I guess we all know and acknowledge the problems plaguing Indian team except for the folks like Dhoni who prefer to live in DENIAL. However, Mr. Bal hasn't delved into the root of the problem, which is the Indian domestic structure, both quality of players wise and the infrastructure they are provided with to produce quality cricket. What choice do u hav besides the current pool.

The level of competition in these games is attrocius. A look at the once great Hyderabadi team will tell the Story - The players aren't the best that the local leagues produce in Hyderabad. They make their way to the team based more on connections, money rather than talent. We have folks like Shivlal Yadav running the show across India that compromises the quality. Indian Cricket in general would be better served, if BCCI, with it's huge coffers, spent a little less on Expenses and more on improving the infrastructure like quality pitches, grounds, umpiring,professionally rucricketing academies.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 18, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

'poor little rich boy' is what India are throwing their weight around on the basis of financial strenght. The writting was on the wall for all (but India) to see at the total capitulation in Eng and Aus and that was as good a team as India could put up. All their eggs were in the 'come to India' basket where ironically they found they couldnt bat neither could they bowl on flat tracks. I dont see how things can get anymore pathetic than this. You prepare flat tracks to beat visiting teams to avenge losses away and get thrashed at home. There is poor and then there is India.

Posted by Nampally on (December 18, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

Sambit, "Fall" is always faster than "Rise". If defeat teaches lessons in life, why does it take a hat trick of series losses for India to wake up - if at all they do? BCCI & the Indian Selectors are so poor that the change should start at the top by putting "Action Orientated Cricket literate executive" at the top of BCCI. The Indian Cricket needs a thorough shake up in every area to make a positive change. It requires a major surgery before this shake up can occur. Band aid options offered by many will not work. Nepotism/Favouritism appears to have hit the Cricket scene just as badly as corruption in the Indian politics. India needs a 5 year plan with development of Cricket at all levels - U-16, U-19, Ranji & Test. India has strongest Cricket following compared to any Nation in the World. It also has talent & players who can answer the call.A good streamlined set up with coaching & check points at each stage will prove it. Do a "Pucca" job by exploiting talent to make India #1!.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

the problem I think is Mr Srinivasan pushing his chennai team members into Team india ...see who's there and do they deserve the spot ...ashwin ( can't spin and needs 3 others to cover him up ) dhoni ( lost the art of attacking both in his batting and field setting ,latter hurting us most ) and jadeja ( should he be even considered ) riana ( thank god he is no more considered ).... and duncan is just a puppet in this drama ..paid for being able to just sit and not talk .

Posted by Silver-Surfer on (December 18, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

Indians fans need to get real. You guys are not in a position to point fingers at any one and if other countries criticize you, have the gal to face up to the criticism and not act childishly. Fact is that there is only one test playing nation worse than you guys and that is Bangladesh! Pakistan drew a series against Aus in England (1 - 1) and although they lost to England in England, they managed to win at least one match. And this was with a team full of new players and with a new captain at the time. Can you guys even imagine achieving that with your current team of super stars?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (December 18, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

Please remove Dhoni, John Dawes, Fletcher and another elephant (we all know who he is). These four should go. Remember the bowling coach saying that Zaheer is in top 6 bowlers at the moment in the world, when the selectors themselves found him useless? The bowling coach is screaming at us, "I ain't got a clue and yes I'm the bowling coach". Chuck this hilarious doofus called John 'deadweight' Dawes and Duncan 'the paunchy, I can't run around with the players' Fletcher. We shall see the difference immediately. Rope-in Kapil phaji and Kumble for the duties as bowling coaches; Dravid and Jimmy Amarnath as batting coaches - whatever salary they may demand. BCCI has millions and millions of dollars. Can't they rope-in successful Indian players for coaching jobs? Man management shouldn't be a problem if the coach is Indian and loved by the players themselves. I can't imagine Pujara and Rahane fighting with Dravid or Yadav fighting with Kapi phaji or Ojha fighting with Kumble. Shame on BCCI.

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

All of us should accept the fact, that our re-building process is going to be tougher than what Oz went through. Look at the loooong list of great players, we had /have to replace. 1. Ganguly 2. Kumble 3. Dravid 4. VVS. 5. Bhajji 6. Zaheer 7. Sachin 8. Sehwag ... ?... ?. But, we should bite the bullet.

Who are we sure, that we should invest in and develop? Only two: Pujara & Kohli.

The number of players who could have been tried and tested during the domestic series against WI & NZ. It will be a very very loooong list. A list of missed opportunities. A list of gifted players who only carried drinks , match after match. A list of players, who din't even get into the dressing room, let alone carry the drinks.

Is this tragedy serial, never ending? Probably yes, never ending, since the top administrators just play musical chair among themselves, without ever leaving the scene to do THEIR OWN businesses. Or, THEIR OWN politics. Instead of meddling with Indian Cricket

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (December 18, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

What a fantastic article. Pure, honest, without emotional fervour. This cold clarity needs to be applied by the powers that be in Indian cricket. Somehow, I still don;t think this defeat will light a bonfire under their collective backsides. You only have to look at the attitude of the BCCI over DRS to see that it acts no better than a bully in the playground, dictating what it thinks is best for them as opposed to the game of cricket itself. Personally, I;m going to enjoy watching India squirm for however long it takes those same powers to suddenly 'get it'. Sorry indian fans, but arrogance and pride when your cupboard is bare isn't going to make India strong. The challenge of honesty, frank assessments and the willing to put deed to words will be fun to watch.

Posted by mughal29173 on (December 18, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

i think get SRT thinking about retirement and all will be fine. Just try it for a series and you will know. Fans must learn that team and game is above all personal greatness.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

Yes phoenix bird is believed to have risen from the Ashes,but hard to believe that any miracle of that sort will come to visit this beleagured Indian team in the near future. The scoreline of 2 1 may not suggest a debacle,but it was one. Coming as it did after the mother of all thrashings down under and at England,this defeat must rankle like anything. There are too many creases to be ironed out before this Indian team can hope to come out in a decent avatar. Transition periods have taken the wind out of the sails of even the great sides,therefore it is not a surprise that the Indian team which just had a fleeting glimpse of greatness didnt emerge unscathed.Dhoni s tryst with good times is well and truly over,so it is hard to expect him to preside over a turnaround. Even during his halcyon days the gritty wicketkeeper batsman from Jharkand wasnt considered an astute captain.He just had a heck of a team at his disposal. Let Kohli do a Graeme Smith . As for Sachin ,he knows better no?

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (December 18, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

A well written article that states the obvious. I only watch Aus / SA / England when any two of the teams are competing against each other. Despite being Indian, I dont watch Indian cricket even on TV. Sambit, you are wasting your time by writing passionately. Nothing will change.

Posted by cricket_wins on (December 18, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

The First Step is a 4-point solution to India's issues.

RECOGNIZE - Recognize Tests/ODIs/T20s as different formats. Stop "avenging" or "claiming solace" from another format. If you are a bad test team but a strong ODI team, admit it and work on it. After all, winning the WC did not improve our test rankings, did it?

STOP - Stop giving excuses. Yes, the media will exaggerate and so you can show a strong front, but beyond a point, face the truth. The solution is not to think of different excuses, but to avoid being in such a situation in the first place. Work towards that.

PRIORITIZE - Put the order of priority - Country > Game > Individual. Follow this, instill this value system in everyone.

ACT - With both Consistency and Discipline. In all departments of the game. If you have to bowl 8 overs on the trot, on the same length and line, do it. Don't stray even once. Watch McGrath or Steyn videos to learn and practice.

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

Great article MR.SAMBIT BAL........ 1 more point i m a huge test cricket fan...but do anyone in indian team or BCCI bother about the test cricket?? I have a serious doubt regarding this..i mean its ridiculous thing not to have any action taken by the BCCI yet e.g. a kind of review of performances like ARGUS REVIEW of sort when your team has lost 10 out of last 14 tests..Well BCCI simply dont care about these losses as long as they are getting their pockets full..this is sad and ridiculous to see now indiain team being involved in t20s against pakistan and england....i mean T20 is a joke and BCCI is the joker in the pack...

Posted by rupshi on (December 18, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

is not india kicked out from asia cup by bangladesh? i think bangladesh is playing better than india. just look recent performances..... indian team or management is too arrogant .. they keep saying they dont want to play bangladesh. i think they got the right treatment by england. come and play bd ... we will kick you harder :)

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

pak beat england in same condition with 3-0 ... shame india

Posted by Batmanindallas on (December 18, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Gary Kristen probably saw the upcoming tsunami. He knew he cannot get the elephants in the room out....time to start afresh including a new captain

Posted by Prats6 on (December 18, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

One of the best article written by Sambit. But the feeling was there since 8-0. Those losses hurt as well, to the fans. I am not sure it hurt the BCCI & the players, the general feeling was it did. Unfortunately, the Indian players & BCCI have been lying to themselves and looking for excuses, and that is a common Indian trait. We need to stop giving excuses and start fixing things now. This defeat does not leave any room for excuses.

Posted by bhavesh68 on (December 18, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

I think every aging team goes though what we are going through. Its not easy for any team to be able to sustain this issue. The only way we can come out of this is use similar to IPL structure for test matches. Just like English County. Use 40 overs a side tournament and recruit players in the roster from around the world so that it creates an opportunity for younger players. This is the only way India can resolve the need for test players. I do not think we have such a depth of players like we had earlier like dravid, laxman, tendulkar. Its difficult to manage with great guns leaving almost at the same time. So lets be creative and experimental to come up with a plan for the future. Thx bhavesh

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

oh for Sanity sake just make 2 changes, throw Sachin & Yujraj. Replace them with Rahane and the new promising player i think his name is pular , things will become better.... dont keep burdeon with u... simple !!!

Have a great day folks...

Posted by Cricket_is_life_ on (December 18, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Ok Sambit, so what do you expect Dhoni to say - "I have a couple of openers who are way past their sell by dates. These guys have not scored a 100 for ages. Alright one of them did manage that feat and then went back to his usual this is my way I play state. I have a legend who just refuses to leave the stage for the next generation. This legend keeps getting goaded by Mr Gavaskar to set bigger records. I was given this spearhead who breaks down when he bends which he manages on rare occasions. I have spinners who think they have mystery balls." Get rid of the non performing openers and the former legend and lets see what difference it makes to the team. Atleast the bowlers will not be defending 200 when opposition manages 600 on the same pitch. Dhoni is the last person to be blamed here.

Posted by anilkp on (December 18, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

The problem is, Sambit, all of India hurts, and very deeply so. That is evident from the fans' emotions, from columnists and thinkers like you, from the games experts and former stalwarts, from the common Indian who strolls along the dusty roads. Unfortunately, that is not enough, as if these people do not constitute "India". What you meant by "India" is, actually, "Team India and BCCI". I am not sure an iota of what you write here, what Gavaskar opines, what fans scream and what the news papers print on rims and rims of paper ever goes to BCCI. Otherwise, lessons should have been learnt after the first 0-4 in England; at least after the second 0-4 in Aus later. But, no! We screamers do not exist. All that exist is BCCI and its deaf, dumb, blind way of functioning. Unless they open their eyes, ears and minds, nothing is going to change for good.

Posted by Noni on (December 18, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Dhoni has to learn how to place field in Tests. He cannot play defensive as soon as a batsman scores 10-15 runs. He goes in wait mode for either batsman to make a mistake or umpire to make a mistake. Or he should handover the captainship of Tests to someone like Kohli. It is really sad to see when we need to put pressure on other team we have just one slip for Ashwin or Ojha. Almost all the matches are lost in this manner. Dhoni is still best to lead in One day and 20-20. Also he should continue to play in Tests as Keeper Batsman and should start batting at 4 or 5 and not at 6 or 7. Other than that there are hardly any replacements available for anyone. Rohit Sharma has been given toooooo many chances and he still cannot replace Sachin or even anyone else. Just make the change in the strategy of field placing and also change the coach as soon as possible. He is worthless and seems to be working against Indians.

Posted by tests_the_best on (December 18, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

I recall a statement that I saw on this forum that atleast under Azhar, India didn't lose on home turf. I used to think that after India became an established test cricket nation from 1970 onwards, the 90s was the worst phase of indian test cricket but even then there were hardly any whitewashes overseas and pretty much everything on home turf was defended. But the last couple of years, the way India has been whitewashed overseas and now losing at home makes this one of the worst phases of Indian test cricket. Most disappointing though, as this article points out and the fans notice is that the men in charge just seem to brush it off as a one-off thing. If immediate steps are not taken, I shudder to think what would happen on the tour to sa this time next year. Another Durban 1996?

Posted by AjaySridharan on (December 18, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

Well said about Tendulkar. No one is indispensable, and he should know that. Dhoni seems to be caught in a deep delusional rut for a long time. Terming the WC 2007 exit as a bigger disaster is ridiculous. How could you trust him to lead the Test team when he doesn't seem to prioritize it and can't even put it in the right perspective?! To say that there is no alternative is setting a bad example for the next captain. He should be sacked as the Test captain and Kohli backed. When the rest of the team sucks anyway, it doesn't matter who leads...will at least give Kohli some match practice as captain. I would even drop Dhoni from the Test team and put in a better wicket keeper batsman.

Posted by CRICKETPOWER001 on (December 18, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

India start Loosing after Gary Kristen left India , under him we won world cup, We are number one test side... since he left we are nothin... i strongly suggest we need good coach like him.. to make india a better team,,, we have talented players but on that day... we need some chief player to give them pressure and confidence to make them work properly...

Posted by Dev-Mitra on (December 18, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Good article! Somebody should find a way to make the selectors and BCCI read this. But as we all know, nothing is going to change. What will truly hurt the BCCI is the sponsors gradually dwindling, and its coffers getting empty. The players are just pawns in a bigger game.

Posted by getsetgopk on (December 18, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

@Trickstar: Pakistan won two tests in England in 2010, one against Eng and one against Auss, thats what kiwirocker meant by winning two tests in Eng. Pak hosted their home series against against Auss in Eng, the series was a draw 1-1.

Posted by Ravishankara on (December 18, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Unfortunately on all our defeats, arrogance and irresponsibility are writ large. People are already losing interest in the Indian team. This will hurt IPL & sponsors very badly which might trigger collapse of Indian cricket.

Posted by RazorMach on (December 18, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

I couldn't have said it better myself! Very well balanced, and truthful!

Posted by Disillusioned on (December 18, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

The only way to wake up the powers that be in Indian cricket is to hit them where it hurts most- their coffers. And I predict that is what will happen shortly. The Indian cricket audience has matured considerably over the last decade or so. Part of the reason is the exposure to all the matches being played globally through live telecasts. IPL ratings were high because the tournament was introduced when Indian cricket was in the ascendant. People are not fools to enjoy watching their" heroes" who flopped badly in the real verison of the game against strong opponents bash the ball out of the park in a contrived 20 over tamasha. I predict that 2013 IPL TV ratings will be the lowest ever. Enough has been written about the impact of IPL on Test cricket; now we are going to witness the reverse phenomenon- the consequences of poor Test performances impacting IPL audiences. And that is a good thing. If this doesn't jolt Srinivasan and co, then all is indeed over for Indian cricket.

Posted by ksrajavel87 on (December 18, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

oh come on sambit,, U r 100 percent right but did u see the comments from legend MSD "its not as bad as 2007 world cup defeat". Do u still think indian test cricket gonna be improved. if dhoni remains as a captain then very soon u will see india at the bottom of the test rankings. I promise u'

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

"Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt. " Lovely way to say, time to drop Him.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

india lost 4-0 in eng but everybody shrugged it off as misfortune,india then lost 4-0 in aus and there were still excuses and nobody cared,infact BCCI chief went on to say that every team plays well at home so india losing away is no big deal..hmm a team losing 8-0 away and yet this is the kind of response we get from our BCCI chief and other administrator,now india also lost at home,there is no more excuses but again i m very confident that Srinivasan and co. will find a grand excuse..i thank England wholeheartedly for defeating india bcoz had they failed to do so then the earlier excuses that india plays well at home so losing abroad does'nt matter would have come to hunt india again..if BCCI still does'nt listen then god help indian cricket..and lastly one more request to England team,try to win each and every ODI & T20 against india or else treivial win in shorter format will again let everybody forget the test debacle..

Posted by Chris_P on (December 18, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

I could see the writing on the wall 18 months ago & I am not that close to Indian cricket. Where was the transitional plan in place from about 6 years ago? No one should be surprised, age waits for no one, & you can't just replace hardened test veterans with promising players overnight, it is a long slow process. there is still a lot of pain to endure in the future still.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (December 18, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

India has always been found wanting in sports. With a billion people, surely a small fraction of a percentage should be good enough to compete and excel at the highest level? Nope! It's always a combination of things that keeps Indian athletes from excelling. Lack of proper training, lack of proper nutrition, lack of facilities, lack of financial training, lack of mental support, and the list goes on. But it is always the assumption that if all these were given, the results will automatically follow. What we see with Indian cricket is the opposite of what you'd expect. We have talented players, all the infrastructure necessary one can think of, unimaginable financial support, world-class physical trainers and dietitians. And what happens? The players take advantage of it. Maybe they practice hard, and give their best, but it isn't enough. They owe it to not just the fans to perform beyond their abilities but to every other sportsperson who is denied all these things. What a shame.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

What is conveniently forgotten in this mess is the following.. 1. India having one of the worst selectors in the world , what else explains the fact that players choose when to leave and not the selectors, Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, VVS and Sachin have been walking wickets, when your No 7, 8 put in more runs than your top 6 then not even God( the real one not Sachin) as the captain can save the team. 2. Captain with zero support, every time he went to selectors the news is leaked , looks like he has lost faith in the team and selectors. 3. India needs to rebuild and it must start with giving a new generation a chance...Gambhir, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ishanth Sharma must be dropped. 4.When playing in India Ashwin must bat No 7 when overseas Irfan must bat No 7.Give the young guns a chance.. 8. Have some good coaching staff, if India that has won two world cups, reached the No1 spot in Test cricket cannot have a Indian coach , then our cricket is dead, kumble could be the best choice

Posted by zuber21886 on (December 18, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

till half way of this article it felt it has some meaning in it, but the point it called Harbhajan a "world class spinner" all the meaningful sentences seemed meaningless. Still i agree with the fact that Indian team is not accepting their failures. They have to be reminded that they are representing a country not playing just for themselves.

Posted by SixoverSlips on (December 18, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

I absolutely agree with the overall message of the article. But, there are a couple of points I don't agree with. 1. Dhoni did not order the pitch in Mumbai to doom England. If he just wanted to doom England, he would had no problem continuing with Ahmedabad and Nagpur type of pitches. Often in India, it becomes a matter of luck with the toss. The team bats first in good conditions and tries to bowl the opposition out in a decaying pitch. Dhoni on the other hand wanted spin and bounce from the first day itself which makes it even for both teams. Mumbai is the best spinning sporting pitch I have seen in a long time. Spin becomes a factor because of the nature of the pitch itself, rather than footholes and cracks. Dhoni wanted pitches of that nature to be more sportive on the spin-side. 2. World Cup 2007 loss was not worse because of just one match. The whole atmosphere of the team was bad. It was a ship doomed to be failure. It was in bigger context that 2007 loss was worse. I agree.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

This may be a good time to evaluate not only the performance of the Indian players but also that of the high profile and highly priced Coach.I think that the very indifferent role that the Coach seems to be playing and his significant contribution to the dismal performance of the Indian team over the last 12 months or so requires very urgent investigation. We should ask ourselves why we need a highly priced foreigner to supervise the making of the mess that we have been seeing of late. Why not have a home-grown person with the requisite know-how and experience?Or is there some secret motive in the appointment of these foreign elements that we, the cricket-loving public, miss?

Posted by runShocker on (December 18, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

i think first of all we should stop criticising Sachin, instead he should be made to work more and compensate for his age to stay able in the squad. Somebody should remove shewag from the team and make him play long innings in ranji. He is a quality batsmen no doubt but he needs to slow down, play as team, hold on to his wickets. A definite test squad should be made because a good test player only can be a good one day or t20 player as evident from sri lankan batsmen as well as sachin and sourav. existing players should be dealt strictly to show as much quality as thier passion. Kohli is a shinnig star, he should keep playing on the level of his attitude. But most importantly a good spinner. we have ojha and ashwin both as a pair looks very good. Thier height diiference plays a vital role in lenght of the ball but they should enhance thier talent in variety of surfaces as well as try out some mystery ball. I do want to watch umesh or varun to pair up with seaming pathan.

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

The main issues have gotta be..test captaincy, tried-tested-flourished-waned opening combination, picking the deserving players to fill the huge voids that have been left in all aspects and some weaknesses that are undoubtedly gonna surface soon. And also, obviously..prioritizing the longer format.

My ideal test team'd be..

Gambhir(capt), Rahane, Pujara, M.Tiwary/Rohit, Kohli, Sehwag/Rayudu, Msd/D.Karthik, Ashwin, U.Yadav, Ishant, Ojha/A.Mishra/Sreesanth/Awana.

Sachin's exit may come after a series that he really wants to play. He's won the WC, seen India to many great victories, broken countless batting records and inspired a million with his prodigious talent. The current circumstances do not demand the necessity for him to play too much further especially at a time when the beginning of a new chapter could be on the horizon. As we know, there isn't much left for him to achieve in cricket.. could just be time to bow out with grace and respect. Possibly in the next couple of months

Posted by cricket-india on (December 18, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

there's nothing to choose between the stats of VVS and SRT in the last 10 tests they both played. VVS paid the price for being a soft target; no crores riding on him thro' sponsorship deals, and vicious hounds like manjrekar attacking him for looking to stay on. despite the magnitude of SRT's failures and the white elephant that he's now become, the most any writer is willing to say (in public or on cricinfo, atleast) is that SRT needs to 'evaluate his future;' or whatever. make no mistake, SRT deserves our love and gratitude like no other. But remember, India were terrible in the 90s when SRT alone performed. Then came along vvs, dravid, ganguly, kumble, zak, bhajji. We became much better and rose to the top. Now all are gone again and only SRT remains, and we're back to being disasters. So how fair is it to say SRT deserves more credit than the others I mentioned? And what gives SRT the right to hold Indian cricket to ransom this way?

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (December 18, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

Why oh why does the BCCI not let the likes of Ashwin, Jadeja, Tiwary, Rahanne, even Ojha, play cricket for an entire season in England to help to develop them away from spin friendly, lifeless wickets and T20. You only have to look at the likes of Starc and Phil Hughes recently how much it has helped 'finish' them. Panesar and Swann only become test class after years of toil in the county game. We have seamers queing up to replace Broad, Bresnan and Tremlett, all our young spinners and batsman go on tour after tour across the world with the Lions squads. With all the financial clout the BCCI has, why dont they pay the player their IPL fees and send them off to develop????? .....but they wont. This article should be interesting to all Indian fans, as its an Indian telling Indians what we've all known for well over a year. Don't believe the hype. Green tops in England, still makes me laugh that one, look up not down, haha.

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

If this does disaster does not force a review rethink and revamp, the final nail is already in the coffin. I was staggered when Dhoni said that this is not as bad as WC2007. Does he think he is in la la land and that we, the paying public, are all dimwits? That was a galling thing to say. It was almost as if someone slapped me.

Posted by Vijay_R1965 on (December 18, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

Indian team has too many passengers. This should spell the end of their Test careers for Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Chawla,Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sehwag and Gambhir. We've replacements available if we put our trust in them. The likes of Dravid, VVS, Ganguly and Kumble didn't become greats overnight, it took a few years. We should invest in the upcoming generation with the same trust and patience. Bring in Rahane, Unmukt, Pankaj Singh, Manoj Tiwari and the likes. Tendulkar has earned the right to retire when he feels the time is right; he's too honest a player to continue if he feels he's harming the team.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Excellent article on the current state of Indian cricket. Everywhere we are losing in england, Australia, Bangladesh (ODI) (Asia cup), Srilanka (T20) and last but not the least in India in Tests now. It's an eye opener for the BCCI to sort out the issues raised by Sambit Bal. Otherwise Indian cricket will be doomed. with wealth you cannot buy quality, only with proper grooming of cricket at the grass root level. So, for BCCI, this is a wake up call. No doubt you have to take some hard decision and it is a team building exercise and there will be some initial failures. All the cricket teams in the world encountered these problems, e.g. West Indies, Australia.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

Why are we shying away from naming the people who have got us into this sorry mess. It's the SELECTORS, past and present.It is their job to BUILD a team and select the best 15 players. They have abdicated their responsibility. Their selections have been based purely on stats and reputation. They are a bunch of COWARDS who have taken the easy way out. Building a team is a continuous process. You have to constantly bring in fresh blood and wean out the old. I don't understand why Sachin Tendulkar needs to retire for us to replace him. He's been a great player for many years but his skills have diminished and he positively is not among the top 15 players in the country right now. Why do we need his permission to drop him.

Posted by FitzroyMarsupial on (December 18, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

@StraightHit - well said. The first criteria should be fitness. If you can't be bothered to get down to the gym and stay off the ladoos what does it say about your commitment to play for India? Everyone can achieve a basic level of sporting fitness - rule 1, no exceptions. In term of top flight opposition we are 10-1 down. 10-1! If this were a boxing match the ref would have called it off. Don't watch much domestic cricket but these seem to at least have the right attitude:- Pujara, Rahane, Kohli, Rohit, Jadeja, Dhoni (no more captaincy, let him get his Mojo back), Ashwin (needs to work on mobility but he has some fight), and Yadav. Drop SRT to no. 5 but keep him for a little longer to give the youngsters some experience - he will score runs. Like in '04, Viru dropped until he loses weight. Remainder made of the best young talent available (U19 WC winners?). Lack of quality is a concern but at least this lot should work hard, catch well and fight for their nation's pride!

Posted by softwareregisterac on (December 18, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Isn't England the same time which was humiliated by Pakistan ? India's problem has always been the bowling ?. Look at the bowling bench strength of Australia .... with all their population and the BCCI's money bags, they should have had quality bench strength to rotate the team and consistent produce positive results ..... which will never happen because of the emotional baggage Indians carry for star players.

Posted by PMKKR on (December 18, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Split the captaincy, very Important. These spinners are good for one T-20, For test findout different,and give chance to new set of bowlers and batsman those who are performing at Ranji levels. Always keep and groom another wicketkeeper in one of the format. If some body openly saying that`Iam not scoring and now its selector call' If selector don't understand this language then selector's are dumb. Better have new selector's. The player who openly recommened turner should be out because they have shown their interest that they are not capable of playing fast bowlers as well as spinners.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

this article give the True picture on Indian Test team, wake up BCCI before its too late!!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

Who has got time & patience to go thru' such a longish, verbose pce, that too, mixing it up with the historical data. As an "Expert" you've to say straight, like a) extend support to Dhoni, despite all his bunglings; b) who are the other guys who can possibly succeed him; c) who are the fringe-young aspirants knocking at the doorsof the Selectors--nicknamed bunch of Jokers; d) are you with Jimmy that Dhoni shd altogether get out of the Test team or he can still be batsman-wk .. THESE ARE THE STUFF WE WANT U OR ANY OTHER AUTHOR OF THIS WONDERFUL SITE TO DWELL UPON .. Past is well past and no use of bemoaning .. THINK AHEAD AND LET'S ALL TOGETHER MARCH FORWARD ..

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

sambit, you blame dhoni for giving excused based on external conditions. and in defending your own point you too mention that australia was gifted an easy track!

lets not waste too much time pondering here.. we've had a lean patch and we will come up strong. its only natural for teams to rise and fall. england was such a pathetic team back in late nineties and early 2000. we see an upsurge in west indies after so many years.

if money was all. USA would have ruled world cricket

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Moral: "Even if you are a pathological liar, lie to the whole world; but never lie to yourself. You are destined to be doomed". --OR-- "Self-deception is the most self distructive weapon" --OR-- "If you play ostrich, and bury your head in the sand, you will end up as an Ostrich Sandwich on an Englishman's or a Australian's breakfast table". By the way, many others are salivating at the thought of playing against our "exalted" cricket team, particularly in test matches. If you want to improve your test ranking, Invite India or come over to India. "INCREDIBLE INDIA", as our Tourism Department proudly says!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Best article written to save Indian Cricket! To me and for all Indian Cricket Fans, Cricket is not a Sport, it is a part of life! It unites all the people! The humiliating present scenario (4-0, 4-0, 2-1) continues for one more season, cricket will join to 'not so popular' sports list like hockey, foot ball, tennis.. If BCCI fails to improve the team, its revenue will turn down from crores to lakhs and more importantly crores of Indian people will be free from Blood Pressure.

Posted by wake_up_india on (December 18, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

India no longer has world class test cricketing talent in any department of the game (barring perhaps a few players, although that too is doubtful). This acknowledgement should be the starting point of any serious rebuilding effort, if that is attempted at all. The problems are systemic and infatuation with a particular variation of T20, known as IPL, is the main cause. I say, "a variation" because even in international T20, we fail. The IPL variation, played on placid, batsman friendly pitches, aims to generate huge scores where bowling is used as cannon fodder. On could say that this a form of the age old Indian, village sport, "danda gullie". Players enter Indian cricket through this filter. No wonder they cannot play real cricket -- lacking both technical and mental skills. One possible alternative is to prepare "real cricket" pitches for Ranji Trophy and select players excelling in that form of the game. And, above all, stop carrying yesterday's Bradmans in the team.

Posted by haq33 on (December 18, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

Downfall?? Funny to see Indian fans and writers actually believing their own media's hype. India were never actually all that good a test team. You had a hatfull of batting greats come along at once (Dravid, VVS and Ganguly) to mostly bail out a poor bowling unit by posting big totals and then you briefly rose to the top of a single flawed ranking system thanks mainly to some favourable home results. India are yet to achieve a real peak that they can rightfully claim to have fallen down from.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

I am almost quoting you. "So the 8-0 wasn't (read: WAS) (1) because India lacked energy and fitness, (2) skills were waning with advancing age, (3) the players didn't give themselves the best chance to prepare, (4) the fast bowlers had regressed and (5) the spinners couldn't spin the ball anymore. Absolutely right.

Let me add a few more: (5) Inabililty to introspect, all around, (6) Megalomania of the the Board members and thier fuedalistic arroagnce, (7) Excessive conflict of interest ( among Board Members, Franchise owners, selectors, key commentators who haas the cometence to give honest feed back, but unwlling in the fear of losing ig bucks (8) thoroughly ineffective coaching staff -- Main one, Bowling Coach & Fielding Coach, (9) Poor talent scouting, (10) Risk adverseness in trying out new talent (11) Inadequate and infrequent use of a ''stepney national team tours -- like the English Lions etc

Posted by CricketFollowers on (December 18, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

All indian selectors and BCCI want is MONEY, they dont care about the Game, IPL is the game for them because thats where they can mint MONEY. Ban IPL and terminate contract system. Ask them to play and pay only if they play well, then see the results. All they want is to play for 10-15 yrs and earn a good lump sum of MONEY. Look at R Jadeja, he has earned more than what Lara or S Waugh would have earned through out their carriers. Sack that Srinivasan first and appoint someone who knows and cares about the GAME.

Posted by Chapelau on (December 18, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Fifth paragraph is almost right except the wasn't should be a "was" and I see the age old "English conditions" excuse is being rolled out a lot. Keep thinking this way and you will be accused of sour grapes. The "English conditions" are where the game was invented my friend - it certainly was not meant to be played on dust bowls and dead tracks. In any case, a quality side (England or SA) adapt to foreign conditions - because they have the talent to do so. A lesson to India?

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

Dhoni should not be removed from the captaincy

Posted by him1618 on (December 18, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Very well articulated Mr Bal. The problem is that the BCCI hasn't had cricket as its top priority for some time: they haven't groomed or nurtured players with a solid performance program and proper care. I think Gambhir will hit form,and it is inappropriate to blame Dhoni entirely, but Sehwag and Tendulkar have to go. Ojha and Ashwin are young and will learn the art of bowling in a Test, but we need good fast bowlers and we need to take care of them. As a whole, the culture and attitude of Indian cricket needs to change

Posted by SanjeevHN on (December 18, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Well It's time to move on. Rahane, Rohit Sharma should ge given a chance at earliest. They should be there in playing eleven for 1st Test against Australia.

More importantly Fast Bowling pool has to be created. at least 10 fast bowlers and I mean fast bowlers has to be ready at all time. We do not want bowlers bowing at less than 130k/h. And also selecors should be picking players who are one match attandants. I do not want name but couple of fast bowlers is last 4 years have played and I do not think they will ever play again for India in Test arena. Hopefully this selection is better than the old one

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

For an eternity now, whenever India was mauled by fast bowlers, whenever they had no fast bowlers to take advantage of fast pitches, the advice to them was, hey, prepare tracks that would inspire fast bowling, that would also prepare their batsmen to stand up to fast bowling; but no, India has continued to prepare pitches for spin bowlers - something they could no longer produce of the quality they once did; so what do they do? The answer to all India's problems is in the nihilistic pitches they prepare; in fixing this.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:10 GMT)

Its a good sign Indians... Hold on !

Posted by Gaylo on (December 18, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

when Australia lost the ashes 3-1 to England during 2011-12, Cricket Australia conducted a review (I don't remember the name) and after some months they gave a report. it clearly mentioned the wrong team selection and team management did not plan effectively. after the report they sacked the chairman of selectors greg chappel. ponting had already stepped down as captain after world cup. this all for just 1 series loss. can we expect atleast something from bcci after 8-0 loss and 2-1 loss at home. they won't because they know the answer but no change will be made. that's bcci

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

I agree that transition is not going to be easy and quick. Few changes I would like to see in Indian Cricket are; removal of Duncan Fletcher and appointing someone who retired recently from the game, whom players can reciprocate as a friend more than a uncle, like Andy is to England and Gary was to India. Someone like Fleming or Jonty would do loads of wonders, also appointing a specialist support staff having fast bowling coach,spin coach,field coach and they should be made liable not only national team but the reserves and add on players. Second change should be 4-5 away tours for India A and India B. Thirdly developing young talents according to their excellence in each format, like Pujara and Ishant for Tests, Raina for shorter format. Fourthly Bowler friendly wickets in Ranji, which will encourage bowlers and test genuineness of a batsman. Having camps on each test playing nation for reserves and specialists when not on national duty. Hope BCCI understands the seriousness.

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

@LillianThomson: with all due respect to the bowlers you mentioend there, i am not sure why i you believe strong teams are the ones who play well on pitches in SA,AUS,ENG. If you check the records of these teams in sub continent its quite bad too. I will keep SA as exception as they are and were an excellent team. To some extend AUS too had not so bad records in subcontinent. But just think about ENG. It tooks them all 28yrs to win a series in ind and if am not wrong ita tht long in PAK/SL too. So what is the criteria for STRONG TEAM, pls explain for my knowledge

Posted by venkatesh018 on (December 18, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

Well said Sambit. The real wealth of a cricketing nation lies in the quality of cricket their players produce on the field. And not in the value of the sponsorship deals they get !

Posted by Narbavi on (December 18, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

@LillianThomson: pakistan have been more superior in test cricket than india in overseas? really? lets look at the last 10 years, we have won 3 test matches in australia how many have u won? we have drawn a test series in SA, did u do that? we won a test series in england in 2007 and drew 1-1 before that in 2002, did u do something close to that? back your theory with your team's results

Posted by bonobo on (December 18, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

My next team for Australia would be 1. Shewag 2. Rahane 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Gambhir 6, Dhoni 7. Ashwin 8. Saha 9.Kumar/Patel/Zaheer 10. Ojha 11. Yadav. Dhoni is still young, there is not a replacement, Kohli is still proving himself *maybe a big series against Aus will take him forwad) Gambhr cant guarntee his place in the squad. Dhoni is a poor keeper, India are not good enough to miss so many chanches, paricualrly when they rely so much on spin. But he is a talented batsman, I would take one of his responsiblities and see if he can take his Nagpur form with him. Gambhir, has looked shot for a while, espeically against good fast bowling, with Sehwag you need a reliable opender. But he battled hard againt Eng, as said he is one of the only captaincy alternatives and a cool head and a left hander in the middle order would be valuable with so many young players around. I would give him one last series to re-ivent hismelf. To not pick Rahane, after so long is an act of cruelty.

Posted by tickcric on (December 18, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

Excellent Sambit Bal. Though early indications seems to suggest those who matter are still stuck in the 'sand of dead habit' - For instance, Dhoni has already enlightened us by informing that 2007 World Cup was a bigger disaster! You could have said something about our coaching staff or the stuff that is our coaching staff! Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel has a bowling coach; Pietersen, Cook, has a coach for them as has Swann & Monty. What about us? What exactly Fletcher & Co are doing? Teams like England, Australia & South Africa have professional bunch of guys working with the team. These teams are fit, hard working and dedicated. And ours is just having a coaching stuff for the sake of having it. Just doing routine drills & getting fat pay checks!

Posted by correctcall on (December 18, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

The starting point is acceptance of DRS ie join the rest of the cricket community to ensure the maximum number of umpiring decisions are correct so that the game is not shown to be an ass where errors are detected but not corrected viz Pujara and Cook in last Test. The Indian players must know in their hearts DRS is the modern way forward. Imagine the sledges they leave themselves open to having to defend the BCCI position. Leadership from both Dravid and Kumble is needed to make a very public statement that the BCCI needs to accept DRS from here on in. That would be a major step towards the rehabilitation of India.

Posted by Unomaas on (December 18, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

Firsdt up, I don't like the current India team so I'm feeling rather smug about their recent loss which means my views on the current team are rather biased. Having said that, I believe that all Test Cricket Lovers around the world agree that in order for it to flourish, we need a strong Team india to represent asia and the sub continent. If India goes the rout of West Indies, we might reach a stage where the sport is only played by SA, AUS and England which would make it exclusive, non competitive and eletist...not very good aspects to associate with a sport.

While I agree that this is a stage of introspection for the players and BCCI, I think it should be extended to the Indian Fans as well. You get the team that you support! If you are not willing to critisize and demand change, I don't think it fair that you be able to criticise in hindsight.

I look forward to India visiting SAF next year however if the status quo is going to persist, I would prefer india stay at home!

Posted by mylife4cricket on (December 18, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

This is the worst period of Indian Cricket history. I think BCCI is one of the reasons why the Indian team is in this sort of situation because they trusted Dhoni and his team a limitless times and they got what they deserved. Now is the best time to reform the new India team as they have lost half of their experienced players this season.Now I am really eager to see a new captain and new playing XI.And its true that we cannot blame Dhoni for what happened ,its the responsibility of the whole team.In my opinion of the next captain, Kohli is too young but Gambhir will suit that position.

Posted by CricketBirbal on (December 18, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

Seriously, If India are thinking of making any headway in tests, then these domestic performing players have to be given a lookin. Jiwanjot Singh,Uday Kaul,Sandeep Sharma,Ishwar Pandey,Shami Ahmed,Parvinder Awana, Ashok Dinda,Naman Ojha,S Nadeem. These are the hungry young players with a modest background who will fight tooth and nail in every match regardless of the result. Alongwith Pujara,Kohli,Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwari,Rahane, P.Ojha,Ashwin,Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Aaron, we can have a good performing youngsters rather than having dead wood who are more worried about IPL and endorsements.

Posted by Ragothsun on (December 18, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

The unfortunate reality is that no one closely involved with Indian cricket actually cares that the Test team is performing poorly. After Kirsten left, I am not sure if there are any standards being imposed on players, be it batting, fielding or bowling. That's why you see the overall deterioration. Dhoni says this is not as bad as 2007 WC defeat. He will find 100 excuses. All his creativity is nowadays used up in finding excuses, not the right field placements. ODIs and T20's are there, so is IPL. After that, we will go back to the same arguments that Australia are not that good against spin, their spin attack is not as good as England etc. We might even see some improvement in performance of some players, purely by law of averages or just survival instinct. Test cricket requires players to have a serious attitude about the game, a sense of history, appreciation of the chance to represent country, desire to excel in tough conditions. Captain himself is not showing all of the above.

Posted by cricisme on (December 18, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Excellent article by sambit. Sachin must go. I have written him off even before he plays. Occasional 50's or odd runs don't count for his position in the team and I don't see him offering any advice to a younger batsman or even the captain. Virat is too young to lead the test team. Dhoni should continue. Drop shewag or gauti and develop younger players like rahane.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (December 18, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

For all the hours and days we fans follow Indian Cricket, we deserve better show than dropped shoulders and heads in the field. We know in a game of sport one team wins and the other loses. But what hurts is the way the team surrendered. What hurt is when India desperately needed to win the last test to draw the series level, the selectors went back to PIYUSH CHAWLA of all people. That is a clear message to the fans that "we don't care what you fans think but we are more bent towards favoritism and quota system". That player called Piyush Chawla keep re-appearing from nowhere whenever there is an opportunity for a new player. When the betting scandal came up years ago many people stopped watching cricket and it is through good performances and fighting spirit many of us started again. If Indian Cricket doesn't start action-Proper action- I for one am going to stop following Indian Cricket completely and watch something other than cricket and the pre-and-post match shows. END OF STORY.

Posted by vj3478 on (December 18, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

Who are the replacements for the under-performing players .. for the whole indian team?

Posted by Bluffer1732 on (December 18, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Its really sad to see a nation filled with lot of talent but not performing at the international level. The entire team including the management is responsible for this. Dunno whats the idea behind selecting 4 spinners does this mean that they don't have trust in their lead spinners?

Entire team has to be reshuffled... they should start picking in players who really deserve a spot to be in our team and they should play with true pride. I can't find any pride in any of the players except Koli at the moment.

Also I can see few commenting about Sachin... Its not just him the entire team is struggling so its time for a complete new change.

Give chance to someone who really deserve it... Unless we drive the car won't move thats what the team needs now a good drivers instead they are giving chance one above the other thinking that at somepoint they will learn.

You are playing for INDIA guys... So give your Best else atleast leave some space for the Rest.


Posted by CricketChat on (December 18, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Sambit, after having analyzed the reasons for India's downfall fairly well, you contradicted yourself with this last comment "India's fall has been swift and dramatic". On the contrary, the downfall has been prolonged and to an extent even predictable if one cares to look what has been happening in the last 2 years or so. The top order batsmen in Gambhir, Shewag, Sachin, VVS (until he retired, thankfully) and Dhoni were in such poor form, they couldn't provide any competitive totals to bowl with or put pressure on opposing teams. The less said about their bowling the better. Not to mention, both the above shortcomings had been further compounded by poor fielding with many unfit players in the team. These results are to be expected. The purge should indeed start now since you can't get worse results than this team had. The world will watch if the selectors and the management have what it takes to build the future for Ind test cricket.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 18, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

dhoni the way forward not sure about that, in eng 4 - 0 everything ok. in aus 4 - 0 everything ok. in india 2 - 1 everything ok.when will it be bad enough that hes got to go. to him the only thing there was a problem with was losing a odi worldcup.if hes not on his way after this he will keep his job till he decides to retire

Posted by Dhanno on (December 18, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Finally a Cricinfo writer who reads my comments :p. I have been saying it all along, WI/ NZL both results were far close than 2-0. Both teams in their own rebuilding process/ not at the top 5 in world, were airdropped in india, and then asked to play test cricket over next couple weeks. England was better side, even if you denied them preparation they came in and got some hang of situation by staying around 2 weeks before tests started. As any team visiting the shores, they took time to get going but India absolutely lacks bottle for four 5 day games. They are inferior in capability and then they lack the will. So given such scenario England were expected to do better. Sadly it was Gavaskar/ Bhogle even Boycott worried about England after 1st test, nobody cared to check the attitude on these indian clowns and realise that they will be beaten.

Posted by balajit on (December 18, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Good article! anyways most of the things written are already known to our fellow Indian fans!

The problem is BCCI even knowing the problems wont act! It is heartbreaking to know we dont have any world class spinners anymore.

Hope things improve from hereon through better planning , focus & most importantly through fit & skilled players with good attitude towards the game.

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 18, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

I'm saddened that some of these posters mistake the constructive criticism of those of us who wish Indian cricket well for hatred or even some kind of Pakistani agenda!

I spent my childhood in Lancashire, idolising Farokh Engineer. India's '83 World Cup delighted me, and I got great pleasure from Kapil Dev, Amarnath and Gavaskar's careers. Even recently, I have loved Dravid and Laxman, although I've never respected Sehwag or Tendulkar as much.

But Indian cricket turned rotten when their Board became rich, because they bullied their way to success. The ICL bans ruined NZ and Pakistan, with Bond and Yousuf's careers destroyed and India's opponents enfeebled. India's artificially-inflated ranking between 2008-10 was clearly influenced by this hobbling of their rivals.

I'd love to see a strong India, which abides by majority decisions (e.g. DRS), cultivates a strong Test team and schedules the IPL not to clash with other international events like the Windies' home series. Why not?

Posted by CricketIsnotlife on (December 18, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Sambit Bal outdoes himself with each article. Excellent and to the point. There is a long hard road ahead for Indian cricket but India will even getting to the starting point of that road only if they accept there is a major problem. Right now, they are yet to find that road itself. Sack Sachin and drop Sehwag as well. He is not the future of Indian cricket simply because he is far too casual in his approach to batting and fielding besides being suspect on pitches overseas. Bring in a new breed of bowlers like Australia has done (perhaps Umesh, Varun Aaron, Awana and Pankaj). Give Rohit Sharma a long run. He has it in him to be a test class player.

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

narsimha: i agree with you...i couldn't control my laugh with the comments of neutralverdict and kiwirockers... poor guys doesn't play any cricket at all, or else if am not wrong as per FTP they should hve been playing in SA/AUS/ENG now and getting thrashed like in 2010/11 season and instead begging for a tour in INDIA (in next few weeks). No need to gt angry its just poor fate for them

Posted by ShreeVSV on (December 18, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

I really liked the way you have analyzed the change of viewpoint of the captain. What was earlier thought of as a practical comment on the situation is now being seen as an act of stubbornness; the desire to cling on to the position at any cost. The key word in your article is "denial"; how will we solve the problem if we do not acknowledge its existence? As for Tendulkar, it is very unfortunate that he is being involved in discussion by every possible cricket lover in the country for the wrong reasons! Like you stated, if things have to progress, the authorities have to take decisions. Just as we cannot expect the Captain to continue to be philosophical in continued defeats, we cannot expect the authorities also to be philosophical about this great player. A "servant" is one who serves, not someone who "has served." Can the same yardstick that was used to drop Zaheer be used for others as well?

Posted by daager on (December 18, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

What makes Dhonis excuses worse is that every test team prepares pitches that favour them to an extent. That is why I am so proud of my team at the moment (SA) who have become no 1 by winning away from home. So how could it have been a valid excuse in the first place? India are generally poor away from home because they lack pace bowlers - now they lack spin as well. It was always going to be hard though losing greats over the same period - Australia had the same problem when the invincibles retired - but they have remained a decent side, India havent.

Posted by vish84 on (December 18, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

I think the issue with Indian team consists of mainly 2 things: 1) Caoch: It is easy that we blame players and captain the a team is going through a bad run but if we observe the players are repeatedly getting out in the same fashion which is amusing. What is the coach doing when a player is commiting the same mistake instead of identifying the weakness. The downfall of India has started right from the time when the coach has changed.

2) Lack of backup: We have been talking about the players retiring and arguing about them why players are not retiring but the matter of fact is that we do not have the right replacement for the ones who have retired and who will be retiring. When team India fails we first try to point the fingure at one thing why are youngsters not allowed into the side. We have seen that the failure of team India in recent past is not just because of veterans failing but also youngsters failing. The issue is not about age but the whole team failing.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Basic reason is the batsmen running out of form.. Even we trashed England and did many other countries, it's the time when indian cricketers ran out of steam. Tight schedules, ipls are the sole reason. They are not given time to review themselves.. And if the question goes towards sachin, the question should go towards sehwag, gautam, ashwin, kohli etc. Even if anyone of you here would have replaced sachin with any player the result would have same. Anything was not going right for india and so was for sachin, why do blame it on him for cheap attraction and publicity.

Posted by Farukafaj on (December 18, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Dear Mr. Sambit Bal , man you have the real guts to speak out " The Tendulkar question will hang heavy, but it will be, as has been suggested widely, unfair to leave the answer to him. Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt." amazing .

Posted by AvidCricFan on (December 18, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

The issues with Indian cricket are: 1. ineffective domestic competition except for IPL entertainer. 2. ineffective selection, 3. ineffective grass root player grooming program that goes all the way to school level. 4. ineffective compensation that is heavily tilted to IPL. 5. cronyism in administration including the top. First of all the coach, captain and SRT needs to go along with the current selection committee and Srinivasan. They have delivered nothing but failures in the last two years.

Posted by wakaPAK on (December 18, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

I dont know what's wrong with Dhoni; it's about the team you give him. There's no good fast bowler in Indian side, no in-form match winner batsman, so how do you expect him to give you result. If SRT calls it a day now even then it'll be hard for Indian team to get a proper replacement because it will take some time but he won't; he'll waste more time by being there. With all due respect you Indian call him the complete batsman but in my humble opinion Gavaskar, Viswanath and dravid were a lot better than him and even if he's the best in the world , he's not better than the whole team or India; why won't just anyone whisper in his ear that please take retirement, we dont wanna do it ourselves. Kohli/Ghambir the captain? are you kidding me? I dont know who's captained in domestic cricket but Ashwin seems like the right candidate after Dhoni!I'd like to see a response to this suggestion.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (December 18, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

This article only raises questions and falls woefully short on solutions. Its good to see some writer stating SRT needs to go. I would also add Viru to the list. Hope Zaheer is history at this point. The root of the problem is BCCI administration including the selection committee. They have no vision for the Indian cricket other than making money. In the process they are slowly killing the hen that lays golden eggs.

Posted by applethief on (December 18, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

@reality_check27 A very ironic name you've chosen for yourself. A reality check would show you that Pakistan have been wining tests ABROAD consistently - they play no cricket at home venues. They've registered win against West Indies, Sri Lanka, England, Australia and New Zealand in the last 2 years. Amongst these are series wins, and draws against Australia (a fair result after some incredible bowling) and a draw against West Indies (mostly owing to Asoka Da Silva). Don't even compare Indian test quality to Pakistan right now, it's laughable.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

@Just Out: bid good bye to dhoni first , he has no place in Ranji too. you and dhoni lead Gully sided

Posted by vish57 on (December 18, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

Replace BBCi president and all political ofice bearers across party lines in BCCI; bring professionals as office bearers and pin their responsibilities, Governance and delivery. Change the Ranji format to have 12 teams, not as on date with 28 teams with states of Gujarat/Maharastra is having 3 teams. Have only 3 tournaments one for 4 days format, 1 each for ODI & T20( IPL) formats. Prepare different types of pitches from green top to rank turners and ensure the so called "Heros" play the domestic matches seriously like IPL. Increase more "A" team tours to all countries. A player should graduate from Ranji to A Team and then to Indian team; A double" triple centurian" could not even score 20 runs in test cricket; a bitter reality. Limit all forms of international cricket so that players rest and play domestic matches, after all Indian cricketers' life is like a bollywood actors life, few would survive long and many perish in short time. Entire system is at flaw like Indian politics.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

Why Dhoni don't deserve to be rated as a Captain =================== A lot a speculation is going on to remove dhoni as Test captain and arguably lot of people is accepting that. What I believe is that he should not have handed the captaincy at all. Look at Imran Khan, Saurav Ganguly or Fleming of NZ .. they picked some good talent, form a team and played exciting cricket and won matches. They injected a different body language to a team. They took the game of cricket to the next level for their country. What dhoni did - Got a already formed team won some matches with the help of them and took the credit away. Now some of the big guns already retired and some are getting older he badly needed some new blood but rather that doing that he form a team of some mediocre just to save his captaincy. With his chicken dancing footwork and ordinary keeping he can never lead a team from the front. It is pathetic to see BCCI handed such a prestigious post to a Tennis Ball Cricketer

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

My Test Team Batting: -1)Jiwanjot Singh 2)Sehwag 3)Pujara 4)Dhoni 5)Tendulkar 6)Yuvraj Singh 7)Gambhir Bowling:- 8) Yadav, 9)Varun Aaron, 10)Ashwin, 11)Ojha

And Zaheer/ Jadeja/S.Dhawan.

Posted by cairo on (December 18, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

When they have world best batting side and if they finish all power in test cricket than IPL for what!! people should understand. When they have world poorest n very ordinary bowling side than what can do Mr. Dhoni? Some people are trying to destroying Kohlis carrier so early.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

Finally, a sensible article! Sambit Bal has given readers what Dravid and Bhogle are scared to say. perhaps they have a lot to lose if they speak out against BCCI. Dravid's comments have been disappointing. Dhoni has to go! Virat Kohli is the future. He has the bottle and the spunk. He reminds me of the younger Ricky Ponting - brash and a little rough around the edges but with experience will mellow down and understand his priorites.

Posted by NeutralVerdict on (December 18, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

@UNNITHAN You seem to be getting a bit tetchy as to why neutrals can have an interest in India. Its because of 2 reasons.

1) India's responsibility to World Cricket - it has the biggest following which unfortunately means the BCCI get to dictate a lot of what happens in cricket. This BCCI are the same corrupt people who have got the Indian Test Team into this scenario where India are losing continuously by letting the IPL owners get to select who plays in the national team.

2) Because of people like you. Youre one of those "so called" fans who seems to find comfort in past glories and the other formats of the game. You are the root of the problem that exists in Indian cricket. You wont accept your Teams failings and instead you seem to belittle other teams - just like the useless Indian captain MSD. Instead why dont you go and talk about Hockey as it seems to be something your country IS actually good at.

Posted by bobmartin on (December 18, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

This article sums up India's dilemma precisely; they are in a constant state of denial about their shortcomings. Every defeat is blamed on someone or something other than the fact that they are simply not good enough. Compare this to England... hopeless against spin in the UAE and in the first test in Sri Lanka and comprehensively beaten in the first test against India, they didn't blame anything other than their own failures. They recognized where they went wrong and worked like Trojans to put matters to rights. On the other hand India, after being thrashed in England, made all the usual excuses, weather/pitches/umpires/etc.. and simply vowed to get even when England came to India. Well it didn't quite happen as planned and surely now the BCCI, if it cares about the future of test cricket, must recognize there is something inherently wrong and take steps to put it right otherwise India will continue to languish in the lower reaches of the ICC Test Table.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

Also, which of Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen is not a "great batsman", seeing as England apparently only has one? They have very different skills, but following this tour and the last Australia tour, I think it's about time to acknowledge them both in the top tier. Calling Cook merely "resolute" seems like a bit of an understatement.

Posted by Pushkarkaka on (December 18, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

Even Arjun (Mahabharat) with his Gandiv was defeated by an ordinary rogue, Kabo. It is time Sachin, should realise, everything ha sits time and place and gracefully retire; Nobody in Indian Cricket Club have balls to say, Sachin, it is time you hang your gloves" ICC is scared of public to whom Sachin is God of cricket

Posted by t20-2007 on (December 18, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

@hammond........English was a pathetic side n they ll remain so...NVr won any ICC trophy (except the t20...which they dislike...but dont know y they bragg abt)....they ll ...

Posted by cricket__fan on (December 18, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

A good article though nothing what the Indian fans do not know. Will anything change about Indian cricket? I doubt very much. Soon IPL will be here and everything will be forgotten in the glitz and glamour of this rubbish TV programme disguised as cricket. As far as I am concerned this is the end of the road for India in world cricket - there is absolutely no hope for India in the next 50 years at the least. The only thing players will be good at are IPL matches played in India.

Posted by g.narsimha on (December 18, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

UNNITHAN-These INDIA haters now got an opportunity as they coudnt stomack our domination on & off the field for the last few years, see no body is interested to visit thier place ,instead of doing some thing popsitives the people like lilian thomson, kiwirocker in disguise, celebrating INDIAS loses , forgetting what is their achievments outside UAE , even till date thier team could not register a single series win in WI, where as we had 3 series there.thier performance in AUS SA IS WORSE THAN BD.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Given the mention of the Edgbaston Test, whatever happened to poor old Praveen Kumar. Did he care too much?

Posted by itisme on (December 18, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

"... but it will be unfair to leave the answer to him. Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt." Well said Mr Bal. only if the BCCI and/or the selectors realise this.

Posted by Coolalways on (December 18, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Don't fret so much. Soon the IPL will be around and everything will be forgotten and forgiven. The BBCi will rake in the moolah and the superstar Indian players will move on to scoring hundreds and taking five-fors against West Indies and New Zealand and Bangladesh. Normal service will resume.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 18, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

We all know that these lamenting articles, written & read with much wringing of distressed Indian hands, have but one audience that matters: the BCCI. It is they & they alone who carry the shame of Indian cricket. They have lived long in denial of the deep-rooted malaise in their organization; their obvious lack of caring for the futiure of the game at the highest level in their country; their complacency, greed, secrecy & factionalism has angered many of their countrymen & perplexed & antagonised cricket-followers round the world. If there was any honour within their high, barricaded walls, they would come out, be honest, ask for expertise, really get their enfeebled act together, then we might, just might, see the start of a restoration of the status & good name of Indian cricket. To all true Indian supporters, in the largest democracy on earth, can you pls rally your forces & put the right people in the right places? It'd be the best-ever Christmas present to the cricketing world!

Posted by Trickstar on (December 18, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

@KiwiRocker If you're going to preach at least get your facts right, in 2010 Pakistan lost 3-1 to England, they didn't come close to winning a second match.

Posted by cricketkamahaguru on (December 18, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

Indian team is in transition phase and they are bound to lose matches in this process.For the future of Indian Test Cricket some of the following steps india should take.

1. Make Gambhir captain for this transition period so that after 2014, Kohli could be handed over the baton of captaincy. 2.Tendulkar should be said good bye during Austailian series. 3.BCCI Member should be allowed to hold any other position of profit. 4.Need to be patient with the performance of this new comers, especially bowlers as they are the rarity in India and in Indian conditions. 5. Rotation policy should be there to give Main players rest. So, that other could show there ability in the not so important series like Banglades and Westindies.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Lillian Thomson: Spot on mate. India badly need an effective new ball pair if they are to regularly win overseas. The problem in India is not the lack of decent quicks, but the fact that none of them seem to develop into world class players. Talent isn't lacking- clearly, what's lacking is a finishing school.

Posted by abu1383 on (December 18, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

V well written article. Couldn't agree more. But i guess a win against pakistan and england in the odi & t20 series will dwarf the magnitude of these losses.

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 18, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

@Unnithan You have spectacularly missed my point.

I'm not arguing for India to copy Pakistan. They (India) are lucky to have better batsmen and wicketkeepers pretty much always.

I'm saying that for almost all of the last 30 years Pakistan has been more competitive than India or Sri Lanka in Test series in England, NZ, Australia and South Africa than India and SL have been. And that competitiveness has been because their quicker bowlers can get people out over there and their batsmen are more used to quick, bouncy bowling outside off-stump.

I would love to see India develop some proper quick bowlers and batsmen better equipped for such conditions. I'm acutely aware that Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman's careers were mainly of multiple failed overseas Test tours, and only did better when the big gun bowlers were out injured (Australia 2003-4) or had retired (Donald, Pollock, Wasim, Waqar, McGrath, Warne et al).

To become truly strong, India needs to learn to develop fast bowlers.

Posted by challagalla on (December 18, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Lets do this for a change. 1. rewrite the BCCI constitution and bring in paid professionals to handle the day to day work. 2. Have lush green grounds and hard pitches with bounce for all zonal matches . Surely the BCCI with all their money can ensure this. For tests the pitches can be prepared as per the strength of our team. 3. Do away with the present system of each zone having one selector. This leads to an element of bartering and give and take in team selection. 4. Lets stop placing our cricketers on a special pedestal and blow out of proportion every win or century or haul of 5 or more wickets. What matters is did we show spunk and spirit, fight hard but fair and finally win. All these personal records are meaningless without a win to show for it. 5. Inculcate a spirit of placing team and team cause before self. 6. Lastly and equally important prioritize tests over the shorter format of the game. Very simple for me to write these but nothing will change. You can bet on it.

Posted by JustOUT on (December 18, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

As everyone says, Sachin has done everything. He is a legend. But being him in the current test squad, he is not doing good for Indian cricket. If he says i am still enjoying my cricket, let him enjoy that at first class level. Let him play Ranji till the age of 50, no one cares.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

its time to say good bye to sachin tendulkr

Posted by jbgardener on (December 18, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Difficult to understand what value if any Fletcher has added - easy to admire Kirsten's timing of his exit. Wonder what sort of coach Dravid would make?

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

I strongly feel that its worth to play indian players in english counties as much as possible. both spinners and pacers and batters. They need a training and performance level to improve not at local cricket level in India(ranjis) but at international level. I do remember that sometime back zaheer came back a much improved bowler after his stinct at counties.

and we have to understand that our bowlers medium pacers or spinners were far behind compared to the english. So what if the captain make a bowling change or in field placements and then....??? any bowler is as ineffective as any other?

bowling to the field set is something and bowling on such dead pitch and bowling to the players who are determined to draw the game with taking almost no risks? this is what exactly was happening in this test match second innings of england. we need techniques to improve in all fields. should we do this or be happy that we achieved everything by changing captain???

Posted by R.Sankar on (December 18, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

My team for the first test against Aus, in batting order: Sehwag, Ashwin, Pujara, Kohli (capt), Rahane, M Tewary, Dhoni (wkt, Harbhajan, Yadav, Dinda, Ojha

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

The problem is there is no quick fix solution. With Kumble, Dravid, and Laxman gone and Sachin and Zaheer might bow out in a year, we do not have able replacement. These are world class players and you just can find replacement overnight. Lack of planning is what is hurting India now. The opportunities are not grabbed by the replacements. We need to be patient until we find the right men for the right job. Jadeja despite scoring three triple and in prime form was found wanting in his short stay at the crease.

Posted by Sanj747 on (December 18, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

Nice article. Does Indian cricket have the capacity to face the truth. Don't think so. Poor results get pushed aside as there is no accountability. Any employer would have called his management when the results are poor. In Indian cricket the whole lot agree with each other and sweep reality under the carpet. Amazing that a cash enriched cricket board which sits in a country of over 1 billion people can't find 11 competent cricket players that actually want to play for their country and put their best foot forward.

Posted by S.Seshachalam on (December 18, 2012, 11:02 GMT)

A very realistic article. Quick actions required. Sack the foreign coach first. Sack all the big names in the team. No past records should be considered. Let a totally new team be built under Virat Kohli. No need of any more foreign coaches. Either Dravid or Lakshman can be made Coach /Manager of the Indian team. Identify a proper pool of pace and spin bowlers apart from batsmen.

Posted by CricketBirbal on (December 18, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

The debate on Indian Captaincy and his tactical acumen will die once we adopt 3 different captains for 3 different formats.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

India dont want cool capt and losing all games. Dhoni is ready with reasons for loss instead of resigning from captaincy. High time to change full team. bowling lacks skills. selectors should stop selecting only recomended players.

Posted by Hammond on (December 18, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

India has played 107 test matches against England since 1932. They have only won 20 matches against England in that time, and lost 40, with 47 drawn. I think it is safe to say that England has always been the better side, and always will be.

Posted by saipavankumar on (December 18, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

I would say the failure of Indian team is due to mental fatigue of players and the attitude of the board. Give the players a rest. Was IPL needed right after the world cup victory last year. Then england, champions league, australia, sri lanka, asia cup, IPL, new zealand, champions league, England. Next Pakistan, australia and IPL. What is the need for a small Pakistan tour in between. They could have scheduled it sometime later. These Indian players arent given any time to reassess their shortcomings, improve their strengths. Team building is nil. Grooming players for future is not there. Players arent taken care during injuries. It is the tendency in India to look after player who do well with money and neglect the same players during form out or injuries.

Posted by NarayananSubramaniam on (December 18, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

There was a time when the "BCCI President - IPL Team Owner - Indian Captain" relationship was questioned on the basis of principle. What we are seeing played out is what everyone was worried about at the time this bias was first questioned? Why should it be believed that decision making at the selection committee has not been influenced by this bias? The only explanation ever received has been a plain "No, selection committee is independent".

We have decided to ignore the governance issues in analysing the state of Indian cricket. Until and unless the relationship is broken, every analysis should start with the possible governance problem as the first reason. That should hang above the head of Indian cricket uncomfortably. Presently, the discomfort is not being felt by those who ought to feel it.

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

@LillianThomson: which superiroity are you talking about?, has PAK won a series in Australia or Eng or SA (even NZ for that matter) with the so called superior fast bowlers in last decade??? India atleast won a series in ENG, drew series in SA,ENG and NZ these don't talk like expert and know the fact before u speak.

Posted by R.Sankar on (December 18, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

My team for the first test against Australia, in batting order: Sehwag, Ashwin, Pujara, Kohli (capt), Rahane, M Tewary, Dhoni, Harbajhan, Yadav, Dinda, Ojha

Posted by Hammond on (December 18, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

I just hope they sink, and stick to the easy limited over forms of the game. Cricket internationally would be better for it. India can keep IPL, and test cricket will remain the top form of our sport.

Posted by Ray24 on (December 18, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

India should focs on improving their capability and not their rankings. Rankings follow when your capabilities improve. In trying to show the world how good they are, BCCI and this Indian team have manipulated the system in every thinkable and unthinkable way. I rate all Indian victories hollow, they have done nothing good abroad in all these years. Having umpires on their side, no DRS, fighting with all teams and boards, this hasn't gained them fans either. All that India has achieved is because of BCCI, not because they are talented. When you treat a world class superstar like Dravid as second to Sachin, who BWT plays for his own records and not the team, then this is what you deserve. The same goes for flat track bullies like Shewag and Gambhir, you are no match to Laxman or Ganguly. I am very happy that this has come sooner than I expected, hopefully Indians wake up and realize that cricket and every other field in life is very competitive - work hard!

Posted by AB99 on (December 18, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

If dachin Tendulkar is in the team based on his past accomplishments, why not have Sunil Gavaskar in the team ... he had scored 90, 103, 176, 74, 91, 63, 96 in his last 12 test innings ... which is way better than Tendulkar in his last 12 test innings. And remember Gavaskar won India one match (Sharjah-1985) with his fielding ... something that Tendulkar does not have on his CV.

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: just to refresh your memory. Last tour of PAK to AUS, Pak lost all 3 test matches. THen PAK went to ENG and lost 3-1. DId ICC revoked TEST status for PAK then???

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@Everyone: I dont think you realise that save for between 99-2010. Team India was always below average.

Some great players came yes...such as Dravid and Laxman, Tendulkar in his prime, Kumble as a spinner but those players are gone now and Team India has been reduced to what it has been for most of its history. No team has lost as many tests as India has in the last 2 years. With the second alrgest population in the worl (ALL YOU WATCH CRICKET) and the richest cricket board in the world you would think that Team India would be abel to produce world class cricketers. Just shows....talented Individuals are born, not made !

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

India clearly look spent in terms of energy and enthusiasm, this has led to repeated failures and the fear of further humiliation is palpable among the Indian fans. True, we are no longer equipped with the services of Dravid and Laxman, but that shouldn't take away our enthusiasm away from the game. Trying to find succor in home conditions against WI and NZ after the 8-0 disaster worked only as a stopgap relief, but nothing else. Just goes to show how comfortable BCCI is with its deeply entrenched beliefs and stubbornness against accepting failures and rectifying problems. And now, there will be a line up of teams wishing to tour India and improving their overseas record! BCCI is truly "controlling cricket" in India now!

Posted by soumyas on (December 18, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

1) One man Dhoni's greed is resulting loss of 4 test series.... 2) 2011 world cup win was fake and was not due to captaincy.... 3) Dravid,laxman still cud have performed better then tendulkar... 4) without the help of good players captaincy is good nothing.... please somebody save future of indian cricket from the chronicles Srinivasan and dhoni.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

some sane thoughts but BCCI will set some odi n everything will be forgotten.....then they will present ipl circus n people will forget about massive will go on.....i m not sure about srinivasan.....he is par excellence businessman.....he will only think about benefit n ipl......n cricket will see its demise in india.

Posted by Tealicious on (December 18, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

So we're all out with our pitchforks and itty bitty advice. Do this, do that, do the other. The sentiment is great, and I guess this is how sports fans show their passion: by commenting on articles, agreeing, disagreeing, fighting, snarling, cursing (not in any particular sequence). But in all this self-important banter, we forget that no one from the BCCI selection panel is really going to be scourging through the comments section of for selection ideas and tactical nous.

Wait, what's that Sandeep? You were going to do just that? Sigh. I should have known.

Carry on fellas.

Posted by vj_gooner on (December 18, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Well, of course there is always the IPL to look forward to!

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

i still don;t understand why other team supporters r always behind success or failures of team india... let me tell u clearly, other than south africa no other teams are superior in all conditions and they should be worried about their own teams rather than commenting on any articles which has a name called "INDIA" in it. I guess its the economic clout of BCCI which is a reason for this hate

Posted by zagar on (December 18, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

Overhaul the BCCI first - have proper qualifications listed for each post, have elections held by a collegium comprising of old players, regional cricket bodies etc. Have well written out guidelines for selecting players. Have a strategy for building a strong base of fast and spin bowlers, for batsmen who get exposure to all types of surfaces. Dont expect any significant changes from Srinivasan and Shukla who think the sun rises and sets with the IPL or with Dhoni as a captain whose excuses for losing run from batting failures, bowling failures, pitch is not helpful, bad luck but never about his leadership failure.

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 18, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

A good article, but it perpetuates the myth that India's team was something special in the first place between 2005-2010. It wasn't: they were just briefly the top ranked team when Australia and South Africa completed transition periods ahead of India.

The problem is deeper still. India and Sri Lanka are a pair of identical twins: countries where the art of batting is idolised at the expense of the development of bowlers, who never develop on slow, low wickets.

It is absurd that even in 2012 - when there is no Imran or Waqar or Wasim in sight- Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Asif and Mohammad Amir would each be India's best quick bowler by a million miles.

Five superior Pakistanis, and yet Pakistan's stocks are themselves at their lowest ebb for 35 years. Even worse, Ajmal and Rehman are similarly superior to India's spinners.

Test cricket needs a strong, engaged India. And until they learn to develop bowlers, they will stagger from one overseas disaster to the next.

Posted by SouthPaw on (December 18, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Indians like to talk like experts in a field that they are not, just because they have the opportunity and the avenue to do so. This post by Bal is an excellent example of this Indian tendency! You are the guys who think you can make and break people, careers, etc., of celebrities and public figures. You think you can play God. I think it is absolutely SAD :(

Posted by BeatTheChamps on (December 18, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

India needed a catalyst to boost them. Yadav could have been exactly that. He has the pace to take wickets out of nowhere. I think him getting injured was the biggest setback for India. I would say Yadav back in the team in place of a spinner, Rahane in place of SRT and a serious and committed opener in place of Sehwag. With these 3 changes only, the team will be miles better.

Posted by FastTrack_Bullies on (December 18, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

@KIWIROCKER:thtats the biggest joke of 2012, poor guys... nobody going to there country for playing cricket and they r surviving on some left over matches, so jealousy is an obvious factor here, so his foolishness is excused :)

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

absolute truth..sachinn has to go and sehwag must move down the order

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Article by Sambit Bal is very good!! The problem in Indian cricket is that "accepting" the fact that we are declining and needs to improve. Once this happens, then the rectification process can start. Unless the present captain,coach, BCCI MC accept this fact and move forward, things will change slowly but surely. As Rahul Dravid remarked earlier that Indian cricket needs to look forward for next forth coming tours like SA, NZ and also England and prepare the team accordingly. Most importantly there has to be a process in motion and then it will work. Will it happen with present BCCI??? Million dollar question!!!!

Posted by Advin on (December 18, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

Captaining a cricket team is difficult .Captaining a team in all three formats is extremely taxing and stressful.Captaining a team in all three formats and having to keep wickets in all the formats requires a superhuman.Captaining India with a pathetic bowling attack and an unfit fielding side in all three formats , to keep wickets and to keep winning and to satisfy a biilion 'experts" is asking for the impossible. Dhoni's place in the side should not be questioned but he cannot continue as captain in all the formats.I cannot think of any other captain of whom so much is asked of.Kohli who once led India to a WC under 19 win should be captain in Tests as Gavaskar suggests.

Posted by CricketMaan on (December 18, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

I cant see too many changes, we are desperate for victory, else would have rested MSD from T20s and asked the youngsters to take charge and show the way, but the truth is we might end up seeing the the same 14-15 for Aus tour for Lyon is no Swann and Beer or Dohrety is no Panesar..and we will carry on the same way. Amarnath has at least exposed that selection meetings are a farce!!

Posted by reality_check27 on (December 18, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

@kiwirockers yes india is going through bad phase right now but if india stops playing tets cricket icc would not able to have cricket at all as india brings most amount of moneyother thing lets look a t srilankas record have only won 2 test series at home in last 5 years no win abroad and for pakistan they havent won a single test series abroad in more than 6 years now and have only beaten 2 test teams at home in past 6 years so icc should lokk at the test status for pakistan as well as srilanka and bangladesh and india so that will be like half of the test nations will stop playing test cricket and if ur from pakistan last 15 test matches that u have played against asutralia u have lost 13 and drawn two and srilanka have never won a test in australia yet crickinfo please publish

Posted by thespire on (December 18, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

HAHA KIWIROCKER....India's Test status should be reviewed is it....well lets just write off cricket then.....

Posted by Un_Citoyen_Indien on (December 18, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Well written Sambit. I especially liked this bit:

"The Tendulkar question will hang heavy, but it will be, as has been suggested widely, unfair to leave the answer to him. Indian cricket owes him gratitude, but not the burden of a perpetual debt".

Very true and it's about time someone said it. Let's not bury our heads in the sand like ostriches here. I've been an admirer of Tendulkar's since 1996 but have been repeatedly disappointed by his performance since 2011.

The fact of the matter is that Sachin is living off his past accomplishments and even Ashwin and Dhoni have out-performed him with the bat this series. He doesn't field exceptionally well and even the argument that his 'suggestions in the dressing room' are invaluable, no longer hold any merit. The way I see it, he is holding up a far more promising cricketer's spot (namely Rahane's). It's about time we saw a major change in Indian cricket.

I don't see anyone else fit to lead India in tests for at least another year.

Posted by CricketBirbal on (December 18, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: You are absolutely right. Just that if India's test status is reviewed and India demoted, then the world cricket will find it difficult to survive. To begin with, Mr N Srinivasan and the politicians should be out of BCCI. Dhoni should only play ODI and T20. BCCI should follow the Chelsea rule of not giving any long contracts to over 30 aged players. The set of test players should be totally different than ODI and T20.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

one of the best articles i hv read on cricinfo. MS DHONI shud realise that a loss is a loss and he shud not move on like this everytime.India can't start rising until they accept how low they have sunk.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

I don't think the scenario is going to be improved unless Indian players and officials pay their utmost interest in test cricket. India doesn't play test matches regularly and is too busy with T20 which is more entertainment and business rather than being cricket. India should play at least 10 tests in a year to improve.

Posted by AB99 on (December 18, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

The CSK troika - Srinivasan, Srikkanth, MSD has brought India cricket to its current depth of dispair. But, defeat does not hurt this team and that is bad. No harm loosing once in a while, the harm is when lessons are not learnt. Man to Man, the England team was superior to the Indian team in every respect. In the combined XI, maybe only Pujara can find a place. Cook and Compton were better than Sehwag and Gambhir, KP better than SRT, Trott better than Kohli, Prior better than Dhoni, Swann and Panesar better than Ashwin and Ojha. Anderson better than Zaheer. The malise has set deep and wide in this team.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 18, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

Excellent article by Sambit. Lack of skills and a total denial of that fact is the biggest bane of Indian cricket now. During the 80's and 90's when we were much weaker than many other teams we could still compete at home. Then of course came the best phase, at the beginning of this century when we were pretty good abroad too, but this is the absolute depths and if MSD thinks the 2007 World Cup was worse, then thats just another of his famous excuses to hide his own failures.

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 18, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

Good one but I disagree with this- "In the absence of a better alternative, Dhoni could still be the man to lead India in the near future" how will you know if there is no better alternative unless you try one..sorry but its a cop out in bailing out MSD who I'm sure within himself will have realized by now that he just does not have the nous or will power to lead the test side anymore.

Posted by Kaze on (December 18, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

A very enjoyable fall of the Indian team. Can't wait to see what they mess up next.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 18, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

India need seamers asap, and this will be achieved when pitches are an even contest between bat and ball.

Posted by t20-2007 on (December 18, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

completely agreed.......patience n perseverence is the only way out...but then again we need this 2 qualities with younger players ...not with those old rotten potatoes

Posted by Romenevans on (December 18, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Its not hurting MSD at all..he is back-firing with as usual excuses and comparing this humiliation as "its not as big as 2007 WC throw out" nothing hurts him!

Posted by baskar_guha on (December 18, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

This is India's chance of rebuilding on its bowling, not batting. Focus should not be on spin bowling but pace bowling. India has many promising pacers led by Yadav and there is no reason these bowlers cannot do well anywhere in the world if properly trained and taken care of. This is also India's chance of rebuilding using athletic cricketers rather than skilled cricketers who are a liability on the field. It will be a different Indian team but times are changing and so should Indian cricket. There will always be a prodigious batsman or spinner that will show up despite the system which will please the hero worshipers looking for a demigod.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 18, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

Sambit: An honest article. Well done. India has been a medicore team that was made to look world beaters. India lost in Pakistan(2006), India's Lost in England 4-0, India lost in Australia 4-0, India barely drew in SA and SL. India now has eve managed to lose at home. As far as ODI, Indian team was not even in final of Asia cup or tri series in Australia. As far as as T20, India team was booted out even before semis in Asia cup. Pakistan won two tests in England in 2010 that India has not managed in 26 years. Pakistan was in semi final of T20. Pakistan won Asia cup. Pakistan has thrashed England 3-0. Indian team and fans are exposed. Everyone knows for a long time that King is naked but they are yelling that King has clothes on. Indian selectors are a toothless bunch that can not drop non performers like Tendulya, Sehwag and Gambhir etc. Indian players are big mouthed and talk like McGrath used to but nothing to back it up. ICC should review India's test status as it is total shambles!

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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.

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