August 30, 2013

India progresses amid chaos

While the country's cricket administration has been in turmoil, the results on the field have been heartening
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I have long argued, often with hope rather than expectation, that there should be two Indian cricket teams; one that takes the field and the other that works off it but does everything possible to enable players to become the best they can. Sometimes those two teams can be in conflict, as when playing commercially attractive home games leaves no time to acclimatise overseas. It would seem, then, that for the on-field team to do well, the other would need to be in good form too.

But look at what has happened in the last few months. The team that plays off the field has been in turmoil - being in rather intimate contact with courts, election worries, missing funds, jails, conflicts of interest, enquiry commissions… it's quite a bouquet! Those on the field have, playing away, done extraordinarily well.

The Under-19 and U-23 teams have won, the performance of the A team has been creditable, and the senior team has won the Champions Trophy. It could mean either of two things: one, opportunities in Indian cricket are making player development independent of the prevailing state of the administration (though it could be argued that the administration created the opportunities too). Or, two, that there are two sides to the people who make up the board, that the genuine lover of Indian cricket resides within the same entity as the power-seeking administrator. While the first possibility is worth investigating, my very limited interactions with the BCCI suggest the second is fairly accurate.

But this article is about more familiar territory, the game played inside the boundary ropes, where three sets of players have been given the opportunity of playing a level of cricket above what they are accustomed to.

While Sanju Samson caught the eye in the IPL, Akhil Herwadkar and Vijay Zol - his U-19 team-mates - are names we need to watch out for. U-23 players are more familiar, but certain names, like Lokesh Rahul, Manprit Juneja, Baba Aparajith, and Akshar Patel linger.

But you tend to watch the A team performances most closely, especially if the national coach is with the side too. A couple of clear signals have emerged from their trip to South Africa. In the second of the Tests, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma rested, India A had the option of opening with Ajinkya Rahane. Instead Cheteshwar Pujara went up the order and Rahane played at No. 3, which would suggest that Rahane's future is no longer as an opener.

It has implications for where he plays for Mumbai. He could, of course, seek to open the batting under the widely accepted principle that it is easier to come down the order than it is to move up. Alternatively, he could stay at No. 3, where a slot might just emerge if Pujara is thought of as a long-term opening batsman. Ideally, of course, you look for openers and there are three who have caught the eye: Lokesh, Unmukt Chand and Jiwanjot Singh.

A lot of India's bowlers get marooned in the 125-132 kmph band and even if they do break free occasionally and reach 140, they seem to drift back to 130

The other noticeable signal was that while Dinesh Karthik is India's second-choice wicketkeeper in one-day internationals, Wriddhiman Saha is clearly the nominee in longer cricket. Both played the second A game in Pretoria but Saha kept wicket in both innings. It is another indicator of the depth that is emerging in Indian cricket that so many choices are presenting themselves.

Ishwar Pandey took seven wickets in the first Test, and I remember Kapil Dev speaking very highly of him during the Irani trophy. Pandey has the build, the fluency, and the ability but not the pace yet.

It is something that Indian cricket needs to work on. Unless you can move the ball like Vernon Philander, or for that matter Bhuvneshwar Kumar, there isn't a lot of hope for bowlers who only bowl in the 125-132 kph band. A lot of India's bowlers get marooned there and even if they do break free occasionally and reach 140, they seem to drift back to 130. It is a question that the new crop of Jaidev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammad Shami and Pandey need to ask themselves: do they stay 130 and vulnerable, or strive to reach 140? Or do they become genuine swing bowlers at 135? More crucially, does India have the knowhow to keep bowlers at around 140? Of that, there is little evidence at the moment.

The India A games also suggested that Parvez Rasool is worth investing in. His home association is on oxygen and so India cannot depend on Jammu and Kashmir to help him grow as a bowler. Maybe he needs to play somewhere else, even if that means diluting a wonderful story. Rasool must do what is right for him and for India, and if J&K cricket insists on being in a mess, it should be ready to lose him. I believe, though, that cricket in the valley, like football in the country's north-east, can be a wonderful way of integrating people of the region.

On the field, Indian cricket is looking very promising. Organising these away games suggests that even in the midst of turmoil, some good decisions are being taken.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricPrachi on August 30, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    While the success of the recently concluded three tours- India U-19 tour of SriLanka, India A in South Africa & ACC Emerging Teams Cup 2013- is amazing, what will be more important is to see its sustainability. Will the off-field team, that Harsha has mentioned, be able to organize more such tournaments? How would they nurture those faring well in these tournaments will be another important question to be answered.

  • Raki99 on September 4, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    I think we are way ahead of other national teams. England is only succeeful becasue of their south african imports. Other than that look what they have found in last couple years is only one good batsman joe root, australia is going to be in mess for a long time. west indies is mess for almost last 13 years, pakistan has not recoverd from the waqar wasim exit and have no good batsman in line. new zealand is new zealand. SAffers are also not good when stem and buch gets injured they will be doomed as we have seen them struggling when they don't play. So i think we are way ahead of others, only thing we need to find is couple good fast bowlers who can bowl at 140 and we would be a good team.

  • Naresh28 on September 4, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    @ryanharris - Facts speak for themselves. Just look at where Kohli is today - he emerged as captain of U19, best batsman and won a WC trophy for India. Today there was even better news for him WHEN KIRSTEN spoke highly of this Indian player:- http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/668183.html They will graduate to next level by playing for India. There are shortcomings in team india - lack of express pace bowlers and this is made up by better batsman and spinners.

  • irishhawks on September 3, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    I don't agree Mr Harsh....Have a look at Test record of India...Shameful...8 straight heavy losses..loses to formidable England at home....defeat depleted Aussies...So we are not invincible at home too...Okay One day record is better...But true measure of Great Team is measured by its performance in Tests..... Frankly speaking we have bunch of good cricketers who are over rated..Thats it... Over rated fast medium bowlers...over rated Off spinner....story goes on and on...

  • jay57870 on September 3, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    A year ago Bhogle was concerned about Indian cricket. He wrote: "Who's in charge of India's resources?" & "India's bowling cupboard is empty, not thinly stocked"! He complained that "A team tours, thoughtful in theory, are being marred by roulette-selections". Now he's singing the praises: "performance of the A team has been creditable". So what happened to "empty"? Well, the "bowling cupboard" was adequately stocked after all, given the teams' creditable performances this year. It did not happen suddenly. It's this mindset of "cupboard" that's flawed: like some static furniture where things are stored & forgotten. Rather look at it as a dynamic "pipeline of talent" that flows continuously into a large talent pool. India is estimated to have a large base of ~550 first-class cricketers. Martin Crowe provides a compelling argument: "It's simple mathematics. The nations with larger player bases (eg India) will ultimately win out, now that the format numbers have increased permanently"!

  • QingdaoXI on September 2, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    The future Indian Test Team Should Be like Dhawan, pujara, Rahane, Rohit, Kohli, Zol/Jadeja, Dhoni, Ashwin/Ojha, Bhuvanesh, Umesh, Aaron/Ishwar/ Ishant, Saha, with Rayudu, Jiwanjot, L.Rahul and Chand in extras.

  • pitch_it_up on September 1, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    While the players from on-field team are penalized and jailed for wrong doings, how can we let off culprits from the off-field team, who are the custodians of the game in the country!!?? We can probably let off players caught cheating, but should not leave corrupt officials...never!! Else, its a big shame!!! And total injustice to the on-field team who sweat it out under the sun!

  • jay57870 on September 1, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Crowe argues that with 3 formats in international cricket, it's necessary to have a large base to field 3 teams. Selecting teams "with minimal overlap between them, with individuals specialising in each format, you will maximise the opportunity of winning. But if you have to play individuals across all 3 teams, then body & mind will be compromised". He cites the case of Australia where its once excellent 6-team Sheffield competition has now become its weakness. That's why Bhogle's reduced 15-team domestic system proposed for India is fraught with danger. As is his formula of the "best 15 should be in the national side & the next 15 on A tours". It simply does not add up. Look at the demands of 3 formats, 24x7, & associated risks - injuries, fatigue, personnel issues, rotation policies, form, fitness, attrition & weather. Remember the disasters in Eng & Oz. India has hit the bottom & is back on the ascendancy. There's plentiful talent & (yes) "good decisions are being taken", Harsha!!

  • jay57870 on September 1, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Harsha - Yes, Indian cricket is progressing, because of & (yes) in spite of BCCI! More to the point, the selectors are doing the job well. In fact, veteran Chandu Borde says: "We have so much talent in our country today that we can easily field two teams (of equal strength)"! Coming from a former chairman of selectors (twice), Borde's words carry extra weight. That said, it's not the same as Bhogle's strange definition of on-field & off-field teams. Whatever it means, India is bouncing back - from the disastrous 2011-12 Tests & present administrative turmoil - rather well. These teams - Test, A, U-19 & U-23 - have performed remarkably well in 2013. That's a lot of players! But this large player base did not happen overnight. Credit BCCI for investing & reaching out to all corners of the nation in scouting & developing a large pool of talent for selectors to tap into. India's developed a unique home-grown cricket system that's feeding its talent pool well, with quality bench strength.

  • on August 31, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    That Ajinkya Rahane is not considered as an opener for Tests by the team management was clear when they played him in the middle order and made Pujara to open in the 4th Test against Australia. For Mumbai also he is now playing only at No.3. Unfortunately for him he appeared a bit overawed by the occassion and could not capitalise on his opportunity. But his knock of 86 against S.Africa in a very tough match situation has helped him remain in contention for one of the middle order spots for the Test matches in South Africa but he will have to face tough competition from Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma.

  • CricPrachi on August 30, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    While the success of the recently concluded three tours- India U-19 tour of SriLanka, India A in South Africa & ACC Emerging Teams Cup 2013- is amazing, what will be more important is to see its sustainability. Will the off-field team, that Harsha has mentioned, be able to organize more such tournaments? How would they nurture those faring well in these tournaments will be another important question to be answered.

  • Raki99 on September 4, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    I think we are way ahead of other national teams. England is only succeeful becasue of their south african imports. Other than that look what they have found in last couple years is only one good batsman joe root, australia is going to be in mess for a long time. west indies is mess for almost last 13 years, pakistan has not recoverd from the waqar wasim exit and have no good batsman in line. new zealand is new zealand. SAffers are also not good when stem and buch gets injured they will be doomed as we have seen them struggling when they don't play. So i think we are way ahead of others, only thing we need to find is couple good fast bowlers who can bowl at 140 and we would be a good team.

  • Naresh28 on September 4, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    @ryanharris - Facts speak for themselves. Just look at where Kohli is today - he emerged as captain of U19, best batsman and won a WC trophy for India. Today there was even better news for him WHEN KIRSTEN spoke highly of this Indian player:- http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/668183.html They will graduate to next level by playing for India. There are shortcomings in team india - lack of express pace bowlers and this is made up by better batsman and spinners.

  • irishhawks on September 3, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    I don't agree Mr Harsh....Have a look at Test record of India...Shameful...8 straight heavy losses..loses to formidable England at home....defeat depleted Aussies...So we are not invincible at home too...Okay One day record is better...But true measure of Great Team is measured by its performance in Tests..... Frankly speaking we have bunch of good cricketers who are over rated..Thats it... Over rated fast medium bowlers...over rated Off spinner....story goes on and on...

  • jay57870 on September 3, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    A year ago Bhogle was concerned about Indian cricket. He wrote: "Who's in charge of India's resources?" & "India's bowling cupboard is empty, not thinly stocked"! He complained that "A team tours, thoughtful in theory, are being marred by roulette-selections". Now he's singing the praises: "performance of the A team has been creditable". So what happened to "empty"? Well, the "bowling cupboard" was adequately stocked after all, given the teams' creditable performances this year. It did not happen suddenly. It's this mindset of "cupboard" that's flawed: like some static furniture where things are stored & forgotten. Rather look at it as a dynamic "pipeline of talent" that flows continuously into a large talent pool. India is estimated to have a large base of ~550 first-class cricketers. Martin Crowe provides a compelling argument: "It's simple mathematics. The nations with larger player bases (eg India) will ultimately win out, now that the format numbers have increased permanently"!

  • QingdaoXI on September 2, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    The future Indian Test Team Should Be like Dhawan, pujara, Rahane, Rohit, Kohli, Zol/Jadeja, Dhoni, Ashwin/Ojha, Bhuvanesh, Umesh, Aaron/Ishwar/ Ishant, Saha, with Rayudu, Jiwanjot, L.Rahul and Chand in extras.

  • pitch_it_up on September 1, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    While the players from on-field team are penalized and jailed for wrong doings, how can we let off culprits from the off-field team, who are the custodians of the game in the country!!?? We can probably let off players caught cheating, but should not leave corrupt officials...never!! Else, its a big shame!!! And total injustice to the on-field team who sweat it out under the sun!

  • jay57870 on September 1, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Crowe argues that with 3 formats in international cricket, it's necessary to have a large base to field 3 teams. Selecting teams "with minimal overlap between them, with individuals specialising in each format, you will maximise the opportunity of winning. But if you have to play individuals across all 3 teams, then body & mind will be compromised". He cites the case of Australia where its once excellent 6-team Sheffield competition has now become its weakness. That's why Bhogle's reduced 15-team domestic system proposed for India is fraught with danger. As is his formula of the "best 15 should be in the national side & the next 15 on A tours". It simply does not add up. Look at the demands of 3 formats, 24x7, & associated risks - injuries, fatigue, personnel issues, rotation policies, form, fitness, attrition & weather. Remember the disasters in Eng & Oz. India has hit the bottom & is back on the ascendancy. There's plentiful talent & (yes) "good decisions are being taken", Harsha!!

  • jay57870 on September 1, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Harsha - Yes, Indian cricket is progressing, because of & (yes) in spite of BCCI! More to the point, the selectors are doing the job well. In fact, veteran Chandu Borde says: "We have so much talent in our country today that we can easily field two teams (of equal strength)"! Coming from a former chairman of selectors (twice), Borde's words carry extra weight. That said, it's not the same as Bhogle's strange definition of on-field & off-field teams. Whatever it means, India is bouncing back - from the disastrous 2011-12 Tests & present administrative turmoil - rather well. These teams - Test, A, U-19 & U-23 - have performed remarkably well in 2013. That's a lot of players! But this large player base did not happen overnight. Credit BCCI for investing & reaching out to all corners of the nation in scouting & developing a large pool of talent for selectors to tap into. India's developed a unique home-grown cricket system that's feeding its talent pool well, with quality bench strength.

  • on August 31, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    That Ajinkya Rahane is not considered as an opener for Tests by the team management was clear when they played him in the middle order and made Pujara to open in the 4th Test against Australia. For Mumbai also he is now playing only at No.3. Unfortunately for him he appeared a bit overawed by the occassion and could not capitalise on his opportunity. But his knock of 86 against S.Africa in a very tough match situation has helped him remain in contention for one of the middle order spots for the Test matches in South Africa but he will have to face tough competition from Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma.

  • orangtan on August 31, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Let's not get carried away, the India A team's defeat to SA in the second "Test" was devastating, again an inability to cope with good pace bowling. Iwatched the U-23 team perform in Singapore,and except for Lokesh Rahul, none of the others were convincing' They were humbled by a good pace attack from Afghanistan, and were lucky to find the Pakistani batsmen in prodigal from in the final. Particulary disappointing was Unmukt Chand's performance, barely a year after his heroics in the Under-19 tournament in Australia. Perhaps there was too much hype about him and he could not cope with it ?

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on August 31, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    @Naresh28 : u need to watch and know more about cricket. The whole cricketing fraternity knows that ian chappell appreciated unmukt chand, baba aparajith and harmeet singh. But Chappell's point how can one rate their credentials even before watching them play at higher levels. And Chappell did not criticise players as such, he merely said that majority of players at U19 level dont graduate further, so its not a true test of real calibre.

    And as for @ Cpt.Meanster, mate, if u say that upcoming indian talents like rohit, dhawan, pujara, vijay etc and the well-established kohli are better than that of other countries like du Plessis(SA), Mitch Marsh(AUS), Gary Ballance(ENG),etc why are you saying even before a ball has been bowled in the india-South Africa test series that irrespective of defeat or victory , the team will progress. Why not show a bit of optimism??

  • on August 31, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    @Naman Gupta ... India has till date never won an Olympic medal in running. Only once did India win a medal prior to 1996 in an individual sport -- KD Jadhav in wrestling in 1952. What actually is sad is the sharp and complete decline in hockey. On the other hand, what is promising, is the fact that in the last Commonwealth and Asian Games, we did see India winning a lot of medals in athletics and a few in sports like sailing, rowing, swimming which is very promising.

  • on August 31, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    I think we are talking about Indian batting and NOT indian team. Waiting for Harsha to write sumthing about our bowling options too..

  • Sir_Ivor on August 30, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    I entirely agree with Cpt.Meanster's views. No-one is doing the Bhangra here because the Indian teams are doing well everywhere. It is as Harsha points out, a fact that India is rather well placed when it comes to future stars of the game at this point of time. There will always be cynics like sray23 who for some reason want to believe that India will never be the top cricket playing country. Their usual sneering line is "let us wait till they play abroad'.The point is that India does have a long list of highly talented youngsters who could more than fill the void caused by the retirement of all time greats like Tendulkar Dravid and others.It is a fact that no other country is as well positioned at the moment. Yet we have the die hard cynics who just like to be seen as having different views howsoever silly they may be.Harsha Bhogle is a seasoned and balanced critic. His views here are as always very progressive. It makes sense only if promising players are talked about in comments.

  • samincolumbia on August 30, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer - We are not as lucky as the aussies. They finally won a game (in any format) since beating the mighty WI in a one day game back in Feb of this year!! Congrats.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 30, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer: Nobody is 'dancing in joy' here. Harsha is simply stating the obvious. India have some AMAZING talented young players, better than other countries. While other countries may struggle after losing great players, our team won't. Obviously, we cannot replace Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, and Ganguly easily, we still have players who are better presently than all our seniors when they were young. We are a gifted nation in that regard. I think this young Indian team should use the tour to SA as a grooming ground. Irrespective of whether we win or lose, it will be a strengthening for all our youngsters. Please remember that India became a genuine test power only after some of seniors reached their peak. So as Indian fans, we have our feet on the ground. No need for cynicism or hatred here.

  • vakkaraju on August 30, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    The paradox of India is the progress it has made in all aspects, not just cricket, in spite of its (Mis)governance. I often wonder what is really achievable if the country were to be run honestly and efficiently.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 30, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    I am not so sure about why Pujara is opening. He is sold at #3 and when Tendulkar retires, he should be #4. Rahane should be persisted with for the #3 slot. With Dhawan and Vijay opening, Rahane at 3, Pujara at 4, Kohli at 5...looks to be a strong line up.

    Not sure where Rohit and Tiwary (this poor guy has nothing but bad luck) fit into the plan.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 30, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    What is developing, from the looks of it, is Indian cricket is developing into ruthless performance oriented outfit. The selectors are given free reign and they are doing a great job (compare these current times to those as recently as under Srikanth's). Never did we hear of the national team coach asked to go to India A matches to observe the youngsters. Never did we see so many various Indian teams playing in so many matches. Now look at what this caused. All the heros that were dumped from the team are looking forward to the Ranji season. This is such a surreal change in attitude from yesteryears. I love this change in attitude. Ranji, once looked at as a chore that could be avoided, is going to be the most professional first class outfit in the world. Just provide better wickets for all games. Thanks to Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and many other ex-pros, even Ranji is looking great and fought very competently.

  • on August 30, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    A very thoughtful article Mr. Bhogale.

    I have always enjoyed your insightful articles and this is no less.

    I do hope this discussion board does not get cluttered with standard comments from the "arm chair" pundits as this article simply wishes to point out the fact that the ability to "facilitate" is shining through the chaos within the organization, and lets pat the admins on the back for that.

  • on August 30, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    we still lag in fast bowling department Bhuvi is a find but there is no one on the other end Zak has few yrs left wid him Ishant and Umesh shows downs more than ups though both hav genuine speeds but v have none like Lee Steyn Mitchel Siddle I dont noe why is this with our country only where as on the other hand PAK BANG SRILANKA hav few good speedsters and even we hav better cricketing conditions technology and same environmental or climatic or pitch conditions, then where are v lagging I wanna know that.

  • on August 30, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    I would be loathe to get carried away. Come the SA tour and we will pass judgement then

  • gsingh7 on August 30, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    i wud say indian teams are doing better than anyone in world cricket at the moment . teams on all levels are winning comprehensively.@sray23 - India were pretty consistent when they were No.1 in Tests. They did not lose a single Test series between July 2008 and August 2011 (7 series won, 3 drawn). In that period, they played 30 Tests: 15 won, 3 lost, 12 drawn. this shows indians have know how to play their best and retain top ranking. look at odi rankings, gap at top is massive and ever increasing.at this rate india will be top of rankings for years to come.

  • Sathyasing on August 30, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    All the success that we are seeing is not under challenging circumstances. Systemic issues still exist and talents are still not groomed properly.The condition can be related to present indian economy which is tied up due to policies and decisions.

  • haq33 on August 30, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Chaos suggests some random event that could not be predicted, like an asteroid strike. Better word would be "scandal". The corrupt practices of BCCI have come to the fore in recent months and Harsha thinks it's all fine and dandy as long as the team keeps performing. Way to contribute some hairs to that giant brush that the BCCI use to sweep stuff under the carpet. MS Dhoni's conflict of business interests? What conflict?? Everything is super. And some posters discuss football, as if that would be free of the same problems were it to become the premiere sport in India!

  • on August 30, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @sray - I agree with u completely. Having said that it hurts me to see the Indian team slip in sports like hockey and athletics for the sake of cricket. India atleast used to win olympic medals in running in 1950's and 1960's. At once stage India was a dominant hockey team, now they struggle to qualify for the olympics. I would like to see India excel in a wide range of sports. Those were days when India only gained Independence, and government gave very little funding in sporting arena. Now for all the wealth, India is underperforming. Facilities in rural areas are horrible. Infact eventhough they won CT (generally home like conditions), at test level or even overseas ODI's they are still unproven.

  • Hardy1 on August 30, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Lastly, football is a much more accessible sport than cricket. The differences between poor street cricket & top level cricket are vastly greater the differences between poor street football & top level football. This is quite simply because football is a more simple sport (therein lies the root of its popularity) & you don't need to worry about the technicalities of shining the ball or the state of the pitch and so on as much as in cricket. Ultimately what I'm saying is that you just can't compare the two sports like that & then say India are underachievers in cricket. All that said though I do believe India should have done much better historically than they have done & clearly there's a problem when it comes to converting the massive talent pool into a strong group of XI players. I fear that when India does get the hang of this, she will dominate international cricket & we may see Indian domestic cricket becoming the benchmark for professional cricket.

  • Hardy1 on August 30, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @sray23, " If football was only played by 8 countries and Brazil played at their normal level, then they would have won every single world cup", considering only 8 teams have ever actually won the FIFA World Cup that seems unlikely. Plus India has been playing catch up for years because Australia, England, South Africa & West Indies were playing cricket long before it. And let's not get started on the population question, when will people realise that having a large population doesn't give a country a god given right to win everything? Attitudes towards potential sporting careers are more sceptical in India, for reasons not only of professional jobs being viewed as more desirable but most importantly because of the fact that most people can't afford to let their kids play cricket all day. Is it so difficult to understand that most Indians can't choose sport as a career & manage to survive at the same time?

  • Naresh28 on August 30, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Its seems to me that sub-continental conditions are now every way even in England. If a team can be judged over three years then why only wait for a series in SA and then only at a certain time of the year. Ian Chappell gave some good backing for Chand when he led India to U19 WC victory in Oz. He did not say it was schoolboy cricket but that these were the future of cricket. Yes India lost in England and Australia test series - the two series were close to each other and the team was in transition carrying seniors who were close to retirement. If the ICC rating system is been doubted by some then how else would one rate players /teams. Also the good news is that a TEST championship is being put together. Cricket is evolving and that is good. I guess we just need to be patient with the system. Also we speak of pace bowlers keeping fit but even the best of teams have injuries like Philander of SA has been sidelined. India does not have many pacers but at least a good stock of spinners.

  • 30-30-150 on August 30, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    @sray23 - India were pretty consistent when they were No.1 in Tests. They did not lose a single Test series between July 2008 and August 2011 (7 series won, 3 drawn). In that period, they played 30 Tests: 15 won, 3 lost, 12 drawn.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on August 30, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    wait for the test series in south africa. the champions trophy and the triseries in the carribean were played in subcontinental conditions.

    and as for u-19 and u-23 success, its a good initiative and congrats to the youngsters for their victories, but its basically a game of kids versus kids, as ian chappell says. There is no guarantee of good u-19 and u-23 players translating into good senior players. so wait before immediately dancing in joy,

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    @Naresh28, in this case it is very fair to compare football & cricket. If football was only played by 8 countries and Brazil played at their normal level, then they would have won every single world cup. The point is, even in a sport with much less competition and where India dominate so much with wealth & resources, their achievements are very ordinary. And everyone knows that the ICC rankings is a joke of a system - in a system where countries do not play equal numbers of tests, where there is no systematic round robin home & away schedule, what value is there of being No. 1 in this system?? India's No.1 in tests indicate nothing great. Better indications are over long period of time ie 3+ years, how many tests won, how many series undefeated, etc...and India's record in sustainable success is very poor. Sure they enjoy some brilliance here & there like CT, WC, T20 WC....but it's all isolated islands of excellence in a wider sea of mediocre results. Sorry, not good enough.

  • heathrf1974 on August 30, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Although Indian cricket seems to be going well, we will need to wait until India play in some tests overseas. Then we will have a better idea on their progression.

  • heathrf1974 on August 30, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Although Indian cricket seems to be going well, we will need to wait until India play in some tests overseas. Then we will have a better idea on their progression.

  • Naresh28 on August 30, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    @sray23 - Its unfair to compare soccer and cricket. For that matter no other sports matches soccer in popularity. You forgot to mention that India has hit No1 in tests and also won various U19 WC trophies(the latest in Oz), T20 in SA and the CT. Even in 2003 WC we came a credible 2nd in SA. One sad factor is that India has not produced good pace bowlers - this is the biggest failure and actually contributes to making us less formidable than the rest and pulls down our team victories.

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    And Harsha makes it sound so complicated - "knowhow" to keep bowlers at 140kph. It's not rocket science, it's just hard and uncompromising training. Fast bowling is a tough job, and if you are not training at 100% @ 100% of the time you will be gone. Problem with Indian pacers is that in their first couple of years they are mean and green, so they train hard and can bowl fast. But once they become stars they think the can just spend the training time partying and turn up at the ground and bowl. That's why most end up with soft tissue core-related injuries and lose their pace. Ishant Sharma is the only exception to this. He has managed to (more or less) sustain his pace - he is the only guy who's work ethic is not in question, and should eventually find ways of performing more consistently. The rest of them don't lose their pace because of lack of "knowhow", it's just they're darn lazy.

  • Naresh28 on August 30, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    GOOD ARTICLE!!! The 2nd option is more likely what the BCCI is. I feel its a blend of make money while promoting cricket. The names of the young players you mention are exactly what we fans see. Two VIJAY ZOL and LOKESH RAHUL are great and will play for India sooner than later. Pandey has the build to carry our pacers for the future and nice to know that Kapil Dev has backed him. These recent outings by U19, U23 and A teams is boding well for Indian cricket - thanx to selectors and BCCI. Keep looking throughout India for some good pacers.

  • king_julien on August 30, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I feel very sad for Rahane, poor chap's career is being methodically destroyed. Maybe because he doesn't make good marketing material or god knows what. He's a genuine opening batsman who keeps getting shuttled up and down the order match after match and at other times he's just warming the bench, not even able to play Ranji in the meantime. This is not how you groom someone. While other players even though they are not opening batsman are being force fitted into opening slots. He's looking more circumspect now a days at a time when he should be performing, its not to do with skill which he has aplenty but his confidence which the management is destroying. Look how Dravid managed him in IPL and he performed so well.

    The points about the pacers are all relevant, we have a pool of many good to average bowlers but not many great ones on the horizon.

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    Sir_Ivor, FYR Brazil has won 5 world cups in football. The next best is 2-3 I believe. And football is played by well over 200 nations in the world. In terms of cricket (only played by 8-9 countries), Brazil's success would be equivalent to at least 5 world cups. India has won 2, and not one test series in Aus or SA. In the meantime Aus and WI (with combined population of less than 5% of India) have won 16 tests in a row (Aus did this twice) and at least 2 world cups (Aus won 4 WC). In comparison, India's success in international cricket in its entire history, is absolutely not good enough. This from a country that's always had so much cricketing wealth and interest. Champion players have emerged yes, but the true test of prowess is a champion team, and India have never had that and never will while India remains the centre of the world administratively. I am not a cynic, I am just painting the true picture. Lets stop hyping these guys till they actually start winning consistently.

  • chokkashokka on August 30, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Finally a relevant article - all this over-hyped Ashes and the highly spoilt English team/reporters left me bored and longing for being interested in cricket news again. Thank you

  • Sir_Ivor on August 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I find sray23's cynicism quite misplaced. While I do not know much about Brazilian football administration, I do know that they have produced some ofthe greatest footballers in the past. It is much the same with Indian cricket. The BCCI too may not be the most professional bodies but India has churned out champions with a regularity that is definitely impressive. I am not very sure if this gentleman has any idea of the players that Harsha has talked about or for that matter any of his own. He seems to be totally oblivious of the past. He probably falls in the category of the many cynics we have in India who would have us believe that the grass is always greener elsewhere.

  • Srivathsan_Sridharan on August 30, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Well written Harsha. As a fan, we want India to play good cricket. At the moment it is playing good cricket. We don't want these rubbish admin things to affect cricket in the field. Some good steps taken forward by the current administrators by arranging away tours for A teams, U-23 teams and U-19 teams also by replacing the Selection committee with Sandip Patil & Co. So fans don't care about who BCCI executives are as long as they don't interfere in Cricket matters.

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Though results on field in recent times are somewhat encouraging, Indian cricket will never have sustained success without the proper work ethic - and that has to be led off the field, it can never be left to just players on the field. Indian cricket is often compared to Brazilian football, but whilst Brazilian football administration may not be the most efficient, the advantage with most good Brazilian footballers is that they ply their trade in Europe under a completely professional environment. Indian cricketers will never become like Brazilian footballers because the most lucrative cricket contracts are in India, under very unprofessional administration. On the field, India might show flashes of brilliance here and there, but over time will always settle into sustained mediocrity. It's a sad and unfortunate story and reflective of a country with a long history of corruption and mismanagement.

  • Sir_Ivor on August 30, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    There is little doubt that India has a very enviable bench to choose from. Ishwar Pandey is from a background that caters for self analysis. I am sure that he will be in the 145 range soon. He has the physique and the fitness considering that comes from an Army background. A good coach will be able to help him out in this regard by identifying what he needs to do to get that pace. Wrist position,delivery and release co-ordination with weight transfer and the like. Since he is a good listener he will come through. The other who is slated for big things is Mohit Sharma who Harsha has not talked about. In batting, I have no doubt at all that Vijay Zol and Lokesh Rahul are very very good. Rahul has a fetish to be a perfectionist in the other Rahul's mould and he already has the work ethic of a future star. Like Zol he is a technically sound player. So India do have some good opening batsmen in waiting. Samson of course will only evolve allround under Rahul Dravid's immense influence.

  • manav08 on August 30, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    the name of the left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem is worth mentioning on this scenario where he came up with the highest wicket taker clinching 17 wickets altogether on the triseries and the test. He is the only consistant spinner taking wickets at crucial times . these talents needs to encouraged and need a mention .

  • on August 30, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Good Observations Harsha. we as cricket lovers are more interested inside the ropes rather than outside. A team players have aptly given replacements for stalwarts like Jaheer, Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Gambhir, however Viru cant be overlooked for SA tour. Lets hope the BCCI invest more resources for negelected cricket boards like JK, UP, Bihar. Good luck for Indian Cricket

  • on August 30, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Good Observations Harsha. we as cricket lovers are more interested inside the ropes rather than outside. A team players have aptly given replacements for stalwarts like Jaheer, Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Gambhir, however Viru cant be overlooked for SA tour. Lets hope the BCCI invest more resources for negelected cricket boards like JK, UP, Bihar. Good luck for Indian Cricket

  • manav08 on August 30, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    the name of the left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem is worth mentioning on this scenario where he came up with the highest wicket taker clinching 17 wickets altogether on the triseries and the test. He is the only consistant spinner taking wickets at crucial times . these talents needs to encouraged and need a mention .

  • Sir_Ivor on August 30, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    There is little doubt that India has a very enviable bench to choose from. Ishwar Pandey is from a background that caters for self analysis. I am sure that he will be in the 145 range soon. He has the physique and the fitness considering that comes from an Army background. A good coach will be able to help him out in this regard by identifying what he needs to do to get that pace. Wrist position,delivery and release co-ordination with weight transfer and the like. Since he is a good listener he will come through. The other who is slated for big things is Mohit Sharma who Harsha has not talked about. In batting, I have no doubt at all that Vijay Zol and Lokesh Rahul are very very good. Rahul has a fetish to be a perfectionist in the other Rahul's mould and he already has the work ethic of a future star. Like Zol he is a technically sound player. So India do have some good opening batsmen in waiting. Samson of course will only evolve allround under Rahul Dravid's immense influence.

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Though results on field in recent times are somewhat encouraging, Indian cricket will never have sustained success without the proper work ethic - and that has to be led off the field, it can never be left to just players on the field. Indian cricket is often compared to Brazilian football, but whilst Brazilian football administration may not be the most efficient, the advantage with most good Brazilian footballers is that they ply their trade in Europe under a completely professional environment. Indian cricketers will never become like Brazilian footballers because the most lucrative cricket contracts are in India, under very unprofessional administration. On the field, India might show flashes of brilliance here and there, but over time will always settle into sustained mediocrity. It's a sad and unfortunate story and reflective of a country with a long history of corruption and mismanagement.

  • Srivathsan_Sridharan on August 30, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Well written Harsha. As a fan, we want India to play good cricket. At the moment it is playing good cricket. We don't want these rubbish admin things to affect cricket in the field. Some good steps taken forward by the current administrators by arranging away tours for A teams, U-23 teams and U-19 teams also by replacing the Selection committee with Sandip Patil & Co. So fans don't care about who BCCI executives are as long as they don't interfere in Cricket matters.

  • Sir_Ivor on August 30, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I find sray23's cynicism quite misplaced. While I do not know much about Brazilian football administration, I do know that they have produced some ofthe greatest footballers in the past. It is much the same with Indian cricket. The BCCI too may not be the most professional bodies but India has churned out champions with a regularity that is definitely impressive. I am not very sure if this gentleman has any idea of the players that Harsha has talked about or for that matter any of his own. He seems to be totally oblivious of the past. He probably falls in the category of the many cynics we have in India who would have us believe that the grass is always greener elsewhere.

  • chokkashokka on August 30, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Finally a relevant article - all this over-hyped Ashes and the highly spoilt English team/reporters left me bored and longing for being interested in cricket news again. Thank you

  • sray23 on August 30, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    Sir_Ivor, FYR Brazil has won 5 world cups in football. The next best is 2-3 I believe. And football is played by well over 200 nations in the world. In terms of cricket (only played by 8-9 countries), Brazil's success would be equivalent to at least 5 world cups. India has won 2, and not one test series in Aus or SA. In the meantime Aus and WI (with combined population of less than 5% of India) have won 16 tests in a row (Aus did this twice) and at least 2 world cups (Aus won 4 WC). In comparison, India's success in international cricket in its entire history, is absolutely not good enough. This from a country that's always had so much cricketing wealth and interest. Champion players have emerged yes, but the true test of prowess is a champion team, and India have never had that and never will while India remains the centre of the world administratively. I am not a cynic, I am just painting the true picture. Lets stop hyping these guys till they actually start winning consistently.

  • king_julien on August 30, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I feel very sad for Rahane, poor chap's career is being methodically destroyed. Maybe because he doesn't make good marketing material or god knows what. He's a genuine opening batsman who keeps getting shuttled up and down the order match after match and at other times he's just warming the bench, not even able to play Ranji in the meantime. This is not how you groom someone. While other players even though they are not opening batsman are being force fitted into opening slots. He's looking more circumspect now a days at a time when he should be performing, its not to do with skill which he has aplenty but his confidence which the management is destroying. Look how Dravid managed him in IPL and he performed so well.

    The points about the pacers are all relevant, we have a pool of many good to average bowlers but not many great ones on the horizon.

  • Naresh28 on August 30, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    GOOD ARTICLE!!! The 2nd option is more likely what the BCCI is. I feel its a blend of make money while promoting cricket. The names of the young players you mention are exactly what we fans see. Two VIJAY ZOL and LOKESH RAHUL are great and will play for India sooner than later. Pandey has the build to carry our pacers for the future and nice to know that Kapil Dev has backed him. These recent outings by U19, U23 and A teams is boding well for Indian cricket - thanx to selectors and BCCI. Keep looking throughout India for some good pacers.