Follow Your Heart. Lead Your Mind. You'll find a window everywhere.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Lords Test can’t be won again but the series can be

Okay I too understand that India lost the 100th test between India vs. England, which was incidentally the 2000th test as well in the history of test cricket. For the reason obvious, I’m also upset with the result but, at the same time, can’t really afford to feel traumatized since India lost yet another test; yes, JUST a test match to England.

As a matter of fact, I’m finding it quite difficult to fathom why should we consider the outcome as India’s defeat at all whereas the reality is it was a fantastic win – achieved by England?! More so, as in the test, from the first day to the last, it was the English team only that played far better cricket to dominate and win.

In case the defeat is hurting our ego as we are the No.1 test side in the ICC ranking then I think we should’ve played in the test like a true champion side but unlike an Indian A team facing the senior English side, cockily off the pitch but as chickens on the turf.

Postmortem doesn’t help a dead body come alive so will no post match analysis. A million ‘what could have done’ or ‘what should be done’ stuffs might look great in the newsprint or as TV bytes or web content but, in reality, what really matters is the ‘purpose of playing to the peak’ or to the peril.

Technology, knowledge, strategies, plans… all look more than perfect on
laptops but, on field, only one thing counts and that IS ‘execution’ : ‘consorted applications of commonsense, skill and fitness (both mental and physical)’.

In the test at Lords, honestly we have lacked commonsense, skill and fitness. And how we lacked, here it goes –

Case 1 : Ishant… who confessed on camera that he was sorry for bowling the whole day on the first day of the test to a wrong length which was well short and he wasn’t aware of the slope across the ground, as well as the pitch at Lords.

If one of the main strike bowlers, who has already performed superbly in the recently concluded series in West Indies, needs a full day to learn what’s going wrong with him and his bowling, it’s not a technical problem, it’s a serious problem of comprehension and understanding which can be termed as ‘commonsense disorder’.

In case Ishant couldn’t understand what was needed to be done in order to cope with the slope what was Mr. Duncan Fletcher – the coach of the Indian side – doing?

Plus, it was amusing to know from Ishant only that despite Zaheer’s advice to change ends, he (Ishant) didn’t feel like doing so! What was that?! Confidence or overconfidence or sheer disobedience at the cost of team’s interest!

From cricketing point of view, it is also bizarre to hear, if a bowler says, “I have my certain lengths to bowl to!!!!” HOW can a bowler have certain lengths???!!! Where the length of deliveries of a cricket ball is TOTALLY dependent on the nature of the wicket; the feet movements of a batter; the condition of the ball – whether it’s just swinging or reversing too; the weather; the field placing; and the likes. Sorry, Mr. Bowler, whoever you are, you can have your own bowling action and speed but no own bowling lengths for that matter.

Hence, apply commonsense, supply performance!

Case 2 : Batting… the famous Indian batting which is known, awed (read overawed), and worshiped for its depth and density across the world. But when chips were down and the stage was all set to show some character, the famous batting lineup collapsed like ninepins.

Even if it’s taken for granted that the English pacers were bowling like anything and swinging the cherry at will with clinical precision, I’m mighty curious to know how many runs our famous batting lineup could manage to score off Swann, Trott, or Pietersen!

If a team, while batting, can’t play the pace, can’t play the spin, can’t play the medium pace, can’t play the seam, but is recognized for its batting, then I think the word ‘skill’ has got a different meaning which only applies to cricket and the Indian cricketers and, of course, to a few commentators turned motivational speakers cum columnists and the BCCI.

Hence, maximize skills, minimize frills!

Case 3 : Fitness… Zaheer experienced a slight niggle all of a sudden inside his hamstring and went off the field then and there on the first day of the test. Later for all of us to see, there was NO Zaheer – the kingpin of the Indian bowling attack – could manage to bowl in the entire test because of that injury.

Injuries are accidents; admit. They can occur to anyone, anytime; admit it too. But, if just a niggle could put the mainstay of the Indian bowling attack out of action for almost two tests in a row, what kind of physical trainers and physical trainings are provided then to the players?

Plus, given the telling pressure of expectations as inflicted upon each and every Indian cricketer by all of us, are the cricketers fit enough mentally to handle it?

If so, then what happened to even Sachin Tendulkar at Lords? Can anyone believe that it was actually Sachin who batted at Lords? In case it was Tendulkar, where were that aggression, that attitude and that aptitude of the master blaster? Why the world’s number No.1 batsman, the great Sachin Tendulkar had to bat as if he was playing to secure his place in the test squad; else Manoj Tiwari or Badrinath would replace him in the next test? Was his problem only the body-fever or was there a mind-fever too?

Such questions, of course, don’t create any healthy ambience or positive environment for the Indian cricket comprising of not only the cricketers and the administrators but also innumerable fans like her, him, them, you and me.

However, unless and until those questions are raised more often than not and the right answers found for them, nothing, absolutely nothing, can work for the Indian cricket team irrespective of those so called test ranking, one day ranking and T-20 ranking.

For, it’s ONLY the performance that ensures a ranking, but NO ranking can ever ensure a performance.

Hence, enhance fitness, ensure success!

Net-net, none of us should forget that cricket is no Kargil war for the Indian cricket team playing in England at present. So, instead of creating a pressure cooker situation for our players, we must create a win-win situation wherein they will receive our 100% support and trust for every game and in return we will expect and accept only the best from them even in unfavourable conditions and circumstances… notwithstanding injury problems, fitness woes, mental turmoil and whatever it is.

Finally, the Lords test is gone but the series is still on. So, it got to be won. For sure.

No comments: