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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How India can still become a champion side in Test Cricket : A note

India lost yet another test match to England at Wankhede, Mumbai. Not sure, given the present condition of the Indian Cricket Team in Tests, whether this incident worth a news anymore?! If my bias and love for Cricket put aside, I seriously think it's better the least is talked about this Team. For a simple reason, a team is as good as the result in produces. A set of students is really good in studies (read net practice) but fails in almost every examination shouldn't deserve empathy, even sympathy, to cut the crap short. 

As happened always after a loss, every nook and corner of the country will produce an expert who will suggest something to the team and on the contrary the team will keep playing as it is in the name of professionalism and the spirit of the game to lose. 

Inevitably Sachin Tendulkar will be a subject of PJs on the social media and the commentators turned experts will call Dhoni's name for 48 hours, maximum, post every defeat to help different channels' GRP and TRP go higher. 

Life will go on, nothing will change for the better, BCCI will mint money from telecast rights and other sources and the IPL will rock the nation sending test cricket a step closer to its peril. 

However, if sincere and honest efforts were adopted, even this beleaguered squad could bounce back and turn into a champion side again in no real time. 

The corrective measures should begin from the top. 

It would be more than apt to ask Ducan Fletcher to quit immediately because if a coach can neither motivate a team to win or at least fight like anything before losing nor make strategies when chips are down, his role becomes nothing but like a guest artist's in a movie. And a guest artist hardly makes a movie hit, so, his role is as worthless as my role at NASA as an advertising professional. 

Mr. Fletcher should ideally be replaced by a core committee comprising Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, where Sourav has to be designated as the chief coach. 

The present Indian team definitely lacks aggression and the crux of the problem is more of temperamental than technical, so Sourav's 'I care a damn, you bloody opponent' should be the key to success, currently, as well as on a long-term basis. Plus, Rahul's discipline and technique and Anil's fighting spirit got to be exploited to the best of effects and impacts. 

There's no need, absolutely no need, to retain Dhoni as the skipper for tests. Because he not only shows inefficiency in thinking during fielding but also seems to be clueless while batting. So for what he's in the test squad? Just because he's the captain of Chennai Super Kings?! 

Gautam Gambhir got to be selected to lead this team in tests for five series at least that will help him settle in as the skipper of the side. If his off form is an issue, I don't think Dhoni has been showing any such form either.

Sehwag as a captain or vice captain is a strict no-no. For, he lacks innovation on field and prefers to go with the flow and that is never going to help a test side while it's on the mat.

About Sachin, of course he is the best judge to decide when to quit the game. But still, he needs to perform. For a simple reason, his position No. 4 is equally important as the position No. 3. 

If motivation is a problem for him, as all milestones of the game he has touched already, then it's certainly the time for him to think whether he should continue. More so, as his last test century came in January 2011. And it's quite evident that his problem is not so technical but motivational, which is obvious for anyone when the person has achieved everything in his illustrious career spanning over 22 years and has nothing to prove for that matter. 

Regarding spinners, you can't expect them to come and start bowling their magical spells immediately, using fights and loops, while all through the year they actually prepare themselves for the IPL and practise to bowl at a batsman's boot in order to concede lesser runs in 4 overs. Whoever has played even school cricket will understand that it's NOT at all easy to give the ball any air unless it's practiced really hard, in fact relentlessly in the nets and matches. It takes a lot of skills which cannot be honed overnight or kept alive minus religious practice and experiment. 

And in the midst of IPL culture it's impossible to nourish a proper spinner unless he's at least half resolute as Anil. 

In the pace department, I don't know whom to pick up and whom not to. As whoever is picked up will either under perform or will get injured in a practice session. 

Honestly, I always find it quite bizarre how come one get injured in a practice session while there are so many modern facilities nowadays to practice with! 

Except Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda none has the pace either to beat a test level batsman, while it's still Zaheer Khan only who could spearhead the attack. 

Others like Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar are good for first-class standard; Sreesanth is good on a dancing floor while Ishant Sharma can book a privileged bed in any reputed hospital under injury quota. And where's Varun Aaron, well, I've no clue!

The team has to be rebuilt and that too keeping in mind NO Sachin for long. So the composition should ideally be - 

1. Gambhir (C), 2. Sehwag / Rahane, 3. Pujara, 4. Kohli (VC), 5. Tendulkar / Tiwary, 6. Yuvraj Singh, 7. Saha (W), 8. Ashwin, 9. Ojha / Harbhajan, 9. Zaheer, 10. Dinda, 11. Umesh Yadav, 12. Irfan Pathan / Varun Aaron. 

Yes, as a wicket-keeper, Wriddhiman Saha deserves more chances than he's got so far comparing to the amount look-ins both Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik have enjoyed. 

If this squad is nourished properly under Sourav, Rahul and Anil, India has some hopes to do well in tests, otherwise nothing is going to happen on despite winning a series or two against teams like Bangladesh, New Zealand at home.  

And there got to be a penalty system as well applicable to every player, senior or junior, that if he's injured during a practice session due to his negligence then he has to pay for that. 

In short this Indian team has no resolve at present, so that needs to be brought back in the dressing room ASAP. And once it's done, rest will happen rather automatically.

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