Monday, August 1, 2011

A Well Deserved Thrashing

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A well as India played in the months prior to the World Cup, ultimately leading to the World Cup win itself, they have badly let themselves down since then. A stirring series in South Africa where India tamed Steyn and Kallis and gave South Africa some back was followed by a World Cup run that seemed scripted by a fairy tale writer.

It's hard to believe it is the same team that's getting it's butt kicked by a rampaging England. The manner of defeat resembles abject capitulation as opposed to going down fighting. One can accept the excuse that India is not at full-strength, but to give up without much of a fight is demeaning to the game itself.

Indian fans can be forgiven for conjuring up images of Gavaskar's 221 at the Oval chasing 440-plus. I for one had hopes that one out of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman would play that kind of a knock and would remind the world that India was still number one, even if the team lost. I was totally unprepared for the team to lose inside of five days.

The foundation was laid by Broad's hat-trick, followed by a rapid demolition of India's attack by Bell and co. The scoring rate for England stayed almost ODI-like throughout their second innings. Demoralized doesn't even come close to describing the state of Indian bowlers. They were clueless, leaderless and exposed. The captain and coach both need to cop a lot of the blame for this. If Harbhajan continues to play ahead of Mishra in this series, something is definitely wrong with the think-tank.

India's vaunted batting line up stood exposed against aggressive seam bowling. They had pooh-poohed the notion that they were vulnerable to short-pitched fast bowling. Dravid alone utilized his time in the Caribbean to come good. But he couldn't help the emperor don a fig leaf. Tendulkar and Laxman haven't given a good enough account of themselves and I'm sure they need no one to let them know that.

Sehwag and Gambhir will likely play the next test. Assuming Sehwag hits form rightaway, which is unlikely, India could still show some class. Unfortunately, Dhoni seems to have lost his luck. This could be the series that sends him downhill. He needs to seriously discover some batting form on this tour, otherwise his credibility is on the line.

Unfortunately, the golden period for Indian cricket seems to be getting close to over. They have fallen short against a full-strength Australian side in the past and now against a full-strength England side. The chasm between England and India is huge. It's unlikely to be closed in this series. I have a feeling that the big three have already played their last good series in South Africa. India could be staring at losing the series 3-0 or even 4-0. What then?


Anonymous said...

Did it hurt this time around at least??

Anonymous said...

Yes. Big time.