Thursday, 29 December 2011

Why India loses the first test?

India has lost the first test of a series again overseas. Australia beat India by 122 runs on the 4th day of the boxing day test at MCG. The final result was opposite to what everyone had thought considering the "weak" Australian side and a "stronger" Indian side. India's age old problems like batting collapses, bad bowling to tail enders etc. are continuously haunting them. Over the last 5 years, India have lost 12 tests abroad which include 6 losses in the first test of the series.  And India's habit of losing the first test of a series abroad ceases to go. But why does India lose the first test so often?

Reluctance to adapt- Lack of practice or being new to conditions is clearly not a reason as most of the Indian players had arrived down under almost 2 weeks before the start of the first test at MCG on boxing day. If you can't adapt in 12 days then you won't in a year. The real reason is their reluctance to adapt. Indian players do not seem to be ready to change their technique according to the conditions. They probably think that the way they bat/ball in subcontinent would get them success down under too. Gambhir in particular was trying to cut the ball as if he is on the slow and low kotla wicket. Dhoni wants to just flash the ball hard irrespective of the lateral movement. The bowlers bowled well but only in patches. They were pitching it too short even though they should know that on pitches in Australia even just short of good length would be as high as a short ball is usually in sub-continent. If the Indians don't adjust to conditions quickly, they would face trouble in the forthcoming tests too.

Casual approach- India were the number one test team until July 2011. In that golden period India won tests abroad and came back many a times from first match defeats to win or draw the series. Lack of practice was the reason cited for India's first match loss and as soon as they won in the next test, it was forgotten. All this continued until that disastrous England tour. Even after the first defeat at Lords, Dhoni and even the media and fans were confident of a victory coming soon in the 2nd or 3rd test. But that never happened. After the defeat against Aussies at MCG, Dhoni smiled and very casually said in the presentation that we always have a bad start to the series. The gentleman still thinks that they can come back. Well they might but how can these first match defeats be taken for granted. Mr. Dhoni needs to be reminded that not always do you come back like you did in South Africa. Sometimes England tour like things also happen. India should stop taking these first match defeats casually as soon as possible. Otherwise more England like tours are there to follow.

Too much sub-continent cricket- Another reason for India's poor start to series abroad is the amount of cricket they keep playing in the sub-continent. Be it the IPL, Champions League, too many home matches and plenty of senseless tours to Sri Lanka. India keeps winning in the sub-continent and take their sub-continental habits abroad too where they then suffer. Some home series which India played this year were completely useless. India playing England in 5 ODI's just after completing a gruelling(humiliating too) 3 month tour to England. Then they hosted West Indies for a test and one day series after playing them in West Indies 4 months back. India, this way might be able to avenge their losses by comprehensively beating the other teams at home but how would this help when they play the same team abroad? Also India plays most amount of one day cricket and that too in India. So this is another reason why India fail in the first test of a series abroad.

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