Friday, 6 January 2012

India- Back to the 90's

India succumbed to another massive defeat within just 4 days against Australia at Sydney in the 2nd test. The innings and 68 run defeat was their 6th straight loss overseas and ends India's dream of winning a series in Australia. India was said to be a bad team overseas until 2002-03. But things quickly changed as India started winning overseas. Over the last decade under Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and then Dhoni, India have won tests in England, South Africa, Australia, West Indies and New Zealand as well. That means we have defeated all non-subcontinent countries in their backyards. But 2011 has projected a completely different picture as first we lost the no. 1 throne and then even the hard earned tag of good overseas players. Be it bounce. seam or swing, India have struggled.
The way India lost matches against England and Australia where they literally seemed to surrender reminds one of India's overseas performances of the 90's where switching on the television in the morning brought up scenes of India tottering at 50-5 or 80-6 in Australia. Those horrors have came back after 2 "successful" tours down under. All the respect that India earned in the last decade has been lost very quickly by India. In a period where teams are rebuilding and looking towards a bright future, India seems to be going back in time to their struggling days.

Another notable feature of Indian team of the 90's was the team's over dependence on Sachin. Be it the Chennai test against Pakistan in 1999 or the 1996 semi final against Sri Lanka, the team lost as soon as Sachin got out, it was clear that the team was heavily dependent on Sachin to perform. But with rise of players like Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Yuvraj, things changed and India had match winners other than Sachin. Those times it seems have come back. In the 2011 world cup when Sachin was batting well against England and South Africa everything seemed so well but as soon as he got out the team collapsed. In the first test at the MCG, India were looking well placed at 214-2 with Tendulkar and Dravid looking set. But then Tendulkar got out and India folded for only 282. In the 2nd test at the SCG in the 2nd innings, India was in a decent position with Sachin and Laxman batting on a 100 run partnership and India looking good at 271-3. Just then Sachin got out and India were suddenly struggling at 286-7 with all the top 7 batsmen back in the hut.

One man cannot win you matches. The team has to step up. The problem with India in 2011 has been a lack of team effort. Only one man is performing at a time while the rest simply don't click. In England it was Dravid, here it is Tendulkar. Even in bowling, India's bowlers are bowling well in patches but they are not bowling well together in tandem to put pressure. Someday its Zaheer, while on the other day its Ishant but they are not bowling well together. That has been the problem. When the team was number 1, 2-3 players performed together in any situation and thats why the team was winning matches.

Serious measures have to be taken before the Perth test. If that involves making tough decisions, then they have to be made. Otherwise India is staring at another nightmare, similar to the one they faced in England last year.


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