The third test match between India and Australia ended at the WACA today. Just 2 and a half days of cricket and Indians are ground to dust. It seems to most of us that Team India is saving its worst for the last match at Adelaide because each performance is worse than the previous one. If you thought 191 at SCG was a pathetic first inning score, they made 161 at Perth. An innings defeat again at Perth and abject humiliation as the match did not even last 3 full days, thanks to dismal Indian batting in both innings.
One can argue that it was expected, but the scale of it is shocking. I am very sad indeed because I know this match has spelt doom for my favorite VVS Laxman. I know for sure, that he will be shown the door in the next match, making way for Rohit. A ray of hope comes as Dhoni is banned for the next match, thanks to his two over over rate in this one. Would the selectors make three changes for Adelaide? Saha will replace Dhoni as wicket-keeper and Vinay Kumar will have to give way to either Ashwin or Ojha. Will Rohit come in at the expense of VVS? Maybe, and it might be good to have a young player. I do not know how much of Rohit's test talent Ian Chapell has seen, but fact is he hasn't played any international test and his ODI record doesn't impress me either. We are often told IPL has brought several new talents in Indian cricket to the fore. I am sorry, I do not recognise any of the IPL talents as good enough to play tests, leave alone performing well in them. So Rohit is not my favorite cricketer. I must however say, that Kohli's attitute annoys me but he definitely showed promise today. Batted an entire session even though wickets kept tumbling at the other end. His shots are good, plays close to the body, leaves the unplayable balls, defends well and has a range of strokes. I think he is a 'lambi race ka ghoda'...He will do well.
So, there's much speculation about why India lost so badly. Dhoni said it was the batting because the bowlers did get 10 wickets in less than 2 sessions yesterday. yes, ofcourse the batting has been appalling. Lack of application. Gambhir, Sehwag, Laxman gifted their wickets, Tendulkar's was earned and Dravid was bowled again.It was sad to see Dravid struggling. His footwork and reflexes were definitely one of a 39 year old. The most anguish I felt was when Dhoni edged it in the slips. It was as if he had planned to. His captaincy is not any better than his batting. The way he rotated his bowlers and set up fielding somehow felt very fishy, almost as if BCCI had paid him to underperform, so that test cricket is decimated in India. Very unlike Dhoni and very fishy. So when he came armed with that famous captain cool grin for the post match press conference, you wanted to ask him to wipe it off. And now he must be relieved he will not captain India through the grand finale of humiliation at Adelaide.
The one thing that the Indian fans and media are not talking about is how the IPL has ruined test cricket. BCCI has already announced the IPL teams for the new season in the midst of this important international tour and there seems to be no outrage on this. IPL should have been for the retired players, but its become the main tournament for current and future players, run by the most corrupt BCCI that is minting money out of this. Imagine that BCCI officials have direct financial stakes in the IPL franchises. And, that odious Rajeev Shukla, BCCI VP will perhaps say that India losing is a good thing for Australian cricket! He said that about India losing 4 nil in England. Not only is he BCCI VP, and UPCB honorary secretary but have just discovered, he is a govt. nominee in the DDCA along with another parliamentarian, Navin Jindal. This man, whose rise to power has not been surprising given he is a political middle man, a creep of the highest order with friends in high places, he controls the cricket board. He strutts around making statements on Indian cricket and cricketers....which is a higher insult to the players than losing a match. Just looked at his website, this creep has his badges and passes as a BCCI official scanned and uploaded!!!! Check it out... In India, politicians and celebrities are so in love with themselves!
and how I feel about Sharad Pawar being ICC president? that will be a rant sesison for another time...Sharad Pawar? huh? In India to be a politician, you just need to be a creep. Many people including Gavaskar are saying that we need to relook at the pitches in India. BCCI is making billions and it's not such a tough job to get new pitches that help the fast bowlers...pitches that we see in SA, Australia. Is it so unreasonable to demand good grounds, good facilities for both players and spectators? If cricket is the only game we are remotely good at, to compete at the world level, how much do we spend on improving the level of skill in this sport? none! Can you imagine the schedule of these players, bullied by the BCCI to play IPL for two good months in the year? injuries are common and the technique never develops. Frankly those who like the game know, there is no fun watching sixes being hammered left and right. There is fun in watching a tough contest between bat and ball. Hostile bowling and batting that toughs it out. Remember Sachin's century in South Africa against Dale Steyn's darting/snaky spells in 2010? Thats the kind of test cricket that is superb.
and while we rant about Team India's dismal performance, I am not so sure the Aussies should be celebrating hard. Barring Warner and Cowan who were firing against an insipid attack, the rest of the team collapsed quickly. Ponting's dismissal was 3 times uglier than Dravid's as Yadav managed to remove his middle stump. ughhh. and the high point was Haddin's dismissal by Zaheer on zero...as some Aussie fan wrote on cricinfo... Haddin can't bat, can't keep and can't sledge! hahaha. Hussey, Marsh and Clarke himself looked very uncomfortable and did not make good scores. Aussie bowling is top class but their best scorerer in a test is a T 20 import, Dave Warner, they have some serious batting issues that they need to address without getting too euphoric about scoring runs against a poor Indian bowling side. They have had batting collapses of mammoth proportions in recent times, including 47 all out in SA. I cant even begin to imagine what Tremlett and Anderson would do to the likes of Warner and other struggling Aussie batsmen when they tour England. So while victory against any opposition is sweet, Aussies are far from being a world beating side. At this point England and South Africa have a more balanced team.
Well, I have to admit, it was disappointing today because at one point I thought an innings defeat would be avoided. Alas. I am not sure I want to follow Indian cricket anymore for a while and am eagerly waiting for the Pak-England series. Anyone who watches IPL or argues about its merits is a partner in crime, for decimating Indian test cricket. We shouldn't even feel good if we do well in the ODIs here. In 2008 we lost with dignity and Kumble's not every talented team fought hard after the MCG loss. Captain Cool Dhoni's experienced team has meekly surrendered to an inexperienced Aussie side. Its such a shame to go down without a fight. Thats not what cricket stands for. Its a sport thats all about character, courage and fortitude...there were days when batsmen like Gavaskar, Richards faced the fast bowling of Lillee, Walsh, Roberts etc without a helmet! Hard to imagine as it would take a lot of guts. The game has changed now and players have more protection, surely not because they can meekly surrender.
Cricketers are humans yes, but they are also professionals who are paid to perform their best. they are paid millions today and earn so much more through sponsorships, endorsements etc. It is not unfair for fans to expect that these professionals will give their best to the sport. The logic is simple, when you are paid to do the job, you must do it...or you are fired. The bonus is its a job they like, and a job they choose early in their lives. I pay more than 100 AUD for every day ticket to the ground and see my team go down like a pack of cards. I am happy to respect the players, but as a fan, I deserve respect too! Dravid talked about respecting the fan in his Bradman Oration before the start of the series and then forgot about it each time he went to bat.
So my final message for Team India. Please respect your fans and apply yourselves. Its not about winning or losing, but about how you approach the game. You guys have been shamelessly dismal....If they cannot salvage any pride at Adelaide, this team's test status should definitely be revoked!
more again later....so disappointed, sad...and now sleepy!