The cricket-mad India has lately been shocked to witness the mauling of its Test cricket side by mighty Australians. The Indian team has made a meek surrender to Australians losing three out of four Tests. Given the fragility of the Indians against the mighty opponents, the team is well on the verge of facing second whitewash.
The invincible Oz have inflicted heavy defeats in all three Test matches to a side famed for its superior batting line up embellished with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virendra Shewag, Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman.
After witnessing the unexpected defeat of its World Cup Champions, the Indian media, which puts a lot of priority on its cricket players and team, has been spewing brimstones against Indian players and the team for their worst performance in years in the Down Under. The heroes of yesterday have overnight become villains for a nation that is crazy for cricket.
The ire of the Indian media is understandable, given the fact that the Indian cricket fans are the ones who throng every cricket match that Indians participate and are instrumental in pumping the all necessary funds for the cricket associations, not only of India but also around the world.
The heavy loss to the Kangaroos is the second consecutive for the Indians abroad. The Indians last summer were beaten 4-0 by England in English soil. They also lost one day series against the resurgent England players. Now, the series against the Australians has already been lost, the only interest in the series left is whether the Indian cricket’s blue-eyed boy, master blaster Tendulkar, could score a century of centuries during the Australia tour. Tendulkar is the only batsman in the current series who has made good contribution with his bat but has so far failed to score a century in the six innings they played.
The way captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s players have capitulated against the English and Australian players have indeed put a big question mark on the ability of Indian players in challenging the real cricketing talents of the English and Australian players.
It has been now crystal clear that the Indian players, accustomed to play in a placid subcontinent pitches, have failed to cope with the fast tracks of these two nations. Many of the batsmen have failed to negotiate the genuine fast, bouncing, swinging balls of the players of the two nations.
The cricket management and players abroad often realize the weaknesses of the Indian players and frequently set up traps, in which the Indians become an easy prey. After seeing their worst performances abroad, many have been raising question: Would the Indians be able to win the World Cup 2011, if it was organized in England or Australia instead of Indian subcontinent?
The heavy defeats to the side has also brought a disrepute to the Indian cricket establishment, the selectors and the cricket governing body in India, the BCCI. Regarded one of the richest sports bodies in the world, the BCCI has now been drawing flak from all and sundry for the lackluster performance of its team, for which it spends millions of dollars. The failure in injecting new young talents is partially to blame for the poor show of the Indians.
Critics also raise their accusing finger towards too much of shorter version of cricket, which has greatly affected the performance of the team that few months ago enjoyed the top Test position in the world. Lately, the Indian players have been taking part in shorter version of the game, mainly the T20, which is blamed for the corrosion of the players’ ability to play the longer version such as five-day long Test cricket, which is still regarded as the event that showcases the real talent in a cricketer. The attraction of money and glamour involved with Indian Premier League of T20 cricket has been proving fatal to the Indian side.
The Test cricket demands skills, temperament, patience and stamina. Because of heavy workloads of playing all three versions of game, Indian captain Dhoni has already hinted that he might quit the Test cricket to focus on one-day and T20 versions. Going by the performance at down under, it can be rightly said that the Indian side of late had been missing skill, temperament and patience while playing Test matches against the two two finest teams of cricket.
One could only imagine what would happen if the famous quartet of Indian batting- Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Shewag, already in their late 30s- retire from the game. The Indian cricket management will certainly have difficult time in spotting the talent that would fill the void created by the retirement of these master batsmen.