We lost 4-0 in England. We lost 4-0 in Australia. We couldn’t make it to the ODI tri – series final in Australia. Everyone cried and debated for changes to be done, heads to roll, captaincy to change and the likes. But nothing happened. All our players and selectors made statements about India being champions at home. They felt that everyone was a tiger at home and we would reply to them in kind. They asked rank turners to be prepared when other teams visited the country. As the IPL and the NZ series came and went, the hurt, disappointment and dejection of 8-0 were long gone and buried in the annals of history so to say.
The England series was billed as the ‘revenge’ series. Whether it was social media, newspapers or TV, everyone had already assumed that we were going to win 4-0. As we won the first match, the calls became even louder to go for the kill. But the party was to go horribly wrong. In the next two tests, England taught India how to bowl, field and bat with responsibility, caution and patience. They taught us the way to play at our home grounds.
They did this at Mumbai and then went one step ahead and did the same at Kolkata as well. It was not a simple plain defeat. It was annihilation. It was a humiliation made all the more magnified because it was at home. It was at the place where we hadn’t lost a test match in years. They consigned us to a new low not seen in years.
What would you expect from all this? That our cricketers learn? That they correct their mistakes and try to be the best they can be? But sadly, they seem to be in a completely different world. If Dhoni is asking for turners despite his batsman not able to put bat to ball, Gambhir is lost in his thoughts that he and Viru are the best opening pair on the planet. If Sehwag thinks the batsman weren’t an embarrassment despite them collapsing like a pack of cards, Ojha was still confident of us fighting back to save the Kolkata test despite never looking like so. If Dhoni can continue in the team despite his horrible batting and highly defensive captaincy, Sachin is still continuing trying to regain his ‘Godly’ status.
The problem is of denial. As someone once said, the solution to any problem can be found when the concerned people agree that it is a problem after all. If they don’t think it is, then only God can save them. And here I am not referring to the Master Blaster. The problem is that we have never thought that our test cricket is a problem. We have never thought Dhoni is not a test match player let alone captain test matches. We never had a proper plan in place for the Fab 4 and the results can be seen today. But do we really care?
When we lost in England and Australia, it was the super fast, seaming and bouncy pitches which did us in. Against England in Mumbai, we didn’t get the pitch we wanted. In Kolkata, we could have done well with a little more runs. Our batsmen were just one innings away from a special knock. Our bowlers are young and learning the ropes. People have become tired of such oft repeated excuses but Dhoni, our ‘cool’ captain doesn’t seem out of them.
Dhoni can’t be removed because he’s the one who took us to World Cup victories and the no 1 ranking in tests. Sachin can’t be touched. Viru and Gambhir are the best opening pair we have. Yuvi and Raina are the only ones for the no 6 spot in our country. Zak is our only fast bowler who can bowl something resembling fast. Ashwin and Ojha are the best spinners we have. Though Ashwin’s batting average is the 2nd highest and the bowling average is the highest in the team in this series.
Everyone is amazing. So no one can be removed. They say that change should begin from the top. And here it means Dhoni and Fletcher. But despite the tumbling and thrashing we have got, Dhoni seems to have all the power in the world to be stuck on his throne like a typical Indian politician.
And thus we continue to be in a state of denial! How long will we be stuck on our World Cup victories?
Note – The post was written before Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were left out of the squad for the 4th test.