In 1989-90 season when India lost the series in New Zealand, Bishen Singh Bedi, then coach of the Indian team said that 'Throw this Indian team in Pacific Ocean'. These were very harsh words used by any Indian coach. Now 22 years later, after drubbing in England and Australia, I must say 'Throw This Indian team in Indian Ocean' but before that throw entire BCCI in Arabian Sea which is very near to the BCCI headquarters. 8 consecutive overseas defeats in the span of 7 months is really hard to digest and that too for the team which enjoyed No.1 ranking in test cricket for more than 2 years. Really fail to to understand this dismal turnaround in performance of this very talented team which is considered as best batting line-up in the world and 2 of the highest run-getters are part of this team.
There are 3 reasons for this dismal turnaround. No.1 Defensive Captaincy, No.2 Poor Team Selection and No.3 Too Much Cricket.
Many cricket fans did not agreed upon defensive captaincy of MS Dhoni when I raised this issue in this blog 1 and half years back. Dhoni's defensive captaincy started 2 years back, but team was winning consistently so nobody bothered about it. But I must say, although Team India earned the No.1 ranking in test matches but never won series in England, Australia and South Africa in last 4 years. It means Team India won most of the matches at home. Many will say Indian team won in West Indies and New Zealand, but one must remember that both West Indies and New Zealand are way below in ranking and not considered quality side these days. So there is big question-mark on that No.1 ranking of Indian team. Indian team had a chance of winning more test matches in South Africa, England and Australia, if Dhoni had tried aggressive strategies instead he opened the field for opposition batsmen after putting them on mat and this happened in South Africa last year, it happened in England and it happened in Australia. Even in the series against West Indies(Home and Away) last year, Dhoni did same mistakes but fortunately we won the series. Dhoni's batting also affected because of the captaincy pressure and wicket-keeping skills were never great.
Poor team selection is also one of the reason why Team India lost the plot. Last year Rajasthan won Ranji Trophy but none of the player from Rajasthan team got selected in Indian team. Fast bowler Pankaj Singh who is among top wicket-takers in domestic cricket this year and last year, completely ignored by the selectors. Pankaj Singh bowled is heart out on slow-low pitches and played important part in Rajasthan team's glory. Instead bowlers like Abhimanyu Mithun and Vinay Kumar who hails from South Zone played ahead of Pankaj Singh just because chief selector is from South Zone. Deepak Chahar had a wonderful debut season for Rajasthan last year, also ignored by selectors for England tour where he could have proved lethal because of his swing. But not selected. Varun Aaron warmed the bench on that entire England tour. Abhinav Mukund was clearly ignored after 2 failures. He started well in England with 49 run innings in his first test at Lord's but not persisted after second test, instead Sehwag was brought back, though he was not fit enough to play and result is in front of everybody. Suresh Raina was persisted even after repeated failures at test level ahead of talented players like Rahane and Rohit Sharma. If this is not enough selectors still not learnt from their mistakes and dropped Rahane from the Tri-Series down-under. Rahane spent close to one month with this team in Australia has come back home without playing a single test match on this tour. Ishant Sharma has done nothing except one good tour of West Indies, got selected for the tour down-under ahead of Irfan Pathan who is in fantastic form and rhythm this domestic season not selected for test series down-under. So selection played pivotal role in debacle. This year also Rajasthan won the elite trophy and man who made it possible for Rajasthan are ignored once again. It is pure bias of the selectors towards players like Pankaj Singh and Rituraj Singh. There are many more examples but space is less.
Too much cricket is also one of the major reason for this debacle. Look at Indian team's cricket schedule of last year and half and one can easily understand the effect. Not a single month passed without cricket.
- Starting from Oct'10, India played Australia at home (2 Test Match and 3 ODIs).
- Nov'10-Dec'10, New Zealand toured India (3 Test Matches and 5 ODIs).
- Dec'10- Jan'11, India toured South Africa( 3 test Matches - 5 ODIs).
- Feb'11-Apr'11, World Cup ( 9 ODIs).
- Apr'11-May'11, IPL (74 T20 Matches).
- May'11-Jun'11, India toured West Indies (3 Test Matches and 5 ODIs).
- Jun'11-Sept'11, India toured England (4 Test Matches and 5 ODIs).
- Sep'11-Oct'11, Champions League T20. Oct'11,
- England toured India (5 ODIs). Oct'11-Nov'11,
- West Indies toured India (3 Test Matches and 5 ODIs).
- Current : Dec'11-Feb'12, India touring Australia(4 Test Matches and Tri-Series(15 ODIs).
- Future : March'11, Asia Cup. April'11-May'11, IPL.
So not a single month gone without cricket which involved Team India starting Oct'10. It is easy to question the performances, but one must understand this work-load which affected team India's performance. It is easy to blame legends like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman but one must not forget Sachin is playing best cricket of his life since 2007. Dravid has scored plenty of runs in last one year and has only one poor series down-under. Laxman failed only in 2 series in last decade. So it is not good to question the performance of these legends. Dip in performance bound to happen in one or 2 series if you play hell of the cricket non-stop for years.
I think if Indian cricket have to come on track then administrators and selectors have to take important decision regarding scheduling of the matches and series. They also have to look at rotation policy. Otherwise, Indian cricket will die soon. Moreover, now Pakistan coach, captain and administrators are making mockery of India team's debacle. Pakistan has won 8 test matches out of last 14 and lost just one. they also defeated No.1 ranked England recently. But one must not forget, those Pakistanis who are laughing at Indian cricket, have won matches against teams like Zimbabwe, West Indies and Bangladesh. They have beaten England recently on spin friendly tracks and everybody knows the weakness of English team. But Pakistan is taking revenge because their players are banned in IPL. But our administrators has also given them a chance to laugh at us. Indian Cricket has lost the ground in last few months and its upto the administrators to bring it back on track with some wise decisions.