Monday, January 16, 2012

Insipid performance outside India - Dhoni alone is not to be blamed !


Life can be so uncertain – a fall to disgrace from top can happen so suddenly.. now people are braying for his blood and perhaps expectedly after the 0-7 straight losses at foreign soil…  4 at England and 3 at AustraliaIndia folding down without fight is becoming a regular phenomenon.  Every arm-chair critic will wag his tongue and harsh words are flowing unabated.

Less than an year after they were crowned World Champions (albeit in a different form of tournament and at Home] – Indians are realizing the ground realities.  The abject performance has been brought about by continued failure of batting line-up and at a time when there are some real Seniors and some others whose place in team is totally questionable, the skipper is talking about his retirement from the longer format !

He is just 30 and certainly has a tough physique – people were hailing his mental toughness and cool display of attitude – now everyone is picking holes in his technique, Captaincy and defensive  field placement.  There was a time when most felt that his moves are so apt that nothing can go wrong – but now !!!

It was a meteoric rise for one born in Ranchi – a keeper batsman, unorthodox in his methods and unkempt in looks at that time to aspire playing for the Nation itself was a dream but he rose to become its Captain shortly after his debut in Dec 2004 (ODI) and a year later in Tests.  Not many would know this interesting piece of statistical information :

It was Aug 2004, the venue Gymkhana Club, Nairobi, and the opponents Pakistan A.  Those who played alongside  are nowhere in horizon save Gambhir – they were  DS Jadhav, Amit Bhandhari, Powar, Bahutule, S Sriam,  Venugopal Rao, Avishkar Salvi, … against Pak A – Dhoni powered his way with two hard hitting centuries – making the National Selectors think of him.

In this short span, he has played 67 Tests making 3509 runs with 5 centuries; a better performance in ODIs 196 matches / 175 innings – 6497 runs – 7 centuries and 43 fifties.  He has been the Victorious Captain in 50 overs World Cup, T20, IPL, Champions Trophy … he has seen it all. 

Now, after string of poor performance, his head is sought after – for other reasons, he would not play the next test at Adelaide – banned after Indians were found to be two overs short of the required over-rate in Perth. In Dhoni's absence, Virender Sehwag will captain the side in Adelaide. Wriddhiman Saha, who debuted in Nagpur as a specialist batsman in unusual circumstances against South Africa in 2009-10, is the reserve wicketkeeper on tour and looks certain to play. 

India sent down 76 overs in 362 minutes in the only innings they bowled in at the WACA ground and despite adjustments for the wickets fall, they were still found short.  Dhoni pleaded guilty, and said he was aware of the regulations. He was fined 40% of his match fees, and the rest of the team was docked 20% each. This was India's second over-rate offence in the last 12 months. Dhoni had been on notice after India were found short in Barbados in June-July last year.  In June last (i.e., 2011) the rules were modified and now the rule is that the captains of international sides be suspended for a match when found guilty of two such transgressions within 12 months.

One primary reason for the slow over rate is India playing four fast bowlers in Perth – it was a line up of Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar – a very rare luxury that probably happened after two decades. 

There have been talks that Laxman had played his last innings in International Cricket – the one at Perth – Sehwag has not been scoring for long in Tests, Gambhir has struggled, Laxman not scoring at all, Dravid’s defences lay shattered with him getting bowled more often, Sachin scoring but not his elusive ton, Virat scored in this test though he looked out of sorts on earlier occasions, Dhoni not scoring and the later middle order folding in one or two overs – has been the regular tale of Indian batting and a Team cannot dream of winning with such a brittle display by its batsmen.    Dhoni on his part spoke on phasing out the seniors thoughtfully and of  getting a right combination of youth and experience.  There has been widespread criticism that India have already delayed the phasing out of their three great batting stars.  All transitions are painful and how the youngsters will perform can only be seen when they are on trial !

So at Adelaide, there still may not be major shake up – Saha would glove for Dhoni – but the batting line could still be the same and you may not expect anything far different than what has  been happening consistently for sometime now.    Meantime the squad for the ODI tri- nation tourney has been announced.    It is :  : MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Manoj Tiwary, Parthiv Patel (wk), Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan, R Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Rahul Sharma, R Ashwin.

So Sachin and Sehwag would open, followed by Gambhir, Raina, Kohli, Rohit,  Jadeja & Dhoni.  Ashwin, Yadav, Zaheer would be bowlers.  Tiwary may not get a chance after his century in the last ODI that India played against WI at Chepauk.  Whether Rahul Sharma would get a chance and whether he would impress remains to be seen. 

The Indian fan would remain glued with eternal hopes for a better performance.  Apart from the players, there is another who is responsible for this insipid performance – the new coach – Duncan Fletcher – nothing has gone right for the Team after his taking over and that perhaps requires a detailed post !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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  2. dhoni shuld be remove from indian team for 3 months as a rest.. then he wil come back.............

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