Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Crown is slipping.

Team India's second successive defeat in England has left the fans in utter disbelief. We all know that winning and losing is a part and parcel of the game but the manner in which the Indian team has capitulated, is simply disgusting. The team just seemed to lack the stomach to give a fight to the English. There is no doubt that Team India is plagued by injuries to key players like Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir and of course Virender Sehwag is recuperating from shoulder surgery. But even without these players, the Indian team is a formidable unit and there was no acceptable reason to be pushed over by the Poms so easily. So what went wrong?

For starters, I think the team is looking listless and jaded. Indian cricket team always has played more international cricket than any other nation for more than a decade now. The BCCI has always been accused of making money even at the expense of fitness of players and the quality of cricket being played. If that was not enough, IPL came in with a bang. No doubt the IPL brought fantastic money to the players and also helped in nurturing new talent. But the problem is that around 50 days of IPL were squeezed in to the already cramped international schedule of Indian cricketers and that too in the peak of scorching Indian summer. Most of the players who were carrying niggles had their injuries aggravated but the lure of big money kept them going. IPL was over and then so many of the players excused themselves to either take much needed rest or to nurse their injuries. Therefore the full team was not available for the West Indies tour. Nonetheless the team did win in West Indies. But the signs of fatigue were clearly visible even in West Indies when in the last test, Dhoni decided not to press for a probable victory citing the risk of losing the match. But against the powerful and fresh England team, India was terribly exposed.

The club vs country debate will start again. Should the players in need of rest and who are recovering from injuries, keep playing for their clubs at the expense of their availability to play for India? The star Indian players are already very rich therefore should they still give priority to the club over the country? Don't the players realize that their brand value is due to their success while playing for India? If the players can opt out of playing for India citing injuries or to take rest, then why can't they give the same reason for not playing IPL? I am not against IPL but the BCCI and the players need to rationalize their priorities and always keep the country above everything else.

Technically, we can still retain our number one test ranking since two more matches are to be played. But more than the rankings, the fans would like to see some fighting spirit from the team. Indian team in any case was not going to hold on to the number one spot for a long time since the gap between the top three teams was marginal, but the fans would not like to behold the sight of the team getting dethroned in utter disgrace. 

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