Shocking !

Monday, November 27, 2006 Vishaal 0 Comments

I am an ardent fan of the Indian cricket team and I am one of the billion cricket fans across this vast country called India. When India plays, this country spreads to every nook and corner of the world where Indians live...... In short India is a truly global country when it comes to cricket.

Every one of the Indian fans has an opinion about how the game should be run and every Indian cricketer knows this.

I loved the way Chappell used to speak about his dream and the process which he wanted to put in place for the Indian team, when he applied for the Job of coaching India. I loved the way he presented his concepts and thoughts to the Board of Cricket and then the way he interacted with the Media. I believe I was not the only one to think that he had a plan and would see that our team would progress well under him. I was one among those who praised too early the "initial success" of Chappell. I did not pause to think that it was only the momentum of a team already built by my favourite Indian Coach, a certain, John Wright. It was not yet Greg's team.

Over the past few months the defeats of the Indian team have been mounting.... I still continued to believe that Chappell would turn things around. The team would rally under Dravid and once again we would regain the momentum. The performance of the team in the DLF cup was an aberration.. we would do well in India. The Champions trophy will be won by my team. But then we could not make it even to the Semis... there was something missing in the team... Could I be mistaken? Have we lost the steel we had under Ganguly? No... Maybe we were expecting miracles from an inexperienced bowling line up. ( I conveniently forgot that the same bowling lineup had decimated the Sri Lankan, Pakistani and English teams on feather bed pitches).

Sachin was back in form and was performing as he used to in the past. He was playing strokes that we as a country had thought he had forgotten. He was not as consistent but then the joy of watching the master was back.(It was a pain to see him play like a mere mortal after the last world cup).

But where were the others? What had happened to Sehwag? What about Dravid? Why was the wall crumbling? Was the Steel getting corroded? Pathan? Where was Swing? The Akram of India ? Was he in hibernation? How could a player with such immense self-confidence lose it all of a sudden? As these things were pointed out again and again by the opposition teams , a small doubt crept in... Was the Chappell agenda a farce? Did we put our trust in a Coach who was inexperienced to chart out a course for a country at this level?

Then came the Debacle of Durban. When had we last seen our team crumble without a fight? I couldn't recall a score of less than 100 that India had scored in the near past and had to go all the way back to Sharjah and Mutthaih Muralitharan's wonderful 7 wicket haul as India were bundled out for 54. But 91 all out was not the point. Better teams have scored less. It was the manner in which they crumbled that was sad to see. The commentators started pointing out Technical flaws, of which I am no expert, so I can't comment about them. But what is the job of a coach then? Shouldn't he be the one to see that the errors are stopped before they creep in?

Of course adjusting to the bounce and pace at Durban has been difficult for most teams, let alone the ones from the sub-continent... so I let go my doubts and waited for the next game. India had a better record at the Newlands and we would come roaring back into contention for the Series trophy.

And joy oh joy.... Zaheer was menacing as we rolled over the top order and rolled over the middle order and we were going to dish out the South Africans a taste of their own medicine... We were going to bowl them out within Hundred... Oh ! The wonders of cricket! The Joy of cricket! wait a minute... Was that not a catch that Sachin dropped? Kemp was on 9! Wasn't that a dolly that Sachin dropped? Ah forget it ... Another will be held... They will get out within 150... We have good bowlers.. experienced bowlers in the likes of Kumble and the first choice spin bowler Harbhajan Singh. But then things panned out differently.. As it happened " Sachin drops Kemp" became the turning point. Ah what a magnificent hitter of the cricket ball... but relax we have our own. Do not worry 274 is chaseable.

But then what happened? Sehwag gone.... Sachin gone.... Kaif gone.... Karthick gone.... Dravid back in form?... Dhoni Blasting into form .... Team India flatters to deceive again.

Now I have serious doubts .... loads of questions... It has been a shocking turnaround over the past 6 months.... a team which was number 3 in the ODI rankings has slipped so badly....

  • What is the reason?

  • Aren't they the same team members?

  • Why was Karthick chosen over 3 other specialist batsmen?

  • Why is Sehwag given so many chances when Ganguly ( I am no Ganguly fan or supporter) was pushed out for the same reason?

  • Why did we not bowl Sachin or Sehwag when they were going after our Seamers?

  • What was the plan of sending Karthick ahead of Dhoni?

  • What was our Chairman of Selectors doing?

  • Was that Chappell sleeping in the pavilion?

The Indian fan is now very desperate and lonely. Our team is not performing. the World Cup dreams seem to be fading away. Chappell once said..."The World Cup of Cricket is not the be all and end all of Indian cricket, we have to prepare for the cricket after that too..." or something along those lines.... Does it mean that we do not want to win the World Cup? Are we going to end up like the current England Cricket team who unlike us have focused only on the Ashes and have no Ashes and no other trophy in their cupboard... Will we end up as an also ran.......

I still am a Chappell fan... but might not be for long..... But for Team India.... I will support till the end....