Sunday, January 15, 2012

Poor Indian Batting Performance Continues

It is said that when calamities strike, they strike from all directions. Indian team, trapped deep inside tornado, must have realized by now that this is the darkest hour of their cricketing life. If they have not realized, well, God help them! Perth debacle takes the tally to the straight 7th Test Match loss for India away from home. While the only match they won at home was against very weak West Indies side. And in that series too, India could have easily lost the last game, thanks to R Ashwin for the last over sensible batting, which saved the Test and series!

Batting: The real culprit

Last 7 Away Test Matches Batting 'non'- Performance

Above is the statistics of India batting for both England and Current Australia series after the end of Perth Test match. Though Dravid has top scored in these 7 matches, he hardly seems to be the best student of the class (who else, I wonder!). If England series was a career saving tour for him, Australia series has again raised questions over his technique, attitude. Dravid seems to be very tentative and full of doubt as he has been bowled out 8 times in last 10 innings. The in-cutters have created enough cracks in the Wall that balls can pass through easily. Though selectors cannot force Dravid to retire, if Dravid wants to contribute, he should to play with positive attitude. He is at his best when he plays with positive frame of mind. Dravid, fit enough to play for another year or so, must therefore shut up his critics by scoring loads of runs. And, should also choose right moment to retire!

Sachin Tendulkar, looked like the person without any sort of trouble in Australian tour, is in great touch. Fitness-wise also, he seems perfectly Ok. But somewhere in his back of mind, the monkey of 100th ton seems to have burdened him. Also the fact that team winds up after he gets out - even after 20 years - must have added the pressure on him. Moment when Sachin was judged LBW in Perth 2nd innings, he showed emotions against the decisions which is very rare. The little master was Out, even if DRS was in place. I think, that was Sachin's frustration coming out more than anything else!

Sehwag, who entered Australia with record 219 in an ODI innings, should have been the usual confidant, ruthless Sehwag. But instead, after throwing his wickets to rash shots in first few innings, he decided to go against his natural game in Perth and failed to deliver. His poor average of ~ 16 in last 5 Tests is a very huge concern for Indian batting lineup. So is the case with Gambhir. In 2009, he performed so well, that it looked India has got the next Wall. But in last 2 years, his performance was very dull. Average of ~ 20 in last 7 Tests is shameful for opener of any team. As a result of failure of both the openers, Indian "strong" top middle order gets exposed to the new ball and testing batting conditions within first 10 overs. This has an impact on performances of Dravids, Tendulkars. Therefore, as they say well beginning is half done, similarly, well opening is also half done. The reason why India performed so well in 2008- 2009 is that both Sehwag and Gambhir were in prime form which took pressure off from Dravid, Tendulkar. Hence, overall performance of batting line was lifted up. It is very important for Indian team that the openers perform well. For that matter, giving a chance to other openers is also an option if Gambhir- Sehwag continue their short stay at crease.

I am Very Very Sorry, but Sir, your time is up. Laxman lived constantly under the fear of loosing his Test spot to Yuvraj when Ganguly was playing Tests. Since Ganguly called it a day 3 years ago, India have tried Yuvraj, Pujara, Raina and now Kohli for the 6th batting spot. And no one of them could cement his place. Though each of them gave few brilliant knocks, they were inconsistent. I must say, Pujara is unlucky, as he did not get as many chances as a Raina or a Kohli got. As a result of all these "trials and errors", Laxman was spared for these 3 years. He played some Special VVS signature innings in between as well. But Indian Team management, which will look into the future once last Test gets over, will ask Laxman to get retired and take pride OR get dropped and take humiliation in the end. I wish and hope Laxman chooses the path with respect for himself.

Picture summarizing Indian batting's poor show!
And finally, MS Dhoni. Well, the man who said to have Midas touch and magic wand, the man who won all the three formats for India and gave Indian Cricket the glory which no one has given before, seems to have lost his charm. It seems Dhoni had those special powers whose expiry date was 2nd April 2011. Since India have won the world cup, they have failed to win on any significant tour. Dhoni's poor batting form in Tests is now reflecting in his captaincy and post match chats. He is not the old aggressive yet cool captain anymore. His jokes in post match chat do not bring LOLs but are more of a pity on himself and his team. Even color of his hair is rapidly turning grey! Adding insult to the injury, Dhoni is banned for slow over rate! (Surprising, Dhoni would say, my team finished match in 2.5 days, why punish for slow over rate!!) Dhoni, as hinted by him, may opt out of Tests by end of 2013. He must make sure that the transition of captaincy, wicket-keeper will be smooth. And there are no last minute adjustments team has to suffer. But till 2013, he must improve his batting in Tests. He is best when he plays aggressively.

The 3rd row in above table stating record of R Ashwin is very nice if we consider it as a number 8 batman's stats only. But when we go down the list, we see our openers and top ranked batters have poor averages and number of runs than a 8 numbered batsman. It's pride for Ashwin and shame for names below him!

Bowling: Surprising Performance

As mentioned in my earlier post, at start of series, Indian bowling department was considered weaker to the batting. But on field, except for Sydney test, bowlers have performed reasonably well. They were able to take wickets, at least. Zaheer and Umesh Yadav bowled very well. But to put pressure on opponent, a team must have 3 performing bowlers. India lacked that 3rd performing seam bowler. Indian fans must be hoping Ishant gets back into form very soon.

Sometimes your opponent plays so well and outshine you that you are left with no option but to acknowledge their superiority. Australians gave India chances at times, by collapsing a few times, but their bowling and fielding counter balanced relatively under-performance of their batting unit. At the start of series, it was dubbed as India's best chance to win in Australia, but half way down the series, it seems, it is Australia's best chance to get back on track on path to the glory! Congrats Aussie Team for the Victory. You deserve it!

While Indian team is ending 5 days test matches in 4 days or 3 days, i wonder if this culture is implemented in corporate world. Instead of '5 working days a week' they should have 4 or even 2.5 working days a week! ;) Sarcastic, you know!


  1. I think Laxman deserves one more chance.. I mean common, he hasnt performed in this series so what? Nobody has!! And no one has grabbed the oppurtunity either.