India vs England 2011 Test Series
Some Images from the recently concluded series
How the Mightly have Fallen!!
How the mighty have fallen!!!! From Heroes to Zeroes in a span of a few months. This Indian team has been battered and bruised, not only physically but also mentally, by the ruthless England side, which, has been, highly motivated, aggressive and have players to decimate the opposition.
I am sure that today, the 22nd of August, shall go down as one of the worst days in Indian cricket. I am sure, that most Indians are not sad that we lost 4-0, but in the manner they lost. This team from day one of the series has been reeling under the onslaught of either the British Press, challenging India's number One status (by reminding us that we did not even beat them in the world cup..the match was a draw or the British cricketers, both retired and playing, questioning India's preparedness and their commitment. Rarely has a team fallen from grace this suddenly and with such ferocity. Trust the Indians not to do anything in a half hearted manner.
But seriously, coming back to why they lost, I am sure the analysis is on and shall go on for the next few months. The team is surely to to being greeted with jeers when they land at Mumbai airport. This time they will want to slink through the back door and maroon themselves on an Island with no exposure to TV and newspapers. All this cant do their psyche any good. First to have lost the series and then to get battered at home...It shall take a herculean effort to keep the team members mentally stable and sane. Given below are some primary reasons why we lost in such spectacular fashion:-
Too much of a Good Thing
Winning or remaining at the top for such a long durations is simply not condusive to good television cricket. Imagine a team winning all its matches --makes you feel good but after sometime boredom sets in and the thrill slowly fades (you CAN have too much of a good thing..the law of diminishing returns). The team knows this. Once you are number One, there is no where to go but down. You may remain No 1 for 20 yrs, but you are going to be challenged and you shall definitely loose your ranking (look what happened to Nokia), because one does tend to get complacent and take a wrong call. So what I am saying is that this defeat was not entirely unexpected.
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Secondly, look at the amount of cricket being played. I was simply fatigued watching the World Cup matches, that I really didnt follow the IPL. All that bunkum about players being professionals and they should play cricket 24x7 is simply not tenable. We are human beings and we shall get tired and JADED. Yes, thats what has happened to our team. We are JADED. They simply didnt care. And why should they? Money is in the bank, they have a great home, so how should one series loss affect them? The public shall get over it...after all we were not the world champions always!!
Loss of Key Players
Third, the loss of key players was a definite setback. I mean, with Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan out of the picture, we have 30% if the side not available to us. On top of that, some of the players were rested for the West Indies tour. I mean, didnt the selectors read the news!! England's present form has not been an overnight phenomenon. They have built up this team, brick by brick and are looking in devastating form. How can you rest players when what they need is match practice? we took the preparation for this series too lightly. BCCI is to fault for this. There seems to have been hardly any respite for the team since the world cup.BCCI may have money but in the bargain have lost respect.
Lack of Pride
Fourth, The team simply didnt fight. There was no will power to do that. The youngsters want to play the slam bam cricket of IPL and one day and as a result simply cannot play test cricket. Test Cricket requires patience and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Sadly, in this day of instant gratification and IPL, patience as a virtue is not present among majority of the youth. The mantra is Right here, Right Now. That was so evident in the batting and bowling. I mean, the ball is way outside off stump and still if you want to poke at it, then it does not bode well for India. Similarly, bowling one great delivery and then pitching the next five right in the slot to be hit (short pitch with no pace), then god only save you. The willingness to hang in there and make the bowlers work to get your wicket was not there. In short, there was no motivation in the team, it seemed that they had given up before the series started.
Bad Planning and Execution
Lastly, lack of planning on how to bowl to various English players. I mean, how can you consistently bowl to the batsmens strength, knowing very well that the last similar looking ball was smashed to the boundary. The English displayed excellent strategy, executed to perfection, whether it was tempting Laxman with the short ball and catching him out at the fine leg boundary or peppering the tail enders and raina with the short stuff. Great planning and Great execution.
Well, every team's fortune is a sine curve. There will be a period of ascendancy followed by the inevitable decline and then the subsequent rise again. English cricket team were where the Indian's cricket team finds itself today, outplayed and outmaneuvered. But they regrouped and recovered and I am sure, India shall do just that.( Lord I hope they do!!!).
Having said all that, I also must say that there were many dodgy decisions by the umpires that went against us (including the third umpires) and no team can fight against that. The Indians did it against Steve Bucknor and he paid the price but so did the Indians. So I think these bad decisions have not been raked up this time because the Indians didn't want to sound like crybabies. But yes, I feel it contributed to their overall mental state that nothing was going in their favour and they wanted to finish this at the earliest by just going through the motions.
I hope the Indian team shows more spirit during the one dayer's. The English crowd's appetite has now been whetted and I am sure the ticket sales shall be brisk. All the best to India and a gut feeling tells me that they just might win the One day series.
The Complete Series
- England v India 2011 | Cricket news, live scores, fixtures, features and statistics on ESPN Cricinfo
England v India 2011 with live cricket scores and the latest news and features throughout the series.