Have we left out anything?
Let’s have a blow by blow account of the post mortem
From the team:
After the loss to West Indies, he basically said we can’t play short pitched stuff.
“We have prepared well,” Dhoni insisted. “We knew they would use short-pitched deliveries, we practiced against short-pitched deliveries in the net sessions but until you don’t face it in a game you are not match-aware of what is needed in that situation. You can do hundreds of things but when it comes to adaptation you have to be out in the middle and work it out, get a single, keep alternating the strike. If you keep backing off and keep playing the pull shot and people get out, it gets very difficult.”
And after the official exit, he spoke about the night life.
“I’ve had no setbacks because of the IPL but at the same time players need to be smart because IPL is not only about cricket,” he said. “You have to respect your body and if you don’t do that then IPL is draining. If you play late games and go to the parties and travel the next day it takes a toll. But if you take care of yourself 45 days of cricket shouldn’t affect you because we play 200 or more in a year.”
Gary Kirsten, incidentally, did talk about IPL fatigue last time round. This year, he added issues like fitness and commitment. Re commitment, he questioned whether India’s really serious about T20 cricket unlike the no.1 ranking in tests and the no.2 ranking in ODIs.
After a six-week-long IPL, India got a five-day break before their first match in the world Twenty20. Yuvraj, coming back from a wrist injury, played all 14 of Kings XI Punjab’s matches. Zaheer sat out of two of India’s five matches in the World Twenty20. Zaheer, Gambhir and Nehra missed matches at various stages of the IPL, and Nehra was picked for India even before he had returned to full fitness for Delhi Daredevils.
The only person to actually call a spade a spade, in this case Yuvraj Singh. In fact, he actually puts the gun on the head of the seniors with the line of “lot of opportunities but have not delivered“. And one must question whether the Indian players can really recognise or identify what is world standard. Their performances in IPL are worth zilch. Just like in the old days, and even now, scoring lots of runs in the Ranji Trophy meant nothing at the test level.
“The IPL is a domestic tournament and the standard is much lower than a world event where you are up against quality batsmen and bowlers. You don’t expect to go to World Cup semi-finals if you play the way the team has played in the Caribbean. Yuvraj has to look at his game. If he doesn’t perform for long periods, the selectors will not play him just on the basis of his reputation. Some of the players have got a lot of opportunities, but have not delivered. They have been around for quite a while and the entire country wants performances from them.”
Played it safe like most times:
“Obviously if you stay up the whole night, it would affect you. Players should be responsible enough. The game is more important than the parties. Excuses like these cannot be given after you lose. For a player, cricket should come first and everything else is secondary.”
He is basically telling them to go back to school
“The guys who have been found to be uncomfortable against the short ball should be sent to the NCA, where they will be able to practice against the short ball, either through a bowling machine or maybe with some of the younger bowlers bowling to them from say 18 to 16 yards,”
Well, Sunny, maybe they can do all this as and when you release them from your IPL / international / inter-corporate / etc etc schedules.
One of two no nonsense commentators keeps it brief and precise – zilch from the new ball, fielding locked in the dark ages, no response to short rising deliveries.
There is no point blaming the pitches and the bowlers in domestic cricket for the inability to play short-pitched bowling. Gavaskar emerged from the same school, as did Tendulkar, Dravid and even Laxman. Abhinav Bindra and Saina Nehwal are products of such a system. Azharuddin emerged as one of the world’s finest fielders. Greatness lies in rising beyond the system. It isn’t the system, therefore, but work ethic that lies at the heart of success. I’m not saying India’s cricketers don’t possess it, it’s just that they don’t display it often enough.
From here on, India’s young cricketers need to ask themselves whether they want to be rich also-rans or want a place in history. It is a choice they must make. Currently they are not good enough, but pelting abuse, and the odd stone, at them will not solve the issue, only point fingers at ourselves.
On hindsight, it is quite a blessing that people like Pujara are still untouched by this filth
The second of the two no-nonsense commentators asks for people to go deeper than just the issues that are being raised at the surface level. He also tries to invoke the BCCI to re-look at the game from the point of view of developing talent and a competitive team and keep the money making, which seems to be in a self-sustaining mode, on the side burner for the moment.
What I’d like to submit, though, is this: we seem set to do with the national team what we have done or are doing with the IPL. To wit, when something doesn’t work, quickly find a scapegoat, skin him in the media and hang him in public gaze, and quickly get back to business as usual.
So here’s something the board needs to think about: If you are going to bask in the glory when the team goes out and wins you trophies, shouldn’t you be as proactive in accepting at least a part of the blame when it loses? More to the point, isn’t it your responsibility to do everything possible to create a team that is competitive at the international level?
And finally just to give a perspective about “fatigue”, “commitment”, “intensity”, “work ethic” etc.:
Unable to take a flight due to volcanic ash, Vishwanathan Anand drove 40 hours across Europe to reach Sofia one day before the World Championship match started. He had requested a postponement by a couple of days but was refused. The Sofia rules preventing quick draws (which is very much Vishy’s style) meant long matches (a bit like Indian cricketers used to slow pitches and short fast outfields suddenly landing up in Barbados). 11 tiring games later, it was 5.5 points each in the last game playing black with the possibility of the tie break rapid games (where Vishy definitely holds the edge over Topalov). And he pulls off a victory and retains the World Champion title.
To quote Amit Varma from his column on Yahoo:
This week he successfully defended his World Championship title against Veselin Topalov. His achievements, which I do not need to summarise, are greater than they would have been if they belonged to a Russian or East European player. They are beyond stupendous. In the context of where he came from, it’s like a guy takes a Maruti 800 into a Formula 1 race and wins the championship. That guy, frankly, is more than just the best driver in the world.
On the same day as an “unfit and low commitment” India exited the World Cup T20. Get lost buggers.