It was worst ever humiliation. India, till yesterday the No.1 Test time team, today in tatters! The much-trumpeted M S Dhoni’s star-studded Indian team with world class batsman like Tendlkar, Dravid and VVS Laxman failed to do what lesser known Pieterson, Bell or Broad could do for England.
These days England is on cloud ‘9 ever since it defeated Aussies in Ashes last season. The team which was totally derailed since then grown strength to strength under Strauss stewardship and England playing as a team. Contrary to this, the Indian team which toiled hard to occupy No.1 tests table, appears losing its hold and none of the stalwarts are willing to play as a team. Whatever may be the reason, it is now clear that Dhoni as skipper had lost his Midas touch and he more holds any control over his colleagues. Lack of application, commitment and strategy appears to be the main reason that led India’s down slide in the recent test series against England.
Enough hype and hoopla had been created before India begins its sojourn to England. VVS Laxamn claiming that he wishes his dream comes true by scoring a century at Lord’s, the opener. Millions of fans of Sachin Tendulkar joined prayers to see their icon score his 100th century. Team management expected speedster Zaheer Khan will help tear the opponents. But, none of these expectations come true. Tendulkar, may be due to slight temperature, was not in usual spirits. Zaheer, who hidden his injury or the selectors overlooked, disappointed Indian fan as he worn out in the first test itself at Lord’s and declared unfit for the rest of series, putting the team into most piquant situation. VVS Laxman failed to prove his tall claims.
However, his two fifties – one at Lord’s and the other at Nottingham – could only help him retain his berth in the final XI for the other two matches, but certainly not enhanced neither the selectors nor his fans confidence. The only consolation to off-color Indian team is the old horse Rahul Dravid, who with his back-to-back centuries, managed to equal the little master Sunil Gavaskar’s 34 centuries.
Barring this lone feature, even our world class spinner Harbhajan Singh failed to perform to skipper’s expectations. What is happening in Indian team? Why India is not performing as a team? Was it because individuals within the team had their own agenda rather to give their 100 per cent to protect the country’s pride? What happened to Dhoni’s leading capabilities – either shuffling his bowlers to get quick breakthroughs or surpass any opponent set targets with concrete plan and strategy?
From a distance, one gets an impression that the chemistry between the skipper and players not working. He appears to be in his own sense, while the players look unconcerned to come to team’s rescue whenever challenges thrown at it. Look at what has happened in the second test at Nottingham. Indian looked confident after England was pushed on the back-foot by Indian pace-attack. Tottering at 120 for six, England was allowed to off-hook and reaches a moderate 221, thanks to mishandling of bowlers by none other than skipper Dhoni. He cannot shirk his responsibility.
Yet Even after restring England for a paltry 221, Indian batsmen failed to post a big total and take advantage of the match. At no point of time, the Indian fans got that impression. With great difficulty, they managed to get a slender 60-odd run lead. In England’s second knock, though Indian pacers Praveen Kumar and Ishant got early breakthrough, yet again bad captaincy let England go hammer and tongs and post a mammoth 544. With a day-and half at their disposal, the England set 470-odd runs was no big deal considering top class Indian batting line up.
Overall, I am convinced that Dhoni was not inspiring and Team India has not played as No.1 team. Indian fans expect, Dhoni to lead the team front the front by putting better personal performance with his bat and make use of experienced seniors like Sachin and Dravid advices from time to time, instead trying to ride on his own past pride.