Home > Cricket > Holland tri-series 2004 > Column > Javagal Srinath
India's problems stem from improper planning
August 23, 2004
The Indian team, which claims to possess vastly superior cricketers, once again found it hard to come to terms in the Netherlands tournament opener against arch-rivals Pakistan.
I don't believe that there are too many things wrong with this current India team. After all, it has the right blend of young and hugely experienced players. To me, it appears that the problems stem from improper planning. The team think-tank is largely responsible for this.
Half the game is won on the drawing board these days. It is fine that the players take the help of technology like video pictures and graphic analysis to improve their game and eliminate mistakes. But that is only the half use of technology as the main strength of this tool lies in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents.
The way the Indians conducted themselves on the field yesterday was a clear indication that they were playing without any proper planning.
Afridi's vulnerability to short pitch bowling was not exploited early on in the innings. At the same time, man-of-the-Match Shoaib Malik, who is fast emerging as an able all-rounder, feasted on the off stump line adopted by the Indian bowlers. Malik scored most of his runs from mid-on to third man region. He hardly played anything through mid-wicket and fine-leg area.
If you look at Malik's previous knock against India, which incidentally is also his career-best, you will find that he had scored mostly through the off side. The Indian bowlers did very little to encourage him to play on the on-side.
Abdul Razzak did enjoy the unimaginative Indian bowling. I felt that more than good batting by Pakistan, it was uninspired bowling by the Indians that proved costly.
The Indian batting was also not quite up to the task. The run-a-ball target left the Indian batsmen perplexed. Most of the Indian batsmen were more interested in looking for scoring shots rather than taking singles. They never realised the importance of having wickets in hand and lost them at regular intervals.
These are the times where the Indian coach will have to play a big role. When under pressure, the players sometimes do get carried away in their own ways. Proper planning is necessary to tackle such situations. Defeat otherwise would be inevitable like it was yesterday.
It is the duty of the coach to draw the strategy according to the situation of the game, as most of the players will be engrossed playing in their own manner.
I do agree that cricket is a game of chances. But the results of the last two matches against Pakistan clearly suggest that the Indians have been beaten hands down and there were no signs of any close finish. But India's victory in Pakistan was a hard-fought one as the results could have gone either way.
That not many changes were made in the batting line-up or in the bowling order was the main reason for India's success in recent past. I am afraid that changes could be made in the team now since India have lost quite a few matches in the last few weeks. I only hope that the deserving and promising players do not find themselves out of the team.
The next game against Australia will be crucial for India's build-up for the ICC Championship Trophy. An early exit from the tournament will play havoc in the team dynamics, as defeats are not always well accepted, especially within the Indian team.
Indians have placed themselves in a precarious position in this three-nation tournament. I hope they go into the next match with more result-oriented planning.