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Readers on where India has gone wrong

Last updated on: April 18, 2005 21:06 IST

M  KRISHNANAND:

Dear Sir

I appreciate your efforts in getting valuable feedback from people on the  reasons for India's poor form in ODIs and how we can improve it . Now that the Pakistan series  is over we have got a big gap of more than 3 months to sit and introspect as to how we can improve the teams performance in future . I suggest that Rediff with its team of Cricket Experts as well as with

The feed back from readers , present and past Cricket players , Coaches etc  develop a "COMPREHENSIVE BLUE PRINT " on how India's performance in both test and ODIs can be enhanced both in short term ( keeping the World Cup in 2007 ) and also in long term .This BLUE PRINT should be basiaclly a SWOT analysis of the Indian team and comprehensively cover all  aspects of the game like batting , bowling ,fielding , physical and mental fitness, strategies, training methodologies etc.

This BLUE PRINT should also cover issues like how the domestic Cricket structure should be strengthened and made more competitive , how the selection process can be more enhanced and other issues directly or indirectly related to strengthening of the Indian Cricket .The Copies of this  COMPREHENSIVE BLUE PRINT should be given to

1) BCCI

2) The New Indian Team Coach and

3) The Indian Captain and if possible Rediff should  try to arrange for a  presentation of this blue print where all the 3 i.e BCCI , Coach and Captain are present .The job is not over with presenting the blue print .This Rediff team of experts  should be a continuous guiding force for the Indian team in developing its strategies series by  series , match by match , innings by innings .

The Indian team is a highly talented one with a good bench strength .We are  very much capable of  Winning the next World Cup if we  maintain discipline and commit ourselves to very high standards for the next 2 years .

I hope this suggestion is carried forward and proper action taken .

with regards

M  KRISHNANAND
Chennai ,India

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Vishal:

Hi,

Terrific reports,  great commentary.

The question is where has India gone wrong and why ?

I think the answer lies with us the fans. What do we want from our team. I have read a few of the readers comments and most of them are still about the Sachins and Sehwags. Team India lacks the mental aptitude to fight. It cracks under pressure. This same team has gone all the way to the finals of the world cup. So what do they lack – commitment, hunger, desire, mental strength. The bench mark is naturally the Australians. You would think that since they win so regularly they would lose their  hunger and desire, but that's not happened. That shows great mental strength.

I want a Team India, which fights, to lose or win is part of the game, but the fight has to be there.  By nature most Indians are laid back and are not known for their mental strength. To expect this from our fellow Indians just because they are in a big money making game is unrealistic. So does that mean we are stuck with a consitently inconsistent team. I guess so unless the following :

A coach with focus on mental strength. Wright did a great job by inculcating a team spirit, the basics. We now maybe need a coach who can inculcate mental strength to not only our team, but also the players in the domestic league.

The NCA should focus equally on the basics and the mental aspects of the game.

Indians are known for their skill be it hockey, tennis or cricket, but rarely for the mental strength which is now required to play any game. That is the one major reason for India failing to be bigger sporting nation.

I could go on and say the BCCI should put its house in order the selectors should be more professional, but these things are easier said. If and only if there is a huge public outrage and anger against the BCCI will there be an effort by BCCI to change its ways else the status quo will remain.

I am conservatively optimistic about the future of our cricket. I feel our Team of the future will also as now, depend more on the luck factor rather than mental strength factor.

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Raman:

1. All players including so called giants Tendulkar, Gangully and others should play domestic Cricket and if they score consistently, they should be considered for selection.
 
2. The players shd not be categorized as A B C for e.g. Tendulkar [A], Yuvraj {B] and Balaji {C]. All are equals and shoudld be treated accordingly.
 
3. Undoubtedly at present Tendulkar is playing for records. He is aiming at one more century to break Gavaskars record. That should not be the case. When Mark Taylor scored 333 runs and equalled Don Bradmans record, he declared the innings saying that he would not like to break Bradmans record and be with him in record books, which he considers as honour. Whereas Tendulkar is bent upon breaking Gavaskars record. Gavaskar in those days faced worlds deadliest bowlers and scored centuries without much protective gears whereas Tendulkar goes to the crease as if he is going to land on the "moon". Since Tendulkar reflexes have gone, he should consider leaving his place to other deserving youngsters and take interest in coaching young cricketers to build up a strong future Indian team. This he can do, if he is not selfish.
 
4. We should have a good Coach and nearly 33 players should be selected well in advance before a tournament, divided into three teams and allowed to play against each other atleast thrice. Whoever performs well in all departments ,  should be selected for the tournament.
 
5. The team should be taught to maintain team spirit and help each other.
 
these are some steps suggested in developing a good team.
 
Wellwisher

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Pavan Muttil:

well as for me and lot of other ardent followers of the Great game the only solution seems to be match to match payement on the basis of performance on that particular day rather than on the graded payement which these players are availing at present on the basis of seniority.

the lack of responsibility being shown by most of the Indian players (some of them veterans of more than 250 ODI's!) consistently sans Rahul Dravid shows that something is really amiss in the Indian Camp.

the saddest part being that in a country boosting over a billion people we are unable to gather 11 quality players who can challenge players from other countries one-tenth their population.

we all will agree that these players are the best lot we have at present and resting these players and replacing them will not help in anyway.
in the end the question that I would like to ask is not "where has India gone wrong?" rather " where has India been going wrong and where do we head from now on?"

I am sure most of us will draw a blank including the selectors??

thanks

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Sunil S

I strongly believe the defeat of Indian team of the followings reasons
 
01. The big problems in selection procedure & the committe ( I mean the right personals are not in the team as well as the selection committe)
 
02. The players are over loaded with more matches . Why we play more cricket ? why other games are not promoting like this ? All the tournaments are held against each occassions ? why cricket is not like that ? make cricket match occassionaly and do not paly like this. Less match and try to do concentrate more on practice.
 
03. BCCI & Palyers are keen only about their earnings not in RESULTS.
 
04. Give opportunity to all talentend personals not the same players like sachin , ganguly etc.
 
05. who performs well take them into tean and paly for the country becas its agame not for individual game. Here palyers are trying for only for RECORDS & MONEY.
 
06. Dont keep anybody in permenantly .
 
If the BCCI will take an initiative for the LESS NO. OF MATCHES ( 2 - 4 times in a year maximum ) and GIVE THE CHANCE FOR THE PRESENT FORM PLAYERS.

Dont look at the seniority ?
 
If a very good Finace Minsiter will loose in the election , whether he will continue as Minister or we will find out some other person ?
 
Like that please do it
 
Get a very good recent retired palyers  for the selection committie and get the good new performing Boys for the country. If its new they will do & die for the coutry
 
Not like sachin , ganguly , laxman , Zaheer khan etc.  I know very well that these palyers are contributed so many good things for the country that means we cannot keep them as long as they wish,
 
what we want wins for the country ALWAYS NOT ONCE IN A WHILE.
 
If a good surgeon wants to perfect througt out his all surgeries if his failure rate is 01% , ONE FAMILY WILL BECOME IN DARK IN EVERY 100'S.
 
We want palyers like 100% surgeon , who do for 100% becas  these 11's are playing for 1.05 Billion , is it true .
 
also dont give more popularity for cricket. respect cricket only like other games
 
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Samarth Prakash

The lashings out against the Indian cricket team after losing the ODI series was expected.
Rather than bashing lets see the reasons for the failure and what can be done:

1) I think a new coach will do a world of good. New  strategies will go a long way in changing the fortunes of the team.

2) Dropping players without giving enough chances even when they did decently well should be stopped. Whatever happened to Ramesh Powar, Vijay Bharadwaj, and others...?

3) I think a rotation policy is not bad either. If anyone fails in a couple of matches they can be left out of the playing eleven. The 5 and 6 batting positions  can be rotated among the youngsters. Even in bowling Murali Karthik needs more chances.

4) Sachin and Shewag both should not go all out.If both fail there is pressure right away!!

I was very upset when India lost the series and every Indian has the right to. Rahul Dravid was almost in tears in an interview!

There are great seasons and downright bad ones. But everything in life has crests and troughs. We have to learn from troughs.Dont worry!India will be back with a bang next season!

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Sudha

Hi! I think India's problems stem from the following areas:
 
1. Lack of Allrounders - This was especially highlighted when we played against Pakistan who had Shoaib Malik, Afridi, Razzaq in their ranks. We cant overnight manufacture an all rounder but if we have somebody with some potential why dont we stick with him and encourage him like  an Irfan Pathan. Let him fail, so are the others but atleast we know he has potential and he is only 20 years old and can serve India for a long time. Do we really think Mongia is going to be that allrounder? He is not shown himself as a really top class batsmen either? so why keep going back to him?
 
2. Lack of success of spin bowlers - India's one day success at home was built around their spin bowlers in the past. We need to look beyond Harbhajan and Karthik to develop some young spin bowling options for the one day game
 
3. Wrong Batting lineup - We know Dravid is a consistent one day batsmen now and he is not a big hitter. Why isnt he coming in one down especially now that he is not keeping wickets? Do we really need seven batsmen especially on Indian wickets?
 
4. Fielding,Fielding,Fielding - There was a phase when India's fielding had improved. But we have slid back since then. if Laxman is dropped from the team for his fielding what is Nehra doing in the team then? The One Day games can be won and lost by the fielding , India needs to pick a team with atleast above average if not brilliant fielders

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Nirbhay Singh:

Dear Sir,

Firstly congratulations to the entire Rediff Team for an excellent effort in covering this Indo Pak series.

Now my reply:

1) We claim to be an up and coming nation in all sense of the word but I beg to differ: we are still as regionalisitc as ever : to support this all I say is look at the readers' response to Prem Panickers' coverage and you will find that the very huge majority objecting to the flak on Ganguly are all Bengalis ! Now if Prem ( and correctly so ) criticises Balaji some Tamilian chokes up from the South and starts defending him and whining against Prem : is this the maturity of our readers and all of them quite well educated ! Ridiculous !! Like we get the politicians we deserve if this is the way the '' informed'' public reacts then we'll also get the cricketers we deserve !!

2) You have got it spot on when you write that our fascination with individuals is overwhelming and maybe it's high time we moved away from this sort of philosophy ! I had written a longish article on just this and drawn comparisons with the Aussies and us : most importantly what is the attitude and ethos of the powers that be, BEHIND THE SCENES . And this is critical ! This debacle cannot be just blamed on the people we see on the pitch but also on the selectors and other powers that be behind the scenes and I do beleive that it is them who have to change first : be brave enough to see who will add value to the team regardless of their past records / stauture and personality and then make the changes in order to get a team which is a cohesive unit and performs as a team just like the Pakistanis did.The bottom line is that we do not want flashes of brilliance from a few individuals because if we do then our success record also will be just that , rather we want players who perform CONCISTENTLY to their potential and chip in with scores EVERY time (witness the Maliks , Inzy's and Youhana's of Pakistan ) rather than the Sehwag's , Sachin's of India.

I would be really very happy if you referred to that article written on the same e-mail ID as this one , especially since you have so kindly and correctly asked us , the readers for our opinion/take on this issue in order to make sense of all of this.

3) I personally am not too displeased with the result because as it the custom only when disaster strikes we start taking corrective measures , maybe that's why inspite of so much potential we are such a poor team and that's not just in cricket.In my opnion we did not deserve to win after Ahmedabad and should have just handed over the trophy after that game : it was the most excruciating game of cricket I have seen in a very very long time !( Again please see my mail in the readers comments)

I must say amongst all the pedestrian stuff that people have written there are a few very very good suggestions like forgetting about the stars and this overwhelming effort on money making and concentrating on the domestic cricket scene and building that up very strongly also the comments of another reader that said that we just watch the national team with all it's stars but the when domestic games are played the stadiums are empty .This is very true and a striking difference in what I have seen abroad : here in Africa although Cricket is not a big game Rugby is and the emphasis on the domestic circuit is tremendous as is the importance and coverage given by the media and T.V resulting in tremendous mass public support for these domestic games: after all, the players of international stauture don't just fall from the sky , they come from this very pool itself ! Even in the relatively smallish cricket scenario this holds good.

Now my suggestions:

1) Forget about the Ganguly's ,Tendulkars and concentrate on building a TEAM if these players fit in to the team then they play if they don't then they are left out.If Ganguly or Tendulkar are dropped it's not the end of the world , they can rest , recuperate build on their game and re enter the arena and if they perform, well and good.

I also fail to understand how anybody can regain form in the One Day arena : Test matches are what is required for such a player and this ban and the lack of ODI's in the future should be seen by Ganguly ( and Tendulkar for that matter) as a blessing in disguise as a break to get the mental and physical abilities to get going again and PERFORM .

2) ALL players of the national team should put in a strict amount of appearances in the domestic form of the game and their performance there should be very closely watched and selection criterion should be modified to factor in due performance of cricketers at this level of the game.

3) The Team which works behind the scene ( read selectors / Board ) should get their act together FIRST .The V.P of BCCI is not at all an impressive personality and should imporve as should all the othere and the selectors.For what they need to do and how they need to look at the selection of the national team please refer to my previous mail as mentioned above.Most importantly how they need to improve their mindset and attitude.

4) The Coach of the Indian team along with the Captain should have a much greater say in Team selection and the final playing eleven because they are the most exposed: if the team does badly they suffer whereas the Board/ Selectors calmly slither away and bury their heads in the sand.

5) Much much more effort needs to be put in to the domestic form of the game , we are constantly reminded of the popularity of this game and the amount of money it generates in India but how much is put back in the non glamorous , domestic form ? How well are the stadiums geared up and facilities for the common paying public? Peter Roebuck directly blamed the BCCI for the apalling conditions of the facilities in the stadiums during the South Africa tour to India and went as far as to say that Dalmiya/now Mahendra should get out of the VIP enclosure and see what the common public goes through :there is no use in passing the buck on to the local authorities BCCI as the name suggests is the top body controlling cricket in India and have to take the responsiblity that they are supposed to and ensure that all parametres Domestic or International  are set and strictly adhered to.

One of the Sports Channel can now concentrate on the Domestic scenario : cover the games / advertise : make them attractive for the public so that they flock to the stadiums / watch on T.V. and generate massive support for the local teams .This would be a failure if the state of the playing grounds are not dramatically changed: Local Authorities as mentioned above should be given a strict set of parameters on the preparation of the Pitch, Outfield , Ground conditions (drainage etc) and the facilities offered to the paying public and safety of the stadium.

Remuneration for the Domestic Cricketers should be drastically imporved and MNC's and other Companies should look at supporting them hugely and take pride in local talent.In short Cricket India should look INSIDE and what's happening within the country and not on the easier , glamourous super stars and the International scene.For it is from the local pool that the National players will come from in the future.

All this will not come out unless some media group carries out investigative coverage of the existing apalling conditions of the Domestic Cricket scenario and once this is done and a media blitz carried out on T.V. and the public suitably enraged at the pathetic conditions prevalent in the Domestic form of the game, these ''fat cats'' of the Local and National Boards / Cricket Authorities will get a good stiff kick up their backsides and get their act together !

6) PITCHES : If a drastic rethink on pitches is not made this game will die in India as time and again it has shown that unless the Domestic pitches are made more competitive ( read in line with International ones ) we will continue to produce excellent batesmen on flat tracks who will be an embarresment in the International scenario.This is not to belittle our talent we have oodles of that as our current record in the Intenational scenario shows , however lack of proper technique which invariably gets exposed, especially in away games is all too apparent : we need to become far more competitive in our batting and good sporting tracks will automatically sporn a very rich and deserved talent of fast bowlers of which I am convinced we have no shortage: it's only that when we have such pitches as they are now, who will want to bowl fast and a few of those luckless souls will constantly be under the hammer.

These sorry excuses that we call pithces have two grave dangers of Hara Kiri like propotions: one teams brought up on competitive pitches , will sooner than later work out how to play on these pitches and will hammer the national team( India in this case) at their own game : Their batsmen will always perform better because their techniques and skill having been honed on the much more competitive surfaces will find it quite easy and once they have huge totals their bowlers will have much less pressure as all the pressure will be on the host batting line up ( regardless of the super star status) and this pressure will lead to failure more than success.Thus the game will be lost as we have seen agaisnt Australia , to a lesset extent against South Africa and was all too apparent against the Kiwis.

Ofcourse this doesn't mean that fast pitches should be blindly followed after all our most succesful bowler in the history of the game has been a spinner who has performed critically well abroad as well , on fast paced pitches : so , just as we should not blindly make dusty bowls fit only for spinners we should not make blind fast pitches alone : much more thought and money needs to go in to this and the ICC should also greatly and critically assist: a panel of Pitch experts comprising of a well balanced national representation of all the major test playing countries should be made who should have a very active role in guiding the Domestic/National level teams that prepares Pitches at both levels .This will give a more interesting and level playing field.

The ICC needs to take a much stricter view of the quality of pitches prepared and should have a very strict criterion for picth standards ( witness the Mumbai pitch or the ones prepared in New Zealand for India and even in the recent past when venues were shiftedbecause of poor pitches there in New Zealand).

In this the long term interest of the game is ciritcal rather than the short term success of the National team of any country .Becasue unless the game is made more comeptitive by having surfaces which have something for every facet of the game ,one dimension of the game ( read batting in the Sub continent and fast pace bowling in the western part of the world ) will become the order of the day and make matches lop sided , extremely boring and this will cause audiences ( the paying public) to shy away from the game and switch to other sports which are not in consequential anymore :F1 racing and Tennis being just a few to name.

This is a very serious danger beleive me if not in the immediate future in time to come.

This is all for now as a lover of the finest game on the planet I have penned my thoughts hope the Rediff Team have time to go through all this and hope something of use comes out of it .Some feed back, even one line would be very welcome.

Regards,

Nirbhay Singh
Tanzania.

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Iyengar:

Dear sirs,
In a recent interview Rahul Dravid defending Sourav Ganguly stated that, the erstwhile captain knew exactly what he wanted to do. Same RD says after the Delhi one dayer that it is time India developed a game plan for One Day matches. Evidently it is clear that they have no plans worth the name and  they fail miserably.

One day Cricket came into being since 15 years if not more. If India does not still have the where with alls to plan for one dayers when are they going to do it? Incidentally what was the coach John Wright doing all these days. Isn't evolving a game plan a part of the scheme of things?

Coming to actuals, it is always true that one has to win and one has to loose. The loss is acceptable if a fighting attitude was evident in play. What we see is abject surrender. That brings us to the painful realization, that it is lack of  abilities which leads us to ignominious loss. We have to agree that all the so called averages of our top players are built due to superlative performances against weak teams like Bangladesh, Kenya,Holland and like. It has been often found that even a new entrant like Zimbabwe has given India a run for the money. It's time somebody called a spade a spade and tell our boys that they do not have talents like that of Viv Richards or Javed Miandad or even Jayasurya whereby they can play well under pressure.

Sachin 's statement that he has every right to fail is to be seen in this context. India fails at every hurdle. If one man falls , the rest of them tumble like nine pins. The bottom line is that they all know that all the statistics credited to them is built around easy matches they won and if the circumstances are trying they do not have the talent to fall back upon. Neither can they play good pace bowling nor can they play quality spin. Pathetic indeed but it is the harsh truth.I also think that our boys are given in to luxurious lifestyles and are not fighting fit. They cannot perform if the day is hot and they are second to bat. They cannot bowl and field well if they bat first. They seem to be
more at home doing ads and in the company of stars and models, than playing cricket on the field in scorching sun.

That brings us to the fundamental problem. We may, at BCCI,do wonders in  matters financial  but fail miserably when it comes to building team and talent. We as a nation of 100 crores cannot produce a motley group of 50 cricketers who are a force to reckon with, who can vie for a place in team India.

Obviously we do not have right type of talent search. That's where the BCCI has failed totally notwithstanding the financial acumen it's office bearers are said to possess. Perhaps what is lacking is the determination on their part to lift India from this morass.

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Anil Polat:

Hello !

Well,its time for yet another postmortem ! We have not lost most of the matches due to the lack of ability but in applying the right tactics at times.I wonder what went wrong suddenly after the World Cup final lose,can a match take out all the confidence from a team ? The think tanks of Indian cricket team couldn't help out the players to come out of that demoralising performance ? John Wright and Ganguly , what happened to both their professionalism and aggression..??

If you notice, we were not performing as a team, when we were losing also,we didn't try to find the resolution but kept on trying many things by changing the players-but that was not the root cause of the problem.The real problem was in using the right players at right times.We were too predictive to the opposition,we never tried anything different,always went out with the same ideas and plans.Few root causes listed below :

- Over dependency on Sehwag,the middle order failed to come up with good innings - reason was the batting orders and lack of right tactics.We have often thrown away our wickets when it was required to score at 4-5 an over.

- When chasing totals,when Sehwag gets out early,immediately we went to the diffensive mode, never tried out a pinch hitter just to up the tempo so that the middle order can get to the total easily with singles and doubles.This created more pressure on middle order and while trying to up the tempo we lost the matches.Time and time again, it is proved that while chasing a good first 15 overs can win you matches but our think tanks never remebered this when we were struggling.

- Batting order - we have been very ordinary and easily predictable with our batting order-why to try Sachin as opener when he is failing at too many occasions..? He is no more an attacking batsman, but he is more of a middle order batsman now who can consolidate the innings with singles and doubles,which cheacky shots.He could have guided the yougsters well and managed to build partnerships in the middle order.We could have tried him at #4 or #5 promoting Ganguly to the opening slot for a LHB-RHB opening pair and this might have helped Ganguly also to come back into the form.Yuvraj or Kaif-the so called future prospects- would have got a chance to come in early -whenever Yuvi has score a 50, most of the occasions we have won the matches.

- Many occasions, when we had got great starting when batting first also,you can see that  the result was close,its coz we failed to make use of the good starting we got.Even after scoring their centuries,I have not seen Sachin and Dravid going after the bowling and try to score as much as possible.Rather, we used to be happy with a score of 300-320,never used our chances to outplay the opposition.

- Now, when it comes to the blowing and fielding dept, our think tanks and captain were too diffensive at all times.In the middle overs 15-35,we were not at all attacking,depending too much on part-time bowlers,setting a too diffensive field.I agree,part timers will get you wickets, but they should be used only to fill in your over gaps or to break partnership , just to surprise the batting side.But were were using partimers as regular bowlers and this eased the pressure from the opposition and they built good partnerships at many occasions.We never tried giving another spell to our frontline fast bowlers just to break pertnerships or to pick up crucial wickets in the middle overs.We never tried setting an attacking field,even when defending a total of above 300 where in we could afford to give then some boundaries but could have forced them to take their chances by not giving them easy singles.Due tp this diffensive field settings,we got minumum number of run-outs.

- We were too confused with our bowling combination - sometimes we played 2 spinners+2 seamers,sometimes 1+3 like that we kept on experimenting.But when you have so many good part time spinners in the side,and when you are having good seam attack,we should have played 3 seamers and 1 spinner in ODIs and could have used the seamers in the middle overs as well.This would have got us more wickets in the middle overs.

- Setting goals and applying tactics - We failed to chase targets coz we went out without any plan of how to chase.When we lost early wickets, we never had a plan 'B' and got panic and thown away all our wickets..never realised the importance of singles. So, to summarise, I would say that we lost the matches in the planning stage itself.We need to shuffle out think tanks, not just the players.

- We have seen these players are capable of anything.I hope atleast the new coach will realise all these and give attention into these simple,basic things.Saurav also should apply his thoughts and get his aggression back,keep attacking all the time...use his strike bowlers more often,set attacking field all the time..and keep hunting for wickets all the time.

Hope atleast the next season will give us something to smile about.

Cheers...Anil.

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Balaji Subbiah:

Indian cricket is in a phase where, nothing is going on its way. Cricket the most worshiped game and its players treated as "GOD" in India. There will be no argument from any quarter to why it should be like that cause the boys have done extremely well( To substantiate this: India has crossed the 300 run mark after the Wrights period is about 8 times. out of these 7times India has won the match. Above 250 69 times and out of this 47 times India has won).

What a wonderful performance (except against Australia) the people gave at the WC2003 to make the whole country and the people proud. One thing that I have to say not just, because I' am a mad fan of Ganguly is, we need his aggression to win matches. He can show Aggression at all stages of the match. Remember the first, the fourth and fifth matches we played against Pak in Pak 2003/2004. Even though he has not made a century for a long time he has managed to make, 35-45 runs in almost every innings. He is the captain of 'India' please understand the pressure he has folks, Unbelievable!!!

He has managed too many things. He want to make things happen and he succeeded as well. He is just 32/33 he can play for at least another 2-3years. He is capable as well besides the lean patch, which came to the spotlight only when the team started to lose matches.

I know Dravid is too good a batsman and a great person besides his colleague Sachin Tendulkar, but still please don't make him lose his confidence in his game even one percent. He can be a good teammate and team man under crisis. Beware!! Ganguly too is powerful. On the team's performances, I will have to say that the youngsters like Sehwag, Kaif and Yuvraj have to take major roles in the team's success and failure. Now a stage has come that they should become responsible. Try making big scores, keep standards in the field, share ideas, and mainly relieve a bit of pressure from the Main players like Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly. Ganguly has moved down the order only for the team's cause and not for his own cause. I would very confidently say that his batting skills are rusting only because of this team's cause.

Try to acknowledge his Sacrifice. In the last game and the previous what contribution did Yuvraj make? Nothing. He should have  changed his style of batting, made at least 80 - 90 odd runs, try making good partnerships etc., I think the same applies to Kaif who has done that well for sometime now. Do not forget the fifth match in the recent series he made 78 valuable runs from just 88 balls along with the splendid Dravid, which helped the team to reach 250.

The selectors now should not keep on inducing new players in to the team as they wish. I' am aware that they have done their job decently till date and should maintain the same thing. They should find a suitable foreign coach as soon as possible and make the team move along in a nice pace and direction. Finally try Ganguly for another 8-10matches after his comeback and then decide whether we have to change him or not.

Ultimately, the Pakistanis have to take credit; they played WONDERFULL CRICKET under the circumstances. What a comeback. Young players, Not at all a great team, but still they showed their Greatness.

GOOD Luck for both the INDIAN and the PAKISTAN teams.

Thanking you.

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N. Srinivasa Raghavan:

If one were to analyse the reasons for the Indian cricket team's disastrous showing in the 2004-2005 season, the following points immediately come to India. I am 40, and I have been following the game of cricket since 1972-73 when Tony Lewis led the English team to India. So, cricket is my life blood having been following the game for the last 32 years.

Since the decline of the spin quartet after the Pakistan tour in 1978, bowling has continued to be India's Achilles Heel. Though Kapil Dev strove manfully to take on the load of the Indian bowling, it was just not enough for the Indian bowling to bowl out an opposition out twice in a test match. This used to be the constant refrain of Imran Khan, and rightly so during the 1982-83 tour of Pakistan when Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, and Mudassar Nazar plundered the Indian bowling. This was the series when Kapil temporarily lost his outswinger till the 5th test match at Lahore by which time the series was already decided 3-0 in favour of Pakistan. And, all the victories that we managed at home was on under-prepared tracks at home on which above average bowlers (game triers) looked like match winners. No attempt was made to develop good cricket wickets that would offer pace and bounce to the fast bowlers for the first 3 days, and would turn from the 4th day onwards. Good cricket wickets bring out the true merit of a player (whether a fast bowler, a spin bowler, or a batsman), which unfortunately did not materialize, and still continues to be the case (the green top at Nagpur against the Aussies being an exception).

Our so-called world class batting line up used to plunder runs on Indian tracks tailor made for our batsmen at least for the first 2 days of a test match. On these wickets, the bowl would not come above knee height. So, our batsmen who were tigers at home would suddenly become paper tigers abroad on fast and seaming wickets. No Indian batsmen today (barring Rahul Dravid) comes right behind the line of the ball when negotiating the fast bowlers. The feet just don't move, and our batsmen have got out umpteen number of times flailing their bats at the ball without moving their feet. In contrast, if you see the Australian team batting, every one of their regular batsman comes right behind the line of the ball when negotiating fast bowlers. While our batting generally was susceptible to fast bowling abroad on the fast and green wickets aborad, it used to redeem itself well at least against world class spin bowling (the taming of Abdul Qadir and Shane Warne being a case in point). But even then, there have been cases where our vaunted Indian batting has come a cropper against good (not outstanding) spin bowling. The Bangalore test match in 1987 is a  case in point. It was a minefield of a pitch where the ball turned square from Day 1. On a pitch tailor made for spinners, our spinners (Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri) just did not know how to exploit a turning track, while the lesser lights of the Pakistan team, namely Tausif Ahmed and Iqbal Qasim (requisitioned specifically by Imran for the Bangalore test) delivered the goods for Pakistan. They just put the ball on a good length allowing the pitch to do the rest, whereas our spinners were trying to do too much. Something similar happened in the Bangalore test in the just concluded series against Pakistan. All that the Indian batsmen had to do was to play their natural game for two sessions, and here too they failed, taking into account the fact that the likes of Arshad Khan and Shahid Afridi are not in the same league as Tausif and Iqbal Qasim. And, despite the fact that Danish Kaneria did not take too many wickets in the second innings.

The only explanation for the Bangalore debacle in the just concluded series is the sudden panic setting in for no perceptible reason, and the Indian batsmen going into their shell, and becoming ultra defensive. This allowed Inzamam to set extremely attacking fields for his spinners. And, suddenly, ordinary bowlers looked ominous and became match winners. And, this brings us to the crucial issue of mental preparation. Two people (Sir Garfield Sobers and S. Venkataraghavan) have expressed similar sentiments when they said that "Cricket is a game played as much in the mind as on the field".

It is a saying in the game of cricket that a batsman can either allow a bowler to dominate him, or he can dominate the bowler based on his mental approach. So, if the batsman is mentally focussed on the job at hand to the exclusion of everything else, there is a high probability that he will play each ball on merit, and not plod at long hops and half volleys as was the case with our batsmen (including Sachin) in the Bangalore test. Commentators, especially Sanjay Manjrekar wax eloquent about Sachin's cricketing brain, but it was nowhere in evidence either in the Mohali test (his ultra defensive batting in the first innings defies cricketing logic), or in the Bangalore test (his playing across the line to Shahid Afridi in the first innings and top edging the ball to backward point was the beginning of our first innings slide, and he batted like a novice in the second innings terrified by above average bowlers). Even Dravid's failure in the second innings was inexplicable. So, the debacle at Bangalore can be purely attributed to the demons in the mind of the Indian batsmen. Self-doubt, and giving too much respect to the opposition bowling than what was necessary became the undoing of our batsmen, and their subsequent failure exposed the tail to save the match, which was expecting a bit too much. And, Raj Singh Dungarpur had a very appropriate observation to make that most of the senior Indian batsmen have a very poor defensive technique on a turning track. He rightly opined that a batsman should be allowing the ball to come to him, rather than lunge defensively at the ball allowing the close-in cordon to lap up any ball that goes in the air. The other option is to use your feet to jump out to the pitch of the ball either to smother the spin, or to hit over the top (as Mohinder Amarnath, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar, and Azharuddin so efficiently did). One reason for this could be the excessive one-day cricket affecting the defensive technique of the batsmen in test matches. And, compounding all this was the failure of the captain. Saurav Ganguly's poor form not only told on his confidence, but also had a negative impact on the morale of the entire team, which was fairly in evidence in the one dayers.

And, in competitive modern sport, it is all about being mentally intense and fighting it out in the heat of the battle. Along with physical preparation, what is equally important is preparing oneself mentally for the battles ahead. It is important to have your finger on the button all the time, without relenting even momentarily (we relented in Mohali and Bangalore at crucial moments allowing the Pakistanis to resurrect themselves and maul us in the one dayers as well). And it is in the mental aspect of the game that the entire team has collectively failed. The one-day series swung conclusively Pakistan's way after our last ball defeat at Ahmedbabad (we just did not show the right mental attitude in the Kanpur and Delhi one day matches).

What was lacking in the Indian team was mental resilience in fighting the war after losing a battle. Had Sachin remained unfazed by the dismissal of Sehwag, Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, and Ganguly, and was mentally focussed on playing each ball on merit, we could well have saved the Bangalore test.

As far as the performance of the bowlers is concerned, what was disturbing was the highly inconsistent performance of our bowlers. While only a season ago, Balaji and Irfan Pathan were being seen as finds and promised a lot, what was distressing was their highly inconsistent performance in the just concluded series in both tests and one dayers. Irfan seems to have lost his ability to bring in the ball late to the right-handed batsmen. Zaheer was inconsistent at Mohali, and failed to provide breaks when it mattered. Kumble after taking 10 wickets at Kolkatta struggled to get just one wicket in the Bangalore test. And the performance of Aashish Nehra in the one day matches needs deep introspection by the bowler concerned. Going for 40-45 runs in the first 4 overs is just not done for a front line bowler. He was giving away too many runs, and was turning out to be the captain's nightmare. When a bowler gets hit in one match, he is expected to work mentally on what went wrong with his bowling, study how the opponents attacked him, and come up with a strategy to counter the opposition in the next match. And, Sachin's continuing with his defensive leg side strategy when bowling in the one day matche at Ahmedabad is inexplicable. When he saw that this strategy was not working, he should have resorted to bowling over the wicket. That would have given him an opportunity for an l.b.w. decision, or a stumping chance. In the heat of the battle, he did not show enough mental resilience and flexibility, which is the hallmark of a great player. Similarly, there seemed to be no mental preparation and game plan in place by the batsmen. Bob Woolmer rightly pointed out that two of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket (Sachin and Sehwag) were trying to outdo each rather, whereas, what should have been the ideal game plan is for one of them to play through the innings, and build up a big score.

The failure of the young guns, namely Kaif and Yuvraj is a cause of concern. None of them played consistently in the one-day series. Barring one good knock from Kaif at Kanpur, and a quick fire innings from Yuvraj at Ahmedabad, there was nothing much on show by these two batsmen.

And, Ganguly's role as a captain has come under the scanner. What the Indian cricket-loving public would want to know is why he skipped the Nagpur test against Australia on the morning of the test match. Till the previous day, all that we gathered was that everything was well, and that he would be playing. But, on the morning of the match, he rules himself out of the match citing some vague injury. Even Andrew Leipus did not know the nature of the injury. All this lends credence to the suspicion that Ganguly chickened out at the sight of a green wicket at Nagpur, and lost the stomach for a battle. We as the cricket-loving public can only speculate. We will never know the truth. Ganguly will have to introspect hard, confront some harsh home truths, and come out of all this a stronger and a wiser captain. Otherwise, the writing is on the wall for Ganguly. If he can find form and confidence soon in the coming season, it will be good for him and the team. Otherwise, he will have to make way for Dravid to lead the side, and also make way for either Kaif or Yuvraj to take his place in the batting order.

And, this is where the coming in of Greg Chappell as the coach of the Indian team at this critical juncture can help the team come out of the trough that it has got into wholly of its own making. Greg Chappell is a keen advocate of the mental aspect of the game, and he never loses an opportunity through his columns and his website to emphasize the criticality of mental preparation. He has himself acknowledged that whenever he has looked back on his good innings, it was primarily due to the fact that he was mentally relaxed and focussed when he arrived at the crease. This helps relax the muscles of the body, and the feet start moving immediately to counter the moving ball. And, he also acknowledges that on the occasions that he failed with the bat, it was because of mental clutter and too many things being on his mind when he arrived at the crease. The mental clutter could have been caused by previous failures and thoughts of another impending failure causing the muscles to become frigid, and not respond according to the dictates of the ball being bowled. Mental clutter could also be because of the too many commercial commitments of our cricketers. This applies to bowlers as well. In general, this applies to the entire team. And, Chappell judging by his temperament is going to be a hard task master, and will not tolerate an unprofessional attitude. He may also ask for a much wider role wherein his coaching strategies will percolate down to our first class cricket, and also the cricket tournaments in the various age categories, so that coaches across the country speak a single language. He may also ask for a say in team selection. And, this is what begs the important question. Will our thoroughly unprofessional cricket board (which resembles more a feudal system than a modern enterprise) be willing to give that kind of freedom to Greg Chappell. If the board does not relent on this demand of Chappell, and subsequently loses him, it will be digging its own grave. The board is fond of big bucks, and big bucks come from corporate sponsorships. And, corporates will desert Indian cricket (like rats deserting a sinking ship) if the current losing trend continues for long, and if they see the board as an unprofessional outfit not wanting to bring in the best brains to coach and mould Indian cricket.

And, last but not the least, it is high time that our cricketers showed a bit more humility and approached former greats in correcting and improving their game in the next 2-3 months time that they have with them. A Harbhajan has never sought help from Prasanna (Prasanna is always willing to help), Saurav can seek out Sunil Gavaskar's or Mohinder Amarnath's, or Geoff Boycott's help, and all our fast bowlers can take help from Kapil in how to tighten up their game by minimizing wide balls and no balls.(Kapil rarely bowled a no-ball). So, as an ardent cricket fan, and one who wants Indian Cricket to scale new heights, I hope our cricketers will not fritter away the off season in binging, and commercial endorsements, but rather show more discipline and resolve by doing physical training, mental tuning, and improving their game. Hopefully, in the coming season, we will see an Indian team hungry for success, wanting to excel in the field.

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Mithlesh Chandrakar:

After concluding this series and past outsomes from the high pressure matches, i feel that the first problem is just mental. Second is bowling. Bowling is really not up to the mark. Third is, our batsmen are over rated, actually they don't deserve that rating. The rating doesn't show the real picture. In ranking system, the player's performance should judged on the basis of performance in both the innings and conditions in which they played the matches. THis will give our player's rating correctly. Also their perks/fees should vary accordingly. I hope these three reasons are enough for our think tank.

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Sriram Ranganathan:

I hope you watched the episode of 'The Big Fight' showed on NDTV about the Indian Cricket. The matter for discussion was about the BCCI and should it be run like a private company and would that bring about improved efficiency in Indian Cricket. Well, the last ODI between India and Pakistan has just got over and the topic looks ever so important. Several deficiencies of the Indian cricket team were brought to fore in the series:

1. Absence of a single all rounder: Why doesn't the Indian team have even a single one of them? The way the Indian tail bats is like a lottery. The way some of our tailenders grip the bat looks as if they  never had an opportunity to bat in domestic cricket. This brings to the important question of the standards in the domestic cricket. One just feel either the tailenders bat on pitches are absolute minefields for batsman or they come in at a time when match has already been decided or they never get an opportunity to bat at all!! Reforms in BCCI could change things here by having more competitive cricket at domestic level. Also the selection committee would be free from regional bias and would select the best available talent in the country even if it is concentrated in a single region.

2. Fielding  and Running in between the wickets : Mistake once done can be forgiven, but to err again and again is criminal. How many times in this series did we the pakistanis pinch a single to the fielders in the circle? They picked up fielders like Ganguly and Nehra and repeatedly took extra runs to them. Well, this could also have been a opportunity for us to know that if these fielders stay alert, there was a chance of a run out. But the same things were repeated. The way Indian fielders dive is as if they are forced to do it. The reason for this I feel is that the outfields in India. One  cannot buy the argument that the weather in this country does not allow lush green outfields. If countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe have green grounds we don't have any business to say we can't, technology has certainly progressed a lot!! Running in the between wickets is a part of Indian cricket which lesser talked about the better. We are just not good at rotating the strike and most of the players are stroke makers. This can be easily blamed on the small sized grounds of India and fast barren outfields which encourage boundaries. We should try and emulate the Aussies and have some big grounds atleast and stop the mockery of bowlers with batsmen hitting them in the second and tier every other over. Reforms in the BCCI would ensure fewer and well maintained big grounds.

3. Match winning bowlers: Over a period one has watched Indian cricket it is always seen the Indian team as one with a weak bowling attack. And one statistic really defines it, it's the bowling average of the Indian bowlers. No current Indian bowler has an average in either tests or ODI below 25. That is a very important statistic. Because most world class bowlers have the ability to take wickets under 25 runs. And why does it happen? Because of the kind of pitches we have. They are low bounce, not suited to the fast bowlers and hence we don't get real confident, aggressive fast bowlers who can take a batting line up apart. They are suited to spinners but they are so much in favour of spin that the bowler doesn't need to turn the ball but bowl fastish flat trajectory deliveries and the pitch does the rest. This has resulted in bringing up spinners who donot genuinely turn the ball!! Hence they are sorted out in international cricket (Kumble is an exception) and end up with undistinguished careers. You might say even Pakistan board is not structured or reformed, but even they are not consistent performers. If we look at Australia which is a consistent performer, then we can see that the ACB is a private company there and that really seems to have helped Australian cricket. The other thing this series saw was players with injuries playing in the side.  One still feels that Tendulkar hasn't got over the elbow injury. Pathan seemed to be carrying an injury. This doesn't help the side in any way at all.

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Ebenezer:

Indian players must be assesed for their performance and only those who contribute or perform consistently should be kept in the team. There is a trend that if you perform one match, your position is solid for the next 6 months. That means you have 6 months time to give the second performance. For example Laxman is in the team for what he did in 2001 against Australia. The moment the management desides to remove a player, he will come up with a good show at the last match. Again his position is unmoved for the next 6 months.

Whoever it is only performance must be the only critieria to stay in the team.

We are not giving importance to alrounders. without alrounders no team can be competitive agaist the best teams.

Bowlers are not given importance. Since the Indian Cpatain is mostly a batsman he need 7 batsman so that even if he fails six more people are there to do something. This is a bad culture. Either develop few alrounders or go with 5 bowlers, 5 batsmen and 1 wicker keeper batsman that will make the total to 6 batsman. More to say but in short--If the BCCI members don't feel proud to be an Indian and feel that their men carry India's pride, no suggestion or entry of any Great player will go waste.

Ebenezer, Chennai

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Anirban:

My suggestions ..

1. India stopped performing as a team from after World Cup 2003. All India wins have been Individual performances and all losses will because absence of individual performances.

2. Team can be retained same with some strategy.

One of the opening batsmen should think of a long innings and one should strike hard, preferably Sourav and Sehwag.

Dhoni should be utilised at no 3. only if Sehwag is out within first 5 overs. Otherwise Rahul should come.

Yuvraj should come in next to utilise left hand right hand combination.

Sachin should come in next with the intention of staying till the end of the Innings.

Kaif should come in next for quick scoring at the end overs. Dhoni s normal place should be after Kaif. Then the bowlers, Regarding bowling strategy I dont have a clue.

Anirban

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Dr. Chandrabhas Narayana:

Hi,

I read your article "Where has India gone wrong and why?" also happen to watch the cricket match on the TV.  First things first.  I think Indian team should not blame any body but themselves for this defeat  and the loss of the series.  I don't think John Wright has any role in this defeat too. We have to understand that we have to evolve strategies based on the teams present conditions and not on the earlier experiences.  To illustrate this, I would like to say this example. When Sachin was introduced as the opener in Indian one day, it was at a time when Sachin had a Sewag kind of batting.  Now every one knows Sachin has changed his batting style.  So it is not possible for him to be effective in the first 15 overs.  More over we require him in the middle overs where the experience is lacking at the times when Yuvraj and Kaif have to bat.  So the team has to rethink its strategies. We surely have the worst bowling in the top 7 countries in the one day internationals now.  Our bowlers need help.  They need to be given tips by great bowlers to correct them.  More over I think they need to practice more in the nets than play more one day matches.  I do agree with the article, that there are far too many international matches being played than required.  I think they should get time to horn their skills, correct their deficiencies and should be able to get chance to meet other bowlers.

There is another problem, which is very evident.  If a player becomes injured, he is not having the confidence that he can play in the team again, so he tries to come back faster than the time required to recover.  This bad for the team as well as the players.

Major problem we have is  that we don't have a good bench strength.  I remember hearing people say that you should remove this person or the other person.  But what we have to realize is that the people who would replace them would be bad themselves that they would be immediately replaced.  You need to start re-building the second team soon, who can smoothly get into the team and replace others.  This requires a lot of planning.

I think now I have set the stage and let me suggest with my limited knowledge of cricket what can be done to revive the Indian team from the low it is facing.

1. Reduce the number of matches in a year the team plays. Make the team mix with the second string team in the Ranji and other tournament such that the other players get a chance to learn from the experiences of these players to do well in the international arena.

2. Remove zonal representation in the team, let the best players play for the country.  For this the selectors should be of eminence, so that they don't have to fear any one, and the selection is very objective.

3. I think sponsorship is a must for popularizing sports, but I think the companies are going to much in using our players for this.  I would like dignified ads of the players than all kinds.  What I mean is the following, I don't like to see Sachin having his face painted or coming out with goons to challenge.  But would like to see him in dignified ads, like what Gavaskar did for the suiting brand.  It looks elegant. The ads should also not show our players as super-heros.  It looks funny to see a sewag ad which shows him hit a six for an add of a telephone company come up when he got out for a duck.

4. No team member should be thinking his place is stable.  He should be removed if not able to perform for some time.  This requires a good bench strength.

5. After every match the players have to pen in their reasons for good or bad performances to the board and why they should be selected for the next match.  This helps them to introspect and understand what they are doing wrong.  This should be available for the selectors when they pick up the team.

6.  The huddle is not enough, the team should act together.  Every member should be heard and should contribute in the teams cause. The captain should get inputs from every quarter when team is down.

7.  I understand that once you have reached the international level you cannot be coached to be come a good bowler, because you should be good to reach that level.  But what we need is a good strategist who can train the bowlers for particular situations.  Bowling at death. Bowling to a player who is hitting you all around the park.  How to be consistent with line and length.  To tell you a very small comment by Waqar during the Kotla match as a example.  He mentioned that reverse swing is not just dependent on the ball, but on the bowling action.  He mentioned that the slinging action helps in reverse swing and the straight arm action doesn't.  So Agarkar can, but Nehra cannot.  Also to make Agarkar more effective he needs to come closer to the stumps. These are tips which are needed for the captain and the player to make them more potent.  This is not given in any coaching manual.  These are from an experienced player.  So it is nice to have various great players spend some few months with the players.

8.  As I mentioned earlier, team should re-think their strategies and should surprise the opposition.   We should not go by the record book and talk, every match is new and every new match has new situations. So don't hype up the players.  Just be the same every time.  You should appreciate every achievement and also be very critical of failure. I remember when I read in the newspaper that people talked about  Pakistan was a very weak team and would be easy for us to set the  records straight.  What happened? Our best batting line up of the world got beaten black and blue.  Why do we have to think that we have the world's best batting line up.  No batsman can perform every day.  But  what is surprising that most of the days all our batsman under perform, even though they are the best players in the world.  Hero worship is good but then don't go overboard.

9. I was surprised when one of the visitor who is a scientist too, from Australia asked, why is that in India which has Billion people or more has no genuine pace bowler.  It is surprising isn't it.  We need to develop good players.  We need to pick them up young and then train. It should be like investment.  Provide them enough training so that they can become great players. Provide them facilities.  Have a lot of them, some will perform well.

I would stop now as my mind can keep thinking of this and keep writing till I would have written a book.  I hope some of these suggestions are useful for the team.

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Sanjay Dhingra:

Hi,

I'm writing because you seem to base your opinions on the feedback received from your readers and I have views quiet contrary to those in your article "Where has India gone wrong, and why?"

I see Saurav Ganguly as the reason of the losses. He may have infused a killer instinct in the team. But that was sometime back. What he did is in no way permanent. Sourav Ganguly is himself the reason of many problems of the Indian team which are attitudinal. When the captain can't bat he is sure to lack the confidence to pull up other batsmen when they are not giving in their best. I used the words can't bat because I see Sourav's batting problems as a little more than just lack of form. The nature of his dismissals shows that he is lacking in technique and confidence and has no clue on how to fix these problems.

On the field, he is as bad as they can get. I have seen Pakistani batsmen hitting the ball towards him and shouting two. He just cannot field. He mis-fields more than any other fielder in the Indian team. How can the worst fielder in the team make others in the field give their 100%? He just can't.

India's losses reflect the bad attitude in the team. They just seem to lack the confidence in difficult situations.

Even though Sourav was not a part of the team in the last two matches that India lost he had by then inflicted enough damage on the moral and spirit of the team for them to regroup under a new captain in the middle of a series.

There are people who believe he is a good captain and should be reinstated in the team on completion of his 6 match ban. I personally believe that to be an incorrect thing to do. He should be reinstated in the team only on his batting and fielding form and not for his captaincy. Even if the board and players are convinced of his man management abilities, he should probably be made the next Indian Coach.

Rahul Dravid should be backed as the next Indian captain and should be told clearly that he will stay the captain even after Ganguly's 6 match ban is over. Only then will he be able to regroup the team and get them back on their winning ways.

The other problem that Indian cricket faces is of spineless selectors. They do not have a strategy in place and make existing players seem indispensable. Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Yuvraj and Kaif feel invincible because there hardly any new guys lined up who can pressure these guys to stay on their toes. It is the selector's job to make even a Tendulkar aware that he would be replaced if he does not perform consistently.

I could go and on about all this but these are just a few things that BCCI needs to act on.

I wish them the best.

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A M Haree:

Players need to be mature enough to handle the situation and live up to the pressure.Thats why they are being trained.

For indian players, they work hard to get into the team, after that their main focus is to do endorse advertisements. We need results, otherwise throw them out mercilessly. Stop playing matches for some time and focus on training for some while.

We are talking about contributions from Ganguly.. Hello he has delivered what he is supposed to do.he has not delivered 100% or even 80% to be appreciated.Most of the times he has been a failure.He is a weak,incapable & inefficient leader.

There should be a strategy on based on the ground realities.And you cannot have one strategy and apply it to all games. first off all do our team have any strategy to handle the game?? Are the players in the team releible, if not throw them out.

How can Sehwag and Tendulkar open the game.Both of them are aggressive players.There should be a soft and steady player on the opp side to support the aggressive one.

Losing a game is fine, but we are losing more and more consistently and comfortably.And we are happy about a winning one or two.And we have board fighting for channel rights. First do our board members know anything about cricket. Just becos they are rich they in the board.And we expect our team to be efficent???

To avoid this.. may be we can look at Football or Baseball.

Stop supporting blindly.Lets be sensible.

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P.S.Bhattacharyya:

There were many factors that contributed Team India's failure. Except Dravid no batsman is consistent. Sachin (Failure/success) 5/1, Sewag 4/2, Kaif 5/1, Saurav 4/0, Yuvraj 5/1. Our bowling department is also like that. No bowler stood tall in the series. We have some mental problem. Captaincy is a big mental pressure. It killed the natural play of players like Sachin, Azhar, Saurav. Rahul will fall on that bracket if he is continued as captain. Then we lose the most dependable batsman of India. Saurav after all brought back some pride in the team.

1) We should have a new good overseas coach like Greg Chappell. Domestic coach will encourage regional feelings.

2) Let us give a last 2 series chance to Saurav. Hopefully the rest will help him to regain the form. If he is able to get his form it is fine for both the team and himself. Otherwise he should be asked to go.   

Best regards,
P.S.Bhattacharyya
Head of Department - Design & Engineering Services

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Sudhir Patel:

We need to work on the team spirit rather than focusing on individuals. We may have the best talent and skill set on hand, however you can't apply that if your spirits are dry and low!

Work on getting a balanced team as well. Focus on grooming good all-rounders. There should be space for a specialist batsmen or a specialist bowler only if they are extremely good and not mediocre.

India is a country of 1 billion plus. We have the best guys in finance/IT/arts etc, why not sports. It's a matter of institutionalizing sports and spending on infrastructure and training and not merely on personal endorsements.

Last but not the least, don't make the individual a godly figure neither react to bad performances, end of the day the spirit of the sport has to live!

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Pankaj Mittal:

There is just too much easy money for the cricketers. With endorsements secuing one's furture, who bothers about the country. One needs to just succeed in a few matches to start getting 'endorsements'? Remember Parthiv Patel.

Look at where Irfan, Yuvraj, Zaheer and Agarkar are today? Not to forget the big guns - Sachin or Saurav.

Just ban the endorsements till the World Cup 2007. You will see the results for yourself.

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Umang Das:

1.    I think we should be flexible in batting order. e.g Sachin should bat at No.4. 
2.    No. 3 for Dhoni is not his permenant.  If he is sending at No. 3 he should be sent as a Pinchhitter (with a clear instruction that he should score 30-40 runs in 20-25 balls to).  Pinch Hitter should be changed according to the match situation.  We could have tried with Mongia yesterday instead of Dhoni.  If you see Rana Naveed is always bowling to Right handers.
3.    Opening combination should be shuffled e.g. Virender+Yuvaraj, Virender + Sreedhar Sreeram or Virender+even Mongia to confuse the opposition. All the above are goo strikers of the ball. This will save Sachin and Saurav facing new ball.  Since Sachin and Saurav are mid 30's their eye sight is naturally weak.  (example Australia is traying different combination Hayden,Gilchrist, Hayden, Clark, Clarke, Katich, Haddin).  They never changed their No. 3 slot as always sending Ponting. 
4.    Add consistant performers in Domestic Cricket like Murli Karthik/JP Yadav (Medium, pace good all rounder), Venugopal Rao (typical Hyderabadi classy player in Azar Mode)  Shikar Dhavan, Sreedhar Sreeram(spinner/opener alrounder) /VV S Laxman so that senior players like Sachin/Saurav/Rahul can be rotated.
5.    Instruct the Medium pace bowlers to follow line and length (example Glan McGrath or even Rana Naveedul Hassan in the recent matches).
 
6    Work-out plan( A and B) and strategy and set field for players like Afridi/Shoib Malik (like they did against Virender). 
7.    After taking 1-2 wickets we loose our thrist and players like Malik squeezes runs in one and twos without taking any risk which went unnoticed.

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Sharath Mohan M:

Indeed this one day series loss to Pakistan will take time to heal. But a bit of introspection will definitely help. We have done a reasonable job in Tests; lets first admit that (Except for the last day in Bangalore). This is mainly due to good & consistent contributions from atleast a couple of top order batsmen. Sehwag has definitely been a revelation as an opener in tests and he has delivered on more occasions than one. Apart from Veeru, the contributions have come from Dravid, Sachin and a few good knocks here and there from Gambhir & Laxman. Hence the last 2 years in tests have been decent for India.
 
But the real problems lie in One dayers. Its indeed difficult to understand how a team that reached the world cup final only a couple of years back struggle to defeat a team like Bangladesh. Its difficult to point out one single reason for this debacle. May be if I were to put it in a nutshell, I can say its due to lack of 2 things; i.e KILLER INSTINCT & CONSISTENCY.
 
Even when we play against teams like Bangladesh and Kenya, we tend to make things complicated and don't try and close out matches like other top teams wud have done. I am sure this series loss to our arch rivals will be a real eye opener for all those who are concerned with the development of the game in the country. India have always been very inconsistent with their performance. A clear example was this series where after having played the 1st two matches really well, they failed to maintain the tempo and lost the next 4 matches including one where they could not defend a total of 316. As far as selection of team is concerned, it is indeed startling to know that John Wright had no say in the same. As coach of the team, when the BCCI had asked for accountability from the former kiwi opener, it is strange to note that he was not part of the team think tank.
 
A lack of good quality All-rounder definitely hurts the team. In today's scenario, every team can boast of atleast a couple of good all-rounder in their ranks; the likes of Andrew Flintoff & Kevin Peterson of England, Jacque Kallis and Shaun Pollock of South Africa, Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq of Pakistan, Sanath Jayasurya of Srilanka, Chris Cairns of New Zealand and not to speak of the talented Aussies like Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds.This is one area where Indians lag behind the other teams as the presence of a quality all-rounder does add a lot of strength and flexibility to the side. What we have today is a team with lot of specialists and a few men who could at best be called as bits and pieces players. May be Sachin is the best all-rounder we have today and that's a sorry state. We have not tried to develop some one for this role till now after the retirement of the legendary Kapil Dev and this shows the short sightedness of our Cricket Board. We had a lot of contenders like Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja, W.V.Raman in the past and more recently players like J.P Yadav, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, A.T Rayadu, R.S.Sodhi,S.Bangar and many more. It remains to be seen whether any of these present bunch of players  go up the ladder and do the job for our country.
 
Regarding the finer aspects of the game, I feel that running between the wickets and rotating the strike and some more flexibility in the strategies will help the team. We tend to wilt under pressure when chasing a huge total. What we shud remember is that while chasing a target @ 6 runs per over, singles and twos play an equal role as fours and sixes. This is one art we have to learn from other top teams like Australia and New Zealand.
 
Finally coming to team selection, I don't think the selectors can do anything with it as these are the best players we have as of now and if they perform consistently, then I am sure that the Sunny days will soon be back for Indian cricket. Even now, the Indian batting line up consisting of Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Yuvraj and Kaif are match winners on their day. May be we shud look at the bowling which has been consistently giving away more than 300 runs in the matches they have been playing.
 
Soon we will have a new coach and the people who are in reckoning are Greg Chappell, Tom Moody and Dav Whatmore, all Australians. Personally I would suggest a person who is strict and is not afraid of wielding the stick when things go wrong. This is one area we all feel Wright  has got it wrong. But since the area of concern is more in One dayers than in the longer version, may be Tom Moody will be a stronger candidate considering his experience in the shorter version of the game. But other wise one wud feel that Greg Chappell wud be the right choice. But that does not take away any credit from Dav whatmore for what ever he has achieved for Srilanka cricket and what he  has done so far for Bangladesh.
 
All said and done, there is no need to press the Panic button as far as Indian cricket is concerned, but there needs to be a lot of introspection that needs to be done if we have to regain the lost glory in world cricket.
 
Thank you.

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Ravi Shankar:

The batsmen for the last two onedayers was not too much off the mark .However the batting order is not right.
 
Kaif needs to bat in the overs 20-35 considering he does nothave big strokes but can keeo the scoreboard going.
 
Dhoni and Yuvraj have the big strokes and should be used as flexible asa possible .
 
Dravid and Mongia need to take care of the no 3 -5 slot .
 
Bowling: Kartik has proven to be a better one day bowler than Bhajji .Depending  on whether the opposition has more right or left handed batsmen they should be used .
 
Balaji/Pathan  needs to find his rythm !

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Sudhakar BK Reddy:

why the indian team is performing badly:

1. the players have gone soft on commitment to team cause, and have gone hard on money (advertisements).
2. the prolonged non-performance of Saurav with the bat, and Sachin's drive to extend his playing career with a change in batting style (slow and obdurate batting that might help his personal stats, but goes against the objectives of the team - his new approach to batting helps build confidence in the bowlers of the opposition ranks, allows them to settle down and trouble both sachin and others following him) has exerted tremendous pressure on other players in the team.
3. the problems and approach of these two stalwarts(saurav and sachin)to their respective careers have had a detrimental impact on the younger members of the team, leading to their lackadaisical performance.
4. the selectors have failed to create an effective bench strength, and have also failed in projecting the available bench strength as potential threat to the established stars. as long as the so called stars do not perceive threat to their selection, they will have questionable motivation levels. it is ridiculous for people like kirmani (on match ka mujrim, star news, april 18th) to say that players like sachin should play forever. nobody is bigger than the game, and nobody is indispensible- not don bradman, not gavaskar, and definitely not sachin tendulkar and saurav ganguly.
5.the best way to pull up the team performance from now on should be to assign specific responsibility to each player and assess their performance vis-a-vis the team result, and not purely by the number of runs scored or wickets taken. Emphasis should also be laid on catches spilled, run outs effected, and runs saved and how they have impacted the team result.  this is the only way we can throw selfishness out of the team, and get players to perform in a result-oriented manner that will help the team cause.

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Krishanand:

Dear Sir,

You dont have to be a roclet scientist to analyse why India lost to Pakistan in ODI and why it drew in Test series.

It is simple , When India toured Pak last time and won there ,it came after playing in Australia after a good series and Pakistan had just then played Bangladesh .Now When  Pakistan came to India after a tough Australian Series ( they did not do well in tests but played ODIs there very competitively ) India had just played Bangladesh and so the results .When u come after playing a touch oppostion like Australia , even if u do not do well there u can play with ease with other teams.

I can give u many such examples .
1)New Zealand thrashed Bangladesh but after that when they toured Australia they were beaten to pulp by the Aussies and adding salt to their wounds when the Aussies toured New Zealand they squeezed all the life out of them . Now when SriLanka toured New Zealand they were beaten by the black caps and New Zealand won the series .The back caps who were shivering the pace attack of
Brett Lee and  Mcgrath ,suddenly were scoring centuries and double centuries .

2) Sri Lanka got thrashed by Australia 3-0 at home and 1-0 when they toured there but then after that they toured Paksitan and drew the test series 1-1 and also won the ODI Series "Paktel Cup".

3) Bangladesh also got thrashed by the Aussies but then when they later toured Pakistan they fought very well to everyone' surprise in the test series and were close to winning one test which was saved by Inzy's brave effors in the end .But it was a moral win for them as they brought pakistan  close to a match  defeat .

The only exception being west Indies which lost to the Aussies after the World Cup 2003 did not carry that adavantage later .

So the bottom line of good performance is that if u play a series after playing Australia then u end up winning or drawing the next  series .So Credit should go to Australia for imroving the performance of other teams .

India did lose to the Aussies 2-1 at home but that positive effect of playing against the best team could last only to their next victory to South Africa 1-0 which was immediately nullified by a non competitive win over Bangladesh 2-0 .

Final Words - So do not worry even if u loose to the Aussies ,u will end up playing the next series much better and do not gloat over the success with Bangladesh as u will end up facing lot of embarassement in the next series  like how the Black Caps ,India and Pakistan had faced after their win over Bangladesh .

So if India has to again bring out its potential it has to play against the Aussies once more or at least against a better team like England .

with regards

Krishnanand ,chennai ,India

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Rahul Dalwale:

Dear Editor,

Following are few comments I would like to make about the indias failure in last 2 years since world cup finals!

 1. Hype and adulation: Even though we had lost the world cup final, it was treated as a big achievement by indian public and the board. Players were treated like gods and all the adulation came ther way. Guys in the team have been made demi-god and we gave them a wrong message that we are content with the second best efforts and even though we dont go to the top the 2nd position is good enough for us.

 2. Rigidity in team selection: This is almost the same team that is playing for long time and loosing consistently. We dont have a decent all rounder and dont work on finding one. Likes of irrfan pathan and dinesh mongia have got the potential but the right direction and apportunity has not been given to them. We need to put more responsibility on the guyes and tell them to deliver or get booted out.

 3. VVS Laxman factor: If you go by the stats, he is our best batsmen in last year. I ll put the blame on mr.ganguly..it is knowk fact that ganguly is not performing with the bat and in this heavily clouded team with 7 batsmen laxman is a threat to his position. Laxman is a genius with the bat and has to play at 1 down or he is useless to the team as he lacks good fielding skills and he cant bowl. When you got a class player in the side who can win you matches with the bat he needs to be treated with respect and given apportunity and confidence.

 4. S Ganguly factor: He is a devastating one day batsmen or was a great odi batsmen. But at the moment he is a total failure and many a time his coming 1 down or 2 down has lost team india its momentum. Forget about puting all the blame on the guy but purely as a batsmen he is a main contributor to the teams failure.

5. S Tendulkar factor: He has and he is being wining matches for india. Lets accept it. In the recent series he has won us a match with ball by taking 5 wickets and almost won another when india failed to defend 300+ in 48 overs, it is not his fault that the team lost. The major factor is while chasing 300+ score this guy is inevitably failing cheaply on lots of occasions and it puts huge schicological as well as mentle pressure on the guyes to follow as his is a big wickets still. May be we need to use him wisely and while bating first use him as opener and while chasing the total put him 2 down in the middle order. And for gods sake..leave him alone..once again he does win india matches.

6. R dravid and V Sehwag factor: These two have become the pillar of indian team and when they do well india wins and when they fail india fails. Last year sehwags odi form was terrible and india suffered very badly. He is a major factor for this team as when india was doing well sehwag was firing on all cyllenders. As per rahul whenever he plays long innings india do well to post a score on the board. AS he holds one end up and there is no body and really no body else to do this job apart from him and now a days he scores his
runs at run a ball. These two should understand there importance for the team and make the consistancy name of there game as it is a fact if these two will do well together in same match conisistently india will do well. Rahul and Virender you are the best in the team and pls tell it to your self and win us many more matches.

7. Bowlers : It is a known fact that india consides 300+ total bowling first many times and they are doomed ones they are asked to bowl first on good bating pitches. Bowlers are not wining us matches. Question need to be asked to the bowlers and the coach for the failure. We need a full time bowling coach who will give our bowlers new direction and purpose. And yes our bowlers have forgoten that there is a delivery called yorker and it can be used to good effects against the likes of afridi and gayles at the start of the innings if bowled properly. Also somehow we need to find a really really quick bowler who will take wickets just with pace on these insipid pitches for us and can intimidate likes of afridi.

8. Coach: John wrights contribution to the team is unquestioned and we indian fans owe him a lot for the overseas victories in last few years. But the time has come for the change. Look at the wonders bob woolmer has done to pak side. The way they chased down 300+ totals was really amazing and the profesionalism is there for everyone to see. We need a tough aussie who will take us to the new direction. In indias failure in odi's john should take the blame as there has been lack of planing and flexibility shown in the teams approch. Also he has failed to sort out main apposition players like afridi, gayle and gilchrist.

9. Captain: We need rahul dravis as a captain and need to give him a  free hand. Ganguly with his bating form has struggled with his captaincy also. Indias lack of defending 300+ score in odi and lack of taking 4 wickets at mohali in recent series, ganguly sholud take the blame. We seriously need change of thiking at the top. Gangulys decline in odi form has seriously affected india as his captaincy was
insipid and we missed a geniun match winner of the past. Yes, he has won yes many matches with his bat in the past.

10. Passion and hunger: Our players are lacking the passion and hunger to suceed. Rahul dravid will admit that. They are busy dancing in ads. Looking at the likes of pathan and harbhajan dancing was really embarassing. If cricket fans can wait at the ticket window from 1 am in the night it shows real passion. Players need to borrow this passion and should know that they owe a lot to commen man who
comes to ground spending his hard earned money and sits in 40+ degree temprature in the sun without the roof on his head. May be we should appoint ray jennings on some consultation basics.

(Please bare with the spellings! Hope you will take the pain to put it on your side if it  makes any sense!)

Regards,

Rahul Dalwale

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