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Readers on where India has gone wrong

Last updated on: April 19, 2005 20:41 IST

Sumit Bhatia:

I firmly believe that Saurav and Wright have been instrumental in "making" this Indian team such that people now expect it to win all the time it goes out to play rather than making comments like "we will surely loose this match". Everyone now believe that the team can fight. However it is not in the hands of these individuals to ensure that we win all the time. It is in the hands of all the 11 players.

Everyone has to contribute! And over the period which you have mentioned, India has surely lost because of few players not contributing under pressure. The biggest example are Sehwag and Sachin. Batting first and making runs is easier, playing with same flare (like Afridi did!) with a target on the back of your mind is pressure. Sachin is confused. He keeps hearing that he has lost the tempo which he had few years ago and tries hard to hit each bowl.

The fact is that he HAS lost the tempo and should now play the role what Inzamam is playing. Come in the middle order and take your team through the overs. Then the bolwing department has not delivered the promise shown in the World Cup. The lose in finals is still haunting the Indian bowlers. The main culprit here is Harbhajan. Sachin bowls much better than him. We need to play five bowlers, now that Dhoni has shown batting promise. 3 seamers and 2 spinners.Also I think a lot of shuffling with the batting order has caused confusion.

There has to be either a consistency or we should apply rotation policy like we did in Bangladesh (forget that loss, it was not because of rotation).Whatever we say, there has to be a lot of homework done before we can even think of doing equal to what we did in last world cup. And removing Ganguly is not one of them.

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Ramasubramaniam:

Hello, 

I am a great fan of Cricket and even greater fan of Indian Cricket. When ever there is a cricket match featuring India, i am glued to the TV set. Well, all this with a huge expectancy that India pull off an good professional performance. This Sunday and the 3 matches held before that, it was very disappointing to see them lose. 

In this particular series, we found that the most famed batting order just did not click, for various reasons. The team management could have tried out different batting order or some young blood after our loss in the 3rd match. Its very sad to see the experienced / exquisite batsmen just crumbled like 9 pins in short time. Why can't the Indian Team management decide that 2 of the 6 batsmen will need to just stay and rotate strike.

Their role would be to play max part of 50 overs. While one of such player is at one end, the other end can have an aggressive player so that the score board moves on at a regular rate. Regarding bowling, it seems that our bowlers just don't learn their lessons from previous games. They continue to feed the batsmen on their strengths. Do our bowlers at any time work on opponents batsmen's weaknesses? I also think we should have more of the challenger tournaments featuring the cricketers from the Indian Eleven, India 2, India under 19 players and get our key players to play under pressure, setting targets, chasing targets and restrictingetc. 

Hope the new coach works on psychological aspects of the team members along with their roles that they would play.

 All the best

Thanks

Ramasubramaniam V (Bangalore)

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Sudhirkumar:

This question is raised everytime we lose a series or a tournament. Then it is forgotten in the euphoria of a  WIN . This is not something unique to Ganguly's team or Captaincy . We have been going thru the same emotions ever since our independence in all fields .

Reasons- (01)We donot seem to plan for Failures . There appears to  no Plan B When things donot go our way. Probably We believe in Heroics of Individuals or in  intervention of Gods. Modern day games are played more in back office rooms than in the greens .

(02) One day games may not afford the luxury of time that Test matches do  for changing strategies midway. May be we need Different mind sets & also skill sets for the two.Like Australians have 2 different captains for the two versions of the Game.

(03) Foreign Coach on a 5 year contract - Certainly Wright has done a great Job & deserves a Better Farewell than the one Team India Gave him.We need some one like  Martin crowe , The Man who changed the way  ONEDAY CRICKET is played or may be Steve Waugh,the ice cool man who knows a thing or two about winning against all odds.

Sudhirkumar

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Yogesh Hasabnis:

This debate should not be about making the best arguements but acknowledging the facts. Ganguly supporters (actually there hardly any supporters for Ganguly) have never said that the ban imposed by ICC is harsh and is the cause of India's defeat. It's the pressure exerted by the ex-cricketers (who seem to be ready to do anything to be in the limelight), the cricket analysts in the media and the public in general that has caused considerable damage.

The ex-cricketers have always criticised Ganguly since he became Indian captain five years ago. 75 % of the Indian cricket fans have not been able to digest the success that Ganguly has achieved as a captain in the last 4-5 years. That may be because he managed to achieve something that their favourite cricketers  didn't manage to do. Till last few months Ganguly didn't care about these non-sense criticisms. But in this series there seemed to be an organised effort from the media and the ex-cricketers to pressurise and dislodge Ganguly.

This started from the Mohali failure and reached it's peak in the Bangalore test. So huge was the pressure exerted that even a mentally tough man like Ganguly failed to cope with it. In the second test when India won, none of the media analysts acknowledged Ganguly's contributions as a captain. Read the columns in Indian Express and other newspapers/websites.

Ganguly succumbed to this pressure and couldn't perform to the best of his ability as a captain and a batsman and all the youngsters in the team who had been really feeling safe and secure under Ganguly's leadership uptill now were left leaderless. Although this is not the only reason for India's poor performance, it's the main reason. The biased and senseless media and ex-cricketers won and India under Ganguly's leadership lost the series.

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Viswesh Srinivisan:

Hi, I think the best solution for the Indian team is to make sachin Tendulkar the captain and give him full control/responsibility of the team. His recent bad performance is due to lack of motivation. Kudos to Tendulkar on reaching the 10,000 runs mark and passing Gavaskar's record.Hats off to a great man and wish him all the best in the future.

There comes a stage in any great player's career when personal goals stop being a motivation. Once a player has proved beyond any doubt that he is the best, he should be given the responsibility of leading the team. He should be setting an example for the entire team and act as an inspiration to the entire team. I would like to see a Tendulkar who is dreaming about winning the world cup 2007 for India, developing the strategy for the same, grooming youngsters talent and discipline for the same.

It would be a pity if Tendulkar is confined to dreaming about his 15,000 th run or his 50th century. No doubt Ganguly has been a successful captain. But he is certainly not an inspiration to the whole team. He is at best a task-master. Tendulkar had his share of problems when he was made the captain. He honestly admitted it and offered to step down at that time. But he never said " I NEVER WANT TO TAKE UP THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CAPTAINCY". May be he is ready now.

He is too polite a personality to publicly announce his desire for captaincy. But I think selectors should find out whether he would like to have another go at captaining the Indian team and if he is ready, give the responsibility to him without any delay. If Tendulkar is at the helm, I believe the Indian team can rule the cricketing world. Who knows best how to rule the cricketing world than the great man himself. IF POSSIBLE REDIFF should conduct a poll : "WHO SHUD BE CAPTAINING INDIA IN THE 2007 WORLD CUP: GANGULY/ TENDULKAR/ DRAVID." Does a sports channel have the right to conduct a poll like this on a controversial issue and announce the results publicly? Would BCCI or any other body object to a opinion poll like this?

regards

Viswesh Srinivisan

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Sooraj:

My comments for the Indian one day team Few Comments regarding batting line up: Yuvraj and Sehwag must open Kaif at Number 3 position Tendulkar at Number 4 Dravid at Number 5 Dinesh Mongia at Number 6 Dhoni at Number 7 Dhoni or Pathan must go up in the order as per the need Pathan must be given more chances at the top of the order to establish himself as an all rounder Few Comments regarding bowling: Two or Three Fast bowlers have to be selected continuously for one or two years Only one specialist spinner position shall be there Bowlers must be consistent in bowling on one side of the wicket and bowling to the field

Best regards,

Sooraj

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Pramod Wadgave:

Dear Rediff

We always talk about strategy and methodology to win matches which is true in all circumstances. But more important thing is players who can make the difference. You can not win any tournament or series by having four out of form batsman. What makes a real quality international player is consistency and ability to fight. If any of our star players can not do that then they do not deserve their places in national squad. Frequency of one good knock in ten matches does not help probability of wining matches.

I still remember the way we were trashed in VB-one day series against Australia in 2004.Allan border clearly showed surprise to see no sustained efforts form world's best batsman to win any match. Our team is having world's best batsman and we are proud of that but unfortunately it is not making any difference to match result. Just one hundred in six matches from sachine do not carry any value to his champion crown.

We have seen in last couple of years, kaif and yuvraj had long chain of failures and they survived. Ganguly we all know about that. We are left with only two batsmen, Dravid and sehwag...Only two performing batsmen...Well ..you can not win matches with two batsmen. We need performing players to win matches. It is that simple.  

Regards

Pramod Wadgave

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Raghu Ram:

Cricket lovers in India and abroad, this is something that I wanted to write not after the recent humiliation. But right after the deplorable World Cup Final. After the world cup, we were all talking about building a team for the 2007 world cup. Great. How many finds do we have? It's all the same faces. It's insane. If you go by the fact that doing the same thing all over again expecting different results. We have the same bowlers, same batters and the same combinations. Give or take a murali karthik here or a sriram there.

Don't you guys think we are relying too much on sachins, gangulys et al? Look at it this way. If we were to do away with the entire lot, and have a fresh team, do you think we will win all our matches? i don't think so. But then, we at least will have no expectations. Right? Also, the biggies who won't be in the team don't deserve to be there. I mean, it is something to be a devotee of the game. And it is something else to be worshipping false Gods. And byno stretch of imagination can these mortals be bigger than the game.

After having seen the likes of Clive Lloyd, Richards, and even, Inzimam and Akram, on what basis do we ever dare to put our players on a pedestal? Huh? Take for example the averages of Steve Waugh and one of your best players. I am not talking about the runs. Look at the number of matches Steve has won. And look at your favourite player. Look at your strike bowler. And look at a Wasim Akram's average. Your players lose. Now, there is one aspect where your team scores. And that is acting skills. I must admit they are fabulous.

As an ad professional, I find it amazing how these chappies can do it. Good show, at least off the field.The reason I am making these harsh comparisions is because cricketers are no longer sportsmen. They are entertainers. And that means, they are duty bound to deliver. Heck, as a professional accountant, can you ever blame a silly error on office conditions? Or not delivering the goods on not getting to use the computer first? If you have been excused, which I doubt, you must be lucky. As lucky as your cricket team. Finally, the loss. Frankly, this is no loss. It is a victory.

For the game and truth. As Indians, we all believe that Satyameva Jayate. And that is what has happened here. The truth that Pakis, Aussies or even Poms are better than us is finally established. Beyond doubt at that! I know some of you would not like what I just said. But hey, that's how I see it. Try seeing it my way and you won't have to reach for your anti-BP pills everytime your team loses.

Raghu Ram

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Swaroop:

Hi,

I just read an article in Rediff.com and thought i should put my hands up and jump in with my comments. In India Cricket is not only a sport, its a religion and profession millions of Indians understand that its one of those days where our players were off-color.

But the way we lose sometimes triggers tones of questions in each and every viewer's mind and when we are unable to answer these questions that's when we feel that they should concentrate more on their job which is playing and not signing endorsements, acting, so on and so forth. It is really a treat watching this very team beating Aussies in the Kangaroo land. Some other day they will fold like pack of cards. That's where I think our team has to improve heaps and bounce. 

Sourav Ganguly is the hot cup of coffee now in India. He has become a household name these days. Unfortunately people who speak wrong about him are correct as he has not emerged to the expectations of the people. When the captain of the team leads from the front, I strongly believe that his leadership qualities improves immensely and its a different feeling altogether. I think Ganguly should start thinking as a batter first and then concentrate on his leadership. The board has a big role to play in this regard. 

We have a break for couple of months now. I think the board should wear its thinking cap on and start hunting for more fresh legs in the team, which means this might be the end of the road for VVS Laxman (ODIs). There are youngsters in the country like Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Laksmi Ratan Shukla, Neeraj Patel, Suresh Raina. As for as Ganguly is concerned I don think he deserves a place in the Indian Test Team. He scored his last test ton in Australia when we toured last.

That is some 15-16 months back and after that we have played Pakistan (in Pakistan), Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia (at Home) and the recent Pak visit.  A test ton once in 2 years is too bad a record for a player and when he is leading the team he cannot lead from the front. I think that BCCI should start thinking about the future and pick Dravid to replace Ganguly.

That will also make way to youngsters like Yuvaraj Singh or Mohammed Kaif in the playing 11. We have some senior players like Tendulkar who has not fired after comingt back from the injury also have a major role to play in the defeat.Dravid has always been a consistent player. Thats why I think he is the ideal man to lead the side. Importantly No players irrespctive of how branded they are, should not be entertainedin advertisements. Indian public is smart enough not to fall in the trap and by the product which are marketed by using their favourite cricketers.

Thanks,

Swaroop

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Jayavasanthan.J:

Indian Cricket Team - A Short Essay Indian Cricket team has dipped a new low, but, it is not the lowest it has sunk yet. But definitely with the expectations of millions, sorry billions, of cricket lovers in the country and abroad, it has sunk to a new low. The composition of Indian Cricket, Viru Sehwag - One who has everything going onto his head, with a lot of over-confidence that he can defy anybody (any bowler) who can bowl to him, but he forgot about the fielders who can catch him out, either as runout or catch.

The only thing he has contained is he has not forgotten how he played street cricket in Delhi. Sachin Tendulkar - A class apart, it is very mesmerising to see him fail four or five times and then produce a gem of an innings, as the 123 against Pak in the fourth one-dayer. He seems as relaxed as he can be without any pressure. Sometimes too much relaxed. Rahul Dravid - Still stroking the ball nicely, the only hope for India to salvage some pride, but do we have to push him in with more burden for Captaincy. Young lads: Yuvraj, Kaif and not to forget a match-winner in 2nd one-dayer, MSDhoni.

These guys are lightning in the field, great to pounce on any opportunities and fast to lose their wickets at seemingly favourable conditions and situations. Dhoni can be barred based on his freshness. Kaif because of his match-saving knock in Kanpur. But Yuvraj, besides the 33, I haven't seen him in the lime-light (NOTE: India has won more matches when he had scored a fifty & he and Kaif lead our team for the first record-breaking above 300 run-chase).

Sorry Bowlers: Unless they pick a wicket these bunch of guys have been seen as guys without any full-energy. Zaheer & Nehra bowling well within themselves, All erring in their line & length (count the extras given you will know), and whenever put into bowl India providing a 300 run scoreline to the opposition is very disheartening. The bowlers seem to have lost their confidence level somehow bowling in these flat pitches and the form of Afridi and Inzamam in particular hasn't helped them either.

I don't feel anything but sorry for these members in the team. Captain: His name defies any explanation, everything he does has come under criticism. The field changes, or discussing his bowlers during the over, over rate and finally his bad run with the bat. Its too much for Ganguly to take. May be he takes a well deserved rest from International Cricket with the ban and retrospect and learn about his basics, how he played at the grass roots level (street/school cricket). He has to play at least a season at Ranji to get back into his strides and come back with a bang (I hope).

And finally, what went wrong for India - by the looks of the above lines almost everything went wrong, they have to pull up their socks and listen to their inner selves. The answer lies within them. They have to come out of this shell, with a new found coach and mentor (whoever that is). This was the same team which was going glorious just two years ago in the world-cup. It just has to play the long rest which has been planned for the team in retrospection and come back with one little thing which is a must in every sportsman's mind - CONFIDENCE

Regards,

Jayavasanthan.J

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Atul Vaish:

hi

for anybody when things comes easy way...we get into a comfort zone..our growth also deescalates..the same thing happned to indian team ...if take the case of sachin...it is said that no body can make this person out even he is performing badly..how come? if sachin is a great person as well as a great batsman ...he must willingly admit his mistake and must pursue again for the excellence that he achieved in the past..then love and respect for sachin in the public will be more intense  ..threre is no need to be arrogant ..

When we are talking about a fair game ..that should be applied to everybody..we must fight for equaltiy..how sachin became GOD thet no body can kick  him out when he is not performing...he was performing great in the past ..there is no doubt. but he lacks the killer instincts and consistency...he must devlop himself in this area..now it depends how much he is honest to himself..if we talk abt other players ...like yuraj etc...therer should be a stiff policy ..pay for performance...currently there is no such policy...if in one match

One player plays good and other two he plays badly//he need to sit back according to such policy..becoz sometimes the opposite team plays badly,so some player might make good scores as happned with Dhoni...so rules and regulations ..and a professionalism really lacking in indian team...we must enforce them and then we can expect our team to perform better...

Thanx

bye

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Arka Bhaumik:

The defeat against Pakistan again proved the inability of Indian Team to overcome the pressure while chasing a big score. The article clearly  indicates this point of lacking 'lion hearts' in the Indian cricket players. Truely speaking it's not something unusual for me. I have been watching cricket last 15-18 years and always observed this 'lack of confidence' in Indian team.

Today our ex-Indian players who are now well knowned as great server for our Indian team and presently belongs to the community whom we seek for their expertise might be giving their 'precious suggestions' to improve the situation sitting in their room. But let me know if any of the rediff readers disagree with the fact that our team was never like this before? was it not even worse??? I cannot remember any short stream of time when Indian team has shown their ability to fight and showed their courage to stand against tough conditions consistently. Once or twice winning tough matches doesn't prove their 'brave hearts'.

Recently due to the consistent failure of one man is criticised mostly and indicated as the failure of the whole team which seems to me absolutely ridiculous!!!!..since cricket is a team game where everyone has to perform and only then you can expect something better. Nevertheless, I would also like to remind all those 'stupid experts' who are still campaigning against Indian captain, about the pre-Ganguly period and the post Ganguly period of Indian Cricket.

I hope the view is quite different and we should not forget to acknowledge this man who really distributed his courage and arrogance to the yougstars(whom he only picked up) and compelled us to dream about winning last world cup..which was already proved to be 'improbable' to Indian spectators.After this disasterous defeat I would like to hear from all those fans of Indian Cricket who are in the favour of Ganguly's ban'.

I used to believe that in this game there is nothing much in the Captain's hand. It is all how the each member of a team performs. I agree that team like Australia created history not only because of a wonderful captain like Wough but it was and it is an effort made by the whole team as well. But this thought of mine proved to me quite suspicous when Ganguly took over the captaincy. If you remember those days when the Indian Cricket Board put him as a captain of a broken team in every aspect, performance, management, match fixing scandles..etc.

From that very moment one would take it as curse to be the captain of such a team.(this was even reflected in our best player's confession) But after that we all observed some changes which we just cannot forget today. A man almost alone pulled up the team giving chances to new comers ( Yuvraj, Kaif, Nehra etc) and made the crew known as 'Team India'. which gave hope to all of us to dream about winning world cup.!!!! 

But today in his bad days we don't forget to criticise that player..isn't it little ????...where as at the same time we overlook other's performances....can anyone remind me the last match won by India where our great batsman Tendulkar contribution can be remembered??........if not..should we then kick him out the team??...no right ??...since we don't have anyone to replace him.....same way I believe there is noone presently to remove even Ganguly......neither as a performer or as a CAPTAIN.......since cricket is a team game where each member has to give his 100% and only then you can expect something great.

Those who compare the effort of Rahul and Ganguly in every match won by India I would like ask them..do they really believe that captaincy should be only given to a person who performs? I think the answer is no'...since Rahul is a 'great performer'..the most consistent player in the team...but if the captaincy alone can save any match then we would not have lost the game today in 'such a manner'. But captaincy makes difference in the attitude of the whole team where no one till now has proved to be better than Ganguly who distributed his aggressive ness that hunger for winning every match.....which we always missed in Indian team.

 Hence lets salute to the contribution of Ganguly as a good captain ( who has gave us memorable performances as well) and Dravid as a great performer, but not as a captain...not yet......... let's just wait for the soon recovery of Ganguly from his bad form and be a 'good performer' and a become a 'great captain' from a 'good captain'..But the question ' Where has India gone wrong, and why?'..the answer is we are defeated due to lack of confidence' and not for a 'man' alone. It's useless to blame on a particular person alone. But the question how to improve this situation? I think the answer we all know.

 Make situation more competitive for everyone in the team. Each member has to perform or else has to sit as reserved or thrown out of team and this rule should be impartial. The selectors should be brave enough to rely on newcomers instead of a 'record holder' when he is out of form. No matter he is captain or a big shot'. Anyway we are losing..so what to lose further?? it's better to try those newcomers enthusiastic youngstars who are cooling their heels either in the dressing room or in different parts of country.

The nonconsistent performer should be warned even though the team wins (most cases we notice the team remains unchanged when it wins) and demolish the myth ' winning combination'. 'Survival of the fittest' should be the only rule followed. good luck for Indian team, best wishes to all readers!!

Arka Bhaumik

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Akshay Sawant:

What is the single great cause of the Indian Cricket Team's defeat in the ODI Series? Rahul Dravid when asked the question, replied by saying that we had not played to our potential. Fair answer, one would say. But it begs the further question that why did we not play to our potential? To analyse the reason for that, we need to see whether we agree with what Dravid said at all. We did not play to potential. True. This team is pretty much the same team that had rested on its laurels from the 2003 World Cup.

So, one would say that the potential is there but why has it not been converted into results consistently? Following are some points to ponder more in the mode of what should be instead of what should have been.1. Starting with the Batting, I do not see a problem with the two openers. They are a good balance of aggression and anchorage. However, I see Sachin finishing off his career, whenever he does that, playing at Number 5 or 6, much in the same way as Arjuna Ranatunga or Arvind D'Silva of Sri Lanka or say a Steve Waugh.

India have to groom someone to take Sachin's place at the top of the order. Dhoni could be that man. I think this is something Sachin would like to do as well as he has not finished a lot of games himself. I think he gets immense satisfaction in finishing the game off and be there at the end. His changed style of batting facilitates that. We do not need our best batsman to be taking risks up front. No. We need him to come in late and solve a crisis or take us home or drive in the advantage created by Sehwag or Dhoni or hold one end up.

Sachin is the only batsman in the team who can do all of these things. Next, we need to groom a good number 3. It cannot be Dhoni. It has to be Yuvraj Singh or Kaif. Again Yuvraj or Kaif as Number 4. Dravid or Sachin at 5 or 6. Sourav as per current form has no place in the side. In short, Sehwag & Dhoni to  open, Yuvraj & Kaif to follow and Sachin & Rahul to finish.2. Number 7 is at the moment a question mark. It is imperative that this person has to be an allrounder. We do not want makeshift all-rounders.

The top contender is Irfan Pathan. Once he is fit, he should be try and improve his batting but coming out at the number 3 spot in domestic cricket. If a guy can be trusted with batting at Number 8 in Test cricket, he is good enough to bat at number 7 in one-day cricket. I feel, if he is thrust into that role, he will perform. Failing that, we should look for a good alternative, preferably a medium pacer who can bat.

Dinesh Mongia is not an option here (he is a top order batsman and that is where he should bat, if given the chance). Laxmi Ratna Shukla of Bengal comes to mind. He has been given one chance. Maybe he has learnt from it? I think the selectors need to look for someone like that. I am not convinced they have been looking.3. The bowling is a matter of fitness. Again the talent is there but it is not matched with consistent fitness. India, at the moment, do not have an attack that can wreck teams. They should accept that.

The only way that they are going to cause problems for other teams is by mixing it up and having different type of bowling options available. Therefore, it of utmost importance to have a good all-rounder. If Pathan plays as all-rounder, then India can play with 2 spinners - Kumble/Bhaji/Kartik and 3 pacers - Zaheer/Balaji/Nehra/Agarkar. This will give India 5 regular bowling options. Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj can add to the variety.4.

The wicket-keeping problem seems to have been resolved for now but we need to keep both Karthick and Dhoni on their toes by letting them keep in tests and ODIs respectively. For a little while, at least until we have a clear winner.5. Captaincy should now be given to Rahul Dravid in both forms of the game. Ganguly has had his day in the sun. It is now going to be a new coach with a new captain and new vice-captain. Sourav needs to work on his batting and hopefully he can still get some of his old magic back after the burden has been taken off him. However, he will need to earn his place back into the team.6.

The break of 4 months will help the team re-group and ponder a bit but we might be in a situation like the last Asia cup when everybody who turned up were rusty. The Indian borad should encourage the players to go play in the English County season just to remain in touch. Sourav Ganguly should be the first one on that list. But I think every player could benefit by playing some first class cricket this summer. It was a potential world-beating squad and it still is.

I think in trying to drive success overseas and lack of domestic cricket, the players, especially the batsmen are out of touch in terms of playing in India and playing against quality spin. They seem to be playing a bit like foreign sides playing in India against India. This showed recently in how they played against Kaneria and Arshad Khan. The board should ensure that there are times when the players are able to play meaningful domestic cricket and not just turn up for a couple of games ahead of a major series.Just some thoughts.Akshay Sawant

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Mr.Vijay Hosamani:

Dear Editor, Well, to start of with, Congratulations to Team Pakistan for an excellent display of implementing cricketing skills and strength of character ont the play-field. Now for the post-mortem of India's abject performance over the entire season . To come to think of India's present state after the world cup debacleis least surprising. The symptons were very clear by then but the selectors chose to treat the symptons alone rather than the cause. In a country where cricketers are demi-gods , guess  the selectors did not stand a chance.

But what is rather more anguishing is that they still do not seem to have identified the cause though it is crystal clear. Team India does not lack cricketing skills, but as said earlier, it is the implementation of those skills in the play that matters. It is a harsh fact that the team lacks mental strength. Cricket is played in the minds before it is played actually on the playground. But our star cricketers seem to have forgotten this point. Just like any other skill mental strength IS a skill which every sport requires. This is a skill which must be practiced as rigoursly as any other skill. Hope this enlightment strikes to the persons who matter to this sport in this great cricket fanatic country.

Regards,

An ardent and desperate Indian Cricket Fan

Mr.Vijay Hosamani

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Srinivas B:

Hi, First of all India needs a fight thru captain and also young blood into the team. Sachin seems no longer the master blaster as an opener, he can be best suited at # 3 or 4. Selectors can not go on keeping the oldies just they got fantastic records. What you are now is always important than what you were, no out of form player can be given a safe berth for more than two consecutive matches.

Every one in the team should understand that performance is the only KEY for representing India, we should have a pool of players in each department as back ups. We can take good things from Australian Cricket Board. Emulating good things is not bad though.

Regards,

Srinivas B

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Jay:

Hey Prem,

 I am sure much has been said regarding the latest Indian debacle already and I am not going to talk about it. A while ago during the test series in the Bangalore test, I had tried to send you an email but it bounced (read it at the end of this email). What I had suggested there was that Ganguly should be encouraged to go out and play his best coz he seriously looked like he was real scared of something and I am not sure whether it was really the bowlers. I am pointing my fingers towards the selectors. There must be something going on on the inside.

But that is just a speculation. Anyways, now I seriously feel Ganguly has gone past that stage and along with Tendulkar should go back to domestic cricket for a good few months. Another point, I don't know if you get to see star news but yesterday there was the programme called "Match ka mujrim". We had Syed Kirmani (is he one of the selectors?). He was defending Tendulkar big time by saying he is a GREAT player and we should persist with him even if he is doing badly.

Agreed he is GREAT...but he has lost his GREATNESS for over a year now!!!! So is it wrong for us to expect him to work on hi GREATNESS in the domestic arena again? And he doesn't need to prove it! All he needs to do is work on it. It is the attitude of these people that allows the cricketing stars to rest on their laurels forever and not work hard for their place in the team. Another point Kirmani made was that the public just sits there and asks questions. No one knows what pressures these guys go through.

Well we see what pressures they go through during a match. Are there any other pressures???? (read exerted by the selectors). And it is for that reason that I want to suggest that the selection process be fully transparent to the extent that television crews/unmanned cameras be allowed in during the selection meetings. Then all this nonsense about favouritism will stop (hopefully! We know these guys are capable of staging acts!). Anyways, I know you guys get thousands of emails every day. If you happen to read this, I hope to get a reply.

Many thanks.

Jay

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Babloo Khanna:

Hello, First of all congratulations to pakis for a well deserved victory. Now the reasons for indias failure.

1)First of all it has been a tradition in india to be dependant on one player to help them in winning matches.First it was sachin and now its Sehwag and then may be it will be Dhoni and so on.........this is not fair as it brings unnecessary pressure on in form player and cricket is a team game and not a indiviual players effort.

2)Indians lack the fighting spirit.If theres a downfall the players panic,why this attitude?They should be positive even if they loose three wickets in three balls there attitude shouldnt be NOW WHAT?It should be SO WHAT? 3)Gangualy has been one of the most succesful captains of india and it is appreciable  but when he is out of form he should take the moral responsibility and take a break.

Look at Steve waugh when he was out of form he use to take break and come back with a bang. 4)India should have specialise batsmen for one day and test matches.So we can have professional one day players and test match players. 5)Young players should be given more chances,and the selection should be on merit basis rather then zonal basis. 6)The compensation of team should not be changed in every match and it should be changed if it is necessary only if it is required as per the pitch preparation.

7)Indians have forgotten the basics of cricket like taking singles,field placments,bowling yorkers,and testing aggressive batsmen like afridi with short pitch deliveries and so on. I am sure that indian team has a winning combination.They just need to put there heads together and just follow the basics of games and theres no rocket science.

Babloo Khanna:

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Khushpinder Singh:

First of all I congratulate Pakistan on winning the one day series! A peep into past 8-10 months of Indian cricket will reveal that the confidence levels were not very good before the start of this series. We lost to Australia. Batting was at its lowest in the recent while. All credit to Australians who did their homework on Indian batsmen. Sehwag was successful as you don't get the course material to sort him out.

Kaif was partially successful because he was "surprise element" for Australians as they did not expect Sachin's absence. But the rest were well looked after, Dravid and Laxman with short midwicket and short mid off to make them play across towards square leg to prise them out and you don't need a plan for Saourav! Hindsight is beautiful! Had it not rained on day five of Chennai test, had Parthiv taken an easy catch of Hayden in 1st over of 2nd innings (not to mention dozens of others he missed), the game might have finished with Indian victory on day 4 itself.

A squared series might have raised the confidence levels to a very high. In the next series they struggled to beat very week SA. I won't talk about Bangladesh now. So a detailed study will reveal a trail of this slide and it didn't happen overnight test series At the start of the series in a side game Pakistan struggled to go past 250 runs at Dharamsala and when they were shot out for 303 on the first day of Mohali test the Indian camp started to relax and then on day 5 they were so overconfident and complacent that they did not push for a win and rather waited for things to happen. ODI'S Same thing happened in ODI's.

After winning first 2 games they thought they are safe now and won't loose the series. That was the first nail in their coffin. The coffin was all nailed in the 4th game when they were too defensive while defending 316. That was the end of the series. Future Now to talk about the future course, the 7 batsman theory should be dumped for good. If your top 6 batsmen can't do it for you the 7th won't make any difference, especially when 3 out of top 6 have 30000 ODI runs and 70 ODI hundreds. On subcontinent wickets we need good bowling attack rather than batting.

Ganguly seems to have taken a leaf out of Brazilian soccer which has best attack and a very poor defence. They make sure that they score more than their opposition but same can't be done in cricket. Look out for a genuine all-rounder. Agarkar/Pathan should be given this role for the time and an extra bowler should be included. Batting order needs tweaking by bringing Sachin down the order as his fitness level won't be the same. Dhoni should only be used as a surprise element at number 3. And I am sure the new coach will take to team towards the future. Finally "Adopt good methods not superstitions" Best Regards and God Bless Indian Cricket

Khushpinder Singh

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Rahul Ashtikar:

Hello,Indian cricket team is more consistant in showing inconstistancy. They players play one godd match and then do not perfom n next five matches and this has almost become a habbit for most of the players. I think Dravid is only player who is performing consistantly since the world cup. Also he delivers when team needs him most.

Same can be said about the bowlers. If pakistani bowlers can restrict india to a modest total then why can't indian bowlers do the same. Pakistani bowlers are less experienced than india bowlers. Also they are not extraordinary bowlers but still they performed well.Another issue is captainship. Captain is responsible is only responsible for making the right moves at right times.

But on the field every player has to preform. Captain can just ask you to bat or bowl. But hte players himself has to deliver good performance. Today Ganguly is considered as bad captain because his other 10 men are not performing. But when they were on the high almost a year back, then same captain was considered as best. If Ganguly has been asked to captain the Australian team, then will the australian team perform badly?

The main think is indian team lacks the fighting spirit. They lack the burning desire to win. Its almost become a routine now that they won the one series and everybody starts praising them. After that they again play badly for the next couple of series. Again when people start critising, the team performs well and again people say our team is best and the cycle continues. This is happening for a long time.

Also another problem with the team is they all perform at the same time. Either they all perfom or nobody does well. So very often we see indian team scoring big totals in one match and then failing to score even 200 in another match.If we try to analyze the reason behind this bad perforamance, we don't find any genuine reason. The indian team is getting the best facilities, they have the good coach, no lack of talent. They are probably the most payed players in all cricket playing countries. Every player is a hero for a common man.

Then what is the reason of not perfoming. Its just they are getting it very easily. They need to make work hard for all those facilities. Nobodys place should be confirmed in the team. He has to deliver if he has to be in the team no matter how senior a player is. If somebody is out of form, then he should play in the domestic cricket to get his form back. International matchs are not for getting into the form. They are to execute your form. This team has the potential to win. They have shown it in the past but unfortunately they are not consistant.

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Dr Anand Kar:

The primary reasons are Our top players are also not reliable who can score at least 25. They do not try to learn from others and don't correct their mistakes. They are not very serious about their game and do not have fighting spirit. Strategy also does not appear to be good. Some times they overestimate themselves When one scores high or takes wickets we give him prizes,so why not to fine the players if they do not play up to mark/expectation? Dr Anand Kar

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Murali:

Hi,

I think, the following things are the reasons for failure. 1) Lack of consistency. 2) Not able to perform well in pressure situations. Even Tendulkar also. 3) No game plan. 4) No honest in selection process. Laxman lost his place with out any reason. Some of the following things we have to do...

1) We should not allow senior players to play against small teams(Kenya,Bangaladesh...etc). We should send new players, so they can get experience. 2) Need at least 2 all-rounders in the team, who can bowl 10 overs not like Sachin, Shehwag....We need all-rounders like at least Robin Singh. 3) Captain also must perform otherwise he should be removed from place. Last but not least, Many people support Sourav. I also agree, he is a good captain. But right now, we need contribution from him(He has to score runs). Can he contribute it now? If not, he should not be in team. Now also selection committee wants him, HE SHOULD BE MADE AS COACH or non-playing captain.

Regards,

Murali

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Krishan:

We must give a thought to a player who has been in team for long long time and now looking down the barrel, Sachin and being,has been, most irresponsible whenever India chasing any target. We must demote him in the middle order and promote Yuvraj,1st down, let Dhoni and Viru open the innings.

Tendulkar is affecting the whole team, he is of no substance any more, let him give some stability in the middle order rather wasting the opening stand and give lot of scare to the fellow batsmen. He is not good while chasing, also while setting up the target as well, well sometimes. I still strongly beleive we lost the Bangalore test because of him, he was so defensive there that other batsmen got the fear that pitch is really bad, after all he is best batsman, so its natural his batting affects others.

Sourav, has been nice captain but I think let a new guy come in now and keep Sourav in some team management stuffs because he is a natural leader and doesnt who the hell is standing in front of him, thats what that man is all about. also Dravid must show some attacking cricket, he is too technical but bit soft, we expect some sixes from him.

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Suresh:

You know what, India needs a Robin Singh &  Ajay Jadeja (the clean one) to come  at 5 and 6.  When they came at 5 and 6, India always had a hope of a comeback.  They can hit the ball hard and also were capable of playing a big innings.  They can also play with the tail by taking most of the strike.  Now the Yuvs and Kaifs. Mongias are not up to their standard.  I dont think they beleive in their own self.  Most of the matches are lost when the first 4 batsman are back in the pavilion.  Yet india has 7 so called recognised batsman.

I really dont know what the so called "think tank" of indian cricket is up to.  Yuv cannot play spinners.  He does not have a defensive attitude and a great technique and also he does not need time to settle down.  Yet he comes before kaif, who has good technique but cannot hit the ball hard.  Also kaif needs some time to settle down and plays the spinners with ease.  I guess the think tank has to start thinking. 

We are so obsessed with one time wonder players like yuvraj, dhoni, agarkar and the list goes on.  We need performers and commited players like Robin singhs. 

Thanks 

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Muthubalaji Ramkumar:

Dear Sir,

With the 2007 world cup looming large there is no point in cribbing about the lack of all rounders in the Indian team. Its all about better utilization and fine tuning of the  resources we have rather than nurture new talents within a short period of time, if at all we have any. Neither is  " Sack Sourav "  the solution. He is the one who built this team and it would be ideal only if he leads this team to the 2007 world cup.

He has sacrificed his opening position where he has been such a prolific run scorer. The Indian team management built up a strategy for the world cup 2003 - Dravid as the wicket keeper batsman, Sachin batting in middle order, Sehwag - Ganguly opening the innings. It did produce good results for India, though we were not winning the finals of tournaments.

I remember sachin produced 2 high quality centuries batting in middle order during the Natwest series 2002. But since the master preferred the opening position, he went back to the top of the order right at the beginning of the world cup in spite of the team's strategy. Though, Sachin and India went all guns blazing and India reached the finals, my point is it was then it all started - the decline of Sourav Ganguly as a batsman (forget the 3 centuries he made in the world cup against Kenya and Namibia).

Sourav Ganguly batting in middle order is just proving to be too costly for India simply because of his inability to rotate strike which puts pressure on the batsman on the other end and the ones to follow. An outcome of a match can be decided on the number of singles taken by a team as indicated by your article (Singling out the losing cause) few days ago.

We have often heard commentators say that Ganguly batting in middle order is ideal because he can hit huge sixes off spinners who bowl at that time.  That is not the case. A team needs boundaries only at the beginning of its innings to make use of the field restrictions and towards the end. There is more pressure on the opponent team if singles are taken at will during the middle of an innings. But we should not take the credit away from a world class player who has almost scored 10000 ODI runs at a staggering average of 42.

Sourav was a classy opener right from the early days of his career. Though bowlers all around the world had sorted him out by bowling at his rib cage, he used the 15 overs field restrictions to his advantage by charging fast bowlers down the track and continued to be successful. I strongly feel that Sourav should go back to opening position. Along with Sehwag, they would form an ideal left-hand, right-hand combination at the top of the order not allowing the bowlers to settle into a line and length early on.

Seven out of ten bowlers in the world cannot immediately alter his line and length accordingly for a right-hand, left-hand combination. This will be a huge advantage in the first 15 overs with two excellent stroke makers at the crease. We often complain about Sachin not performing in crunch situations. Its extremely difficult for an opener to be a match winner to provide you a rollicking start and also take you through to the end as well. More often than not Sachin perishes in trying to provide the team the start it needs.

On a few occasions he might have got the start but wouldn't have been able to finish off. Match winners are ideally middle order batsmen (Michael Bevan, Inzamam, Brian Lara  to an extent). Sachin is such a genius of the game that if  he bats in middle order with a solid platform laid for him, he can be as dangerous as Inzamam as is now. So, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, two rock solid batsmen coming in at No 3 and No 4 respectively would be the ideal pair you want to be batting in the middle of an innings with their ability to rotate the strike with ease and find the occasional boudary as well.

They have solid technique and temperament as well to rebuild the innings in case of an early collapse. Yuvraj, Kaif and Dhoni would be the ideal players at the end of an innings with their running between the wickets and also the boundary hitting ability. The pitches are somewhat benign for the bowlers outside the sub-continent. With 4 or 5 seamers fighting for their places and 2 world class spinners in the team, bowling would be more consistent provided discipline and common sense prevails.

There's no need to panic at all. We do have an innovative leader and definitely a team with full potential. Its just about getting things reorganised and sticking to it with good enough time left for the world cup 2007.

Muthubalaji Ramkumar

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Vijay Kishore:

India have been consistently underperforming in the One Day arena at home for the last few years. No series wins in the last four years at home is something that needs to be urgently corrected. The reason i think is the heavy expectations and the high pressure of playing at home. Ofcourse one cannot ignore the fact that India as a one-day side have deteorated since reaching the final of the 2003 world cup. Infact, even that march of 9 consecutive victories (the last 2 against Kenya) felt like a flash in the pan because India were pretty bad in NewZealand in early 2003 losing 5-2 and were never consistent performers.

A few wins here and there are all that Captain Saurav Ganguly has to show for his time as the Captain of India. I believe Saurav is not as positive a leader as people make him out to be. Accepted that he supports his players, but that fact remains that he has never been attacking in Test matches (note his late declarations in Sydney, Mohali, Eden Gardens etc). And his form with the bat in Tests has been awful to say the least.

India has to definitely look forward after this series against Pakistan. If the selectors believe that Saurav is not the man to lead India in the 2007 World Cup,they have to take immediate measures to Groom his next leader. I believe Mohammad Kaif should be an ideal choice. He has the cricketing mind, the commitment, and the experience of captaining the India U-19 and A sides. Move forward India.. Win the World Cup 2007 for us.

___________

Uttam Bhat:

I think there are few players in the current Indian Team, who are taking their place for granted. Look at the Australian cricket team. Brett Lee inspite of doing well, has not been in 11 since a long time now. Kasparowicz is doing better than him and so he has been rightly selected among 11. In the current Indian team, players like Yuvraj Singh, Saurav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar have not been scoring since a long time. I agree Sachin did well with ball. but if you look at his scores 4, 2, 6, 123, 2, 9. Just one success remaining all in single digit.

Ganguly's form has been disaster. If you look at his test record since the Australian tour, He just scored a single 100 in the opening game. That was a wonderful knock, but his later performances have been really poor. His only fifties came against bangladesh. Even his ODI statistics have been poor agains countries like australia, pakistan. I think its been really problem with his technique and age. You cant just put him in the Indian team bcoz he performed extremely well some 2-3 years back. Though India must have done well under him, but his primary task is as batsman. If you are not fit to be in the team as batsman, then even if u are captain, you have no place in the team.

Yuvraj Singh , i think time has come to show him the door. His footwork has been lacking. He should be replaced my J.P.Yadav. I think what India needs is a good allraounder. Look at Kallis, Andrew Symonds, Abdul Razzaq. I think India needs a good alrounder. Irfan Pathan can be seen as future all rounder, but keeping 2007 world cup in mind , I think its right time to get in some useful all-rounder. Ajit Agarkar has been a real failure in terms of all - rounder. When he bats, he doesnt bowl, and when he bowls well he never bats (though he hardly does well either of the two)

 The youngsters clicked when they were new to the indian side, but now its time to keep them on their toes. Let it be even the Great Batsman Sachin Tendulkar. When you cannot perform for the country, you dont deserve any place in the side.

Uttam Bhat,

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Bharathi:

Hi,

I personally feel that there is no need for changes in the current Indian Team. We have very good batsmen, very good bowlers and a potential allrounder in Irfan Pathan. (Ajit Agarkar can also be counted as Allrounder). According to me the following things should be done to improve our performances. 1. India should open with Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag. Tendulkar should come at No:4 or perhaps even No: 5.

 He wastes lot of scoring opportunities in the first 15 overs. He is not as aggressive as he used to be. Nowadays he bats like Dravid used to bat earlier. So he can consolidate the innings and "build his average" down the order. This will definitely help the team as the people who go earlier can bat freely since they have "the Great Sachin" behind them.

2. Dravid can come in at No:3 and while chasing 300 plus totals Kaif should come in at 3. Kaif is one batsman who can rotate the strike and score freely and also reliable than "Yuvraj". 3. Dhoni should bat at No:7 and Yuvraj at No:6.  Dravid or Kaif at No: 5. This would make more sense because Dhoni and Yuvraj are big hitters when compared to Dravid and Kaif. 4. This order can be followed by Pathan,Harbhajan,Balaji,Zaheer...

5. Murali Karthik should be given more opportunities. He like Stuart Macgill for australia deserves more chances.6. With this line up it will be ok even if india plays only 6 batsmen which will give us an extra bowler. Sourav will definitely get his touch back and when both himself and Sehwag gets going it will be a sight to watch....Sachin should be told to play aggressively. He is my favourite batsman and he is at his best when he is aggressive. If he gets back his aggressive touch himself and Sehwag can be rotated as openers.

Thanks

Bharathi

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Shakhil:

Dear Sir, First of All my Hearty Congratulations to The Pakistan Team For such an emphatic victory over the so called ?Indian Tigers?,The Men in Blue who have made the Indian Flag go Black, the so-called "Bunch of The Best Batting Line up in the World"(which Playing with 7 batsmen could not even score 150 runs in their homeground)and also the Duly respectable? second best side in the world.

Do they really deserve being called so. Mr. Ganguly thinks so but i wouold request some of his closer men to just see him and show what India has achieved in the last few years of OneDay Cricket.Ok, They have given us some good results like beating Pakistan,Australia in their home but does it mean that they should always be carrying the bag of that particular success every time.

Defeats are acceptable but surrenders are not. Had India Not Been running on the policy of keeping players on the basis of their last performance instead of the present form we would hava had another autralia in the world of International Cricket. Thanks to the Indian Thinktank as We are already worried of one. Just Imagine Sachin Tendulkar being rested out due to lack of form like what happened to Steve Waugh.

I think Steve Waugh Has won more matches for Australia and in tougher conditions than Sachin. Thanks to ICC for not keeping  such a field in a player's statistics or Rahul Dravid and Steve Waugh would have been the greatest Batsmen Of their Countries produced so far. Being Good at batting in good batting conditions and scoring hundreds definitely comprise talent but are useless if they can't win matches.

How many Centuries have been scored by Sachin when India has been Chasing 2nd and a bigger score in tough conditions. you might get the answer of who deserves to be in the team. The Sole Ploicy of the Team Management should be to play the players in Form and  not With Great records. They Might look good to see but are definitely painful if they can't win u matches.

Yesterday's loss was a result of a misdirected bowling attack and an aimless batting effort which didn't have enough common sense to learn from what pakistan did when they chased 315 against India. What are Yuvraj and Kaif doing in the side if they can't produce a matchwinning innings they used to do. Keep them out and bring them back in when they start doing they used to do.

If sachin is only meant to make a century every 5th or 6th match and score single figures in the rest why not have him in the side every 5th or 6th match and keep away with pressure of losing him early after all this is the best way we could save his wicket. Rather have someone who can score 30s or 40s but consistently and give a solid start. They are crying for not having an alrounder in the country.

Do they become blind when they see Ajit Agarkar. And where is Ramesh Pawar who does not know the sin he did by playing a good little knock at rawalpindi last year.  Well BCCI needs a  completely proffesional approach while selecting the team or consistency for India would always remain a dream.

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R.Muralidharan:

It was exactly a year ago, that the Indian team after their conquest of Pakistan , in Pakistan , were hailed as the greatest Indian team of all times. Then there was the so called  " well deserved " break for 3 monts or so , so that the players can re energize themselves and start the next season with gusto. They started the season badly in Srilanka , and the explanation was that they were coming from a break and had not peaked etc. Well... only that before they have recovered from the break the season is over .

For quite some time the Indian team ( and zillions of scribes ) have been clamouring for some rest for the players, that there is too much cricket  etc, but look what happened in a relatively less taxing season. Now when they do have the rest, hey do not know how to come out of the rest period. I am sure if there was no rest , they would have kept up the momentum, irrespective of  injuries.

We would always have found some other player to replace injured players. How did Balaji and Pathan come into the team first ? It was through injuries to Agarkar,Zaheer and Nehra. Now we have come a full circle , with Balaji and Pathan on the sidelines. So in order to keep up the momentum the Indian team should never have a break of more than  a month , at least for one day cricket. We have enough players in the reserve who could be blooded if some players get injured , but the team should not have a break.

All fit players must be available for all matches , but the moment anyone ( including Tendulkar ) is even slightly unfit they must be rested . We have so many players in the country who are aspiring to get into the team or get back into the team - the likes of Sriram,Badani,Ambati Rayudu,JP Yadav,Bahutule, Ramesh Powar,Ram kumar,Salvi,Partiv Patel,Reetender Sodhi,Harvinder singh,Sanjay Bangar,Ajay Jadeja Tinu Yohannan etc etc. Surely we will be tap this reserve as we have invested in them for a while .

And I am sure atleast some of these players would have enough hunger in them to make it if given another chance. Balaji is a prime example - he was not in the original team to Australia and got in only when Avishkar Salvi was injured. He had used his opportunity quite well so far ( a rarity for a Tamilnadu player ) .Now Salvi is no where. Ganguly should remain as Captain of the team . And he should open with Sehwag or Sachin.This is the best way for him to regain the form.

The top indian batsmen ( Sachinand Rahul included) are a selfish lot  . They don't have the attitude of a Justin langer or Michael Vaughan or Stephen Fleming to take on the gauntlet and play ina spot that would challenge their abilities. Sachin has achieved so much, he should now take the challenge of opening in Test matches or playing the middle game in one dayers to help the team. Same thing goes to Rahul Dravid. The batting order must be flexible with Kaif and Yuvraj allowed to come earlier in certain situations.

In the Delhi one dayer ,after the early wickets,  things "might" have been fifferent if Kaif and Yuvraj had come at 3 and 4 . Basically we have the team to succeed and post more wins, but it is the (in)famous attitude which is the problem. Unfortunately a player with good attitude in the beginning, soon becomes so bad at it that the solution is not a wholesale changes to the team but changes to the attitude o! f existing players. Pakistan did not make drastic changes to their team after their initial losses , but their attitude change  enabled them tie the test series and win the one day series.

R.Muralidharan

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Sriram G K:

Dear Rediff, Why beat the bust again and again? Forget headlines like 'Sack Saurav' or 'Rahul next Captain' or even 'Frustrated Fans at Koltla' etc. I don't want to read too much into this loss. I dont think I'm sounding odd here. Its very simple. I recollect what Sanjay Manjrekar and Ramiz Raza said before the first test. 'India clear favorites in Test (which eventually they didn't capitalize).

Pakistan favourites in ODI after their peformace in VB Series, particularly in the finals". Not too many teams have restricted Aussies less than 225 in the recent past and that too in Australia, consecutively. Defenietly this Pakistan ODI team has something. So 4-2 not a surpirse to me. India continues to be too good on paper and too ordinary at times on the field. Let us give credit to this Pakistan team what they deserve rather than just writing about India's performance.

For a change Inzi's captaincy is being praised. Afterall its very tough captaining India or Pakistan and peform at the same time. 2 hands enough to count such captains. Inzi not only inspired his team with his performance but the confidence he showed on his players was tremendous. Sami in Tests, after Naved was masaccared by Sachin or after Afridi failed twice. His confidence in Shoiab Malik who has been under scrutiny for a while much like Harbajan.

That is what captaincy is all about. I'm not saying Saurav has never done this, but its all in the past. He will comeback and with a bang, but lets leave him alone for now. Let us leave him to play some league matches, infact county because he wants to prove the English media wrong. Let us leave him to take care of his english critics and leave the near future to a FIT, COMMITTED new Indian team. When I say fit, fit like DRAVID not a injured Irfan, unprofessional Nehra or tiring Balaji.

They all have been great performers on their day, but what India needs is fitness like Kumbles, Sachins and Dravid, the latter just for the way he has carried himself when it comes to fitness. My ODI team : Shewag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvraj, Kaif, Dhoni or Kartik, Harbhajan, Murali Kartik, Kumblie, Zaheer, Balaji and Irfan (if fully fit), and utility players like Sriram, JP Yadav, Agarkar

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Avijit Das:

Well, I honestly think, we, as a cricketing nation get too much carried away with small victories. Saurav Ganguly is definitely the most aggressive skipper we have seen in Indian cricket - but the successes he had are nowhere compared to what other successful skippers across the world have achieved. Look at the current England team, they won almost a dozen test matches in a row - if India had done that, Ganguly's captaincy would be secured for the next 50 years!!! I will not look at Australia because the comparison will be disgraceful - but even if you look at teams like New Zealand, their success rate is much higher than India's.

We drew on our home soil in one-day series against Zimbabwe and England and lost series against a rudderless West Indies and the most inexperienced Pakistani team we have encountered in the last 25 years. We cannot even beat Sri Lanka in a series, be it one-day or tests!! I think at our best we have been mediocre - I am talking about the series draw against England in England (New Zealand beat them there), a series loss against a weak West Indian side (they lost to everyone else), and losses in one-dayers against Bangladesh and Kenya!!!

The best performance of this team has been without any doubt the series draw in Australia and the emphatic victory in Pakistan. In one dayers, the 2000 and 2002 ICC trophies and the 2003 World Cup were noteworthy. But we were so euphoric about the small successes we had that we made our team look like invincible!! It is true that Ganguly took the team to great heights that we did not see before, but if you look at him, he was victim to his own success - we made the Indian team oversatisfied with their achievements and the downfall you can see for yourselves after the series with Pakistan last year.

It was a good series, but it did not deserve half the praise it received - if we did not win a series against Pakistan in 50 years, it was our lack of ability - so if we won one after such a long time, we should have taken it into our stride and not have looked as self-satisfied as we did after that series. I think a good leader is one who is always challenging his team to achieve greater heights, and Ganguly, drowned in the praise we showered on him, forgot that and we as a team paid for the complacency.

I think Ganguly is still the best person to lead the team for the next couple of years, but he should approach it humbly, benchmarking our performances against the greatest teams of all times and not against a struggling South Africa or a talentless West Indies!!! To turn this team around, the only thing that is required is strong leadership with great motivation which only Ganguly can provide or we have to go for the next generation of leaders. Rahul Dravid, at his best, is an excellent batsman who goes into a shell under pressure.

If he was in the situation that Ganguly is today, I can't imagine what he would have done. Does anyone remember the days when he acquired the name "The Wall"? He would come to crease and play out 40 balls for 5 runs and then get out (that is Dravid out of form for you – much uglier than the Ganguly of today) - that without the burden of captaincy. With the captaincy, he will be unbearable to watch!!

I believe Ganguly should bring back the confidence in this team (not over-confidence, but self-confidence) and lead it till the next world cup. He should also nurture the next Indian skipper so that Dravid or Tendulkar are not asked to take over the responsibility after his departure. The job of a leader is not only to find talents, but to nurture them to be future leaders as we have seen in the corporate world with the best companies.

Regds,

Avijit Das

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Venkat Ramanan:

Hi,

The answers to these questions are three-fold: a) The BCCI. The governing body of cricket in India consists of a "bunch of jokers" as Mohinder Amarnath had aptly described them. The selection committee consists of members who might have might have touched the highest echelons of cricket but have simply not respected cricket as a game. All they want to do is select people from their own zones instead of looking at the representatives of India as a whole. Obviously, India has been and will continue to be represented by people who "kiss the @#*" the most.

b) The team: Who has a big say in determining the content of the team? The captain, of course. We, Indians, should be "proud" of a non-performing captain, or should we be? A captain, who takes credit for every win and blames his team for every loss. If the Indian team was playing for another country, e.g. Australia, none of the current members would be figuring out in the 1st 20. Reason: They do not perform to the highest standards of the game.

Saurav Ganguly banks on a few centuries in the past and a few wins to be the captain for years to come. He is simply in the team because of the backing of Jagmohan Dalmiya who is a family friend. Everytime Saurav is fined for slow-bowling rates, he rushes to Dalmiya's house and hides under cover. Yuvraj Singh, the pet stooge of Saurav, continues to be in the team despite non-performance.

Rahul Dravid continues to get selected in 1-dayers inspite of being recognized as a test player only. Tendulkar has performed well in the past and that is simply not an excuse to be inducted in the team for ever till he drops off. He is simply playing for records and not for the country or the game itself. Nehra plays in a match and if he is thrashed, he is considered "injured" for the next few matches till he gains confidence.

The list goes on and on...but the point is very simple. The team composition is simply not good. Is a country with over 1 billion in population not capable of producing 11 people who can play in the true spirit and play to entertain the people wherever they play? I feel the members of the Indian team have taken their position for granted. Otherwise, how can a team reach the finals of the last World cup and give a de-spirited performance when the whole world is watching?

c) The Coach: John Wright has done a lot for our team. A person can do only so much with the limited powers that he is bestowed with. Obviously, he has no say in the selection process as that is to be held by a bunch of idiots. As Wright said, the most disappointing moment in his career as a Coach was India's loss to Australia in the WC final. I feel he should add India's loss to Pakistan in the latest 1-day series to his resume as well. The Indian team could not give him a decent farewell. It all boils down to this: the future of Indian cricket will continue to remain in doldrums irrespective of an Indian / Foreign coach till the system is revamped. Having said all this, I feel it is high time to give avid cricket watchers like me and zillion others, due respect and to revamp the cricketing system in India and the team inside out. Seniority can take a backseat if such seniority cannot be converted into performances. Initially, we will struggle for a few games. Eventually, the true spirit of the game will prevail.

Thanks

Venkat Ramanan

USA

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Murali:

 Don't think the Indian team needs any chopping. Remember, on paper, Indian team had a better line up compared to Pak and the sole reason we lost the ODI series was due to lack of planning, commitment and fresh ideas. When John Wright took over this team, Indian cricket was going through the worst phase and it was John's professionalism, ideas and the stress on physical fitness which salvaged some of the pride.

As years passed, Indian cricket has clearly run out of ideas and needs a brew of fresh ideas, more commitment and of course continuity in physical fitness. It is actually a blessing in disguise that John Wright has decided to move on and Indian cricket will get a new coach, for John's ideas however good they were are not working any more. The team needs a boost from the replacement coach and new ideas will certainly help motivate this team to get back to winning ways.

This team is very talented (how many teams can boast of a star studded batting line up like this one?) and all it needs now is for this team to believe in itself and implement some of the new ideas that the next coaching staff brings in. India has always lost to Pak when their self-belief and commitment is low, not because they are less capable in terms of talent. These are the same ingredients that peaked when they beat Pak on their soil not too long ago.

In essence, Indian cricket has not gone wrong in picking the right team and the balance, but has been severely derailed in the areas of self-belief, commitment and fresh ideas that are so essential in every game for every game is different and needs a lot of planning before execution. My 0.02 cents…

Thanks

Murali

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Dhaval Shah:

Dear Sir,

I have few points to make regarding india's defeat after 2-0 lead. 1) In the 5th Game in Kanpur Shahid Afridi scored a brilliant century. Nothing can be taken away from him. But from the india's perspective, Had indian bowlers bowled well ? NO certainly not. All indian bowlers were pitching ball either on overpitch or good length, allowing afridi to free his arms in the initial overs. He is a power hitter, so there was no stopping for him.

But why indian bowlers can't bowl yorkers..it would have been ok if indians had tried it and got the fulltoss, but nobody tried. only zaheer khan tried it once in the entire afridi innings. It was lack of consisten bowling in the block hall or yorkers that had costed india dearly. Naved Hasan was able to produce those kind of balls but none of indian bowlers were trying.

Afridi would have missed one bowl if they had tried 3-4 yorkers. See, the sucess of wasim akram he was able to bowl yorkers to contend the players, at an international level bowlers should be able to bowl yorkers. 2) When chasing India always stick to the game plan they have thougut of initially. They never ever bother to think differntly. Consider the case of last match, had indians done different things i.e. if they had sent somebody like Ajit Agarkar to have a go in the first fifteen overs and had he clicked he would have turned the game...in anycase Agarkar batting at No. 8 would have contributed nothing...but if he had opened the innings along with Tendulkar..than pakistanis would have fear in the mind that sehwag is still there..

They didn't have to do anything differnt on the field..whatever they had been taught in the dressing room they had done it..and indians had provided the perfect script to them by follwing the same pattern all the time..u got to do something different when u r chasing 300 runs and u know that 1-2 good wickets of Sehwag or sachin will put u out of the game..instead agarkar's wicket would have done no damage and contrary it would have set a winning stage if he had batted well..(Agarkar has proved himself in the past that he can hit the ball)..Momd. kaif should always come ahead of Yuvraj singh when wicket fall early..as kaif is really a steady player than yuvraj..yuvraj sometimes gets out ..but kaif needs some time and he is more reliable than yuvraj in terms of keeping wickets intact...so that would have served the purpose of indian team..

Bowling changes in the final 2 matches were not great...dravid was relying on Mongia rather than sachin/sehwag who r more experienced..so that's what might have costed india few runs..Even fielding ...when pakistan was chasing 315..indians had dropped few catches ...i.e. yuvraj dropped a sitter of Malik....and fielding was really awsome...pakistan was able to convert 1s into 2s..Nehra,Ganguly r not fit for international levels..U shud be a good fielder along with a good bowler/batsman to have a place in team..

I think John wright as a coach had done a fair bit of job..but still he was not as dynamic as Bob woolmer or some other coaches. He failed to lift up the spirits of indian team after losing 4th Match and ganguly..Dynamism has to be there in the team to avodi predictability of the team as opposition can always figure out the things easily if u give them the predicable circumstances..u got to do different things..

I think indian team needs allrounders (not batsmen who can bowl spin) ..Ajit agarkar can be a good candidate especially in one day serios as he can bat and hit the ball hard..as well as has good wicket taking ability...Irfan pathan has to be trained he can be a good allrounder...I hope new indian coach will make the same mistakes that John wright has made...Who will be the next coach ? i think dev whatmore is a good choice.

Regards,

Dhaval Shah

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Raju Shreewastava:

Hi All,

Seeing all these comments about the Indian team,caption and selector seems funning. Yes we have lost the series in a very pathetic way , but let's not remove the fruastation by saying anything and everything. Few days before this team was great with strong batting line-up,good spin and seam attack. Come on, how can we all suddenly start naming few players. Some are blaming seniors,many the skipper and few even the young players. I am confident in the talent that this team has in it. I see quite a few good things in this series

1) We have found a hitter and good keeper in Dhoni. 2) Kaif has grown in confidence. 3) Shewag and Dravid have shown good form.Shewag seems to be taking more responsibilities. For the reason we lost this series accordingly to me is only one thing and let me remind everyone that there is nothing new in that. India team has never been able to perform under pressure.The players as individuals do not believe in their own potentials in crucial times.

They start looking on other players and the team collapses.Man, it is you who as an individual has to go and do it. And I see that zeal in Shewag and Kaif,so I sure of the future of indian cricket. India will go to the final in the next world cup.It is question if they can win it, because the team needs to perform under pressure to win a world cup and be consistent (not just s couple of players)

Regards,

Raju Shreewastava

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Rakesh Mathur:

Rules: To be considered for the job of a selector, the person must have played a minimum of 20 Tests and 50 ODI Every player must be chosen based strictly on his merits. By merits , I do not mean reputation. It should be based on averages of last one year. This rule should apply to all the players including seniors.

Every new player (Chosen on his merits) must be given at least 5 matches to play to prove his worth in the team. ( not sitting in the dressing room) If after five matches player can not justify his place in the team , he should be let go. Coach hired should be one with skills and not afraid to be tough. Play to win. Be aggressive. Never give up ( Lesson to learn from Pakistan)

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Venu Madhav:

The much awaited series has left India wounded. But, sure India has its lessons clear, time would say whether India learnt from its experiences. It was also clear from the series, that players come in not on merit but, upon some other considerations, better known to BCCI (selection committee) and ofcourse the Captain. (of course we too know) It is also clear, how BCCI is run, and who are piloting the same and on what merit they are doing the job. 

lessons: team spirit, belief in self and killer instinct (these three words should be nurtured on top priority) talent must be encouraged, but not partisan principles (BCCi and captain) Each player is different and each one has his own strength and importantly weaknesses (so, player has to be harnessed considering both) Class players and match winners has to be given due respect and value and has to be utilized sensitively. 

VVS Laxman is a case to study, the most valuable player in the team, but never received the right encouragement and always always put under pressure by the selectors and the captain. in ODIs' VVS laxman could be a matchwinner too, provided he comes at No.3 down.  He is a player who require the support of the captain (Afridi type) once the confidence is back he can do wonders.  in tests too he could come before Ganguly.

Secondly, Kaif can play better at top (not at 6 or 7, as he can't hit hard unlike Yuva or Dhoni) ditto with Dravid, Laxman - so, such players must be used at top, importantly Kaif is  a player who can stick on the wicket and keep his cool. Dhoni should be tactically used (has to come in at no. 3 only if a wicket fall in first 7 overs) that too if the wicket favors batsmen otherwise he is best suited down the order. (optimum utilization) ALROUNDER missing: For the long run - BCCI can take steps to groom a bunch of talented alrounders from the present local boards and nurture/train them for the big league.

Bowling: consistency, injuries and proper bowling guidence seems bogging indian cricket. BUT, for sure - BCCI and the squad must be run and trained professionally. and as rightly pointed out by WRight the Coach must have a say in the selection of his team. and I STRONGLY BELIEVE that the team can perform well, if a data base is maintained on every member of the team - his skills, strengths, weakness, fitness, tehinique and areas of improvement etc and depending upon this data base the individual must be groomed and importantly it should be an ongoing process. Finally, BCCI should take a bold decision on the selection of the Coach, who is courageous. 

Emphasis on Fielding , emphasis on Bowling, regular use of services of our former cricketers (who are ready to help the boys),  special focus on mental toughness (YOGA), Emphasis on Fitness and only fit player to be part of the final 11 and unfit player ruthlessly out, finally the coach should give a new dimension to the word STRATEGY...let's think about 2007 world cup (consider the place Carribian islands) probably many more may strike - like pitches, spinners and their role, Radical changes in the team and strategy. but, for the moment let's make it a day...

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Kedar Vengurlekar: Play the basics right and win should be the mantra. After five years of Coach Wright's philosophy the Indian team had started winning abroad, that was due to implementing the basics like running the one's, two's and if possible three's, fielding was mandatory and players practiced it. Bowlers played to a plan and all worked well and all players played as one unit (team spirit was high) Today, the team has forgotten almost everything.

Batsmen go for fancy shots or go on the defense, when faced with a daunting total and get out (not playing to their natural style). Bowlers bowl without a plan and not per the field settings. Fielders drop catches and are not enthusiastic to stop a boundary. Shoulders droop at the sign of aggression from the opponent and captain is clueless on how to stop the run flow. Our team could not stop the run flow from the Pakistani bats which was not in boundaries but through singles and doubles (barring Afridi's assault).

  India definitely needs a bowling coach, Wasim Akram was a great help during the Australian series and the Pakistani series. The Indian cricket coach should have more powers. Finally it is critical for Tendulkar to be in form as he alone unknowingly motivates other batsmen.

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krishna:

I live in US and I am an ardent fan of Cricket. I have played cricket during my youth and have enjoyed the game thoroughly. This is not the first time that Team India has faltered. There were innumerable occassions, where me and my friends have lost heart in the game and the way it is being managed in India.

But basically, I feel that these cricketers have no pride in playing for their country or for representing the Country. It looks like their interest is only money they could put their hands on. Look at Australians, the pride of green cap is so much in them and nobody wants to loose it or do anything which could hamper their chances of playing. But take our case, ex: Tendulker.

May be he is the greatest batsman in the world but he was never there when the team wants him. Can you expect any body to get that many chances in spite of scoring single digits. The fervour and the pride for wearing the Indian cap and for representing the country should be fanatical. I have seen this zeal only in Kapildev. Nobody else. How can they loose the Bangalore test match, which they could have easily drawn. The culprits are Sachin and Dravid.

I am ashamed of them and I feel happy if they donot represent my country I love my India and I want a totally new younger team to come in and take over and play to their full potential.

thanks

krishna

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Vikram Arcot:

Better disciplined side always wins. I knew at end of 4th one dayer that India has less chance of winning. Firstly : We have to send a staff of people to investigate if the team is involved in any match fixing. I think the entire team or part of the team may be involved in such a scandal. Secondly: Ganguly's form is bad he needs to go and play county cricket and domestic matches to prove his worth in the side.

Thirdly: The Coach John Wright was at his peak during the World Cup and during the Australian tour, where he managed fielding, batting and bowling as three seperate departments and also alloted captains for each of them Fourthly: The indian players esp, Tendulkar and Sehwag are not worth the credit they get for the figures. We win matches once in a while because of them That doesn't mean that they are not replacable.

We really need new people to come into the team and make these players not that important. We should have bought VVS Laxman in the team instead of Dinesh Mongia. Lastly: We need a new team with better practice techniques so we can play in the pressure. New Coach, New Batting Order, "New Discipline", New performance based strategy and Off season Practice. 

We need to follow what the Australians are doing. They play just right cricket and we have a example. Also I give Inzamam and Bob Woolmer's approach in the team's performance.  Pakistan usually fires when it plays against India but this time I think it was their hardwork, discipline and team effort which has made them underdogs to winners. Greg Chappel (I think will be the best new coach) and Ganguly need to come back and set new rules.

We all know that Tendulkar has lost the fire in him and so has Ganguly but their experience can be important for the rest of the Indian Team.Dravid, Kumble and Laxman are still the players for the test. But the new players Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Karthik and Irfan should be given MORE match overs to play and build their experience before the world cup. 3

Tendulkar should come four or five down in one dayers and should be asked to play the role which experienced players play. He can still make 6 runs per over. But the big hitters Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvraj, Dhoni and in-form Ganguly. can hit more. Ganguly should not be in the playing eleven if he is not in form. No other team in the world will allow a player to play for the side if he is averaging 9 or 7 runs.

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Harjit:

Hi,

India's performance in the recently concluded series has been very dissapointing. I live in Canada and have stayed up all night (due to time difference) to watch the matches and feel totally let down. We had a good team which did perform in the first 2 tests and first 2 ODI's and then just dissapeared. We should have won the test series 2-0 and the ODI's 4-2 or drawn 3-3.

The reason this did not happen can be summerised as follow:- 1) In the 3rd day of the 1st test after Sehwag got out India had already gained a 22 runs lead but instead of trying to step up or maintain the run rate Ganguly and Tendulker were happy to block balls and take the ocassional singles. India had made 334 in 80 overs at 4.2 runs and over and after Sehwag got out Ganguly and Tendulker added 47 runs in 23 overs at 2 runs an over.

We finished the day adding 113 runs in 51 overs at 2.2 runs an over after Sehwag got out. Ganguly said that batting slow was a team stretegy. I do not understand what kind of strategy that was considering that we had already gained a first innings lead and should have added quick runs and given our bowlers a chance to ball Pakistan out. We ended up batting on the 4th day and were not able to bowl Pakistan out. Result match drawn. 2) In the 3rd test after Sehwag got out the team immediately went into a shell.

They decided that it was not possible to make the runs and go for a victory so the bast strategy was to just block all balls. This gave Inzy a chance to bring in 7 fielders around the bat. Even with 9 close in fielders the Indian batman did not try to hit the ball and were contend in blocking it. Even the best batman in the world cannot continue blocking balls and not give a catch if there are 7 fielders surrounding the bat.

The best way was to hit the ball instead of blocking it. Even if it was played in the air the close in fielders would have no chance to catch it and there were no fielders in the deep. This would have forced Inzy to send some fielders back and that would have reduced the pressure. I was really surprised that team thought they could not lose the match even after we were 5 down and only Sachin at the crease. 

3) Ganguly cost us the 4th ODI due to 2 mistakes he made. The first mistake he made was to come and bat after Dhoni got out. He knew that he was not in good form and we already had 194 runs on the board and only 16 overs left. It was time for an in-form batman to come in and keep up the scoring rate. We would have been able to make 350 but ended up at 315 because of Ganguly's 18 runs from 33 balls. As captain Ganguly should have thought about the team first and not try to regain form at that juncture.

The second mistake he made was not to attack. We had 315 on board and still the close in fielders were pushed back after 15 overs allowing Pakistan to take the easy singles and occassional boundary so that they kept going at 6.5 runs an over which was the required run rate. Had these singles been blocked the required run rate would have started to go up putting pressure on the batsman to try and hit and giving the bowlers a chance to pick up wickets. This loss also demorolised the team and result was a pathetic show in the last 2 ODI's. A few questions that come to mind:-

1) Why was Irfan Pathan dropped form the squad of 15?. He first spell of 5 overs was ok and he only had 2 bad overs. Yes the 2 beamers were bad timing but that should not caused his removal from the squad. He did make 64 good runs and gave the Indian total some repectability otherwise we would have ended up below 150. Favouratism has been a problem with our team. After Zaheer came back from his injury he has not been the same bowler. He has regained some form in this series but before that he was not bowling good at all.

Still he was prefered over Irfan Pathan in many games inspite of Irfan's great performances and bad perfromances from Zaheer. Zaheer was given so much chance to get back in form and Irfan was dropped after one bad performance. Yes Irfan is not the same bowler after his injury but he had shown signs of getting back on track in his first spell. Irfan even with his present form is a better bowler than Balaji, Nehra and Agarkar. India could have dropped him from the playing 11 and after the bad performance from Balaji, brought him back in the last ODI. Keeping him in the 15 would have given us the posibility of using him if need be.

There was no point of including Sriram in the squad whan it was very clear that he would not get a chance to play. Infact Irfan could have been included in place of Dinesh Mogia in the 4th ODI as a 7th batman and 5th Bowler. 2) Why does'nt BCCI have the guts to drop Ganguly for his poor form?. They used the ICC ban to drop him.Once the ban was appealed Ganguly should have played the last 2 matches. If they had the guts to drop him because of his form then they should have announced that Dravid was taking over for good and also given Dravid a chance to select his team.

The changes I wish to see: 1) Make Dravid a permanent Captain. Ganguly can return to the team as a batman if he gets back in form. 2) Sachin should come in 2nd down after Dravid. If Ganguly is back in form then he should open with Sehwag followed by Dravid, Sachin, Kaif, Yuvraj and Dhoni. We should also keep chnaging the batting order depending on the situation of each match.

If we have a good start and run rate then Dhoni should come in at # 3 to consolidate and step up the run rate. If we loose quick wickets then Dravid and Tendulker would come in first to steady the ship. Tendulkar would be like Inzy moving up and down the order as need be. #4 is good for Tendulkar because most of the times he will come in the middle overs where he can get set by taking easy singles and then go for the onslot the way Inzy does. If Ganguly is not back then Dhoni or Yuvraj can open with Sehwag. Even Kaif can be tried at the opening slot since he did very well at #3.

2) Irfan Pathan should be treated as an allrounder so we can stick to 5 Batsman,  Wicket Keeper batsman and 3/4 medium pacers and 1/2 spinners. We will have 5 specialist bowlers in the team and if one of them gets the stick part timers can cover up. Ideally the team would look like Sehwag and Yuvraj to open followed by Dravid, Sachin, Kaif, Dhoni, Pathan, Balaji/Agarkar/Nehra/new bowler, Zaheer, Harbajan and Kartik/Kumble.

For non spinning tracks Kumble/Kartik will make way for another medium pacer. 3) We need to find good medium pace bowlers. Balaji, Agarkar and Nehra cannot hadle being hit. If the batmen play normally then they all ball well but If someone like Afridi starts attacking them they do not have a clue on what to do. None of them tried to ball a yorker which would be the best ball against an attacking Afridi. They all bowled on the leg stump in the last 2 ODI. Afridi did play 2 great knocks but ours bowlers helped him.

If they had kept an off stump line mixed with yorkers and slow bowls Afridi would not have been able to blast them as he did. We need to develop bowlers like Salvi and Gagandeep Singh who are doing well in domestic cricket. 4) Batman like Shikhar Dhawan and Raina should also be included in the squad so that they can be groomed to play in case the current batman do not perform. Past performance should not ensure a position in the playing 11. It should be earned by performing on a regular basis.

This has been a very long email but I felt that I had to vent out my anger and frustration and give some suggestions. It is now upto the selectors and players to bring back the confidence. Hoping for seeing world Champion team in 2007 world cup.

Regards

Harjit from Canada 

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Potheri Srinivas:

Its a good discussion between the passionate fans of Indian cricket that we all are. But unless the selectors in charge make the necessary changes, we can forget advancing deep into the tournament in the coming world cup. The team is not winning in ODIs because it is not equipped. The team is doing well in tests because we have the right combinations for the test matches. Below is my two cents.

#1 is, no other competitive ODI team carry this many pure bats in their line-up for ODIs. The current team is a pretty good test team (though it can be even better if we have an all rounder). By the way, I am sure all will agree that an all-rounder is one who has a pretty good chance of contributing consistently with the Bat and/or Ball.

If we look at the current Indian team, we have six pure batsmen, unless you want to consider Sachin, Sewag, Ganguly & Yuvraj as allrounders (with Dravid & Kaif being the other too). Even if you play 5 full time bowlers, on most of the days not all bowlers in a side are going to be effective, unless its being played in Perth and you have 5 fast bowlers or on a scorching turner in any of the Indian wickets and you play 5 spinners.

In our case the captain has to be extremely religious, since he has to pray hard that the 5th bowling option doesn't mess the day up for him. If 5th bowling option goes for 6 runs an over, it is considered a decent day, leave alone taking wickets. I am sure all will agree this does not improve our chances of winning a game. We need a spinning all-rounder and a fast bowling all-rounder who can CONSISTENTLY contribute either with the bat and/or ball. 

#2, is the pace bowling option. Its sad that none of our fast bowlers even make the opposition batsmen think twice before they put their foot in the front. They are being hit straight through the line and over their head (which is supposed to be a disgrace for a fast bowler) even when they bowl with the new ball. Getting hit, square of the wicket is alright, since its either a bad ball or the batsman is taking his chances. But a new ball bowler being hit over mid-off or his head, come on.  We have all of our fast bowlers bowling at a similar average speed (125- 135), trying to swing. 

We need someone who is not a "regular good boy, by the book, trying to swing" fast bowler, but an aggressive fast bowler bowling at 140 and above consistently, to make the batsmen think twice about putting his foot forward, to add variety to the pace attack. #3, no more reputation based team selection. I think us fans are to blame for this because we tend to cheer more for a player than the team.

The powers that be take advantage of the situation because the stars are the ones that fill the seats in a stadium. I hate to bring the Aussies as an example (I strongly feel they are not superior to India), but giving credit where its due, we all read recently Mathew Hayden was dropped from the team after a few years of 1000 run seasons in International cricket.We need a policy of, if a player is not performing he needs to be dropped. It shouldn't matter who it is.

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Krishna Rangarajan:

Many other people have written in saying the same things as me, but let me just add my voice to the herd. Our players grow up mastering one form of cricket (indian domestic cricket), and then spend the rest of their careers trying to master another somewhat different form of cricket (international cricket).

Obviously domestic cricket will always be lower quality than international cricket, but we must try as far as possible to make indian domestic cricket the *same kind of game* as international cricket, with the same kind of skills and tactics needed for success. To that extent that skills useful in domestic cricket are not useful in international cricket, and to the extent that skills that are necessary for survival in international cricket are not necessary in domestic cricket, we're setting the players up for failure.

Another thing that the mismatch between domestic and international cricket causes is our players continually falling out of practice / forgetting how to play the international game. When Australia  came to India in 2004, I got the feeling that a lot of the batsmen has simply temporarily forgotten what it was like to face the Australian quicks, because they hadn't faced anything remotely similar to them since the last tour of Australia.

By the time they readjusted, the series was over. Because it is easier for someone who knows how to play pace to learn how to play spin than vice-versa, to the extent our domestic system favors spin, our players have a disadvantage in making the transition to the international game. The second problem with the domestic system is that our big players don't play in them, because the domestic schedules often conflict with international schedules.

Why the BCCI does this I have no idea. Because there are so few players that we know playing, following domestic cricket can be boring. Here's an idle though to make domestic cricket morefun: Have the BCCI appoint 5 or 6 managers/coaches of domestic "super-teams", and then hold an American-style draft where all Indian players go into a pool to be selected by the manager/coach of each domestic "super-team". Who goes first? Sehwag? What about second? third? Dravid before Tendulkar, or Tendulkar before Dravid? The draft would go on until each manager/coach had selected enough players to form a team, i.e. 50-75 players would be selected, in total.

To my mind, the most interesting thing would not be the selection of the international players, but the selection of the strong domestic players. Does Tilak Naidu get selected? MSK Prasad? S. Ramesh? RS Sodhi? Indian fans would have a lot of fun arguing about the draft choices, and it would be a good way to evaluate not only the players, but the managers/coaches in charge of the teams. 

Then all of these super-teams would play each other over the course of a short (two month?) season. Each team would naturally have two or three "Star" players, who would be expected to carry the team, and I think it would produce some really competitive, interesting matches. Then when these 2 or 3 "Star" players came together again to form the national team, they would have greater match-practice in tough, high-quality match situations, and every one of them would know what it's like to carry the burden of leading an entire team against very high-quality opposition. And so perhaps when called upon to face similar situations in international cricket, our players would be more prepared to deal with them. 

Descending from system-level criticism to specific criticisms, I think the bowling was more at fault than the batting in the one-day debacle. In general, whenever I've had a problem with the Indian team, it's when they've been too defensive and cautious, instead of attacking the opposition. I think the bowling was too defensive during the one-day series, and the batting was too defensive in the Pakistan test series, and also the series against Australia. But my main criticism is that our players seem to lack high-quality match practice, and they seem to temporarily forget, and then relearn, how to play the international game, during each long gap between international fixtures.

cheers,

Krishna Rangarajan

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Raghavan:

Hi Prem

Here is a list of action items:

1. BCCI should be run by full time professionals to eliminate all the vote banks and politicalisation of cricket in India.

2. The foreign coach system should be continued with - no Indian coach is qualified and can guarantee that he is free from any regional bias

3. Tendulkar and Ganguly should retire from International Cricket forthwith. They are past their 'use by' dates - the former is completely out of form and also is in decline as a 'captain'. The latter seems to be playing for records and produces goods once in five matches. Look at Australia - Darren Lehman, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Ian Healy - all of them left when Cricket Autralia decided when they should go not the other way around. BCCI should have the guts to take the hard decision.

4. The Zonal system of selection panel should be discontinued. Look at the Australians - in spite of their being the No 1 team in tests and ODI, they talk about bias towards Queensland players becuase they have (used to till Border retired) two selectors from Queensland. We should have talent scouts who should watch domestic matches to feed into the slection panel. The talent scouts should work outside their zone e.g. if he is from South Zone, he should be watching palyers from for example West Zone.

5. Certain players should never be selected to play for India again - they have had ample opportunities and come croppers - e.g. Agarkar, Dinesh Mongia, Bahutule, etc. 

6. Team selection should be based on merit including the so called 'elite' players e.g. Brett Lee can't make it as long as Kaspro, Pigeon and Dizzy keepperforming.

7. Make Kumble the captain for the next three years - John Wright's comments are valuable - he findscaptaincy material in Kumble - there is no better person to pass comments on anyone's suitability for being the captain than John Wright.

8. All teh sponsors should focus on domestic championship - Ranji, Duleep and Deodhar trophies and awards for these should be big time events - that is the only way you can nurture cricket at grassroots level and encourage tough competition for donning the national colours.

9. Scheduling of tours (home and away) should be given top priority to ensure right mix of ODIs and Tests; sufficient time to acclamatise to overseas conditions; sufficient time to get recharged between tours; etc.

10. More transparency in the running of teh BCCI and team selections and better relationship with the media.

Raghavan.

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Satyam Thakar:

Hello there,

I would like to add my view about Indian cricket team losing the cricket series against Pakistan.I personally donot think it as the team players doing anything wrong. Indian cricket tour to Pakistan and the recently ended tour of Pakistan to India are a part of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) deployed by both countries to resolve their long awaiting problems.

That is, India losing the series on Indian grounds while Pakistan losing the games on their soils.Finally on the end of the recent series, enough confidence being build amongst eachother, both the government representatives giving a joint statement that 'peace process is irreversible'.

Thank you.

Satyam Thakar,

Stuttgart, Germany.

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Rohan:

Hello,

give importance to Domestic cricket. Pick a player, make him play against the best (Australia, Newzealand in Newzealand) and judge them by this performance and if they succeed, encourage them and give them sufficient time to settle down in the team. Quickly sack players who shine against Bangla/Kenya and Fail against big wigs. Bring in a new player in his place. After all we have to select 11 out of 80 crore people.

So the solution is Go by talent and analyse the performance of every player on a six month basis and sack failures quickly but keep them in the reckoning based on thier domestic performance.Having said all this, I can very well understand that Cricket is also a 'BUSINESS' and not a sports no more.

If you have money and played some cricket for your state you are welcome to lead Indian team, no talent is required.Please don't ignore the fact Gangulys, Kaifs etc  block the way for Sharath, Badani, Sriram etc to show their talent and similarly an ageing Kumble , Agarkar etc might block the way in ODI for some other player in domestic circuit.

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Vishwa natha:

Hello,

  give importance to Domestic cricket. Pick a player, make him play against the best (Australia, Newzealand in Newzealand) and judge them by this performance and if they succeed, encourage them and give them sufficient time to settle down in the team. Quickly sack players who shine against Bangla/Kenya and Fail against big wigs. Bring in a new player in his place. After all we have to select 11 out of 80 crore people.

So the solution is Go by talent and analyse the performance of every player on a six month basis and sack failures quickly but keep them in the reckoning based on thier domestic performance.Having said all this, I can very well understand that Cricket is also a 'BUSINESS' and not a sports no more. If you have money and played some cricket for your state you are welcome to lead Indian team, no talent is required.

Please don't ignore the fact Gangulys, Kaifs etc  block the way for Sharath, Badani, Sriram etc to show their talent and similarly an ageing Kumble , Agarkar etc might block the way in ODI for some other player in domestic circuit.

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Nozer:

How abt we have 4 players for every 3 spots. For eg say tendulkar, sehwag, ganguly at 1, 2 and 3 resp. We have a 4th player like Dinesh mongia or say gambhir for either one of those slots. Now say we play 4 games so it will be as follows: Game 1: 1) Tendulkar, 2) Sehwag, 3) Ganguly Game 2: 1)Tendulkar, 2) Gambhir 3) Ganguly Game 3: 1)Gambhir, 2) Sehwag, 3) Ganguly Game 4: 1)Tendulkar, 2) Sehwag, 3) Gambhir. Advantages: 1) This way More players can actually PLAY and fewer have to warm benches, thus increasing "bench-strength". 2) In the finals, whoever has performed the best amongst the 4 gets to play. The same rule wud apply for players batting at 4, 5 and 6. 3)The newest players wud be the ones getting shuffled and not the senior ones. So the new players & the team wud get an estimate of which position the new players fit best at. Similar rules apply for the w/k and bowlers. EVERYONE stays on their toes 24/7. The motto is clear, perform or get out. Wheather ur captain or junior.

Nozer

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Kashan:

To begin with, Paksitan played better than India and the results are in front of you. In a given test or ODI any team that plays better will win the game. Let's see what's the problem with the Indian team, even though on paper they look like a force to reckon with. The no.1 problem of the Indian teams of past and present is that they dont have the killer instinct/mental strength/fu*K you attitude.

I have been watching Indian team for almost 24 years and I have yet to see an Indian team that has that kind of an attitude. That in my mind will never allow the Indian team to be among the best. It does not matter how many Tendulkar's, Dravid's or Ganguly's they have. When a team is losing games or under pressure the one thing that can revive them is their mental strength/fu*k you attitude.

Almost all the teams that have been on the top have played with that kind of attitude. I have been watching the Pakistan team for last two years and they dont have the best team, but they have always maintained there killer instinct, that screw you attitude, which has enabled them to fight back and win games.Even when the Indian team is on top of there game they lack that mental strength. The can only win if they have total control of the game.

The only time I have seen that fighting spirit was during the Aussie tour to India 2001. I think that was more due to one person's (Laxman) battle more than anything. Also looking at the senior players of this Indian team, it seems as if a bunch of scared deer running for their lives. Players like Tendulkar and Ganguly need to show some balls, which they might have left somewhere.

This Indian team might win some matches based on the talent they have but they will never reach greatness unless they show that they got some real balls. Something that can be learned from players like Schewag.

Regards,

Kashan

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Sreekanth:

First of all, thank you allowing me to air some of my thoughts.Just two days back, i was watching recorded version of India Vs England in World cup 2003.Everyone knows that Ashish nehra had a matchwinning haul in that match.What most people could have missed in that match(Even i did when i watched it first) was , although srinath didn't get a single wicket, nearly his 90% of deliveries were just outside the off stump with a good length.

Batsmen like tresothick and vaughn were unable to put him away.Now this is the way a good ODI bowler operates.All the batsmen in the world are scared of mcgrath not because of any magical powers but for  simple principle he employs, bowl outside the offstump and at a good length ball.You don't need any pitch assistance for this kind of pressure.

Now compare it with the way nehra bowled to afridi in the final odi or zaheer khan bowled in world cup finals.This is a problem nobody seems to notice or care about.We don't have Mcgraths or shoaib akhtars in our team and we don't need them.All we need are bowlers who bowl according to plan and the field.Also,It seems to me that indian team is becoming more and of "flat track bullies" and by  batting first we essentially batting out the opposition.

Now this works against mediocre attacks on a flat tracks but add a little bit of juice in the track or have some bowler worth his name in the run up, the equation totally changes.Finally i really resent the fact that our top order is hardly putting up any fight when conditions are not going in their way.Watching sehwag on final odi It felt as though he had resigned to the fact that it's goner.Anyway, those are my impressions

Thanks

Sreekanth

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Shriram Rajamani:

Fact is India are very poor chasers.  So when the opponent bats first, needless to say the primary focus has to be on razor sharp fielding (how long can we hide Kumble, Ganguly, Nehra) and a ruthless execution of well-defined plans for every batsman.  In other words, the bowlers have to bowl with great control and the field placings have to be on dot.  This control (aka McGrath) will come only by practising bowling on a coin in the nets. 

And the field placings will only be effective if it is based on extensive video study of every batsman's strengths/weaknesses.  In ODIs there is zero margin for error in length/line.  The squeeze has to be applied right from the word go.  The Afridis, Jayasuriyas, Gilchrists cannot be allowed to make merry at the top of the order. 

If India manages to restrict the opposition even on a good batting track to within 230-240, then there may be a higher chasing success rate.  Infact one major reason why Australians chase well is because they restrict so well.  What is Australia's success rate chasing > 280?  I bet you it is dismal compared to their overall chase record.  So the key is to restrict the opponent through sharp fielding and tailored tactics for every batsman. 

A case in point is how well Fleming employed and executed those tactics at one time with just the one strike bowler in Bond.  NZ's bowling and fielding were superbly executed against Australia in the WC 2003 and if not for the plumb lbw decision against Bevan (perfect yorker from Bond) not given in NZ's favor, I think that game would have been much closer.

The other point I want to make is the need for EVERY batsman to rotate strike.  Getting 4-5 singles in the middle overs should be so easy it should be almost 2nd nature.  Sachin when in form and Dravid to a lesser extent are the only batsmen capable today.  Yuvraj and Kaif because of their excellent quick running manage singles, but even their ability to place the ball into gaps at will is debatable. 

Look at guys like Shoaib Malik, Youhana, even Inzi - terrific ability to get a single anytime they want to.  Australia's middle order - Martyn, Clarke, Ponting, Katich - are all great strike rotaters.  The importance of singles is not emphasized enough I feel.  The batsmen need to work on their skills to be able to place the ball at will into any gap they choose to.  Recall Miandad and Salim Malik?

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Saurav Banerjee:

I think our one day performances  boil down to one basic reason, our current team is just not good enough, not good enough to consistently win , not good enough in pressure situations. In test matches we have still produced decent results (through the drawn series against Pakistan is hardly a good outcome) but it is in the one dayers we seem to be faltering the most.

Our batting is dependant too much on Sehwag and when he fails to score much, we tend to crumble. Senior players like Sachin and Sourav have left their natural instincts behind and are trying to play a game that is unnatural to them which shows in the scores they are accumulating (note accumulating which is exactly what they are trying to do).

Maybe it is time to give the senior players a bit of a break ,a sort of a time off and let some of the younger brigade have a go at the top of the order. Our top order consistently fails under pressure and maybe a bit of young blood there will embark on pressure situations with a new mindset rather than the burden of the world on the shoulders look and result. In all of this there has been one silver lining in our batting and that is Sehwag but if he dosent get support, I fear we are just going back to the days when Sachin was in the same mould and when he didn't perform it was all over.

Our bowling is no different.. absolutely inconsistent. At least Zaheer is coming back to some form but Pathan has crashed as quickly as he had flown. The new hope of Indian cricket needs to instill some hope in himself and come back all guns blazing. Balaji did decently in the first few games but got back into the hammering zone later on.

Nehra is getting some wickets but going for plenty and God only knows what Bhajji is doing. His form seems to have deserted him and I just don't understand why we continue to play him when he is not in any sort of form and just cant seem to take wickets. This can only worsen his confidence levels rather than enhancing it.

Use karthik , use kumble or get a young spinner in and give him a chance. Follow the Aussie policy.. if you are not performing you are dropped…else I am afraid these sort of results are always going to take place.Our fielding .. I don't even want to go there.we still cant get direct hits which are crucial to put pressure on the opposition though to be fair I think our ground fielding and catching have improved but still nowhere to the level it should be.

Our attitude needs to change. We shouldn't have lost the match even before our innings has started just because the opposition has reached 300+. Go for it , give it a go and you never know what may happen. Play as we have been doing and we always know the result. The same applies in reverse. Why don't we attack from the word go when bowling. A few big hits and defensive fields are set.  Attack is the best form of defense and unless we do this in the biggest of stages we are never going to get used to the idea.

I hope we can bounce back, but unless our attitude changes and the players are willing to play for each other, our results are always going to be thoroughly frustrating and underachieving.

Regards,

Saurav Banerjee.

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Vaisakh:

Hi,

its so sad to see our team loose again. Now as usual there will be lots of debate about the forms of players, their performances and who should go and who should stay, and scapegoats are bound to happen.

But, as far as i see it, there are a lot of equally responsible people who hide behind the players and  go unpicked.Let me start with the BCCI. This is the most imp factor and is the most concerning. this bunch of men are treating the players as some sort of money pumping machine and nothing else!. I hope they read  the golden goose story atleast once before they go to sleep everyday!.

Afterfinishing the Pak tour in 2004 the tired players went for a break. As usual they didnt bother about the next season and didnt bother to keep themselves ready for it.( As though its not their bread!). I guess the coach also didnt bother much about it. Least bothered was the BCCI. Before the Asia cup no one even bothered to set a good 30-40 days camp to get the players back in to shape for the season. Instead they all gathered, half asleep and went to sri lanka.

There obviously they had a terrible tour. From their they went to Holland and from their to England. Our lovely BCCI had packed so much in such a short span that poor players never got a chance to sit back and realise their mistakes and correct them. Obviously we had to face humiliating defeats everywere and finally they came to India. Before our players reached here.

The Australians had come are were preparing for the Assult. Ever since India left Australia after that amazing tour, they've been preparing for this. I was least surprised to see them win the way they did.They had plans for each players and every situation and we had none. The blind public were yelling for Thendulkar to return and it was obvious that he cant make the diff.  I think all these events did irreparable damage to the confidence levels of players. The journey from the second best team in the world to a 3rd class one was swift.

 International cricket is not a game played by 11 individuals in the ground.Not any more. There is a bigger team behind the camera who prepare these individuals to do their job. Yes, am talkin about the think tanks behind the line, the laptop men led by the coach. Am wondering have they seized to exist? or is it that as the contract is almost over Mr Wright decided to take a nap!

Lets take one example for instance.Afridi smashed our bowlers all around the park to bring up the second fastest oneday hundred in the history. On the evening of the day there was plenty of graphs all over the web showing where he scored his runs and of what kind of balls. It was clear that hes a lover of playin on the legside, on the frontfoot, smashing over long on, midwicket and fineleg. and that hes extremely vulnerable against back of a length deliveries just outside the offstump.( this is one thing the Australians easily exploited throughout the pak teams australian tour!)

Now lets analyse Nehras first over of the sixth oneday international. Of  the 6 balls he balled 2 were on the offside and 4 on the leg! what an irony!. Am left to wonder if the team had any strategy at all for him! or is it that Nehra whos not even a regular of the team eventually decided to scrap all that was told to him and went on his own to ball a bizzare line!.

I also want to point to what happened when we went on to bat.it was very clear that the pitch was not yet ready to host a oneday match and the team batting second would struggle. The score Pakistan managed was more that enough to challenge any team on this track. It was also clear that unless  some real blasting is done in the initial overs we wont make it. As far as I can see there are 2 players who can deliver it. One is Sehwag of course.

The other is Dhoni. But Sehwag is too expensive to risk. Our three senior players ( Sehwag, Tendilkar, Dravid) had to be there through out the 50 overs guiding the young men, so that we reach the target. So it had to be Dhoni. He should've opened with Sehwag and taken the risk and tried to blast off their bowlers. Also I cant see the wisdom of bringing yuvi before 25 overs.

Time and again hes proved ( ask Ganguly) that he likes to play the old ball. also if he comes in so early who will provide the momentum in the last overs?!. Am bemused!. all the senses say that Dinesh mongia whos a typical middle order batsman should come before yuvi. maybe even before dravid for this particuar game.Our bowling is better not talked about. But again I cant fully blame the bowlers!. of late we have developed a liking to ball around the stump to the leg side!. whats that!.

From the early days of cricket legside has been the area where Indian and pak batsmen are particularly good at. you ball to their legs you are askin for trouble. I think we learned this trick (leg stump line) from southafrica or something.I first saw this at the banglore test. as though we didnt learn enough from that match we did that again on the 4th oneday international. Any kid knew that we just had to ball a wicket to wicket line and keep a tight field and the pressure will do the trick. Instead we gifted to match to the paks!.

Even in the second last over of Nehra we screwed the last of the many chances we had got. Sami was about to face the first ball. Nehra bowled outside the offstump and sami guided it to 3rd man for a single. A quality bowler could finish the pak chellenge in that over.I think what the team needs is a young coach and some thinkin men to help him out and a councilor for the players who can nurture confidence in them again. ( I donno what can be done about the stupid BCCI. God save the players!)

Vaisakh

( I cant thank rediff enough for the cool coverage they provide of the matches and special mention has to go to Prem and his strong fingers) :)

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Bhabesh Chakrabarti:

We are down with another series defeat. And lots of postmortem with the series is going on. I would like to opine few things.

The reason that we were doing well till World cup was that we had an able captain who always lead from the front. It is under his captaincy that we are playing as a bunch and not as an individual. Younger talents were given chance and backed, and we have match winners in Kaif, Yubi, Sehwag, and ofcourse Sachin and Saurav.

And Dravid has been very able to stand during crisis. If you like to see what has changed after then, its the attitude of the entire team. Dada is not doing well and probably he is worried more with his form and thus affecting his strategic planning with the individual games. Now without a planning, we have a scenario of pre ganguly era where individual brilliances used to play the odd games. So now when Sehwag is flop, we loose.

Tendulkar is no more a tendulkar now a days. So is Ganguly. And the man in crisis Dravid can not play alone cause after all there is law of average and if you have cricis day in and day out, you can not expect him to stand tall on each and every occasion. And also, we know his reputation of not hitting a six and how he struggles with leg spin. Because of Dada's form, we are lagging behind with strategic planning, and hence we have 8th position in ODIs. We can pray for Dada to come back again. Dravid or Kumble is not an option for captaincy. May be Yubi is.

Bhabesh Chakrabarti

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Amit Ganguli:

Hi,

I am not a very frequent writer but is an avid follower of the game for a long long time. The Indian cricket team over the last few years had really developed into an exemplery side - no, nowhere close to Australia but there were huge positives seen in the attitude of the team. But for a 1983 World Cup win and a few tournaments following that the Indian team mostly boasted of individual successes.

I think Saurav Ganguly and John Wright's approach along with the support of the Indian cricketers changed all that - Ganguly's aggression is always highlighted as a positive but what to me is lesson that should be followed whoever becomes the captain is his stance for his players.

If Jimmy Amarnath played under Ganguly, I think he would have ended his career with 8000 runs. Ganguly's behavior is always detested - bad behavior is not desirable but lets also look at an another angle - whether it is taking off his shirt or slowing the overrate or making unaccepatble gestures, it has been always for his team. How many players would risk the flak for his team. One must admire him for this.

Most people have short memory - a human trait but a honest evaluation of Ganguly is needed. That does not mean we don't say a word about Ganguly - his test batting has been extremely aweful for a while and Ganguly talentwise and per expectation is more that Mike Brearley. Rahul Dravid has made amazing progress recently in one day version of the game but lets not forget that he was for a long long time considered as a burden by many in one day cricket.

Well Ganguly had enough head to carry him along and rightly so for he is the best in the Indian team. Building a trust, infusing energy has been Ganguly's biggest contribution - I am not sure how great he is tactically. I think for a long time politics was kept out of the Indian dressing room and selection committee - thanks to John Wright, the seniors and Ganguly, the captain. But I am not sure if the same is true now - I was surprised by Rahul Dravid's comment that one or two individuals do not make a difference.

True it is a team game but when you have some players playing for years, they become a family - losing a family member is supposed to make a difference for a while. Anyway, Ganguly must improve as a batsman and as a skipper (if ever he becomes one again) - when evaluated for commitment for his team and team members, he has reached the peak. If Rahul Dravid continues as a skipper, we should support him with all our heart but I recommend he makes use of the good things that Ganguly brought to Indian cricket.

Thank you,

Amit Ganguli

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Tejasvi Aswathanarayana:

The first and foremost reason is the lack of common-sense shown by the team selection committee (on the field) and the selectors.

On such flat batting wickets, a bowler gets hit for a few runs, and he finds himself out of reckoning the next match.. read Pathan,Balaji,Kumble,Nehra ....

A batsman scores once in 10 innings on such batsman friendly tracks (even those opening) and continues to keep his position in the team... read Tendulkar, Kaif, Ganguly..

Why this two pronged approach????

Ganguly should certainly be in the team ..and he should certainly open the innings.. We have to acknowledge that he isnt good enough to come down the order and take those quick singles and rotate the strike.... Tendulkar "has" to step down from the opening slot. The "supposed" genius batsman should come down the order... If he is such a great batsman, he should come down and help stabilize when need be!

We hardly plan out batsmen. I remember NZ once doing brillianlty in the VB series against Australia thanks to their brilliant planning...

One thing is for sure.. India (read yuvraj, sehwag, dravid and the pacemen)  perform  better when the wickets are non-flat... The current Indian team surely would be seem better on sportig wickets thatn the flat cum square turners we have come to see in India... I dont know when the officials will realize this!!!

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Sriraman (Sri) Annaswamy:

Hi,

Frankly, nothing at all - and this includes poor embattled Sourav Ganguly !!

I think the Indian cricketers are performing significantly better than they ought to be given the rank incompetence of our "hallowed" Cricket Board and the utter disdain that our administrators have for any form of basic corporate governance and even, basic norms of community accountability. You only need to go back to the shenanigans associated with the presidential elections to come to the conclusion that we have a bunch of self-serving clowns running Indian cricket.

It is rather easy to compare the statistical consistency of the Australian cricket team vis-a-vis the Indian team and arrive at the conclusion that the Indian team is way behind on most parameters to do with consistency.

Why don't we carry out a similar exercise and benchmark the Australian Cricket Board and the way it administers domestic cricket in Australia on a variety of parameters against our "unaccountable" Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) ?  I am willing to bet my last dollar that the gap between the ACB and the BCCI would be a far more yawning one than that between the respective cricket teams !!

My advice to the shrieking and wailing Indian team fans is very simply - be happy with what the team is delivering at any point in time, they are performing WAY ABOVE what they should be doing given the pathetic lunatics in charge of the game in India.

thanks and kind regards
Sriraman (Sri) Annaswamy
Sydney, Australia

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Amar S Dutia:

We are compeletly missing the point, We shouls be anaylsing What did India do RIGHT in last few years............ Well if any one has the answer to this than we donot have problem with team India and this should just be a bad patch and be forgotten, but this is not the case

Error 1. World Cup Finals - The media hype even before the match was played. The mighty Horroscope ( or horrorscope). Media frenzy making the players instant heroes and comparing them with 1983 team (before match was to be played).

Error 2. Australia Series - Just after 1 test win they were the second best team??? The approach - we were suppose to lose all 4 but manage to level series.......... WHAT AN APPROACH ( bunch of losers)What do players get from that tour: P Patel/Pathan/Balaji are instant stars (ending their careers instantly) P Patel is just a joke or slap on nations face Laxam: GOD HELP INDIA IF WE HAVE PLAYER OF HIS CALIBRE and we boast of it.

Error 3. Pakistan Tour - We made TEAM INDIA as Heroes who won us battle with Pakistan. And suddenly forgot Kargil heroes. What a Shame, rather Shameless

Error 4. BEGANI SHAADI MAIN ABDULLAH DIWANA ( This goes for TIMES OF INDIA) Do I need to say more....... YEH DIL NAHIN MAANGE MORE.

Solution: BCCI be brave develop a strategy to win next WORLD CUP. Players needed to be sacked asap (reasons in bracket): S Ganguly(ICC is demanding it), Youvraj Singh (he has plenty of scope in Bollywood)/Harbajan Singh (good excuse doosra)/A Nehra (well he is hopeless)/A Agarkar

Players under review: S. Tendulkar (problem moving ball)/Balaji/Pathan/Z Khan/ Dhoni

Players that need to act as leader:Shewag/Dravid/Kaif/Kumble

Players neeed to be considered : M Karthik (bowler)

Immediate retirement: Parthiv Patel/Agarkar/Nehra/Laxman.

By taking this step BCCI will get Discipline in new comers and sacking of Ganguly and reviewing players like Tendulkar, will make newcomer's fight to retain thier position and ultimately get best performance.

WAKE BCCI

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Mrs. A. U. Nayak:

I feel, our Cricketers are pampered by crazy fans,  by the board &  by the advertisers. They are overpaid and the comfort and luxury of having earned more than enough fortune for their  own and their family's living has brought a lot of complacency in their game. Cricket has made them safe and secured. But they are not obliging by securing a game.

A game of Cricket in India is more than a mere game, particularly when it is against Pakistan. Our team has all  big stars and their team has all serious players. Our Captain is a Maharaja, their Captain is a real Leader. For our team, it is OK, whether you win or lose. For their team losing a game, particularly against India, is losing national pride. It is painful to them. Hence they fought back, like heroes and like true champions. A one match wonder can continue in the Indian team for decades. Not in their team.

I feel, when a player is being picked-up by the Board, there  should be a contract with a player that he will not appear for any advertisement.Should he decide to do so, it will be at the cost of his place in the Indian Team. We want players, real cricketers. Not the people running for advertisement money. We have  enough of Khans and Kumars to fill-up the advertisement board. We need some serious Cricketers and we want them now.

Mrs. A. U. Nayak

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Sriram Duvvuri:

We need not worry about this one series and panic about the fate of Indian cricket - the 4 consecutive losses were almost intentional. It looked like we simply threw the matches away after India went up 2-0.  There were so many loose balls, bad running and fielding lapses, that it seemed impossible for a national side to perform that way.

Conspiracy theories aside, a few things need immediate attention:

-The one thing to really look at carefully is to get a coach who can continue the good work of John Wright - we may not want too much change too soon. A foreign coach ( who is least likely to be involved in the politics) should be brought back - and it is most likely to happen.

We should train our batsmen to be comfortable with short balls and allow our bowlers to bowl them in ODIs too, just to keep the opponent in check.Also, tailoring pitches to suit our bowlers is counter-productive, as we won't be able to win elsewhere - we should have fast pitches in the domestic circuit.We should not be too dependent on Sachin or Sehwag to click for us to win.  Maybe we are already addressing this.

And you are right - our team needs rest to regroup and recover.  Senior players probably need more rest to recover for important series ( if all series are just as important - too bad).Give it some more time.  We have just discovered a new good wicket-keeper batsman in Dhoni, and the rest of the lineup will need to adjust around him.  Kaif, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Ganguly will need to experiment with new positions in the order.

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Lokesh:

When you chase a target you need to have two thngs in mind.Scoring of runs in three sessions. 1)First fifteen overs keeping the run rate is high.no matter whatever conditon of the pitch. 2)Remining 20 overs reaching targets like 200+ odd runs and keeping wickets in hand like 6 or 7. 3)Last session always interesting to reach the target easily,if you maintian the run rate. 4)Players attitude towards game.Pressure is not there when you place first ball than last ball of the innings to victory. 5)Playing unnecessary shots which brings no run nothing but losing wicket.(Sehwag) 6)forgetting the basics like mastero batsman sachin forgot his basics on last oneday.Big hole inbetwen bat and pad.

How india would go to heights. World cup runners up team now has gone down to eighth place. What a shame. I would suggest seniors like ganguly, sachin would say bye and bye and give new comers a chance to play with aggressive cricket. Then india would try to improve ranking in onedayers.

Thanks

Regards,

Lokesh

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Mouly:

Inconsistency is one of Indian cricket's time honored problems. Whenever it makes its presence felt, everyone is out there with their knives; looking for the culprit. It is understandable; but nothing is going to improve by pointing fingers at individuals.

The problem lies at the root of our cricket establishment. At the ground level our system is 'pathetic'; as long as it remains so, we can never improve. Sachin, Dravid, Shewag are all exceptions that have managed to come up in spite of this system.

Cricket, in India, is managed by a corporation whose motive is money and power, period. If anybody is thinking that BCCI is worried about its Team's performance, I feel sorry for them. The fact that BCCI claimed, in Court, that the Team plays for BCCI and not for India; is a testament of its patriotism.

The perfect proof of my argument would be Australia. The current Australian team is reaping the benefits of the seeds sown in the system about a decade ago. To quote Greg Chappel, "The strength of Australian cricket is our whole system. Not one part of it or one individual is more important than the whole."

So forget Saurav, forget Sachin, improve the system at grassroots level, then may be we can dream of winning the 2011 World cup.

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Tariq Nazir:

Possible solution

Change in Batting order. Open with Sewag, and Dhoni (or any other wicketkeeper batsman), Yovraj Singh at on down (this will give him the chance to build an inning insted of always comming in to consolidate or rescue an inning), and if one down happens inside the 15 overs he is well capeable of doing half of what afridi did to us. Next comes in Mohammed kaif (He will eventually be the wall of india once dravid falls) Think long term this guy can take singles and do what dravid has done consistantly.

If all fails (top order collaps) the current rescue operator Dravid can come in to save it. After dravid should be Laxman or Gangully who ever performs better to form that responsible partnership. On the fall of next wicket or in the death over when we need a hitter again we can call upon the great Sachin Tendulkar we all knows hes got it in him to hit shots and pace up.

whit him being number 7 at this stage of his career he will brings a lot of psycological pressure on the opposition who know the best of the indian team is at number 7. Kind of like how we feared Inzamam and Yohana comming in late. And during this experimental process the batting top order will collaps a few times and thats where the seniors should come in and rescue the tell the juniors

We got your back so play your natural game in the first part of the inning" This will take care of the long term problem of what will happen to team india when the 3 greats retire. even at number 7 I am sure Sachin will get enough opertunities to bag a lot of runs and still retire with the highest run getter and higest century holder.

Next the balling: number 8 and 9(Irfan, zaheer, Nehra, Balaji, Agarkar) Choose any two with the best fittness not previous match performance.

10 and 11: Keep kumble for test and important matches uses Bhajji, Kartik more often.

I personally think Zaheer had enough chances to prove him self its about  time Nehra gets a chance and Pathan needs to stop thinking like a pathan and get a tip or two from Balaji. Too much agression will not help him seems  like he is under Akhtar hangover.

Hoping the best for this team. God bless India god bless the indian team.

Tariq Nazir

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Lokesh K:

Hi,

Well as an Indian I do know how to start writing about Indian Cricket Team's performance.  Actually it is very difficult.

How can the Team which is runner up in last World Cup, which was world's second best team, perform like this on their own soil, shame on each and every player's part.  When entire world is looking at India's and praying for it, this is not what is expected.

Come to the Point:  It will be stupidity blaming a single person in the Team, whole team performed very badly, starting from Sehwag to the tail enders.  Is our Captain's don't have mind or what they don't use common sense, e.g., Dhoni played in one single game sending him at third place, it doesn't mean that he should be sent always at number 3 position, it is utter stupidity, you can't expect miracles always, not that Dhoni is not a good batsman.. but.. u should be in a position to utilize the maximum.  No proper chances have been given to other batsman viz., Mongia

Coming to the Bowling: When youngester like Irfan is performing well why should you drop him, why the hell Agarkar has been taken into the team, I don't understand what the Selection people are found in him, to give so many chances to him.  Why the same is not shown to other bowlers in all over India e.g., Dodda Ganesh from Karnataka.. he is equally good like Javagal Srinath.

Well any way as an Indian I can just pray and wish good luck and please PLAY FOR COUNTRY no individual score will help the country (only u can make money, e.g. Sachin Tendulkar).

With lots of pain and broken heart.

Lokesh K

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Ullas Unnikrishnan:

Time for another post-mortem and as always, this one is fully justified. That we couldn't win the series from a 2-0 lead is shocking. Let me list some of the problems with the team that I, as a fan, see:

Batting order: The batting order was all wrong for this series. So Dhoni played a great innings in the 2nd ODI and is a great long-term prospect. But he succeeded in that game because of the surprise element more than anything else. If you keep sending him in at No. 3 in every game irrespective of the situation and pitch and other conditions, he is not going to blast hundreds every time.

Ideally, Dravid should come in at No. 3 if Tendulkar falls early, and Dhoni should come in ONLY if Sehwag falls early and the ball is not seaming around too much. Ideally, Dhoni should come in at No.7 because he plays in the Abdul Razzak mould and can play big shots from ball 1. I remember him hitting a 6 off his first ball when he came in in the last over against Bangladesh.

Kaif showed in the 5th ODI how he can score chunks of runs at a quick pace if he comes in with enough overs to play. He is not Afridi or Razzak. There is no use of sending in Kaif with even 10-12 overs to play. Kaif should ideally come in at No.4. Ganguly or Yuvraj Singh should come in at No 5 depending on the situation.

Bowling : Can this bowling attack either bowl out a team in 50 overs on a difficult or restrict a team under 270 on a good pitch? No. Picking the bowlers on current form is important. I think the management  was right in picking Balaji based on his test match performances, but it didn't click. They can be forgiven for that. But they missed a trick by not playing Agarkar. Agarkar will be titled an enigma forever but he is still one of the best ODI bowlers India have EVER produced. He has over 200 wickets at an average of 27 and a strike rate of 32. Plus a batting average of 18. Why is he kept out? Because he has a poor Test record? They also need to think about the spinner position. Harbhajan Singh is not performing any miracles even on turning wickets. Isn't it time we stopped picking only on reputation? Also it's very important for the bowlers to bowl to their fields and the game-plan. That is something 12 year olds in the bowling academies are taught. But our senior bowlers seem to have forgotten. The fielding was never brilliant but was not too bad either—so I'll leave that out for now. 

We don't need all-rounders: Plenty of people say we perform poorly due to the lack of all-rounders. It works fine for Pakistan but we should work on a formula that is right for our pool of players. Look at Australia. When was the last time McGrath or Kasprowicz won them a game with the bat? Did Damien Martyn or even Lehmann or Michael Clarke win them games with the ball? If the batsmen score runs and the bowlers bowl well, we don't need any more allrounders. Sachin needs to bowl as frequently as he did in this tournament. Sehwag and yuvraj should be able to roll their arms over to bowl 6-8 overs between them and Kaif needs to be given a chance to bowl at the top level too. His First-class bowling average of 27 maybe misleading, but that he has NEVER bowled in International cricket is a shocker!

Running: We also need to work on our running between wickets. Dravid is in such fabulous form that it is amost impossible for bowlers to get him out. So he seems to be running himself out to help the opposition. How did it escape the attention of critics that he was Run out THREE times in the six games?

Hope this helps in some way!

Ullas Unnikrishnan

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Krishna Kumar:

Hi editor,

We all keep falling into the trap again and again...Cricket , esp Indian cricket is nothing but a carefully constructed entertainment industry with the authorities , media and players all playing their parts perfectly to the script. Money and Blind Adulation are the two pillars on which it stands . What's wrong with Indian Cricket???

Well , we the followers are the biggest mistake..How can we expect a team languishing at 8th to pull of a miracle in a team game - backed  by individual brilliance alone? Still u and me have spend our hard earned money to make some shrewd business man some where more happy..Expect Rahul and Anil , who else is competent to walk into the aussie team ? Why do were revere on basis of media hype ? Can a Shasrti or More say ' Sachin (or even Ganguly) knows that the on the next tour if he does bat well its curtains..see what healy said of Hayden.

The Aussie common people have better things to do...Lets us wake up and put cricket in its  real pedestal..a simple sport..pity the day when cricket is taken to the depths of WWF in US..you and me would have to take the balme for it that day..WAKE UP INDIA..Team India is 'US' not a bunch of 15 players.

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Gaurish Sharma:

Sir,

Why India went wrong! They were never Right in the series.

Foolish captaincy, having stars that never perform, absence of a desire to win for country are some of the reasons.

Sometimes I feel that we (Indian fans) can be a better captain. I never understand the strategy of an Indian captain. To name a few:

1)       Sehwag bowled well (1 over that he bowled) at Ahmedabad, but he never got a chance to bowl again.

2)       Why no slip was there at Ahmedabad. 315 was a great total and Indians gave away easy singles.

3)       Indians have a strict batting order and they have to follow it, otherwise they might just "WIN"!! I don't understand why Indians don't experiment with the batting order.

4)       Kaif is such a good test player, but he never got a chance…Thanks to the politics in Indian Cricket!

To-Dos for Indian Cricket-

1)       The whole system needs to be changed. New captain, new coach, some new faces need to be there in the team.

2)       The so-called great players (Sachin, Ganguly, Laxman) who are not performing or play in just one match in the series and are playing just because their past record is "Great" should be kicked out.

3)       Don't get over enthusiastic after winning a match. Each player starts feeling that he is the best in the world.

4)       Play for country, for us, not for money. Play with heart.

To-Dos for Indian Fans-

1)       Please don't make cricket players Heroes. They don't deserve "Hero" status.

I just hope that the new coach would be an Australian who will make this Indian team better and will give Indian fans a much needed smile.

Thanks.

Gaurish Sharma.

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T.K Senthil Vel:

Sir,

First of all I appreciate Rediff for allowing fans like us to air their views, first & fore most reason for India's pathetic performance in the recently concluded Series is due to over stardom of our cricketers by press & the media, for us our cricketers are demi gods we can never think of dropping a player like sachin who might have won matches for us but offlate he is definitely not in the same form as he was 4 or 5 years back . or even to that extent saurav ganguly just because we ourselves give a justification that it was under his captaincy this team reached the Cricket world cup finals & leveled the series in Australia ,won a series in Pakistan , we Indians are more a laid back lot.

We always think of our past performances & brood on that, it is time we sit & think and take note of what is happening in the world around us. Take for sample Australia the world beaters even players like Mark Waugh,Steve Waugh & Michael Bevan could not find a place in the squad.even though I am sure if they had played for India they would be still playing even if they had underperformed in a season or two. That's way we look at the game.

Let us be cut throat in our selection policies either you perform & get out of the team. How many times we have seen Agarkar who has played more than 200 ODI's has struggled to bowl in the initial 15 overs and also in the dearth. In spite of that we still keep giving him ample chances.

Why are there not enough talent in this country which boasts of a population of more than 1 Billion , I am sure (if searched properly) even today we have shoaib akthars & Brett Lee's playing in our country side with no aim of playing Int'l Cricket we just have to spot them. In this regard I propose a small suggestion to Mr.Dalmiya, you have had your coffers flowing with money but in return what have you done to nurture talent in this country.

You may ask us in return this is a cricket crazy country & there are ample youngsters coming from , so there is no need to search but if you look deeply most of the guys who are playing today in our present team  have always managed to come from urban side of India whereas if you see a team like Pakistan most of their successful bowlers have come from country side.

Conduct a Bowling Clinic in two places(this is done so that each of them need not travel for long distances) of all the states in this country  with a advertisements given in Electronic Media & press that "BCCI Looking for Bowlers who can bowl consistently in excess of 140Kmph" in this regard board can hire the services of our Ex fast bowlers (Kapil Dev,Srinath,Prasad to name a few) as talent spotters .we can even go one step ahead & advertise that any bowler who bowls in excess of 140 Kmph & takes first 100 International wickets will be awarded a cash reward of 1 Crore.

I am sure that if this is done in another 2 to three years we can be world beaters & we will have two or three real Quick Bowlers.

T.K Senthil Vel