rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » What Team India needs to do

What Team India needs to do

Last updated on: January 18, 2012 18:12 IST

The gutted downfall is confined to only the Test format

     Next

Next

Indian Test cricket stands at the crossroads with future fortunes heavily dependent on off the field policies and strategies adopted by the Indian cricket establishment, says Faisal Shariff.

Modern sport is competitive, dynamic and can almost be cruel.

A side that was ranked No 1 in Test cricket a little over six months ago is today in complete shambles, almost not knowing what hit them.

However to put things into perspective one needs to understand that the gutted downfall is confined to only the Test format (more specifically overseas) of the game and not the ODI format!

The Indian national T20 team is another issue, but can be reflected upon only post the team's performance in the fourth edition of the World Cup for the same, scheduled in Sri Lanka in September.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: The Indian cricket team in a huddle
Photographs: Getty Images

     Next

The best sides have faced cyclic fortunes

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

International cricket sides face cyclic fortunes with their team's performance and results. The best have faced it, Australia, England et al and India is no exception.

Most times the reason for a slide can be pointed to more than one key player aging and the transition and drafting of new players' taking time, resulting in the dip.

However in cases of sides like England, Australia, they took the first step. This first important step is accepting that -- yes there is a problem.

With the Indian cricket establishment, one is not so sure if they acknowledge that there is a problem and an overhaul of its present Test team and system a necessary predicament for resurrecting fortunes.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Rahul Dravid after his dismissal during the third Test against Australia in Perth


Prev     Next

Australia, England and New Zealand have put in place systems and key personnel

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

So what does India have to do to stem this downward flow?

Let us have a look at what other nations like Australia, England and New Zealand done to resurrect the fortunes of their national Test teams. All three nations have put in place systems and key personnel whereby the national Test team performs at its optimal level.

England started the process after its drubbing Down Under in the Ashes series of 2006-2007. A new think-tank headed by Team Director Andy Flower, assisted by specialist coaches like Graham Gooch and Mushtaq Ahmed have worked wonders for England.

Australia too followed suit -- a foreign coach for firsts (Mickey Arthur) aided by two former stalwarts in Justin Langer and Craig McDermott.

Their Tasman neighbours, New Zealand, too have put a system in place led by key personnel in terms of John Buchanan (director of cricket), working in close quarters with coach John Wright and a selection manager.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Australia Coach Mickey Arthur, right, with Captain Michael Clarke


Prev     Next

The Indian cricket establishment is in a state of denial with no vision

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The BCCI does have a full-time cricket operations manager, manned by a former Test cricketer! But sadly the system is far from functional.

The Indian cricket establishment at the moment is in a state of denial with no vision and certainly no immediate roadmap to resurrect the longest format of the game in the country.

Steps the Indian cricket establishment must take to resurrect the fortunes of its national Test team:

1. Revisit the corrective action plans taken in 2000, 2005 and 2007 with better implementation: Somehow with each of the above mentioned action plans the gap between planned and implemented was so wide that the result left a lot to be desired.

It would be interesting to relook at the review in 2007, where former captains and stalwarts were invited for suggestions at a day-long meeting. These suggestions seem relevant even today.

However the point to ponder is in the last four years how many of these suggestions saw precise implementation! Especially those involving domestic Indian cricket, the true assembly line for the Test team.

A few of these non-implemented issues are as follows:

  • With a view to strengthening domestic cricket, efforts will be made to ensure that all Test/ODI cricketers play the Irani Cup, the Duleep Trophy, the Challenger series and some Ranji Trophy matches.
  • Every association will be directed to prepare fast and lively wickets for domestic tournaments.
  • It was decided that all affiliated units should start their own state academies by April 2009. These academies would be linked to the National Cricket Academy for the purpose of uniformity in coaching.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: BCCI President N Srinivasan


Prev     Next

Timely Implementation of strategies

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

2. Timely implementation of strategies:

The Indian cricket establishment in the recent past has been guilty of not implementing decisions at opportune times, mostly sitting on issues way beyond permissible time frames.

We moved from having a manager to cricket manager to a coach to a foreign coach in 16 years.

John Wright's request for a specialist bowling and fielding coach was acceded to only during the Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher regimes. So change is possible, but involves a very long time lag, in terms of implementation.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: India Bowling Coach Eric Simons


Prev     Next

India needs to come up with a plan, a system

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

3. A strong Cricket Operations department is need of the hour.

First, India needs to come up with a plan, a system, whereby there is a Cricket Operations department which is wholly and totally in charge of the team's activities, especially its Test fortunes.

This department, including the head coach, whether it is Duncan Fletcher or anyone else, needs to be on the same page in planning as say the captain, selector or head honcho of the board.

Once the off-field Indian team is in place and functioning, only then can the on-field team perform.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: India Coach Duncan Fletcher


Prev     Next

An aging Test side needs drastic changes

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

4. Overhaul the Test team.

This is probably the right time to ring in the changes. Like we did in 2007-2008 with the ODI team. In 2007-2008 younger players were pushed in with a view to give them 60 to 100 games before the 2011 World Cup.

Let us have a similar roadmap now for the Test team.

The next away Test tour is in November 2013 to South Africa which will be followed by tours to New Zealand, England and Australia.

Two important home series against England this year and Australia next February will give us enough opportunities to test the mettle of our GenNext Test players.

5. Key personnel changes in the Test team:

This is where the selectors have to act swiftly and decisively. An aging incumbent side needs drastic changes in the following order:

The new overhauled middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli form the number three to six batting chronology.

These changes also bring in a sea change in terms of the Test team's fielding standards, a must in the modern context of the game.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Virat Kohli


Prev     Next

Pace attack: Good time to look ahead

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Pace attack beyond Zaheer Khan:

Before the national outrage, consider this: Zaheer has missed more Tests than played in them in the recent past.

Why not adopt a fresh approach to Test cricket by looking at newer, fitter and quicker bowlers to handle the pace department!

Zaheer's role in the immediate future would be as a mentor, picking and choosing his participation.

The time is opportune to look ahead. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron coupled with any new bowlers who will surely come up in the next 12 months should do the trick for India.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Umesh Yadav


Prev     Next

The spin department will be complete with a leg-spinner

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

We need a leg-spinner:

The feisty Harbhajan Singh has made way for Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin.

The spin department will be complete with identification of a leg-spinner. The candidates are Rahul Sharma, Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla.

Each should be provided ample opportunities in the near future and their progress minutely monitored and documented.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: R Ashwin
Photographs: Getty Images

Prev     Next

Dhoni needs to go back to the domestic format

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Wicket-keeper spot again up for grabs:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni needs to go back to the domestic format to prove his credentials for the wicket-keeper spot in the longer format.

Wriddhiman Saha looks the best bet to take over the mantle immediately.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni


Prev     Next

Gambhir should be told: Perform or perish

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Left-handed Openers:

Gautam Gambhir should be put on notice.

With the likes of Abhinav Mukund breathing down his throat, Gambhir should be told: Perform or perish!

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Gautam Gambhir


Prev     Next

The selectors need to scout for an all-rounder

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Identify a fast bowling all-rounder

Irfan Pathan seems the best bet at the moment, provided he proves his bowling credentials at the highest level.

This is a spot the selectors need to scout for deep and keep open for new incumbents.

Please click Next to read Faisal's feature...


Image: Irfan Pathan

Tags:

Prev     Next

Indian Test cricket: At the crossroads

Prev     More
Prev

More

Indian Test cricket stands at the crossroads with its future fortunes heavily dependent on off the field policies and strategies adopted by the Indian cricket establishment.

If they work on the above, Indian Test cricket will be back on the path of ascendency as seen in the first decade of the new millennium.

However, inaction may take us back to the graveyard 1990s era where even an overseas tour to Zimbabwe was an uphill task.


Image: India Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Tags: Zimbabwe

Prev     More