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What's wrong with Team India? What needs to be done

Last updated on: March 26, 2012 21:51 IST

What's wrong with Team India? What needs to be done

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Following the dismal showing in one-day tournaments in Australia and Bangladesh, Faisal Shariff suggests remedial action, keeping the 2015 World Cup in mind.

India, the reigning World champions, were knocked out of two one-day tournaments in the space of ten days.

What went wrong?

On the face of it, plenty; but if you wish to ignore the tell-all signs, then, there is nothing wrong.

Here's a sample of what's wrong and what can be done to fix the problems. What's wrong with Team India? What can be done?

1. Vision 2015?

MS Dhoni had the right intention to build the side towards the 2015 World Cup.

After all, a similar attempt in 2008 had reaped rich dividends for him in 2011. This time, though, there was no vision. Guess all the fault lay with the selectors, who were meek as usual in not backing his vision for 2015.

For all those faulting Dhoni on looking ahead, remember this: Seeds for the 2011 World Cup were sowed in the 2008 tri-series win in Australia with a young squad.


Image: India players celebrate after winning the World Cup
Photographs: Getty Images

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2. Top-order failure

India's top-order failed in 2008 as well, with Virender Sehwag flattering to deceive. Gautam Gambhir was slowly settling in at number three in ODIs. On the other hand, Sachin Tendulkar was still eager and keen for glory in Australia.

In four years, a lot has changed. Gambhir scored runs, but not with the same consistency. Tendulkar's luck and form deserted him. Sehwag's struggles continued.


Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Reuters

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3. Virat's rise only bright spot

Virat Kohli has made impressive gains as a batsman in the past few months. But other young batsmen, like Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, have not made the same improvement.

Raina has had to battle demons within to come up with the runs, Rohit has had more trouble in the mind. The trio need to come good for India's future in the shorter formats to be bright.


Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Getty Images

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4. Poor fielding

A lazy bend, an even slower attempt to pick up the ball, then the ball goes through to the boundary. That, in a gist, was Gautam Gambhir's effort on the field in Australia. He clearly depicted the problem highlighted so plainly by Dhoni on the fielding abilities of his top-order.

What Dhoni failed to add was that there were other slow movers on the field; R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Zaheer Khan.

How will you defend or restrict teams with six-seven slow movers on big Australian grounds come 2015?

Sorry captain, we realised your vision too late in the day!


Image: Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina misjudge a catch
Photographs: Getty Images

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5. Death-overs bowling

From 2009 to 2011, Dhoni banked on Ashish Nehra to bottle up the end overs.

Now, with Nehra out of the equation, Dhoni looked around for new blood. Umesh Yadav is still learning the ropes.

Vinay Kumar was too up and down. Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan are exponents of the new ball. Zaheer misses more games than he plays.

Ashwin is inconsistent and there are huge question marks over Jadeja as a bowler. Ashok Dinda has promise, but it will be a while before he translates it.


Image: Umesh Yadav
Photographs: Getty Images

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What can be done for the future? 

1.  Vision 2015 please...

India has four domestic one-day tournaments. Guess how we pick the one-day squads? Well, on the basis of reputation and, in some cases, the Ranji Trophy form.

Pick specialists for the format. If it means picking players who are young and inexperienced, so be it. Watch out for the best performers with the bat, ball, and also all-rounders who have done well in the 50-over format.

Forget that 2011 ever happened, because that was the end of one journey; the 2015 World Cup is another destination.

For once, Dhoni is right; he needs the selectors to back him so that he can give youngsters a long rope till the 2015 World Cup.


Image: M S Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

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2. Remind the seniors...

Let's be realistic: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan will struggle to be part of the 2015 World Cup squad.

So, it is a great time to start building for the 2015 mega event with a young squad. It is time to take a few strong calls. Let's not confuse formats. Tendulkar, Sehwag and Zaheer may still be required in whites.

The 2015 World Cup is just two seasons away. Before we know, the tournament will be upon us. We need to take a few hard calls now before it is too late.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Getty Images

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3. Identify the one-day attack

India has a very packed itinerary leading up to the 2015 World Cup. What's more, the 2014-15 has a very uncanny similarity to the 1991-92 season. India will play four Tests, a tri-series and then the World Cup.

In 1991-92, India played with the same squad throughout and ended up on an early flight home.

Now is the time to step up and ensure that history does not repeat itself. It is time to separate the Test/one-day/T20 bowling attacks. This is the only way to ensure that you have six-seven fit bowlers when the 2015 World Cup comes around.

Remember failing to plan, is planning to fail.


Image: Varun Aaron and Vinay Kumar
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Team India , T20

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