Well, India are out of the prestigious Cricket World Cup.As is the norm with the Indian mentality, the knives are out, Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid are sure to lose their posts (at least, they will, if the media have their way!!), and once more India does not know which way the future lies.
But before that, there are certain issues here. Greg Chappell, it seems, is not very intent on taking too much responsibility for these losses: his reasoning seems to be that India did not field the side that he had been advocating all along!! Suresh Raina, it seems, simply had to be there… Well, for one, how many players did he not get as he wanted? Suresh Raina he wanted, he did not get. Virender Sehwag he did not want, but did get. Sourav Ganguly… well, let’s just say he was a compromise.
But, now, just have a look at the stats… Sourav Ganguly has been one of the few batting mainstays in the Indian line-up since his return. Even in the World Cup, he got scores in two games out of three. Virender Sehwag got in only on the insistence of Rahul Dravid… and got scores in two of the three innings. And surely, even the best in the world can very well get out to a Murali doosra??
And what, pray, did the other ‘deserving’ players do?? Yes, the ones that Greg Chappell was proud to have in his team… the Sachins, the Yuvrajs, the Dhonis, and yes, the Dravids? It was on these batting mainstays that all of Greg Chappell’s methods were tried and tested, all the processes put into place, all the flexibility in the batting order discussed, all the military mode fitness exercises practised. And all this, for what??
And then there’s the question of strategy. Why was Robin Uthappa chosen? Probably because Veeru Sehwag’s form was in question. However, the question was never one of whether Sehwag can bat; we all know he can very well bat; it was rather a question of him feeling good about his batting, and the ball hitting the middle of his broad bat. Well, when Sehwag seemed to be back in his elements after the Bermuda match, why not open with Sehwag? You have a certain Irfan Pathan in your squad, who can bat as well as he can bowl, and who has benefitted the most perhaps from Guru Greg’s lessons; why not play him at seven, instead of Uthappa at the top? It’s not that Uthappa left a blazing trail in the earlier matches! You have a certain Sreesanth in your ranks, who is perhaps one of the best finds of recent times. When Ajit Agarkar does not seem to be in touch, why not bring the energetic young man into the squad? And then there is someone called Dinesh Kaarthick, one of the most promising prospects, according to Greg, waiting in the wings; why not give him a game? You have, in Sourav Ganguly, one of the best opening batsmen of all time, someone known for his clean hitting. Why ask him to hold his wicket and play the long innings, when you know that he can very well tear any opposition apart, and yet play plenty of long innings??
I seem to remember Greg saying before leaving for the WI that ‘current form’ in the West Indies would decide the playing XIs. Well, current form in the Bangladesh and Bermuda matches suggested a lot… why weren’t they incorporated? Who takes responsibility for that?
Mr Chappell indicated to a certain member of the media, that he was not happy with the squad to the World Cup. This was during the Sri Lanka series, which preceded the trip to WI. Well, could it have been the case that since he did not have the squad that he believed would do well, he was convinced that India would in fact not do well??
Questions, question, questions… where are the answers? Does a major change of guard, such as changing the captain and the coach, provide all, or even any, of the answers?