Disgrace at Mohali

One more superstar has been made. Yes made by India. One more cricketer dragged from obscurity into eternity by the sheer incompetence of the Indian cricketing machine. A Test we should have won in a canter has been saved. And Pakistan, paradoxically, after being outplayed for 4 days of a 5 day Test match have emerged as moral victors.

This is not the first time. Jimmy Adams padded his way to glory against India in the 90s and vanished into oblivion subsequently. Chandrapaul has not been able to consistently reproduce the form he shows, time and again, against India. Andy Flower deflowered the Indian spin machine Test after Test on Indian soil in Bradmanesque fashion and snatched respectable draws for Zimbabwe—-performances he never reproduced subsequently against other countries. One common thing between all these “made in India” labels—-all left-handers. Just to show we don’t discriminate add to this list a few right handers—Manzoor Elahi, Ricardo Powell….I can go on.

We have been equally profligate with bowlers—R.Price from Zimbabwe, Ronnie Irani and Pat Pocock, M. Whitney from Australia, Adeem Hafeez from Pakistan to name a few. It’s ok not to recognize these names—-they have been consigned to cricketing obscurity ever since their moment in the sunshine against us.

But our inability to win this Test is not just due to Kamran Akmal’s innings alone. It is due to the sheer bloody minded pursuance of personal goals by Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly-Laxman’s inexplicable go-slow at a time when quick scoring should have been the order of the day. True that the Pakistanis bowled a negative line but that never prevents the Australians from scoring at a brisk pace. Sehwag said in an interview that it was the Indian thinktank’s decision to go slow—-considering the position India was in, I cannot fathom what could have been the rationale behind the pedestrian rate of scoring. It just did not make cricketing sense.

With half a day lost due to rain, didn’t it make sense for India to show some urgency? Wouldn’t sending Pathan and Balaji up the batting order have made some sense with Ganguly in “let-me-answer-my-critics-with-a-big-innings” mode and Sachin in “let’s-get-my-35th-century-team-goes-to-hell” mood? In passing what the hell has happened to Sachin ? Dravid’s declaring when Sachin was 194 apparently didn’t send the message to Sachin—–that there is no “I” in the word team.

I just cant believe India did this–surrender the initiative when we had everything going for us. The monstrosity of the folly has yet to sink in. I am flabbergasted, disappointed and angry.

4 thoughts on “Disgrace at Mohali

  1. Cricket allows for personal goals, more than any other sport I think ! 😦

  2. Just because the sport allows it does not mean that everyone does/plays for their own benefit (at the cost of the team’s)—not one single Australian does so.

  3. I enjoy your cricket writings – very provocative – and liked the Shakti Kapoor post too (did he really say that, about raping being funny?) but I think Tendulkar-bashing has reached the stage where it’s become terribly boring and predictable. I mean, how much can you keep on and on analysing the guy’s motives and concluding that he isn’t a team man etc etc. It’s so tiresome.

    Am with you on the slow scoring in Mohali but have to disagree on the team-individual debate in the context of the 194 not out declaration. It’s very hard to argue with a statement as high-sounding as “The team comes first, not the individual”, but face it, it’s individual achievement that makes the game interesting. Cricket would be a vastly poorer sport without its great players and their distinct abilities – it certainly isn’t an assembly-line out there.

    If individual goals are impinging on team interest in an obvious way (as, admittedly, was the case at Mohali), then sure, we all know what choice has to be made. But I don’t for one minute think that was the case in the Multan Test. Tendulkar’s innings was very well paced even as he approached the milestone and an extra couple of overs would have made no difference – in fact a slightly later declaration would have been more in keeping with the traditional strategy of putting the other side in for an awkward 10-12 overs and thus having a new-ish ball in the morning as well.

  4. Dear Jabberwock,

    Thanks for the comments/criticisms. Yes Shakti Kapoor did say that—which just goes to show that he is not in total control of his faculties.

    I dont agree that individual achievment makes the game interesting—-that of course is my opinion. The reason why our cricketing progress stagnated in the 80s (when Australia charged ahead) was our single-minded pursuit of records (Gavaskar comes to mind but he knew when to leave unlike Kapil who dragged on into the 90s just for his record)

    My recollection of events was that Sachin was told repeatedly to hurry up and he did not ! And how many overs to give Pakistan to bat was Dravid’s prerogative—if Sachin was pacing his innings according to his own strategy, then that’s definitely not “cricket”.

    In addition, he publicly showed his disappointment which was also “not on”—-all it showed was how “record minded” he has become. In fact so much so that he did not mind venting in front of the media when his double century was denied.

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