It's Over

121 Comments

The collective wet-dream of the blue billion (that of winning the World Cup) fuelled by carbonated empty calories, Mandira Bedi’s cleavage and the “breaking news” hype-driven media ended pre-maturely today as wet dreams usually do: with frustration, an absence of a satisfying climax and a lingering feeling of overwhelming futility.

When the final Indian wicket fell, and like many others whose rational mind tells them not to believe in the Men in the Blue and yet whose heart hopes, against all hope, that the moments of drama we see acted out in cellphone commercials realize themselves for once in real life, I was engulfed with grief. But the grief, as intense as it was, soon gave way to tear-drenched clarity.

Sad to say, it’s not a bad thing that we got eliminated in the first round itself. We are just not good enough to play in the Super 8. If we had somehow gone through, we would just have had to endure more moments of heartbreak and aggravated more ulcers because our body parts would have been handed to us on a platter by the Australias and the South Africas and the New Zealands.

The best batting line-up on paper—in the light of recent performances make that toilet paper—came unstuck on a perfect batting track against an attack, nothing more than lively, with not even one batsman being able to carry through for a big score and with not a single batsman being able to dominate the opposition for any noticeable length of time, something vital for pressure games (remember India-Pakistan World Cup 2003). Finding villains for this abject performance would have us mention Mahendrilock’s two successive zeros against Test-playing nations, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s spectacular failures against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Sourav and Dravid’s inability against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively to take it home.

But that kind of exercise in guilt appropriation, though emotionally satisfying, is ultimately futile. That is because the problems are more systemic. For one thing, fitness and fielding. One of the biggest myths that have been sold to us has been that India is slow in the field because we have many “over thirty”s on our roster. A look at Murali and Jayasuriya burning the turf as they sprinted about is a slap in the face of that assertion: today’s game as well as the Bangladesh game were largely lost in the field —both in running between wickets and ground fielding. (It is not insignificant that the two worst fielding teams in the world are out of the Cup, before Bangladesh and Ireland have packed their bags). While Dravid’s missed catch in the Bangladesh match and Sourav’s lethargic running between the wickets were bad no doubt, what was unforgivable was seeing young Robin Uthappa, who in my opinion has put on noticeable weight, moving gingerly, Zaheer Khan (who is slowly regaining his bulk) let go a four when a one was on the cards and Munaf Patel being well… Munaf Patel. Their shambolic fitness and leaden exertions were brought into even harsher focus by the electric Dilshan and the amazingly mobile Dilhara Fernando.

And the other thing, leadership and strategy. From the bizarre decision to bat against Bangladesh on winning the toss, to the inability to lead from the front and unite the team, Rahul Dravid was found wanting. But then what about the man hiding behind the glass pane, the process-meister Greg Chappell? While his opposite number Tom Moody sat outside in the sun with the team, India’s super-coach stayed inside, perhaps to shield himself from possible sniper shots. Where was the strategy, the De Bono hats dear sir? Where were the inspired game-altering moves? While Chaminda Vaas bowled to a plan against Uthappa with the keeper up (because Uthappa is predominantly a front foot slogger), there was not a single instance of batsman-specific field positioning from India’s side that I can remember.

I can go on but I will let greater experts take over to do the post-mortems that will inundate the media in the next few days: Kiran More will verbally fart on Rediff, Rajsingh “Dung”saheb and Aftab Shivdasani (called in to be a guest expert at CNN-IBN in a pre-World Cup program) will handle CNN-IBN, Yashpal Sharma will tackle the rest and a certain cricketing website will start spinning like a top. There will be SMS polls, some effigy burning, questions raised in Parliament and Pappe of ‘Oye Pappe‘ (Tata Sky) fame (“Isko laga dala, to life jhingalala) will join Apple Singh in the gallery of dead cricket mascots.

All as predictable as Bhaji’s doosras.

But amidst all the anger and disappointment, we should not forget the people whom this defeat has hurt the most: the players. Once we can look beyond their corporate-propped-up mega-personas as “saviours of the country”, we have to remember they are all after human beings, many of them in the twilight of their great careers, who have provided a nation, so bereft of sporting heroes, some of the finest days of glory over the years. Not that this consideration should influence their future fate as players (and it is time some hard decisions are taken with respect to a few of them) but it should temper the sense of disappointment that a lot of us no doubt feel at our exit and enable us to empathize with people whom we love and respect, people who are now passing through the worst hours of their lives.

Goodbye Team India. Time to get new bedsheets.

[Picture courtesy Cricinfo]

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121 thoughts on “It's Over

  1. Very true…
    This Indian team was not fit enough to even reach the semis. Hence it is fortunate that they lost in the first stage itself.

    However we should not blame the players solely for the debacle. Chappell way was destined to fail.

    On a brighter side, this will at least in some way prick the hype balloon full of fart generated by the media, advertisers, broadcasters, Mandira, Charu and their ilk. There will be some stink initially but in the end Indian cricket will hopefully benefit!!

  2. This is a painful but necessary bitter pill to swallow. Based on recent performances, this team simply did not deserve to proceed to the next round.

    The commercial breaks and all the associated advertising crap makes you wonder which alternate universe do these folks live in…c’mon we were ranked 6th of something like that to begin with, and to talk about Blue Billion and see Mandira Bedi preening around….god, it almost made me wish that India lose…

    Lets get back to enjoying normal cricket with the deserving teams in the next round…and let them catch that/those bast*** who killed Woolmer.soon…

  3. Dravid is very much foolist to say that they will compensate fielding problems with batting. He is a real ass if he believed that would work. When every team is concentrating so hard on fielding, this son of a bitch Dravid is ignorant of the importance of fielding. Our fielders are running like patients with varicoceles. I don’t know how Chappel can accept the concept of fielding to be poor. Is this 21st century coaching ?

  4. I think it’s funny that what began with “pulling down Bermuda’s” ended in a wet dream.
    A sad day indeed. It was almost tangible and hurt a lot.

  5. Arnab, if u ask me, this defeat is a blessing in disguise, but if, and that is a big if, we really learn from it.Now all of us will go after the players, ask them to stop acting in ads, burn effigies and blah, blah. But what about the real culprits?
    BCCI- What the hell is this doing with all that money? No proper pitches, the stadiums suck, no facilities for spectators. More than Dravid, Sachin, Dada and all, the clowns who run the show should be sacked. They care a damn for the player’s interests, and are only interested in filling their pockets.
    Media- Maybe instead of attacking players homes, we should start attacking ther TV offices. I mean they are the ones who came up with all those exagerrated campaigns, without any proper analysis. I remember Outlook doing a cover story about how we will win the cup. Where is Vinod Mehta now? Pull out all these journalists, reporters, strip them, and thrash them black n blue. Make em sign an agreement, that they would never indulge in wild speculation. Next time Bedi comes up with Match Ka Mujrim, that idiot should be hanged in public. Ban Mandira and Charu Sharma, for the next 10 years from perpetuating their garbage on us.
    Greg Chappel-Give me a more understated John Wright any day. Not this idiot, with his weird strategies. Sri Lanka, West Indies, S.Africa in past couple of months have been able to thrash us, solely because of all rounders they have. If Sri Lanka could recover from 124/4 to a 250 plus score, its because they have an Arnold and Dilshan, right down the order, and even Vaas can bat. In sharp contrast, the minute our first 5-6 wickets fall,we are out of the game, period. Why was an all rounder not developed? Irfan Pathan’s career was ruined by Chappel’s weird strategies. And the less said about the fielding the better. Far from taking Indian cricket to next level, Chappel has bought it back to Ground Zero. And if we still dont terminate his contract, well we are the biggest loser nation in the world.

  6. Arnab, sorry if my comments were rather harsh and blunt, but its just bursting in me. For years i have seen how cricket in India has allowed itself to be hijacked and destroyed by a bunch of people, who know nothing about the game. Bird headed bimbettes like Mandira, who know zero about the game, bought into boost TRP ratings. What the heck for? All it has achieved is getting a bunch of pseudo cricket fanatics who think that India is world champions.
    Why cant we have a sense of perspective? India is not world beaters. Why cant we or our media or our advertisers face the truth? We are a good team, with some good players, period, but nothing more than that. We rarely do any SWOT analysis. And unless we change that, these fiascos, will still keep on happening.
    I have seen many WC fiascos in my life, but this beats everything hollow. Maybe we need to get that passion back in the game. Sri Lanka, is never a really great team. But just look at the passion they play with. They dont care whether their opponents or S.Africa or Australia, maybe we need to have that passion back with us. Could this be the reason, why Sri Lanka, has been one of the few teams to have consistently challenged the Aussies in recent times(if u leave out CB series and NZ).
    I had seen the match, and it was as if they played to a plan. As if they had worked out every batsman’s weakness. In contrast we just seemed to be going through the motions. Well i think this is good in a way. Maybe with nothing to prove, our guys can start playing much better.

  7. Given that there is non-stop cricket, all this fretting and fuming will be forgotten soon, as India takes on Bangladesh just over a month from now and then head to England for another test series and then head to SA and then play a home series … and so it goes on and on. This stinking loss will just be a blip in the collective consciousness. The point is, with nothing else serving as a substitute, the media, fans, Corporate pimps etc are like drug addicts of Indian cricket, no matter how pathetic it is. As long as we have matches being played non-stop featuring India, the show will go on as usual. It doesn’t matter that the team is mediocre as a whole and the system is rotten. Ok, there may be a few sacrifical lambs, Chappel may be kicked out; Dravid may step down. So what? Ultimately, it won’t make any difference.

    Just wait. For one more month. It will be Old wine in Old bottle with a patina of new packaging.

  8. i think we are being unnecessarily harsh on mandira. it’s not her fault that indian team has played so badly. she never claimed to be an expert in cricket anyway. why pick on her ?

  9. “Not that this consideration should influence their future fate as players (and it is time some hard decisions are taken with respect to a few of them”).

    It could be (or not as consensus is not a distant probability after this debacle) an interesting debate if we talk about players in the Indian team we think should leave (or kicked out). If my ruling would fly, I would start from scratch and declare the India under-18 team as the new national team.

  10. India was once world champions in Hockey, India was once world champions in cricket (14 years ago). Remember that “this” was the best team India could select in over four years. Where is the talent in 1st class cricket? Somebody has to come-up with better ideas fast, otherwise breaking Dhoni’s house would not stop Indian cricket from going Indian hockey way

  11. @GB – Sir, how dare you question the field-placing ? Have you forgotten the strategic positioning on Mandira’s saree? And ‘shambolic fitness’ ? Do you not remember Rakhee’s bouncers? We had the ‘CUP’ in our hands even before the series ! HOO HAA INDIA !!

  12. he he he…divya feeling a bit hurt for her own sex i.e. Mandira….chill yaar….
    the people here are just hurt and angry since mandira represents the media frenzy that has been going on, the long and high proclamations by all and sundry on the TV on the Indian team.This corporate sonsored marketing has given way to dillusions and swept away the reality of our team.

  13. Yeah yeah Arnab. We all know how you feel about Greg Chappell because he helped team India get rid of your all-time favorite player Saurav Ganguly, when he wasn’t making runs.

    First of all, the game was lost due to India’s batting performance. So why complain about lack of player specific fielding positions. And clearly you weren’t watching close enough. When Dilshan came out, Chamara was set and Tendulkar was bowling, every single triggered change in fielding positions. That’s where the ‘cat and mouse’ game reference comes from.

    Team India’s problem is systemic, exactly like Greg points out. Team India selects players based on reputation and not form. So a Tendulkar who has not been in his top form for years, remains in the team. Sehwag stays after scoring next to nothing for a year. The only exception was Ganguly who was gotten rid of and for that people like yourself and the CPI-M MPs made enough fuss. A ‘process’ delinks personalities and people from the outcomes. If we truly had a process working, we would be selecting our team on the basis of their form and recent performance, not what they did in 2003 or before.

    Greg tried to create a ‘process’ but he has hardly been successful at it.

  14. “and like many others whose rational mind tells them not to believe in the Men in the Blue and yet whose heart hopes, against all hope, that the moments of drama we see acted out in cellphone commercials realize themselves for once in real life,”

    It was the other way round for me. I was hoping that India gets kicked out but my rational mind kept telling me that it is not going to happen. Well, good to see that they were kicked out (unless the corporate guys have a last minute surprise waiting for us on Sunday). I fully agree with browser that not much is going to change and the tamasha will resume in full strength in a couple of months time, but atleast let us savour the next one month without incessant hype in the media.

  15. Arnab,

    Couldn’t agree more.
    Hopefully we reach a situation where new teenager is blooded in an international game and a new sun rises.Something like the time when Kapil,Srikanth, Vengsarkar, Shastri left the game and the new core of Sachin, Rahul and Sourav took over after a couple of years.
    Proves once again that the game is first won or lost in the mind and the Indians were beaten even before the World Cup started.
    Actually, if this loss reduces the media hype around the game, it would actually benefit the mass which follows the game with such passion.

  16. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about how big a failure this current team management has been- both Dravid and Chappell. Dravid only has a Test series victory in the Windies to show for, but with the West Indies being such an unpredictable side and a pale shadow of what it used to be, its hardly an achievement. The victory agaisnt Pak in 04, even though it was in the subcontinent, was a much much bigger acheivement, not to mention the performances against Aus home and away. But then, we should not even compare Dravid with the most successful Indian captain ever. Also Dravid is an extremely conservative captain. His field placings are very perfunctory and one just gets the feeling that hes just going along with the game and not imposing himself on it. Lets take the case of MP Vaughn of England for example. Hes one of the worst ODI batters of all time, but his captaincy, as people who have seen England’s recent matches was brilliant. Show me one single instance in Dravid’s tenure where one can say with conviction that he did something really brilliant. At best he was ordinary, and for most of the time pedestrian.

    Greg Chappell has done nothing to improve Indian Cricket. While players acknowledge that he is a great batting coach, his much touted “process” and “theory” have yielded almost zero visible results. It could well be argued that India is a barren land as far as talent is concerned, with people like YV Rao and S. Raina as the next generation (sic), but the greatness of a coach lies in how he makes use of limited resources. In the India-Bangladesh match, when Bangladesh was chasing, a young Mushfiqur Rahim was sent up the order at 3. It was a surprising move, as Bangladesh has some flamboyant batters who can bat at that position. Instead, Rahim was promoted. You could tell that this was a Whatmore and not a Bashar decision. They needed someone to anchor the chase. Rahim had made his test debut at 16 against a fiery English attack at Lords boasts a good technique. When a team is chasing 250, even if there is 120 on board after 30, the job can be done, but not with 5 wickets down. Preservation of wickets was therefore the order of the day. Chapell’s innovations in 2006 seemed to be predetermined, rather than adjusting with the circumstances demanded by the game. A classic case in point is the ever changing no.3 position. In any case, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating, and the coach will get more negative points than positive from the public when they evaluate his tenure and his impact on Indian cricket. Maybe it explains why the Aussies themselves never had him in any management positions.

    Lets analyze some individual batsmen-

    1> Saurav Ganguly- Remarkable comeback which gave a tight slap on the faces of Dravid, Chappell and those who earned their breads maligning him. It can be argued that he batted within himself, but after 3 matches its beyond doubt that he was playing the anchor role. In any case, the catch which Muralidharan took was just outstanding. However, it remains to be seen weather Ganguly retains the old quality of accelerating when needed and it just seems that he isn’t the same old batsman against spin as he once was. But can serve India in both forms for at least 1-2 years more barring a serious loss of form.

    2> Sachin Tendulkar- Its funny how people talk about when Saurav Ganguly would retire and not even mention when Sachin would hang up his boots. But its the nature of Indian cricket that people have to be kicked in the butt to make them retire. Gavaskar’s was the last dignified exit. This is the nth time that he he had failed in a crucial match. n= how much? I have lost count. In fact, so much so that he is a burden of the batting side in do or die matches as he inevitably fails. Today was an occasion when he could have set the record straight. After scoring that 100 against WI in India, he said ” I don’t play my cricket as people want me to.” Very well. But arrogance suits him who deliver and not one who simply flatters. One BBC report summed him up best: “Great body of work without the missing signature.” Brain Lara, even though inconsistent, had held Australia in 1999 single handedly and took his team to victory in many many matches. Sachin Tendulkar, barring a phase in 97-98, has failed India time and again in crunch matches. A cricket God?

    3> Utthappa- Definitely not test cricket material. Even when he was hitting boundaries, it seemed only a matter of time before he fell. Players like Uthappa are a classic case of why the Indian cricket fan is befuddled. These kinda players score heavily on 7 match odi series at home on tracks like Vishakhapatanam and Kochi. The cricket fan then thinks- “wow what a talent. What an inclusion to the lineup”. But when the same batsman lines up to Shaun Pollock at Durban, the fan cant quite understand his failure.

    4> Sehwag- I am not giving any credence to the Bermuda innings. But today’s failure was criminal. He was the set batter, and needed to bat through. But one could sense the ennui in him since he put on that cap. India were still in the driver’s seat when he and Dravid were batting. Even though if one discounts his recent poor form, it looks as if his best (2003-2005) might have been his peak, one which he is unlikely to reach again.

    5> Dravid- Watching Dravid bat today reminded me of the 1997 Independence match against Pak. Even though he was scoring, you knew that India would fail because all around him people were falling and hes not the kind of a player who can bat like an Andrew Symonds agaisnt Pak in 2003 WC. Dravid is a good ODI batsman, one who transformed himself from a poor ODI player to one who scored 10000 runs. But he alone cant win it for you, in ODIs. He needs partnerships, and the middle order is to be blamed for failing to do just that. Cant be blamed for not going for that run. It was a suicidal single. If anything, he should have been in at 3 today to anchor the chase after Saurav was dismissed. Dravid at 5 means he comes at 3 down, and India at 3 down are almost sinking.

    6> Yuvraj , Dhoni and Karthik- I have mixed feeling about Yuvraj Singh. Its true that he has batted very well in the past year or so. But I will reserve my judgment till he scores big runs against Australia and South Africa in both forms of the game. He is no spring chicken also, having had the experience of a World Cup Final. Muralidharan today bowled like a dream. Even a few years ago, he was an ordinary bowler when he bowled round the wicket. But today, the way he tossed it up from round the stumps left the right handers wondering about the turn. But surely such an experienced batting line up should have found an answer to that. It was almost like watching Shane Warne round the stumps and the doosra was like a deadly legbreak with the perfectly pitched off break which was almost always headed stump wise. The situation cried out for a left hander to be at the crease, and his suicidal running for a single for a single which wasn’t there, was quite unpardonable.

    I am disappointed that Dhoni could not make a mark in this World cup. This was the kind of situation that could have heralded the arrival of a great player. His failure was a big reason why India failed.

    This brings Karthik as he’s a feisty player like Paul Collingwood of England and adds value to the team. He should not be eclipsed by Dhoni. He is a good player in his own right. It might have been a wise idea today to drop Utthappa and play Karthik. He should consider himself distinctly unlucky that India went with an unchanged batting lineup in their 3 matches. Also, in Hyderabad, VVS Laxman would have a thing or 2 to say.

    All in all, the better and more deserving team won. Sri Lanka is a wow wow team and I would be surprised if they don’t make the semi finals from here on. Even Ponting is wary.

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,21435398-23212,00.html

    India have no one to blame but themselves. They had the best itinerary, all their matches were at Trinidad, and had all the support from fans, administrators and advertisers. Yes team India, and Dravid and Chappell, you guys have failed us. In 1992, there was no second round. Still we beat Zim (thanks to rain) and Pak. In 1987 and 1996 , we made it to the semis and the super 6 in 1999. In 2003, we were runners up. This is probably the worst Indian world cup performance after 75 and 79, closely followed by the 1992 performance. Shame!

  17. Divya- “i think we are being unnecessarily harsh on mandira. it’s not her fault that indian team has played so badly. she never claimed to be an expert in cricket anyway. why pick on her ?”

    LOL. And I completely agree with you. 🙂

  18. I think this particular Indian cricket team will someday find a mention in a Harvard Case Study as to why “A combination of great individual talent do not necessarily make a Good Team.”

  19. @Dhananjay
    i would not our cricket players “great individual talent”. i don’t think their records justify that title.
    This includes Tendulkar too. Not by his effort in the last 10 years.
    I think the harvard case study would apply more to the pakistani team.

  20. Chappell interview. Hilarious.

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/wc2007/content/current/story/287012.html

    Samples:
    ============

    Another word that has been mentioned a lot is ‘process’. What went wrong with the process?
    That’s an inflammatory question and I’m not prepared to answer it.

    You said you are answerable to the BCCI. But aren’t you also answerable to one billion fans in India? Shouldn’t you say something to them?
    We didn’t play well enough.

    Do you think it’s time for a change of guard?
    That’s an inflammatory question, and you know I can’t answer that in this forum.

    You took over the team in July of 2005. How many points would you give yourself on a scale of 10?
    Again, that’s a very difficult question to answer. I’m happy that I’ve done the best job that I could do. Eighteen months is not a long time to build a team. If you look at any sport, it takes a long time. To put a number from my point of view, I don’t think I am the right man to make that assessment. I am happy with myself. The coaching staff and the support staff did they best that they could do. It wasn’t good enough.

  21. Manu,
    India didnt lose because of the shambolic batting. We lost because we couldnt finish off the Lankans on the field. Watch this India 98/4 24 overs, SL 91/4 29 overs. Yet, who won through?
    My cu;prits are:
    1. Greg Chappell 2 Greg 3 Chappell 4 Greg Chappell 5 Harbhajan
    Bhajan seems to be content enough going for a 4-5 run rate and is bringing down India with it by not going for wickets – this is not lack of talent this is like mental laziness to think through – look at Murali , how he alters his line, and goes round the wicket to counter when he fces resistance.

    And Greg Chappell, by failing to evolve strategies against opposition players has failed india no doubt. You cant expect the Captain to strategise. You acn expect him to tctially handle things on the field but specific strategies against specific batsmen.
    We had a chance to recruit Tom Moody, we went for Chappell.T oday, SL is reaping benefits and we are ruing our wrong decision

  22. Don’t have any tears for the Indian team as much as I have for poor Bob Woolmer.

    Why does SRT get bowled so often ? But still our man maintains that perfect stance as if to suggest that the ball has sped to the fence.

  23. very responsive post indeed.i dont know how spiritededly we can accept this,but it was very very emotional to see the defeat.Dravid’s face in the dressing room showed it all.
    and as u said we should not forget the plight of the players at this ignominous defeat.sadlu,starting today effigies will be burnt throughout the nation,parliament will be stalled,dhoni’s house will be attacked once again and the same people who attacked kaif’s house in 2003,will now attack vengsarkars’s house for his non-inclusion.and of course,the media circus will begin!

    and i forgot to mention,like in ’96,when azhar’s photo was garlanded with slippers in kolkata,the same may happen with chappell/dravid.

    Everyone will forget that in the absence of a gandhiji or a netaji,the people whom we made the messiah,are after all vulnerable human beings.and i would plead to all,lets not start sourav vs sachin,sourav vs dravid once again.i am sure everyone tried their best for the team,and failures are part of the game.

    anyway,from my side,

    dada-sachin-dravid,u all have been brilliant,u all have given us millions of reasons to smile and celebrate,and we will support u always,whatever be the outcome…

  24. “But amidst all the anger and disappointment, we should not forget the people whom this defeat has hurt the most: the players.”

    I was going to rant, I swear I was. But that one line of yours put a lot of things in perspective 😀

  25. Pingback: Passing Away Of A Dream « Silence Of Centuries

  26. From Times of India website

    ‘ Pawar was, however, not too critical of coach Greg Chappell, saying he shared only a part of the responsibility of the debacle. “Definitely there is a responsibility to train properly but at the same time one can show water too hot but cannot compel him to drink,” he said. ‘

    Now what was that ????????

  27. I believe the only way to consistently perform well in cricket is to perform well in other sports. Yeah, you heard it right. With a billion population and no sports or personalities to cheer for, we zoom in on a hapless set of cricket players and channel all our passions into a game played by a handful of nations. I can only imagine the kind of stress these people would go through. I mean c’mon, I would get nervous even when I was batting for Vivekanada Sangha. Now multiply that by a billion and you get the picture. No amount of mental toughness, corporate money, fame and adulation could prepare you to handle such pressure. Imagine a player, who goes out to bat, always thinking that if I fail I would have to bear the brunt of so many. When was the last time these people enjoyed their cricket, did we allow them ? did the media allow them ? When was the last time we patted on their backs, even though they failed ? When was the last time we stood beside the cricketers when the going was tough ?
    So the bottom line is until we start faring well in other competitive sports we would always be a mediocre cricket side. Until the pressure is eased on the players, the hype and hoopla is reduced, they would never be able to perform to their full potential. Until we stop creating gods out of cricketers we would have to live with performances such as these. More than the cricketers, I think we as a nation deserve such results for forgetting that cricket is just another sport and nothing more than that.

  28. @Anirban Mitra: Good observation. Every sensible follower of Cricket knows that it has long ago ceased to be just a game in India. In the way it is packaged (just see how the ads are squeezed in between the overs) to how they hard sell the game (a bizarre cricket puja before the match yesterday by some nut from Chennai).

    Yesterday’s defeat is long due, for we have relied on statistical wonders whose inability to withstand the pressure of big matches was something we all willingly forget.Given the incentive system as it exists now, the misleading statistics from Bermuda match, will be deployed to explain away yesterday. It’s time we removed the Big three from high alter and look closely at every player based on his contribution to the team cause than to his own bank balance. Perhaps then, contribution of players like Laxman will get recognition. Is it a mystery that the “commercial favorites” top heavy with old legs and armed with statistics (in the name of experience) are outclassed by minnows before they even played Australia? Perhaps the Seniors should go now (considering that they lack the hunger to win and won’t get any fitter), when they will still be missed by some fans. But expecting Indian Cricket establishment to introspect honestly is somewhat like asking Musharaf to listen to his inner voice.

    India’s loss is a chance for sports fans to appreciate Cricket (and enjoy the World Cup for the excitement it provides) rather than for just the home team performance. Once we are able to do that, it will be a tiny step in curbing the negative influence of media and betting syndicates, for whom Cricket is no different from Bollywood tamasha.

  29. to yourfan-
    When your team has got knocked off,there is no real motivation left in you..
    for me the wc is over.
    GB- Sorry about that 200 $ tickets and rest of u’r hard earned money……..
    Sigh….

  30. @Dipesh: True we are not much of a sporting nation, however your argument does not fully account for the team’s consistent failure in big matches. Brazilian Football team carries the hopes of more fans world wide than Indian cricket probably ever will. If the players can’t handle the expectation of a Billion people, they should see if they can do any better representing Maldives. Or they should follow your foot steps in choosing a different vocation in life. Why represent India if they can’t handle pressure?

  31. There are definitely systemic issues that plague Indian cricket, and I guess the poor performance of the team in this WC in general (without being specific about yesterday’s match) is simply yet another indication of the same.

    But what was particularly disgusting to me in this edition was the crass greed of the media in shamelessly flogging this event, aimed solely at financial gain, and with rarely enough substance to back it all up. Every random guy who is barely remotely connected to the game played at its professional level seems to hold an opinion which some channel (or publication) or the other broadcasts as gospel. And the ad-breaks — I can just about imagine this hyperactive guy sitting in the TV broadcasting station with a hand hovering in nervous tension on the button that switches from the game to the ads…barely able to wait for the next logical (or not!) break in the game to switch to the endorsements and monetize, monetize, monetize…Seriously, how many times have we seen the ads come on prematurely, when, say, the last ball of the over is a wide, and there is one more to be bowled, but no – we switch to ads, and switch back with an ‘uh oh’!

    It’s a cruel scheme – brainwashing the millions (many of whom unfortunately are the impressionable sort and dont know better) into believing that their team is full of superheroes, creating the hype to lure them to the TV’s, and SELL SELL SELL. This is simply too much – where is their sense of responsibility?

    I dont think this is going to go away. Yes, there will be other games, other series where it will all play out the same. And the game will suffer, because it is now no longer about the game. But at least in this world cup, if the media is going to lose out in the hundreds of crores, then it serves them right!

  32. Guess what? We have a Bangladesh series lined up in May, after the WC. Chances are we will win it, some damn rookie will score lotsa runs. He will be hailed as the Great New Hope, signed up by Pepsi, Airtel LG and Amul Hair dye, be the toast of the columnists for a year and finally all will be forgotten.

    We lost the WC because we were not good enough. Now that was contrary to the expectations built up by the sponsors, TV channels and other assorted hanger-ons. Know what, these corporates had factored in India’s loss. They have factored in a certain temporary loss in interest in cricket and cricketers. And they know that after a few months and another cracking home series, all will be hunky dory and once again they will sell their wares using cricket and our misplaced faith in the heroes.

    Agree with some of the bloggers. Why blame Mandira Bedi? She is but just a representation of the corporate hype connected to cricket. If you really hate the hype so much, stop watching cricket and stop choosing brands that are connected with cricket. Why blame a woman who never said that she is a cricket expert?

  33. Its simple now.
    Sack Dravid’s captaincy.
    Sack this useless team.
    Sack Greg THE Coach.
    Sack the selectors.
    Get a new desi coach, smart selectors, greener pitches (for 2011WC prep) and make the players sweat their way from ranji cricket to be selected in final 15 of Indian team.

  34. “Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar had fallen cheaply earlier – one to a poor stroke, another to an incisive delivery” – Siddharth Vaidyanathan at Cricinfo. Old habits die hard.

  35. Pingback: The Acorn » So you like a democratic Pakistan?

  36. Such a waste of time, Arnab. Why do you bother? (But it WAS a balanced post, thanks to the last passage)

    Don’t you just lurrvvvee Siddharth Vaidyanathan? The God of the Billion had his front-foot out on middle stump, with the ball coming in at an angle from off. Santa Claus has come to town!

    J.A.P.

  37. Dont worry guys. All these oldies will be back in action n be revered too, as we have a bangladesh series in May.. Tendu will increase the number of centuries, which it seems is what is playing for….

  38. Ya it’s over. It’s really over and over for the sake of good. It has saved us some humiliating moments in Super 8 against the teams like Aus, SA and NZ. People can write pages analyzing this so called *shocking* defeat but this really does not surprise me.

    The players do not have the skills and technique to stand and deliver in big events. If you see the number of new advertisements featuring the players, it’s not difficult to guess their priorities. The great Sachin Tendulkar was so much committed to promote importance of eggs that he got himself one in the crucial match. It’s ridiculous to see Dhoni getting out cheaply and a couple of overs later promoting 7Up. This will also be a good lesson for all the Coprorates who will face a huge setback because of Team India’s early elimination.

    As someone has rightly said, the things will be forgotten soon when a new series will begin. Again the hopes will be high and the results will be the same. We’ll have to listen the same banal shit from captain and coach in press conference and we’ll have to tolerate the torture of Mandira and the big ass Charu. To add some spice, there will be off the field triangular series like the one between BCCI, Govt of India and Nimbus.

    The game is no more a gentlemens game, it has become a business. It lost its soul and spirit with Bob Woolmer’s murder.

  39. As expected..not surprised at all..the match against Bangladesh was a big hint of what was to follow. No postmortem, analysis or anything under the sun will change Indian Cricket (IC). IC has this chronic disease of high hopes and expectations, and when time comes they stumble/falter with religious regularity. What is annoying is that IC has all these big names (only on paper) but when it comes to performance they are so erratic (we blame it on- form is temporary but class is permanent bulls%^$) and one big score can save their a@#es for 10 more games.
    I feel most importantly cricket has become a business for all, make money while the sun shines because who has seen the future. Even who are dedicated and committed to their game early on, becomes all the more greedy for money (read endorsements) when they taste success. And then the downfall occurs, there is a dip in performance and inconsistency takes over. They are thrown out of the team and someone else replaces them. But a good performance in Domestic cricket see them making a comeback because the repalcements are no better as they also suffer from the same disease. It’s a cyclic process and will never end. On a second note, it’s not just IC but every sports/game played in India with very few exceptions.

  40. Hi Great Bong,
    I really loved your phrase “lingering feeling of overwhelming futility” !!

    Let us hope that this wet-dream eventually culminates into purposeful and introspective action as always.

    Regards,
    Purposeful Mallu

  41. I agree with raj. The batsmen didnt have much of a role in the defeat. The bowlers had already done that job for them. The way the SLs were allowed to go so quickly from around 170-180 to 240-250 was criminal!

    Even at the beginning of the match, I felt that having Harbhajan instead of Kumble was a big blunder! I think that one decision did the Indian team in!

  42. Interesting comments. Though what confuses me is people saying: ban the media, get Madira and Charu out of the studio and what not. There is an alternative: Don’t watch them. Don’t listen to them. Fisk the articles in Outlook, India Today or Dainik Jagran. The old Economic ‘Caveat Emptor’ principle is operative everywhere. Why can’t we accept that?
    Of course the defeat hurts. What hurts is the anger against players. Especially Sachin and Rahul. Sachin played on of the most irresponsible shots in his career yesterday. But he chipped in with an important wicket. It was a beautiful set up and to get a well set batsman out like that requires brains and experience.
    Rahul has done more than enough, just like Sachin and Sourav. What’s the point of crucifying them? I believe that as individuals, they have lost more than we can imagine. Let us at least not make it worse for them. For the sake of those wonderful moments that they have given us.
    We all know that there are systemic problems. What have we done about it? The BCCI is still an Old Boy’s club and is not going to change anytime soon. Have the players thought of setting up an independent organization? Have we? I have thought of it, but have not done anything. That sort of drastically reduces my right to rant, abuse players or pelt stones at their houses. (IMO)

    And as for the effigy burners and stone pelters, I have a post on my blog about that. In deference to the comment policy, will not paste the link here.

  43. The loss was good for me. I won’t 10K in bet! As far as the result is concerned, I was never in doubt as I have mentioned in my blog time and again since the last year or so.

    Can anyone suggest me how to plan the 10K I just won? 😛

  44. Hey let me cheer you guys up. Three attempts. Hope they succeed.

    1. Pappu was at school this morning when the teacher asked all children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came out: engineer, doctor, govt officer, police officer, teacher, journalist, etc. But Pappu was uncharacteristically quiet. So the teacher asked him about his father. “My father is an exotic dancer, ma’am He dances in a gay club and takes off all his clothes front of other men. Sometimes if the offer is good, he will jerk them off or he will go out to a cheap hotel and sleep with them.” The teacher is shocked. She quickly sets work for the other children and takes Pappu aside and asks, “Does your father really do this?” “No,” says Pappu, “He actually plays cricket for India but I was too embarrassed to say it in front of everyone.”

    2. We must help Pakistan in their hour of grief. We must offer them Greg Chappell as coach.

    3. Taliban has kidnapped the Indian cricket team and is demanding $ 100 million or they’ll burn them alive with petrol. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE. I have donated 12 liters…

    I got these as jokes on my mobile. Thought I would share it all you depressed guys. Cheers.

  45. As a fan who put considerable amount of his time planning, re-planning, purchasing and finally securing all that is needed to go to Carribbean to see his team playing, you don’t really know how much more disappointing this was. I planned my carribbean dream to see the 3 great icons of Indian Crickets for the last 9 months. That is all I had been looking forward to.

    And yet, after yesterday’s match, it was clear, India did not deserve to be there. There was just no spirit within them to win the match. Heck, I felt more spirited about them winning than they themselves.

    More and Chappell effectively ruined Indian cricket at the management level. From a player’s level, a shameless bastard like Tendulkar and Sehwag still hang around. Here’s one player who comes to each math with so much hype and so much aura surrounding him that it is always enough for him to get away with 50s against minnows. Tendulkar should be ashamed of himself – 2011, I hope he doesnt even get past this year. Sehwag – less said the better. Dravid – this is what happens when you let the coach captain the team.

    What a waste. I agree they are generation of great players all in their twilights, but that does not take away a player’s responsibility to play well.

    Suyog

  46. Chappell leaving, or Dravid stepping down isn’t going to change anything. The Indian team at its best was mediocre (and this team wasn’t even close to being at its best), but the nation expected superhuman efforts from them. No coach is going to change the team, as long as it is filled with people with superegos, who aren’t willing to do the hard yards and work collectively. And there’s also a need for a professional cricket board. Any chance of any of those things happening? I think not.

    There’ll be some eyewash, and the coach and captain might get sacked. That’s about it. India (and Pakistan) will continue to scrape the bottom of the barrell.

    Meanwhile, we can now get to watching some cricket, without the hype and the hyperbole.

    Go Sri Lanka.

  47. Chappell is the last person I would blame.Had such a brouhaha not been raised by saurav’s exclusion,he would have gotten rid of the non performers (sachin was next) and built this team into a lean ,mean machine.

    Chappell came with an honest vision,but in the politics and pressures, he probably got derailed/disappointed along the way.

  48. @Nandan – Well said, friend. Its we who make Gods of our players, placing them on pedestals. Those guys are doing their jobs, to the best of their abilities. And that includes Mandira and Charu. Step down gracefully? Retire? Would any one of us do that in our mid-30’s ? It is the responsibilty of our selectors to ferret out talent, and be impartial in the selections. I, personally, do not blame Team India a bit.

  49. One good thing with INdia’s most likely elimination would be the possible reduction in the WillowTV/Dishnet subscription for the Super8 and remaining matches. Hope they reduce it around $75. That will be reasonable, to see some real matches, without all the tamasha which accompanies India playing.

    btw, why all this disappointment? Indian team has not won any major tournament outside the subcontinent from 1985!! Yeah, none of this so-called greats (Tenduckar, Ganguly, Dravid etc) have ever been involved in any major win!! They must have watched just like the rest of us the last famous wins (83 and 85) on TV. So much for their “greatness”. 😉 It’s foolish to say they are world class players, when they cannot raise to the situation.

  50. @MIT You have to know how to beat Bangladesh to go and teach the Bermudans. In fact, IF they beat Bangladesh, India should let Bermudans go to the next round and just go home. That would show that they do take this defeat seriously.

    @browser Completely agree.

    @GB Your wet-dreams and toilet-paper lines had me ROTFL

    Methinks, enough of putting cricketers on the pedastal. Lets us fans demand more money invested in other sports. For once, I want to see other REAL sports heroes emerge. I don’t want the likes of Sania Mirza whose one little advance bring her akin to Sachin Tendulkar in terms of publicity and endorsements. Although, the reasons of her limelight were probably based on her gender and religion more than her game/temperament/discipline.

  51. You guys, you guys ! I have an awesome plan ! Kill Dwayne Leverock, bring out the insides (Nandigram style), stuff Dravid and Tendulkar into him and then stitch up…..
    Awww…..wait, if they could beat Bangladesh in the first place then…damn !

  52. Srinivas said ” True we are not much of a sporting nation, however your argument does not fully account for the team’s consistent failure in big matches. Brazilian Football team carries the hopes of more fans world wide than Indian cricket probably ever will. If the players can’t handle the expectation of a Billion people, they should see if they can do any better representing Maldives. Or they should follow your foot steps in choosing a different vocation in life. Why represent India if they can’t handle pressure?”

    Srinivas, there is a big difference on how football on a national level is played and cricket. The main committment of the Brazilian footballer’s are towards their club team. That’s where they play day in and day out. WC football happens once in 4 yrs and even if you combine the friendlies and the qualifiers, the occassions when they represent the national team are VERY RARE. That’s why they don’t feel the heat 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year. Playing in a drawn out league is a very different ball game. Where a support base is limited to a town’s population. An apt comparison would have been if say Man U represented Brazil and had to compete in the league/Champions League/WC. Things would have been very different then.

  53. The bright side of yest. defeat would be Set Max losing millions of rupees in commercials. Serves them right for destroying the game by popping in ads even before the last ball was being bowled and forget it if the last delivery was a wide….Did anyone notice, that commercialization of cricket reached a new high this world cup ? Adverts popped up between deliveries..!! That’s the future..way to go

  54. What happened when India lost in the 1980s, they played against Sri Lanka (it was a minnow then) and won. Then came 1990s and Sri Lanka beat the pulp out of India. So we looked for another minnow and we found Bangladesh and then came 2000s and Bangladesh beat the pulp out of India. So we looked for another minnow, maybe Nepal and then Nepal will beat the pulp out of India and then we will look for another minnow Bhutan (Do they even have a team?) and the story continues till the time we become a minnow!

    Else we can have Indo-Pak anti WC series and that too a 7 match series while the world cup progresses!! That will be a delight 🙂

  55. this was quite a serious ‘to the point’ post, it got me all sober and grim while reading .. then amidst all the seriousness you mentined tata sky’s ”Isko laga dala, to life jhingalala”.. my god! i just burst our laughing.
    right after the match was over, there was a reporter on NDTV (cant remeber the name, was something Dutt) anyways, what he had to say was really worth listening to and very well said… and reminded everyone that it’s not the end of the world, jsut a game. also, this is the time when the players need our support the most and not the opposite.
    i wish i could get that whole transcript from somewhere.. it was really great.

  56. it was a poor show. Thankfully, i went off to doze when the greatest batsman in the world sachin ramesh tendulkar got his middle uprooted. the way he walked in and then walked out resembled that his profits from the resturant he runs must be soaring. Hence, he does not have to bother about the game.

    a disappointing performance, mayb the government should introduce an ordanance to fine players for putting the entire country through a sleepless stressful night.

    i will stop here beacuse it is becoming really difficult to keep the flowery language out of the comment. I shall just rant the abuse to myself.

    PS: at least inzamam (may allah make his beard grow long) had the decency to step down after his debacle, dravid (may allah make sure he never grows hair) cannot even take moral responsiblity. (i was captain till WC, i am not the captain nemore)…

    And, greg has the audacity to say “i am not employed by you people” in a press conference that exposed his true nature.

    SHAME SHAME SHAME…. KAAN DHORE UTHBOSH KORAO SOBAIKE…(make everybody do situps holding their ears)…..

  57. @Suyog – I can give you company on your Caribbean trip, if you are going to Barbados. I am one of those unfortunate enough to have bought non-refundable air tickets & hotel packages 😦

  58. I dont know whoever thought this team would win the world cup. It is like saying the Indian football team will defeat Italy(probably their A, B , C team or whatever). The difference in quality is enormous and Team India and the media have done a wonderful job of of hiding this from everyone.

  59. Conclusions from the World Cup

    Rahul Dravid is not Captaincy material.
    Greg Chappell is not Coaching material.
    50 % of the team deserves to be dropped forever.

  60. What a bunch of spineless jellyfish. Junk Dravid make dada skipper again. And please, no more ads.Spend the time playing domestic cricket.

  61. Very nice post. But I loved the last para most. There is simply no point in attacking the houses of the players. They are feeling more miserable than all of us. We should stand by their side.
    We will expect you to continue with your world cup snippets though…

  62. And now, due to his great performance against Bermuda at the ICC World Cup cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is being considered as the next captain of India!

  63. Pingback: a pointless result at staying.cool

  64. GB, who do u think should fit the next captain bill? Giving the job to sachin/dada would be taking two steps backward. Sehwaaaaaag!!! Yuvi?? Dhoni??

  65. @All: Let me address a few general points.

    1.Mandira Bedi is an icon who symbolizes the ultimate dumbing down of cricket. Can anyone imagine Pamela Anderson presenting tennis on say CBS for the sake of TRPs?In conclusion, I have nothing personally against her.

    2.Yes with the series against Bangladesh everything will be forgotten. We will have ads where a Bangladeshi man is shown in India asking for Hilsa fish and the Indians feed him “Suntki maanch” or something on these lines, it will be hyped as “paybacktime” and India will show their might.

    3. The match against South Africa and Australia showed us what cricket has actually become.De Villiers gets run out from a direct throw from the boundary, the way players from both sides move on the turf, and the consistent aggression in the batting. There was nothing wrong in the way Uthappa was playing, except that being Indian he couldnt get it beyond 18. Cricket for now seems to be going the way of hockey, with a visible gap opening up between India and the big boys.

    4.There seems for now a genuine shortage of talent in the country. We always had problems with bowling talent. Now the batting is going the same way. Kaif had been given a long rope by the selectors: he has proven that he is not a matchwinner. Raina: not ready yet. And Uthappa has also showed that he is still a few steps short of world class. We may kick out ST and SG but who will replace them?

    5.The people who will escape scot-free but should not are the cricket administrators: namely people like Kiran More who made the selection process a joke.

    6.Yes JAP I bother. We all bother. Because this is the only sport where India could at least bother others.

    7.Next captain? Sigh. I suppose Yuvraj would be my choice. There is an outside chance that Dada will be offered the captaincy again but that may raise a few ghosts in the team. But the current favourite is SRT because of the respect he commands. Sigh again.

  66. The men in blue are actually “Team BCCI” , not “Team India”. It’s wrong on our part to give them the distinction of representing the country. They play for a fat employer, who pays them fat salaries depending on the brand value, irrespective of their performance.And who makes the employer fat? Its us stupid fans who pine our hopes on these lethargic players, hoping that they would perform some miracle and bring the world cup! And also, so arrogant fans we have become…. shouting in front of cameras “yo man India will win the world cup!!”. But how??? we expect all the other teams to give it to us in a platter? Such miserable fielding and bowling ! we went in only with the batsmen hoping to win the world cup? And the batsmen are so weak at heart that they crumble under pressure from Bangladesh and srilanka.
    I read an interview of Guru Greg ( who is no. 1 in breaking the confidence and cohesiveness of the team) before the world cup where he says that ” with this team we should be lucky if we get to the semis”! He took over a team which was a finalist in the last world cup and he reduced them to this!
    There’s so much hurt right now that its difficult to put it on paper. Its time we fans start tearing ourselves away from this game…. see where the game has reached with Australia, South africa, Newzealand etc.? Srilanka, west windies also will catch up soon; Bangladesh has time to improve and be in the big league in the next 5/6 years…The “Team BCCI” can go back to thier advertising and win a one-off match/series on home grounds and continue with their lazy attitude. Indian cricket will go the Indian hockey way!
    PS: Irrespective of how Ganguly played in the world cup, I still think we would have stood a chance if Ganguly had captained the team! And I am not a Bong! But now I think Ganguly, having proved what he had sought out to prove, should bow out gracefully along with SRT, Dravid etc. Their heaploads of experiance couldn’t see them through a match against young Bangladesh. Its time to have a young team india and start afresh.

  67. Right on to the dot GB. A new team under Yuvraj, all the ‘legends’ gone is the way forward. Let Sharad Pawar announce in a press conference that this new team India is not expected to win any match for the next three-four years! The sponsorships and TRP be damned, let us save the game first. The question is does BCCI have the balls?

  68. @GB: We may kick out ST and SG but who will replace them?

    Exactly.

    GB, If you can, please enlighten us with your views on politicians running Indian Cricket.

  69. History does have plentiful instances where legends have outlived their utility and were given the boot.

    As to “We may kick out ST and SG but who will replace them?”

    There are replacements plenty.Some one who can score 10 or 15 runs in every innings is a very good replacement for someone who scores 0(SRT).

    The question is not about replacing someone who is scoring 100s.

  70. You know something is seriously wrong when you see more the players during the advertising breaks than actually batting on the pitch.

  71. ” Coach Greg Chappell had given up on the team during the match. As soon as Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out, going back and finding himself plumb in front to Muthiah Muralitharan, he got up and switched off the television.”

    -Indiatimes website

    Other assorted hilarities at this link,

    http://worldcup.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1809621.cms

    To put things in contrast, John Wright was on air at that juncture, and surprise, surprise he was showing Ramiz Raza-esque absurd optimism about the team’s chances. May be I am just an old fashioned pre-“process” cricket ignoramus but my world view is that however desperate the situation might be, the helmsman should never jump ship. I am assuming that this incident happened in the dressing room. What an overwhelming vote of confidence in favour of the following batsmen on behalf of the coach!!!

    One may say, I am trying to nitpick on a particular incident. But leadership required in the hour of crisis, any bozo can stand up and gorge the goodies when the going is good.

  72. @Bhopale

    RE: “Let Sharad Pawar announce in a press conference that this new team India is not expected to win any match for the next three-four years! The sponsorships and TRP be damned, let us save the game first. The question is does BCCI have the balls?”

    Forget the balls of BCCI or the willingness of the sponsors, is the Indian cricket fan ready to face up to such a scenario?

    As a cricket fan, are YOU ready to see the Indian team lose every match for the next three-four years?

    I think we got the team we deserve. Yes…the Indian cricket fan

    …who would jump at the next opportunity to make a cricket megastar out of the next cricketer who has scored a 141 not out against Zimbabwe at a run-bed at Vizag.

    …who would watch the ads for the numerous sponsors who would instantly sign up the cricketer for an obscene amount.

    …who would stay glued to the numerous TV programs featuring this new star.

    Treat the cricketers as mere mortals, not as gods. That mean don’t expect the earth of them. And don’t fall for the commercial messages that they are paid to mouth. Stay away from any brand that is riding piggyback on cricket!

  73. great one ArnabDa … truly symbolises the frustration ..

    What irritates me more is that we’ve been playing Vaas, Murali and Jaysurya since donkey’s years and we still cannot figure them out !!!

    Did u notice that murali had the confidence bordering on audacity to bowl diagnol-around-the-wicket to right handers !!!! Any 2 year old can make out that that angle would be for the ‘doosra’ .. but sadly our batsmen cannot.

    truly hair-tearing stuff

  74. Perhaps, getting knocked off is the best thing to have happened, lest we get hammered for 500 odd runs by Aussies and then get bowled out for 100, why allow others to make record after record against us

  75. @Rahul, You ask “As a cricket fan, are YOU ready to see the Indian team lose every match for the next three-four years?”. Going by the cricket SA-Aus is playing in 2007, Indian cricket team would lose every match forever(like our hockey team does)within next three-four years. Not only ME, everybody will see; ‘Hum dekhenge’ as has been said

    Going by the seriouness with which everybody (including me)is commenting on this blog, I think we should create an online petition to make Arnab the chairman of BCCI selection commitee. Surely he has got lot of ideas by now. What say GB?

  76. Individual Brilliance, Collective Absurdity.

    I am not too sure whether the first part in itself is true. But who cares!

  77. This was a really good post. I especially liked your candour about the current form of Indian team which unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired.

    “Sad to say, it’s not a bad thing that we got eliminated in the first round itself. We are just not good enough to play in the Super 8. If we had somehow gone through, we would just have had to endure more moments of heartbreak and aggravated more ulcers because our body parts would have been handed to us on a platter by the Australias and the South Africas and the New Zealands.”

    Very well said! A team which was whitewashed in South Africa and just managed to beat a depleted Srinlankan side on home turf would have needed a miracle to reach the semi-finals.

    I feel our problem started with the selection of Chappel as the coach. One doesn’t have to read commentaries to see the difference between genial John Wright & perpetually constipated look Chappel. The frown never leaves his face and arrogance is all too palpable. His handling of the Ganguly episode demoralized the team. There is no denying the fact that Dada needed rest and was becoming a liability, but the manner in which it was done must have sent alarm bells ringing in the minds of players. It didn’t help that many players like Yuvi, Kaif, Zaheer, Sehwag etc. were Dada’s favourites and he had played a crucial role in retainig them when they were not performing.

    The second problem is our irrational belief in ‘7 batsmen’ philosophy. Everyone in Cricket fraternity – Gavaskar, Shastri etc. were adamant that India needs 7 batsmen since Yuvi & Kaif have won a couple of matches when we were 5 down. This misplaced belief needs to be deconstructed. We need to go for 5 batsmen, batsmen-wicketkeeper and go with 5 bowlers. This becomes important in crucial games like the one against bangladesh where our batting failed to fire and we needed to restrict a weaker side to under-200. The shortfall in batting can be more than made-up by grooming Pathan like prospects as all-rounders.

    I still feel Dravid is not a captaincy material. For instance, in Bangladesh, Yuvi, Sehwag, Tendulakr etc. were not tried even though we had to go for the jugular. There are many who’ll ask why he chose to come down later in the order in the all-important Lanka match. This was the time when he needed to come & steady the ship when Robin got out.

    Hope we emerge a better team after this debacle and climb to the top. We did come back after ’99 loss to reach the finals in ’03, so who knows …

  78. You speak the heart of so many ppl GB. But a point to consider – we are talking about kicking out SCG and SRT now (after the disaster in WC) – do you think that Indian fans were ready to accept this before the WC. I remember Greg Chappell saying in 2005 that Scahin is past his best time – but nothing happened except some raised eyebrows. Even Ganguly’s exclusion made a saga (agreed that there were false accusations which was wrong – may be the correct way to execute that was to rest them for a season or two with dignity and let younger players take part). However, all the Big names kept on clogging the final 11, that there was no place for replacement. We were told things like “class is permanent but form is temporary” as an excuse. To add to this – the media hype made sure that none of the veterans were excluded. And ofcourse the “former cricketers” who can just blow all kinds of trumpets on television – may be as a shortcut to earn money rather than coaching teams. And last but not the least – “expert” decision-making by ex-politicians in BCCI. For some reason I think that Gerg Chappell – just because of his unpopular comments and grim face – could never reach the top hierarchy of control – which a coach should. We always suspected him, yet expected that he will do magic. They all contributed to this day.

    We will surely get another SRT, SCG and RD, but not overnight – because they were not born overnight either. First thing that we need is a dignified retirement of the veterans – whatever cricket is left in them, they can play in domestic matches (which are looked down upon for some unknown reason). And then, the most important thing, patience and understanding from Indian fans. Let us not kill cricket for the sake of few brand names.

  79. Where are the Dileep Premachandrans, Anand Vasus, Sambit Bals of Crookinfo………….where are their “Verdicts” their blind and pious support of “Guru Greg”? Not a single peep out of these guys on the website since a rather tepid match report and “verdict”.

    BTW, what’s with Rahul Bhattacharya…i thought he was part of the “cabal that surrounded GC and RD”? Why isn’t he toeing the Crookinfo line and writing “against” GC in Hindustan Times? Here is the same article under different heading in Mumbai Mirror
    http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article&sectid=59&contentid=200703242056046218100a20&pageno=2

  80. I got the consolation price !

    I wanted to see team India- up and close hence I waited till the end, even after the match got over, till the time they boarded the bus to the hotel.

    ( Look on team India was piteous )

    After the players went home Star News, Aaj Tak and NDTV guys asked for opinion, why India lost ? and What could have done to prevent such failure ?

    I came on the tube.

  81. @ Capt. Haddock – Premachandran has resurfaced at the Guardian of UK – http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/03/26/where_it_all_went_wrong_for_in.html. Incidentally Guardian is where Chappell gave his notorious interview (to Mike Selvey) about Ganguly’s monetary reasons for wanting to keep playing, & their other correspondent Lawrence Booth (who writes pretty well otherwise) is another virulently anti-Ganguly person. I guess the bared torso at Lord’s didn’t go down too well 🙂

  82. Was watching Sidhu and Jadeja in NDTV. Amidst all the verbal diarrhea, a couple of good points came out –

    Sidhu pointed to a pattern in our selection procedure. We favour flamboyance over solidity. So a 200 here and a fast 100 there gets someone a place in the Indian team and we fail to look at the individual as a complete package. I think Uthappa is a case in point.

    Jadeja came up with a solution for the captaincy conundrum. He said Ganguly should be reinstated as a captain, but on a 1 year contract. He should have his task cut out – to build a team much like the way he did 4-5 years back. He has to come up with a succession plan and identify a successor for him. I think that is a good suggestion. Instead of throwing Yuvraj right into the cauldron, let Ganguly be the captain for a while. He has experience in building a team and it would be easy for Yuvraj to inherit a fairly solid team a year on from now. Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble will be eased out of the ODI team in the meanwhile.

  83. Guys, did anyone watch Aus-SA match? The way Aus, NZ and SA are hitting the ball, they are miles ahead of the rest. I think they have taken ODIs to a new level leaving the charlatans in blue behind.

  84. @Sriram and Arnab:

    I am convinced Jadeja has nicked my idea. 🙂 He must have been reading the Orkut fora where I had more than once mentioned my ideal way forward:

    a) Get Sourav back for a fixed tenure, say till end of 2008 as captain

    b) Name Yuvi right now as Vice captain or captain-in-waiting (sort of apprentice)

    c) Tell the big three RIGHT NOW that regardless of their public support, there is no way ANY of them will be playing World Cup 2011, so that they gracefully retire by 2008 end, and

    d) Groom youngsters under Yuvi to take over by early 2009 so that we have two full years to prepare.

  85. Jayaditya Gupta at Cricinfo internalized your hockey analogy. After the Aus-SA match, I was thinking along the same lines. Maybe great bongs think alike :). Very soon our cricket experience will be like recalling Mohammed Shahid’s dazzling 5-minute stickwork in a 1-5 loss to Germany or Australia or the fond memories of Krishanu Dey dribbling three PSV defenders in a 0-6 drubbing. We will learn to enjoy a couple of cover-drives in a 207 run rout.

  86. @Arnab:

    Greg Chappell has started striking back through his acolytes. The first blow in his favor has been struck by none other than Rajan Bala, the most anti-Sourav journalist outside of Cricinfo.

    http://deccan.com/Sports/Sports.asp?#Greg was unhappy with Cup squad

    It’s probably fair to mention that Rajan Bala has been but avowed Sourav hater for the last few years. He is so virulently anti-Sourav that in spite of being a fairly senior (of course seniority has no connection with quality) journalist, he call Sourav juvenile names in his articles when Sourav became captain. He used to call Sourav “the nose picker”. That is the kind of uncouth bastard he is.

    He is a great supporter of Dravid and part of his antipathy to Sourav was because he always felt that Sourav deprived Dravid of captaincy for many years. Naturally this also meant that he was an enthusiastic supporter of Greg Chappell. Being in Bangalore and in the good books of Greg also helped. It is well known that Greg Chappell was most comfortable with his cosy coterie of journalists, especially ones working in Cricinfo (Dileep Premachandran, Sambit Bal, Anand Vasi, and Sreeram Veera – The Fawning Four) along with the other worshipers like Bala.

    Greg used to update these journalists with his comments on players via SMS, and these journalists would hang on to every verbal scrap thrown to them by the Guru like hungry and loyal puppies. Now that his master is in deep shit, Rajan Bala has launched the first defensive stroke with this article that tends to portray Greg as the victim, forced into the World Cup without the team he wanted. Therefore, obviously it’s not his fault the team got raped. The other purpose of the article is also to demonstrate the closeness between him and Greg, with similar thoughts, and visions for the team.

    What Bala has neglected to mention are the other SMSes (Greg Chappell’s favorite mode of communication with journalists) where Greg Chappell used to call a senior player a “cancer” (possibly Sehwag) and another, “interested only in becoming captain” (Sachin) and “aloof and disinterested” (Sourav), either being naive to assume confidentiality, or deliberately saying these things, knowing full well that these would get back to the players. This divide and rule policy had the expected result. There was no rebellion in the team, but no involvement either. Greg had lost all credibility and respect from the seniors in the team.

    You will not hear that from Lapdog Bala, but you can independently search the net for these facts. These facts have been mentioned by several journos like Pradeep Magazine, Akshay Sawai, Kunal Pradhan, Kadambari Murali et al.

  87. Read this in Hindustan Times. Found it very interesting.

    ON SUNDAY night, Souray Ganguly roamed around the team hotel lobby, starkly visible, especially given how deserted it otherwise was. Ganguly, incidentally, has provided grist for the rumour-mill again, this time because of a reported showdown with Rahul Dravid over an SMS. It goes like this. Apparently before India’s match against Bangladesh, a journalist sent an SMS to Ganguly asking about Irfan Pathan and signed off with his name. The text message went to Virender Sehwag by mistake. Sehwag showed that SMS to Rahul Dravid (who has backed him right through). Dravid reportedly went to Ganguly and told him not to be “in touch with the media” and lectured him about team rules. Ganguly apparently got somewhat upset and told him that he had been captain and knew the rules and, like most other players, had friends in the media as well. This story reflects the unhappiness and discord all around. And if true, this tale is a reflection of not just the paranoia in the team but also on the amateurish handling of what was really a very minor issue. This now, is today’s Indian cricket team, by all accounts, a “splintered” one. Whatever picture Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid want to paint for us, there is no escaping the fact that India won’t know where to go from here and what corrective measures to take so that such disasters don’t become commonplace. At the moment though, the team is gripped by insecurity and the juniors are terribly worried. “We might be made scapegoats,” said a youngster, and a senior remarked, “I wonder what drastic changes will be!” Obviously, some are in the offing. The Indians will fly home on the first available flight (probably Tuesday) and will have ample time to reflect on what went wrong. A serious introspection and hard measures to get the team back on track are needed. A lot of the blame for the breaking of bonds in the team must lie with Chappell who has “planted his views on various players on certain journalists”. Invariably the coach’s opinion got back to the player concerned. How could there not be friction? The problem also lay in Dravid’s lack of communication. Even at the best of times, he prefers his own company and counsel, leaving his players to their own devices post a match or net session. This time though, he needed to communicate, get his players together, especially the seniors. That did not happen. Why did a player of Sachin Tendulkar’s stature (he is also vice-captain) feel so unwanted that he detached himself from the team? Why was Ganguly not trusted even after having made such a great comeback? It is easy to blame others but in the end, the buck stops with the captain and coach. These are some questions that need to be answered before any surgery is done on this team.

  88. Reading the post & the comments, here is what I have to say
    1. Blaming the media – are we saying that if the media would have behaved differently the performance would have been different?
    2. Players not able to take responsibility because a billion hopes are on them – but earning a billion bucks is fine, no pressure in that.
    3. The Players too must be down – yeah loss of big money. The Spineless players wouldn’t bother about anything else.

    And yes unfortunalety like Kailas I have lost all interest in the World Cup. It hurts mate to know that India could not deliver in a Do-or-Die match.

  89. Greatbong we dont have to worry about who will be the next captain. Apparently BCCI is thinking of India blues(youth team) and India Seniors(experienced team). Even if I had a life time to come up with a solution for our current situation I would not have thought of it. BCCI is genius.

  90. 1. Greener pitches for domestic & International matches. The excuse for the way hockey went is because India did not lay in Astro turf.
    2. Make player appointments for a maximum duration of 5 years i.e. the player can not play for more than 5 years (exceptions always there like the God of Cricket who will play in the WC of 2011, 2015, 2019,…..), so the player will know if they need to be in peoples mind, then they to perform in those 5 years else you are a sad caricature.
    3. Invest in infrastructure & devote some money out of cricket to some other sports also. Call it charity or whatever but like Bill Gates doesnt invest only in his company or IT only.

    BTW, I find it hard to believe that ‘The Wall’ Dravid has not yet stepped down. What will it take for him to do that? Appoint him the Coach of Pakistan?

  91. @slashgod:
    You mean Sreesanth actually blamed Tendulkar for India crashing out of the World Cup? How dare he, Tendulkar is God & no one can question HIM. He should have just been happy & accepted the ‘ladoo’ that HE produced in the Sri Lanka match.

  92. Other than my suggestion of offering Dravid the post of Coach of the Pakistan cricket team, how about having a welcome party for Guru Greg in one of these shows

    PS : Caution, not work safe 🙂

  93. More than the crappy performance of the Indian cricket team, iam more concerned about another matter of national interest.

    How come Mandira Bedi is not showing her cleavage? I spent bloody 100 bucks of my hard earned money to subscribe to the world cup not to see the Indian team lose (which is predictable).

    Iam terribly disappointed with Mandira Body (oops) Bedi.

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  95. Sehwag ko MAYUR pehnao;

    Sachin ko PEPSI pilao;

    Dhoni ko BRYLCREEM lagwao;

    Ganguly ko Chavnpras khilao ;

    Dravid mein CASTROL bharwao;

    yuvraj ko MALAI MARKE LASSI pilao

    Lekin in Models ko cricket mat khilwao..

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