Sunday, March 19, 2006

Not in sync

One problem, central to Indian cricketing mediocrity over the years, has been the failure for its players to effectively gell as a team. When Indian batting has appeared strong, it has been rendered toothless by the lack of an effective bowling attack; when the bowling has done well, the batsmen have not stood up to be counted; when one batsman has attained the status of world-beater, the rest of the line-up has simply refused to collaborate. I dare say the career records of greats like Gavaskar, Tendulkar and now, Dravid, will be blighted because they played on teams where their stellar contributions simply vanished or were dimmed by the lack of an adequate supporting act. This current test, underway at the Wankhede, provides adequate illustration of this claim: after their morning horrors on the second day, India fought back wonderfully thanks to their bowlers, and then watched their batsmen simply hand back the intiative. Sehwag has clearly been sorted out by the English, and Tendulkar's worrying decision, in tests at least, to scratch around like a diffident turtle that loses its head the moment it pokes it out from underneath its defensive carpace, ensures that the youngsters down the order are having to pull off one rescue act after another.

No matter what the result of this test, England have shown up plenty of weaknesses in this lineup; the euphoria generated by facile ODI wins on flat subcontinental tracks will hopefully have evaporated in time to ensure corrective action for the test tours that lie ahead.


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