Sunday, August 10, 2008

All fall apart now

When things go bad for India after a hard day in the field, the following sort of emotional meltdown is depressingly inevitable:

To makes things worse the fielders weren't helped by their bowlers. With six men on the off side, Harbhajan bowled far too many deliveries on the pads. And kicking the ball, only to concede an overthrow, is unacceptable behaviour. Zaheer Khan did the same during a one-day match in England last summer after a catch had gone down off Matt Prior. At mid-off Kumble could only shake his head.
I've written this before on this blog, and I'll say it again. Kumble's constant on-field histrionics, his glaring and yelling at his fielders, sets a very bad example. I don't care how intense a cricketer you are, losing your cool every time someone misfields, or does something not up to your standards is a very bad way to lead a side. It gives the impression of disarray and disunity. And its contagious. Everybody gets it into their head that its OK to curse and glare at fielders, abuse each other on the ground and generally look like a bunch of excitable schoolchildren rather than professional sportsmen. To use a military analogy, an army that senses its general is losing his cool, tends to lose its cool as well. An Indian cricket team, when put under pressure by an opposing batsman, more than any other international side in the world, gives the impression of being psychologically frayed. Frankly speaking, if I was captain, and I saw someone doing what Bhajji and Zaheer are doing, I'd take them aside, and tell them that if they were interested in a career on the stage, that they apply to the National School of Drama for a scholarship. And realize that no one is perfect. What your teammates need is support, not undermining. Its not as if Harbhajan, Zaheer and Kumble are perfect fielders (in fact, all three make their share of gaffes). Its absolutely terrible for team morale to have the captain and senior players throwing tantrums on the ground. For all of Kumble's intensity, this is one area I wish he'd tone down. Watching him is painful; his behavior does not convey authority at all. It conveys a loss of control, a panic almost.

Get angry at yourself if you want, put on your worst scowl, seethe, curse a bit if you want. But don't take it out on your team-mates on television. And don't take it out on the cricket ball either. Mostly, get a backbone and grow up.


Blogger Naked Cricket said...

Kumble is far too pissed at himself, his general inability against the Lankans for a decade+, a rookie making him look less than one, and the inevitable.

Frankly wonder what respect a lotta the players have for each other in this team - esp for Jumbo.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Soulberry said...

This is glaringly noticeable...almost as if the captaincy has released long suppressed demons. It wasn't this which catapulted him to captaincy at a delicate juncture.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Seemed to work pretty well for Allan Border.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Shiv said...

Well, Jrod, if you look back, it did not work all that well in the initial part of Border's career as a captain.I don't think many of his team mates liked him, he was famously called as the 'Captain Grumpy'.
Probably it worked only in the later part of his career after he mellowed down

3:02 AM  
Blogger Straight Point said...

no clearer sign needed that he is loosing gaurav (naked cricket) said he is looking increasingly spent force...neither taking wickets nor keeping an end tight...

no surprise all his frustrations coming to fore...

4:42 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

NC: Its always been a feature of his on-field presence, and one that others have remarked on before (I remember Tony Grieg pointing out an incompetent attempt at a boundary save shortly after he had finished yelling at some fielder for not putting in enough effort).

SB: Yes, I think its made him a bit more frazzled.

JRod: AB could back it up on the fielding side as well (also, was he constantly yelling *on the ground* or just really cranky off it?). Kumble's fielding has improved but he's still a little clumsy.

Shiv: As above, I'm wondering where he showed his crankiness the most!

SP: This series has definitely drive him up the wall (the reviews haven't helped his mood either!)

8:27 AM  
Anonymous god said...

Yes blame it on Kumble. His inablity or poor captaincy lost the series. Not that someone noticed Sachin and Saurav failed again. Of course Sachin is god and we can't say anything abt him!

1:01 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

God: Nice to see you here :) I'm trying to concentrate on one topic per post. For this post, it was Kumble's temper. When I write on the failures of the middle-order (but who isn't?), I'll make sure I mention SRT and SG.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Sumit said...

kumble's average in the two series before lanka was 44, which prompted me to write Time to end the KumBha mela. Kumble fell even further in lanka, considering the helpful wickets. The 10 wickets in galle on a bouncy, turning track saved the blushes for bhajji, but the jury's still out on him as well because his lack of penetration was again evident in the third test. btw, cricketkeeper has spluttered back to life.

10:18 AM  

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