Friday, April 04, 2008

Down they go

Blogspot really deserves a spanking. For some bizarre reason the site has been unresponsive, failing to come up at precisely those moments that I've had the time to blog. Its been a week since I've been able to blog. Sheesh.

Anyway, I finally managed to watch highlights of India's Twenty20 score of 76 in the first innings. What a bizarre innings. I don't think I've seen a stranger batting performance by any side in many, many years (except of course, for India's go-slow performances in test matches when they decide to hand the initiative back to the opposition: "here you take it, its too hot for us"). Now, on the second day, South Africa have put themselves into a position where they will, in all probability, hand out a severe beating by an innings to India (perhaps India's worst for a very long time). I'm not quite sure what the effect of this will be on the Indian test team. (There will be some bleating about the pitch at the press-conference perhaps). One could say things like "this will be the kick on the backside they needed" and all that, but I don't think things work like that with our boys. There will be some mumbling about how things all went wrong, and normal service will resume.

Some time ago, I had written a small piece about how I remained eternally pessimistic about India's chances of rising to the top in test cricket. Now that India is headed for a Bangladesh-style thrashing, its worth revisiting that point. India slides back too quickly after gaining some ground on this climb upwards. If Sisyphus helplessly watched the rock slide back down the hill, the Indian team takes some perverse pleasure in pushing it back down themselves, just so they can have all the fun of running back down after it and recommencing the ascent. The injuries I predicted in that post have happened (Zaheer and Ishant are sitting on the sidelines, probably playing with their Xboxes or Nintendos or whatever), the fielding remains the same, and Indian test captains are still a worried, overly-defensive bunch. It would be useful too, to think back on the first test, and to wonder about the chance that India missed to rattle the South Africans. Viru might have scored a triple ton and blasted the Proteas on the third day, but South Africa won all the other four days. They were the ones that went into this game with confidence, not the Indians. And that'll be the pattern for the third test.

I've no doubts the team will recover, and do better in the third test. Heck, they might even win it. And they might even pull off stunning wins in tests later this year. Theres plenty of talent there. But lets not expect the consistency that is needed for getting to the top and staying there. A great deal more needs to be done before that can happen.


Blogger Homer said...

Agree entirely Samir..Our guys have a sadomasochistic bent :)

8:15 AM  

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