Friday, November 08, 2013

Indian Cricket : Going Backwards

Don't let them fool you. We have hardly made progress in cricket post the golden era of Indian cricket when Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid, Anil played their part.

This assertion is likely to ruffle many feathers. They will be quick to point out that India is the No. 1 Test team in the world, that we are World Champions, we were T20 champions. I will contest each of these claims, not from a factual point of view (these are irrefutable truths!) but by questioning the basic premise of each.

We are world champions : Yes. We are. In a tournament played in India.
We were T20 champions: Yes. We were. Hardly a form of game which tests skills and even though we boast of the biggest/richest T20 league, our performance of late has been at best okay and at worst unmentionable.
We are the No.1 test playing nation in the world: Yes. That did not come overnight. It took years of toil, single minded focus from a captain who wanted to win abroad backed up by a team of delightful professionals. And we were not defeated when we went to England and Australia. For the first time since 1986 and 1979 respectively. We broke new ground. We have let that go.

Today, we have again come back to the same situation we were in the mid nineties. We were tourists who were expected to score a century or two and not offer much resistance to defeat. We were tigers at home and sheep abroad. We still are.

England currently has the best bowling attack in the world in Test matches. Followed by South Africa. For once, Australia would be a distant third. Against each of these countries, we have drawn won a test match, let alone win in their country.

When you forego all the good work you have done and go back in time then there is fundamentally something wrong. And there is no cause for rejoice. We should wait for that day when our overpaid rookies and overnight heroes inspire us to win in all conditions consistently. Till then, let us hold our celebrations at bay and watch some other sport.