Indian Cricket Team At The World Cup - An Analysis
Recently, the Indian cricket team came home after not making it to the second round or Super Eight stage of the cricket world cup. This was followed by widespread condemnation by the Bengali dominated Indian media that had supported Saurav Ganguly's inclusion in the cricket team. Here is my analysis of what went wrong. First, lets take a look at the facts.
The Facts - India played only 3 matches.
1. India Vs Bangladesh - Batting - Ganguly (66/129), Dravid (14/28), Yuvraj (47/58), Zaheer (15/17), Munaf (15/15). Bowling - Sehwag 5 -2, Munaf 8-2, Zaheer 9-1
Bangladesh Won - India made 191/10 in 49.3 overs and Bangladesh made 192/5 in 48.3 overs.
2. India Vs Bermuda - Batting - Ganguly (89/114), Sehwag (114/87), Dhoni (29/25), Yuvraj (83/46), Tendulkar (57/29 not out), Dravid (7/2 not out). Bowling - Agarkar 10-3, Kumble 9-3 Zaheer 10-2, Tendulkar 1-1, Munaf 8-1.
India won - India made the highest ever world cup total of 413/5 in 50 overs while Bermuda scored 156/10 in 43.1 overs. Sehwag was the man of the match.
3. India Vs Sri Lanka - Bowling - Zaheer 10-2, Agarkar 8-1, Munaf 10-1, Ganguly 4-1, Tendulkar 8-1. Batting - Uthappa 18/27, Sehwag 48/46, Dravid 60/82, Agarkar 10/25, Harbhajan 17/20 not out, Munaf 10/17.
Sri Lanka won - Sri Lanka scored 254/6 in 50 overs while India made 185/10 in 43.1 overs.
M.S. Dhoni - 5 catches and 2 stumpings from 3 matches.
(Batting is runs/balls and bowling is overs - wickets. Players who made less than 10 runs are not mentioned)
The reasons why India lost -
1. Greg Chappell was not given the young team - which he had prepared and trained for the world cup. Selection politics lead to the exclusion of players who have done well in the West Indies like VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina and Mohammad Kaif. Other good players like Pathan and Sreesanth were not allowed to play while Saurav Ganguly the only player who was not wanted by Greg Chappel, Rahul Dravid and the team was given a place.
2. Sourav Ganguly - He is a negative influence. He plays for his personal score not caring if India wins or loses. He knows that if he gets a 50 or 100 they can't chuck him out of the team, so he builds the score using as many balls as suitable to his needs. As an opening batsman he should be giving India a good start, but he wastes balls and makes playing conditions seem harder than they are. His statistics in the 3 matches - 66/129, 89/114 and 7/23. Even no.11 batsman Munaf Patel has done better. Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid are not fools. They work with Sourav Ganguly on a regular basis, they must be knowing exactly what he is like and why he should not be allowed to play.
Sourav Ganguly plays a lot of politics. He only wants to win if he is made the captain of the team. He managed to get into the team by using the 'jack' of politicians and the sponsors of the world cup - Pepsi. Too bad for them that India is now out of the world cup. Sourav Ganguly shares little rapport with the rest of the team. Not many hug him when he scores big nor can he be found sitting and talking with other team members in the pavilion. This proves that something is wrong somewhere.
3. Bad Fielding - As players known for good fielding like Kaif, Raina and Powar were not taken in the team, India ended up giving away plenty of runs to the opposing team and missing run out chances. Plus, the Indian cricket team must have lost the motivation to play after Sourav Ganguly was included into the team. Imagine, how he must have gloated and showed off!
4. No Luck - When India was bowling, lots of lbw decisions and inside edges did not go in India's favor. On the other hand, while batting many Indians were declared lbw when the ball was going the other way or faced other unlucky circumstances. Sachin Tendulkar was the main victim here. Remember, how the ball bounced off his pads onto the stumps ? Plus, deciding matches were heavily rained on.
5. Too Few Matches - The structure of the 2007 world cup allows for three matches per team in the first stage and twelve matches per team in the Super Eight stage. Any team can have a bad day and this faulty scheme played a big role in the exit of popular teams like India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
Annoying questions being asked by the Bengali media and their answers -
1. Cricketers are doing advertisements - Unlike, regular folk whose careers last till the age of 60-62 years, cricketers retire when they are around 32 -36. Many play for just two - three years. Most don't have a college education and it is very difficult for them to get a regular job after they retire. Money from advertisments are just neccessary savings for an uncertain future and they have every right to it while it lasts.
2. Cricketers are staying awake till late hours - True, how can they get a good nights sleep before a tough world cup decider. They are bound to be nervous. Plus, the Bob Woolmer saga must have played havoc on their psyche.
3. Indian fans are furious - This is not true. Not many Indians expected India to win the world cup even though we secretly hoped that they would prove us wrong. The people shown on television burning effigies, protesting and attacking players' homes are units of some political party or the other trying to get attention for their cause. The protest lasts only for two minutes, the media takes a few shots and then runs it the whole day.
In reality, the matches were being telecast late at night and very few people stayed up to watch the second innings of any match. I certainly did'nt, even though I am a big cricket fan !
4. Greg Chappell should be sacked - Why should Greg Chappell be sacked for the failure of the selectors ? Greg Chappell must be so tired with the politics of Indian cricket that I doubt he will want to renew his contract anyway. He is an Australian and is unlikely to stand this sort of nonsense favouritism which is commonplace in India.
5. Blame everyone except Ganguly tactic - That's because the largely Bengali media cannot see beyond a fellow Bengali - Sourav Ganguly. Be practical and unbiased in your reports guys !
6. Former cricketers criticisms - They seem to have forgetton what is was like to win and lose. Many want to be coach and have an axe to grind against the current coach, captain and team. The only persons who spoke sense are former batsman Navjot Singh Siddhu on Rajat Sharma's Aap Ki Adalat and former spinner Dilip Doshi in Times of India - who both blamed the selectors!
The 2007 cricket world cup is already dead - no one is watching it on television far less thinking about going to the Caribbean to watch a match. A great solution would be to get sponsors to organise an India Pakistan Zimbabwe friendly one day series to coincide with the semi finals and finals of the cricket world cup. It can be held in a neutral venue like UAE, Malaysia or Canada. The matches will be at a more earthly hour because of the time zone. More people will come to watch it because UAE is close to Asia as well as Africa and has many citizens of South Asian origin. This way you won't see empty stadiums as is visible at the Caribbean world cup venues. Plus, India is more motivated to win if they are playing Pakistan. We can allow Greg Chappell to play with the team he trained for the cricket world cup and bring back crowd attracter - Shoaib Akhtar. Since Bob Woolmer is dead and Inzamam has retired there won't be many protests.
So, what do you say about India's performance in the world cup ??
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