India has lost to Sri Lanka. And Bangladesh have beaten Bermuda. We have been shown the door out of the World Cup by a team regarded as a lowly minnow. We have failed to put up even an enthusiastic fight. Mere losing doesn’t hurt. But two humiliating defeats wherein we even failed to consume all the 50 overs in a game, and that too in a World Cup where the teams are supposed to be lifting their performance by several notches, does hurt. All that talk about a famed batting order looks to be only a load of the cheapest crap meant only to hype up the Indian challenge. The reality is now glaring at us. In the face of pressure and on a pitch that has even a wee bit for the bowlers, the Indian batsmen have been found wanting. It happened in South Africa and now in the Caribbean. All I wanted was an honest fight. But that was not to be.I could go on and on in my criticism and but what is relevant now is to think in terms of: where to now?
The Ranji scene: One thing that now suddenly seems incredibly obvious is that our batsmen are pampered. The arguments about the flat unsporting tracks on offer in the sub-continent have returned 100x magnified. Gloated egos of batsmen resulting from raw shot making suddenly seems abundant in the Ranji arena. The popular philosophy doing the rounds is: See it, belt it. Some belt it even without seeing it. Efforts made in making Indian tracks a little more bowler friendly are not working and the BCCI needs to bring in some experts to do the job.
Selection: Why didn't Dinesh Kaarthick play? Why was Sehwag not sent down the order? Why wasn't Powar selected? I might be speaking in hindsight and selection is a debatable issue but maybe it is time for the Indian selectors to adopt a more severe approach. Selection should no more be based on reputation but on recent form. Non performers need not be permanently let out of cricket but it should be indicated that Ranji cricket is more suited to regain form than International cricket. And when I say form I mean consistent form over a few weeks. Not just a lone patchy century against a non-descript bowling attack.
Coach and captain: Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid have not shown good results. But the immediate reaction should not be to ask for their heads. Dravid has proved to be a quick learner and can adapt well and must be given a chance to show what he has learned. Chappell has started something and should be allowed to finish it off. Of course if nothing happens in the course a few tournaments then heads will have to roll.