Is it something in our DNA that we place so much importance on the end result and largely ignore the path to that end? To determine how badly India played in England and Australia, looking at the 0-8 scoreline is just one way to reach a conclusion. The other, and to my mind more important, conclusion is that – as per my calculations – India lost 25 out of 34 days of play. If that is a large proportion of days, the numbers look even worse if we go by sessions.
India didn’t become poor team all of a sudden. The 0-8 reversal was due to the management’s inability to introspect in time and form plans keeping in mind potential issues. It was coming. Even during India’s time as the world’s No. 1 ranked Test team, India was mostly battling to avoid defeat. Wins happened to come. But India chose not to learn from their mistakes. Otherwise, how does one explain the inclusion of Piyush Chawla in the World T20 team? The Indian cricket team is going through their worst period in over a decade and yet the captain, the selectors and the BCCI seem unconcerned.
It was a blessing in disguise for Indian cricket when the tenure of the selection committee headed by Kris Srikanth ended. With a new set of minds in the decision-making seats now, and the next eight Test matches at home, we have the perfect opportunity to recover. And for that, from the way we play to the way the thought process takes shape, must all come together.
Firstly, we need a new leader. MS Dhoni has done enough, from winning two World Cups and an ODI tri-series title in Australia, but a lot of land and enough water are not enough to get good crops, right? We need someone like Subhash Chandra Bose, or to be more dramatic, Bhuvan from Lagaan. The Indian captain should take that one big extra step when needed, be actively involved in the scheme of things and finally, importantly, take the power in his hands and use it correctly. I would suggest Virat Kohli’s name for the position. To me, he seems to be a willing leader, a man who demands responsibilities and shows character when needed. Virat is my ‘cometh the moment, cometh the man’ character.
Secondly, focus should be more on the team than on the players. The management must do whatever is required to improve the team’s performance on the field, day in and day out. If a player doesn’t meet the requirements, then he must be dropped irrespective of his stature. On current form, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir need to be dropped. They have failed as individuals and as a pair. Zaheer Khan isn’t the same bowler he was a year ago and considering his fitness, he should feature only in the longer format. Dhoni’s place also should be reviewed. With problems at every corner, it’s high time that deserving candidates like Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma (in Tests) and Manoj Tiwary be picked in the playing XI regularly.
India have the potential to become the world champion team. It’s only a question of intent. Let us hope we get a leader who can take us to where we dream and wish to be.