Tuesday, July 8, 2008

India Entering Danger Zone

There has been a lot of talk about how India will displace Australia as the next Super Power in the world of cricket.

I have also said a number of times that India is one of the strongest cricket sides in the world today, despite the fact that they recently lost 2 ODI finals.

After going through their squad for the test series against Sri Lanka, something struck me.

For India to displace Australia from the top, or for even to be one of the strongest sides in the world, they will have to take a leaf out of Australia's books.

Playing Test cricket and ODI cricket with a different set of players, and even a different set of captains.

India is going through a time where:

Their 4 best batsmen don't play ODI cricket. Well Sachin does, but he's opted out lately, while Ganguly, Dravid, and Laxman haven't let their desire to play ODIs remain a secret.

Their best ODI batsman and vice captain has just been dropped from the test side. Everybody knows how eager Yuvraj is to prove his worth in tests.

Their test captain does not play ODI cricket.

Their ODI captain has just stated his preference and chosen ODIs over tests.

Their newly announced Vice Captain for the test matches will play ODIs under a different captain and vice captain.

Now if all that does not mean treading on the path to Danger Zone, I don't know what does.

There is no doubt that India has one of the strongest sides in cricket today, for both tests and ODIs, but if they are to remain one, their test cricketers and ODI cricketers will have to gel well and adapt to playing under different captains, and with different players.

Australia has done that for a decade now.

I'm not sure if India will be able to.

The Seniors vs Juniors debate has done the rounds for almost a year now with Dhoni, Yuvraj, Uthappa, Ganguly, Kumble all giving voice to it.

Sehwag, who besides Sachin, is the only connection between India's test and ODI batsmen has reportedly been at loggerheads with Dhoni.

So if this is any indication for what is to come, the future could be quite destructive.

Rohit Sharma may not get a test match, but say he does, and say he scores a debut 100 and shows the world his mettle and attitude and what not in test cricket.

How would Yuvraj feel about that?

If this was Pakistan, I can say for sure that there would have been more than one incident of a player hitting another with a bat.

Is India over and above all this?

Will they self destruct like Pakistan would have in such a situation or will they follow Australia's example?

Time will tell.

No matter what the situation, the times ahead sure are interesting for Indian cricket.

Make your pitch on this post...

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12 Pitched:

  1. Riaz Haq said...

    Commercially speaking, I think T20 will become the dominant cricket format with lots of sponsorships, entertainment and a big fan base. Both India and Pakistan are good at T20 cricket. I expect to see a lot more of them at big finals, eclipsing Australia and others in a few years.

  2. Naked Cricket said...

    Q - very curious about the sehwag-msd angle. their relationship will define indian cricket, esp after the SRs retire. been on my mind today, gonna write about it.

  3. Q said...

    Welcome to Well Pitched Riaz.

    Riaz, if you're speaking about T20 then in the last world cup both Pakistan and India did eclipse Australia - u don't have to wait to see that happen.

    As for ODIs, after watching the young Aussie brigade in action against the Windies, i think other teams are still way behind.

  4. Q said...

    So am I NC.. Im not sure how much truth there is in it but there r reports so there must be something.

    Sehwag is obviously the most senior member of the team when Sachin isn't around and maybe he feels he missed out on the captaincy. He was VC at one point - only his mistake though as his form was woeful..

  5. Amit. P said...

    Very interesting point touched by NC ... Suppose in sehwag's captaincy india win the odi series in SL (not that tougher) and after arrival of dhoni (in CT which is really tough)team gets a serious beating ... we all know bcci ... they are master in creating mess. In sub-continent captain still lives in colonial hang-over .. and it is taken as senior's birth right. Mere being senior, and having respect among the teammates cant transfer u as a better captain.

    Nice blog Q.

  6. Q said...

    Thank you Amit P. Welcome to Well Pitched.

    I don't think Sehwag will captain in the ODIs. Only the test squad has been announced for which Sehwag is VC. I believe Dhoni will be back for the ODIs. And even if Dhoni's not bak, Yuvi will be.

  7. Amit. P said...

    I thought dhoni opted out for whole series .. but thanks for pointing it out. Now he will definitely come for the odis ... cleaver guy!

  8. allpaddedup.com said...


    a great insight into the current ODI and test team.

    i hope india imitate Oz cricket or at least try to once again.

  9. Som said...

    Rohit Sharma must have done something which eluded our eyes to be fast-tracked into the Test squad at Yuvraj's expense. TV channels were claiming there was indiscipline issues with Yuvi but I think it was not something of very serious nature. This was ridiculous I must say. Rohit is struggling, yes he's, to adapt to ODI cricket and he himself said, not so long ago, that he needs time before thinking about Test cap. Anyway, axing Yuvraj is simply logic-defying.

  10. Q said...

    APU - For India's sake, lets hope so, though I feel the cracks are already emerging..

  11. Q said...

    Som, Yuvraj has had a tough time in test matches. Since that 169 against Pakistan he has managed only 2 double figure scores (12 and 32) in tests against Pak, Aus, and SA.

    But I agree that Sharma hasn't done anything extraordinary to replace Yuvi in the squad.. if they had to, on current form Raina seemed like a better replacement.

    I think there's more to it than just the form.

    I mention the whole senior vs junior thing and its a known act that it was Dhoni who wanted the likes of Ganguly and Dravid out of the ODI side but Yuvi has been right next to him during it all - remember the phone call to the selectors from Australia during the test series?

    So i guess in order to keep harmony so to say within India's test ranks, without Dhoni to control Yuvi's attitude, the selectors probably thought it better to keep him out of it.

    Just a hunch.

  12. Naked Cricket said...

    Jaffer from Mumbai out, Sharma from Mumbai in.

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