The performance of India against the England was bad, but it was expected to salvage some pride by bettering its performance against the Zimbabweans. India's performance, however, has gone from bad to worse.
Not to take away credit from the Zimbabwean team or young Hondo's performance, the Indians literally threw away their wickets against pretty ordinary bowling.
In fact, Zimbabwe has to be congratulated for the way it has performed against India in the tournament till now. Probably, Zimbabwe cannot be called as minnow anymore considering its performance against the Indians, who are considered to be tigers at home (guess, the tigers would be ashamed to be compared with Indian cricket team).
Will the Indian team ever come out of Sachin's shadow? Definitely Sachin is one of the best batsmen in the world today. That doesn't mean the other players cannot even perform their duties well.
As a captain Saurav had to take all the responsibility on his shoulders to take his team out of trouble. He may be in excellent form, it doesn't mean that he can just throw his bat at everything irresponsibly.
In fact, in the absence of Sachin and Sehwag, Saurav should have taken all the responsibility by playing an anchor's role and carried his bat till the end.
Laxman, who is highly talented, has never done any justice to his talent apart from the Aussie tour. Seems like once the match is over he doesn't even go back to think of the mistakes he has made in the previous game as he keeps repeating them again and again.
As pointed on numerous occasions, V V S seems to be wanting to play too many shots at the same time. Probably even at this stage when he is representing his country he needs to be told by his coach before every match that the first 25 to 30 runs should be scored in the 'V'.
It is understandable that in One-day games runs need to be scored quick and fast, but there isn't any need to poke at a delivery, which is very wide of the off-stump and would probably be declared wide. He is a brilliant timer of the ball, what's the use if he does not utilise the chances he gets time and again especially in the absence of Sachin.
Juniors need to understand that when the top batsman fail it's a brilliant chance for them to put their heads down and perform well and cement their places in the team.
Even though Bangar and Kaif played well, one feels they could have done much better. And as usual lower order needs to contribute a bit to the team's total.
With a small total to defend on a good batting track, the Indian bowlers probably did their best. Particularly Zaheer and Agarkar bowled very well.
This is probably one of the worst performances by India at home, which has definitely tainted its reputation as 'tigers at home'. At this stage in the series where Zimbabwe leads 2-1 in the five match series, it is a 'do or die' situation for India in the Hyderabad One-dayer.
With Andy Flower coming back into the team, Zimbabwe will definitely put all its best to clinch the ODI series.
The Indians should realise that it would be a black spot to lose a series to a comparatively weak team at home. It is now imperative for the Indian players to come up with a decent performance if not a brilliant one to beat Zimbabwe.
And I am sure every Indian cricket fan would be expecting the same from their team. Hopefully the Indian team would pick up its game to square the series at Hyderabad and clinch the series at Guwahati.