हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

It is the same wine in the same bottle

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2001, 14:42 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: Despite the passionate following for the game - further enhanced by India's home showing against the mighty Aussies - the Indian cricket selectors and team think tank on tours (if there is a think tank at all) appear to be making the same mistakes again and again.

Coach John Wright's exasperation - though not expressed in many words - is well understood given the scenario in which a strong batting line up fails twice to a team bordering mediocrity. Captain Saurav Ganguly has once again squarely blamed the batsmen for India's failure to clinch a much-awaited away series victory.

Though it is easy to put the blame on the door step of batting failures, including skipper Saurav Ganguly who has been having a very extended lean patch, one has to give serious thought to the bowling department too. What role has Agarkar played in the second Test is indeed a matter of big debate.

Even in this age of great technological innovation, the simple thumb rule in cricket is not to change a winning combination. The Indians had clinched the first Test with ease and elan so as to make the media rave about a possible series victory outside of the sub-continent, which has been eluding India for a decade and a half now.

While Sadagopan Ramesh had to be undone due to an injury, one just cannot understand the logic behind dropping Zaheer Khan for Ajit Agarkar. The 'team management' has defended this action by saying that both the left-arm medium pacers - Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra - had been warned for the follow through action in the first Test.

Yes, that is indeed a point to be noted. But, one also has to take into account that while Zaheer Khan was only warned by the umpires, it was Ashish Nehra who was stopped from bowling in the second innings of the first Test for repeating the offence despite reminders from the umpires. If Ashish Nehra's problem could be sorted out by coach John Wright in the 'nets', why couldn't the same corrective action be taken for Zaheer Khan?

If fact, Zaheer had been the find of 2000 and in the company of Ashish Nehra should be groomed as potential match winners - after all one knows from history that fast bowlers like to strike in pairs. Just when the two youngsters needed time to settle into their rhythm, the team management comes up with an illogical move.

Given the fact that India's main bowlers Javagal Srinath (who is optionally playing in Test matches) and Anil Kumble (recuperating from a shoulder operation) have been rendered hors de combat (unfit due to injury), one expected the selectors to groom prospective talent instead of chopping and churning the players at their whims and fancies.

The present scenario despite a New Zealand coach and Australian physio (Andrew Leipus) makes one believe that Indian cricket is going through the same old grind of "old wine in old bottle".

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