Down Under or Down and Under?

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2003, 15:08 [IST]
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Greg Chappell in a recent interview told the press what any team needed to overcome Australia - good fast bowlers, good batsmen, good fielders, and good spinners, a team of considerable talent, all of which the Indian cricket team does not possess to the extent of troubling even visitors in India! Let alone abroad! He added that the Indians have to go with the attitude that they will play positive cricket, and with a new mindset. Didn't the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hire a psychologist for that? We saw the results. Strike One for India.

To add to that, John Wright said that it was very important for Sachin to succeed. What are the chances of that happening? Honestly? More occasions can be enumerated when he's plumb failed as opposed to being successful. Take the pressure off him and don't expect him to deliver like Viv Richards, Steve Waugh etc. Sachin is not in the same bracket.

Maybe, Mr Wright should say something to the effect of, " It is very important that Harbhajan and Kumble succeed as well as Khan, Nehra, and Agarkar." As I had stated in one of my earlier columns, John Wright has good intentions but the wrong players. Mr Wright prides in the catching practice he gives his wards. They do extremely well in practice. We all have seen the pictures, all Indian players with beaming smiles on their faces as if all is going well.

However, once they get on the field for the decisive test, it is mistake over mistake ad nauseum and all their plastic smiles turn into true to heart frowns and worried looks. Greg Chappell put it very aptly that the Indians arrive for every tour convinced that they are going to be shellacked and lo and behold, that's exactly what happens! One may say, "Well Duh, isn't that obvious? " However, you see we are dealing with the Indian cricket team to whom nothing is obvious. This is because of a delusional fan following who even after witnessing their teams abysmal performance against the Kiwis and Aussies still have the gall to consider their team as contenders! Strike Two for India.

Greg Chappell in the aforementioned interview contributed Australia's success to the competitive structure of their domestic cricket level. Sunil Gavaskar has on more that one occasion spoken of the BCCI completely overhauling the domestic cricket structure. Has that happened yet? NO!

Still they consider themselves Aussie beaters! Greg also mentioned about the very good unity and spirit in the team, and how that was a comment about their culture and society. What do the Indian cricketers symbolize? Avarice in a nutshell. So much for culture and society.

Adversity has brought the best out of the Aussies and the exact opposite for the Indians. Mr Chappell also stated that the foundation of success, in any walk of life, is built on a series of disciplines. Can the Indian cricket team be labeled 'disciplined'? NO! Spoiled, YES!

Ricky Ponting after absolutely routing India, had the kindness to say, "We have the wood over India." Ricky is being modest. Mr Ponting, it doesn't take a lot to have the wood over 'Deadwood' i.e., the Indian cricket team. Thank you, however, for trying to inspire confidence in the Indians.

Mr Chappell also said that to play positive cricket, one has to score runs and to occupy the crease as well. Which Indian batsman has done that successfully? It is often one at the cruel sacrifice of the other. " The art of batting is about scoring runs," said Greg; a skill the Indian cricket team does not possess. To them occupying the crease is labouring 80 deliveries to score 15 runs and then get out to a ridiculous shot! The Indian cricket team keeps forgetting the basics repeatedly. Strike Three for India.

However, the doting Indian fans will be treated to records galore in this series Down Under. India may become the only cricket team to allow 900 plus runs from the opposition on two or more occasions. We may even see one or more of the Indian bowlers become the first to concede 300 plus runs in an innings. The Aussies will probably never bat more than once every Test and Sachin will come back with more monkeys on his back than he had before he departed. Another record! Maybe even New Zealand's 26 all out is under threat. The Indians will be looking to "Dame Luck" to rescue them. Dame Luck is about the only option that "Lame Ducks" can have. Let the carnage begin!

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