Indians scramble in the dark for lost glory

Published: Monday, September 20, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Birmingham:On a high only months ago, the Indian cricketers were licking their wounds on Monday wondering what has suddenly gone wrong.

Their challenge in the ICC Champions Trophy having been snuffed by traditional rivals Pakistan on Sunday, the Indians were preparing to return home on Wednesday to face the mighty Australians in a Test series starting on October 6.

Captain Sourav Ganguly, who has not forgiven himself for the irresponsible batting in the match against Pakistan, says that batsmen cannot get a place in the 2007 World Cup only because they have scored runs in 2004.

Pakistan's bowling legend Wasim Akram believes India is in the wrong in putting in all their eggs in one basket bearing the name batting.

"If batting alone wins you One-day games then India should go with 11 batsmen in a game. That's not the answer," Akram said.

Akram believes India is relying too much on only one aspect of the game and could be ignoring the other areas of One-day cricket.

"What India actually is saying is that if they don't score runs, the team can't win. If your batters bat well, you win. If they don't, you lose," the former Pakistan captain said.

The Indians have been inflexible in their approach and that probably is hurting them in One-day cricket.

After the Champions Trophy debacle, Ganguly and his men must be acutely aware that they cannot rely on their batting alone to fetch them consistent success in Limited Overs cricket.

"We have hardly made 250-plus in the last four months and that's not good at all," said Ganguly.

The Indian captain does not give himself many marks on how he played in the game against Pakistan but just blaming the batsmen is not the answer for India's One-day woes.

The time has also come for India to shed the policy of protectionism and take a hard, long look at a few of its members.

A time has come to reappraise the future of VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble in One-day cricket, re-evaluate what youngsters like Rohan Gavaskar can deliver and whether it's time to give Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh a certain jolt for them to realise their true potential.

As if this is not enough, India is relying on just one or two bowlers and one or two fielders to make their presence felt in a One-day match.

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