India lost the Bangalore test with under 6 overs to spare. When a draw might have been the ideal result for us, given the toss and the quality of our bowling in both innings, it was indeed a disappointment, when the efforts of all our batsmen did not culminate in a draw, but a sore defeat.
Two things stood out for me (and Sudharshan) — poor bowling in the second innings, about 1 r.p.o higher than what we should have restricted them to, and over-defensive batting, that was too alien to us to play the entire day off. It however amuses me (though we of course did not deserve it — tell me, does any other team does?) why we need to be unsupported by weather, light et al, unlike, say, a South Africa at Wanderers, an Australia at Sydney, or Chennai, a New Zealand at Mohali, Pakistan in Colombo (30-5 in a Asia Cup 1997 game)to name a few. As someone remarked once, God was probably not Indian, what with us being at the receiving end of all the nature-dictated results! Could bad light not have intervened before the sixth last over of the day? Or could the rain not have come 15 min earlier in the last test in the Carribean (2002)?
I know the daggers are out at all, including the ever-so-consistent Rahul Dravid, who has but a dismal record at his own home ground, much similar to the dubious record that India itself holds (of course only in Tests!). What irks me a lot is, more than the poor form of Saurav Ganguly, is how the media is thirsting for his blood. Every failure, which of course he has been producing for a few innings now, is greeted [sic] with such disrespectful criticism that I’ve stopped reading several columnists. I am not trying to circumvent his poor form, but someone of his standing as an international cricketer, with nearly 15000 runs, needs to be given more respect. There’s not a batsman who hasn’t performed as badly in the past. Even the great Tendulkar had more than 2 consecutive ducks in a WI home series [Matches 1 2 3 4 5], till he bounced back to be the man of the series (I remember right!). In fact, there was a Wills World Series sandwiched between the ODIs, where he caught some form, and even the Man of the series! Statistics such as the lowest number of runs scored by a captain in a test, and so on, is just pure garbage. Even Sachin scored 10 & 0 in his first test as captain, with Mongia chipping in 152 to score a victory against Australia in the one-off test at Delhi. Statistics over a large sample can give some conclusions, but as the adage goes, it’s often “Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics”, as it all lies in the hands of the interpreter. No one threw stones at Steve when he ran out Martyn and subsequently got `hit wicket’, ignominiously for a duck in the Brisbane test, that has more come to be remembered as Ganguly’s last good game. But in India, much in tune with our general attitude, is to tarnish anyone and everyone. Recall the Nagma incident when Australia toured in 2001. It took some quality cricket to kick the media guys back into their places.
I can go writing on and on. It’s the Indian attitude that has to change. Defeatist. That’s what the media is. Optimist. That’s what Ganguly is. That’s what got us the Natwest. That’s what took us to the finals of WCC 2003, after an abysmal (for want of a better word) tour of NZ on doctored pitches. That’s what got us to win after a follow on in 2001 at Kolkata. To win when all chips are down — it’s something that this Indian team has done. One defeat is a backward step, but it’s not all over. I’d be least surprised if dada roars to form with sixes over point off Sami. India, get a move on.
— A die-hard fan (so much for my fanatic pro-India views)
PostScript: Sudharshan just sends me this article on ” Kapil backs India skipper Ganguly”. Makes so much of sense. One defeat or one victory is not all. Simple. Build a team, and wins shall follow.