Cricket shambles? Pak on the verge of 4-2…

India have moved from one poor display to another in the last four games. I write this before the end of the game, but with our fate nearly sealed. It’s pretty sad that we had to lose four games on the trot, losing a 6 match series being 2-0 up. All the more a problem, in front of Manmohan and Musharraf, particularly because India-Pakistan games are not just cricket, but more! The team is certainly not playing as poor cricket as the scoreline suggests, but Pakistan has come a long way (however cliched that sounds) in this series. It’s been a close one for sure. 5 overs in Bangalore. 1 ball in Ahmedabad. One session of resistance in Mohali. But the rub of the green has gone Pakistan’s way. Well played guys.

Though we tend to read in too much into defeats, there is some doubt even in my mind if this team is kind of unsettled. The bowling’s not been very bad, but it’s not going to win matches. The batting has been really poor in the absence of some top order fire, particularly in Jamshedpur and Delhi.

I guess it’s real time to do some soul searching as far as our ODI cricket goes. We’ve almost been improving in tests, thanks to Dravid, Kumble and some others, but in ODIs, we’ve been underperforming a lot after the World Cup, excluding, perhaps, the series in Pakistan. With Wright leaving the stage, we need some real good thinking to go into our game. I am particularly dissatisfied with Sachin opening the batting, particularly with this form. Sehwag is a natural choice for one opener. Sachin or Ganguly must come in at 4, and Dravid may come in at 5. Yuvraj needs to temporarily play at 3, with Dhoni as a finisher. It’s time to do something drastic, ‘cos our performance has indeed come down drastically. I think changing captains didn’t help either! No mud slinging (which will come from all corners, including experienced writers as Ayaz Memon) is going to solve this problem. Let’s acknowledge losing to a better team, but get in rightaway to rebuild our team and form.

As for the positives from the series, it’s Dhoni certainly, the rediscovery of Zaheer’s form, some good death bowling in patches, Sehwag’s improved ODI form, the not-so-new but consistent-as-ever Dravid (actually a minus, as he’s being given the responsibility too often). Looks like it’s long enough to give the impression that we did not play badly, but no, we did play bad enough to lose to this Pakistan team, that’s on the rise.

Come on guys, pick up. 2007 is far enough, but to win, we’d need to begin building right away. And the ICC super series is also there late this year. There’s sufficient time to prepare for the next series (tri-series Ind-SL-WI in SL in August), and let’s not get into a slumber as we did last season, when we had a long break after the Pakistan tour.

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