I know it has been a few days since India lost miserably to England in the third test. I have no reasons for not posting on this blog. Simply put, I had nothing to say and after the initial sorrow and disappointment at the loss of the series and the number 1 ranking, the only feeling that remains is anger. Anger at the incompetence of the famous Indian lineup to cope with the England bowling and conditions, anger at the BCCI for not having even one practice match before the first test, anger at the bowlers and team management for not being able to pose any concerns to the England lineup and for giving up too easily in this test match and often in this series. I could go on and on, but that will do for now.
The real problem is, there seems to be no way to turn this around other than go out and get 500 or more in the Oval test. If that happens, it will do good for everyone - the cricketers themselves who will get some confidence back before the ODI series, the fans who will continue to hope and not be forced to believe that this Indian team is headed for number 4 or 5 in the test rankings. If we dont do well in the Oval test, we will get back to India and in a few weeks, this tour and its issues will be swept under the carpet without taking any corrective action. I know some of you are probably thinking that we should fail at Oval too, so that BCCI will be forced to make some changes. But I dont believe change is the only way to go here. I agree that it is time to groom youngsters and look to phase out the big 3 from the Indian team. But think about this more rationally. They have done well in England before and even here, Dravid got 2 hundreds. So I dont think it is skill or talent that is missing here or even determination to do well, since we have seen that in abundance before. Somehow Sachin and Laxman could not face up to the wonderful England bowlers in this series. I am not defending them, it is definitely a cause for concern that such great batsmen failed again and again in this series and a lot of times, fell to similar type of shots and deliveries. But whether this alone is enough reason to kick them out of the team altogether, I am not sure. Anyway, the 'young' alternatives we have like Raina and Virat have not exactly set the world on fire with their accomplishments.
Like someone mentioned in the comments section of my previous post, we should look at other replacements like Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Rahane, Manoj Tiwary etc. And we should also look to blood them in some low profile series like Bangladesh or some home series. But looking ahead only as far as our next test series, it is in Australia and for that, I am of the opinion that we need the big 3 to be in the team. Australia is a very tough place to tour and if we blood too many youngsters in that tour, I think we will be eaten up raw by the Aussies and also, the youngsters could be severely impacted in terms of confidence and that would only set us back in terms of development for the future. But more on that later.
For now, we need to focus on the Oval test and how to get our batting in order for that. I was really angry at Sehwag for getting out first ball in both innings. I dont buy the 'getting back from injury' and 'this is the way he plays' argument for one second. He is a professional and has been in this situation before. Moreover, the entire country and the team was counting on him to produce some of his magic and lift us out of the doldrums. Having known that, he needed to show more caution and play the situation appropriately. Hopefully, he will spend more time in the middle at the Oval.
For the Oval test, our bowling (I cannot use the word 'attack' after what happened in the first 3 tests) should be 2 pacers and 2 spinners. Sreesanth should be benched and Ojha should play. It is almost September and the Oval track has traditionally assisted spin, so Ojha should be a certainty. If PK is injured, RP Singh should play. He cannot do much worse than the others and being left-arm, he provides a different angle for us. We could also try Virat one more time instead of Raina. He needs to spend time in the middle, both for his own confidence at test level, and also before the ODI series that follows.
Lets hope for a better batting performance from India in the last test match. Lets hear it from you guys out there now. Are you still hopeful of a turnaround in the team fortunes in this test match or are you already looking ahead to the ODI series and the Australia series in terms of test matches ?
I will post again after the Oval test, so stay tuned.