I must first forewarn you that this is not an organized collection of thoughts. It’s a largely an emotional response to the series thrown away and hope lost of seeing the Fab-four in action together.
After a day and of half of holding on to the fine ray of hope, nearly living on the edge, the most logical result has shown its face. I’m sure fellow blogger Soulberry shares in my fatigue. Soulberry, you seriously raised my hopes with your stats on the Dravid-Laxman partnership. They looked promising, esp, Dravid, but I guess it just wasn’t to be. This goes to prove you cannot win a Test match with 4 injured players, especially if it includes your strike pace bowler. A few overs of Ishant could have made for a different story, but many will feel that he could only have delayed the inevitable.
It was a rather hyped series given the sub-continental flavor. As an Indian cricket fan, it is a sad day not because this is just another series loss, but because, I think we might have seen the last of the Fab-four playing together. Not because that should be the case, but because I think that will. Indian fans and the BCCI have been known for their knee-jerk reactions to everything: World Cup exits, victories and umpiring errors alike. I expect that one of the four places will now go to a junior and as SP predicted, I suspect that it will be Ganguly, but honestly, I think it should be Tendulkar. Either way, some of us, fans of the Fab-four, need to brace ourselves for some brutal ones to come.
While the rational side of me says it is only fair that one of these places go to a junior, a part of me also fears the selectors will pick the wrong senior to replace and give his place to a wrong junior. The selectors might pick a teenager who scored in the IPL 20, the likes of Rohit Sharma. We need to pick from our regional circles, a player who has scored well. Doesn’t matter if he is 30. The Gangulys and the Dravids, the two who have probably lasted the longest in the history of the game (apart from Tendulkar, of course) came in their late twenties, after being seasoned by good old Ranji. At the moment, the only batsman deserving of a Test call up is Badrinath, but I think Rohit will get it earlier and fail. That said, some of the senior folk could use some domestic match practice as well.
Galle victory notwithstanding, we lost the series in the first Test: mostly psychologically. There was pressure on the seniors from Asia-cup-fame Mendis, the fans, the press, the media, and I suspect the BCCI. Did the Fab-four lose this series for us? Yes and No.
Yes, they did contribute significantly to the loss. Let’s start at the top with “the God” shall we. Tendulkar seemed impatient and arrogant, more inclined to get his record that to play to a responsible innings. Nothing else explains the dismissal in the first innings of the First Test. Then Ganguly. Nothing seemed to be wrong with him, impatience and fear got the better of him. Dravid, seemed disturbingly out of form in the first Test. Batting seemed to invoke horrors in a man who nicknamed the Wall. There was one innings in which he was himself: the second innings of the decider Test and this is the only good sign for us among the Fab four. Laxman seemed solid in the first innings of the First Test, fell like a bunny 5 times, and resurrected himself to some extend in the second innings of the Third Test.
Yes, they lost it for us as Dravid, who has for long been the backbone of the batting did not find form until the second innings of the 3rd Test. We need the Wall to keep building the fortress to allow the other batsmen to build. There is just no replacement for the role that Dravid has played.
Yes, they lost it for us, as this is the first time in which they were all not scoring throughout the series.
But, no, it isn’t just them. Our bowler’s did not step up either. Other the Ishant, nobody looked like taking any wickets. Our wicketkeepers or wicketkeeper-batsmen, as we wrongly call them were pathetic with both their responsibilities. Kumble, surprizingly didn’t look like taking wickets. Our fielders lacked initiative, yes the young ones too. Last but not the least, there was the largely inconsistent and partisan referral system. A collective failure in performance and spirit caused us this series and takes us only further from that coveted #1 Test team position.
Having said all about the Fab-four, while they have been stellar in many ways, they have also been largely inconsistent through their illustrious careers. It would be hard to find a series in which all of them collectively consistently and consequtively scored heavily. It has been their class and showmanship with the bat that has earned them this tag. The again, winning Test matches isn’t about of collective centuries, it is about everybody doing their part and doing so well. This time, they failed to produce that face-saving century that they needed, or half century each, Lax and Dravs excluding (though I’m not sure that will save them from the selectors who will want to keep Tendulkar) . Also, more often than not, they have been bothered by a bowler on debut. Bret Lee, Chris Tremlet and Sohail Tanvir come to mind. Ajantha Mendis now joins this list. It will be interesting to see which way he goes.
The selectors have a many tough decisions now with the Aussies coming to town. Do you judge the seniors on one bad series? Do you put the mentally pressurized seniors on the spot with an ultimatum in the series against the Aussies? Or do you throw the younsters to the wolves? Do you give seniors match practice in Ranji or rest?
As RS rightly points out, the only one to gain from this is Dhoni. It’s a stroke of tactical masterclass from him to skip this Test series. I now predict a Sri Lankan ODI series washout by 4-1 or 5-0. Then will the same questions be asked of Dhoni’s boys? Let us see.
Agree with all your points. However i feel that it was more the failure of the bowlers than the batsmen. Our spinners could take wicktets on spin friendly tracks. If the axe falls on the batsmen then the bowlers shud not be spared either.
Victoria, I understand how you feel, but it is never wrong or wasteful to hold onto hope. That is an energy which can extract the better out of you.
Never mind the loss, they tried, we tried, the better team won.
I guess this time there isn’t any escaping…we are once again at that point where questions are asked and ther aren’t any comeback 100s or 200s or match-winning efforts to fall back upon for the fab4.
How appropriate India lost this series…Abhinav Bindra’s pioneering trailblazing effort can occupy the centerstage it deserves instead of some fabulous cricketing event displacing this momentous occasion.
imagine: msd pushes himself up the order, and pulls it off. what would that do for msd’s equity?
@trideep, true, the bowlers deserve their share too.
@Soulberry, true, there is something so wonderful about hope and so beautiful espcially when we get what we hoped for. But even if we don’t there is a satisfying feeling for having hoped. Yes, it was a goosebump moment to hear the anthem being played at the Olympics. Great deed indeed.
@NC, it would reaching the dizzying heights like the 21K markets of Jan this year. But we know what came after that. 🙂 Jokes apart, I have a feeling he will, to save himself from the spinners. Then will we accuse Ganguly of “playing” the new ball?
some emotions VM!!
i would quote gaurav from my blog that “Any series has one Vandort, India excelled in producing five…”
this sums up the series for me…
while its easier to find scapegoats in bowler (barring kumble) its our batsmen who failed to put a score for bowlers to defend…and once we did it courtsey sehwag, gambir we won…
this can not be coincidence…
you cant expect your bowlers to bail you out on dead pitches if you struggle to put even 250 (fifty of which came from last pair) after winning toss and when conditions were most favorable to batting…
its a sin…and they paid for it…simple as that…no emotions attached…
@SP, 🙂 I knew you would say this. But, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a sympathetic response when the Indian ODI side goes down 1-4. 😉
thats the point VM…we are or looking forward to find solace from one defeat to another which is yet to happen if at all it will…
Vm, Ganguly probably dserves to go. He has looked out ofg sorts for a while. But I think we should still persist with him for two test matches against the Aussies. If he is still struggling, replace him with Badrinath or maybe even Mohd Kaif.
You are being harsh to Sachin. He has failed in Sri Lanka but had a faboulour series against Australia and then didnt play against South Africa. To drop him on the basis of one failure would be harsh.
Lakshman definately needs to bat at 3. Dravid has looked more and more uncertain. Even in his inngs of 61 , he went scoreless for 24 deliveries when he was on 57. ..signs that his confidence is at an all time low.
Whether we like it or not, the big four will be required to be displaced pretty soon.
vm – write to me firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk about bcci
@Apurv, I’m with you on persisting with Ganguly till the end of the Australia series. While I do agree that Dravid is low on confidence, I still have hope that he will come out of this. The sooner the better – there were some good signs in the second innings, but it’s still nowhere near the Dravid we know. I’ve said before that I would any day pick an out-of-form Dravid over a Yuvraj. I will say that again. I would give Dravid another match at #3, maybe even two, if it doesn’t get better, then move him to #5 with Laxman at #3.
recently, all series have started throwing similar pattern of results. One team wins the test series, other, the ODI series. Foood for thought?