Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To Save Indian Cricket In 5 Easy Steps

Here we are again. After being taken to the cleaners by England, India quickly hosted a home ODI series, duly thrashed them, and life went on.

Lessons learned, none.  © AFP

But in the wise words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, "you only postponed it, judgement day is inevitable". Now we have a team that is at full strength and performing even worse despite more favourable conditions and a weaker opponent. We have a team that is making Warner & Cowan look like the next Hayden & Langer, and nobodies like Hilfenhaus bowling as if they are Jason Gillespie.

One can ramble on and dissect the new level of horrors that have been transcended, but its time for a change in tone. Its time to look at how Indian cricket can be fixed, and its not all that complicated either.

1. Restrain The IPL Horse
Dear BCCI, if you want your cash cow then so be it, you started a trend that everyone follows, however everyone else knows how to let loose in small doses. A two month annual event is simply not on. The crowds are bored, the purists are cringing and the batting techniques are flopping like a dying fish. You had your fun but now realise that the development of skill is more important than the development of the wallet size, nobody will pay to go and watch street kids swing a stick and that's the way its heading.

2. Retire The Oldies
Dear selectors, when you know that half the team is ready for the old folks home, have a plan. Instead we are being treated to the shame of watching great batsmen lose their natural reflexes, embarrassing themselves against opposition they would have swished away like a fly five years ago. They are not invincible nor immortal, and if you take those three out of the team without a backup blueprint, we have a hole to replace a hole covered with sticks.

3. Develop Real Batsmen
Yes you again selectors, why not grow test match quality talent instead of selecting IPL talent and hoping for the best? The funny thing is, the domestic circuit already has players of the correct calibrations, Cheteshwar Pujara, Dinesh Karthik, Badrinath, Jaffer, Kaif just to name a few. But all of these players fell victim to the show pony bias, the insuppressible urge to hire a cowboy instead of a workhorse. Give these guys guaranteed selection for a while and let their techniques develop naturally, you can't expect players to emerge like magic.

4. Get A Real Captain
Mr Dhoni, quite a history you have developed on this blog. Maybe its time to realise for yourself that you have neither the batting technique, the tactical nous nor the hunger for test cricket captaincy. You barely qualify for selection on batting and keeping grounds. The gentlemen's move would be to step down from Test cricket now instead of 2013, rather than boldly assuming he wouldn't be dropped before then. Nasser Hussain knew when to quit with dignity.

5. Leave The Go-Karts At Home
Dear team building co-ordinator (you again Dhoni?), if a team is struggling to hit a ball, for goodness sake don't take them go-karting! Taking their minds off cricket you say? Their minds couldn't have been more off cricket to begin with. Yes we know that your home based matches are a barrel of laughs but an overseas tour to a country where you never win is pretty serious stuff. Here's an idea, maybe a few hours of hard net practice? Fielding practice? Even meditation would do.

Just working on my 'drive' .  © Flagstaffotos

All of this is easier said than done. It requires vision, maturity and sacrifice, three qualities that the governing body of Indian cricket distinctly lack. There will be a fall back, and it will take perhaps years to rebuild a team worthy of Test cricket, but it is a necessary move given that things could not get any worse right now. Without a change, its like the great Arnie says.

"You are terminated".

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  1. Please dont imply that Gillespie was a good bowler, he just lived of the coatails of warne and mcgrath, people would target him and get out trying to smash him

    1. I tend to disagree, Gillespie would often soften up batsmen with his extra pace and bounce compared to McGrath. He would constantly beat the bat.

      This was before Pietersen starting tucking into him though...

  2. Very well said, Varun! Our Cricket Board is very good in making a profitable business model out of the game; but not bothered about naking our country getting embarrassed in front of the whole world!!

    1. Goes to show doesn't it, money isn't everything.

  3. Hey,

    very informative, with a good dose of pun too...:):)

    Keep up the good work