Why Wankhede should hurt Team India

October 29, 2015

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Though defeat is a part of the sports lexicon, some of them leave big enough scars to be more noteworthy than a glossary entry.

The 214-run defeat at Wankhede was one such failure that will torment Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys for a long time. Surely they mustn’t have been sleeping easy ever since the debacle. And it’s for their own good that they don’t.

The turmoil within should make the team confront its weakness. And the weakness is quite glaring: the new ball bowlers lack control and consistency. They struggled all through the ODI series to provide an initial breakthrough and conceded too many runs during the slog overs.

In the five ODI matches, India’s opening medium-fast bowlers picked up only 14 wickets and often that of lower-middle order batsmen or tailenders. On the other hand, the Proteas duo of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada picked up 20 wickets despite the fact that they went wicketless in the Rajkot ODI.

And in all this mayhem, perhaps, the most futile exercise is to blame the pitch and the captain, Dhoni. Dhoni can only provide the field and give his input to bowlers to bowl a particular line or length. It’s the bowlers who have to deliver.

On the same Wankhede pitch, where Indian bowlers managed to take only four wickets, while letting the opposition score a mammoth 438, the South African bowlers bowled out the host team for 224 runs in 36 overs.

Indian team director Ravi Shastri’s altercation with the Wankhede pitch curator Sudhir Naik clearly shows his fear. The series was tied 2-2 and the home team was under pressure to win the final match to clinch the series. Clearly, Shastri was looking for an easy way out – a tailor-made pitch for his bowlers. Shastri’s fear indeed came true and his bravado got exposed. A good team should win in every situation and on all kinds of pitches. Just the way South Africans did on the day.

And it’s not enough to blame the Indian bowlers alone. Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun should also take the blame for the medium pacers’ pedestrian performance. Arun has been India’s bowling coach for over a year and yet bowlers such as Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma struggle to bowl yorkers in the death overs, which continues to be a problem area for the Indian team.

Perhaps, the question that Shastri and Arun need to ask themselves is how a 20-year-old fast bowler, Rabada, could restrict Dhoni, one of the finest finishers of the game, and consistently trouble the Indian batsmen with his pace and accuracy, whereas the likes of Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma have struggled to raise their game. It’s an area of concern for the Indian team that even Dhoni has acknowledged on a few occasions.

Isn’t it time to question the coach’s inability to deliver?

One comment

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Nice article. Yes indeed question the bowling coach rather than blaming the captain alone.
Off-late even the media are biased towards the vested interests of the Mumbai cricket to replace MSD who still has lot of cricket left in him to deliver.

Posted by svbsuresh | Report as abusive