Team India thoroughly exposed

The inability to play the short stuff was once again the undoing of the Indian batsmen and more than the lack of skills, it was a case of lack of temperament that showed the Indian batsmen in poor light.

The T-20 format catapulted Lalit Modi and M. S. Dhoni to dizzying heights three years ago but a reversal of fortune brought about by a few alleged misdemeanours on the part of the former and some ordinary performance from the latter have brought them down with a huge thud.

While the decision with regard to Modi's position has not yet been made, Dhoni's position as the Indian skipper is under scrutiny after the debacle in the Caribbean islands. The washout in the super eight stage was unexpected given that almost everyone in the Indian cricketing fraternity was thought of as a T-20 specialist post IPL III.

However, the huge difference in terms of pressure and the quality between the IPL and international cricket was highlighted by the results of the recently concluded T-20 WC.

Dhoni was left to fume initially and then was forced to defend his team as Team India's lacklustre performance was heavily criticised from all quarters.

Dhoni's composure seems to have deserted him in the wake of extreme criticism and in a way he cannot be singled out as sometimes a captain is only as good as his team.

The batting failures cannot be attributed to poor tactics from Dhoni and it is indeed baffling as to how the same mistakes are being made. An even more inexplicable fact is the tolerance shown by the selection committee to some players who have not shown any signs of improving either their fitness levels or their technical skills.

The inability to play the short stuff was once again the undoing of the Indian batsmen and more than the lack of skills, it was a case of lack of temperament that showed the Indian batsmen in poor light.

The Indians were found wanting in their quest to attack the Aussie quicks but it was obvious that they lost their way mentally in tackling the situations. One can understand the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Jadeja moaning about the fact that they are not natural players of the pull shot but there is no way the top-order batsmen can resort to such feeble excuses.

The game against Australia could have been won had the top order shown some patience. It is rather strange to see the Indian batsmen looking to play aggressive shots off the backfoot when they are very well aware that it is not their forte.

Besides, the running between the wickets seemed lethargic and there is no way any current cricketer can get away for his lack of effort. If the fitness level of some players was suspect, I am sure the coach of the Indian team has seen enough in his cricketing career to resort to prevention rather than crying over spilt milk. It is alright for the followers of the game to react based on the results but as the coach of the Indian team, one needs to be proactive.

The fetish to rely on the past reputation of some players is still dogging Indian cricket and unfortunately the players who are sitting out in the reserves will be the ones to be omitted when the team does badly.

The Indian team did not look hungry enough and even worse are the reasons that are coming from the team management. There is no way the backlash of some late nights a few weeks earlier will affect the performances of players and if it were to be the case, it should have affected the performances of some in the other teams as well.

The IPL has probably made some players appear more than what they actually are and now it is obvious that some of the players have a long way to go before they can belong in the international arena.

The recent events have exposed the negative side of IPL and it is time that the extraordinary frills are clipped and the players are made to realise that strutting around based on some success during the IPL is not the be all and end all of cricket.

They need to understand that it is about doing well for the country and not being satisfied with superficial fame. In order for them to value international cricket and their places in the Indian team, the selectors need to make the youngsters really sweat to get a berth in the National side.

Talking of that, the side announced to tour Zimbabwe features Suresh Raina as captain. Imagine a guy leading India when he hardly has any experience of leading a team!

Of course, the argument can be that he is an established member in the side but how does one explain the elevation of Virat Kohli as vice-captain? These are the kind of decisions that make the youngsters think lightly of an Indian cap and hence the selection committee should not give away things easily.