Arjun Raja is a NRIOL featured sports columnist. To read about Arjun Raja, please Know more.
India's pathetic showing in the first four one dayers in the Carlton and United Triangular series in progress at the moment needs to be improved and fast if the players want to return to India with a little pride intact.
But the question is where are the players to bring about such a change. At the moment there seems to be no player who is showing any encouraging signs of a match winning performance, Sachin Tendulkar included.
Sachin is usually not one to complain about small issues, he generally lets his bat do the talking but off late the pressure of a side not delivering seems to have got to him. Complaints about non co-operation from umpires and so on do not suit the man. It is indeed a pitiable sight.
With a week's gap between Game 3 and Game 4 for India, we would have expected the Board and selectors to fly out both Azharuddin and Jadeja in the hope that they could improve matters. It is very clear that the current crop of young batsmen in the middle order are woefully out of depth at that level. This in turn is not allowing the established stars to play their normal game. Result - the whole batting side is in a mess.
The way the batting line-up is being changed every game is ridiculous. It doesn't allow any player to think positively and plan his innings in advance since he doesn't know until the day of the match the position he is going to bat at.
Just look at Rahul Dravid's and Sachin's batting numbers in the first three games. ... They have batted at all numbers possible, which doesn't make sense.
The selectors must take the blame for what is happening. They have different yardsticks for different players. Azhar is deemed too old at 36 but Dighe makes his debut aged 31! Only a moron will make sense of that theory.
It is easy for the selectors to play around with people's careers but where does that leave the team? In shambles and the laughing stock of the entire world. To make matters worse, the Aussie crowds have turned up in phenomenal numbers, with huge support for both teams and this makes the defeats even harder to swallow.
at is the immediate solution? My view is fly out Azhar and Jadeja. Our batting will be more experienced at least on paper and Australia and Pakistan will know they cannot relax at any time. Also our fielding will improve tremendously. If the selectors feel Azhar is too old, let them consider this a short term option.
Our bowling definitely needs a little more character and aggression. Look at Srinath. He is a success because he has the batsmen on the back foot. He is at them all the time just like McGrath or Shoaib. Unfortunately both opponents have sorted out Kumble so an attacking option for India in one-day cricket has been nullified.
It may be a good idea to give Kumble a break for a couple of games for him to recharge his batteries. He has bowled a lot this summer. Throw in Joshi as a surprise. He can score a few runs at the death as well, something painfully missing in our side. It appears the Indian bowlers are following their job description perfectly, which is to only "BOWL"! The job description must be changed to include scoring a few runs as well.
My team would be (in batting order):
Saurav, Sachin, Rahul, Azhar, Jadeja, Robin, Dighe (no other choice!), Joshi, Srinath, Agarkar and Venkatesh Prasad.
If Joshi is a failure - being in the side only to give Kumble a welcome break, then I'd bring Kumble back but it doesn't look like Azhar and Jadeja are flying out so their places will have to manned by Jacob Martin and Laxman.
GOOD LUCK INDIA! Read more
- Arjun Raja in Dubai, UAE
January 23, 2000
The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.For a listing of past columns by Arjun Raja, please Know more.