If Indian cricket was a patient undergoing an MRI check, chances are the scan would reveal serious cracks. India just about crossed the line at the Kotla, but that cannot hide the serious issues that confront its cricket.
What's worrying is that Pakistan stunned India at home, and
in the process, exposed the fragile character of our cricket team. The problems troubling India are for all to see; the writing is on the wall in bold letters: regular top-order batting failure, inconsistent spin attack and, above all, a team that is tired, lacking spark or spunk.
There could possibly be two lines of treatment for the ills. One, the traditional take-it-easy approach, where you behave as though there is little to worry, and offer token solutions. Meaning: the team is in transition, seniors have retired, it is difficult to find quality replacements for star players, and the failing form of experienced players is a temporary blip. So, basically, give time to cricket to correct itself.
The other, more aggressive, response would force decisive action to arrest the decline. Meaning: immediate surgery, a ruthless purge and zero tolerance for those who do not contribute much. In this option, non-performers have to go, and team selection has to be driven by performance, not emotion. Also, as part of the clean up, radical changes in governance and a major revamp of the cricket culture is necessary.
Such sweeping action is not in our DNA; change, therefore, is unlikely despite loud debates. That is why there is practically no change in the team that plays England.
The strategy is still about masterful inaction where time is supposed to heal wounds and things are expected to sort themselves out. Sehwag has been dropped but others with more dismal records retain their positions.
The challenge is not about any one player or selection alone. The recovery roadmap has to include reforms covering domestic cricket, fitness, balance between formats and greater professionalism at all levels. Merely popping a pill won't do.
The writer is a Delhi Daredevils official