Bangladesh loss: Why it's a harsh, bitter reality for Indian cricket
The tour was supposed to showcase all its might and superior strength which would have cemented Ravi Shastri's claims for a long-term contract as its Team Director and provide steel to the argument that the two-captain theory is a workable arrangement.columns Updated: Jun 22, 2015 17:09 IST
India's tour of Bangladesh was supposed to showcase all its might and superior strength which would have cemented Ravi Shastri's claims for a long-term contract as its Team Director and provide steel to the argument that the two-captain theory is a workable arrangement.
Instead, what we have to now contend with is a very harsh and bitter reality that Indian cricket has many fault lines which need immediate attention. The one-day defeats have shown the Indian team as a listless bunch of disparate characters, who have ceased to enjoy their cricket.
All losses rankle, but some more than the others and this series defeat should hurt the most, especially as it comes against a team which was not supposed to put up even a fight, let alone win with such comprehensive ease.
What could have gone wrong? For starters, may be overconfidence of a team which still believed that Bangladesh's World Cup knock-out qualification was a fluke. It did not factor in Bangladesh's outstanding recent home record which included its decimation of Pakistan.
India probably also did not realize that non-stop cricket round the year, that too most of it outside of home, had already sapped their energies. The high-fives and the celebratory tone of the IPL past two months in the torrid heat of the Indian summer may have camaflouged the reality of players having been drained of their last ounce of energy. And what we saw in the two one-dayers was a manifestation of the symptoms of a disease which periodically surfaces post the IPL, whenever the scheduling is not properly planned and spaced out.
India may have believed that all these shortcomings can be tapered off against a weak team and they would prevail. Unfortunately for them, Bangladesh is no longer a team that walks on to the ground having already given up. Their self-belief, obviously bolstered by a combination of many positive factors, that include unearthing of many young talented players and a coach who has worked on their mental strength, has made them the team to beat.
Just contrast the energy levels of the two teams on the field. Bangladesh were brimming with not just confidence but also made their presence felt with a display of aggressive exuberance that made Indians look like meek minnows up for slaughter.
What these defeats have done is also made us confront another significant issue which we should tackle sooner than later, so that it does not create dual centers of power in the team, a palpable reality in societies that worship hierarchy. In such situations, ego clashes are inevitable, which can scar the psyche of the players and leave the team in disarray.
I am referring to India's experiment with two captains for the two formats, which other teams may have successfully implemented, but in our conditions needs a relook.
Dhoni, who "willingly" gave up Test captaincy in the midst of a test series in Australia, ostensibly to focus on one-day cricket, may be searching for his best batting form at the moment but he is too precious a player to be dispensed with.
But in the circumstances the Indian team finds itself placed today, where Dhoni himself was forced to say that he would quit as captain if it helps, may be time has come for him to do exactly that.