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Introspection after mauling

cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2011 02:25 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Indian-players-including-Sachin-Tendulkar-and-MS-Dhoni-R-wait-for-the-presentations-after-England-defeated-India-in-the-fourth-Test-cricket-match-at-the-Oval-cricket-ground-in-London

The history of the Indian team shows it is seldom proactive. It was where MS Dhoni's side, No 1 for nearly 19 months, fell short of achieving the greatness of Clive Lloyd's West Indies or Steve Waugh's Australia.

India never had the depth and balance of world-conquering sides. It thrived more on passion and fighting spirit. But to stoke the fire, someone had to jolt them. Australia gave them a roasting Down Under in 1999, and England have done it now.

As the team assembled in dressing room after the Oval humiliation, the talk was on how to recover. The captain and coach addressed their men as they sat introspecting.

"Everyone goes through ups and downs. Try to forget it as a bad dream. We have to look to turn things around in the one-dayers and put things in place during the home series so that we don't repeat the mistakes again and are ready for the Australia tour," Duncan Fletcher is learnt to have told the team.

Most of the players were seething from the humiliation. “Inko marna hai (we have to beat them),” that was the general refrain. Team sources revealed the captain and coach were then locked in a lengthy meeting at the team hotel.

The return England series is not until the next season but it is clear all the energy of this team will be channelled towards giving them a similar reception.

Challenging them
Rahul Dravid threw down the gauntlet, saying it would be a challenge for England to win in India.

Sachin Tendulkar cut a forlorn figure after the game. On the threshold of 100 centuries, he was not even able to save the team from whitewash. He had a blank look as to how the team collapsed after the wicket of Amit Mishra, the unlikely batting hero. It is learnt, ruing the dramatic collapse, Tendulkar told Mishra “if you were there, we would have pulled it off”.

From all indications, Dhoni and Fletcher can expect a tougher run from now on. Later in the night, a couple of players were taking a stroll outside the team hotel. One of them remarked: “We understand we have made mistakes, but it is time to focus on the one-day series.” It looked like the end of their worst nightmare.