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A forgetful 2006 for Indian cricket

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 18:33 IST

The year gone by has brought into sharp relief at least one fact: coaches, whether domestic or foreign, do not necessarily win matches.

This was at least true of all sub-continental cricket teams — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — that despite the services of some of the most high-profile cricket coaches, turned in from ordinary to dismal performances during the year.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have languished under Greg Chappell, Bob Woolmer and Dave Whatmore. Sri Lanka, under Tom Moody, did better than all other sub-continental teams, winning 18 of the 34 ODIs they played during the year.

Pakistan have registered their worst performance in ODIs since 1998. Until now, they have won only eight out of 19 matches. They have, however, a chance to improve its record in the home series against the West Indies.

In India's case, 2006 is closed as far as ODIs are concerned. And again, this year saw it give its worst performance since 2000.

India have won only 13 of the 30 ODIs played this year. More than the defeats, it's the way India have succumbed to the opposition that has caused widespread consternation.

India lost the last six ODIs it played. Out of these, they were defeated comprehensively by the South Africans in the last four, without even putting up a decent fight, having lost by run margins of 157, 106, 80 and nine wickets.

Even in Test cricket, things haven't been really hunky-dory. Out of ten matches, they have won two, lost two and drawn the rest.

India will be playing two more matches this year. Considering the fact that India have never won a Test in South Africa, and given its poor form, not much can be expected.

Frequent collapses in batting has been Team India's main cause of defeat. Not long back, India had an acclaimed batting order. The trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly used to be a formidable challenge for any opposition.

Ganguly and Tendulkar were out of action for most of the year and Dravid is still coping up with the crown of captaincy.

With the return of Ganguly, it may be said that the trio has been reinstated. Ideally, Tendulkar should open with Ganguly. The pair has given us our best opening wicket partnerships.

India, under Greg Chappell, remains lost in a maze of 'processes'. Results, the coach insists, could wait, but first the processes need to be appropriate.

The idea may be right. But the Indian fans, and now even the legislators, want the team to win. And there is no end in sight to Chappell's 'processes'.

If losing matches in a row is what he terms as process, one is forced to wonder what the end results would entail.

The World Cup is round the corner, and the batting order of Team India is far from settled — courtesy Guru Greg. It is high time that Team India settled down.

Email Kamal K Agrawal: kamalkailash @rediffmail.com

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