India’s loss to Australia in the recent One-day series once again underlined the need for good starts in matches. A fine start with the bat or ball is key to achieving wins, for it gives the team just the platform it needs to push ahead.
However, India never got a good start and that was because the immensely talented Virender Sehwag didn’t play a long innings. He got going in just about every match except at Guwahati, where he got a beauty from Johnson. Otherwise, he was trying to belt the cover off the ball even if he hit just a boundary or a six and got out in the process.
It was this attitude, more than his ability, which had led to him being dropped for a little while a couple of years back. In cricket, players have to make adjustments to suit the team’s requirements. So, if a bowler has to bowl a line, length and trajectory that he normally does not, but is the requirement of the team, he has to try and do it.
It was not just Sehwag who didn’t click. The rest of the batting too did not give a good account of itself. Of course, there were individual feats but the partnerships that win close games were missing.
In contrast, the Australians built solid partnerships and even if they didn’t always get good starts, Ricky Ponting would build a partnership and see that the team got a good score.
What the series did was it showed that One-day cricket is alive and kicking, at least in India. There will always be interest when countries play against each other, especially those vying for the top spot.