Virat Kohli's superlative knock and India's unbelievable victory at Hobart had raised hopes of an India-Australia tri-series final. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Although we are upset about it, we must understand that the two best teams on form have qualified for the three-match title showdown.
Sri Lanka showed tremendous courage and hunger to win the game and a lot of credit must go to Mahela Jayawardene for showing fantastic captaincy skills under pressure. Having lost two of his main bowlers to injuries, Jayawardene handled his limited resources ably under pressure. It was also a reminder that you can come back strongly as skipper in the second stint. Sometimes, a break can help you go back and re-evaluate your various skills and come back a better player.
The Indian selectors can emulate this example to bring the team back on the right path. Since the World Cup victory, India's fortunes have plummeted, and, for me, Indian cricket is at the crossroads. The selectors have a very important role to play now.
Losses in a row
India have lost eight Tests in a row — a record — and the selectors can't let this go unnoticed. They have retained almost 90% of the ODI side which went to Australia. I have a feeling they were forced to do that, considering India had an opportunity to play the finals. Wholesale changes at that time would have affected the morale of the team had it qualified.
India have been exposed in all departments in the eight Tests they've played in England and Australia. It's time the selectors took stock of the situation. They will be committing a huge mistake by sweeping the issue under the carpet. If they do so, they will put more pressure on the new selection committee which will take charge in September.
The selectors must also remember that this is a competitive world and if one doesn't perform, he has to make way for others.
Everyone must understand that if there is non-performance, especially over a long period of time, individuals will have to be given a break, not only to give opportunities to fresh talent but also to allow non-performing players to go back and work on their game.
Players must also be made to realise the urgency to perform day-in, day-out.
India will again play a few Test series at home where their performance will be much better, but it will not be enough to get back their heavily battered image overseas. The side should be ready to perform well in overseas condition.
I would rather pick a player who might have a poor series at home but a good away Test series, because he will invariably perform at some stage on home soil. That is why it's important for the selectors to stand up and make a statement.
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(The writer is a former India captain and plays Domestic cricket for Bengal)