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Don’t make juniors a scapegoat

Cricket is a game where there is plenty of scope to learn everyday. Anybody who thinks he has mastered the game will soon find out that he still does not know everything, writes Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2009 23:16 IST

Cricket is a game where there is plenty of scope to learn everyday. Anybody who thinks he has mastered the game will soon find out that he still does not know everything. It is this awareness and his innate humility that makes Sachin Tendulkar the master that he is and explains why he has been in the game for 20 long years.

He is still child-like in his fascination for the game and like a kid wanting to explore the nuances of the game and wanting to learn from it and get better. Ricky Ponting is also similar in approach as he takes nothing for granted and there is no cricketer who works harder at his game than him. That is the reason why these two are the two outstanding cricketers in the game today and will rank in anybody's books among the greatest the world has seen.

Ponting's approach has rubbed off brilliantly on his team and it is evident not just in the manner of their preparation but also for the never-say-die approach on the field. That is the main reason why a team that has been depleted with injuries to key players has gone on to win the series in style.

India have only themselves to blame for letting the Aussies back in the series in Mohali. They had won the previous two encounters with ease and had the psychological upper hand. Then, their bowlers did a splendid job to restrict the visitors to 250 when at one stage it looked like they would get to near 300 if not more.

It is here that India's overconfident approach cost them the game. The thoughtlessness could be seen in the margin of defeat and the number of deliveries still left when the last man threw away his wicket away. There were still 20 deliveries left and 24 runs to get. This is not an attempt to blame the last man but to point out that if it had been an Australian, the never-say-die approach would have seen them get to the final over at least. By giving up even when more than three overs were left, the Indians showed that they still have to learn to try and fight for the others in their team. It will be a pity if some junior is made a scapegoat because if the seniors haven't pulled their weight, then they should be pulled up too and not some junior who is invariably dropped.

Winning and losing is part of sport and in ODI cricket, any team can beat the other on a given day. It's the lack of application that should be dealt with and not allowed to fester infectiously in the team.