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India could lose invincibility at home

Within hours of India's sixth consecutive loss away from home that indicated its disturbing slide in the Test arena, the Indian Board announced the IPL schedule for the year. Pradeep Magazine writes.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2012 23:53 IST
Sachin-Tendulkar-and-his-teammates-listen-to-the-national-anthem-before-the-second-Test-match-at-the-Sydney-Cricket-Ground-in-Sydney-AP-Photo
Sachin-Tendulkar-and-his-teammates-listen-to-the-national-anthem-before-the-second-Test-match-at-the-Sydney-Cricket-Ground-in-Sydney-AP-Photo

Within hours of India's sixth consecutive loss away from home that indicated its disturbing slide in the Test arena, the Indian Board announced the IPL schedule for the year. The timing of this release could not have been more apt and perfect. Instead of reacting to the defeat or keeping quiet, they went ahead with their business the way they are best known to do, being completely insensitive to the mood of the fans and indifferent to the longer version of the game.

In the aftermath of the defeat, the media has slammed the players, demanding a complete revamp of the team, and even the unthinkable has happened: The “God” of Indian cricket has not been spared. This reflects the unforgiving nature of the world which has no place for MS Dhoni's philosophical view that defeat is a learning process and makes one stronger.

There will be many who agree with what the Indian captain has to say, but the learning process that makes one stronger for the future takes place only if one tries to correct the past wrongs.

Respectful exit
I know the time for the seniors is all but over and if one knows the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman well, they are not going to leave it to the selectors to decide their fate. Don't be surprised if the end of the tour also sees them announcing their retirement. They are a proud duo and have done more than enough to deserve a dignified and respectful exit. It would be fitting, after all that they have done for the team, if they were to bow out in a blaze of glory and not as failures hounded by us in the last stretch of their remarkable careers.

The discomforting thought is not that we may be seeing the last of this great generation of cricketers, because of whom we started winning abroad and became the number one Test team in the world. The feeling of disquiet comes from the thought that we may not have enough players who are even half as good, to replace them. In an era where private enterprise is hell-bent on promoting products like the IPL, are there enough players left who value Test skills over the shorter version's requirements?

Before the advent of Sourav Ganguly and the “golden generation”, India were pathetic travellers abroad, hard to beat only at home. From 2001 onwards, it all changed for a decade till those who made India a Test team to reckon with, started finding it hard to wage a battle with their ageing bodies. The real danger today is that in the coming days — when there would neither be a genius nor The Wall nor a masterly artiste to guide the team — we could well lose even our invincibility at home.

This could be a frightening thought for a genuine follower of the game, but welcome news for those who have invested millions in the IPL and the shorter versions of the game.

If the Darwinian Theory is to be applied to Indian cricket, then it is logical that only the survival of the fittest (read long pockets and profits) will be guaranteed. Unless the administrators care and react fast, Test cricket could be on its death bed in India, gasping for a last few breaths.