Cricket players are very much like Hollywood stars-their survival depends on their ability to keep succeeding. The more they succeed, the more they are worshipped. But woe to them if they fail, their entire career is doomed.
That said, it was not surprising that the recent series of defeats suffered by the Indian team lowered them in the esteem of our surfers. So much so that Rahul Dravid, the once 'exalted' 'all-rounder' captain became a 'hate figure'-someone who had to be 'chucked out ASAP', as Nadeem, one of our surfers said.
Our online survey on 'What ails the Indian cricket team?' threw up some interesting responses. While some of our surfers said the main problem was coach Greg Chappell, others were of the opinion that skipper Dravid was to blame. Still others opined that a lack of talent, focus and professionalism was the bane of the current team.
Here are some of the responses:
"Guru Greg needs a one way ticket out of India. Right from the start, he has played on the insecurities of the players and that has worsened the situation. This is not Australia. He should remember that the Indian culture and psyche needs a settled approach to enable them to give their best. Also, Rahul Dravid is a weak and uninspiring leader. Everybody is great when the going is good. But it's when the chips are down that you can discern true leadership. Rahul has a perennial hangdog look of a man in denial. This reminds me of another unispiring captain, Azharuddin. A brilliant player, but a weak captain who was unable to motivate his men. So Dravid should be sacked as captain. And for his sheer aggression alone, bring back Ganguly," said Jayant, from Delhi.
Meanwhile, Aumlan from Kolkata specified: "These are the problems with the Indian cricket team: 1) Greg Chappell & Rahul Dravid are being unnecessarily blamed. 2) There is a dearth of really special talent, and also the lack of professionalism 3) We need good bowlers (quick, slow, whichever, but wicket-takers), and this we really lack. 4) We need to remember that a captain or a coach are as effective as their team. So as an experiment, make Fleming & Buchanan the skipper & coach and try out."
Hemant Vij from Ghaziabad had a different take. He said: "Remove Greg Chappell as coach, remove Dravid as captain, make Yuvraj the captain instead, put Sachin to bat in the middle order, kick out Sehwag and bring in Ghambhir."
Ashish Garg from Bangalore commented: "The main reason for our failure is that Rahul Dravid is unable to captain the team. He is a good orator, but is not able to lead the team. Meanwhile, Chappell remains the non-playing captain of the team and Rahul his spokesman, is always trying to fool Indians by looking at positives when there are none. So we need to change the captain in order to restore the confidence and caliber of the team."
Even Tendulkar came in for his share of flak. Unny, a surfer from Gurgaon said: "You're not going to believe this, but the problem is Tendulkar. He is living on borrowed time. His presence affects the rest of the team because all of them expect Sachin to perform and so leave it to him to perform. Unfortunately, more often than not, Sachin doesn't do what is expected. Moreover, it is sad that he is trying to take a leaf out of Ganguly's book by clinging on to cricket rather than walking into the sunset, head held high."
Amit Barooah from Shillong, represented the truly frustrated Indian. He said: "As long as we as a nation continue to tolerate poor performances from the likes of Sachin & Sehwag, we will never improve. And to make matters worse, our selectors (truly a bunch of jokers) cannot see beyond Sachin or Sehwag. VVS Laxman, who has been unjustly left out, is a case in point."
The number crunching was a mere formality. As many as 100 people (the majority) were of the opinion that coach Greg Chappell is to blame for India's poor showing of late. 170 people exonerated Chappell from all blame, while 30 others remained non-committal, while admitting that Chappell's strategies weren't always right.
Meanwhile, as many as 130 surfers said Rahul Dravid was to blame for India's debacles of late. 20 said it was just tough luck that we performed badly, while 150 others said the Indian team sure needed to pull up its socks.
A whopping 200 people said the presence of a lot of youngsters did, indeed, affect the team's quality. 30 people were of the opinion that the youngsters were a delight to watch, while 70 others said experience did matter where the strategy of the game was concerned.
Again, the majority (235) of our surfers said a constant shift in batting order was a major problem for the team, while 10 felt otherwise. Meanwhile, 55 respondents felt whatever the case may be, the point was that India had a long way to go before reaching world standards.
Once again, most of our surfers (250) were of the opinion that the lure of advertisements and endorsements did take away the team's focus. 15 felt that ads were a recognition of their efforts, while 35 felt team India needed to do some serious rethinking.
The last question about India's prospects at the World Cup elicited the usual response: As many as 176 people said the teams prospects looked dim unless they put in their best shot. A total of 110 people said the defeats would only make the team more determined to win, while 20 others said India had the potential to bring home the cup; they only had to stay focused to get it.
So that's it for now. We'll be back next week with an interesting debate. So stay tuned…