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Beaten, bruised: can things change for Team India?
Soumya Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 27, 2012
First Published: 00:26 IST(27/11/2012)
Last Updated: 10:33 IST(27/11/2012)

Of course India can win the next two Tests. But irrespective of the outcome of this series, England have done what India never managed to do when they visited last year: played with gumption, flair and resolve. The comparison with that series is inevitable.

India rarely lose at home (they have lost only four Tests since their defeat to England in Mumbai in 2006), but this humiliation was more than an aberration. Which is why this is not a knee-jerk reaction to a single loss. This is an acknowledgement of a pattern. Starting with the series in England last year, India have now lost nine of ten Tests against respectable opposition.

It is hard to think of a captain who would have kept his job after eight consecutive Test losses (India lost 0-4 to England, and 0-4 to Australia in 2011-12). MS Dhoni kept his. Andrew Strauss, who led England to the world No 1 position in Tests, quit after England surrendered that spot to South Africa earlier this year.

Tall claims
This defeat is especially shambolic because for a year, we have been hearing from certain players about how we would dismantle England in this series with turning tracks. Dhoni asked for and got a square turner in Mumbai. And England revelled on it. The cravenness of the capitulation was mortifying.

To labour the point, this is not about having had just one bad game. Sachin Tendulkar has not scored a Test century since January 2011, and averages 15.30 in his last ten innings.

Gautam Gambhir's last century came in January 2010. To locate Virender Sehwag's last hundred before the one in Ahmedabad, you'd have to go back to November 2010. Ravi Ashwin has taken 40 of his 55 Test wickets against New Zealand and the West Indies - two of the weakest teams in contemporary cricket.

A year ago, India were world No 1 in Tests. They are now No 5. If the BCCI and the new selection panel continue to ignore the horde of elephants in the room, things will get worse. Fans shudder to imagine the prospect of touring South Africa next year.


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