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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Cricket Columns

Star players have held sway for too long
Ian Chappell
January 29, 2012
First Published: 00:04 IST(29/1/2012)
Last Updated: 10:30 IST(29/1/2012)

Given India's fascination with the position of coach, the blame for the eight successive overseas losses will most likely fall on Duncan Fletcher's head.


To blame this mess (and that is what Indian Test cricket has become) on one person, especially the one holding a position that can't make much of a difference is ludicrous. If ever I've seen a sporting body that needs a thorough review from top to bottom, it is Indian cricket.

If Fletcher is to be blamed for anything it would be not shaking up the team selection, but even then I doubt he could've made much difference. The poor culture has become ingrained and the danger is that even talented young players who are introduced into the team will become infected with the disease. There's no disgrace in being beaten when a team plays hard, competitive and thoughtful cricket and the other side is just too good. That hasn't been the case; Australia has played hard, competitive and smart cricket while India has just capitulated.

The star system is well and truly ingrained in the Indian team and things won't improve, certainly not on the overseas Test match front, until this is changed. The problem is that the star system is part of India's general culture and it's going to be difficult to change that approach in the cricket team.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/290112/29_01_pg20c.jpg

India is currently a side full of individually bright stars and it needs to become a group of cricketers who perform as a team. It doesn't help when a number of those individually bright stars are playing for their own survival.

Recent successes in all forms of the game (number one Test team, World Cup champions and T20 World Champions) has led to sloppy habits instead of a work and thought ethic that will bring prolonged success. India has the talent to quickly reverse this trend but only if there's a complete culture change in their approach to playing cricket.

At the team level, the star players have held sway for too long and surely eight successive losses, some of them total capitulations, is confirmation that the system is not working. I'm all for the captain running a cricket team, it's the only way a side will find success but it has to be run the right way. The captaincy on this tour has lacked logic and has totally failed to address the need to rally the troops.

The obsession with what Sachin Tendulkar is doing hasn't helped the team. If he'd scored his one hundredth international century in Mumbai against the West Indies, things might (and I've chosen that word carefully) have been different.

I've always contended that the difference between Indian and Australian cricket is a simple matter. The average Indian fan is satisfied if Tendulkar scores a hundred but the team loses, while his Australian counterpart is overjoyed if the team wins, even if Ricky Ponting fails.


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