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India require a pragmatical rejig

India will try to salvage the pride when Videocon ODI triangular series starts from Wednesday, writes Sunit Kaul.
PTI | By Sunit Kaul
UPDATED ON AUG 25, 2005 12:41 PM IST

Indian cricket buffs will witness a yet another attempt by Team India to 'stem the rot' when the Videocon Triangular Series gets underway in Zimbabwe.

The series, also involving New Zealand and home-team Zimbabwe, is expected to be a keenly contested affair, with no underdogs or pushovers. India certainly are not the favourites this time, simply because of the fact that the team kick-started its cricket season with a pathetic display against Sri Lanka.

Selectors probably needed to find a scapegoat for the 'choking' loss in the final and axed in-form Kumble and not-so-bad Laxman. The leg-spinner was furious; when he found out that he was omitted from the Zimbabwe tour. He blurted out that he and Laxman were always targeted while 'some' players always escaped the axe.

That statement by itself gave credence to earlier reports, which had speculated on the growing divide in Indian team.

Selectors dealt a cruel blow to Rahul Dravid as well, with the captaincy being snatched away from him and gifted back to tried-and-tested Sourav Ganguly. The latter though will be donning the skipper's mantle only after he finishes with his leftover two-match ban.

India may have named a full-strength side for the Test matches, but the ODI team is full of youngsters and new faces. The inexperience of the side might prove to be its downfall as youngsters could struggle to adapt in foreign conditions.

Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao, JP Yadav, MS Dhoni, RP Singh will join Yuvraj Singh and Mohd Kaif to form the young brigade. Though some of them did get a taste of international action in the recently concluded IndianOil Cup, none of them impressed much.

Even Zaheer Khan and Lakshmipathy Balaji have been negated from the ODI line-up. It can only be deduced after the series, whether removing so many experienced players is a good move.

Both Zimbabwe and New Zealand seeing India's unimpressive current form would be fancying their chances. That era is over, when these two sides were steam-rolled by our Men-in-Blue. Kiwis have improved by leaps and bounds and are counted among the top international teams now while the Zimbabwean side is ever plagued with controversies, but knows how to fight hard.

The Indian team on the other hand, is the one with seemingly eternal downward momentum. The ironical thing unfortunately is that we have the best of the facilities, a radical-minded coach and a great support staff comprising a physio, psychoanalyst, computer operator and even a kinesiologist.

And the team still doesn't perform!

Indian cricket needs a pragmatical rejig in its strategy and goals, not just some 'lateral-thinking' de-Bono stuff. Otherwise all its future forays will be no more than 'face-saving' endeavours.

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