India still need to iron out flaws
The Indian team registered their first win of the tournament on Tuesday. A comprehensive one. I have to say that they are playing extremely well despite the growing injury list. The match against Australia was an even contest till the 95th over.Updated: Jan 15, 2004 00:46 IST
The Indian team registered their first win of the tournament on Tuesday. A comprehensive one. I have to say that they are playing extremely well despite the growing injury list. The match against Australia was an even contest till the 95th over. It was only the indiscretion of Yuvraj and the unfortunate run out of Sourav at the crucial juncture that cost us the match. Much to the disappointment of all concerned, especially the Indian captain.
The team needed a comfortable win against Zimbabwe to get out of the hangover of the previous game. We were much too good for Zimbabwe who have a lot of sorting out to do -- immediate gains can be got by adjusting their batting order and getting captain Streak in early, maybe even No. 5.
The Indian team now has time to iron out some obvious weaknesses and some not so obvious ones. The obvious one being the depleted bowling in the absence of Zaheer, Harbhajan and Nehra. Sehwag has to be made to realise that he has to bowl his ten overs. He is a street-smart kind of a bowler and what he lacks in talent, he more than makes up for by his attitude. I have no doubt that if India are to win he has to be a key performer with the ball as well. It is imperative that both Balaji and Pathan are propped up by everybody in the team and given a long run as the Australians are definitely going to target them.
The lower order is another area that has to tighten up and chip in. There are some like Agarkar and Kumble who have Test and first class hundreds respectively.
They are capable of offering the requisite resistance but it is the belief and will that has to be reinforced, along with long hours at the nets.
What is not so obvious is that the Indians, after such an exacting and gruelling Test series, are mentally exhausted.
They are finding it difficult to sustain the levels of concentration required to beat this Australian side. The batting has benefitted enormously from the Test performances and the same confident form is evident but there are some extremely debilitating lapses in concentration at crucial times. Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag all got starts and then got themselves out. Tendulkar especially, as it's not often that he misses out on such opportunities. He has one of the best conversion rates in the game.
On Wednesday against Zimbabwe, it was evident that a certain uncharacteristic casualness had crept into his batting even before he eventually got out.
Sehwag is in supreme control and is planning out his innings consistently but would be kicking himself for the shot that he eventually played to get out. Even Dravid got out to a poor ball against Australia.
The batting has to accept the challenge and whoever gets in, has to go the distance with a big innings and not leave it for the others. The fielding too is up and down and lacks consistency. The catching is generally good but the ground fielding is lacking the aggressive intent. Yet another indicator of mental fatigue.
The third team being Zimbabwe, we may well get away with these lapses and make the final.
It’s important that we once again strengthen our resolve and not wait till the final as we may lose the edge that we have in our batting, not to speak of the dent in our psyche. And then, it may have become too late.
First Published: Jan 15, 2004 00:11 IST