We are better off without biomechanists etc

India's exit from the Champions Trophy has created a ruckus with fingers being pointed and questions being asked, writes Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 17:16 IST

India's exit from the Champions Trophy has predictably created a ruckus with fingers being pointed and questions being asked.

Luckily for the team, every time they lose badly there are other matches that follow which divert attention from the loss. Once that happens the areas the team needs to look at are forgotten and the whole thing is repeated till the next big event or series.

Sure, there are scapegoats to be found and as always it's the fringe player who gets the chop. This time it was two players who did not play in the final game against Australia who got the sack while those who were unable to perform in the crucial game have been retained.

At least Suresh Raina has not been omitted for in the past it was invariably the number six or seven who was dropped for the failure of the top order batsmen.

The South African tour will provide the test for not only Raina but also Mohammad Kaif and Dinesh Mongia. If they don't score in three out of five matches, then they should make way for others. Gone are the days when one score in 15 innings would do to retain one's place in the side.

This is the World Cup year and if players do not perform, then they should be left to regain form in domestic cricket. Those who are doing well in the Duleep and Ranji matches should be picked. Trying to find form in the World Cup will only cost the side and that's why current form is a good indication of the potential of a player.

There's been some talk of Gautam Gambhir's omission from the side but he should look upon it as a blessing in disguise. On the fast and bouncy pitches in South Africa he would be a sitting duck for Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Andre Nel, all of whom angle the ball nicely across the left-hander.

The number of times Gambhir got out or played the ball in the air trying to hook and pull the quicker bowlers in Pakistan meant he was not learning from his previous errors, so it is better for him not to get exposed again in South Africa and instead pile on the runs in domestic cricket and stake a claim for a berth in the World Cup squad.

Yuvraj's injury gives Mongia, Kaif and Raina the opportunity to cement a place for themselves. The injury to Yuvraj also begs the question as to who decides the silly games that the squad participates in before a game. I mean, have you seen professional soccer players or tennis players play some other sport before their matches?

Javed Miandad, the Pakistani great, also missed out on a year because of a knee injury trying to play soccer as a warm-up sport. We have to understand that we are not terribly good at physical contact sport and so should stay away from it. In any case can the physical trainer or whoever is in charge kindly tell what the benefits of such warm-ups are?

These games, be it volleyball, kho-kho, football are played in rubber soled shoes by the players and that too on a lush green outfield. So there's always the danger of a player slipping and doing damage to himself, as Yuvraj has done.

Sotheearlier these games are stopped, the better it will be. Sure a warm-up is needed but not where there is chance of injury and pray why not warm-up with cricket specific exercise than some other sport the players are not used to.

The other question that needs to be answered is what was the benefit of having Dr. Rudi Webster coming in for the duration that he did. Obviously it did not work for if the claim is that Sehwag got runs in the West Indies after a session or two with Dr.Webster, then by the same token there should have been an immediate impact.

But it didn't happen, did it?

It is no surprise that Sehwag would say 'yes' when asked if Dr. Webster's sessions helped him in the Caribbean earlier in the year. Having seen what happened to Sourav Ganguly, Zaheer Khan and company, there's nobody in the team who will be foolish enough to say negative things about support staff brought in by the coach.

Is it any wonder that the one guy dropped is the one who asked Dr. Webster questions that did not elicit satisfactory answers from the good doctor apart from the usual mumbo jumbo?

And by the way, what has been the contribution of the bio-mechanist or sports scientist or assistant coach or whatever his designation is today? Batsmen aren't scoring any better and bowlers have lost their way. Irfan Pathan is a prime example. Till the Zimbabwe tour he was bowling beautifully, getting the ball to curve both ways and also bowling pretty sharp. Then those lines and markers in the nets and all the bio-mechanical stuff started and look where Irfan is today.

Any answers guys?

First Published: Nov 05, 2006 00:35 IST