Vantage point

Monday, March 28, 2005


It is a good thing we are not at the Number 2 slot. Any team which gives up a chase of 4 runs per over at the fall of the first wicket....yes, FIRST wicket.....not fourth...not sixth....not eighth.... FIRST wicket, should not delude themselves into believing they are Number 2.

The team has the talent and the combination to be Number 2, maybe even Number 1 after Mcgrath retires, but it showed yesterday that it lacks the self belief for it. I still can't believe that we gave up the chase at the fall of the first wicket.

Things have come to such a pass that Wasim Akram writes that Sehwag has become like the Tendulkar of the 90s. If you get sehwag out, you know India will crumble under pressure. While this is over-simplification on part of Wasim, I suspect the team itself has started believing this.

Even if the team had decided not to go for the target, was it necessary to shut shop so completely? Was the pitch bad? It wasn't. Was the attack lethal? It wasn't. Did Pakistan bowl a lot of unplayable deliveries? They certainly didn't. Why then, did we crawl to a halt?

Remember the Sydney test of 2004 when Australia was battling to save the test? They didn't go for the win, but they didn't shut shop either. If a ball was there to be hit, they hit it, rather than pad everything compulsively. Why go back so far? think of the Mohali test, where Razzaq and Akmal, two batsmen of lesser calibre than the Indian middle order, played positively against the Indian bowling, of a higher calibre than the Pakistani bowling. Yet, the Indian batsmen deluded themselves into thinking they could just pad their way to a series victory.

It is not the defeat that rankles. After all, I don't think there was any shame in losing to the Australians last year. But this was a disagracefully shocking defeat.