Before it began the 4 match test series in Australia was billed as the last frontier for the “mighty” Indian cricket team . The Australian cricket was in complete disarray following the team’s inept performance against New Zealand and South Africa. The team led by a young and untested captain Michael Clarke ,was undergoing a transition ,with many young players being blooded and greats like Pointing and Hussey at the twilight of their respective careers .The Aussies seemed to be vulnerable and it presented an ideal opportunity for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men to record a historic series victory in Australia.
But post their humiliating inning defeat in the second test at Sydney, it is amazing to witness how quickly the tables have turned for the Indian Team. The defeat at Sydney was India’s sixth straight test loss overseas ,following on from their nightmarish 4-0 rout in England . Earlier in the summer the shambolic performance in England had already exposed serious chinks in the team and despite alarm bells ringing , it seems that the selectors have failed to address these issues so far . Lame excuses like injuries and fatigue were put forth by the team management to explain the debacle in England . So when a full strength Indian Team is seen to be faltering again Down Under ,it begs the question what exactly is ailing Dhoni’s men . Wasn’t this the same team and the same set of players who were crowned World Champions few months ago? The current Aussie team is believed to be the weakest in recent memory yet in both the tests the Indian team has wilted without a semblance of a fight .
So what could be the reasons that could explain the current plight of Indian Cricket Team?
1) Famed Batting not Firing Anymore –
On paper India has the most formidable batting lineup. Dashing openers in Sehwag and Gambhir ,the holy trinity of Laxman , Dravid and Tendulkar to form the middle order followed by India’s finest wicket keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But if the performances in the last 6 tests anything to go by , the cracks in the batting lineup are widening everyday. None of the seven batsmen barring Sachin , is averaging over 30 in the current series . India has crossed the 300 run mark only once in the last twelve test innings overseas .
2) Weak Bowling Lineup
To win Tests one needs to take 20 wickets . Bowling has always been India’s weakest link and the weakness has become even more glaring when it is no longer shielded by the team’s batting . Zaheer Khan is still recuperating from an chronic injury , Ishant Sharma is highly inconsistent and youngsters like Umesh Yadav and Ashwin are still newbies to Test cricket and its unwise to expect too much from them .
3) Dhoni’s Captaincy – Dhoni’s defensive captaincy has also come under heavy fire . The baying for his blood has already began and if his and his team’s form continue to slide the clamour for his axing will only get louder
4) Fielding Blues-
The chasm between the two team’s fielding prowess has been glaringly revealed in the large Australian grounds . While the Australian consistently converted two’s into threes it was the exact opposite case for the Indian Batsmen
The rot which is laid bare by the current series is deep . Its time for the selectors to institute some systemic measures to stem this rot or otherwise Indian cricket will slide back to the time when they were considered tigers at home and beggars abroad. The advances that Indian cricket team has made first under the stewardship of Sourav Ganguly and then later under Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will be all for nothing