Sad mix of arrogance and escapism
Batting failure behind debacle: Srikkanth
Indians choose to dine out
Easy win for Aus
‘India need to reconsider attitude to Test cricket’
American duo tied at top
Lin wins fourth title
Sad mix of arrogance and escapism
Success has many fathers, it is said. It wasn’t so long ago when Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the person to be seen with for all concerned, including selectors, chairmen and assorted other functionaries and hangers on.
Things have changed though. A statement from the Chairman of Selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, that team selection had nothing to do with the loss, is a classic case of thieves falling out.
So the series is done and dusted. England lead 3-0 and the way things are going for India, it won’t be surprising if the result is 4-0. The No. 1 ranking has been lost and the trauma of this situation may well reflect in the one-day series as well.
It seems the entire nation is struggling to find reasons for this debacle. The core reason is arrogance - the arrogance of assuming that all Dhoni and his boys needed to do was to land up in England, and the rival would hide the St. George’s Cross and wave plain white flags.
Arrogance in assuming that half-fit and unfit players — physically, mentally and technically — would be enough to decimate the English. Arrogance of even greater proportions in this nonsense of self-declared fitness being fine.
This is where the BCCI and selectors are equally to blame. If India were half-strength on the basis of genuine issues, they could actually be given an ear about the absence of key players. Here, the keys players were injured before the series began, and BCCI, in the form of the same Srikkanth and his cohorts, selected unfit or half-fit players.
England were waiting. They had sharpened their claws and fangs and on field they savaged the smug Indian right from the first hour of the series. The Indians, with their ‘great’ batting line-up, were meant to simply walk over the English fast bowlers. They didn’t have the mindset to do so and the faulty technique followed.
India’s batting lost them the series. Say whatever about the bowling, invariably it was the batting that left them high and try. Classic case being Edgbaston, where Andrew Strauss sent India in to bat and the India simply handed the advantage back.
The Indian bowling is scratchy, sure. We were depending on Zaheer Khan but the rest of the fast bowling is never particularly sure of its footing or place in the team. So it made the Englishmen’s job that much easier.
But when the bowlers have to pay for the sins of a ‘great’ batting that cannot score 300 in six innings, well, they are made to look bad, simply because they spend days on the field. The batsmen are but a fleeting flash of incompetence, vanishing from sight in less than three sessions.
The biggest arrogance is to think that this series was all about celebrating Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century. All the rest was going to happen automatically.
The results are there for all to see. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. And we are still waiting for the event which would mark the series.
Chennai, August 14
Srikkanth refused to buy the line that Indian cricketers play excessive cricket and that has led to fatigue and niggles to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men during the England Test series which they are now trailing 0-3 with one match to go.
"If you see the FTP, all countries are playing cricket 365 days a year whether England or Australia. It is not the Indians only. The fact is that cricket is being played the whole year in whatever format - Test, ODI or Twenty20. So I don't think that it is the fatigue factor for the performance in England," Srikkanth said.
"We have to accept that England were the better side and they won the series. Batting did not click for us. In the Indian side, if batting clicks everything clicks. We also did not do well in bowling and fielding. England bowling attack is ideally suited for the conditions. Their three pacers were able to extract the maximum from the pitches which suited them more than our players," he said.
Asked if the selectors knew strike bowler Zaheer Khan's injury before being picked for the England tour, Srikkanth said, "I don't think that we should go deep into the injury issues. If Zaheer is unfit then he is unfit. It's not the time to point out who was injured and who was not though there is no excuse for the series loss."
The former captain refused to put the blame on the Cricket Board, the selectors and also the players for the humiliation in England. "Let us not indulge in the blame game - on the players or the administrators or the BCCI. Nobody is to be blamed and it's not the time for that. It is just that we are going through a bad phase," he said.
"It is a fact that our top five batsmen have not clicked in the series so far. But the same bunch of cricketers have been doing well during the last couple of years. The same combination had defeated South Africa in South Africa. It our bad luck that in this particular tour nothing has clicked for us," said Srikkanth.
India were dethroned by England from the world number one Test rankings after the series loss but Srikkanth expressed hope that the country will regain the top spot soon.
"We will always strive to be number one but at times it is difficult to remain at the top. We have to accept facts and take corrective measures to see that India is back on top again. I am confident that we will regain our position at the top in short time. Instead of blaming each other, we need to work collectively to pep up the team.
"It is important that when our team's confidence level is low, people like us have to do things to boost their morale from outside. When the chips are down we have to encourage them and be behind the team so that they come back. I am confident that India will come back strongly," said Srikkanth. — PTI
Birmingham, August 14
India suffered their third worst defeat in Tests at Edgbaston when they lost the third Test by an innings and 242 runs on Saturday.
Team India has plans to remain indoors on Sunday and it's unlikely a riot act would be read out to the members by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni or coach Duncan Fletcher.
Because of the riots in Birmingham, the team was staying put in the hotel and not venturing outside. One decision they took after the defeat was to go for dinner outside the hotel on Saturday night.
Most of them, including Dhoni, went out for dinner for it was felt being locked up in rooms would only deepen the gloom in the camp.
Fletcher has been caught in a real dilemma. The reputation he made in England has been lost in the very land of his glory. Besides some inspirational words, there is little he can advice to India's batting prima donnas. His work on youngsters meanwhile isn't showing on the field.
Dhoni has retained his pleasant demeanour and still asking the boys to be positive and learn to enjoy the sport. The philosophy has worked for him for he managed two fifties from the third Test. His sternest test is now to lift the mood of his camp. — PTI
Hambantota, August 14
Earlier, Australian pace bowlers restricted Lanka to a modest score of 208. Brett Lee, Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson were all on target as the home team was bowled out in the 50th over. — Agencies
Tharanga c Haddin b Johnson 13
Dilshan b Lee 24
S’kara c Johnson b DHussey 52
J’dene c MHussey b Doherty 17
Chandimal c Haddin b Bollinger 1
Mathews c MHussey
b Bollinger 35
Jeevan c Bollinger b Lee 5
K’kara c Clarke b Watson 34
Malinga c Ponting b Bollinger 0
Herath lbw b Johnson 9
Mendis not out 7
Extras (lb 2, w 8, nb 1) 11
Total: (all out; 49.3 ovrs) 208
Bowling: Lee 10-0-50-2, Bollinger 10-2-35-3, Watson 5.3-0-29-1, Johnson 9-1-34-2, Doherty 10-0-43-1,
D Hussey 5-0-15-1.
Watson b Malinga 43
Haddin c S’kara b K’kara 7
Ponting not out 90
Clarke not out 58
Extras (lb 2, w 10, nb 1) 13
Total: (2 wkts; 38.2ovrs) 211
Bowling: Malinga 8-0-45-1, K’kara 7-1-38-1, Mathews 3-0-18-0, Herath 8.2-0-57-0, Mendis 7-0-27-0, Jeevan 2-0-8-0, Dilshan 3-0-16-0.
London, August 14
England’s emphatic triumph earned it all-round applause from the media with the 'Daily Telegraph' summing it up aptly by saying, "England show no mercy to rule the world."
"England's new position as No.1 in the Test rankings was sealed by an innings and 242 runs, and against the country that had been No.1, even if India have not begun to play as such in this series," the newspaper said.
In a write-up that dwelled on why the none-former-number-ones India played so badly, the newspaper noted that Dhoni's men were overworked with their load made heavier by the IPL.
"International cricketers play too much as it is. Take India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In the last year he has played 20 one-day internationals, 14 Tests and one T20 international. England's busiest player, Graeme Swann, has played 18 ODIs, 13 Tests and five T20s.
"There is little difference, except, crucially, that Dhoni has also played 16 IPL matches. Swann has played a few matches for Nottinghamshire and some warm-up matches for England in Australia, but it is not quite the same."
"The IPL deprives India's cricketers of an off-season. If they have niggling injuries they have to look elsewhere for a break, because it is all-important, both financially and politically."
The daily said Virender Sehwag's successive ducks "was reassuring evidence of cricket's justice system. Requiring a shoulder operation he played 11 IPL matches first, even waiting to see if his Delhi Daredevils team made it to the semi-finals before undergoing surgery. — PTI
Atlanta, August 14
Joint overnight leader Dufner stayed solid with a 68 that left him on a seven under 203 total, tied at the top with Steele, winner at the Texas Open on the PGA Tour earlier this year, who shot a superb 66. Amazingly, this is Steele's first major.
The duo lie one shot clear of Keegan Bradley, yet another unheralded American - though he is the nephew of Pat Bradley, a six-time women's major winner - who shared the lead after the second round.
Alone on fourth on five under, two shots off the lead, is US veteran Scott Verplank, while Steve Stricker lies in fifth a further shot back. Dane Anders Hansen is the first non-American on the leaderboard, tied for sixth place with DA Points on three under par.
Five players are on two under par for the tournament, five shots adrift - Past PGA champion David Toms, whose 65 was the low round of the day, Masters champ Charl Schwartzel (66), Robert Karlsson (67), John Senden (72) and Adam Scott (70).
There were plenty of new names enjoying their day in the sun. —Agencies
World Badminton Championship
London, August 14
The second-seeded Chinese star held off the challenge of the Malaysian heir apparent by 20-22, 21-14, 23-21 after trailing 19-20 and 20-21 in the final game.
Jwala-Ashwini settle for bronze
India's Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost 14-21, 16-21 to Chinese pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the women's doubles semifinal of the World Badminton Championship to settle for a bronze medal. Jwala and Ashwini were impressive but failed to keep up with the Chinese pair, and went down in 38 minutes Saturday night. It was the pair's first medal in the World Championships and of the country in 28 years. — Agencies
India's Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost 14-21, 16-21 to Chinese pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the women's doubles semifinal of the World Badminton Championship to settle for a bronze medal.
Jwala and Ashwini were impressive but failed to keep up with the Chinese pair, and went down in 38 minutes Saturday night.
It was the pair's first medal in the World Championships and of the country in 28 years. — Agencies
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