Less than ideal preparation


(Warning: Rant content rating – High)

The Indian team has reason to be happy – they’ve just won a test series against Pakistan in home soil after quite a few years. Sure, they deserve a pat on the back and all that – but the fact remains that this was a boring series and was a less than ideal preparation for the Australian series.

The real measure of a team these days comes from playing Australia in Australia – and how do we prepare for such an important tour?

  • By laying and playing on the flattest and dullest of pitches that we’ve come to witness in recent times
  • By packing the cricket calendar with so many games that the gap between the last game of the the previous series and the first tour game of the next is just over a week (a side effect of having the calendar packed with cricket is the number of injuries it causes – but that is another story)
  • We play just ONE tour game – a three day match against Victoria to get acclimatised to the conditions in Australia
  • By appointing a coach way too late.

It is all fine and dandy that the India top order scored plenty of fifties, hundreds and even double hundreds, but the conditions have been far from trying. To start with, the pitches were flat and batsman friendly. India are flat pitch bullies and when the bounce is low and the ball comes nicely on to the bat, they are unstoppable. To add to that, the opposition bowling barring Shoaib Akthar in the first test, has looked pedestrian (not that the pitch helped their cause).

…and when the Indians come to Australia – they are going to be in for a big surprise. Shock! Horror!! The ball bounces well over the knee roll and the bowlers are bowling fast and are accurate. And don’t forget that it is not just the batsmen, but also the Indian bowlers who need to get used to these conditions.

This is one of the reasons that teams coming to a place like Australia need to get here 3 weeks before the start of the series and play at least two tour games. But I know how the board thinks – “What? Tour games do not bring in any money. We could easily play a couple of one day games instead and earn more money for the cricket boards. So, why play them? Plus being top players who get paid top $$$ they should automatically adjust.” – This is probably the kind of attitude that has let visiting teams down. They should realize that it affects the quality of cricket played. It is unlikely that India will win the series in Australia, and most Indian fans know it. But what Indian fans like to see is a good fight – and the cricket board needs to prepare them for it.

One additional thing is the late (or non-) appointment of the coach. You can carry on arguing that India won the T20 WC and the test series in England and the one against Pakistan without a coach, and that we don’t really need one. But the fact of the matter is that modern cricket needs coaches and for a tough tour like Australia, they will struggle without one. (Kirsten will apparently join the team after the first two matches. IMHO, it is better that he stays away as he will be more of a distraction joining them in the middle of a tour.)

IF India do end up doing well in Australia, it will be in spite of the way the board prepares them, not because…

-Mahesh-

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6 responses to “Less than ideal preparation

  1. In a way its good for Indian cricket. A few who cricketers who are on the fringes of retirement/ or the ones whom we doubt if they belong to this level any more will be severely tested. and may even end up deciding if they wish to continue any more.

    Its a Make or Break for Sehwag, I’m a big fan of Sehwag, if he survives this test, well and good ! else Its ICL/IPL way for him.

    RD can prove why he is still the best.

    Sourav will want to show that Kolkata/Bangalore was no fluke.

    Karthik will have justify his position ahead of Paarthiv.

    and the list goes on..

    And then Anil Kumble will be tested more than any one else.

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  3. 5 things that will happen during the India - Aus series

    5 things that will happen during the India – Aus series

    Reading Mahesh’s article I got thinking of 5 things that will happen during the India – Aus series, according to my brain and heart.

    Brain
    1) India put up a good fight in Melbourne but lose the test – and put a better effort in Sydney. But knowing India’s luck, the rain effects the match for a draw
    2) Sehwag opens the batting in the Boxing Day test match, but gets out in the first over playing his “wafting” defensive shot – a meter outside off stump!
    3) After putting in a strong performance in Sydney, the Indian team is on a high. In the Perth test the Indian team is put in by Ponting on a belter of a wicket. India are struggling on 6 for 40 on Lunch and the match finishes on the 3rd day before lunch – with Australia winning convincingly.
    4) Dravid has a repeat of 2004 game in Adelaide – he puts in a strong performance with a ton to win the game for India on the 5th day.
    5) India lose the test series 2-1, and are in disarray for the one-day series. By the end of the tour all the Indians want Kumble’s head!

    Heart
    1) India put up a good fight in Melbourne and find that the pitch is a typical Indian pitch – barring the first two sessions of Day 1. India actually do very well and go onto win the match. The Sydney match in also won because of Kumble, Bajji and Yuvi
    2) Sehwag opens the batting in Melbourne and takes Lee and Tait to the cleaners – and this time score 200 on Day 1 to put India well in command
    3) India win the toss in Perth and have a bat. The top order fails, but Ganguly comes to the rescue and scores a fighting century – with plenty of runs scored with his “pull-shot”. India comes away with a good showing, with a draw.
    4) Dravid has a repeat of 2004 game in Adelaide – he puts in a strong performance with a ton to win the game for India on the 5th day
    5) India win the test series 3-1, against all expectations. All of India goes crazy – and all Indians declare India as “world champions”!

    Who am I kidding, I should listen more to my head!

    RB

  4. wow !! I wish this happens ..
    Hey Know what Lets make a movie :).. with this theme :))

  5. @RB – LOL 🙂

    BTW – The odds for India winning the series is $8 and for an Australian win it is $1.26

    I think the team arrives in Melbourne today (or have they already arrived?)

  6. Btw winning in Australia is ‘Mission Possible’.

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