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Progress or deterioration?

By "Roving" Eye

As another tournament in India goes by, one tends to wonder when the Indian team will ever start winning them. Gone are the days when India boasted of an impressive record of winning most of their tournaments at home. Even then they didn't win too many abroad but at least they were tigers at home. The present Indian team seems to be totally jaded, without motivation and to add to their troubles, here comes Manoj Prabhakar with his accusations. Most of the fans do not believe him but he has said enough to allow at least a grain of doubt in the minds of every Indian cricket lover. As the tournaments go by, Indian cricket seems to be deteriorating at a rather rapid pace.

Yet, as Sachin Tendulkar says, his team is a very young one and they will learn from their mistakes and they are improving with every outing (?) blah, blah.......Maybe what he says is partly true. But the fact of the matter is that, the Indian team that won the Titan Cup is more or less, the same which is playing currently. Then how is it possible that the team is doing so badly even after `learning from their mistakes'?

Take the Independece Cup, for example. The only time Tendulkar came good was in the first match and after that he only managed to make single digit scores. Prasad and Kumble bowled rubbish and no one could fathom what really went wrong. Jadeja and Robin Singh were as streaky as ever and I'd rather not talk much about Mongia. The only positive side of that tournament was Rahul Dravid. HE is one player who really seems to be improving with every match and has learned to score at a run-a-ball. The rest of the team should follow his example but they seem rather reluctant to do anything at the moment.

Now we move over to the Siyaram's Cup. Now this was an unofficial tournament and was rather another bother for the Indians after tiring tours to South Africa and the West Indies and the Independence Cup in India. But being forced to play it, they should have seized the opportunity to work out their problems. They did well in the one and only match that they played in the league stages that had a result, and in the finals, they were back to their own insipid performances. This time it was Ganguly and Noel David who did well in the tournament but it hardly seems likely that the team has the time to wait for 9 more tournaments to go before all of their players come good...

On paper, the Indian team is supposed to be one of the most talented in the world but they lack agressiveness, consistency, good fielding, world-class bowling, team spirit and they seem to have a special liking for batting collapses and are well known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In fact the only time since I can remember, in my 13 years, when the team performed excellently in all aspects of the game, was the last league match of the Titan Cup between India and Australia at Mohali. Unless the Indian team pulls up their socks soon and perhaps get a foreign coach, it will be a long long time till we see another performance like that. God forbid the day I watch the Indian team playing the ICC trophy.....

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