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Indian cricket: the ultimate enigma

By "Roving" Eye

The second ODI of the India-Sri Lanka ODI series was be a decisive one for the Indians. It was a do-or-die situation for them. If they lost this match, they would have already lost the tournament. Well, the Indians decided against "do" and chose to "die". In yet another one of their miserable performances, they were beaten by Sri Lanka by seven wickets, in a match that seemed one-sided all throughout the day.

The Sri Lankans won the toss and put the Indians in to bat first. Though they lost their skipper early, mainly due to the batting of Saurav Ganguly, Indian reached 92 for one in the first 15 overs. After that, it was downhill all the way for India. The Sri Lankans kept getting wickets at regular intervals and at the end of their 50 overs, India were a dismal 238 all out in just 49.3 overs.

The Sri Lankans yet again got off to their great starts with Jayasuriya yet again making a quick 66 in hardly any balls. This is getting to be rather customary in India vs Sri Lanka matches. Then Mahanama, Aravinda de Silva, Atapattu and the rest of them finished up the job with over six overs to spare. Yet again the man of the match was Sanath Jayasuriya who felt that he needed a new cupboard to put all these trophies that he is winning. This match had wrapped up the series and the rest is history.

Looking back at the performance of the Indian team throughout this year, they have not won a single one-day or Test series either at home or abroad. Their performances have been lacklustre, jaded, unmotivated, unprofessional and rather pathetic to say the least. As long as people keep coming up with excuses like, "Oh, they have to play against tough teams like Sri Lanka blah blah", and "Oh, the pitch was terrible blah blah," and "Oh, the umpiring was extremely partial blah blah," and "Oh, they really need rest blah blah," their performances will not improve. I mean, world-class teams have to be able to overcome bad pitches, umpiring, and beat the tough teams. Is a team that only wins against sides like Bangladesh really deserving of such excuses for them?

And everything has been tried. New players, young players, old players, new captains, new managers, new coaches, new balls(!), new sponsors(!), new coaching camps, new trainers, you name it! Yet nothing has improved. By far, I'd say things have become worse. At a certain stage people felt that things could get worse. But it did. Currently, the Indian team looks like it is falling into a bottomless pit, never to come out. How much longer can Indian cricket fans wait for the day their team finally begins to get out of this pit?

Then come the match-fixing allegations. It was brought up by Manoj Prabhakar, dismissed by others, then brought up again by the Chandrachud committee, then dismissed again and then finally brought up once again by the ex-manager of the Indian team, Sunil Dev. Losing all hope, the fans have begun to blame India's losses on certain players because they think that those players have taken money to tank matches. Where is Indian cricket heading to? Looking at the morale and the performances of the Indian team, miracles in the near future seem to be very unlikely. One can only hope that with time and effort, and with drastic changes brought about in the Indian cricket scene, things will improve...

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