10 reasons why Team India flopped

Here are the top 10 reasons why Team India were a flop show in England where by losing the Test series 4-0 they were demoted to No. 3 from the top spot they had held for 20 months.

1. Poor preparation: While English conditions call for extended preparation, Team India came in groups – most from the Caribbean, some from India and others who had gone early to England to try and adjust. As the series began, they seemed a disparate group The BCCI did not help by penciling in just one pre-Test warm-up match while most teams play 3-4 to get acclimatised.

2. Batting collapses: With the exception of Rahul Dravid who scored three first innings centuries, none hit any kind of form, not even Sachin Tendulkar. While seniors struggled, batsmen of the younger generation were lost against short-pitched bowling aimed strategically at them. The BCCI does not help because it makes no efforts to make sporting pitches in the country.

3. Pop gun attack: Once Zaheer Khan broke down in first Test, the attack, without its spearhead, was like a pop gun firing against heavy artillery. The selectors made no effort to find young fast bowlers after the World Cup victory despite seeing the decline of support pace bowlers like Sreesanth and Munaf Patel. The BCCI does not help in supervising nationally the fitness of young fast bowlers.

4. Fitness issues: Because they are World Cup champions, BCCI gave the team seniors all the freedom, which they exploited. Sehwag and Gambhir were guilty of putting IPL before Team India in the matter of injuries. Zaheer was less than forthcoming on his real state of fitness and stood exposed after cursory preparation. BCCI does not arm its medical support staff with the powers to expose the players who are playing merry with fitness issues.

5. Careless captaincy: Having achieved much as captain, Dhoni was guilty of underestimating the Ashes winners at home and away. Having only one warm-up game, Dhoni’s wicket-keeping was atrocious right through the series. His batting was considerably worse. His state of mind was clear in the most careless stroke he played when India were within reach of a draw in the fourth Test. He did not even so much as apologise for that crude shot that represented a total failure of attitude.

6. Poor response as leader: Apart from his careless strokes, Dhoni also appeared unconcerned as his team plummeted. Surely, fans needed greater reassurance than his deadpan, Buddha-like reason for the failures on tour. He parroted the line – ‘The batting failed’ – like a mantra. His bowlers were not much better. But there too he did not help by bowling Ishant Sharma on when the young pace bowler was successful with a clutch of wickets but did not wish to bowl immediately after a luncheon interval when England were in trouble at Trent Bridge. He was less than inspirational even at times he was finding some kind of batting form in the latter half of the series.

7. Bias in selection: The choice of R.P. Singh as reinforcement towards the end of the tour was risible. A bowler who had not bowled in a Test match for close to three years was inducted into the XI ahead of Munaf Patel who had spent the whole tour as a reserve. Not only that, his close friend Dhoni gave him the first over in the Test which proved acutely embarrassing as Singh bowled all over the place at a military medium pace. In one over, India had betrayed its state of mind in a Test, which if drawn, would have allowed India to stay second on the Test table.

8. Shoddy fielding: The state of mind of a team is best portrayed by its attitude on the field. India were slovenly, dropped catches, including by the best slip fielder Dravid, and never threatened to support the already struggling bowlers. England’s scores in the series fully reflect how good India were on the field. Apart from appointing a fielding coach, BCCI has does nothing to improve very poor national fielding standards.

9. Pre-determined choice of coach: BCCI appeared to take no pains to zero in on a suitable coach to replace Gary Kirsten. It either went by the players’ choice or by Kirsten’s word in pulling Duncan Fletcher off the shelf. Known to b good with working on batsmen, he appeared to be as helpless as the batsmen themselves in working out how to play the three-man England pace attack.

10. IPL greed: Thanks to total priority being given to the BCCI-run IPL and the greed in accepting so much international cricket, the team seemed jaded in body and distracted in the mind. A month of rest after an IPL season would seem the logical answer but not to the BCCI which must keep its golden goose hatching eggs all the time.

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