02/09/2004                                          Whod’ve thought?


There’s nothing half-hearted about the way this Indian team does things, no half-measures. When they win, they really win. And when they lose, they really put their heart and soul into losing it all. Sometimes I wish the schedule had been reversed, with the ODIs coming first and the Tests later. That way we could have at least washed away the bad memories. This way, we’ve just wiped out the good ones. But then, I may be wrong. We would have fared so badly in the ODIs that it would have demoralized us for the Tests. Maybe badly begun is half the battle lost.


Here was a team, just a couple of weeks back, on top of the world, threatening to topple the champions. And just when the Indian population was getting ready to rewrite the record books, here we are, just a few days later, sinking like a boat with a hole. From unlikely champions to champion chokers in a fortnight. Wasn’t well begun supposed to mean half the battle won? All in all, not a particularly sound frame of mind with which to go to Pakistan.


Noticed how our opening bowlers get clobbered all over the earth in the first fifteen overs? It happened through out the Test series and in the ODIs they just got plastered a bit more. There’s something wrong somewhere.


I don’t think any other team concedes as many runs in the opening overs as we do. Nor does any other country have all those pace academies and as many foreign coaches. We go to Australia and hire an Australian coach right under their noses. We even have a Pakistani giving our bowlers tips unmindful of the fact that it will used against his county next. And it seems every cricketer in India wants to open a cricket academy the moment he retires. For which he wants free land from the government. Even the ones who’ve not retired but been retired, if you get my drift.


Weren’t these academies supposed to churn out fast bowlers? Whod’ve thought? After all this, we haven’t been able to produce one bowler of Kapil’s class in the last twenty-five years. And more and more of our bowlers are spending more and more of their time on bench, injured.