Coming into the Mumbai Test, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was sitting in his hotel room and thinking: What did he want from the authorities to win the Test?
The answer he came up with was simple: A turning pitch, batsmen who know the conditions, three spinners and as an afterthought, he wanted to win the toss too. In the minds of many, it was a fail-safe approach. And he got it all.
The look of disgust on Alastair Cook when he lost the toss must have confirmed Dhoni’s feeling as well. He must’ve triumphantly thought that the series was there for the taking — but somehow the overconfidence and the arrogance made them complacent.
“This is a very significant moment in the history of Indian cricket,” said senior cricket writer Ayaz Memon. “Now you’re under threat from a team which was so completely disregarded that it has come back to bite you. India dug their own graves at the Wankhede pitch. They fell into their own trap on a turning track.”
“India had everything going for — the pitch, the toss and they also put up a good total. But there was no gameplan and we were completely defensive against them. It looked like India hoped things would fall into place rather than going out and doing things to win the Test match.”
The onus will be on Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher to coax this side into a good mental state before the Kolkata Test.
“If Dhoni wasn’t captain of India, it would be difficult for him to keep his place in the side. It’s not that he’s doing everything wrong or has forgotten how to lead a side. It seems that collectively there seems to be no galvanisation. If I was in his palce, I would have been more proactive and made a cracking gameplan. I think he lost his nerve after we made 327 in the first innings.”
But now it’s time to show just why India are regarded by many teams as the final frontier. The defeat should not be forgotten — India need to learn from this defeat and they need to learn that winning needs more than just favourable conditions. You need to turn up and be ready for the fight too.
Watch the entire discussion between Ashish Mgotra and Ayaz Memon in the video above.