Losing a series shamelessly is one thing. But to be brazenly self-assertive about your losing ways is quite another. More than Team India’s performance, it’s the attitude that needs to be put under the scanner. The present incapacity of Team India, after all, is the result of a grave attitude problem.
Let me explain what I mean.
After the Sydney Test, Gavaskar had pointed out how the Indian side had conveniently been skipping practice sessions. As if out of vengeance, instead of making amends, the team chose to go go-karting. Now go-karting would seem fine when the team is doing well and wants to take some pressure off, not when almost your entire batting line-up is trembling at the crease. The team didn’t stop at that. Dravid, in a press conference, defiantly maintained that the team was unaffected by the go-karting criticism. Now would you expect this team to even admit that there is something majorly wrong with its attitude?
True to his stubborn nature, Dhoni once again refused to heed to sage counsel and went ahead with an unchanged batting line-up. Now when Dhoni was determined not to play Rohit Sharma even here, what sense would it have made to have Sharma talk to the press ahead of the Sydney Test and say he was mentally prepared to play the Test? The sheer thoughtlessness behind the move is what defines Dhoni’s captaincy today. He is a pale shadow of his former self, as lost on the field as Azharuddin was at one point when the Indian team took the field to lose. By playing an unchanged batting line-up, Dhoni has ensured that Laxman has probably played his last Test match, besides denting Sharma’s confidence.
Moreover, lest you’ve failed to make this out, Dhoni has been playing an astute mind game lately. By talking about his retirement from ‘one form of the game’ by the end of 2013, isn’t he trying to bargain for the captain’s job till then? If he seriously wants to retire from one form of the game, it should be the T20 and IPL. For someone who’s got so much from the game, a good way to give the country back would be to again try being the role model he once was.
Dhoni should be candid about the damage that IPL has inflicted upon India’s Test performance. If Dhoni does have something left to prove, it’s really his credentials as a Test cricketer and a Test captain. And a good way to do that will be not to take the easy way out. But if Dhoni continues with his ‘2013 end’ mind game, it would be better to rest him right away and have him give company to his good friend, Harbhajan.
Strangely even as Dhoni has begun to talk about his possible retirement, the Bhishma Pitamah of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar refuses to break his silence on the issue. Possibly Sachin could be contemplating his retirement from ‘one form of the game’ after he gets the Bharat Ratna. In the process though, Sachin’s biggest supporters might have to bear the ordeal of seeing him reduce to a meager mortal.
Agree we live in a consumerist, market-driven economy but nothing can be sadder than our cricketers behave like mean and selfish capitalists. That we have nobody who even remotely qualifies to replace Dhoni only corroborates the sorry state of Team India.
Surely, this team is headed for a 0-4 whitewash, something our friendly neighbour Wasim Akram knew all along. Another go-karting session before the match might of course help reduce the duration of the match even further.