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Updated: March 7, 2014 16:07 IST

Indian team working like a dysfunctional machine

Makarand Waingankar
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Makarand Waingankar. File photo.
The Hindu
Makarand Waingankar. File photo.

The lack of coordination between the National and the State selectors is at an all-time high, writes Makarand Waingankar

Indian cricket team is working like a dysfunctional machine. The problem with the Indian team is that most players are confused about their roles in the team.

But there is one thing that the national selectors should learn: if six specialist batsmen don’t score, six bowlers can’t. We can’t keep including ‘bits and pieces’ players hoping they would magically turn matches around.

The lack of coordination between the National and the State selectors is at an all-time high. Consider this: Rohit Sharma bats at No. 4 for Mumbai in limited overs matches but opens for the country. On the other hand, Rahane opens for Mumbai while bats at No. 4 for India.

Playing the new ball is the job of a specialist and Rohit doesn’t look confident even after opening for the country for more than a season now. It has to be noted that when he bats at four for Mumbai, he plays his shots with geometrical precision. Mentally Rohit is not yet used to piercing the off-side field as an opener.

Rahane, on the other hand, has the knack of finding gaps when he opens for Mumbai. But, at four for India he is unable to beat fielders in the deep.

Players in the modern era are facing a new set of problems; often having to adjust to the three varied formats. Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman could manage because they had played the longer version of the game for a long time and their fundamentals were strong. With huge sums being offered for throwing the bat around in Twenty20 matches, most players look to be in attacking mode to be in demand for the IPL.

Players maintain high fielding standard during the IPL. But why do the Indian fielders make silly mistakes when playing for the National team especially when for the past three years Trevor Penny has been the fielding coach? The shoddy work of Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps against Sri Lanka and Pakistan is an example. According to former India wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia, Karthik doesn’t keep low and that is creating a problem.

Same players

Also, disregarding the different requirements for different formats, India fields virtually the same players for all the formats. Most players look incapable of adapting to different situations and bowlers clearly suffer the most. Ishant Sharma was wreaking havoc in Test cricket with his awkward bounce but when the same stuff was clobbered in one-dayers, his bowling in Test cricket suffered.

Talk of Pakistan’s endless collection of new bowlers never ends. It’s not that we don’t have talented pace bowlers but the selection committees have always been hesitant in gambling with new players.

Jaspreet Bumrah, the Gujarat medium-pacer was spotted by the Mumbai Indians coach John Wright last year in the Vijay Hazare tournament. Bumrah is double-jointed and because of hyperextension he could generate extra pace. His action resembles that of West Indian Colin Croft. No medium-pacer in India bowls yorkers as deadly as him and with tremendous consistency.

And yet selectors aren’t convinced of his talent. It is because of Bumrah’s bowling that Gujarat managed to qualify for the knock-outs in one-dayers but he is being conveniently ignored.

This kind of unstructured decision making is surprising because the baton of selection is in the hands of Sandeep Patil. As a coach, Patil was known to create a pool of options like his mentor Ashok Mankad did. But the need of the hour is to replicate his great track record at the national level.

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