Tough questions arise after a dismal tour so far
The despondent Indian supporters gradually melted on a night of disappointment at the Seddon Park.
The stars had failed them. The scenario on Tuesday was very different from the start of the series when M.S. Dhoni’s men promised so much.
Dhoni could not quite hold back his anger at the press conference.
Following the 3-0 reverse with a game still remaining against the versatile Kiwis, an inquest is the need of the hour.
India holds both the ICC World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Ahead of the series it began as the top- ranked ODI side.
If this series is an indication, India does not stand a chance in next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
In conditions away from home, the side has problems in all areas. Coordination among the different arms of the team has been non-existent.
Questions will be asked. Have the selectors been too hasty in discarding the likes of Yuvraj Singh, a game-changer on his day?
He might have a problem with the short ball but most batsmen in this side have run into similar difficulties. At least, Yuvraj has the X-factor about him. On his day, irrespective of the stage, he will win the game for you.
The brittleness of the top-order, save Virat Kohli, has put pressure on the middle-order. And the middle-order has often collapsed. Apart from Kohli, if a side has to depend time and again on Dhoni to rally with the lower middle-order, then it has serious issues.
R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja cannot be expected to bail out the side on every occasion. The specialists have to deliver.
The frontline batsmen have serious issues with the short ball. The pacing of the innings has been awry and settled batsmen have not consolidated on starts.
Suresh Raina has been playing on reputation for quite some time. After so many years, he continues to be targeted with short-pitched stuff.
And consistency has eluded Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. He has also tended to get bogged down at the start and been unable to rotate the strike.
The bowlers appear to have sorted out Shikhar Dhawan after his honeymoon in international cricket. They now bowl close to the left-hander’s body, cramp him for room, and take the ball away from the three-quarters length on the off.
India should not forget the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. The left-handed Gambhir is a skilful opener who can manipulate the bowling and keep the scoreboard moving.
And someone with such phenomenal ability as Sehwag should not be judged on domestic form alone. Given another fling in international cricket, he could come back roaring. You can never tell with Sehwag.
The less said about the Indian pace attack the better. As skipper Dhoni said, the seamers were often too short and wide.
In the conditions here, they were required to bowl back-of-a-length around the off-stump and mix it up with well-directed short balls and toe-crushers.
The yorkers were left behind in the dressing room. Even if a few were attempted, these were misdirected.
Mohammed Shami, aggressive and seeking wickets, impressed in the first half of the series but went off the boil in the crucial third and fourth games.
The lanky Ishant Sharma is in the midst of a bowling nightmare. And Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for all his discipline, lacks penetration. Varun Aaron did not bowl with common sense, but at least he has some basic skills.
India will require the craft and experience of Zaheer Khan in the World Cup. As a left-armer, he will also lend variety to the attack.
Ashwin and Jadeja held their own with both ball and bat. They do add depth to the side. Some consolation in what has been a disastrous campaign so far.