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Updated: January 2, 2014 00:17 IST

Indian cricket — a work in progress

Vijay Lokapally
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ENDURING LEGEND: Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement was the biggest cricket event for India in 2013.
PTI
ENDURING LEGEND: Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement was the biggest cricket event for India in 2013.

Indian cricket was a work in progress in the year gone by. It was a season of reckoning for some and a brush with reality for others as India bid farewell to its greatest cricket icon and welcomed some young Turks who promise to grow into stars in times to come.

The year also extended the team’s poor record overseas when M. S. Dhoni’s men went down in the one-day and Test series in South Africa.

It was the team’s third straight away Test series loss under Dhoni’s captaincy. India finished the tour without a win to sign off on a bitter note after having begun the year promisingly with a thumping 4-0 series win against Australia at home.

Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement was the biggest event of international cricket. Guard of honour awaited him, on and off the field, and he left many in tears with a sombre speech at the Wankhede Stadium on his final day in India colours.

While relinquishing a game he came to dominate and decorate with his distinguished contributions Tendulkar signalled the end of a great career. He had always played on his terms. He quit on same lines.

Six Test wins at home reiterated India’s stronghold when playing in favourable conditions. Once the ball swung and bounced, most batsmen looked out of place, hopping and jumping in discomfort, with the glorious exception of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who faced the short and fast ball with technical excellence built on the strength of self-belief and confidence.

Disturbing trends

There were some disturbing trends too. The IPL spot-fixing saga that devoured an achiever like S. Sreesanth was a sad episode.

It also engulfed Chennai Super Kings which struggled to shrug off its association with Board president N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, accused of allegedly leaking inside information and betting.

The IPL controversy promised a churning in the Board but Srinivasan managed to tame his opposition. He however, lost the support of Sanjay Jagdale, an upright administrator who opted to part ways as cricket’s image took a heavy beating. The Anil Kumble-supported panel losing in Karnataka was a disturbing sign, not to forget Bishan Singh Bedi and his group succumbing to the proxy menace rampant in Delhi and District Cricket Association.

The emergence of Kohli and Pujara augured well for Indian cricket. The splendid debut by Shikhar Dhawan at Mohali was a stirring development but Kohli and Pujara stood for their exceptional show in South Africa.

A century each by Kohli and Pujara in the Test at Johannesburg reconfirmed their status as the most improved batsmen in the team. Kohli was outstanding with six centuries, a 96, a 99, an 86 apart from five half-centuries in international matches.

Lone gain

Towards the end, young Ajinkya Rahane, the lone gain from the series against South Africa, produced a crafty innings to raise hopes of much-needed quality in the middle order since Dhoni continues to struggle away from home. His overseas record a dismal account with just one Test century in 66 innings!

Pujara’s rise was unsurprising. His aggregate of 829 runs was in keeping with his talent. Kohli’s 646 for the year was evidence of his growing stature, always attacking, always positive, a pleasing boost to the team’s aspirations. R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja remained the team’s main spinners even though Pragyan Ojha was the ‘Man-of-the-Match’ in Sachin’s farewell Test.

Mohammad Shami became the new face of Indian fast bowling as Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma showed signs of decline.

The explosive Virender Sehwag, losing his Test spot and not coping with sliding form, presented a pitiable sight. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh sailed in the same boat too.

India fared well in One-Day Internationals, winning 22 of the 34 matches, with Kohli contributing an awesome 1268 runs. Rohit Sharma (1196 runs) and Dhawan (1162 runs) proved an ideal opening pair.

Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped India add the Champions Trophy to its conquests but the year was best marked by the draw at Johannesburg, a glowing testimony to the intrigue that makes Test cricket such a spectacle.

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Indian players are playing in Home conditions suited to batsman.If Ball is bouncing above hip level they cannot play. Or other words if the bowler is firing they should patiently wait that period and survive and play their natural game.Temporamentwise they are Zero.You see Du pli , kallis, pitersen how they can survive in difficult conditions against india.

from:  Sundarraman.
Posted on: Jan 2, 2014 at 15:40 IST

WHATEVER happenned to ATUL SHARMA (once spoken of as an FAST indian pace
bowler)?

from:  Naresh patel
Posted on: Jan 2, 2014 at 13:59 IST

Indian cricket is not the best after the poor show in SA and earlier the white wash in Australia and England and the 4-1 defeat by England at hom. There is no hope of improving in overseas tours as we lack genuine fast bowlers to curtail the tail enders fro scoring huge runs and not having batsmen to tackle the moving fast deliveries and rising bouncers on green tops.We have currently have only 2 technically correct batsmen in Pujara and Virat Kohli. Shikar Dawan, Rohit Sharma are total failures on foreign soil. So the selectors have a big job finding reliable opening batsmen, a new captain replacing Dhoni who has been a total failure with the bat as well as keeping the wickets, and a solid fast bowling all rounder. Apart from these the tail enders should be trained with the bat who are just facing 5 or 6 balls before getting out without any resistance unlike the tail enders from SA and Australia. The team is about to embark on a tour to New Zealand and God save the team India.

from:  R.Narayan
Posted on: Jan 2, 2014 at 09:36 IST
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