Cricket

A plan to chalk out what needs to be done is imperative

Greg Chappell. File photo

Greg Chappell. File photo  

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Panic is not the answer, nor is in-fighting, writes Greg Chappell

If one reads the Indian media it seems that there is no better time to kick a team than when it is down! People are lining up to sink the boots into the Indian cricket team after two losses in Australia. The effigy-wallahs will be working overtime if they lose in Perth.

What to do in this time of crisis is critical if the team is to rebound. Panic is not the answer; nor is in-fighting.

Cool, clear analysis of what has gone wrong and a plan of what needs to be done to bounce back is imperative.

If I was a betting man I would gamble on Dhoni taking the latter course.

Cool customer

Dhoni is not one to panic. He is a cool customer who reads the game well. The other thing he won't be doing is listening to the emotional bleating of past players and media pundits. I doubt Duncan Fletcher will be ranting and raving either.

The Indian players need to be relaxed, fresh and of clear mind when they walk out onto the WACA on Friday, if they are to have any chance of turning this tour around.

Noise in the media

Punishing them with a relentless practice regime is not the answer.

Sure, they need some sessions to adjust to the extra bounce in Perth but mindless practice to appease the ‘noise' in the media will be counter-productive. Quality, not quantity, is the answer.

This is an arduous tour through which the players need to be well managed and which must include sufficient rest days to refresh mind and body. Some quiet time to reflect on how one's game can be improved is better than one more hit-out just for the sake of it. Go-karting could be just the right blend of fun and relaxation to kick-start some jaded minds.

As for selection, the brains-trust must come up with the best bowlers and the best batting line-up for the task on hand. Personalities should not enter into it. Just pick the players who you think can do the job.

Outplayed

Obviously things have not worked as India would have liked in the first two Tests. They have been out-batted, out-bowled and the Australian team has fielded better and looked much more athletic than the Indians.

That they have been out-batted and out-bowled is fair enough, but fielding and fitness were two things that I identified nearly seven years ago that needed improvement. That it is still a problem is just not acceptable.

No doubt Duncan Fletcher will be acutely aware of all these issues. How he deals with them will define his time with India. He will not be able to change it on his own, though. He will need the support of the selection panel and the administration or he will finish his tenure a frustrated man.

Players will not respond to cajoling and threats from the coach alone.

It is one thing to reach number one in the world. It has happened on raw talent. It is quite another thing to remain at the top. Prodigious talent alone will not suffice.

The right mantra

It takes desire, discipline, determination and hard work. Indian cricket as a whole needs to adopt this as a mantra.

The Indian public deserves to have a team that can win in all conditions; not just at home. They also deserve to have a team that dominates world cricket for an extended period. This will require a focus on a team-oriented culture.

Need for a re-think

Extended success will require a re-think on practice conditions and pitch conditions on all grounds in India.

Unless Indian batsmen and bowlers get to train and play in conditions similar to those they encounter overseas, and are prepared to work harder on all aspects of their game, the disappointing touring record will continue.

If this doesn't happen the effigy-wallahs can expect to be busier than ever.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 3:58:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/a-plan-to-chalk-out-what-needs-to-be-done-is-imperative/article2793434.ece

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