SPORT

India seems to have stagnated

S. Dinakar

St. Lucia: India's disastrous run in the ICC events continues. Following the triumph in ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, India has largely disappointed.

The side has failed to make the semifinals of the next the ICC events — the World Twenty20 in England, the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, and the on-going edition here.

Looking farther back, India was eliminated in the first round of the ICC World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007. Amidst these defeats, the 2007 triumph in South Africa seems an aberration.

Those were the early days of Twenty20 internationals and India managed to upset the field. Now the other countries, evolving in Twenty20 cricket, have taken it to another level while India has stagnated.

The young Indian batsmen have been found wanting against lifting deliveries from the quicks. Word travels quickly in the cricketing world and pacemen lick their lips in anticipation when up against some of these young Indian batsmen on lively tracks.

There has been too much hype, too little substance.

Exposed

Once again, the Indian batting stood exposed in the Bouncy Barbados. The technical chinks in their methods were all too obvious.

The batsmen were getting squared up and, worse, were not keeping their eye on the ball. Playing the hook and the pull shot is a lot about precise back-footed play, the batsman has to be balanced and in control. The Indian batsmen, desperately, launched into pulls when they were in no position for the stroke. A few of them appeared amateurish in their endeavour.

A mountain of runs made in the IPL is of little value to the country unless the form can be translated to the world stage. As it is, the standard of cricket in the IPL is way below international cricket. India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted this much.

Not pushed

One does get the impression that success, money and fame are coming rather too easily to many of the young Indian cricketers. When you play for the country, you play with your heart and soul, you play with passion. The body language of some of the Indian cricketers in the competition sent the wrong singals.

Dhoni is a strong leader but can be stubborn with his tactics on occasions. The skipper's decision not to include a third paceman at the pacey Kensington Oval hurt India.

To make matters worse, he continued with Ravindra Jadeja, who was down on confidence. And, despite playing only two pacemen, he elected to chase, against Australia and the West Indies, in Barbados. The Indian tactics made little cricketing sense.