SPORT

Indians lacked resolve and character

A SIMPLE PLOY: The lanky Kiwi pacemen extracted bounce, operated around the off-stump, brought the odd ball in, and mixed their length well, disrupting the feet movement of the Indian batsmen who were sucked in by the movement. — PHOTO: AP

A SIMPLE PLOY: The lanky Kiwi pacemen extracted bounce, operated around the off-stump, brought the odd ball in, and mixed their length well, disrupting the feet movement of the Indian batsmen who were sucked in by the movement. — PHOTO: AP  

CRICKET / They ought to have played with a straight bat in the ‘V'

Runs made on featherbeds are of little value unless the same batsmen deliver when the surface favours the bowlers. India's capitulation on a seaming track at the Rangiri Stadium on Tuesday sent the wrong signals.

Some of the young batsmen, in particular, stood exposed as the ball seamed and bounced on a lively surface.

Surely, the toss could not have been such a huge factor. If one team recovers to score 288, then the other side, definitely, should have done better than being skittled out for 88 inside 30 overs.

The light went out of the Indian batting on the day it was announced that the quality of floodlights had improved at this venue. Resolve and character were completely lacking.

There is a chance the pitches may ease out as the Micromax tri-series progresses — the Indian batsmen may be among the runs as well — but the team-management needs to explore the reasons for the debacle in the tournament-opener and not treat it as a one-off performance.

Indeed, the conditions cannot change so dramatically in a matter of a couple of hours. The Indian batting was shocking when the Kiwi pacemen hit the right areas on a juicy wicket. This certainly was not an unplayable pitch.

Had the side retained wickets till the half-way point, India could have run a Kiwi side sans several stars a lot closer. One side fought hard, the other wilted.

Lift and movement

There was lift and lateral movement for the pacemen but the bounce was not uneven. Batting called for technique and application.

The capitulation in these conditions is worrying since some of these young batsmen are likely to claim Test places during a period of transition. Do they have the technical and the mental attributes to step into the shoes of the giants? Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, two of the brightest young batting prospects, and the more experienced Yuvraj Singh were dismissed playing away from the body.

In fact, the scenario could have been right out of a Test match. The slip cordon waited in anticipation and the seamers bowled in the corridor.

Even in a one-day game, batting on such tracks calls for technically refined play. The Kiwi ploy was simple.

The lanky pacemen extracted bounce, operated around the off-stump, brought the odd ball in, and mixed their length well. The feet movement of the Indian batsmen was, consequently, disrupted. They were caught playing from the crease — they did not move decisively either forward or back — and were sucked in by the movement.

They could have played with a straight bat in the ‘V', and punched and pushed for runs with shots close to the body instead of launching into extravagant drives.

And they should have put away the deliveries lacking in length with cuts and pulls.

Meekly hanging the bat outside the off-stump is a recipe for disaster on such surfaces. The shot selection has to be judicious; when slip fielders lick their lips, timid glides and steers are not the answer.

ODIs & T20 overdose?

An overdose of the abbreviated form of the game has affected the technique and the mind-set of some of the promising young Indian batsmen.

On a flat track they would have got away with the same strokes that led to their dismissals here. A couple of them might have even produced match-winning innings, would have been hailed as heroes.

Apart from a welter of ODIs and Twenty20 games — the latter can inflict a lot more harm on the emerging cricketers — the shortening gaps between series and tournaments is also a reason for these batsmen being bamboozled on such pitches.

Cricketers have little time and space to reflect on their technique, find out the chinks and take corrective steps.

A regular off-season enables players to have a closer look at their game and take remedial measures at the nets.

In a cricketing world driven increasingly by commercial interests, there is hardly any breathing space for the cricketers.

And then, many of the young present-day batsmen are spoilt by the excessive number of flat tracks, particularly in the sub-continent.

When the ball starts behaving differently, they get found out.

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