January 13, 2012 by dixwah
3rd Test Preview
Another four years, another game of pass-the-buck from an underforming Indian team as they head to Perth.
Four years ago, India threw away a 69-run first-innings lead in Sydney, collapsing in the match’s final session to give Australia an extraordinary win. Yes, the umpiring errors didn’t help India’s cause, but it was another example of the prissy little world-beaters, backed by their board of control, crying poor and blaming everyone else rather than looking in the mirror. Despite all of the external errors, India’s weak second-innings lost that game.
An honourable (if failing) umpire was hung out to dry, the suits stepped in and hypocritically condoned Harbajan’s disgraceful behaviour, and India held the game to ransom. The team backed up the boardroom with a win in Perth, but diplomacy was dead.
India have again let a verbal stoush blinker the fact that they have been embarrassingly poor in this series to date. Coming in, Australia were the team under scrutiny; a loss to New Zealand, an ailing old guard and growing physio bill had seen the baggygreen’s ranking and reputation plummet. The aura was gone, cracks were showing: the great Australian cricket team was vulnerable.
Two Tests later and the cynicism has transferred from Melbourne to Mumbai. India are still hungover from their dreadful performance in England, but have again apparted blame at everyone but themselves.
Virat Kohli’s finger-pointing typifies India’s psyche. Touring Australia is not easy, particularly for an underperforming young batsman within an underperforming, star-studded batting line-up. Kohli claims members of the crowd abused his family, this has been disputed. What isn’t disputed is the fact that Kohli’s response was unprofessional, weak and childish.
If crowd behaviour offends you, ask your skip to move you to another area, report it to the match referee. I’m not supporting verbal abuse. But I would prefer to have seen Kohli in the news for scoring some much-needed runs in the second-innings rather than an immature gesture that shouldn’t have been made.
India surrendered after they couldn’t get an early wicket on day two in Sydney. Field back, defensive bowling, a lack of intensity – what did they expect would happen? Australia’s hungry middle-order made the most of the opportunity.
Brad Haddin’s stoked the fire this week, stating that India “can be as fragile as any team in the world if things aren’t going their way and they can turn on each other and the media turns on them pretty quick”.
In current form, Haddin may want to lock his glass house, but India’s reaction to the comments again summed up their mentality.
Out marched Zaheer Khan, a great front-runner who turns into tin when things go against him, saying Haddin’s keeping “looked really fragile to me”. So there! Take that and your 2-nil series lead, you concrete-footed vice-captain.
It’s now time for India to stand up. With the amount of great players in their side, they lack leadership. Dhoni’s captaincy in Sydney was dreadful, maybe they couldn’t find a helmet for a day and a half and that’s why bat-pad was finally brought in at 4/450.
Dravid and Tendulkar are in reasonable form, Laxman, Sehwag and Gambhir have shown glimpses, and Kholi has a point to prove. Zaheer can back up his words on a suitable pitch in Perth. But talk is cheap, and the series is almost gone. It’s time for India to walk the walk.