By Denzil Fernandes
Daijiworld Media Network
Jan 15: 'Come back India, come back!' is the cry coming from every single Indian who cannot bear to see our cricketers playing like schoolboys in Australia. While everyone is rooting for the team, the slump and sad performance has heralded a war cry which is hurting every single Indian patriot wherever he or she is.
There are calls for Laxman, Sehwag, Dravid, and Tendulakr to pack their bags and return. It is a sad day for Indian cricket coming as it is after their dismal show in England not so long ago. Even former England captain Michael Vaughan has been shocked at India’s showing in Australia. “What’s wrong ?” he is asking. West Indies star Chris Gayle wants to settle down in India and play for India since he is not wanted in his country. Each and every former Indian cricketer is saying in disgust ‘enough is enough’. All in a sudden, there seems to be a revolt calling for the Indian team not to tour abroad at all.
The reason for all this is the shambolic and systematic annihilation of Team India in Australia. The Indian cricketers have been thrashed Test after Test with clinical precision by the Australians. After two horrible defeats in Melbourne and Sydney, the Indians were crushed in Perth within a span of 3 days. Even before lunch on day 3 in the Perth Test, overnight batsman Dravid was gone and skipper Dhoni too felt like having an early lunch and departed without offering any resistance. The result was there for everyone to see and feel dejected when wickets went flying.
The Indians started the third day with 120 runs in arrears and having both Dravid and Kohli at the crease with the score at 88 for 4 wickets. Just after lunch one saw a spate of 3 wickets taken by Ben Hilfenhaus in four balls and then Peter Siddle brought Kohli’s innings to an end after the Delhi batsman had made a gritty 75 runs in 136 balls with the help of 9 fours. Dravid too made 47 runs in 114 balls but found the going tough against the Australian pacers. He was bowled by Harris which also means that he has been bowled 54 times in Test cricket more than any other batsman in the world. In Australia in the current series, it was the fifth time that Dravid was clean bowled.
With nothing left, India folded for a 171 runs giving Australia a fantastic win by an innings and 37 runs. All the Indian taile enders including Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma ended with a duck apart from Laxman’s duck earlier. Apart from Kohli’s 75 and Dravid’s 47, a total of 49 runs came from the remaining batsmen in India’s total of 171 runs all out which also included 9 extras. What a record indeed.
Quite fittingly, David Warner was named man of the match for his magnificent 180 runs in Australia’s first innings. Hilfenhaus too had a memorable match taking 8 wickets for 97 runs in the Test. He now has 23 wickets in the series so far. India have now lost 7 Tests in a row. Out of the last 5 Tests played abroad, this is the fourth innings defeat for India. The statisticians would probably work out some more details and keep them ready before the last and final Test at Adelaide starts.
It adds to a sad book of accounts as far as Indian cricket goes. Very soon, the team will be full of newcomers and youngsters when the seniors quit the game. As said before, the dark days of Indian cricket are around with such disappointing display by the country’s touring teams. We have to find some super batsmen who can stay long at the wicket and accumulate runs.
The bowling department too has to get enough bench strength although someone like Umesh Yadav always gives a big hope for Indian cricket in the future. There are many like Umesh who should be roped in and given international exposure. Pujara, Jadeja, Tiwary, Chawla, Rahane, Manish Pandey, Dinda, and many like them have to be injected with confidence and ability to play on bouncy tracks. India should arrange pitches that are similar to the ones they find when they play abroad. There is a big need to appoint experts who can look after the falling standards by initiating new ideas that will benefit the players at the end of the day.
Another big break now for the Indians before they walk into the Adelaide ground for their final encounter in the 4th Test. Having seen the worst in the 3 Tests already, one assumes that there cannot be anything more disheartening for Indian cricket as they go in search of a win in Australia. This is the time for the cricketers to go all out in that final test and make it a memorable one at least for the sake of their supporters. A new look Indian squad in Adelaide may be one reason to get a better result than the earlier ones. Will Clarke’s Australia let India off the hook in Adelaide???