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"Cricket is our religion and a Sachin is the God". In a country where most follow this proverb, expectation from the same is very high. This sport started making a mark in the minds and hearts of millions of people since India had lifted World cup in 1983 under the captaincy of Mr. Kapil Dev. From then till now Indian cricket team has faced many ups and downs. But the love and emotions associated with it in the hearts of entire country never been under question. Even though Hockey is our national sport in book, but it will not be unjustified to say cricket as the future replacement of the same.
Mr. Sachin Tendulkar along with every cricket fan in the nation had a dream of seeing India lifting the world cup again. This dream has been realized recently. Thanks to the effort of entire team including the coach and others who were there behind the scenes. Performance fulfills one's dream but at the same time expectations increase. Cricket is not an exception. After series triumph in both test and one day matches they played in West Indies just after World Cup, everyone was looking for a similar performance in the Tour of England. But the results were so disastrous that any Indian might not have imagined in their wildest of dreams. Series whitewash in all formats of the game is something which even the underdogs will not be able to digest. Leave apart the underdogs or mediocre team, India- the World Champion and number one team prior to the series had to face this ill fate.
What could have gone wrong in this entire tour? Is it the over confidence of Indian team or something else which lead to this shameful performance. This debacle can't be attributed to just one factor but it is a result of series of factors which any team may not like to face.
People need time to adjust with new people and situations. Same is the case when Garry Kirsten, coach of World Cup winning Indian team resigned and was replaced by Duncan Fletcher. The environment might not have been the same on practice field and inside dressing room as it was during the time of Garry Kirsten. Over the years Kirsten had learnt the psychology of Indian team which helped in their attachment to other members of the team. It is the coach and captain who play a vital role in ensuring that entire team is united and everyone jell with others. Only then a winning performance can be expected specially playing against strong team on their home ground.
Conditions in England were not very familiar with Indians and were reflected in their performance. Whether batting, bowling or fielding, India underperformed in all the areas. It is not about India who performed poor, but England players showed great discipline in all the aspects of game. They outclassed Indians in every field in all the matches.
The situation was fuelled by a series of injuries the team has undergone before and during the series. Though the problem of injury started well before World Cup, but it got aggravated after the Tournament. Match winning players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar's absence was definitely a big blow to the cricket team. Zaheer's hamstring problem and Harbhajan's stomach strain were a big glow to the bowling department. Bowling was simply ordinary. Even a score of 304 on the board was not good enough to defend for Indian players. That killer instinct was missing in the entire team. Seem they were not really prepared for the series. There was already enough of cricket for the team. The year started with tour of South Africa followed by the World Cup in Feb-April. They then had West Indies tour. Team already had 3 series including the sport's biggest tournament. There was also Indian Premier League in between which is full of glamour and money can prove handy when it comes to diverting cricketer's attention from the game. How can they be able to concentrate on the cricket then which seems to be dumped on them
With the winning and confident England team coming to India in this October, it is really going to be very challenging for team India to perform, not to mention the expectations of its fans in their home ground. Let us keep our fingers crossed and expect for the best with keeping ourselves ready for the worst again. All the best Team India.
- Tanujit Medhi