Bored Members - Guests | Media | White Bored | Interview | Bored Anthem - Songs | Boredwaani | Cartoons | Facebook | Twitter | Login

On decision making

by Homer

And therein lies an object lesson for Team India following the series defeat to Australia. Well as Australia played, and kudos to them for winning the series with a match to spare, one cannot shake off the feeling that India beat itself rather than Australia beating it. 

And the question is. why?

India has come a long way from where it was in the 80s and 90s.. Barring a purple patch between 1983 and 1985, India, for the most part, was a one man band.

Not anymore.

Personnel wise, India has an embarrassment of riches. Both batting and bowling, we have depth and variety unheard of a decade ago. 

Captaincy wise too, we have come a long way. Whether by accident or design, we seem to have found the right leaders at the right time.

And yet, we are at best second best.And again,the question is, why?

For mine, the crux of the problem is decision making. Both on and off the field. 

And it manifested itself in the repeated brain fades with the bat and the ball. Of Sehwag trying to dominate when in control or Praveen Kumar failing to dive on the second run. Of Bhajji bowling darts and of the Indian fielding going to pieces at the very moment it should be picking the pace.

And in the curious decisions of bowling first on a good pitch at Mohali because of the dew factor later in the day. Or batting first on a damp wicket at Gauwhati with a 8:30 AM start.

( As an aside, did no one tell the team think tank that Daljit Singh had permission from the match referee to run the rope at every interval and after the fall of every wicket? And did no one remember Lahore 2005?).

Being beaten by the opposition is understandable. But beating yourself by not backing your strengths and letting the opposition's perceived weaknesses dominate your thought process, is unpardonable.

I have a lot of time for MS Dhoni's captaincy. But is he is going to beat himself, and the team, before a ball is bowled, then it calls for a rethink.

If the Kirsten- Dhoni duo cannot help India take the next step forward, if this is the limit to what they can achieve, then India has to make a decision on its ambitions and whether this pair are the ones to bring that ambition to fruition.

And if it means another World Cup campaign done the tube, so be it. Because the larger picture, of being the best team in the world and staying that way, beckons.

This series is uncannily similar to the West Indies tour of 2006.In terms of proximity to the World Cup, expectations and result. Then, we went into a nose dive. What does the future hold for India this time?

Have we learnt from history or is it a case of "If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience"


Rohit said...

I agree with you to a large extent....especially regarding lack of big match temperament..or actually match finishing ability. However I disagree on certain key points. I disagree that we have all bases covered in terms of talent. I think fast bowling remains a worry. We lack match winning bowlers. On a good day, we have containing bowlers like in the 4th ODI. But we could never have bowled the aussies for 170. The lack of at least one express match winner is a big shortcoming, partially hidden on indian pitches. All rounders are a concern as well, with us resorting to bits-and-pieces players like Praveen.(He is not a fast bowler. a criteria of 125kph is required at least!)Also, captaincy wise, Dhoni remains the best option. The next in line, viz. Yuvraj, Gambhir, Sehwag do not seem to be promising contenders. But, like West Indies 2006, it all seems to be going wrong again at a crucial time. We HAVE to beat Lanka, and beat them handsomely. WC 2011 is the best chance we're ever going to get to win it....I just hope we don't blow it

Vim said...

The English captain said much the same thing repeatedly in the aftermatch presentations during the 6-1 loss to Oz in the ODI's in England. "We were the architects of our own downfall."

And there were many suggestions that it was just plain luck that got the Aussies the CT trophy.

Those pesky, injury-laden, lucky Aussies eh?

However, I will give the Indian team the credit of them having far more reason to claim 'we beat ourselves' than Strauss.

With the bland Strauss, it was just plain conceit.

Homer said...


Not sure with the no all rounder argument - Yuvraj, Bhajji, Zak, Raina, Sehwag, Sachin all bowl and bat. Ditto Praveen Kumar. Also Yusuf and Irfan Pathan. And Jadeja.

Also, not sure about not having match winning bowlers - what point bowling on a green top when you have one slip and everyone else is patrolling the boundary? Cant win matches that way!

And the TINA argument was true every time we had to change captains - remember the debate when Dravid quit? And yet we always seem to take that next step up under new leadership.

Dhoni as batsman, keeper and captain in all three forms of the game - is that the problem we have with his leadership? If so, should we be looking at either reducing his workload or divesting him of captaincy in one of the three formats?

I would give Dhoni till the end of the season - if not, there has to be a serious discussion on leadership.


Homer said...


You must understand that there was a time when India playing Australia was all about being on a wing and a prayer.

Not anymore.

Which is why this loss is so hard to digest.


achettup said...

"I would give Dhoni till the end of the season - if not, there has to be a serious discussion on leadership."

About as likely to happen as investing in a spinner who has more confidence in his bowling than his position in the team.

But I will say this. Not so long ago India was doing pretty well and Aus were losing more than they were winning. At that time, we deserved to be among the top 2. Back then was when Dhoni first started dropping hints about the bowling, and many (me included), thought it was unnecessary criticism. It is no surprise that our performances in recent times correspond to a drastic drop in form of almost all our frontline bowlers. For a while either the good batting covered for it, or the worse batting and fielding drew sharper criticism, but when the batting couldn't sustain three or four good performances per game the team started losing.

Dhoni's captaincy can be ordinary at times, but when you've got to pick 4 bowlers out of a group of woefully out of form or jaded bowlers, its never really going to be easy. Also Nehra should learn to shut up and accept when he's bowled a poor ball rather than yell at a fielder who has no chance of stopping a four. This series the Aussies played better in all departments. We had good innings from all our batsmen (bar Sehwag) at least once, but rarely more than that. And thats about as good as it got. I don't doubt that they can bounce back, but the team first has to have confident bowlers who can once again test the batsmen each and every delivery and then batsmen who bat well in pairs. Fielding... sigh. Please just find some way to end the bloody stereotype.

P.S: Its unfair to pick on Jadeja, No.7 is never an easy position in the batting line up and I thought he did as well as he could, and his bowling as fifth bowler was also decent. But does anyone else think he lends as much balance to this side as Sunil Joshi did during those miserable '90s. It wasn't his fault that he stuck out like a sore thumb, but if the selectors honestly thought his allround skills were worthy of an Indian cap, then I'm afraid we're in for a worse time than we thought. He just doesn't have the explosive firepower to be at that position.

Som said...

I think India has the flair alright but they lack the discipline that is the hallmark of the world champions. Flair is fickle, while discipline, at the risk of looking mundane and mechanic, ensures consistency. Flair is fine and lot of romanticism is attached to it but to reach the top, and more importantly remain there, we need slight adjustment of roles, adding some disciplines. Cameos from Bhajji or Praveen should not be seen as bonus. They have to do it time and again. Praveen has to revisit the basics of running between wickets. He just can't go scot-free, claiming he is just a rabbit. Similarly, part-timers should be told to their individual bar. If they can do something occasionally, why can't do that more often.

On Sehwag, I'm clueless. His strength is his weakness and this is a predicament I don't have any solution for.

Homer said...


"when you've got to pick 4 bowlers out of a group of woefully out of form or jaded bowlers"

Question is, why?

Why are we still unable to make the leap forward from personality to who suits us best for the job at that time?

Its not like we have a limited talent pool and therefore have no other recourse.

Also regarding fielding, these guys can put on a show when they want to. So why is that they dont want to more often?


Homer said...


Lack of desire, ambition and contentedness at their current station?

I mean, we have come a long way from where we were.. Maybe that is the extent of our ambition!


Rohit said...


I don't agree with your allrounder riposte. By your reckoning, SA have batting all the way down to 11 as their last 3 are usually Botha, Parnell and Steyn(remember 76 vs Aus). Ditto with Aus with Johnson, Lee, Hauritz. No offence. When I said all rounder , I meant a reliable lower order batsman to slot in at 7 who can slog if required. Not necessarily a Kallis but not a Bhajji either. Jadeja is 20 and possibly could be the solution. He just isn't the finished product yet. My personal opinion is that Chawla would make a better bowling all rounder than him.

If you look at full strength Indian line up vis-a-vis an aussie one, there isn't much to pick. I think we edge them on batting and spin bowling and they edge us in fast bowling, fielding and most importantly temperament. They just seem to churn out International level players who may not have talent, but always have fight and composure in tough situations. Maybe it is the age thing, I don't know. But I can see 29 year old Badrinath(if selected) running himself out just as easily as Jadeja. Sehwag is regaining his hair but his seems to have completely lost his wits. Could you believe that a combo of Watson-Marsh-Paine outperformed Sachin-Sehwag? How on earth? I just don't get it. Dhoni seems to be the only 'Aussie' player we have. A guy who keeps his wits in tough situations and more importantly makes the most of his limited talent. We need something special to happen between now and WC 2011. Maybe Jadeja will become the best in the business, maybe pathan will come back (Irfan...not his moronic brother) Maybe we will discover a new talent. I don't see us being crowned champions otherwise....

Nathan said...

"The English captain said much the same thing repeatedly in the aftermatch presentations during the 6-1 loss to Oz in the ODI's in England. "We were the architects of our own downfall."

And there were many suggestions that it was just plain luck that got the Aussies the CT trophy.

Those pesky, injury-laden, lucky Aussies eh?"

^ Goodness me... We must be effing Sun Tzu, sitting by the banks of the river watching our enemies float by or something. We seem to have found the secret to winning without battle, making the other team play themselves instead of us?

Homer said...


We have Nayar, Yousuf, Irfan. And with Zak coming back there is one less bowling spot to worry about. Are we making the number spot a bigger issue than it actually is? Are we expecting more from our bowlers than they can deliver? Are we underselling our bowlers by not demanding enough of them?

I dont know.. But what I know is that up and down that line up, we have guys who can bat and bowl. How we utilize them and when we utilize them is the moot point.

As to the Aussies, they do what works for them. And that may not necessarily work for us. We know what works for us. But there is a diffidence when it comes to putting that in play.

Thrice now, we were in the position to be #1 in ODIS, once by proxy and the other two times when we could have beaten the Aussies to seal the deal. All three times, we blew it.

And so the question remains, are we content being where we are or is there greater ambition involved? And if there is greater ambition, do we have the sustaining power to bring that ambition to fruition?


Rohit said...


Interesting stuff there...The question of ambition is a good one. It was much easier to find reasons for defeat, say, 10-12 years ago when our team consisted of 1 demigod and 10 dolts. This team is good enough for us to talk about dropping even Tendulkar once a while, albeit in hushed whispers. It makes it that much harder to make sense of our defeat. And, no Nathan, it wasn't you guys being so awesome. That was back in WC '03 and I accept that. This bunch of no-hopers had no right beating us except for the colour of their jerseys.
It just seems that something is missing. There are obvious discrepancies, of course, like Ishant Sharma. He is not turning out to be the bowler I thought he would. Maybe he never was. People point to, say, a 3/40 and claim he's got his mojo back. The fact is, he seems to have become a stereotypical Indian bowler. If you can get past his lanky frame, there's little else on show these days. Yes, he bowls good spells but I detest the word 'tidy' being used as opposed to 'terrifying'.
I get that it's his second season and people get found out, but he simply does not seem special any longer. Mitchell Johnson struggled and sprayed in the Ashes, but at a pace in which his mistakes were less likely to get punished. What is it with the Indian lot? Does anyone remember how Munaf came into the picture at all? You wouldn't recognize him anymore if it weren't for his buffoon grin. VRV, RP, etc, happens only in India.
But I digress... It is hard to pinpoint what is wrong. All we learnt from this series is that the Aussies have far superior bench strength as compared to us and that 11 good individuals can all play well in a series and orchestrate it in such a way that they also ensure that we lose the series to a mediocre, if tough, team.

Nathan said...

@ Rohit
"And, no Nathan, it wasn't you guys being so awesome. That was back in WC '03 and I accept that. This bunch of no-hopers had no right beating us except for the colour of their jerseys."

I made no bones about this, Rohit, you're dead right. In terms of raw natural talent, we don't have the superstars we once did. We are short on showmen and gamemakers. Our players are, talent-wise, lagging. Its the most working-class line-up I can ever recall seeing in green & gold.

I do have one point to pick though... Don't confuse solid, reliable but unspectacular (or even plain average) with no-hoper! Its like a corrolary to the Tortoise and the Hare. Boring but determined wins the match, it seems.

Mind you, we'd still give our right arms for another McGrath or Lillee!

But your team will be strengthed by this. Nothing like a shock to the system to get things going. Every player on the Indian team showed they CAN do the work (at least once), its just a matter of getting everyone doing so together. Or at the least, getting enough cylinders on the Indian engine firing.

Homer said...


If Sehwag is content with cute 30s, no amount of what Ishant does or does not do will make an iota of difference.

We have no excuses for talent - just look at the Board Presidents XI selected for the SL series and see the names not on that list.

It boils down to whether we want it and if we do, how desperately..

We won 6 series on the trot with the very same "stereotypical Indian bowler" should amount to something.

And the fact that you mentioned 4 Indian pacers who are all in contention is 4 more bowlers than we had in the 70s and the 80s.

All of these guys have the talent, the question is whether they want to maximize what they have ( and what most of us dont) and help themselves get better, thereby helping the team get better.

Wherever we go from here, it is going to be driven by what the team wants. Personnel changes might help, but unless we have a hungry dressing room, those changes will be more cosmetic than anything else.


Rohit said...

@ Nathan..

You're being pretty magnanimous! I guess winners can afford such niceties. I don't buy your conclusion, though...In our case, a shock usually ends up dismantling the cylinder altogether and we soon end up in the middle of obscurity in a pile of smoke and rubble...
The term 'no hoper' was an exaggeration, a literary liberty if you will. This is undoubtedly a good Aussie team. I personally have always thought that Shane Watson is just a injury free season away from being a formidable player. I also believe that the biggest waste of talent is neither Irfan Pathan nor Jermaine Lawson, but Shaun Tait.
But the bottomline remains that man-to-man, in Indian conditions, few aussies would make this Indian line-up(I'm talking about the full strength Aus team here). I think, in my infinite ignorance, that we should have beat you comfortably. I rest my case.

@ Homer....

I think the Sehwag criticism is a little harsh. He was the Man of the series in NZ(Had the award been presented) and he's played decently enough for a recently recuperated player. More often than not, he's been beaten for sheer pace. That's how he's been for most of his career, suspect against inswing at good pace. That and the hideous mistimed cut which ends up at slip or point are two things endemic to the way he plays. If he gets the right ball, he will get out. No two ways about it.
I do think that there is a shortage of talent, somewhere or at least a spurning of it. It has been my worry for quite some time that there are no batting replacements for the middle order in Tests, but now the young batsmen seem to be missing in ODI's as well. My namesake, Sharma, seems to be the next best thing but time for him is slowly running out. Raina has never looked test material with his agricultural heaves.
On the bowling front, our attack seems threadbare and filled with a variety of medium to fast medium pie chuckers. I agree Praveen can be dangerous at times and Zaheer is a decent bowler. Maybe the standard of bowling has fallen because the bowlers of the past eras seemed far superior. Each Indian medium pacer (I apologize for referring to them as fast bowlers earlier! :-) ) averages 30+ which is really not acceptable. Every team has atleast 1 bowler in the mid twenties except for us.

Nathan said...

"I think, in my infinite ignorance, that we should have beat you comfortably. I rest my case."

Well, at the very least, the bookies were siding with you on this one in each of the games. I think we can safely say India was the side that opened the window for the Australians. That said, not many teams could have taken advantage of that window.

straight point said...

lots of our decisions are made coz we have got 'fixed' team... like for example... i know dhoni had made some decision better had bhajji been in good form with bowl...

nathan... fair comment... :)

Homer said...


Everyone is a horticulturist when the results dont match expectations. And everyone is a pie chucker.

But this very set won you 6 series on the trot so there has to be something going for them..
Regarding Sehwag, it is not a critique of him per se, but a pointer to what went wrong..

And for all the complaints of our bench strength, I will take it anyday, any time.