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The Worst Of All Time

by achettup

It took one series, hell, not even one series but three tests, for everyone to do a 180 from "World No.1" to the worst of all time. Sure the manner of the capitulation has disappointed (understatement alert) many, but seriously, how could opinions change so quickly. All of sudden the usual suspects, the same standard flibbertigibbet media morons, are out with glee and a vengeance shouting "BCCI is shit, they don't care about test cricket, Dhoni is an idiot, bowling has always been horrible, old greats are old and must be phased out..." etc etc etc.

Suddenly pundits have declared that if you don't have a world class fast bowling attack, you cannot be No.1. If thats so, explain even the great Australian side's record in India. Simple fact one. England have a good pace attack... especially in England. Simple fact two, South Africa's pace attack is still better. Simple fact three, we never claimed to have the best pace attack in the world, we never said Sreesanth, Ishant and PK were Holdings or Marshalls, we said on their day they could trouble the best, as they have in the past.

So ZaK was unfit, so what? This was a tired attack. They'd just won the world cup. They'd played the IPL. They'd toured the Windies. Sreesanth and Zak came back from injuries. Suddenly the same attack that ripped the heart out of South Africa in South Africa is mediocre. What utter tosh. I'd like England to tour India with this same squad, we'll show the world who is utter tosh. Just go back to Anderson's, the alleged best fast bowler in the world (forgotten Steyn simply because he isn't playing English fucktards?) record in the world cup.

Next argument, N Srinivasan is a moron for saying this is just one series and the players were injured. Guess what, those are facts.  We've had an incredible run, and now a tired, injury-ridden team came up against a better prepared and well conditioned one PLAYING AT HOME. Did the BCCI's decision to schedule the IPL after the world cup show their lack of concern for test cricket? Here's the deal, the IPL had to be held for the same business reasons as England having to host additional T20 matches against the Windies later in the year.

You can pick on the IPL all you want but it, unlike test cricket, has a future. Test cricket is dying. There are no spinners worth writing about because pitches are so shit. There are four sides who can play competitive test cricket, the rest are in total disarray. Bangladesh never deserved the honor and just lost to a side who hadn't played for years. That side would struggle to compete with the Windies or New Zealand, who would struggle to compete with Pakistan, who can just about compete with the rest when they're not busy banning half their side. Sri Lanka are in terminal decline, you want to laugh at India's bowling stocks, take a look at theirs.

So before you write off India's chances at regaining the number one position, talk about Test cricket's chances of surviving. When the big three retire, there will be far less interest in tests in India. That has probably already started with this series loss. The quality of test cricket being played today is the lowest it has been for a while. Australia and England, the apparent last great test survival hopes, have seen their players and boards acknowledge this fact, the future isn't in tests. T20 tournaments are getting more attention, the newer players don't seem as interested in tests as in the big bucks.

The paying public, the large majority who aren't snobbish and claim their powers of concentration, also known as greater periods of joblessness, are greater than those who want to enjoy a fun game of T20, are slowly moving towards the shorter formats. England have just assumed the number one position in test cricket, do you honestly think there are schoolkids out there who'd rather emulate tranny Cook than Dhoni in the IPL? The old folk can whine, they can pick on India, they can harp on the shorter concentration spans, the poorer technique, insult it however they want, but they are all like test cricket, increasingly becoming obsolescent. And deservedly so, if you want to fix something, you fix it, you don't moan about it and rubbish its (serious and worthy) competitors.

So you see how quickly an article about the apocalypse of test cricket can be churned out? That should come as no surprise. That is how quickly and easily they wrote off my national side. A side that accomplished dreams we never could have imagined after the 2007 world cup. They lost just the one series, to Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Then they won just about everything they played. Maybe not as convincingly, but well enough to hold the top position. And one abject tour has been enough for those who've been sharpening their knives for a while to come out and squeal "WE TOLD YOU SO!" But it is what it is, just a series loss. Give them time to rest and regroup, to focus, to rejuvenate and you'll be surprised to see how quickly that spirit will be rekindled. Give them the faith and support you did during the world cup, that they rewarded you so handsomely with. Stand by your team when they're down, the fair weather fans never knew the 90s anyway.

Happy Independence Day, from a proud Indian and proud Indian cricket fan.


Samir Chopra said...

The Indian team must be the only one in the history of the game to be accused of being total shite after they lose tests by 196 runs, 319 runs, and an innings and 242 runs.

The injustice of it all. So, lets be fair. They aren't shit. But they've played like shit.

achettup said...

Nobody is saying that we weren't thumped nor is anyone saying that we weren't comprehensively outplayed by the better team. As you say, they aren't shit and they've played piss poorly, but going by the hyperbole reactions you'd think this team has been awful for a long time and will be for a long time to come. Which is where I call BS.

I recall similar reactions after the 2007 World Cup, calls for heads, dismantling the BCCI's structure, retiring the aging greats etc etc etc. What happened next? The team picked a smart (transitional) leader, groomed a better one during the T20 world cup, the core regrouped, they had a tough tour to Australia but they pulled through. And did they ever? Where was all the credit to the BCCI then, when things were going well... oh, suddenly it was all the players and them alone? Their decision to have Kirsten picked? Their decision to make Dhoni skipper?

This team, like that 07 WC team, looks jaded and just doesn't want to be there. I don't know what it is, whether they've taken it easy after achieving the pinnacle or they're just plain tired and haven't had the time to let it all sink in. But I refuse to accept that they have been mediocre all along and just plain lucky. If they've played badly in three tests, thats all they've done. Alistair Cook had a miserable series until he got to feast on spent, lackluster and dejected medium pace bowlers, on the flattest track of the series. Is anyone going on and on about his previous 4 failures? Nope, all the talk will be about the 294. When this team rebounds, and they will, will the knives be sheated or will there be a trigger happy hand ready to draw them at the first excuse of another loss?

Russ said...

Ach, there is an alternative explanation. Go back 12 months, it was widely considered that India, South Africa, Australia and England were relatively even, with India perhaps a little in front. England had played only Bangladesh and the enigmatic Pakistan recently, and been lucky to draw a series in South Africa. India had played 895 consecutive games against Sri Lanka, or so it seemed.

In the last 12 months India have played South Africa and Australia, defeating Australia at home (as you'd expect), drawing with South Africa away (which is a fine result), beating NZ, not without trouble. The consensus estimate of their ability was broadly correct.

England defeated Australia in historically unprecedented manner (more comprehensively than WI did when Australia was rubbish), and have, at home, defeated India by almost as big margins.

A team can only be assessed relatively. India played well early, and were subsequently over-whelmed, but Occam's razor suggests this: the consensus opinion on England's ability was wrong and/or out of date. They are actually a very very strong side, if not a potentially great one; and India (and Australia) are as good as what the consensus said: good, but no better.

There are extenuating circumstances in both the losing teams, but there are always reasons why a team might not be firing on all cylinders (including the current English one). Fact is, either two teams of experienced cricketers have fallen apart on consecutive tours to the same side (in which case England are the luckiest team in history), or England are on the verge of proper dominance.

Saurabh Somani said...

India also lost to Australia in Australia in the 2007-08 series, along with losing to Sri Lanka.
(yes, I know that 'loss' is heavily tainted, but it's still gone down as 2-1 in the record books).

Anonymous said...

Nah, Samir, the Aussies have been accused of exactly the same thing. England are a very good team at present.

I do actually believe in the downfall of test cricket as the prime form of the game is happening.

Gaurav Sethi said...

Wata post, you all but hoisted the boys.

Golandaaz said...

you made losing almost seem like a virtue!

You point of the same reasons I would to say how India screwed up their chances of competing in this series but for some reason I am upset about it and you seem to be euphoric

I guess at some level there is a total disconnect with me and this post...sorry

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Hi : this series made me realize how much i back the team.i have NOTHING against the players. i'm not blaming them , they didn't do it deliberately and they're hurting more than us. they just weren't/aren't good enough. what i can't stand anymore though is this ecosystem of hype comprising the board,fans and the media.what is your point ? that T20 is the future ? OK , why does that chickenshit tamasha called the IPL make u think we're any good at T20 ? what did we do in the last T20 world cup ? set it on fire ? and i can guarantee you if its outside home , we'll flop in the next one too . Fact of the matter is : whatever form of the game whatever ranking any methodology might give u , u're not a good team without bowlers. And we've NEVER had them in all these decades. Time we woke up and smelt the piss...we need a structural change , concrete stuff like relaying green tops on a handful of grounds across the country , building a fast bowling culture, all of that...if BCCI doesnt have the money to do that , who does ? Please, support doesn't mean glossing over obvious shortcomings.we might win a few more great ones, even get the ranking back, all of that...but unless we resolve these problems we'll keep getting our smug asses whipped in the long run. i've seen the same old shit for 30 years now - one halfway decent pace attack and down she goes ! Also please , support doesn't mean setting low expectations for your country or team. thats what you're doing with these posts.i mean , a player pool bigger than entire populations , playing ONLY ONE little sport played by only 8-10 other competitors , resources of the game's richest board - and it's unpatriotic to expect more than this ?? Sorry buddy , i'm lost here ...

Samir Chopra said...

Achettup: I have another theory for you. What if the BCCI really just are a bunch of incompetent turdpiles like I think they are, and our players are gloriously talented, albeit inconsistent, performers? Don't you think that would explain their ups and downs just as well?

Mahek said...

Give them time to rest & recuperate? You know the Indian players don't have a two-month break for the next 9 years, right?

While the IPL is not a problem in itself, it is the period of its scheduling that's a major problem. 14 games crammed into a 6-week period during the hottest months of the year takes a lot out of the players. The other teams are also pushing the boundaries of their traditional cricketing seasons, but in their case the extension is into the colder rather than hotter months.

Pranav Bhandarkar said...

I like it when you say, "The fair weather fans havent seen the 90s anyway". Aah those days, the overseas tours still hurt.

Pranav Bhandarkar said...

Easily the worst performance since 1999 when that learned asshole Jaywant Lele wrote India off by saying India would lose to the Aussies 0-3. They did :(

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. These cricinfo basterds know very little about the game