If you are without your top three match winners for a major world event, you are bound to suffer as a team. Adding to that if your main fast bowler is completely out of form, then you well as might pray for a miracle. It is therefore no surprise to anyone that India was knocked out of the Champions trophy in its first round.
Should we read too much in to this loss? Indian supporters will tell you that this is the first series loss that India has suffered in the last one and a half years. That at any rate is a tremendous success rate and the overall win loss record this season (played 6, won3, lost 2) is not too bad.
However cracks are appearing in this Indian team. The fielding in Sri Lanka was very poor and there was not much improvement in that respect in South Africa. The bowling looks very very fragile. Harbhajan Singh is good one day and very poor the next. Ishant Sharma and R.P Singh have lost his zip and this where questions need to be asked of Venkatesh Prasad. When the bowling looked very good in England and Australia, Prasad got all the kudos. But the pace bowling hasn’t looked too flush in the last few series and by all accounts young Indian paceman have stagnated. If Wasim Akram can point out the faults in Ishant’s action from the commentary box, surely Prasad as a bowling coach can sort them out quickly off the field. Prasad should be the one to tell us why Indian fast bowlers bowl super quick for one year and then become slow medium trundlers after that.
There have been some serious selection issues as well. Rohit Sharma’s exclusion was expected but Subramaniym Badrinath must be wondering what he must do to gain a permanent slot in this team. Badri looked a class act last year in Sri Lanka and did pretty well in the limited opportunities that he had. Rather unfairly he has been overlooked since then and no justification has been given. I am a big Rahul Dravid fan and his inclusion will only add value to the side but it should have been Subramaniyam Badrinath and not Rahul Dravid, who should have been batting at number 3 for this Indian team at the Champions Trophy.
And what about Pragyan Ohja? Is he suffering like illustratious state colleagues because he comes from an unfashionable state team? (read Hyderabad).6 months ago Ohja was India’s best bowler in Sri Lanka. Three months ago he was adjudged Man of the Match in India’s first World T20 game. Unfortunately one bad game and he is out of the team. If the same yardstick was applied to every member of the Indian team, India would have to look for a completely new bowling attack in the series against Australia.