Thursday, September 4, 2008
Of form and fitness
The previous post Who needs the famous five? predictably had strong reactions for and against. We're talking of players who have become icons over the years with the joy they've provided to fans. I've admired them too and have no intention of belittling their achievements. But to me it's more important to see India play somewhere near its potential, and currently the test team is not doing that. The loss to Sri Lanka was embarrassing not because they lost, but the manner in which they were rattled by Mendis. How can Dhoni, who is just a wicketkeeper-batsman, figure Mendis out in a couple of one-days, and the fab four fail to do that in three five-day matches where they could even afford to block everything? And don't forget we avoided an even more embarrassing loss at home to the South Africans only with the aid of an under-prepared pitch in the last test at Kanpur. And, was it an accident that the teams led by the fab four failed to make it to the semis of the IPL? I think it's not a question of their talent. I think their fitness and reflexes are letting them down, affecting their form and attitude. Yes, there are older players on the circuit, like Jayasuriya, but look at their fitness and fielding. Dravid has been one of the best slippers in the game, but how frequently do you see him drop catches now? To be in denial of this is unfair to fans who want to see India win in Tests and know that we have the talent for it. Or at least let's develop new talent, instead of seeing our icons struggle. Isn't it a pain to see the greatest bowler on sub-continental pitches going at over 40 runs a wicket, as he has done against South Africa at home and on spin-friendly tracks in Lanka? How can anybody expect him to magically do better against the Aussies?