India and the definition of insanity

Stan Boone Roar Rookie

By Stan Boone, Stan Boone is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Losing in sport is no crime.

    No, I am not a hardcore believer in participation being the key, not the result but there’s bound to be a winner and there’s bound to be a loser – unless of course we are looking at matches that can end in draws.

    Let’s keep those aside for the moment.

    The bigger issue for most fans is the repetition of the same mistakes their team makes that end up in their losses. Take the Indian Test defeat at the hands of England in the opener at Edgbaston.

    It was a 31-run defeat in a game that could have gone both ways until the very end. On another note, a great pitch made for a brilliant Test, kudos to the curators there.

    India were in it until the very end. In fact, until the time batting maestro Virat Kohli was at the crease, they were heavy favourites to win it – some bookmakers had them at 1/3 on the final day of the game until their captain was batting. And then Kohli got out, at the end of two of the most brilliant knocks you would see in conditions like those, and India hurtled to an expected loss.

    Virat Kohli batting at Birmingam.

    We live in times where overseas teams have found it tough to win Test matches, let alone series. An odd away Test win here and there – like India’s win in Johannesburg earlier this year, Pakistan’s first Test win over England and Australia’s victory in that ill-fated series in South Africa – but teams are no longer having to bell cats overseas, the task is getting tougher than taming lions.

    In that respect, India did well to stall the English win until the very end. At 87/7 in the second innings, England looked like they were up against it too and with some more luck, India might have even won it. No, that’s not the issue. Losing never is.

    The problem, as I mentioned earlier, is making the same mistakes over and over again.

    India’s 2-1 series defeat in South Africa was down to poor captaincy and selection and by the looks of things, Kohli and co. haven’t learnt too much from there.

    In South Africa, India went into the first Test with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in their XI. Bad move. Dhawan’s record outside Asia has always been poor while Rohit has struggled against the moving ball irrespective of the conditions.

    Dhawan was discarded after just one Test and it took the management two games to realise Rohit isn’t the right choice either. What made it worse was the fact that by the time they realised Dhawan’s selection was a poor call, they made another bad decision – dropped their best seamer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the second Test in favour of Ishant Sharma.

    By the time they got their best XI out on the park – one that didn’t have Dhawan and Rohit and had Bhuvneshwar in the XI – it was the final Test and lo and behold, they actually managed a win. Surely a coincidence.

    What the fans would have hoped for is those lessons might have been learnt, and India wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes they had made on that South Africa tour.

    No, sir. Dhawan, on the basis of a century against Test debutants Afghanistan in home conditions, got the nod yet again and this time, it was Cheteshwar Pujara who got the sack. Dhawan failed again, dropped a few catches in the slips and the match was lost again.

    As they say, you cannot expect different results doing the same thing over and over again.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • August 9th 2018 @ 8:37am
      Paul said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      What side do you think India should have had on the field for the First Test, Stan?

      None of India’s top 3 batsmen got 40 runs combined in this Test but the bloke you scapegoated was Dhawan who got the highest with 39. No mention of the failures of the other opener, Rahane or Rahul. Your answer to this is to bring in Pujara ho has played 6 matches in County cricket for 172 runs at an average just over 14! That makes sense when that was about the same average as the guys who failed in the first Test.

      You go on to suggest India made another mistake by choosing Ishant Sharma when the guy had match figures of 6 for 96. No mention that Pandiya did nothing, nor did Shami.

      Your suggestion India is making the same selection mistakes seems quite a stretch. They’ve picked and left guys out on form in the batting and ditto with the bowling. Everyone was braying to have Yadav in the team yet Ashwin took 7 wickets for the game.

      India will make at most one change for the second Test (Pandiya out and Kathik in) and if they win that, will they be repeating mistakes, given the rest of the side is the same?

      • August 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm
        Stan Boone said | August 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

        Hi Paul, glad you read the article 🙂

        My belief is Dhawan doesn’t do too well in overseas conditions. In fact he might have scored 39 in the first Test but one must also consider what dropping players who might deliver in those conditions do for their confidence. Pujara’s county record was poor, sure, but in India’s last win overseas in South Africa in January, he scored a 50 on a brutal pitch. He batted 180 deliveries on his own of the 77 overs India survived in those conditions.

        India made 187 and 247 in that game and was enough to win it.

        The Ishant Sharma reference was for the South Africa Test not the one in England – in SA Bhuvneshwar was dropped and Ishant brought in. Also It was not a dig at Ishant in that series but a matter of never chopping and changing around with your best bowler, Bhuvneshwar. (Currently, Bhuvneshwar isn’t fit)

        I haven’t referred to the Ashwin decision in my piece, it was a good call – in fact I have always maintained Ashwin should be the number one Test spinner ahead of Jadeja and Kuldeep.

        Karthik is already in the playing XI, so no Pandya won’t be replaced by him. Probably you are referring to Jadeja. Could be the case if the pitch seems more spin-friendly.

        As far as my side for the first Test – Pujara should have played ahead of Dhawan. Rahul opens. But most vitally, given those top five batsmen a run of 3-4 Tests before shuffling things around.

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      August 9th 2018 @ 9:45am
      Suneer Chowdhary said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Good stuff Stan, look forward to more such articles. Think England also batted equally poorly in the first Test though. The conditions had some part to play there.

    • August 9th 2018 @ 2:04pm
      DaveJ said | August 9th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

      Kudos to the curator? Surely not. Way too much movement off the seam throughout. When it becomes a lottery whether you get an edge or not, it undermines the credibility of the result. India could have one it if they’d polished off the tail. But on the other hand they were lucky to be close insofar as England couldn’t catch. Although that’s not really luck.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm
        JayG said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        DaveJ, if you watched the game at Lords, perhaps you’ve changed your mind about how fair the Edgbaston pitch and conditions were.

    • August 10th 2018 @ 12:55am
      Rats said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:55am | ! Report

      well written.. Thanks..

      The modern day batsmen just don’t know the art of leaving the ball. Guess they don’t want to know either. This whole idea of Tests ending in 4 days and having a result is wonderful only if we see batsmen not getting out playing non-test cricket shots. How many batsmen in the last match got out poking at the ball outside off stump and going for the drive when they knew ball was swinging..

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