There was a time when Team India were labeled tigers at home and puppets abroad. This was the phase when other cricketing nations toured India and lost series after series comprehensively. They were bamboozled by crafty spin bowling and often complained for bad water and poor hygiene environment.
India on the other hand never managed a decent performance overseas. They were smothered by pace and swing, they also did not have an option of bad water and poor hygiene. Barring a few Indian players none managed to make an impact.
Then the tides changed, One man inspired a bunch of extremely inconsistent talented players to script famous victories overseas. This was the same phase when the same bunch lost consistently at home.
There was a paradigm shift in sensibilities, the west had trained hard to counter Indian conditions and results were seen. Team India too was in a phase where they produced more pace attacks then spin wizards. In the end the biggest loser of all this was ‘Team India’. In the process of aping others, which we have always done in all walks of life, we compromised on our biggest assets. Why is there so many hullabaloos on the issue that we do not produce bouncy wickets?
In the current ongoing South African series, did they produce spin friendly wickets? Why does Team India always face the ire of the foreign press? Can’t they see what has happened to New Zealand in Bangladesh? The kiwis failed to fly! What happened to the West Indies in New Zealand? They surrendered without a fight.
And most recently England, their pitches are similar to the ones they encountered in Australia, yet they lost. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the BCCI and their big daddy attitude that puts Team India under the scanner all the time. Yes! We did get humiliated in the just concluded ODI series, but how does that belittle our past achievements of the year?
Recently MSD received loads of flak, when he asked the curators to produce spin friendly tracks for their home series. His point was simple, if others can produce bouncy wickets to suit their strengths, why can’t Team India do the same? OK! We did lose to England, but that was because they played better cricket and credit goes to them.
That is why I emphasize that we need to nurture our primary strength and stop running behind things that is difficult to produce. Post Harbhajan Singh, not one spinner has looked threatening enough to win you a test match and Inspite of a series of quick’s we have produced not one has consistently performed at the highest level.
In about a day’s time Team India will face a barrage of questions by the Proteas and eventually lose, yet there is no reason to be disheartened. Miracles happen once in a blue moon in sport. Pakistan winning was nothing but just that, with the entire warm up games, England still lost the urn, the Kiwis lost to Bangladesh, so there is no shame if we land up losing the next two tests. Writing off our team just like that is not fair at all, anyways the foreign press are vying for Team India’s heads atleast we the fans should support them till the end.
Today all teams are tigers at home, and none have managed to defeat the Lion in his own den.