From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.33 :: NO.36 :: Sep. 09, 2010
The tri-series ended in a disappointing note for the Indians and it has to be said that Team India's campaign was lukewarm all the way through. But for Sehwag playing a couple of outstanding knocks, the Indians would have exited early. The Delhi Dasher was in sublime form and proved beyond doubt that he can be a match-winner in any format of the game.
Of late, he seems to have struck the right balance in terms of his approach to pile up runs in the ODI's. Perhaps he was guilty of trying to surpass himself to achieve a more than healthy strike-rate. On the one hand, it augurs well for India that Sehwag has toned down a bit to enhance his efficacy but on the other hand youngsters not living up to expectations is a cause for concern.
More often than not, the bowlers are the ones who are left to carry the can in the wake of a poor result, but in Sri Lanka the batsmen let the team down, be it Tests or one-dayers. Team India played as many as seven batsmen but still fell woefully short while chasing the target in the final and that too on a relatively placid track. Of course, the pressure element can always bring down the best of teams and batsmen but in a team game one department has to make up for the shortcomings of the other. However, that was not to be as the Sri Lankans proved to be better on the day it mattered.
The hosts will be happy not only for winning the tri-series but also for the fact that they have found some youngsters like Perera, Randiv and Chamara Silva performing well under pressure.
This will make for healthy competition when the Sri Lankan selectors pick up their squads in the future. Contrast this with the way the Indian selectors have been let down by the younger lot despite the latter being given ample opportunities.
Like Dhoni mentioned, the selectors and the team management can only provide encouragement and chances, but form is something that individuals have to deal with on their own. The Indian selectors have to look at other batting options as time is running out and the World Cup will be upon them sooner rather than later.
Then of course, the selectors have been doing their best given the resources available but it can be exasperating if the talented youngsters fail to back the selectors by not performing.
While the selection committee has its own set of issues, the administrators are probably shaken up by the recent happenings in London with regard to match-fixing allegations. What transpires there will probably have a bearing on a lot of other decisions relating to cricket in the sub-continent.
The financial strength of the BCCI and the perceived power that it is wielding in international cricket as a result of it has earned the BCCI some formidable detractors within the ICC who will use every potential situation to undermine the powers of the BCCI.
It is critical that the ICC takes a strong stance as far as the latest controversy is concerned but it has to be remembered that the ICC was unable to nip the menace in the bud when it surfaced some years ago. The current situation will be an extremely challenging one for the ICC. There is some documentary proof to back up the allegations. Only time can tell if the supposed proof is authentic enough.
The controversy could not have come at a worse time for Pakistan as the people are already going through enough turmoil due to floods and the performance of their cricketers would have been one of their sources of solace.
It is rather a shame that there is some controversy or the other involving a Pakistan team or a player on a frequent basis and though they have gotten away at times in the past, the current one could be extremely tight for the alleged players.
The News of the World has brought down many influential people in the past with their “sting” operations and the tabloid has a tendency to go the whole hog once they get a whiff of something that isn't cricket, as the saying goes.
The most disappointing element of the latest allegation is that it has come at a time when Pakistan cricket needs resurgence as they have been plagued with enough problems within their own cricketing fraternity.
Salman Butt and his boys have a lot to answer for as the Pakistani supporters have sent a simple and straightforward message — they have no time for cricketers who are murky. I for one hope that the tabloid has somehow got it wrong this time around for the sake of the game but it has a reasonable record in terms of exposing the rich and famous which is not a comforting thought.
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