Indian batsmen owe an apology to their fans

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The progress that Indian cricket made in the last four years seems to have taken a backseat after the NatWest Challenge defeat to England.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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New Delhi:

The progress that Indian cricket made in the last four years seems to have taken a backseat after the NatWest Challenge defeat to England. With a skewed approach, it is headed for a disaster. The Indians have now lost nine of their last 17 matches, and the one-sided nature of the defeats is the common phenomenon in almost every outing. The team is saddled with numerous problems. Firstly, injuries to players have become a bane of Indian cricket. Except for Sachin Tendulkar, who is genuinely injured, the rest of the players seem to be using their injuries to beneficial effect. Fitness matters In my opinion, what needs to be checked of a consistently injured cricketer is his attitude rather than his wounds. No player deserves to be in the side if he is injured. The word 'match fit' now has to be rephrased as 'series fit'. The team management should pick, instead of the hardly fit but talented ones, those who maybe less talented but do not suffer from fitness problems. The other area which the Indians have been neglecting is planning, an integral part of the modern day cricket. The whole idea behind using computer related technology is to maintain an archive of every international player. The style and technique of each player evolves over a period of time and most of them get better. It's all the more important to have the latest videos on each international team and then start analysing the players on the drawing board. Capitalize on weaknesses The Indian team has a habit of carrying mostly the video pictures of their own heroics. It is the responsibility of the coach to chalk out plans. To understand the strength and weaknesses of the opponents, you need to watch the videos on them again and again. Missing out on playing 50 overs was a blunder and there can be no excuses for that. The Indian batsmen definitely owe an apology to their fans. The pitch begged for patience and occupation from the batsmen. On such a juicy track, the shots had to be curtailed and the skilled players required playing a wait-and-watch game. Disappointing start The tentative start with Sehwag getting out early was not the right recipe for the day. It was disappointing to see both Sourav and Laxman getting out in quick successions. The unknown factor in Wharf hit the Indians hard and they did not know what to do with this newcomer. Wharf used the conditions very well and made most of the mistakes committed by Indian batsmen. Mohammad Kaif should have played till the end. His dismissal literally ended the Indian innings. Hat-trick in any form of cricket is a major landmark. My very shot stint with the Durham County last year gave me an opportunity to bowl with Steve Harmison and have a closer look at his bowling. He only had to pitch the ball a yard in front. He did it successfully and has reaped rich rewards. Concrete plan Indian bowling didn't look penetrative at all. Ashish Nehra didn't inspire any confidence and that brought Laxmipathy Balaji, currently the best bowler, into attack. Ganguly should not make the mistake of bowling with Ashish when Balaji is around. Balaji's strength is being disciplined, who always does the basics right. He raised some hope by getting two wickets. But the paltry total put up by the Indians was too little for the bowlers to defend. Indians must have a concrete plan to have an edge on their opponents. And the first and foremost plan should be to bring back a fully fit Sachin as soon as possible. (PTI)

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