The cliché in cricket has always been its unpredictable nature. And who best to know it than a team of 15 in blue. A year began with a bang and the next with a loud thud of defeat(s).
It may be obvious now because of the defeats in Melbourne and Sydney but there has always been a sense of instability in Team India's success in recent years. The team, metaphorically, has been much like a student who loves to study but marks have eluded him - not for want of hard-work. And when the prayers were finally answered, the papers were sent in for re-checking.
Tours to Australia and England have been the re-check for Team India and the result has been disastrous. Is it form or is it plain folly? Is it over-confidence or is it just a casual approach? While allegations outnumber explanations, what very few have been speaking on is the breeding ground of the new-age Indian cricketers.
A look at flat, no, barren tracks in India can perhaps explain why India only manage the rare feat outside the sub-continent (Don't agree with this view? Do comment). The Walshs and Ambroses , the McGraths and Reiffels and the Younis' and Akrams have troubled India with their experience more than with their skills. But what about the Bresnans, (Sohail) Tanveers and Pattinsons? They never had experience to bank on when they began their careers against India and tore the batting apart.
What India has been lacking is the ability to negotiate new pace on anti-batsmen tracks. The blame? Home pitches that are tailor-made for runs. Yes, we have seam talent too. An Umesh Yadav just cannot stroll to the middle and claim wickets Down Under. But what about the bias towards what now can only be called the biological child of cricket - batting?
Fans want runs and Indian pitches provide it by the dozens. Therefore a century scored by an Indian in India is hardly an achievement in comparison to a 5-wicket haul by an Indian abroad. The sport is called cricket and unless the name is changed to batting, curators and officials in India are better of getting players to do their homework at home rather than waiting for them to fail in examinations abroad.
Post Script note: ICC Pitch Consultant Andy Atkinson told this author some time back that Indian stadiums need nurseries and a new generation of well-trained Indian curators ( for a stable future). That pitches in India should not just hold firm in a five day Test but offer assistance to both forms of the game in every format. This was Atkinson's opinion, what is yours? Do post suggestions below.