Edward Gibbon, the famous English historian, once said: "We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contests, and you must win."
To the contrary to what Gibbon said, Indian skipper MS Dhoni blamed the defeat in the Trent Bridge Test on the cramped cricket schedule.
I completely agree with Dhoni over his concern regarding the schedule, but I refuse to accept it as an excuse for the embarrassing loss. At least the players on the field should be driven enough to stand up to the challenge and not stop fighting till the last ball has been bowled. The Trent Bridge Test was a gripping one, but I would give credit to England for that. In the second innings, it seemed India were prepared for the defeat.
As Sun Tzu, a Chinese warrior born in 400 B.C. said: "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." Team India was the second one.
Dhoni has been harping about the 'too much cricket problem' for the last two years now, without realising, perhaps, that it would not affect the Indian Cricket Board or the ICC.
"Somebody said time is of essence here. We came straight from the Caribbean and didn't have time to play more than one (practice) game. So we are playing seven and not four matches back-to-back," he said after the match.
But instead of screaming about it after you have lost the game, it would have been better had you conveyed the issue to the board before hand. Doing it after a loss makes you look weak and sound like a crybaby.
Also, England have played exactly the same amount of One-Day Internationals and Tests as India, i.e. 6 Tests and 19 ODIs. Of course, the Indian players had IPL as well.
But who do you blame for this?
The players? After all they are not forced to play in the IPL. It's the choice they have made. Money is too much of a distraction.
The cricket boards? They treat players like machines and do not realise that a cramped schedule does take a toll and it's foolish to rest your key players only when they pick up injuries.
The ICC? Can they take a decision against the BCCI? Your guess is as good as mine.
Yes, it pains me when I say this but with most of the key players injured, unfit and unprepared, India hardly stand a chance of a comeback.
And where is the next crop of Tendulkars, Dravids, Laxmans and Kumbles? Instead of minting money, it's time our cricket board focused on preparing a solid bench strength. And for God's sake, do not think IPL would prepare a cricketer for the international stage. It doesn't, clearly!