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January 31, 2000

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India Down Under



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Quo vadis India?

Bobby Simpson

Just where Indian cricket goes from here is entirely up to the selectors and officials.

There is no doubt that India have been thoroughly outplayed in every department during their just ended tour of Australia. The pity of it all was that the Australian public were looking forward to Sachin and company, and this was shown by the large attendances at all grounds and in both forms of the game. Even to the end they were full of expectations and waiting for the little master to produce some magic. In Perth, the spectators were just as disappointed by Sachinís dismissal as his worshippers back home in India. India never really came to terms with the extra bounce in Australian pitches even though many of the batsmen were glowing in their praise of the Astralian tracks.

The major problem of course has been the fact that the Indian batsmen just donít get enough practise on fast wickets. Until they do India, as they have done in the past will struggle on pacy wickets away from the sub-continent. Sri Lanka of all the current sub continental teams have performed the best purely because they have travelled more and have been frequent visitors to Australia. Perhaps the saddest aspect of the Indian tour is that no young batsman has come through. There has been the odd good innings and Ramesh showed promise before he was injured, but no one really put their hand up and said, "This is my spot " and did something about it.

The other area I was disappointed about was the apparent lack of enjoyment, enthusiasm and fun in the team and in particular in the field and running between the wickets. It all seemed so low key and too many players appeared to be just going through the motions. Australia have the finest fielding team in world cricket. They have great hands, throw well & accurately, are speedy and precise to the ball, but above all are full of life and always seem to love fielding. It was interesting yesterday to see their equilibrium upset for the first time in the season when Robin Singh and Sameer Dighe took the fieldsmen on with short singles and quick twos. Suddenly the invincibles looked a little vulnerable as mistakes on the ground and with their throws grew under the pressure. What a pity that the more gifted batsmen didn't take on the Aussie fielders more.

The Indian selectors must also look for a little more variety in the attack. There is a sameness in the bowling and tactics that worries me. Taking wickets is just as important in the one day game as in the Test arena. Getting batsmen out is the quickest way to slow the scoring down and to get wickets. Too often, the the Indian attack seemed to be in two minds, not knowing whether they should be attacking or containing the batsmen. As a result this doubt caused them to lose line and length and let the batsmen off the hook. Mental discipline is the key to success in the international arena . Unfortunately, too often India lacked it.

Gameplan

Bobby Simpson

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