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Saturday, March 24, 2007 

After all, its just a game

Isnt this what many of us would be saying to ourselves after the humiliating exit from the World Cup 2007?

Because if you dont look at it objectively, then all you would feel is anger and frustration towards these 15 players, who had all the support not only financially but from a nation of over 1 billion people. Despite all the ordinary peformances over the last one year, we actually thought that our team had a chance to win it after 24 years. But alas, it wasnt to be.

So what actually went wrong? Was it that this team never had it in them to do it and we just got carried away or they actually had a chance and blew it away because they lacked the basic understanding of the game and the mental toughness to actually go all the way...... I have been trying to look for answers since the time Bangladesh beat us hollow around a week back and I think there are many reasons for our dismal performace.

1. Superstars and not a superteam: For once, we need to understand that this is a team of individuals.... We have some really world class performers who can win a game on their own on any given day but complete failures when it comes to playing as a unit. I can actually count the number of matches we have won as a team. Strange as it may sound, but the hallmark of any great team lies in the team as a whole and that is the reason Australia is where it is today. They have great players who can win a match on their own but they work even better as a team...

2. Lack of application: We get the basics wrong and we tend to overlook really glaring mistakes hoping they wont happen again. The way Sehwag got out against Bangladesh is the best example of absolute disregard towards basic discipline, which is essential to succeed at any level, in any field. Here is a guy, who has been under-performing for more than a year and has been given chances after chances hoping he would come good. So he walks out, gets out playing a distratrous shot against B'desh, then goes on to make a century against minnow of the minnows and all his follies are forgiven once again. So what does he do next. He comes out to play in a do or die match, makes around 40,tries to play a stupid shot, gets a life and instead of making full use of it, gets out just a few balls later...

3. End of Tendulkar: Sorry if I sound really critical but Tendulkar's glorious days are over. I am no judge of calibre but if anybody who has seen him play in the last few years will be able to easily make out that he is finished.... more mentally than anything else. Its a sad end to an absolutely amazing career, which unfortunately will always have question marks around it. I think what happens after this to him is something only he can answer but we must admit to the fact that he will never ever be what he use to be...

4. A cricket board that SUCKS: With the kind of money our board earns, we should be churning out superstars every month. No other cricketing body in the world can boast of the kind of financial backing ours has but what has it resulted in? Shabby infrastructure, poor quality of pitches, no investment in improving domestic cricket, big time regional lobbying while selecting the team, brainless cricket schedules and absolute disregard towards any long term planning.

5. Lack of pride: Now I could be wrong but I seriously believe that our players do not take pride in the fact that they are representing their nation at a global level, that for them, winning is more important than anything else. That endorsing products is a small part of their career but what really matters is how they perform in every match. Infact I really doubt if they feel as much anguish and frustration as we as crazy fans do. Somehow their body language doesnt ever show any kind of disappointment at every loss. Is it because they have gotten use to it or it doesnt really matter?

Whatever the reasons may be but it definitely is a sad state of affairs and as a sportsperson, it hurts me even more when my fellow countrymen bring shame to the nation... Winning or losing is a part of the game but whats matters is how you give it your best shot, how u put in all that you have to try and win the game. Even if it results in a loss, you can always look back and say that we did try. I am not too sure any of the indian cricketers will have the guts to say it even to themselves.

What happens to the team after this is anybody's guess. There may be some sackings, over-hauling, big time criticism but what we really need to think now is how do we take this humiliation in our stride and learn from it. We have the experts at our disposal to carve out the team's future but its about taking small steps right to ensure that once we are ready to take the big step, we dont get the footing wrong....

nice blog

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