Winning is a habit and Team India had the knack of winning home matches and the winning streak continued for 20 games without a loss and now came the shocker at Pune. Having tasted defeat by a huge margin, we have no excuses and no one can defend the inept batting, spineless bowling attack and the worst fielding side of all time. Having achieved a win in Indian soil after a very long time, Australian media has every opportune moment to praise the home side and are take a dig at Team India. But as a nation hosting Australia we should not have gone overboard with our way of praising the Virat Kohli side for the show at home all the time and pay little or no respect to the opposition by predicting 4-0 or 3-0 defeats as predicted by outspoken Harbhajan Singh and an arrogant Sourav Ganguly. Now the tables have been tilted and the musings in the Australian media is on and the digs are paining the Indian press and cricket fans. The same fate Australia faced in the past but member countries playing cricket will not exhibit so much hype, hoopla and hysteria as the teams like Australia, West Indies and South Africa had a long winning streak and occupied the number one status in the past. Why this Kolaveri Di when we are at the receiving end at Pune.
Having tasted defeat blame game continues to haunt Indian cricket. The main attack was on spinner Ravindra Jadeja as he could not create a havoc like Australia’s Steve O’Keefe. Even though both are left arm spinners, Jadeja lacked the wiles and guiles of the New South Wales spinner and thus losing a great opportunity to prove a point. Spinners mature with age and O’Keefe showed his class with subtle variation and change of length and direction in a most clever way. Sridharan Sriram the spin consultant from India assisting Australia deserves all credit for the good showing. Sriram could not do well and shine for India as partial way of selection prevented him to knock the doors of test cricket more times in his long and illustrious career playing for Tamil Nadu. Now he became handy for the Australians as he guided them to a facile win and go one up in the series. The spin execution of Australia distinguished them from India and now it is history.
Toss proved vital as in the past as Indian wickets are conducive to spin and ball never rise above knee level. Team selection posed a big problem for the home team. We could not put up a pair of genuine opening batsmen for years despite being number one side as of now. We have the two best all rounders in the game and the best batsman in contemporary cricket. Indian tail appeared to be long from the moment Ashwin came to bat. And we could not match the spin bowling of the team from down under because we lack safe fielders in the side. Steve O’Keefe son of former Australian cricketer and commentator for Australia dug India’s graveyard with a haul of 12 wickets for 70 and won the man of the match award in style. Team India was put to test and the submission from 76 for 3 to all out for 107 as in the first innings was poor exhibition of batting talent. The poor display came in front of capacity crowd and in the midst of excellent umpiring by the two ICC umpires officiating in this match. Pune dozier proved to be an eye opener for a much hyped Indian side and it is time to tighten the weak ends to make a comeback in a four match series.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)