Cricket is a team game and the performance of each and every player counts in a winning cause. Mahendra Singh Dhoni recorded the slowest one day international innings in 16 years at Antigua and that raises doubts about the ex-Indian captain as a finisher in the game’s shortest format. Dhoni scored 54 of 114 balls as Team India lost the fourth one day match by 11 runs against West Indies. Hit and run game of one day cricket requires a dashing approach and a quickfire 20s and 30s can change the complexion of the game. In the past, we saw Sunil Gavaskar scoring 36 not out 174 balls and the shinning star of Indian cricket Sachin Tendulkar made 114 of 144 balls to complete his 100th century and Team India lost both the games just like the one in Caribbean Islands. In instant cricket individual performances of slow nature did not rescue the team from losing and a positive approach could have turned the tide in India’s favour with tail wagging. Recent defeats in Champions Trophy 2017 against Sri Lanka and Pakistan really caution Virat Kohli’s team to fight every inch rather than finishing up tamely. It is time to employ pinch hitters up in the order rather than depending on super stars in the side to face stiff target in future. It is now very clear that slow and unsteady loses the race.
Indian Team showed drastic changes with two key bowlers R Ashwin and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar were dropped for the key game. Instead of going 3-0 up, we remained complacent and lost a game which we ought have won against a weak West Indies side. Rahane scored 60 of 91 balls and proved that he was kept in the reserve throughout during the Champions Trophy for no fault of his. Again, whenever, Ashwin was dropped to accommodate R. Jadeja we are on the losing side. Jadeja could not claim a single wicket even in a low scoring game and conceded nearly 50 runs out of West Indies score of 189 runs. The last five Indian wickets had fallen for 29 runs. Skipper J. Holder took 5 wickets for 27 runs and won the Man of the match award.
We have not learned lessons from our recent losses and try to cover the absence of regular coach Anil Kumble. Both Rahane and Dhoni are trying to save their place in the side and the top order failed against pace, the middle order is weak as ever and the tail never wags and we surrendered rather meekly. The pitch was slow and as usual shot making was difficult for the star Indian batsmen in the side. Despite a pathetic display the present coach Sanjay Bangar tried to defend the side for the narrow defeat. Both Bishoo and Nurse were unplayable and only 60 runs came of their 20 overs. K. Williams check the scoring rate to pave way for a sensational win with two balls to spare. Finisher Dhoni reached his fifty in 108 balls, his slowest in one day games by an Indian batsmen since 2001. It was a pathetic show in the end.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)