Even Zaheer, Sehwag also can't save this Team India

Tags: India tour of England - 2011, India, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag

Published on: Aug 01, 2011

The refrain started after India's spectacular collapse on day two of the Nottingham Test when India lost wickets in a hurry to squander away the advantage. If only Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag were there, India would not be in the doldrums.

The refrain started after India's spectacular collapse on day two of the Nottingham Test when India lost wickets in a hurry to squander away the advantage. If only Zaheer Khan and VirenderSehwag were there, India would not be in the doldrums. Or so one thought.

But on day four of the Nottingham Test on Monday as India lost by a huge 319 runs, it was quite clear that even Zaheer and Sehwag could not have saved this Team India. This isn't the team that climbed to the No. 1 spot. Far from looking like a champion side, this Team India barring a creditable display from RahulDravid, looked like a gullyteam that had been asked to face a professional unit.

To say that England outplayed India would be an understatement. India's new coach Duncan Fletcher, formerly with England, was supposed to know everything about the hosts. But quite clearly, it's not the same England he coached. He didn't know what hit Team India.

England have for some time now staked their claim to be the best Test team. With wins in the first two Tests and a 2-0 series lead, they have proved outrightly which is the better team.

Even though there is no denying the fact that both Zaheer and Sehwag are players who have make a strong impact and force the opposition to think, Test cricket is not a one-man job. India's loss in the Lord's and Nottingham Tests points to some critical fault-lines.

The first is the fact that India just doesn't seem to have the selection right. AbhinavMukund, who was picked as opener on the back of a single good performance in the West Indies, has flattered to deceive. With GautamGambhir ruled out with an injury, India had to turn to makeshift opener Dravid. But the danger in doing so, as was exposed on day four, was that if a good ball got your best batsman of the day the middle order then lay exposed.

VVSLaxman has also not been able to improve upon his English best of 74 in the four innings and that is disappointing. He's looked in flow, but he's not the VVS that has time and again slayed the Australians.

SachinTendulkar, despite saying that the 100th hundred was not on his mind, has not been able to produce a vintage knock. Tendulkar, who gave the Caribbean tour a miss and was in England for a month to acclimatise, has also failed to hold fort. His 56 on day four was an innings that came too late and did too little.

Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, who are fighting to prove their credentials as Test players, have despite their one-day and T20 heroics been found to be technically wanting. They are champions in the shorter format of the game, but Test cricket - especially in testing conditions - does pose for them a host of problem. Raina's shot selection on day four, in fact, was extremely poor. That kind of thinking won't help the team.

The biggest disappointment, however, has been the skipper MS Dhoni. While his sportsmanship in recalling Ian Bell will be feted, his leadership in this series has been quite uninspiring. Whether it has been his decision-making at the time of the toss, or choosing the bowlers to bowl a particular spell, or his field placements or the lack of them, Dhoni has faltered right through. Also, the Indian captain has been found out when it comes to his batting.

India's bowlers too have blown hot and blown cold. Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma have impressed in spells. Sreesanth has been inconsistent as ever and only god and the selectors know why Harbhajan Singh is still in the team. In sharp contrast to the English bowlers, who have looked menacing and incisive, Indian bowlers - barring a spell or two - have only looked like going through the motions and on most occasions like the lamb to the slaughter.

This is not the team that won us the World Cup. This is not the team that took India to the No. 1 rank in Test cricket. And this is not the team that will turn it around with Sehwag and Zaheer back in the ranks.

Let's also not forget that while the Zaheer could be impressive in seaming and swinging conditions, Sehwag's record in these conditions is less than impressive. True, one decisive spell or one decisive knock can change it for India. But can a world champion team hide behind that one reason and go down in two Test matches like the way they did. It's just not done!

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