Thursday 6 March 2014 

Comment - Indian Cricket In 'Pathetic State'

Duncan Fletcher
The author does not believe Duncan Fletcher is the right man to lead India into the 2015 World Cup
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Debashish Das says that less than 12 months away from the 2015 World Cup, Indian cricket is in 'a pathetic state' following a disappointing Asia Cup campaign in Bangladesh.

Of late I have stopped reading newspapers, especially the sports segment. What is there to read? The same old story of India getting thrashed over and over again, the new old story being India bowing out of Asia Cup 2014 from the group stages itself, the Cup which they won five times.

But you don’t actually need to watch a match or follow it online to keep yourself updated about an ongoing game, being in India you can hear about it from the people around you.

I know that for a couple of years now India failed to win a single overseas Test match but somebody just poked me telling that "You know it has been more that 970 days and counting since India won a Test match outside its home soil".

That really showed what India is currently going through and boosted me to write this up.

India winning the World Cup after 28 years on 2nd April 2011 was definitely one of the biggest moments for this cricket-crazy nation. A lot of praise poured in for coach ‘Guru Gary’ and he deserved every bit of that.

If we can recall correctly, before taking over the post of coach officially, Gary went to Australia in 2007-08 during the Test series between India and Australia to have a feel of the team environment though it was not the ideal situation for him. India were already 2-0 down and the worst part was the Monkeygate scandal that erupted at that time; he visited the team's dressing room during the third Test at the WACA which India eventually won.

Most of the team members will testify that Gary’s arrival helped the team during that Test and without a doubt he went onto become the most successful coach in Indian cricket history.

The team's honeymoon with Guru Gary ended after the World Cup win and in came Duncan Fletcher who had the reputation of being very hard-working a thorough professional, the man who helped England to reach their pinnacle by winning Ashes 2005.

But he was not able to sustain the level of success which Gary brought in for the team and India were back to suffering losing streaks in overseas conditions and all the good doings of Gary seemed to have been washed away.

Under Fletcher, India lost the Test series to England 4-0 and the One-Day International series 3-0 in England. When fans thought that was enough of embarrassment to handle, India went on to lose the Test series in Australia 4-0 and failed to reach the finals of the ODI tri-series featuring Sri Lanka.

That would have been enough of a reason and result to end the reign of Fletcher as India’s coach but surprise surprise Fletcher survived the axe and he must have felt like the luckiest man in the whole world. Though he was able to retain his position as coach, India too went on to retain the losing streaks one after another.

India bowed out of the Asia Cup at the group stages and lost another Test series to England, this time at home.

When everybody thought his term as coach, which was scheduled to expire on March 2013, would not be renewed after the disastrous results, the BCCI, to everybody’s surprise renewed his contract for another year.

Though India went on to win the Test series against Australia 4-0 at home and the Champions Trophy 2013, those results were just invisible when set against the losses piled up by the team.

To add to the misery, recently India lost both of their away Test series, in South Africa and New Zealand.

The scene is so pathetic now that in the last three years India won only one out of 15 overseas Tests, and that win only came against the struggling West Indies way back in June 2011.

Many people may forget these stats once IPL 7 starts but in reality it’s just a beautiful wrapper to hide the sorry state of Indian cricket.

The scenario for BCCI is very tricky now. With less than a year left before the start of the 2015 World Cup and Fletcher’s contract ending on 31st March 2014.

Ideally nobody would want to change their coach but with no improvement of performances from the team will they look for some other options?

I feel that the damage has already been done. His contract should have never been renewed after March 2013.

BCCI should have shown the door to Fletcher - as England have done to the highly successful Andy Flower following the Ashes and Australia to Micky Arthur.

The board needs to understand that everything has an expiry date, no matter how good their past performances may have been but the BCCI persisted with the coach even after a horrible run.

Even if Fletcher’s contract is not renewed now, it will very childish to think a new coach will change everything for good with a magic wand. The bottom line is that the damage has already been done and the only thing to look forward is how BCCI going to fix this.

But can they?

© Cricket World 2014