An inept batting performance by the Indians handed South Africa a 1-0 lead in the 3 match series in Ahmedabad. The Indians were shot out for 76 in the first innings which virtually ended their challenge in the second test match. The Indian batting was clueless against the South African pace bowlers with Dale Steyn living up to his pre series hype.
Steyn and Co bundled out the Indians in couple of sessions on the first day with none of the home team batsmen able to apply themselves on a good batting pitch. Agreed that there was some movement on the first morning but that doesnt justify a score of 76. This is exactly what I was worried about when we started getting those unnecessary statements from the young Indian stars after the Australian tour. The Indian team had no planning either in their batting or when they were on the field.
I guess the hype surrounding IPL is also for sure a reason for this debacle. The team members were seen dancing and enjoying themselves on their franchise launches before this series started and also inbetween the games. This shows that the seriousness required for a series which would have made this team undisputed number 2 in tests was not present. SA on the other hand have worked hard and they deserve this success. Their batting was great and their bowling was very effective on a good batting track.
I guess the youngsters in the Indian team have already been spoilt enough with so much of money through IPL that they are not that interested in tests anymore. This was my exact point when the IPL auctions were going on. The kind of rubbish statements made by the youngsters after the Australian series looks very immature now after this game. You can bet on your bottom dollar that Australia will never put up such a horrible performance anywhere, leave alone at home. Thats what makes them a champion team and they will continue to be there. India does not deserve the number 2 spot and that honour should rightly go to the proteas regardless of the outcome of the series.
I am not saying that based on this one performance but we lack the consistancy associated with the top two spots. Indians need to sort themselves out and get their priorities right. Teams are no more uncomfortable touring the subcontinent and India have to be at the top of their game to win a series at home. Having the IPL starting in 10 days time should not take away the focus from this test series in hand. Test cricket is still the medium through which a player’s greatness will be determined no matter how many IPL games they play. The players need to understand the reason why they got picked up the IPL franchise was due to their performances for their country.
If India wins the last test and squares the series 1-1, it still does not mean that the underlying problems are taken care of. I am sure that the players will come back swinging at the media saying that how they blasted them for losing one game and how they have been unfair to them and all but as far as I am concerned all the critisism towards the team was perfectly valid. I guess the only way the team can command respect from the true cricket lovers in India like myself is by performing well in the International stage. We dont care about the IPL’s and the ICL’s as its not the same as representing your country.