My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘win

India has been traditionally been a poor traveling team. The team has hardly won overseas even with some legends in the team in the past. India has only won 40 tests overseas out of 247 games with a W/L ratio of 0.377. India’s overseas record post Ganguly era is impressive. India has won 27 tests overseas since November 10, 2000 (The first time Ganguly captained in tests) out of 91 tests since that period. The W/L ratio since that period is very respectable 0.75. So if we take that period out we have 13 test wins overseas in 156 games at a W/L ratio of 0.185 which is extremely poor record.

The Ganguly era basically made the overall test record slightly better than the horrible record we had prior to that. It is not like the India had a poor test team  before that. India lost all those tests with legends in the team like Sunil Gavaskar, Bedi, Prasanna, Kapil Dev, GR Vishwanath, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Amarnath, Venkatraghavan, Mohd Azharuddin etc. The Indian team was mentally weak and was not able to turn good performances into wins overseas and was mostly blow away by the opposition. Now all the experts from the past are expecting this young team who are nowhere near the capability of the teams of the past to suddenly start hammering teams overseas.

Let us look at the current Indian team. Except for Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli, the rest of the batting order is still up for debate. The bowling has been extremely inconsistent with a young brigade led by very inconsistent Ishant Sharma. The spin attack hasn’t played too much overseas (Ashwin has played a grand total of 9 tests outside Asia). The attack on Kohli and this young team by past players and media for not winning overseas seems little over the top. I agree that the fans want Indian team to win overseas and compete but again we need to give this team a chance. Almost all the players played their first games overseas in 2013-14 and gave a decent account of themselves, much better than some legends did in the past.

Sourav Ganguly started kind of a golden era of Indian cricket but again he had much better team at his disposal. Sourav and Virat are similar captains, both are aggressive in your face leaders but Virat Kohli is developing a core while Sourav already had a core available to him. The task for Sourav was to channelize and guide a group of legends to perform as a team and start winning games overseas but the task for Kohli is much tougher. He does not have legends in his team but has few good players who are still finding their feet at this level. He does not have a batting line up consisting of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. He does not have a bowling attack of Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, and Anil Kumble at his disposal to turn this around immediately. So the media and experts need to be patient with this young team.

There is no reason to crucify this team now. They have just started to gel and perform. They just won a test series in Sri Lanka which even the best of Indian teams were not able to do for 22 years. Sourav Ganguly had a bunch of players who were experienced and were playing in the team for 10-13 years. Srinath, Kumble and Sachin were playing for a long time and except for Sehwag the rest of the team at least was 5 years behind them. So let us not hammer this team now. The ex-players should understand this better than anyone. I can agree if the media is doing this as they like to sensationalize things but the former players who have played at the highest level should know better.

I can understand the frustration of Virat Kohli and he is completely justified to feel aggrieved. The Indian teams of the past won home games like how Virat and his team is doing now and except for post Ganguly era performed worse than the current team outside home. Expecting a bunch of players who hardly have any experience to suddenly turn that horrible overseas record overnight is ridiculous. I hope that we support this young team and back them and give them some time to figure themselves out and I am sure we will see the results getting better when they travel overseas again. This is a young team with a young leader after legends exited the game. We can see how badly South Africa and Australia played in the sub-continent after their legends left the game so give these players some time and encourage them. No need to throw your own players under the bus for winning home games the same way the teams of the past won their games at home.

A typical cricket maidan where kids in India spend their weekend mornings playing cricket

A typical cricket maidan where kids in India spend their weekend mornings playing cricket

When you look back at your childhood some memories always linger in your mind. For me as a kid growing up in India playing cricket was normal. The best memory of playing cricket was when few friends form a team and start playing matches with random teams we find in the ground. We wake up at around 6:00 AM, gather around at a common spot and leave to the ground with our kit. Sometimes we would have a pre-scheduled game and sometimes we would go to the ground, find a great spot, pitch the stumps and wait for find another team who are looking for a game. It was fantastic experience. We had a decent team and had lots of fun playing together. We had players from all age groups and it was fun to play as a team and enjoy the time spent with each other whether we win or lose.

Even though we played for fun, the fact that we kept losing played on our minds a lot. This changed when we played a game against a team we did not even know, scored just 48 runs in a 12 over game and bowled them out for 48. So not exactly a win but gave us a huge amount of confidence. That was the first time we did not lose a game.

That tied game was followed by our first win as a team and it was unfortunate that it wasn’t a bet match :). The memory of that game is still fresh in my mind. We were playing a team who had beaten us couple of times before so obviously we did not have much hope. We did not even have a full X1 and picked out a guy who was at the ground and was hoping to get a game with some team. The funny part is that he turned out to be our best bowler of the day. This was just a friendly game and they won the toss and elected to bat first. We did not start that well with the ball but eventually restricted them to a decent total. Considering it was just a 16 over game, we had done a decent job in keeping them down to just 95 runs. We wanted to win this game badly but before we realised we were 4 down for about 17 (I don’t remember the exact score or the overs but remember the situation)  and things weren’t looking good for us.

That’s when I came into bat and my cousin was already batting at the other end. Having lost 4 wickets already we decided to go for the broke as we realised that keeping wickets isn’t going to help at this stage. It was counterattack of epic proportions and the opposition hadn’t expected this. I have had few partnerships with my cousin before but this was the best. The fact that we kept hitting boundaries at will was just amazing. I couldn’t believe that this was the same team to whom we had lost before as they were completely falling apart with every passing over.

At the end of the 14th over we needed just 4 to win with both of us still at the crease and I was really nervous as this was going to be our first win as a team. The first three balls of the over, I wasn’t able to connect and I decided whatever happens I am going to throw the kitchen sink at the next ball I am going to face as we had enough batsmen in the hut even if I got out. The ball was short outside off stump and I hit the ball as hard as I could, the ball sailed over the boundary over the cover fielder for a six and that was it. It was our first win as a team and that too we completely hammered them in the end. It was a great feeling. Even though it was just a tennis ball game and wasn’t a bet match we enjoyed the victory.

We would go on to win couple more games after that but nothing as sweet as the first one. We stopped playing after that summer as people got busy with academics and I left to US the following winter for studies. But those memories will never fade away. Memories are all we carry throughout our lives and that sure was a great one for me.

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