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Why India lost

June 15, 2009

With the ‘Dhoni-media’ standoffs, we can expect fullblown inquests into India’s exit coming up with some of the following reasons for India’s loss:

Reason #1: Dhoni – Choosing to field

Statistics and history suggest India do better batting first, especially in crunch games.

Wrong. The batting first theory holds true for ODIs, not for T20s. Given the absence of Sehwag and the lack of form for Gambhir, India could easily be 15/2 by over four, struggling to get to 140  and ending the game in the first 10 overs. The choice to bowl was logical given India’s bowlers are bad at defending middle-of-the-road totals.

Reason #2: Dhoni – Batting order

Sending in the untried Jadeja ahead of the power hitters lost the game for India.

Wrong. It was an unorthodox move, very much like promoting Yusuf Pathan in the 2007 finals. Playing as the extra batsman, he would’ve expected young Jadeja to have made a quick-fire Zero in the worst case or a 14-ball 25 in the best case to inject some momentum into the run-chase. Dhoni has been extremely lucky with past moves like these. That he kept swinging at everything and yet consumed 35 balls was plain unlucky.

Reason #3: Dhoni – Team Selection

Benching Pragyan Ojha in favour of Jadeja.

Wrong. Jadeja took 3 wickets for 26 runs. Whether Ojha would’ve done better is debatable. That Jadeja’s strange innings went some way to cost India the game is bad luck, not team selection.

Reason #4: Ravindra Jadeja

Killed it with his 25 off 35 balls.

Only partly correct. His innings did make it an impossible task but it’s hardly fair to rip him apart for it. He kept playing the big shots, just couldn’t deal with the length being bowled at him. He was hardly the only batsman to have trouble with the English strategy. He’ll play better innings, unless crucified for this loss.

Outside Edge! Reasons for India’s loss:

Primary Reason #1: Brilliant England

Since the 1996 world cup when they announced a separate ‘ODI team’ consisting of Mark Ealham, Adam Hollioake et al as frontline bowlers, it’s been hard to take English teams seriously in limited over tournaments. Their strategy to bounce out the Indian batsmen was positive, aggressive and hence commendable. I doubt that even they expected the extent of discomfort they would cause the top order. Full credit to Collingwood and his pace attack.

Corollary Reason #2: BCCI scheduling AND the Indian team

Zaheer Khan’s opening spell was decidedly medium-pace and lack of bite made life easy for Bopara and Pietersen. The Indian team has been on the road since late last year and most of this squad was part of the IPL and hence haven’t been home for most of this year. While Indian teams travel better than the likes of Harmison, it’s hard to believe that they were on full tanks of gas in this tournament. Not that the players are blameless but till such time as the BCCI keeps running Indian cricket like a sweatshop, the players will need to consider making themselves unavailable for some of the series.

Bottomline:

The team I support lost. But it happened in a manner I prefer way more than others. Instead of dinky medium pace and pseudo finger-spinners taking the pace off the ball and inducing skiers, the English pace attack pounded it in their own half, providing very few ‘driveable’ deliveries. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the batting as a whole was found out, but the awkward prods from Raina were a revelation after his bullying of all bowling attacks in the IPL.

To me yesterday’s game made the case for providing extra bounce in every cricket-worthy surface since it lets batsmen with the technique to score runs and gives something for the quick bowlers to look forward to.

Well played England.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 3:02 pm

    agree on most counts, i think a weird england side turned up yesterday and india were caught with their pants down. it was a brilliant tactical move by colly and co. gotta hand it to them.

    • June 15, 2009 4:14 pm

      right damiths. who knew that collingwood meant it when he said that they’d learnt to play fearless cricket from the Dutch. on another note, what’s up with SL and mediocre bowling lineups? They almost lost that one against Ireland!

  2. Asha permalink
    June 15, 2009 3:33 pm

    Great post. The Indian media will undoubtedly use at least one (if not all) the reasons you mention to tear Dhoni and his men apart and I think nothing is truer than your Corollary Reason #2. Their nerves & the pressure on the captain showed right from the moment he won the toss.

    • June 15, 2009 4:16 pm

      thanks Asha. Think it’s fair to say that Dhoni’s extended honeymoon as India captain is over. He’ll now find that the same fawning media will now bring heat on him for everything that went wrong on this one.

  3. June 15, 2009 5:31 pm

    You know I disagree Don, and here’s why..

    Firstly, I don’t think England won the game, it was more like India lost it.

    Sure the England planned it to the T in bouncing the Indian batsmen out, but that was the strategy applied by the West Indies a few days ago. Hence Dhoni and lot should have known that it was coming and should have been prepared for it.

    About the toss. Are you telling me that had India posted 160+, England would have chased it? England had beaten only Pakistan before in the tournament and that too while defending a 180+ score.. England’s batsmen crumble under pressure and I see no reason why the Indians would not have posted a 160+ score or even one close to 180.

    Jadeja. Agree abt his selection of Ojha – he proved it with the ball. He was brilliant in the field. But there are 2 reasons why I think Jadeja batting at 4 is wrong.

    1) the dasher + accumulator strategy which say Dhoni coming out at the fall of Gambhir and Raina at the fall of Rohit went to the cleaners with Jadeja coming out to join Gambhir. India would have been better off with the strategy they had used in the previous games.

    2) The IPL. One just has to look back at Rajasthan’s failed chases in this year’s IPL. Jadeja scored in all of them but way too slow to give the latter batsmen a chance. Dhoni should have known.

    • June 16, 2009 11:15 am

      Q, you say that having been bounced by the Windies, they should’ve planned for it. But if technical flaws could be ironed out that easily, don’t you think there’d be hordes of Don Bradmans in world cricket today? Vinod Kambli (he was considered a left-handed Tendulkar for a while after he scored two doubles at home against England) was ejected from test cricket after Ambrose and Co found him out. Raina has a serious problem with short-pitched bowling and that will be exploited till he goes back and works really hard on it.

      If India had posted 160, sure they’d have a great chance of defending it but my contention is they wouldn’t. Without Sehwag, Gambhir would feel the pressure of accelerating and wickets falling at the other end would mean they’d end up at 140 instead.

      I agree with your ‘dasher-accumumulator’ theory, but its not as cut-and-dried as that is it? Gambhir can be both on his day but was neither in this game. Raina is a dasher, turns out, only if you bowl length. It’s easy to form visions of Yuvraj smashing Broad and Anderson if he’d come out at that stage but then we’d be overlooking his susceptibility to edging quick bowling to slip when he first comes out.

      Point is, there are loads of ‘what-ifs’. Should the responsibility of guiding the chase have been handed to a newcomer? Hell No! Dhoni or Yuvraj should have fronted up to it. But would it have meant an Indian victory on the day? I highly doubt it.

      • June 16, 2009 3:21 pm

        Don, at the end the difference was 3 runs.. 3! Had Yuvi walked out before Jadeja or YP before Dhoni, are u telling me Ind would not have got to their target?

  4. leningmoses permalink
    June 15, 2009 9:50 pm

    India’s batting order has been exposed. Dhoni’s theory of a full youth only team has backfired. They won the 2007 world cup by fluke. I think its high time the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar comes into the t20 team.

    • June 16, 2009 11:19 am

      lening, i see your argument but it’d be a step backwards to go back to the old guard. Fact is these guys are going to retire at some point soon and replacements will be required for all forms of the game. Going back to them in T20s would show a tremendous lack of confidence in the talent pool. My take would be to find some more players so noone is taking their places for granted based on a few IPL performances.

  5. justanotherguy permalink
    June 16, 2009 12:18 am

    well to me the greatest reason for defeat was ravindra jadeja
    who is perhaps one of the greatest losers who ever played cricket.he was the one who ensured RR ouster from IPL by getting yousuf and naman run out in the match against KKR this year and it was he who for his own personal benefit and belittling india’s chances tried to be a hero and thought nothing of the team in the match against england.he did not take singles and if he was finding it hard to score why didnt he throw off his wicket so some better batsman could come and play
    it was surprising why dhoni did get this selfish loser in the team
    jadeja is the one solely to blame and if players like him get into the team it will be a sad day for team india and its prospects

    • June 16, 2009 9:32 am

      justanotherguy, while i see your reaction comes out of disappointment, I wouldn’t go as far to blame it on one new player. Also, believe it or not, it’s only a game!

  6. June 16, 2009 3:30 pm

    Q, two responses to your comment on the margin:

    1. The margin of 3 runs is deceptive. Anyone watching knew that India had thrown it in with three overs to go. Dhoni actually ran a slow single off the 2nd ball of the final over to suggest he thought it was all over. The next ball clearing the fence was a shock to both batsmen

    2. With a different order, you’re assuming everything else would stay the same. But it’s fair to say Yuvraj couldn’t have afforded to let the asking rate balloon like it did, in which case, he might have perished much earlier in the piece. The margin could well have been wider in that case.

  7. June 16, 2009 6:20 pm

    Don,

    We can agree to disagree :-)

Trackbacks

  1. Why India lost « Outside Edge! | Satelec Phone
  2. Reactions to India’s Exit from T20 World Cup | Kridaya Cricket

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