1:48 am - Wednesday November 11, 2015

Captain Cool Needs to be More Proactive to Win Tests Abroad

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It was a disappointing end to the series with another huge margin of defeat at the Oval, and what started with a fabulous win at Lord’s culminated in a sad end, a result which has taken aback a lot of Indian supporters.What has also taken aback a lot of us including me is the massive drop of the level of the game as the tour went on. In sport, some win and some lose. But as long as there is fight and competition, one accepts the losses. I am sure the players will also be massively hurt with this drop in their level in the last three Tests.
There is no doubt that there is a lot of talent in that dressing room, the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are players with enormous ability but the reason for their continuous failure must be because of a huge drop in their self-belief as the tour progressed, more than their level of batsmanship. Once that starts happening, the best in the world will look ordinary. Five-Test series is a lot of cricket and the pressure of poor scores made it much more harder for the Indian batsman to cope.

As much as there will be a lot of criticism on Indian batsman at the end of the series, we must give them a little bit of space as they are young and in the early days of their career. But they must remember that they should learn a lot from this. They will play a lot of five-Test series in the future and should find a way to remain fresh throughout it. The key to success is just not to be intense but also to switch-off when the game is over and it will be a very important part of the game for the likes of Pujara and Rahane, who are at times over-caring about their game.Captain MS Dhoni also has to reassess himself. His batting form in this series was improved but his overseas captaincy is not getting better. As much as I believe that he should still carry on despite calls for his head, he needs a massive improvement in his tactics. He has been battered in the last three years, something which can affect any captain in the world but it is he who can change things around for himself. He needs to be a lot more proactive, change things around a lot more rather than allowing it to drift when nothing is happening. I thought he did the right thing in picking five bowlers at the start but should have shuffled around the batting when nothing was going right, just to release the pressure on batsmen who were lacking in form for a considerable period.
As I write this piece, there has been a considerable development of things in Indian cricket—the appointment of Ravi Shastri as the director, Sanjay Bangar as the assistant coach and new bowling and fielding coaches as well. I am very happy to see all of them get a chance to show their credentials. There are a lot of good coaches in India and I think it’s the right time. They toil hard with the A sides and they deserve this. India won the T-20 World Cup and the series in England with the likes of Chandu Borde and Lalchand Rajput and my sincere good wishes to Ravi and his team in the one-day series. Sanjay Bangar got rewarded for his performance in the IPL and he will bring a calming influence to the dressing room. I am looking forwar

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