In the aftermath of the loss of the third Test and the series with it as well as the number one ranking, the Indian team has faced brickbats and plenty of missiles from various quarters. Be it the media or former players, no one has spared the team.
And to be fair to a lot of them, the performances in the three Tests deserve criticism mainly because we haven’t seen a lot of fight. They’ve ambled around when they needed to get stuck in; they’ve been mute spectators when they needed to be screaming out the war cry.
I do understand everyone has a right to an opinion and to be critical. I cannot, however, understand how some of the reactions can be so harsh, considering we were number one in the world till one Test back for two years.
And while that is one of the reasons why everyone is criticising, you’ve got to admit that England has been the much better team than us over the course of this series so far. Yes, a lot has been talked about what went wrong about the preparation, the form of some important players, or some injuries to crucial players, but you have to accept that this England team has had a few at their end and has still coped with that because of the depth of the squad.
It won’t be fair on this English team, not to heap praise on them and try finding faults with the Indian team instead. Again, India has not played to its potential, it was up against an English team that is relentless, persevering and very, very difficult to beat at the moment.
What struck me most about the criticism that was levelled was that it came from a lot of the ex-cricketers and while there is no doubt that at the moment one needs to criticise some performances, I find it too harsh, coming as it did from guys who have been in similar situations or worse.
It is only recently that the Indian team has started winning abroad consistently and the ex-cricketers more than anyone else should realise how difficult it is to win ‘away’ from home. India won their first ‘away’ series against New Zealand in 1967, but since then, it isn’t like we’ve won every time we’ve gone on tour. It’s been a tough, tough journey.
The fact remains that this is the first time an Indian team became number one and therefore, these guys have done something right to get there. And then to write them off in a matter of three tests against a very good side, however mediocre their performances have been, would be a bit premature.
You cannot change what’s happened in the three tests, but there is one test still to go and hopefully, this team raises its game because there is a lot of pride at stake.
If criticism is constructive, as a player you don’t mind taking it because as an individual you realise you haven’t played well enough and you accept it. As a player, you don’t step on the field not wanting to win, and then when you are outplayed, it is not a nice feeling to have.
I can assure you that the fifteen guys out there are feeling worse about this performance than any of the supporters or followers of Indian cricket. And that is why I feel that some of the guys who have played at the highest level should be a bit more respectful to a team that has managed to play well and earn that respect in the last few years.
This, by no means, is a defence for the team as it has to improve its performances if it wants to compete at a world stage, but I think they definitely deserve to be shown a bit more respect than they have for a few more years.
For years, it has been seen in sport how quickly things can turn around and as an Indian cricket fan, I would be hoping this change would start this Thursday.