The Indian and Sri Lankan teams are going through a rough patch indeed. They have been beaten soundly in Test matches and started the one-day matches also shakily. The Lankans have won the second of the five one-day games as have the Indians and with those wins their body language has changed and they now look as if they mean business.
In India's case the losses to Pakistan were hard to digest since there seemed to be no fight at all with the batsmen succumbing tamely to the new ball attack of the Pakistanis which allowed the spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Mohd Hafeez to spin a web around the lower order. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the only batsman who stood tall against them and Suresh Raina was his able Lieutenant in the effort.
The win in Kochi will no doubt lift their spirits up and give Mahi's boys the incentive to give their skipper a good gift on his home ground in Ranchi.
In Australia the Sri Lankans are having problems with injuries and so they don't have a settled look about them. They were also handicapped by the fact that their skipper Mahela Jayawardene was out of form till the final Test match and so couldn't make his usual contribution. The injuries meant that Lahiru Thirimanne, who otherwise wouldn't have got a look in, got to play in the final Test and he almost got a century there.
He has carried on his good form to the one-dayers and his century helped the Lankans to post an easy win over the hosts . Thirimanne's hundred makes you wonder how he could have been left out of the playing eleven before but then tour selection can be a problem if the established players are not in form and with no warm up games between the Tests as modern tours go there is no chance to regain form or for the reserve players to show that they need to be given a chance. Chances open up only because of injury and then those need to be grabbed as Thirimanne has done so well.
In South Africa the Kiwis have been steamrolled and Brendon McCullum's career as the skipper has got off on not just one wrong foot but many feet. More than him, the coach who engineered the change needs to be asked questions. He got away in Sri Lanka at the ICC World T20 despite questioning the ICC which if a player from the sub-continent had done he would have been pulled up and punished.
Dale Steyn was unplayable as he ran through the Kiwi batting making them look worse than schoolboys. Of course nobody will suggest that the Kiwis can't play pace bowling but if the Indian team had got out similarly, the old stereotype about not being able to play pace would have been brought out.
For his splendid bowling Dale Steyn pips Thirimanne and Faf du Plessis to be the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group