One definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By that logic, the BCCI appears to be quite insane.
When a particular combination succeeds, one is attempted to persist with it expecting the same results. When failure eventually arrives, the persistence sometimes continues in hope that the old results will somehow come back.
But when a combination breeds nothing but failure, then it's quite stupid to persist with it. That is what is happening with Indian cricket right now.
Greg Chappell was considered by many to be India's worst coach. But he did shake up the system and we had that record of 17 consecutive ODI chases under him. What about Duncan Fletcher? Apart from winning against weak teams like West Indies and New Zealand, he has absolutely nothing to boast about.
We got thrashed in both England and Australia. We failed to win the Asia Cup or the T20 World Cup. We crashed against pace and now we are crashing against spin. How long will we continue to accept a slide under him?
Captain MS Dhoni won us the inaugural T20 World Cup. But after that he has recorded three consecutive WC failures and it's time to move on. That too considering the fact that Dhoni is one of the slowest T20 batsmen around.
After initial Test successes, Dhoni was whitewashed 0-7 on foreign soil. To make matters worse, his Test batting has crashed. He is in the team only on the basis of his wicket-keeping. Dhoni himself has said that he is overburdened. Wouldn't it be a better idea to relieve his Test captaincy and let him concentrate on his batting?
Look at the way Michael Clarke has revived the fortunes of Australia. That has been the case with many Test teams off late opting for a new captain.
Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t had a 50 in his last 10 Test innings. He hasn’t had a 100 for more than 25 innings. The last he hit a winning Test century was way back in 2010. Greats lose form and regain it. But if a 38-year-old loses form and doesn’t gain it by the age of 39, then what is the team management waiting for? For him to turn 40 before they finally take a decision?
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir became the best Test opening pair for India, but went into a slide after that. Now if the slide lasted a couple of series, then one could be forgiven for persisting with them. But their failure has lasted a few years now.
They did have a century opening stand in the first Test, but that seems to be happening only once in a blue moon. More importantly, they have become totally unstuck on foreign soil. Gambhir hasn’t had a century in 3 years and Sehwag hasn’t had one outside the subcontinent for four years.
In 2011, Harbhajan Singh had gone for 10 innings without a 5-wicket haul and was dropped. Now with R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha going great guns, was there really a need to bring him back after 14 long months? And that too having three spinners in a side? While he did take two wickets in the first innings, he looked by and large ineffective.
This all finally fell apart in the second England Test at Wankhede. First India collapsed to 119-5 on the first day in the first innings against spin. That’s something totally unheard of. Cheteshwar Pujara and R Ashwin spared India the blushes and we reached respectable 327.
The second innings was even more abysmal. 142 all down and we lost by 10 wickets on the morning of the fourth day. This is the first Indian team which can’t play spin and can’t weave a web of spin on its opponents to boot.
After this loss, we can still come back and win the series, but that is beside the point.
Team India has been playing below par in the Test arena for too long now and it is time for a total overhaul if we are to have any hope for the future.
Otherwise in South Africa in 2013, we will achieve a hat-trick of whitewashes after England and Australia. At that point in time if we still persist with the Fletcher-Dhoni-Sachin troika for reviving our fortunes, then it would be a travesty indeed!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/