Indian players are not used to going for the kill

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 05, 2014 04:26 hrs

Even as the international season goes on, India’s domestic season is poised quite nicely with the knockouts of the Ranji Trophy starting next week. There have been some pleasant surprises in those teams qualifying, and hopefully they will be able to spring some more shocks on the field.

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India’s cricketers returned after a disappointing tour of South Africa where a couple of bad sessions cost them the Test series. They had done exceptionally well to be in a winning position in the first Test, but even while accepting that the pitch had slowed down and become easier for batting, it looked that the Indians did not know how to land the knockout punch.

This is mainly due to the culture in Indian cricket where the first innings lead is good enough to take the team forward. This culture does not encourage teams to look for outright wins, and, as everybody knows, winning is a habit, just like scoring centuries and converting them into double tons.

So many times we have seen, especially in the Duleep Trophy tournament where teams take a massive lead, yet not only do not enforce the follow on, but bat for another couple of days and don’t try for an outright win. So when a winning opportunity presents itself overseas, the players are just not used to going for the kill.

The Indian team leaves for New Zealand on the morning of the 12th, and hopefully the powers that be will allow those whose teams are in the quarter finals to leave a day later.

Having the best players available raises the standard of the competition and gives a more realistic view of the talent when they play against the best in the country.

The first one-dayer in New Zealand is on 19th, so there's enough time for the players to reach and get acclimatised to the time change and conditions. The Ranji Trophy is the premier tournament in India and should be treated as such.

Internationally, Dale Steyn showed once again why he is the best fast bowler in the world by picking up wickets on an unresponsive pitch and putting South Africa in a winning position. There was also Kiwi all-rounder, Corey Anderson's fastest one-day century, but it is Steyn for his superb fast bowling who is the CEAT International cricketer of the week.

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