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Peak before the IPL and crash after it

Source : SIFY
Last Updated: Sun, Mar 04, 2012 08:02 hrs
Sachin in Asia Cup squad, Virender Sehwag dropped

It's funny how the Indian team performs well before an IPL and badly after it.

The best example is 2011. Just before the IPL4, we won the ODI World Cup brilliantly after a gap of 28 years. Immediately after the IPL4 though, we just about scraped through the West Indies tour and crashed in the England tour after that.

The bad run on foreign pitches continued right through the Australia series.

The same thing happened in 2010. Before IPL3 we had toured South Africa. It was a tough tour and many thought we would get whitewashed. But we held on to a 1-1 draw with the Proteas in the Test series and had a chance to win it to.



The big achievement thereafter was beating South Africa in an ODI series for the first time there.

After IPL3, our very first assignment was the T20 World Cup. We ended that by losing three matches on the trot to be unceremoniously dumped out of the tournament. We failed to even make the semi-finals.

We also lost the next tournament, which was a triangular featuring Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Similarly activities have also been noted around IPL auctions!

So what will happen before IPL5? We may be out of the CB Series final, but if that trend continues, then we might end up winning the Asia Cup!

Rotation or 3-opener conundrum?

The rotation policy came in for a lot of flak in the CB Series. But was it actually that? If a captain is given three specialist openers, then isn't it natural that he would want to play only two in the playing 11?

India's warped policy of accommodating superstars has also been exposed. Of the three openers only Gautam Gambhir is in form and he is been asked to come 1 down. That’s simply bad cricket. As far as Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar are concerned, both have come down the order earlier in their careers and hence can do so again.

Of course, the selection committee has sorted out this problem for the present by dropping Sehwag for the Asia Cup. We are down to two openers again. If at all rotation happens, then it will be for the younger players.

Retirement, who me?

''The Big 3 should retire when they want to'' is a common refrain one is hearing. If that is the case, then why have a selection committee in the first place? Let all the seniors play when they want to and let them along with the captain pick the rest of the team so there will be no dissent.

The truth is that every sportsperson wants to play till he or she can. That may even be till the age of 45! What if Sachin Tendulkar wants to break the record for the oldest Test centurion? Will the BCCI go along with that game?

It is the selection committee's prerogative to drop a player for a particular series. After that whether the player wants to retire is his or her call.

That's exactly what happened to Ricky Ponting. He was dropped and after that has shown his willingness to call it a day. Whether the Big 3 can be similarly forced into retirement is just a call the selection committee can make and no-one else.

But since the next tough foreign Test tour is at the end of 2013 (South Africa), the BCCI may be tempted to just let things be.

Dhoni's captaincy gets a lease of life too

That same logic goes for Dhoni too, who seems to have got a new lease of life as far as his captaincy is concerned. He may perform quite well in home tours and continue as Test captain. In ODIs, his form has been stunning and he did win the world cup, so he's safe.

The BCCI must also have the T20 WC in mind in September. If Dhoni does well, then he'll probably stay in all formats. If he performs disastrously for the third T20 WC in a row, then Virat Kohli may well get the captaincy in the shortest format of the game.


The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/



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