I wonder why some champions crib and cry. Over in Austin, Texas, double F1 World champion Vettel openly whined after losing to Hamilton fair and square while back home, skipper Dhoni, despite a comprehensive nine-wicket win over England was cribbing about a pitch that though on the slower side, was not as bad as he made out to be.
Perhaps, a bit more bounce would have been preferable, and perhaps, Wankhede track could well provide that during the second Test commencing later this week. In fact, the spinners will relish bounce and pace that will also suit the better seamers.
If Dhoni still wants a track that will turn square on the very first day, then why bother to have seamers in the side at all? Get rid of Zaheer, Yadav and Ishant, and play Chawla, Murali Karthik and Harbhajan along with Ashwin and Ojha? Five spinners with lots of variety will do the trick for India!
Instead of cribbing, Dhoni and his men should learn to play and conquer different conditions. You can only do so much by way of pitch preparations, but nobody can fiddle with the conditions like the weather, the natural bounce and pace off the pitch. Those are inherent factors that differ from country to country. You cannot expect turning pitches in say Australia or South Africa, but a good side will adapt and try to do well instead of grumbling.
Many summers ago, Erland Kops, a multiple All-England badminton champion had told me in the course of an interview that for a true champion, there is no home ground. "If you are a true champion, you will win anywhere and in any conditions. There is nothing called a home ground for a champion. If you win in only certain conditions and at home, then you are just another player."
It is shocking that Dhoni keeps on and on about turning tracks. Conversely, such insistence only reflects his lack of faith in his team to perform in conditions other than what he is wanting. Clearly, there is a tinge of insecurity in Dhoni, especially after the eight consecutive Test defeats in Australia and England. The losses had as much to do with the conditions as team selections besides players not pulling their weight when it was needed.
Dhoni has everything going for him at the moment, and so, he will do well to let the team’s performance talk rather than him venting at every opportunity. India have England on the mat and the second Test in Mumbai is an excellent chance to secure an unbeatable lead in the series.
In Ahmedabad, it was good to see Pujara virtually cementing his No.3 spot in the batting order with a well-compiled double century that, along with Sehwag’s ton, set up India’s win even granting that Ojha and Ashwin effectively sealed the game with their first innings performance that saw them dismiss a tentative England rather cheaply. Thereafter, there was only possible result despite Cook’s fine century that merely delayed the inevitable.
Equally riveting show was the US Grand Prix on the spanking new track in Austin where Hamilton pulled off a brilliant win over front-running Vettel whose complaint that Karthikeyan impeded him was a lot of hot air. The fact was that Hamilton was lining up nicely on Vettel and it was a matter of time before he overtook the champion.
Vettel lost a few fans following his outburst that was similar to the one earlier this year when he needlessly abused Karthikeyan, calling him an "idiot". For me, Vettel is a spoilt brat and lacks the maturity to accept an occasional defeat. It is about time the Red Bull bosses slapped the German boy’s wrists and told him to behave.
The off-shoot of the US GP result was that Brazil this Sunday will finally see either Alonso or Vettel emerging champion. Only 13 points separate the two, but more significantly, Red Bull have an issue with the alternator that saw the retirement of Vettel’s team-mate Webber. Should the problem surface in Brazil, then Alonso should be home and dry with his third World title.
The Ferrari team stretched the rule in Austin by breaking the engine seal of Massa’s car just to ensure that Alonso, after moving up a spot, started the race on the cleaner side of the track. While Massa took a grid penalty and dropped five spots, Alonso did well to finish third and keep Vettel in his sights.
While Brazil will crown the champion, it will also witness the final retirement of Schumacher who will be seen racing for the last time. I will definitely miss the seven times champion and regardless of the controversies that marked his career I doubt we will see another driver like him. Adios, Schumi and thank you for the wonderful memories.