The Story of India & Bouncers
The Indian team has always struggled against quality pace bowling for the last five decade. The team has struggled to cope with quality seam bowling with bounce and and swing and has looked a bit confused when facing such bowling specially in overseas conditions where the ball tends to bounce and swing more. It is unfair to say that it is only the Indian team that struggles against pace, as all subcontinental teams do, but in the recent past it has been India that has been most vulnerable against it and has been exploited heavily due to this vulnerability.
India has crashed out of the T20 World Cup in West Indies or rather bounced out after some horrid batting display against some quality pace bowlers who dug the ball short. This was the same story 10 months ago in England when the same happened and the it was to the very same players - Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir who struggled as they did yesterday.
The World Cup selection was itself a disaster as many performers such as Robin Uthappa, Pragyan Ohja, and Irfan Pathan were overlooked for others the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rohit Sharma who haven't really been performing so consistently. Ravindra Jadeja skipped the IPL as he was suspended by the Governing Council and lacked match practice. Added to this is the fact that neither his bowling nor his batting has really done anything for India. How he made the squad and worse yet the playing 11 on all four occasions is above my levels of understanding. The same can be said of Yusuf Pathan, but he did score a century the very first match he played in the IPL, but from then on he did nothing. He is a very one dimensional player who can only slog when the ball is pitched up to him. He doesn't play the horizontal bat, and with his height is a perfect target for any fast bowler. Dale Steyn and RCB sure made this count in the IPL. Murali Vijay is a classy player but in the domestic season. most of his dismals have been caught out at deep square leg pulling a ball, and this was the very same thing that happened yesterday.
The Indian conditions are flat pitches that aid spin more than pace and seldom are the batsmen made to fear for their health with the bumper in such conditions. Therefore many batsmen are very weak with the horizontal bat and are vulnerable to the shorter ball. This is reason and an excuse used long enough.
Dhoni has come out saying that comparing the IPL to the T20 Championship is wrong, and in a sense he is right as the T20 Championship has much more quality in terms of players while the IPL is just a domestic T20 league. But at the same time, isn't a domestic league supposed to prepare a player for the international Arena? IPL is probably the closest T20 league to the International level, though the Australian domestic T20 tournament is not far off, and despite facing quality bowlers such as Nannes, Lee, Steyn, Tait, Bond and Malinga for 6 weeks, the Indian team manages to put up such a horrid performance.
The bowling and fielding has let down India too, but not as much as the batting and for that one reason escape the limelight.
India lack a genuine quick bowler who can clock 140 Ks consistently, and batsmen who can play bounce. With these two major lacking, I don't see the Indian team winning lest dominate teams in the future. It is time to retrospect and iron out the weakness. The management and the players alike must sit down and work out their weakness and iron it out.
An alarm bell rang 10 months ago in England and the second one has rung yesterday. I sure don't want to hear a third bell and I'm sure the Indian team agrees with me on this.