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Lack of enough match-winners is what is compounding problems for Team India

Suhithkumar
ANALYST
Feature
06 Feb 2014, 10:17 IST

Immensely talented, but he isn’t a ‘match-winner’ as yet

Indian sides over the years have always been chock-a-block with talented cricketers coming through the ranks, and we’ve always had the pedigree of producing talented cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammed Azharuddin and the list can go on. But, the underlining factor is that whenever an Indian side has done consistently well, both home and away, there have been 4-5 match winners, who have played their role of being a match-winner to perfection.

So, what is it with the current Indian side that continues to totter in New Zealand, didn’t play up to potential in South Africa, and things don’t look bright in the foreseeable future either. And, as these overseas tours come and go, it’s hard to put your faith on this Indian side, which doesn’t have the stuff required to even stage a fight in foreign conditions. I strongly believe that lack of enough match-winners is what is compounding problems for Team India. Read on!

Let’s start off with the batsmen. Murali Vijay hasn’t done too bad with whatever chances he has been rendered at the Test level. Shikhar Dhawan is still finding his way through, and the mammoth hundred he scored against Australia on his Test debut has suddenly reached a state of oblivion, and isn’t a proven match-winner as yet.

Cheteshwar Pujara is a gutsy batsman, tailor-made for Test cricket, and certainly boasts of the prospect of becoming an Indian stalwart in the next decade or so. Pujara’s performance in South Africa was commendable, but 2014 could be the year, which transforms him from a solid, reliable batsman into a match-winner.

Virat Kohli is probably the conspicuous figure, who reiterates the pedigree of cricketing talent in the country, especially when it comes to producing jaw-dropping batsmen. Rohit Sharma can make a cricket-lover drool over his innate ability to manufacture some eye-brow raising stroke play, but has registered himself as someone, who is very much liable at the international level. MS Dhoni is a match-winner in one-day cricket, Test cricket is still something that isn’t his forte. And there ends the top 6, which are prominent names in the Indian XI today.

Coming to the bowling, we just do not have the culture of producing genuine fast bowlers in India. Yes, there have been talented swing bowlers, starting off with Kapil Dev to Manoj Prabhakar, and lately with Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Praveen Kumar and such people, but we’ve never had a match-winner in the bowling department, albeit Sourav Ganguly would oppose me with that. Ganguly has always rated Javagal Srinath very highly, but I don’t know whether you can consider him as a match-winner.

Looking at the current Indian side playing in New Zealand, Zaheer Khan has just faded away, and bowls a large percentage of boundary-balls than wicket taking deliveries. Zaheer, a couple of years back was a match-winner, but not any more. Ishant Sharma burst on to the scene as a lethal fast bowler, and has faded away ever since.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the surprise element in a negative way, because every one of us expected him to revel in foreign conditions, so on and so forth, but the fact of the matter is that he has found the going tough in those conditions. Mohammed Shami has done well, and in the longer run, you might as well shortlist him as a possible match-winner on the arisen.

Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja aren’t established names I’d say. So, barring those two in the Indian playing XI today, there is only a Kohli and a Mohammed Shami, who are the only candidates worthy of being called as match-winners, which is very worrying.

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So there you go folks, this is the primary reason why Team India continues to get battered, bruised and thumped in overseas conditions.

Well Mr. N. Srinivasan, take care of the quality of cricket that the ones representing your country play, otherwise you might lose serious viewership by everyone of your country’s staunchest supporters, and thereby sabotage the reputation of being a cricketing superpower.

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