If we do well in the one-dayers, which follow in a week's time, the Test series will be forgotten and that is the tragedy of Indian cricket. The tragedy of Indian cricket is that a lot of the Test defeats are swept under the carpet. At the end of the day, however well you do in limited overs cricket, it is Test cricket that defines you as a cricketer, defines your place in the history of the game.
If you are going to have all the Test wins and all the Test losses swept under the carpet, then you are not going to make any progress
-Sunil Gavaskar, former India captain on NDTV
When I heard a former India captain speak this plain truth, then as a true fan I could not help but throw my hands up in despair.
This is a statement by a man who was ordered by the honourable Supreme Court to don the hat of BCCI president, albeit in a temporary capacity during the IPL.
Sunny, as we all know, is not just a great of the game but also a fantastic cricket brain. It is a pity that the BCCI is not optimizing the services of men like him, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly in a more constructive manner even as Indian cricket has hit a new nadir. The problem is, as what Sunny says, this 1-3 defeat in England will be swept under the carpet.
So a generous bit of hit and giggle and all will be forgotten. Not much cricketing thought is applied into how the calendars are drawn up, not much thought is applied on better preparations for the team.
Just who decides to have a five-Test series in 42 days with just two three-day games at the start of the tour? You therefore end up with a bunch of under and over cooked players who had to hit the ground running.
Just who agreed to this itinerary? Probably we all know the answer, but shouldn't cricketing decisions be taken by cricket experts and a committee that understands cricket as much as the economics of the sport?
I thought that at least after two successive whitewashes in 2011-12, Indian cricket would have been wiser but I was wrong.
Coach Duncan Fletcher has apparently won the confidence of Mr. Srinivasan and has his complete backing. There are a number of qualified and more worthy coaches in world cricket, if not in India alone. But right now Indian cricket is completely sold on Fletcher – the man with the easiest reign as Indian coach in my memory.
Then there is the captain, Dhoni, who refuses to believe that he is not cut out for the job in Test cricket. But come to think of it why would he step down when his mentor refuses to move aside even after the highest court in the country has passed strictures against him.
Dhoni is there to take complete care of interests of the team in yellow. So you end up with a squad full of misplaced priorities and agendas.
Just look at the way we handled the selection process for the series. Gautam Gambhir was thrown at the deep end to fail and Rohit Sharma was kept on the knife's edge, again, so that a single failure was amplified.
Wonder why that happens? Well, maybe the duo of Gambhir and Sharma do not get as much backing as the team yellow boys in the fear that they might succeed! Pankaj Singh toiled manfully, but what's his reward, a return business class ticket to India.
But just who will raise these issues? No one, because you have a bunch of yes men in the commentary box and a media that is scared to take on the BCCI out of fear of being denied access!
Test cricket in India is as good as finished because the powers that be (read: Srinivasan) will not want any other format to stand up and be counted. Worse still he has no clue why crowds are not turning up at the grounds to watch the games. So his challenges are more fundamental in nature than to try and understand what it takes for success in an away five-match Test series.
It is this vision or rather the lack of it that saw Srinivasan with his best pal, Giles Clarke ensure that a World Test Championship wouldn’t take off. Together the terrible duo of Giles and Srinivasan may not have felt confident about their teams making it to the top four and hence scuppered the idea using the time-tested 'broadcaster does not like it' idea.
The same broadcaster likes to have an Asia Cup sandwiched between a New Zealand tour and a World T20 and the same broadcaster likes a 40-day West Indies series organised at home before a gruelling Australia tour.
Little do we realise that this awfully timed West Indies series is a stepping stone to further disaster in Australia later this year.
The strong resistance has slowed the process of trying to give Tests a new avatar by having them played in the evenings in a day and night format. But more on that in my next blog.
Of course all the attention is on the World Cup in February-March next year. But should we not have thought about just playing ODI cricket till the World Cup and then resumed our Test action?
No that would have been agreeing with Sunny Gavaskar's view and that is certainly not done in Indian cricket.
We must remember: if we fail to prepare, then we must be prepared to fail!