Most teams pass through temporary lows and highs. When low, profane expletives are thrown. When high, the same tongues or pens use great adjectives! Too much one-day cricket breed 'short memories' in the public minds and judgements are passed on a team, based on that - which is very unwise. The players are not machines, but mortal humans playing a sport. No doubt, as paid professionals, they are expected to deliver the goods. But certain factors need to be considered before slapping abuses, just because they lost a couple of tournaments.The Indian Board in its greed to spin more money, prepares hectic schedules that indirectly reflect on results while putting key players at risk of injurires. That affects the combination which forces to experiment with replacements. In the present instance, the team played after a much needed break [remember, after successful sojourns] and it is often proved to be good to be 'slow starters'. Haven't they hit peak at the right time before? The team also needs to do a few 'dry runs' with new combinations and strategies and that was practically the right time to have a feel. Certain fringe players are also worried about their places in the team and so they tend to 'play for themselves'. Our team has to cope with special factors like zonal quotas and attractive surnames to add to the already complicated 'strategies' and still be expected to win each and every game!We also fail to take account of the various playing conditions, the fitness, form and strength of our own players as well as the opposition during a match/series. They are expected to adopt to all of them and if cricket was so very predictable, we would not have been talking about it! Why did Australia lose to England yesterday? One-day cricket is mainly for 'watch and forget' entertainment, not entirely worthy of serious discussions and post-mortems. It keeps the business part of the game rolling, but what should matter is the Test Matches. For, that is the real test for any team. If you ask the players, most will vouch for it. Result-oriented, fanatic-viewing dilutes whatever enjoyment we may derive from the contest. If there were no losers, esp. in sport, there would not have been any winners!
[This was published in Star of Mysore, 2006]