Everything is in Mess
Yes that was the state of our official and unofficial national games of our country. Hockey – a game which holds the status of national game only in name. Already the world cup campaign is in complete mess with the problems like salary issue, who-the-captain issues plaguing it. With the issue of salary settled down after several rounds of talks and huge sum of money, the issue on the captain is for sure going to affect the performance of the team in world cup which starts on 28th February.
The salary issue was raised some 2 weeks before by the players and they are not ready to go to training without coming to a solution on that front. Officials came out rushing and said that nothing is bigger than playing for country.. blah blah blah… but the truth is that this officials are very much living a sophisticated life and have no rights to tell the same. When cricketers are earning in crores from ad films itself why the hockey players shouldn’t press for their salary. And atlast Dhanraj Pillay and some other people who know Hockey intervened and solved this issue. When everything seemed to be well and good, the announcement of captain few days before triggered another storm.
The captain of a football or hockey team is a decorative position just like the President of our country. Their powers are limited to saying ‘Heads or Tails’ and having their hand first on trophy of at all their team wins and can attend the press conferences. Now the Hockey India announced that Rajpal Singh as the captain of the team but the players and coach were supporting Prabhjot Singh to become the captain. Under Rajpal team has had some good tournaments previously and it’s quite logical to retain him as captain. But the players who know that coach is the one who is going to call the shots, has no reason to protest against this. But the funny thing is coach himself joins them. Only the god can save Indian Hockey. Already the popularity of Hockey is in a level that Cricket players are promoting the World cup event which is going to start in 20 days. Only if they enter into the semis of this world cup, everybody will turnaround and look towards Hockey else they have only the past glories to speak.
If Indian Hockey struggling to find its feet, Indian cricket team which looked like a strong one suddenly slumped to find itself losing against a well played South African team by an innings. Losing in a game is not big thing. But losing by an innings surely needs a look in. Everything seems to be bleak suddenly. Sachin and Sehwag played some of their best innings but still can’t get India out of the hole. More than the batting it’s the bowling which needs a lot to be desired. Maybe tomorrow Graeme Smith may say that Indian attack doesn’t have enough teeth to get 20 wickets in a test. That’s how it looked – VERY ORDINARY.
When a team plays only 4 bowlers it needs everyone of them to be in top form. But only Zaheer was seemed to a capable one of picking wickets and Mishra seemed to be the one able to beat the bat. Ishant and Bhajji were just managed to share the workload of bowling the overs without threatening the South African batting line-up. Bhajji has forgotten the art of bowling beautiful deliveries. If South African players plays him really well means there is some problem with him, as they are always a doubtful customers of spin bowling. Mishra has beaten the bat quite a lot of times but yet he didn’t controlled the turn enough to get an edge. He is also not consistently turned the ball from middle and leg but from off stump and outside off-stump only he turned the ball which the South African batsmen negotiated very easily. Suddenly the forte of India, spin bowling is in rubbles. And Laxman was quite right when he said that India don’t have a genuine spin talent except for the ones featuring in the national team. Even in the domestic circuit there is not much spin talent were available. Ramesh Powar and R. Ashwin are the very notable names there but they too were not performing consistently. The return of Sreesanth will surely add some aggressive look to the Indian bowling and if he handles himself well like he did against Sri Lankans he will surely be among the wickets.
And Indians batsmen choked against some real high quality fast bowling. I think they haven’t faced such fierce spell of fast bowling for the past 2 years. But I am sure that Indian batsmen will do well against them in Kolkata. Gambhir after a long time has got out for single digits in both the innings. He will surely make amends, Sehwag always loves to score against high quality bowling and then there is evergreen Sachin Tendulkar who keeps fighting. Badri and Vijay has done well and showed lot of patience in handling South African attack. Hope they will also do well. But the selection of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina were baffling me. Even in T20s England and West Indian bowlers sorted them out with well directed bouncers and they are yet to learn from their mistakes. This test call up is certainly not required and I wish Laxman will be fully fit to take his place. And also Pujara, Rahane or Pandey should have took a place in this test side.
Also I don’t know what’s the wrong in preparing good turning wicket in India. If South Africans and Englishmen wins us fair and square on a seaming and bouncing wicket(In past) they too should know how to play on a turning wicket. This is quite some discrimination as the home team has all the rights to choose the conditions in which they want to play.
Even though I like to see a good test match cricket, I don’t want to see India to lose again to South Africa in Kolkata.