What would it do to Roger Federer if he made first-round exits in all four Grand Slams in a year, or to Brazil if they lost their first round games in the football World Cup to North Korea, Ivory Coast and Switzerland? It would make them think, wouldn't it? It would make them worry, go quiet, wonder if they needed to start afresh, work on their basics again and strive like hell to ensure that the next time they took the field, or the court, they did enough to restore the faith of their fans in their abilities.
The Indian cricket team, till recently, was the No. 1 in Test matches - whatever the merits or demerits of the ranking system – and remain the world champions in the One-Day International format. But it's also a team that, while doing all right in limited-overs matches, has lost 0-4, 0-4 and 1-2 in the three Test series they have played against good opposition in recent times. Of course, there were reasons why this happened, and, no, it's not the end of the world.
But till India become a strong team again – capable of beating all opposition at home and pushing hard, pulling off at least draws, in series overseas - there has to be a period of humility. It's a good virtue to possess even when on top, but when on a downslide, it's pretty much obligatory.