What do a Cambridge-educated paediatrician, a geriatric liquor-store manager and a loud television anchor have in common? Well, not a lot, but in the last week they have all asked me, in one form or another: Just what is wrong with Indian cricket?
Naturally, if I knew the answer to that question, I would be a highly paid consultant to the Indian cricket team and not merely a humble cricket journalist. But some things are obvious even to those who don’t have degrees in cricket.
Firstly, the batting has failed repeatedly, with the exception of Cheteshwar Pujara – two innings of a four-Test series – and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli (one knock apiece). Secondly, the bowlers have been unable to take 20 wickets cheaply enough, in conditions that have varied from outright helpful to perfectly docile. Thirdly, the team is far from settled, having lost cricketers of the calibre of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman not long ago. Sachin Tendulkar, in the evening of a glorious career, has struggled to get past initial jitters and make the most of his undeniable ability. All this we can readily agree on.