Monday, September 05, 2005

(Only )Results Matter

As I wrote recently in my post on Sight Screen also(in the post ironically titled It hardly matters), it seems that we, as fans of Indian cricket, care only about one thing. Results. In today's world of crammed schedules, it seems that we don't have much patience for following the methods that lead to those results.

Consider this, GC had been saying for quite some time now that the team is working hard on improvement, and its only a matter of time before they start showing. And as I noted in my earlier posts, the signs of those hard-work were visible in the field. In the batting(as in application and willingness to stay at the crease), bowling(which had mostly been good from the start of the season) and fielding(which looked considerably improved in this tour).

But, had India lost this Zimbabwe game(mainly because we experimented our bench strength, and Zim is playing a much improved game, not only against us but also against Nz whom they gave a scare last time around) how many of us would have cared for what we saw on the field ? As Yuvraj said here
Yuvraj Singh says his century against Zimbabwe is all thanks to the hard work he has put in recently, under the watchful eye of India's coach Greg Chappell and his assistant Ian Frazer
and I saw this application even in the game where he scored a laboured 50 runs(against Zim, first time around). The difference in that and today's game could have been one good ball that he got then, or one chip that fell short of a fielder now. But now that we have good results from him, we're happy.

Look at Kaif, had he got the good delivery that accounted for him today in his last game also(which means he hadn't scored that century) we would still be calling for his head! But now we have the good 'result' and we're happy for a while.

My point is, sure we all want good results. But when the team is down, it would take a while to come back up. Look for the right signs of revival in their performance, but be patient for good results. They should be there in the long run, but for the time, just count those small steps forward.

And, IMO, the best way to do this is to watch the game. Closely. There are answers for most of our anxieties there. What's wrong with Sehwag, why is Dravid slumping, why is Rao struggling, why does Ganguly keep getting out to short ball, is Yuvraj playing for himself, why is India struggling against Zimbabwe, why are we treating bowlers like Ireland and Mahwire with respect etc etc. I found the answers to all these out there in the middle. Watching the game.

And one more thing that I find helpful is to follow the game not involving the Indian team, but the game itself being relevant in Indian context. For example if we are playing a tri-series against Nz and Zim, then follow the game of Nz vs Zim also (for example check how the Nz team also struggled in their game against same Zim in their second match? So, isn't it to our credit that we played better, Nz got allout, we didn't etc. then why are we still complaining about the early 'wobble' we had, that we lost a few early wickets ? Do we expect to win with 10 wkts each time?).

Or if we are playing SL next, follow the game that SL is playing, check which player is in exceptional form recently (ok they are playing b'desh, but still). It helps to look at the whole picture. For example, check how Murali is going for few runs but hardly any wickets in their games against bangladesh, and that too at home ! But we deride Bhajji, and ask questions like 'why is he needed at all, if he's not taking enough wickets' ! (btw, I remember even in the Indian Oil cup Murali didn't exactly run through the WI side also, but was economical)

Anyway, this seems to have been a long rant :) Maybe I was in this kind of mood since the last Ind-Zim game.

5 Comments:

Anonymous abir said...

Love the rant worma, keep it up. I have been having the same silent rant vis a vis the 'indian fan' who is the here and now indian fan with no long term view.

I belive the only objective we should measure this team against is the coming WC in WI every thing else is a build up to it and should be seen as such. The darkest hour is before the dawn and so let us look forward to the dawn and let us not lose our perspective during the dark hours.

Worma I would also like to add this suggestions to our frog in the indian well fans, I would also suggest that they look at the cricketing world as a whole and see what lessons are there to be picked up.

The whole cricketing world is agog with the performance of England in the current ashes series however the point to note is that it took them a decade to get to this stage. The academy was given a specific brief they wanted tall fast bowlers who could swing the ball and that is what the academy delivered. The selectors responded by keeping faith with the players through the bad times. The england team brains trust had a focussed strategy about how they were going to become the best and they followed up with it and made sure everyone was on the same page but most importantly it did not happen overnight.

I believe we have the brains trust for team india in GC and SG, now if only the selectors and BCCI play ball we can be the best in the world no question.

The question however is if the people that matter have the stomach to grind it out for the long haul and work for the common good of indian cricket because in my opinion everything else is just a no ball hitting the middle stump... momentary joy followed by unconsolable grief.

September 05, 2005 2:27 PM  
Blogger worma said...

yeah abir, as you said, the cricketing world is another big picture that the indian fans often ignore. Eng is a very good example. They took such a long time to come up, they went through such a dark period that it would put our slump to shame, but they were showing signs of revival under Hussain. Now they are flourishing under Vaughan. Do we learn any lessons from the Hussain era ? Do we see many Eng still criticising Vaughan for coming up with decent test performance every 10 innings or so (and even less in ODIs)? Or do we learn from the trust that the most ruthless selectors in the world have shown in Hayden (who has a longer slump than Ganguly!).

I do believe the people involved in India (atleast the players, the current lot) have it in them to grind out, our fans and media pressure not withstanding. And yes, as you said, lets hope the BCCI an play ball.

I even wrote in one of my early posts about the SL series, that most of us were quite happy when Chappel said that the next two series would be an experiement to find out right pieces of puzzle. Then there was a public ourcry when we lost a few games ! Seems like we are happy with the word 'experiment' without knowing the implications :-) And now, even this series, when Chappel is in the midst of his publicly declared experimentation phase, we rant about why Kaif being promoted, why Rao playing in a game, why Bhajji is doing this and Karthik that etc etc. Some even calling for Chappel's head :-))

September 05, 2005 2:50 PM  
Blogger Vijay said...

From India's stand point, I guess many of us thought that the "going to the grind" process was ending and the pay off just beginning with the Indian successes in WC 2003, and the series in Australia and Pakistan. It was a bit of a surprise to see the let down occur, when many of us thought that those series would be just the beginning of a team taking off- not a team that peaked. That being said, I am in agreement with you. There are plenty of signs of a turnaround in this tri series, and there were some in the SL series as well. The effort is back. I do believe that India will win tonight. (Yeah results do matter. Among other things, this team is figuring out what it takes to win again. I don't think they are going with the idea that this is just an experimental learning game).

September 05, 2005 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worma: "... Or do we learn from the trust that the most ruthless selectors in the world have shown in Hayden (who has a longer slump than Ganguly!)..."

Hayden was dropped in ODIs recently because of his poor performance. I don't think Hayden's poor run was as bad as Ganguly's in ODIs (yes Ganguly has a poor run for the past couple or more years!)

Hayden was not dropped from Tests, but he has climbed much greater heights than Ganguly can ever dream in Tests. That could be a reason why Hayden was not dropped. But Ganguly is not yet dropped even after string of poor performances in Tests.

BTW, really Hayden has a longer slump than Ganguly? I haven't tracked it as such.

Takeiteasy.

September 05, 2005 10:23 PM  
Blogger worma said...

vijay, not all teams can reach the heights that Aus reached...a 'high' from WC99 to WC03, and beyond. We had a high period from 2002 to 2003-04. But even then, we were never the best in the world in ODIs or tests. Because the best was too good to match (at that time). But maybe there is potential to go higher, lets hope we do this time around.

anonymous : Hayden was dropped in ODIs for only a couple of games (Nz series?), and that too, more as a 'rest to regain form' rather than a drop where one has to come back through regular grind and fight. Otherwise why was he picked again in Natwest series?

And yes, Hayden's string of poor runs in tests is longer than Saurav Ganguly's. I checked it. You can do that same (it has run around 30 innings or longer for Hayden).

And I totally agree that Hayden had reached much greater heights in tests than Ganguly ever did. Thats why probably he wont be given as many chances as Hayden(whos chances are still adding on). Although, as I said earlier, there is the additional captaincy quotient going in his favour, whether we like it or not.

September 05, 2005 10:30 PM  

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