Two top Indian newspapers today published editorials saying that the India cricket team’s ODI series loss to Bangladesh was expected to happen.
The loss was something “waiting to happen”, Indian Express wrote in an editorial headlined ‘Drubbing Foretold’, attributing the defeat to “listless batting and unruly bowling and lack of focus” against a team growing in confidence, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
“Had the BCCI been wiser, it would have seen it coming. India’s first-ever ODI series loss to Bangladesh was a mishap waiting to happen. For a majority of the senior Indian players, the Bangladesh sojourn was forced on them at the end of a hectic season.”
It said, “They (the Indian players) had spent four-and-a-half months down under, losing to Australia and then redeeming themselves at the World Cup before jumping on stage for the IPL. Many pleaded to be excused but the BCCI wasn’t listening. But even as it pushed the A-listers on the plane to Bangladesh, urging them to give their best, it opted to take it easy. It didn’t think it prudent to hasten the search for a new coach. Instead, it chose the comfortable option of sticking with ad-hoc support staff.”
The daily said “listless batting and unruly bowling resulted in two humiliating defeats where Bangladesh was rarely put under any duress.”
It said Indian team management’s “knee-jerk” reaction after the defeat in the first ODI was evident with the team management deciding to rejig an otherwise stable outfit by dropping their most consistent batsman across all formats in the last 12 months, Ajinkya Rahane, and their two best fast bowlers from the World Cup, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma.
“Suddenly, the team that looked good enough to conquer the world in Australia a few months back was dealing with a crisis of confidence. So much so that India’s most charismatic cricket leader looked disillusioned after the second straight defeat,” said the Indian Express editorial.
“When MS Dhoni talks about quitting, you know the wound runs deep. It generally doesn’t take too long into the post-mortem of a loss for the blame-game to commence in Indian cricket,” it said adding “But this one was a predictable outcome of bad planning.”
Another prominent daily “Hindustan Times” in its editorial titled “Pushed to the Boundary” said India’s defeat in the ODI series in Bangladesh “betrays a worrying lack of focus against a team which is rapidly growing in confidence.”
“Bangladesh shook India in the World Cup quarterfinal loss — they still blame a controversial no ball which reprieved Rohit Sharma — and swept a series against Pakistan on returning home. Neutral fans might applaud Bangladesh’s coming of age, but India have looked a house unsettled. India’s batsmen were hardly proactive,” commented the editorial.
While paceman Mustafizur Rahman stood out, Indian batsmen “did little to put him off his stride or take on the spin of Hossain or Shakib al Hasan,” it said adding MS Dhoni’s “captaincy hasn’t helped. Praised for his proactive ODI leadership, he didn’t win admirers by dropping Ajinkya Rahane in the second game.”
“But the concerns are far more serious than the embarrassment of the first series loss to Bangladesh. Dhoni’s post-match media comments on Sunday that he won’t mind stepping down as skipper and his effectively taking a jibe at the powers-that-be for Duncan Fletcher’s unceremonious departure as coach indicate disquiet in the camp. Ravi Shastri continuing as team director — he is likely to be named coach also — is seen more as a move to empower Virat Kohli, the new Test skipper,” according to Hindustan Times .
It said “Dhoni’s position as once the world’s most influential cricketer has eroded with the change of guard at the BCCI. Controversies surrounding his IPL team Chennai Super Kings and his supposed closeness to former BCCI president N Srinivasan have only hurt the World Cup-winning captain’s standing.
“Although Dhoni insists he enjoys the game and won’t mind staying on as a player, it is obvious that he is feeling the blues, and his comments seem to betray his uncertainties. A former national selector recently revealed that a decision to axe Dhoni as skipper in 2012 was vetoed by Srinivasan as BCCI president. Such revelations can’t help.”
The editorial criticised Dhoni’s elbowing of Mustafizur Rahman in the first ODI saying it was “very unlike Dhoni.”
“With his (Dhoni’s) voice no longer as influential in the BCCI corridors as it used to be, the situation suggests the awkwardness, which accompanies change. Thus, finding calm should be the priority for the team management and board bosses,” the daily commented.