Letter to Greg.
Posted by Sports Snob on September 22, 2006
I think you have done a great job so far. You have put together a young team with a lot of potential. You have got through a series of controversies and I think you have finally learnt that being outspoken and blunt is not the best thing to do in India. You have also learnt to shut up when it comes to the Ganguly issue. Sure, test series wins against England and Pakistan would have made things sweeter but nevertheless the team has made a lot of progress under you. But the time has come for some hard decisions and as things stand the Indian team going to the World Cup has a much better of winning then any Indian team that has taken part in previous editions.
1) Sort out the mental blocks in Sehwag and Pathan.
Two of our best match winners have been performing poorly for quite some time now. Nobody is doubting their abilities but they will have to turn it around. And fast. Sehwag has not been firing on any cylinder and a variety of reasons have made Pathan from a dependable swing bowler into a sunday-leaguer. True, Pathan’s batting has blossomed but he is in the team as a strike bowler first. We need Pathan the bowler a lot more than Pathan the batsman. And the drop in pace has been rather alarming. Maybe we will need a bowling coach (like Bruce Reid or Trevor Cooley) after the World Cup but as of now its up to you and Rahul.
2) Sort the batting order.
Lets face it, you have been lucky. The emergence of Dhoni has saved you a lot of trouble of fielding Dravid as the wicket keeper. As things stand, Dhoni would walk into any lineup in the world right now (barring Australia ofcourse). You have experimented quite a bit (more than probably necessary) but now its time to stop. People need a good run at fixed positions to the world cup. Is Dravid going to open? Are you going to go in with 5 batsmen with Pathan and Dhoni or a sixth batsman and four bowlers?. Start with the champions trophy
3) Draft Kumble back. NOW.
In fact I wrote about this quite extensively. Two spinners in the Carribean might seem a totally insane thing to do but just look at how part time spinners like Gayle and Samuels were effective earlier this year. if you are really interested- you could go here.
4) Develop the siege mentality-
The siege mentality could make a good side into a champion side. Look at Italy at the 2006 football world cup. With the Italian Corruption scandal making more headlines than the squad, the team stuck together, avoided the media, played their hearts out and emerged on top.
Besides, it has worked with the Indian team before. During the 2003 World Cup, the manner in which the Indian team rebounded after a thrashing at the hands of Australia and the subsequent criticism was in part due to the US Vs Them mentality. Even average blokes like Asish Nehra stepped up and fought hard (remember that 6 for 23 against England?) . This could just work. Hopefully, this will result in you guys coming home with the trophy.