Revamp team

Just look at India’s last five innings of the just-concluded five-match Test series against England -- 178, 152, 161, 148 and 94!

The last of those innings lasted just 29.4 overs and the combined duration of their final two matches barely stretched to five days, which is the full length of a single Test. There is a thin line between getting defeated and being disgraced. And India weren’t just defeated but ended up disgraced as well. It’s difficult to pin-point any particular reason for this humiliation. Indian bowling progressively lost its steam while fielding never rose above the mediocre. The biggest disaster, though, was batting. The likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan were expected to be the engine room of India’s batting but they were nothing more than a flat tyre. M S Dhoni’s captaincy left a lot to be desired. He just let the gains made at Lord’s slip away with his strange selection policies, unimaginative field settings and defensive approach.

Under Dhoni, India now have endured 12 defeats in the last 17 Tests played abroad since July 2011 and he should be replaced at once. There should be no compromise on that count. Dhoni has outlived his utility as captain. He has increasingly become predictable and waits for things to happen rather than make them happen. Similarly, the non-performing players will have to be left out as there is a dire need to induce fresh blood in the side. The BCCI’s decision to remove fielding and bowling coaches and clipping coach Duncan Fletcher’s authority by appointing Ravi Shastri as Director of Cricket  is not the solution to the problem - those who have failed to perform on the field need to be shown the door instead. 

It’s also strange that the former India cricketers, who strongly feel Dhoni has failed miserably as captain, have not sought his replacement. They still want him to helm the team citing lack of an alternative. But unless you try, how will you know someone is capable enough to lead or not? A senior former cricketer like Sunil Gavaskar, who till the end of the fifth Test was defending the team, has suddenly changed his tack and calling for tough measures now. However, he has not spelt out those measures. Instead of being diplomatic, he should come out openly over the changes that are needed to stem the rot. 

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