How is that?

When Team India lost its first Super Eight match to Australia some ten days ago, ardent fans had reconciled to the ignominious defeat thinking it was just a case of one bad day on the field. Then they lost to West Indies, a team that has been struggling for a long time even against some ordinary ones. That defeat virtually sealed the fate of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men in this third edition of the ICC T20 annual event. India needed to win against Sri Lanka and win convincingly. In the end they went down to Kumar Sangakkara’s men as well and completed their hat-trick of defeats.

That is pathetic, to say the least. For the second time, the champions of the first edition of this high profile ICC event failed to enter the semi-finals stage. The fans deserved better from their heroes. In the aftermath of this string of defeats, Dhoni has suggested that the recent Indian Premier League’s punishing travel schedule and ‘after-match night parties’ might have taken a toll on some of his players, particularly those not known for a disciplined regimen. It is good that interim IPL chief Chirayu Amin has decided to end these licensed night-long parties for the players and their ‘fans’.

Dhoni’s post-mortem may be valid to some extent. Because, reports from St Lucia suggest that some of the players were back to their partying ways that ended in an ugly brawl outside a bar. But the indisciplined lifestyle of players apart, there are other serious issues. Coach Gary Kirsten has problems with the fitness of some of the players who went to West Indies and he has even named a few of them. Team selection is another issue. Players like Yuvraj Singh were certainly not in the team on the strength of their recent performance but merely because of their reputation. It is debatable if the national selectors were right in excluding in-form players like Robin Uthappa, Pragyan Oja and Amit Mishra. In the end our batsmen were bounced out of the crease and our bowlers hit out of the park, leaving them with little option but to board the next flight back home. While even the best of teams should expect defeats and take them in their stride, it is doubtful if we had the best one in West Indies.

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