Young turks' attitude a big letdown

Gen Next batsmen should learn to knuckle down and grind for runs

Young turks' attitude a  big letdown

India’s case stands out because only one man, Virender Sehwag, has made any runs worth the name. Indeed, the vice-captain is the only batsman from the team to have crossed 100 runs for the tournament after four innings, a damning indictment of the inability of the rest to cope with the swinging, seaming, bouncing ball.

With the bowlers from all teams having a field day, it is no surprise that the batsmen have failed to get going. Technical inadequacies have been found out, as have been the execution of tactics. That such conditions aren’t the norm in limited-overs cricket worldwide, and therefore few batsmen have experienced such situations before, hasn’t helped, either.

Where India’s young crop of batsmen have been a huge letdown is in their refusal to learn from their mistakes, in knuckling down and grinding it out, in giving the goat away when the going has been tough. Neither Suresh Raina nor Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli has gutsed it out; it isn’t so much the fact that they have been dismissed cheaply as that they have made no attempt to battle adversity that has been the major disappointment.

As is his wont, Sehwag made a spirited defence of his beleaguered colleagues after a mesmeric 13th one-day hundred on Wednesday propelled India to Saturday’s final against Sri Lanka.

“When I was a youngster, it took me almost 50 to 70 innings to start performing consistently, so we have to give more time to the youngsters,” Sehwag pointed out. “We are not worried about them too much because in Dambulla, very few people are not scoring. It’s not just the youngsters, even the seniors are finding it hard to score. We have to live with that and give the youngsters confidence, tell them to go out and spend some time at the wicket.”

Time at the wicket is precisely what the out-of-runs line-up needs. Only Dinesh Kaarthick, despite two shocking decisions in his first three innings, has batted more than ten overs in total, for returns of 33 runs from 83 deliveries. Rohit has faced 34 deliveries for 15 runs in three games,

Raina 60 for 36 in four and Kohli 19 for eight runs in two innings. It’s one thing receiving one good delivery after another to compound one’s woes; it’s another to go looking for strokes early in the innings when you are aware that you must bide your time.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has advocated a ‘no-fishing’ policy, but it hasn’t paid dividends yet. “Everyone has a different style of batting,” Sehwag countered. “It’s very easy to say you should leave the ball or hit it according to its merit, but it’s very difficult to react. When we were young, it used to be tempting to hit the ball, we would get out in that confusion of whether to hit or leave. It’s possible that everyone will come good in the final.”

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