Ashwin shames senior batsmen

Another defeat stares India in Kolkata Test, but stars may survive

Ashwin shames senior batsmen

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian cricket team, whose downhill journey has continued for over a year now, is staring at another humiliating defeat in the Kolkata Test much to the embarrassment of the nation, but the national selectors are not yet ready to bite the bullet and make the necessary changes.

On a day when India’s much-vaunted batting lineup capitulated once again and it was only number 8 R Ashwin’s gutsy unbeaten 83 which saved India from certain innings defeat, the cricket administrators should have been ready to read the riot act to the players – but that does not seem to be the case.  
 
Indications are that when Indian selectors meet here on Sunday to pick the squad for the fourth Test starting at Nagpur on December 13, they are unlikely to make any major changes. “We select the team keeping the whole series in mind and cannot make drastic changes after just two defeats,” said a selector who did not wish to be named. After two complete washouts in England and Australia where India lost eight Tests in a row, the home tigers were supposed take ‘revenge’ on the English team on specially designed pitches. But after a good win in Ahmedabad, the team has badly struggled both in Mumbai and Kolkata, with many warts coming into the open.

Batsmen, except Cheteshwer Pujara, have failed to come up with consistent efforts,  while bowlers have been patchy – struggling against a set of confident Englishmen. Sehwag has tapered off after his hundred in the first Test at Motera, while Gautam Gambhir is involved in a massive struggle to regain his run-making ways despite two consecutive fifties.

Age is clearly catching up with Sachin Tendulkar -- he nibbled at a Swann delivery on Saturday to get out cheaply once again – but the selectors or cricket mandarins are too ‘scared’ of asking the God of Cricket to spell out his options. Yuvraj Singh, after a brave return from cancer, is struggling too, but the selectors probably think it would be “impolite” to drop him. This is not to say that, batsmen have to take the entire blame. In fact, apart from Pragyan Ojha none of the other bowlers have been consistently impressive.

The Chennai offie Ashwin thus far hasn’t made an impression, stumbling against stubborn English batsmen, Alastair Cook in particular.

Given Indian team’s form, Nagpur is unlikely to produce miracles. But are Indian selectors ready to see the writing on the wall and begin to look to the future?

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