On The Draw at Dominica

When India decided to shake hands with the gracious hosts at Dominica with about 15 overs to go in a chase of 180 in 47 overs, all hell broke loose. At least on social networking sites anyway.

Would I have liked my favorite team to take a shot at winning the series 2-0 instead of 1-0? Of course. But considering the situations and the conditions, it was a fair decision by Dhoni to come to the conclusion that the test was at a stalemate. When given the first opportunity to take the draw, he did and I am comfortable with the decision.

I am not going to call the team “Gutless”,  ”Wimps”, “Running with their tail between their legs” and such, as they have been called on social networking sites. It is wildly inaccurate and highly melodramatic. Talking about melodrama, somebody commenting on Cricinfo, called it “A black day for cricket”.

Let us get down to the circumstances that may have led Dhoni to call off the chase:

The target was 180 runs in 47 overs (3.83 runs per over). Let us first get to the junk argument about this being an ODI target and lads grown up on T20 should easily coast home. It is not an ODI. There are no field restrictions. There are no restrictions on bowling negative lines outside leg stump or way wide of the off stump. Scoring more than 3.5 runs per over is a tough ask in any test, against any opposition.

In a short chase, one of the essential things is a good start. India did not have that. India lost Abhinav Mukund to the first ball of the chase. At this juncture, Dhoni could have held back Rahul Dravid and sent in a Virat Kohli, but he didn’t. Perhaps the idea was to have the two new batsmen get settled and have a shot at the chase with Dravid as the anchor, which seemed to be the case.

As explained by Coach Fletcher, shot making on that pitch was difficult. It was a slow pitch. It wasn’t a difficult pitch per se in terms of survival (as shown by Fidel Edwards for 3 hours). When Dravid and Vijay had got their eyes in, they decided to increase the run rate. They did, I swear. But then, Devendra Bishoo started going around the wicket and started pitching two feet outside the leg stump which immediately put a halt to the scoring.

How could the Indians have combated this? Some good friends on Twitter reminded me that VVS Laxman took apart Shane Warne in 2001 even when he was pitching it outside leg stump. Sure. But scoring at upwards of 5 runs an over? The more logical solution is having a left hander to neutralize Bishoo. India opted for that exactly by sending Suresh Raina ahead of VVS Laxman, when Vijay fell trying to accelerate. I hope you noticed that a batsman who was settled in, with a score of 45, got out the moment he tried to take a risk.

As Bishoo put paid to the hopes of any scoring chances by the negative line backed by a spread out field, the options were to score off the other end, which most certainly the Indian batsmen tried. I watched every single delivery of the chase, as quite possibly most of you did. Whenever the Indian batsmen tried to force shots off the fast bowlers, they had difficulty timing their shots. When they did time their shots, there were the deep set fielders limiting the effectiveness and the slow outfield didn’t help either.

When Raina was out caught brilliantly by Rampaul (off his own bowling), it took the main option for India to combat and score off of Bishoo. Even Raina hadn’t set the world on fire with his strike rate. At this point, Dhoni seems to have decided that scoring 6 RPO was going to be beyond them and offered a draw.

The outrage mostly has been about the fact that India did not even venture a shot during the mandatory 15 overs. Fans are well within their right to expect what they believe is a chase that is quite within the reach of the number one test side (albeit missing 4-5 players from their regular XI). It does however help to put ourselves in Dhoni’s shoes. He has shown remarkable ability to win matches in his captaincy career – across all formats. His team was on the verge of another series win. He set a very sporting 281 in the previous test for his opponents which he came within a brief shower and bad light of defending and taking a 2-0 lead in the series. It is safe to say that the intent to win is definitely there.

As Kartikeya Date points out, even with two of the pillars of Indian middle order out in the center, and two of the limited over stars (including himself) in the hutch waiting, Dhoni decided to offer draw in the third test. Why so?

It is not because this Indian team lacks the stomach for a fight. If the recent few years have shown us anything, it is that this team fights. Even here, they wanted to see what would happen to have Vijay try to up the scoring the rate and have Raina in to see how well he can attack Bishoo. Both the options failed. Only then Laxman walked in to roll down the shutters. Almost run a ball, half of which would have been bowled by a legspinner from around the wicket pitching outside the legstump by 2 feet, on a slow track where shot making wasn’t going to be easy and saddled with a slow outfield, Dhoni decided chasing a long shot win (and risking a long shot loss) wasn’t worth it. As a captain of a team that has worked hard for 15 days to have the 1-0 edge in the series, perhaps, it wasn’t prudent in his opinion to expose his team to even the longest odds of losing this test and thus, just drawing the series. It might be a conservative, safe option but I find it fair.

Samir Chopra laments that this Indian side does not live up to his definition of a true champion. “To be a true champion it is not enough that one sit on top of a numerical ladder of rankings and points; it is necessary the putative champion show the desire and the ability to respond to challenges…”. If this is all that takes for Samir to pass out a judgment that this Indian side which has built its way to the top, one test win at a time on the back of some impressive cricketers, is not worthy of the tag of “true champion”, then so be it. Perhaps, they are not the “guardians of test cricket” he would like them to be.

This is what it essentially it boils down to, isn’t it? Whether the Indian team will play up to the ways we expect them to play? We, as fans, have this idealistic view of what sports is, or rather, should be. It doesn’t always jive with what the players think. From the players and team management point of view, they took an inexperienced test side loaded with youngsters (including three debutants) and won a test series, away from India. Weather cooperating, they could’ve sealed it 2-0 or even 3-0. That is a tremendous achievement.

The other theme commonly bandied about: ruthlessness. “Oh, the Aussie team of the 2000′s would not have offered a draw.” I don’t think this Indian team is not losing its sleep over whether some folks are not comparing them favorably to the Aussies. At any rate, a playing XI including Mukund, Vijay, Kohli, Raina et al., are not even in the same zip code as those Aussie teams.

As fans, we often tend to think we know and understand things a lot better than the athletes playing the sport. It is quite easy to get in to that vortex and start questioning the character and testicular fortitude of players who had sacrificed a whole lot and surpassed tremendous competition to get to where they are. I am not insinuating that the fans shouldn’t question the tactics of their teams but to fundamentally doubt the players’ characters that have brought us wins, trophies and covered us in vicarious glory, is a little extreme. It would help us, and the team as well, if we can stay away from such “outrage” bandwagon.

  • http://twitter.com/raytida R

    My point is not about “ruthlessness” or “making a statement”. It’s the timing of closing shop and settling for the draw.

    I think a lot of the sane fans—even the ones who may have spontaneously combusted yesterday—on reflection will continue to remain befuddled at the timing of it, even if they see Dhoni/Fletcher’s logic. I understand they wanted to seal the series win. I know it may have been a very tough chase. I am quite aware of all that. But why not play on to a situation where it becomes insurmountable beyond doubt?

    I’ll speak for myself, and quite a bit of Indian fans, that we’ve seen a lot of mediocrity over the years in Test cricket, away from home, where we hoped and saw them dashed quite spectacularly.

    Now, with all the success, fan expectations get recalibrated. It’s like in all sports. You attempt to set a certain benchmark based on how good or bad your team is.

    Indian fans now expect. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, this is not to be misconstrued as “Indian fans now demand.” (I’m not including the lunatic fringe here)

    We’re a bloody good Test side. Of that there is no doubt. As Kartikeya said, if it weren’t for the rains, this could have been a 3-0 win for a second string side. We certainly aren’t a great side. And I don’t really demand that we become the next Australia or Windies side.

    All I wanted was for us to play when we always held the cards during this chase. It would only be utter ineptitude that would have cost us the Test from there on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohitdayal1 Mohit Dayal

    Well first of all, Lets just say that you are a die-hard fan of the Indian cricket team, just like me. But i think that Indian cricket went a decade or two back last night. a few points -

    1) Why did players like sachin and zaheer skip a test series? Skippimg an ODI series is understandable, but why tests? The reason given to us was that they needed rest?… Really?.. Oh i forgot.. they were tired playing the most important(read pathetic) tournament called the IPL. So whould we assume that Sachin , Zaheer and Gambhir gave priority to the IPL over country? .. They could easily have taken a month’s rest , maybe the 1st half of the IPL and then gone to WI.

    2) Sombdy like Sehwag.. who played 80% of the IPL before going for surgery.. preferred IPL over country. Now he’s doubtful for half of the England series..WOW!!!

    3) In Barbados , India played at less than 3 runs an over in the post-tea session on day 4 when they had 8 wickets in hand.. and came out the next morning to score at less than 4 runs an over. Ended up giving a target of 280 instead of 320.. and it was the same pitch on which WI scored at 4.5 runs an over in the last session after losing 5 wickets!!! And you will; say that the pitch was difficult!

    4) and last night.. they did not even try!!! What an excuse to give..that the pitch was difficult.. atleast they could have tried. That wud hav been enough for all the fans. Dhoni , harbhajan and praveen cud hav come ahead of VVS and kohli. Had we lost 3-4 wickets.. there wud still hav been VVS n kohli to play out 8-10 overs.. and the light wud hav faded quickly anyways!!! .. But they did not even try!

    I guess the willingness to win was never there on this tour right from the start! .. Hence all the major players skipping the tour and all that! .. As an Indian cricket fan.. all of us feel cheated!

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @Mohit – Thanks for the comment. As to the points raised in the post, the first 2 queries of yours are out of the scope and perhaps, can be talked at a later time. Let me address your point about India “not even trying”. I don’t know which test match you were watching. As soon as the 1st wicket fell down, they had to consolidate a bit before trying to push the run rate. Which MV and RSD did. They attacked WI once they were set. Sammy took himself out of the attack promptly, brought Fidel on and Bishoo started bowling two feet outside leg stump. Negative lines and negative fields put an end to India’s hope pushing on. When Vijay tried to take risks, he got out. India tried for 30 overs before they decided to call it quits.

      Regarding Barbados situation: It actually answers the point regarding this test match. In Barbados, India were pushing for a win and hence, had attacking fields which meant, runs were on the offer, which shows you WI scored at a healthy rate. In Dominica, at the first sign of India aggression, WI became extremely negative which didn’t allow us to get a higher run rate. As pointed out by @Kaundinya above, for entertaining cricket, you need both teams interested in the win. WI always seemed keen on just the draw.

      • rahul iyenger

        India didn’t have the batting to force the issue. If you look back at the series the entire batting was done by VVS,Raina,Dravid. India’s batting was fragile all through the series and were carrying deadweights in Vijay,Kohli,Dhoni.

        This draw was mainly due to the inability of bowlers to get Edwards out..bowlers relied on him making a mistake..Edwards has a history of being a pain in the ass with his batting so credit to him for sticking out. Playing 3 pacers on a slow/low pitch was a mistake in hindsight. Munaf/PK were ineffective due to the slowness of the pitch. If it wasn’t for the 2 umpiring howlers to gift Harbhi some wickets India would have been bowling all day.
        Windies were under no compulsion to bowl 15 overs in the last hour, Sammy would have gotten away by bowling 10 and paying some fine to ICC.

        For people pissing on India’s not having pocessing the ruthlessness of a champion side..
        check this match

        http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/464527.html

        India have chased at 4+ runs per over against Oz. The difference was the confidence in the batsman and the tail got cleaned up early and India had almost the entire day to chase 200+.. Pujara was pushed up to keep the scoring rate which worked partly due to OZ trying to win the game and level the series by bowling a attacking line.

        • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

          @Rahul – Thanks for the comment. You have laid out some of the points I had in mind which made Dhoni’s decisions reasonable to me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mohitdayal1 Mohit Dayal

        First of all.. The first two points are the main reason behind what happened over the last two test matches. Its the larger question which is plaguing Indian Cricket today. And that same MINDSET/APPROACH was responsible for what happened yesterday.

        As far as a factual analysis is concerned.. if u watch the whole 4th innings.. India never touched a run-rate of 3.5… and if u say that it was because we lost mukund first ball , its baffling. Anyways.. all was fine till the last 20 overs.. we needed 96 runs of the last 20 overs.. with 8 wickets still intact.

        And after we lost raina.. it was not as if the pitch had demons in it.. the demons were inside the head of the players! .. we have explosive T-20 players like Kohli and dhoni in the team.. then we have pinch-hitters like bhajji and praveen… even if we Imagine that we would have lost all these players in just a matter of 3-4 overs.. we still wud have had Dravid and laxman to play out the remaining 8-10 overs..

        And it was not as if we had to score 6-7 runs an over.. it was only 4.5 to 5 runs an over.. when raina got out.. And this whole thesis of negative bowling is also bizarre !!!.. the field was spread around.. some innovativeness..like reverse sweeps and a leg stump stance wud hav done the trick.. on the contrary..there wasn’t even one lofted shot apart from a few from Vijay.. they let the run-rate climb to 5.. and then jus left it!

        And as u urself have said that WI was not trying to win.. atleast in the last hour.. a decent try at the target wud have done no harm.. They cud have lost a few wickets.. might hav had to play out 4-5 overs under pressure.. but then the question is .. Do u really think that a strong team like India wud lose 7-8 wickets in an hour or so.. that too against a WI bowling attack????????????

        Lets be realistic dude.. Stop analysing the Indian team and its performance from the prism of the World Cup.. The world cup is done and dusted.. and if the WC triumph does not lead to dominance in world cricket.. as we hav the team to dominate.. if we still lack the killer instinct and the willingness to win from difficult positions.. Then the World Cup is just a trophy.. nothing else!

        • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

          4.5 RPO was tough on that pitch, IMO, with negative bowling. You may disagree, which is fine. Regarding, “this WI bowling attack”: Yes.. this WI bowling attack had us at 85/6 in Jamaica, 4/38, and 50-odd for 3.

          And I have not analyzed this Indian team through the prism of the world cup win. I have no idea where you getting that idea from. I don’t recall making that connection anywhere in the post.

  • Kaundinya

    good one!! To win a game the other side must be willing to win as well!! Once they started bowling negative they were fine with a draw and a 1-0 loss!! No point in India trying too hard and getting themselves into trouble when they already have series in their pocket!!

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @kaundinya – Thanks for the comment. I agree with your POV. It takes two to tango. :)

  • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

    @R – Thanks for the comment.

    Regarding the timing of shutting shop and offering draw: As I mentioned, perhaps they thought that their best chance was to utilize left handers to counter the negative line from Bishoo. When Mukund fell first ball and Raina not lasting long, both the left handers in the line up were lost. I am sure such decisions are not unilaterally taken. Dravid (and to an extent even Vijay who got out after compiling a good 45, trying to push the rate) must have conveyed to Dhoni and others that it is not easy to go at a fast rate. This probably coupled with Raina’s dismissal, hastened the decision, IMO.

    As to the fans “expectations” and sometimes “demands”, fair enough. It is okay to question strategy. But in my book, it is not alright to question the make up of the team’s character at the first instance where they don’t match up to the fans’ expectations. In all likelihood, the team management takes decisions based on what they see as the best option, for the team…

    As pointed out in another comment, it shouldn’t have come down to this at all. Dropped catches and not breaking through Fidel’s defense early. That does not mean that you can’t question Dhoni’s decision, but this collective apoplectic outrage is extreme. That’s all.

  • http://twitter.com/chasingwillow Jenya Romanski

    Coucho Marx, I didn’t know you could be so charitable!
    I’m impressed, really, but what about South Africa?
    They went to play virtually the same side (barring but a couple of important characters, namely Bishoo) and sleepwalked their way to a fairly convincing series win.
    (I say “sleepwalked”, because I could barely keep from sleepknitting as I watched them)
    Given Dhoni’s general character and comportment, that was the plan for World #1s as well.
    What’s amiss? the peanut gallery and I are intensely curious.

    • thecricketcouch

      This Indian side included a bunch of new boys as some of the seniors in the squad bailed out through injury (Sehwag, Gambhir), or forced rest (Sachin and Zak) and Yuvraj (illness). So, it would be considered a much weaker squad compared to that RSA team. In spite of that, they had chances to win the series 3-0, weather cooperating, actually. So, all in all, as i mentioned in the post, tremendous achievement.

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      This Indian side included a bunch of new boys as some of the seniors in the squad bailed out through injury (Sehwag, Gambhir), or forced rest (Sachin and Zak) and Yuvraj (illness). So, it would be considered a much weaker squad compared to that RSA team. In spite of that, they had chances to win the series 3-0, weather cooperating, actually. So, all in all, as i mentioned in the post, tremendous achievement.

      • http://twitter.com/chasingwillow Jenya Romanski

        You. Cannot. Blame. The Weather.
        Not as a No. 1
        You know how they say that you should at the very least “bat your average”?
        Well, that rift in ranking? It should show.

        • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

          I don’t think you can blame weather. It just happens. Sometimes it prevents your from winning a test and sometimes it comes in handy to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. I think the rift even with the No.1 side missing many of its starting XI showed during the course of the series. Sure, the final scoreline 1-0 doesn’t. Oh well.

        • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

          I don’t think you can blame weather. It just happens. Sometimes it prevents your from winning a test and sometimes it comes in handy to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. I think the rift even with the No.1 side missing many of its starting XI showed during the course of the series. Sure, the final scoreline 1-0 doesn’t. Oh well.

          • http://twitter.com/chasingwillow Jenya Romanski

            hey! I’m the only one who doesn’t get a “thank you for the comment”.
            Har.
            Have you looked at the forecast for the England tour, Captain Couch? Lord’s: light rain, rain, rain, scattered showers, showers, rain with cats, rain with dogs..
            I shall politely refrain from ‘water sports’ jokes at this point.

          • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

            J-Ro, I did thank you but it was invisible. :)

            Thank you for the comment. Hope the weather cooperates at least in Trentbridge and Edgbaston, two result pitches. Lord’s is gonna be a snoozefest.

        • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

          I don’t think you can blame weather. It just happens. Sometimes it prevents your from winning a test and sometimes it comes in handy to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. I think the rift even with the No.1 side missing many of its starting XI showed during the course of the series. Sure, the final scoreline 1-0 doesn’t. Oh well.

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  • Krishna

    I think you hit the nail with this one.

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      Thanks.

  • PSUbatman

    The comparison of ruthlessness with Australia should not be made in terms of the offer of draw but letting the WI bat on without a plan in place. Chanders was always going to be a lynchpin but not being able to dislodge Edwards who faced close to 18 overs on a 5th day (say 4th day with all the rain) pitch is what is causing more resentment in the Indian cricket fans than the inability of forcing a win batting aggressively.

    If Dhoni is to be applauded for his bold decision to declare in the last match to set a challenging total and probably be deprived of win due to rain, he should be held responsible for not being aggressive enough to prize out a tail-end batsman. Yes, things are made difficult with your most experienced bowler bowling duds and being able to pick wickets only due to umpiring blunders. But that is when you earn or lose the brownie points of being a successful captain.

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @Batman – I agree. The momentum to win the test was lost when the 9th wicket partnership went for 3 hours and change. The blame for it has to go to Dhoni and the bowlers, no question about it. But this post was written in response to some really appalling names that the team was called by, which i thought were really out of line, and a bit over the top.

  • http://twitter.com/tracerbullet007 Benny

    well articulated, couch! I ranted a bit on my blog, but you put it much better….its really unfair to expect a side missing 4 of its top cricketers, to steamroll a side, which has played much better than most people would give credit for…while fans have the rights to feel cheated or disappointed, ultimately it is not the fans who are playing in the actual match and thus cannot make a better assessment of the match situation than the team management…

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @Benny – I read your post before you mentioned it here (I am like that — jobless). I do agree with your point that people on the pitch understand the conditions much better than us watching on TV but the fans do have certain rights to question the logic and strategies employed. It crosses the line, IMO, when it ventures in to the realm of questioning their character and fortitude.

  • http://twitter.com/virenp98 Viren Patel

    I think you, and maybe others are confusing the fighting spirit and character of players. This is unquestionably the strongest Indian side with amazing fighting spirit but that comes into picture when we’re down and how we find ways to get back into the game. That’s not the case here.

    Plainly speaking, Dhoni, has time and again, opted to look at the series as a whole than 1 game, which is fine but if this team doesn’t go for the kill, I don’t know which Indian team ever will. So with 1-0 and series win in sight, his was already bent towards a draw for the last match. Despite losing Mukund on first ball, sending Dravid is a clear indication of slowing down, because the man is a defender and more so when he comes at 0/1.

    The question of guts come in not at the timing of the declaration but the intent from the beginning. Losing first wicket on the first ball and not sending Dravid but someone who can keep the scoreboard ticking (the beginning required RR was less than 4), would have been much better option.

    My problem is that somehow it was required to send someone to stabilize the innings just because we lost first wicket early and thinking that we can actually lose the game. Worst come worst, the game could have been drawn later on if a couple of more wickets had quickly fallen. We can surely depend on this line up to bat out 40 overs on a pitch which wasn’t a minefield, no?

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @Viren – Sure, it does seem like Dhoni is more interested in test series wins but as Rahul Iyengar points out in his comments, when Dhoni has had the time to go for it, he has. I understand the point of yours about sending someone more proactive than Dravid at #3 even after the fall of 1st wicket, but I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to Dhoni in this case, as he would’ve better grasp of the situation, no?

      During this tour, we have had multiple batting collapses, just in the test series. How can you fault him in sending Dravid up to set up a platform?

      • Virenp

        That’s the thing, there was no time to set a platform as such. And mark my words, this will happen again because like I said Dhoni is going to look at the series. He’s shrewd; after a few years all people remember are series wins.

  • http://www.thecorridorofcertainty.com Minal

    I’m not as much appalled at the no-win than I’m at the way the game was called off. I debated on twitter and I maintain – Dhoni should’ve given himself one chance – come up the order and played. I’d rather say well tried then say oh good let’s save it and keep our series win. Let’s get one thing clear – loss was not going to happen – not with this team. Having grown up in the 90s I’ve seen worse collapses and this team is no longer doing that. So given that we had kept that option out – we were playing for a win first then a draw. Sadly we reversed that equation a little too soon by placing all our bets on Murali-Raina working it out without giving it a thought if RD/VVS/MSD collectively would’ve got us near the target or not.

    Would I be this appalled if it were a different opposition – say SA/Eng/Aus with series win at stake – maybe not. Did this WI team deserve a dampener after their fine spirited show in the morning? I think not. For the first time I saw crowds flock the test match – did they deserve this sweet handshake? I think not.

    We believe this team can work wonders, they have in them to dominate despite being a second string side, without their prime players. That’s what this team has done for me and billion others – self-belief – and achieving the impossible. They won’t do it everytime but I’d rather see them give it a try than opt for safe way out.

    The outrage that happened did not doubt Indian players’ character or Dhoni’s decision to prefer a draw – which would’ve played out eventually – it was the sheer timing of that decision which led to the collective frustration. That’s all.

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      How can you be so certain that loss wasn’t gonna happen? If India were to lose 3-4 quick wickets, Fidel is good enough to get a couple more to set cat amongst pigeons. As you point out, you wouldn’t have been as appalled if it were SA/Eng/Aus.. which essentially tells me that you don’t rate WI, which is fine. But their bowlers have done a tremendous job this series and have had India in more than just a spot of bother repeatedly. As much as the fans can question the thinking process behind the aborted chase, I do think and am inclined to believe the team captain and the management have better understanding of the situation. Perhaps, it was a conservative move and if, with the resources at hand that they are quite aware of, still decided go that route, don’t you think there could be more than what was apparent to all of us from the situation? At any rate, you are more than right to feel aggrieved. I however think it was a fair call.

      In terms of fans at the stadium getting short-changed, how can you hold Dhoni responsible for taking advantage of existing, perfectly legal cricket rule? To be fair to Dhoni, India did try to go for it while WI went completely negative. How is it right to apportion the blame – all of it – on Dhoni?

      I understand the frustration. However, IMO, it is still crossing the line some of the comments that I saw (ones I mentioned in the post). Today there is a post that is titled Cowardice of Dhoni.. Whatever.

      I can argue and discuss the logic behind the decision, but when someone starts bringing in the integrity, character of the players and the team in to question, I check out of the conversation.

      • http://www.thecorridorofcertainty.com Minal

        How am I certain that a loss was not going to happen cause I’ve seen worse collapses and this team is not the one to do that. In first test – Raina-Bhajji put their hands up, then RD, then VVS, then Mukund & VVS, Mukund-VVS-RD again in 3rd test, then Dhoni, last innings Murali. Even PK/Mishra played cameos. I would’ve even put my money on Kohli to come good on a pitch like that given the want of the situation. This team makes me believe in the impossible hence I knew they would not lose it for sure. 100% certain – not against Fidel and Co. I don’t underestimate WI bowlers, I just rate our batsmen better to tackle tough situations despite their not so great showing this series.

        At what point in my comments did I blame Dhoni or call him cowardly. I’m not holding Dhoni responsible for folding up the game using a legal rule – I’m assuming it was a collective decision but I would have wanted him to give himself a go at batting because he is capable of it as shown in the past.

        It’s not about rating WI as a team but the situation. We have WON a series in WI – I referred Aus/SA cause we have never won a test series there. England because seriously I’d prefer a safe way out keeping my series win intact over and above all – than have those Pommie journos and cricketers whine all day long!

        This WI team was a serious chance to push the pedal with the given resources at hand. I’m not saying the WI bowled badly – but I’m sure our batting would’ve upped one scale than what they have shown in this series.

        Point is Subash – both sides of the coin are justified in their opinions – making personal comments about the team’s character uncalled for I agree but to not allow folks to believe that this team should’ve tried a bit more is a bit unfair in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/qualitie Sunder Rajan

    Subash-Excellent piece arguing your view but maybe it is in the “Indianness” in us which caused the outrage, knowingly or unknowingly we all live by the motto “Karmanye vadika raste ma phaleshu kadachana” and the lack of “Karm” yesterday was the issue…..!

    • http://thecricketcouch.com The Cricket Couch

      @Sunder – Thanks for the comment. Sorry we didn’t get to meet in OH.

      I don’t think outraging these days is sole property of any one set of fans. It is the norm and I get that. Fans felt cheated and they vented. You could discuss the pros and cons of the decision itself without dragging in the character of players in to question. That’s my problem with the whole issue (and also the fact that I do think it was a fair decision by MSD). :)

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  • Sathish

    Reading your blog for the first time and I like your style of writing. I do agree with your views. I think people expect too much out of Dhoni. If we look at most of his instinctive decisions in the past (some of them are real gamble) they have always worked for him or India would have won the match or both. eg:- Bringing in Sreesanth instead of Ashwin for the WC finals. Persisting with M.Vijay in the IPL though he had a poor start, Giving the last over to Tim Southee in an IPL match. He even set a target of 280 in the Barbados test. Expecting him to take such brave decisions in every match is a bit too much. Dhoni might have won the WC and India may be No.1 test team but is Dhoni the no.1 Test Captain?? Can he win 15 or even 10 test matches in a row?. It is too early to expect such things from Dhoni and his team. IMO, India lost the opportunity when we allowed WI’s No:10 to face 100+ balls. Had we taken the wicket of Edwards earlier the target would have been under 120 which Dhoni and hius men would have comfortably chased and these discussions would have never happened at all. Dhoni may be right in settling for a draw but India should have never allowed WI to score so many runs after taking 8 wickets and there cannot be many excuses there (Except Zaheer Khan’s absence).

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