Ten reasons why the Indian team has fallen from grace just months after their triumphs in Australia and Pakistan:
1. The media hype went to our boys’ collective heads. Suddenly they thought they were the best side in the world.
2. A wicket-keeper who is only capable of catching a cold. Parthiv Patel was till a few months ago busy telling his critics to go to hell—this after virtually losing us the series in Australia with his missed chances. Now we are told he is in tears and not even his godfather in the selection committee can justify his presence any more. How in heaven’s name was he retained for the Nagpur Test?
3. A captain who is not sure if he is coming or going. Ganguly has missed four of the last six Tests through injury, including the fourth and final Test at Mumbai starting next week.
4. Injuries have not only been affecting the captain. Sachin Tendulkar’s tennis elbow is still not obviously fully healed. But he is just too restless to sit it out any longer after missing months of cricket. More worrying is Irfan Pathan’s injury which has kept him out of the Nagpur and Mumbai matches. And Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh have struggled for fitness too.
5. The BCCI shenanigans. This has left cricket in the country rudderless and the players looking lost. It’s almost like the Board is daring the government to take it over. The day that happens, if at all, it will be the final nail in Indian cricket’s coffin. And to think the Board has been planning a big bash to celebrate its 75th anniversary this month. Some birthday!
6. A fallout of the Board politics has been the preparation of the Nagpur pitch. Mumbai may be the same. Imagine wanting to embarrass rival board officials by loading the dice against your own side on your own soil. How low can you stoop?
7. Coach John Wright appears to have run out of ideas. Maybe the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head has resigned him to his fate—his contract is due to expire next year.
8. Our famed middle-order. Strongest on paper, weakest on grass.
9. Aussie determination—despite being without skipper Ricky Ponting, this particular side was hell-bent on beating the 35-year-old curse. And they show did.
10. Umpiring—sounds lame, but some vital decisions have gone against us. And the rain at Chennai did not help either. Chances are we could have squared the series by winning the second Test.
Two college students, Akshay and Sunil, are sititng in a taxi in Mumbai when a beggar approaches them asking for spare change. Akshay adamantly rejects the man in disgust. Sunil, on the other hand, whips out his wallet, pulls out a couples of notes and gladly hands them over to the beggar with a smile. The beggar thanks him kindly and then continues to other taxis. Akshay is outraged by his friend's act of generosity. "What on earth did you do that for?" yells Akshay. "You know he's only going to use it on cigarattes and alcohol."
Sunil replies, "And we weren't?"