What’s the fuss about?

So, Dhoni decided to call of his batsmen when the target was 86 more runs from 15 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Cue, the outrage in India and sanctimonious crap from rest of the world. Cricket sites and Twitter raged with comments from Indians decrying it as shameful and calling the team not worthy of number 1 status; while others concluded that the England series would go in favor of the hosts since the Indians decided not to bat on and try to win the game. As Andy Zaltzman pointed out, India is not the first team to play it safe when the series is in the bag; so the self righteous whingeing can stop.

Yes, the Australian team of the 90s and the West Indian teams of the 70s/80s might have chased this target down; but this team is nowhere close to those sides; so such stupid comparisons can also stop.

While I would have loved India to bat on and try to win the game, I don’t have the same experience and pitch awareness, that the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Fletcher possess; so I will accept their decision, even as I regret the missed opportunities of the last two days. For a team missing its best batsman and bowler, and playing some inexperienced rookies against a side which played beyond its expectations, this was a good result; and no made up controversy should take anything away from that. The England tour will be played with a different set of players and in different conditions; so that will have no relation to how the West Indies tour panned out. I can’t wait for all the talk to stop and let the actual contest be decided between bat and ball.

6 comments

  1. Would you have offered the draw so early, though? Seems a bit counter-intuitive to suggest going through the motions might have been the best thing to do, but it would at least have maybe covered his back a bit if Bishoo had bowled that line for a few more overs and then MSD could’ve said ‘well fine, we tried but look at this legside crap we’re facing.’ I guess you reckon that was already obvious and it probably was but it didn’t feel like it at the time. I don’t think it was any worse than England’s wimpy efforts at Lord’s v SL, but it just seemed a shame after Bridgetown that another match in a v watchable series ended with everyone feeling a bit ‘meh’. I don’t know. I can’t pretend I liked it but a win is a win is a win. I haven’t taken my MSD poster down.

    1. As I said, I’m not entirely happy with the outcome, and I would have loved it if India had a go at the target…..what I find hard to digest is the exaggerated reactions to the whole thing…I think sometimes people are too critical for just the sake of it…..Do you think if Dhoni had decided to bat on and India had collapsed in a miserable heap to lose the game, people would commend Dhoni for his brave attitude? Instead, everyone would have been over him for making a foolish decision when the series was in the bag…I just think that for all the faults of the decision, some perspective is needed when fans or journalists react to it…

  2. It isn’t sanctimonious crap. It is a disgrace to the sport that neither team was willing to press for victory when it could have been attained with some risk. Sammy is at least as culpable; he ought to have dragged the field in and got in India’s face when the offered the draw. Nor is it something “only the great teams do”.

    Lest anyone needs reminding, both tied tests occurred because the batting side (neither of whom were great teams) took risks chasing a total, Australia around 60 runs in the final hour with 4 wickets in hand; India 120 in the last 18 overs with 7 wickets in hand.

    This could have been a great match, and it wasn’t. That is a very sad thing, great test matches are rare things.

    1. well, I will agree with you there….the whole thing could have been better handled by both sides….If people are gonna claim that Dhoni didn’t show enough desire to win, neither did Sammy….Unlike India, West Indies needed the win more badly to atleast claim a share of the series….in the last 15 overs of the series, West Indies needed 7 wickets to win the game and tie the series….instead, they were very eager to walk away with a series loss….instead of feigning surprise at Dhoni’s decision, Sammy should be wondering why he accepted India’s offer to call off the game when West Indies could have had a go at winning the game as well…

  3. Yeah, both sides are equally culpable for the farce that we saw. But as an Indian, I’m a lot more concerned about the way my team plays its cricket. The period from 2008 to 2014 will probably be seen in history as the time that India had its best collection of players and it’s frustrating to see them play safe time after time. Yes, every team should always try to win. But if you don’t do it despite being good enough to pull it off you’re only selling yourself short.

    This Indian side was right in not going for a win since it isn’t close to the Australian and West Indian sides of the past, but maybe this Indian side isn’t that good BECAUSE it chooses to not try to win every game until it has no hope of winning. And a lot of it has to do with the mindset of the people here because everyone knows a loss in going for a win will lead to much recrimination from the fans and the media, even though the side might win 5 games playing like that.

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