Hyderabad, India: Among the biggest 15 losses of World ODIs in all the matched played between Test-playing nations, India not only tops the chart for the defeat by the biggest margin, but also has the dubious distinction for appearing maximum times as a loser. One can not help but ponder – why!!.
Big Wins Rare Against Test-Playing Nations
India has registered huge wins by runs (150 runs or more) 14 times, 10 of which came against test playing nations. Whereas India has lost 8 times by more than 150 runs. Unfortunately, 4 of which has been by more than 200 runs. On the other hand, India has won only 3 matches by a margin of more than 200 runs, 2 of which came against Associates – Bermuda and Hong Kong, and the third one came against Bangladesh. In fact, including the currrent low score of 88 runs against New Zealand, India has been bowled out under 100 runs many times.
India has this big difference in margin of losses and win despite being the only team to cross 400 runs maximum 3 times. Who can forget that even after scoring 414 runs, India defeated SL by just 3 runs.
4-times inclusion in Biggest 13 ODI defeats of Test-playing Nations
Among the biggest 13 defeats of the test playing nations, India has contributed 4 times which is the most by any test playing nation, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Biggest ODI Loss by a Test-playing Nation
India also holds the dubious distinction of the biggest loss by a test playing nation. Their 245 run defeat against Sri Lanka in Sharjah 2000 during the Coca-Cola Champions Trophy is the biggest loss of a test playing nation by runs in ODIs. SL scored 300 runs, powered by 189 runs from Jayasuriya. India were skittled for their lowest ODI score of 54 runs by Vaas (5 wkts) and Muralitharan (3 wkts).
Big Losses Despite Chasing Low Scores
In their biggest ten ODI losses by runs, India were chasing target less than 350 runs in 9 matches, still their 10th biggest defeat is by 139 runs.
Who is to Blame – Bowlers
When Bowlers can not bowl the oppostion out under a modest score, bowlers should be always blamed. But, one must remember, bowlers need fielders support in applying pressure and taking wickets. A clean bowled or lbw is rare in ODIs, when pitches are supporting batsmen more. Bowlers do bowl wayward, but in most of the big losses of India, bowlers were not so wayward.
Who is to Blame – Batsmen
In the last 10-12 years, India has become a prominent force when it comes to batting. First the Fab Four of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman guided India to major victories abroad and at home, then Sehwag, Yuvraj, Dhoni and some more batting stars took India to the top 2 ranking in ICC ODI chart. Remarkably, India’s 13 (of 15) biggest losses has taken place from 1998-2010, where India claims to possess one of the best batting line-up in the World.
Who is to Blame – Fielders
FIelding is the most important part of present ODI. Teams like New Zealand, South Africa and Australia win matches by exceptional fielding where they do not allow the opponents to score easy runs and create fear among the opponents against taking chances or hitting shots in air. Unfortunately, despite hiring big names as coaches, spending lavish amount on the name of Cricket, Indian Cricket Board has failed to change the poor fielding team image of India, which often discourages even good bowlers, and opponents flourish.
Star-filled Batting Collapses Too Often
Over the past decade often Indian batting collapses like a pack of cards. A few wickets on the top, and except few rare examples such as NatWest Final, when Yuvraj and Kaif achieved a rare commendable partnership, when both were beginning their career, in most of the cases the batting just collapses. If the top-order fails, others take it for granted that opponent bowlers and pitch is unplayable.
What Does India Need!!
India needs a strong psychological training which can help them gain self-belief, which can motivate each of them to consider themselves strong enough to take the battle single-handedly to the opponent’s court, even under acute pressure. The talent is there. India has almost all batting records. But, the strategists should tell the individuals, Cricket is a team game. Even in T-20s individuals have failed to win single-handedly, with few exceptions.
The team was ranked 2 before the 1st match of the Sri Lanka triangular series. Now, when the record 4th wicket partnership of Taylor and Styris handed them their 4th biggest defeat by runs, they have gone down to 3rd position in ICC ODI ranking. Rankings can be improved, as long as the mind tells that one has to perform consistently and with responsibility for the nation, to be remembered among the greats. Just by getting maximum advertisements or hitting sixes in few matches, a player should not be considered above par and icon.