Team India dines out to avoid gloom
Birmingham: After enduring three humiliating defeats in a row and the resultant loss of number one rank, Indian cricketers are trying hard that the gloom does not engulf their camp and hence they chose to dine out last night instead of locking themselves up in hotel rooms.
India suffered their third worst defeat in Tests at Edgbaston when they lost the third Test by an innings and 242 runs, on Saturday.
Team India has plans to remain indoors today and it`s unlikely a riot act would be read out to the members by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni or coach Duncan Fletcher.
Because of the riots in Birmingham, the team was staying put in the hotel and not venturing outside. One decision they took after the defeat was to go for dinner outside the hotel last night.
Most of them, including Dhoni, went out for dinner for it was felt being locked up in rooms would only deepen the gloom in the camp.
Fletcher has been caught in a real dilemma. The reputation he made in England has been lost in the very land of his glory. Besides some inspirational words, there is little he can advice to India`s batting prima donnas. His work on youngsters meanwhile isn`t showing on the field.
Dhoni has retained his pleasant demeanour and still asking the boys to be positive and learn to enjoy the sport. The philosophy has worked for him for he managed two fifties from the third Test. His sternest test is now to lift the mood of his camp.
However, it was surprising that Dhoni`s men didn`t choose to practice on today. The bowlers admittedly could be tired but there was no excuse for batters who need some real hard stints at the nets.
Even bowlers, such as Munaf Patel and R P Singh and Pragyan Ojha, need to have hours of practice under their belts.
The visitors had lingered a little longer at Edgbaston on Saturday after a humiliating innings defeat had been heaped on them in the third Test on Saturday.
It`s unlikely the chant of a motley bunch of young Indian supporters, `Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin Chodenge` (We will not leave our friendship) would have made them feel better.
Faced with individual and thus collective issues, members of the Indian team are left to their own device to come up with right answers ahead of the Oval Test.
Sachin Tendulkar, for instance, chose to stand outside his crease and take a middle and leg stump guard - as against the leg-stump as he generally does - to be surer of his off-stump and to avoid an LBW out which James Anderson’s whizzing inswinger could create at Edgbaston.
Gautam Gambhir has to work out how his steers through the slip cordon should instead be proper cuts and how his bat speed must reduce to tackle the swing of England bowlers.
Dhoni has fallen back on his instinctive feel rather than a copy of batting manual to come out of his batting blues. Virender Sehwag too would surely learn to respect the conditions and be prepared to leave deliveries outside the off-stump.
Young Suresh Raina was left wondering if he still would be wanted at the Oval this Thursday. If his worst fears were to come true, it would still be a loss for he is the only fielder worth his value in this bedraggled team not to speak of a few overs of handy off-spin he could bowl at a spin-aiding Oval track.
Bowlers, the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth would be keeping the physio and masseur busy. They have had a massive workload and no recovery time as Indian innings have generally been so short.
Indians leave for London on Monday morning – the Independence Day for the countrymen. A few patriotic songs could be used by the team`s support staff to perk up the lads.