As a spectator, I think India is not well prepared for the high pressure tour, Down Under. I’d blame the following, if Team India under-performs:
Crammed schedule will not allow the team to acclimatize with Australian conditions. BCCI should have planned only two tests with Pakistan instead of three. This would have given Team India some extra time to recuperate and get used to bouncy Australian wickets. Sachin Tendulkar speaks out
Team India does not have a regular coach till date who can lay match winning strategies against the very best in the world. Again BCCI is to be blamed for it’s myopic vision
India does not home good cricketing wickets, either. We only have the ‘batting’ wickets here. Though Indian wickets are said to be spinner friendly, the tracks are more or less flat.
Team India only has some great experience with little skill set to play at the challenging tracks in Australia. I wish this tour ends in a draw; if India loses pathetically, then it will be recorded as ‘Blunder Down Under’ in the cricketing history.
The trend of hiring a foreign coach is quite prevalent in the sub-continent. The cricket boards of these nations do not show any interest in the cricketing greats from their respective countries. These foreign coaches are not able to gel well with the players because of cultural and traditional differences. What they bring along with them to the dressing room is nothing but confusion!
Moreover, the foreign coaches give more emphasis to workouts at the gymnasium. Weight training is OK to get in shape but not sufficient to achieve the fitness of batting for eight continuous hours. Weights swell the muscles and cramps accrue due to weight training and hence the injuries. The best way to achieve match fitness is to spend six hours in the nets everyday, instead of gym. Batting requires a different fitness level which can be achieved by batting, batting and only batting. Jogging and stretching exercises are much more useful for batsmen and bowlers alike, because these are natural forms of exercise and don’t exert the body too much.
Pace bowling is a difficult art to master. Bowling above the 140 k mark with precise line and length is not a cake walk but rather a sweet result of years of hard work and a strict fitness regimen. Pace bowlers are much more prone to injuries. India have been deprived of a full-time pace bowler since long. People are trying to bowl at speeds greater than 140 ks but are not able to be consistent with it. Munaf started his career bowling over 140 but had to slow down because he picked up an injury or two during the his debut England tour and has not been able to recover fully since.
Injuries have become quite common to modern day cricketers as they sweat out both physically and mentally on the field and the schedule is more pressing and demanding. Tight schedules give players almost no time to recover from the physical stress. Another reason for injury is the bowling action; which if not practised as prescribed in the textbook may lead to back and shoulder injuries and also sometimes wrist injuries for spinners.
Injuries loom large on the pace battery of almost every country. Players can recover from injuries if they take adequate rest; but, some of them from fear of losing their place in the side agree to be a part of the team. This results in over exertion and the dormant injuries sometimes return which are likely to end the bowlers career. The role of team physio comes into picture under such circumstances. He, along with the team coach, should monitor the bowling action of the pace man and make note of any downward trend shown by the bowler.
But at the end, it is the responsibility of the world cricketing bodies to reduce the number of ODI matches that their respective team plays and rest their speedsters adequately. If this matter is not taken seriously then the endangered species of pace bowlers will become extinct in no time.