On 2/10/2012 India defeated South Africa by 1 run with 1 ball to spare. On an ordinary day there would have been joy and celebration. But this was not an ordinary day and there was sadness and loss of interest before the match was over.
There were two matches on 2/10/2012 and there were many permutations and combinations before the matches began as to who could make it to semi-finals. First match was between Australia and Pakistan. Australia were expected to win. Second match was between India and South Africa. If Australia had beaten Pakistan and South Africa had beaten India it would have been a contest between India, Pakistan and South Africa for the second place in the group.
The unexpected happened. Pakistan defeated Australia by 32 runs. In spite of the defeat Australia finished first in the group. India had to defeat South Africa by 31 runs and 24 balls to spare to make it to semi-finals. South Africa won toss and elected to field and India scored 152 runs. India had to restrict South Africa to 121 runs. When South Africa surpassed 121 runs in 16.5 overs it was gloom for India.
Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies are in semi-finals. Pakistan have won the T20 Cup before. For others it will be first time.
With Gary Kirsten as coach South Africa had attained No. 1 rank in all three formats. Now they lost all three Super 8 matches. New Zealand lost their matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies in super overs.
Some want a separate captain for T20 team. They want removal of Dhoni as he did not lead the team to victory in T20 after 2007.
Sri Lanka made Kumar Sangakkara captain for one match to avoid Mahela Jayawardene getting punishment for slow over rate. Kumar Sangakkara went for toss. Mahela Jayawardene took decisions on the field. ICC should plug this loophole. Once someone is a captain for a tournament he should play all matches as captain and not as a player under another captain.
India won Test series against New Zealand 2-0. After winning the first Test at Hyderabad by an Innings and 115 runs Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the wicket was not turning enough. Spinners had got 18 wickets out of 20. R. Ashwin got 6/31 and 6/54, total 12/85. About Bangalore wicket he said it was like that of Napier. The curator said the wicket will be sporting one with equal chances to all. India won the Bangalore Test by five wickets.
What does Dhoni want? Spinners getting 20 wickets out of 20 in every Test. Perhaps he wants spinners to bowl the new ball. First bowler will get six wickets in his over. Next bowler gets four wickets off four balls. The Innings of rival team is over on zero. Indians bat as long as they want. The spinners repeat their feat in the second Innings. Indians are victorious.
What next? Spinners may do well on Indian tracks. Some may be better than Indian spinners. Dhoni may want umpires who rule favourably when Indian bowlers appeal and unfavourably when visiting bowlers and fielders appeal.
Some call Indian team â€œLions at home, lambs abroad.â€ Some others call â€œTigers at home, pussycats abroad.â€ That description is not accurate. Indians had victories abroad and defeats at home. A great team wins anywhere. Australians twice won 16 Tests in succession. Indians should strive for greatness and not mediocrity.
New Zealand did not have a practice or warm-up match before Hyderabad Test. That was home advantage for India.
India lost Melbourne Test by 122 runs and Sydney Test by an Innings and 68 runs after Australia had declared 659/4. Both Tests ended in four days. In Melbourne Indian batsmen had to score 292 runs to win and they were all out for 169. Indian bowlers took 20 wickets.
Someone said this is the greatest bowling attack India ever had. That attack could take only four wickets in Sydney. Umesh Yadav and R. Ashwin conceded 123 and 157 runs respectively and went wicketless. India were 191 and 400.
Some say Indians are lions at home, lambs abroad. India did well against England and West Indies at home. India did well against West Indies in West Indies. India did badly against England in England and have now lost two Tests in succession in Australia.
No Indian scored a century in Australia. In Sydney, Michael Clarke remained 329 not out, Michael Hussey remained 150 not out and Ricky Ponting scored 134. Indiaâ€™s batting failed in both Tests. Indiaâ€™s bowling failed in second Test.
Mahendra Singh Dhoniâ€™s captaincy is under question. Some say his tactics are negative, he allowed tailenders to score runs. His supporters say he has done well, he won T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup and attained No. 1 Test ranking. A captain is as good as his team and should not be blamed for failure.
Dhoni won T20 World Cup in 2007, did not win in 2009 and 2010. No. 1 Test ranking was partly due to him and mainly due to his predecessors. If he is as good as his team and should not be blamed for failure he should not get credit for success.
Some spectators uttered expletives against Virat Kohli. When it became unbearable he showed them middle finger for which he was fined. There should have been action against spectators. They do not have the right to utter expletives. They should have been thrown out of the stadium. In football, action is taken against troublemakers.
Australian bowlers did well. One view is that to win matches abroad India should have three fast bowlers who can consistently bowl at 90 miles per hour. India has seen many fast bowlers come and go. Some feel Anil Kumble would have made a difference. He has retired. Someone said Harbhajan Singh should have been there. Selectors did not pick him.
Two more Tests to go. The best India can hope is to win them and level the series. In 1977-78 India lost first two Tests and won next two Tests. That was a five Tests series. India lost the fifth Test and series. Bishen Singh Bedi was Indiaâ€™s Captain. Bobby Simpson was Australiaâ€™s captain. India have not won a Test series in Australia and South Africa. When the tour began there was talk of India winning in Australia for the first time. That was not to be.