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India needs another green revolution
Krishnamachari Srikkanth - 22 December 2002

The Indians let go of another golden opportunity to win a Test abroad at Hamilton. The four-wicket defeat has left them at the receiving end of their first series whitewash in New Zealand, a result that has yet again underscored the need for a serious introspection about Indian cricket.

Statistically speaking, man for man Sourav Ganguly's men were streets ahead of the New Zealand team. And yet our batting line- up, boasting some of the most incandescent names in world cricket, lasted just 179 overs in their four innings in the two Tests. As for the bowling, it must be admitted that they did not discredit themselves, but then again Zaheer Khan and co. could do little to avoid a 2-0 drubbing.

The reasons behind the capitulation are familiar. Weaned on docile pitches back home, our batsmen understandably found it beyond them to rise up to the challenge of playing on wickets where the ball was not just bouncing but also seaming around at a fair deal of pace. They were also not helped by the fact that they had just one practice match in which to adapt to the conditions. In the circumstances, the only players who offered a modicum of resistance were our two truly world-class batsmen, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. The rest simply wilted.

After the mauling that our pride has received, it is time for us to learn our bitter lessons. What the decision-makers now need to understand is that we shall never climb the rungs of the cricketing ladder unless we start having fast and bouncy greentops in India.

Only when such a policy is implemented can we breed players who can mount a serious challenge against countries like Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England and even the West Indies in their own backyard. Ideally having at least one such greentop in every zone in India would make for a welcome first step. Playing a fair share of Ranji matches every year on these wickets should also be made mandatory.

The record of not having won a series away from the sub-continent for more than 16 years sits ill on a cricket-loving nation like ours. What the New Zealand series has again demonstrated in no uncertain terms is for the need to fight the tendency to focus on a match-to-match basis and think about the long-term picture. Else we shall continue to struggle on away tours.

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Other Articles by Krish Srikkanth