New Delhi: The crown of Test cricket is at stake and an underprepared Indian side trying to maintain it’s numero uno status, is looking a weak opposition against the mighty England side playing in their own backyard. In what was termed as a mother of all Test series, the first two matches between India and England have proved a lopsided affair and the third one is heading on the same path. Indian star batting line-up has succumbed to the pressure and the inexperienced bowling attack (without Zaheer Khan) seems wayward and ineffective.

JAGRAN POST wants to raise some serious questions which have been pertinent in context to the fourth edition of IPL-4.

1.   After winning the World Cup was it not the responsibility of BCCI to give rest to players (especially seniors) after months of non-stop international cricket?
2.   Why did the seniors of Indian cricket team including Sachin, Gambhir, Sehwag, Dhoni, Harbhajan not take rest for IPL-4?
3.   India could have humiliated West Indies in their home country, but could simply manage a hard fought victory in ODI and Test series in the absence of seniors.
4.   If Gambhir was injured, why did he play in IPL?
5.   Has Zaheer’s and Sehwag’s injury aggravated in IPL tournament?
6.   Why did Sachin take a break from international cricket, but preferred playing IPL held six days after the World Cup?
7.   If Zaheer was unfit why was he included in England tour?
8.   If Sehwag was not fully fit, then why has been included for remaining two Tests?
9.   What are the reasons behind dropping ‘Resting’ Harbhajan?
10. Why has a tired looking Dhoni forgotten his heroics as skipper and batsman?
11. Are Indian players giving the BCCI wrong information about their fitness level during IPL?
12. Is IPL proving a graveyard for fast/medium pacers?

Initially the decision to include an unfit Zaheer Khan and thereafter the move to replace him with RP Singh has raised some serious questions over the schedule being prepared for the cricketers.  Extra attention to IPL and too much cricket has become the hottest topic in the sports arena thesedays. Once again the IPL tournament and the dedication of players towards it have given birth to some smoldering queries.

A long IPL tournament has not only deprived cricketers (mainly those representing the national side) of a long needed break but has also increased the differences between them. Be it the slapping of Sreesanth by Harbhajan Singh or the verbal tussle between Munaf Patel and Amit Mishra, the IPL has been a testimony to some major arguments between Indian players.
Making the situation even worse is the fact that players despite being injured prefer to play the IPL. Ranked as one of the most expensive sports tournament in the world, the IPL has proved to be a cash making machine for cricketers.

Decipher this: Zaheer Khan was fit and roaring to go in IPL for his new franchise – Royal Challengers Bangalore and his performance was the key in taking his side to the final, injured Virender Sehwag scored an outstanding century in the IPL league matches but as the injury aggravated he had to sit out for the final phase of the IPL, Sachin Tendulkar did not require a break from cricket while playing the most celebrated version of T-20 but soon after the tournament was over he felt the need to spend some time with family members, Gautam Gambhir did well to lead his side to the last four stage only to realize before the last match that he was injured, after leading his side in South Africa and Bangladesh, playing a series against New Zealand and lifting the World Cup India’s Captain marvel MS Dhoni did not feel the need to rest in the IPL series – however he did so in the ODI series against West Indies.  Harbhajan Singh has been on the field for virtually eight months, but that did not prevent his tired body from taking a rest in IPL…………


The sweltering debate has been stoked up once again by Zaheer Khan’s exit from the ongoing England tour. After taking rest in the West Indies series, Zaks made a comeback in the England series. However, after bowling few overs in the first innings of the first test at Lord’s, he limped out of the field. The dilemma over his fitness continued for two weeks, as he was forced to sit out in the second test match. Zaheer made a return in the practice match against Northamptonshire but after conceding 24 runs in 3 overs, he had to leave the field due to health problems. The debate finally came to an end, as BCCI announced to replace injured Zaheer with medium pacer RP Singh.

This is not the sole example in isolation of IPL which has given a tough time to the cricketers. In the last tour to the West Indies, in Dhoni’s absence Gautam Gambhir was named the Captain of Indian team for the ODI series which was to commence barely few days after the IPL 4 edition. At the very last minute, Gambhir pulled out of the team by citing health related problems. The big question arises that whether he was carrying the injury in the IPL matches. Was the injury aggravated in the IPL tournament?

It was a similar case with Yuvraj Singh, who after being named in the Indian squad for the West Indies tour decided to back off. Singh too felt that owing to minor injury and a hectic cricket schedule, he needed a rest.

The story of Sehwag is no different either. His shoulder had been giving problems in the past too. But rather than taking a break in the IPL, he decided to remain loyal to his franchise – Delhi Daredevils. He managed a stunning century and came up with a number of good performances before being forced to take rest from the remaining matches. Sehwag’s injury has prevented him from touring West Indies and he had to sit out of the first two test matches in England. Whether completely fit or not, Sehwag will be staging a comeback in the third test against England with his side 2-0 down in the four match series.

The first two test matches in England have revealed that Dhoni seems to have lost his Midas touch. Neither Dhoni nor his team members are coming up with good performances.  If Dhoni is looking tired, Sachin seems to be out of form, Harbhajan appears ineffective, Raina’s dismal performance on bouncy pitches continues, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma have been good in bits and pieces and the tailenders have flicked miserably with the bat.

Cricket legend Sunil Manohar Gavaskar in his article has already stated that too much cricket is not the reason behind poor performance.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan wrote on his twitter account, “I think the IPL will be a long term problem for Indian test team….Young players will focus towards T-20 cricket rather than Test (sic).”

Cricket expert and commentator Harsha Bhogle believes, “This is not a bad Indian team, but it is an under prepared Indian team. And they are up against an excellent England team in their backyard (sic).”

Former England Captain and cricket legend Tony Greig writes on his twitter account, “Who is going to be the scapegoat if India lost the series badly or will BCCI cop all the flack (sic)”

JPN/Kautilya Singh