Like most of the Indian Cricket fans, I have also been appalled by the lackadaisical attitude of some of the players to fielding and running between the wickets. Everyone wants to be a Super-Star, but not everyone is willing to do the little things that will get them there. Let me illustrate with a few examples:
– Through my 10+ years as an NBA fan, I have never seen Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett not give their 100% during every single minute they are in the game. Love them or hate them, you cannot ignore the fact that these guys bring their A+ effort for every single game, whether their team is leading or losing by 30+ points.
– Andy Roddick. I have never seen him throw in the towel in any match. Even during those painful losses to Roger Federer, we see him spill his guts on the court. Whatever be his shortcomings, lack of effort is not one of them.
– Sachin Tendulkar. When have you seen him stroll around on the field with no real aim or direction? In the recent painful loss to South Africa in World Cup 2011, he was on the field during 40 overs of India batting, scoring 111 at a pretty fast clip. After that, during the entire South African batting, he put in a great fielding performance at the boundary (!). We are talking of the oldest player in the team, giving his 100%.
(A) Running between wickets:
I fail to understand why Indian batsmen never put pressure on the fielders when they attempt singles or twos. For example, an Indian batsman plays a drive to Long On. There is a fielder at that position and a single is all there will be 99% of the time. Indian batsmen will amble along, having “resigned” themselves to the single. If you watch top teams like Australia and South Africa, those guys take the 1st (or 2nd) run so fast, that even for straight-forward fielding, the fielder feels some pressure. What that does is to put an element of extra pressure on the fielder that if he does not pick up the ball cleanly, there is going to be an extra run. Whereas in India’s case, even if the fielder does not pick it up cleanly, there is no way Indian batsmen can take an extra run.
The same reasoning as that of (A) applies here. By not running towards the ball and aggressively fielding it, Indian fielders are giving a lot of confidence to the opposing batsmen, of turning 1s to 2s and 2s to 3s, every time they do not cleanly pick up the ball. I was going nuts watching Amla and Smith (and later on, Kallis) milk the Indian fielding.
It is a pity that a good captain like Dhoni resigns himself to this attitude from the players and does not insist on hard work and discipline. (Almost) everyone wants to hit only 4s and 6s and get all the accolades that way. Not every one is willing to do the small grunt work that is necessary, along with the more glamorous stuff. It is like a Designer claiming that while he likes to do Architecture work or Design work, he does not want to do Documentation. Why? Because it is boring and not glamorous!
Sad state indeed …