India started its back-to-back game fielding the same team – if they looked reasonably fresh yesterday, they were unreasonably rusty today. An ODI in Sri Lanka is sapping, back-to back ones doubly so. Yet India fielded the same eleven – isn't that serious intent to retain its No. 1 ranking.
Today’s game was a useful opportunity to rest up to three players, playing Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar and Amit Mishra instead.
Years back Sachin Tendulkar spoke about the punishing schedules of back to back games, something he could cope with earlier but not so anymore. After the game, any player who uses the back-to-back excuse should be taped at the mouth.
To blame India’s fielding wows on the two seniors is the easy way out – the failure was a cooperative society venture. Each player raised his hand, and said, I will do my worst, we’ve played back-to-back games.
In the 49th over, Ashish Nehra’s drop of a skyer, Yuvraj’s bemused look, just about summed it up. If you didn’t laugh at the Indian effort, and were still watching, you’d be a nervous wreck.
I wangled a nap in between, woke up to one Chamara Kapugedara playing the innings of his life.
Earlier, Bhajji jogged with his dog while the Lankans jogged three, sharp shooter Dinesh Karthik hurled crazy balls at his fellow keeper MSD, and MS made amends for some sharp stumpings. RP, Sachin, Dravid, Nehra, like their mates, all looked like they were playing some retired cricket leagues. Their song, 'slow down you move to fast, you gotta make the moment last!'
It's obvious now, there is no senior-junior divide in this team. Here’s to one team India. Here’s to being No. 1. One day at a time.
Read an earlier ode to India's fielding here