Acclimatisation is not the only issue

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Old 30-Dec-2011
Acclimatisation is not the only issue

The capitulation was sad to see. A team that went Down Under with hopes of winning a series for the first time, being swept away by pace and bounce was a sorry sight. Even sorrier was the feeling that this might just be the first of the losses in the series. Make no mistake, if on a pitch where the ball came on to the bat nicely and with an even bounce, getting dismissed for under 300, then on pitches with a bit more in them, how will they cope?
Remember, in England too, India with this formidable batting were unable to get to 300 till the last innings of the Test series and unless someone plays an outstanding knock, the Indians could struggle to get to 300 in Australia too. Yes, the next Test is at the Sydney cricket ground where India's batting has flourished and its spinners have got some turn, but it is the manner of the dismissals that does not give scope for much optimism.
It would be interesting to see how all those who criticised the authorities for not sending the team early to England, will react now that the team went almost two weeks before the first Test, and also played two warm-up games against quality sides. Fact is if acclimatisation was the only issue, then shouldn't India have done well from the second Test in England. And shouldn't they have won the one-day series since they were in England for two months by then?
It does not matter how much time one spends in another country. What matters is not the physical adjustment, but the mental one. Sure, there will be some players who do that, but if the majority in the team do not, then, defeat is round the corner. It is not only the batsmen who have to make that change in approach, but also the bowlers.
India plays so much one-day cricket that bowlers become defensive and batsmen are looking to attack even deliveries that they shouldn't. Leaving ‘unscorable' deliveries alone is vital in Test cricket. It is here that the mind has to sort itself out, but the bat gets drawn to the ball by habit and in Test cricket, it is injurious to health.
So, is all lost then for India? It will depend on how quickly they realise that they are playing Test cricket and not limited overs cricket.

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