The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Team India’s, onus Greg’s Scapegoat hunt begins
Rahul Dravid watches his team lose on Friday. (AP)
Chappell grimaces during a practice session. File picture

March 24: We’re familiar with the Bermuda Triangle. But, now, the eternal optimists are looking for a Bermuda Miracle!


If we’ve got to depend on Bermuda to bale us out, then we may as well not play top grade cricket.

As things stand, only a Bermuda win over Bangladesh tomorrow will take Team India to the World Cup Super Eight.

That’s as probable as coach Greg Chappell getting an extension. If anything, Rahul Dravid perhaps has a better chance of retaining the captaincy.

Many, of course, feel we could do with a younger captain who can grow with the support of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Dravid himself.

Faced with another must-win match, against Sri Lanka yesterday, Dravid and Co. crashed to a 69-run pride-busting defeat.

We lacked passion, the desire to get out of a hole and, most important, got done in by the batsmen.

Even the emotional exhortation from fans who held placards such as ‘Do it for India, maan’ didn’t help.

The bowlers could’ve done better, yes, but if the team is packing its bags (for a flight out of Port of Spain on Monday), it’s because many prized guns fired blanks.

Worse, Yuvraj ‘Finisher’ Singh got run out. Not that we were then enviably placed, but that effectively finished whatever chance we had of getting past 254.

As delighted as the Sri Lankans were the Bangladesh players and coach Dav Whatmore who’d parked themselves at the Queen’s Park Oval.

Having beaten India in the opener, a result which quickly took the sheen off our much-feted players, they’re at the doorstep of history.

A huge moment awaits Habibul Bashar and his Young Turks.

Given that our exit is about to be confirmed — worst performance since the 1992 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand — the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar has spoken of “harsh measures.”

Pawar, who set a poor example by failing to keep an appointment with the team before its departure for the West Indies, also talked about injecting fresh blood.

Fact is Suresh Raina is the lone youngster who could’ve made the World Cup XV. To accommodate him, though, Virender Sehwag would’ve had to be dropped.

As it turns out, Sehwag has emerged India’s highest scorer (164). Sourav is two behind.

Even before leaving, Chappell said he’d been given a team which “India wanted” and that he couldn’t do much if some felt it was a “Dad’s Army.”

Granted, a coach has limitations, but Chappell got the job 22 months ago with the explicit brief of helping India win the World Cup. Or, at least, repeating the 2003 performance of making the final.

“There has to be accountability… There’s no point saying responsibility has to be shared… The public mood is such that I don’t see how we could even think of giving Chappell an extension,” a top BCCI official told The Telegraph.

He added: “Personally, I’m in favour of giving the job to one of our own… Foreigners speak of processes and methods, but we’ve got to look at the results. Chappell has been a failure.”

Bob Woolmer, who lost his life on the morning after Pakistan got knocked out a week ago, was man enough to accept “we’re sorry we performed like we have. We didn’t mean to do it”.

That wasn’t uttered by either Chappell or Dravid. Yet, the captain expects fans at home not to react in an extreme manner.

Burning effigies and hurling stones doesn’t help. An apology from the other side could.

Dravid mentioned the need for review and if Pawar means business, then he should give pride of place to domestic cricket.

Even if that means limited international commitments during our home season.

It’s not enough that the Tendulkars play just the odd game. Such guest appearances are little more than a farce.

The planning for the next World Cup, in the subcontinent in 2011, clearly has to begin now. However, one can’t hope for much as long as the BCCI largely remains a club of amateurs.

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