Thursday, September 08, 2005


A Bunch of Chokers?

Is the Indian cricket team made up of a bunch of chokers?

The short answer is no. The Indian team is simply not good enough to win tournaments. The tag of chokers is just so much media-psycho babble. We have lost to better teams, who played better cricket consistently.

If India were to lose to weaker teams in finals, I would stomach the choker tag. But we have always lost to teams that outplayed us not just in the finals, but even in the league games.

In the just concluded series, India was beaten by New Zealand in the league match when the latter played with a full strength team. We did beat New Zealand once, but they were playing without Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori, easily their best bowlers.

Let’s consider a few past series where India lost in the finals.

The Indian Oil Series, July-August 2005 (India, Sri Lanka, West Indies)

India lost twice to Sri Lanka in the league games, before losing the final. So where’s the question of choking. It lost to a team that had already beaten it twice. And the other team in the series, West Indies, was playing without its best bat, Lara.

Asia Cup, July 2005

In the lead-up to the Asia Cup final, India lost to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan once, and beat the former once. India also beat minnows UAE and Bangladesh to qualify for the final. No surprises that it lost to Sri Lanka in the final.

Note: We also failed to qualify for a number of finals in between -- such as The ICC Champions Trophy and The Videocon Cup in Amsterdam. No question of choking there.

VB Series, January 2004

In the VB Series, India lost thrice to Australia and beat them just once in the prelims. Predictably, India lost the first two of the best-of-three finals comprehensively.

A choker is someone who, overawed by a big match situation, fails to play to potential. But does India have the potential, in the first place?

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