MUMBAI : Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar hopes that the glitz and glamour of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will not erase the memory of India losing the ODI series to Australia 2-1 earlier this month.
On the road to preparing for the ODI World Cup, to be held later in October-November at home, India have won the ODI series opener in Mumbai by five wickets. But they lost the next two ODIs in Visakhapatnam and Chennai by ten wickets and 21 runs respectively, to lose a bilateral 50-over series at home after four years.
"India losing a one-day series at home after four years should have made headlines. That it didn't was because everybody's attention was on the soon-to-commence Indian Premier League."
"Maybe not everybody because the support staff of the Indian team -- coach Rahul Dravid and his colleagues, who cannot be linked with any IPL franchise -- will have the whole of the IPL to look at the areas that need improvement."
"The glitz and glamour of the finest T20 league in the world, it is hoped, will not erase the memory of the series loss. The loss should rankle and make the players motivated to get their back on the opposition again," wrote Gavaskar in his column for Sportstar on Thursday.
Gavaskar, a member of India's 1983 ODI World Cup-winning team, also pointed out India's recent batting collapses in international cricket as a cause of concern. At Mumbai, K.L. Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja took India home in a chase of 189 after being 83/5 at one point.
After being shot out for 117 in Visakhapatnam, India were on track to chasing 270 on a slow Chennai pitch. But dismissals of Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar in quick succession meant India were bundled out for 248 in 49.1 overs to lose the ODI series decider.
"What the loss showed was that the batting certainly needs to be looked at. If anything, Indian batting isn't as reliable as earlier. The bowling has come on very well, and fielding overall has improved too."
"There are far too many batting collapses in all formats of the game, and that is a cause for concern. The openers lay down the foundation, but this is where the team has struggled in recent times."
"If the start is not good, the middle-order is under enormous pressure as batters have the twin responsibility of consolidating the innings and then taking the attack to the opposition. Owing to the emphasis in white-ball games on rapid run-making, the skill of defending the good deliveries is being lost. If luck is not in favour, the batter gets exposed badly."
Gavaskar then touched down on new rules of IPL 2023, starting from March 31: -- impact player and announcing playing eleven after the toss, which he believes will add a new dimension to the tournament.
"A few new rules will add a new dimension to the IPL this season. Captains will be allowed to decide their playing eleven after the toss. Maybe next year they will look at doing away with the toss, and every visiting team will be given the option of choosing whether to bat or bowl first. Innovation is good as long as the basics of cricket stay the same."
"Cricket is a game played between eleven players in a team, and with the 'impact player' proviso, teams will effectively feature 12 men. Everybody likes to see something fresh and new, and thus, this year's 'impact player' rule will be followed avidly by cricket lovers to see what real difference it makes to the game's dynamics."
"Every year, the IPL gets more and more exciting and throws up new talent. This year shouldn't be any different. It is truly the tournament where talent meets opportunity," he concluded.