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Shellacking in NZ demands new zeal

That defending world champions India ended up losing 0-4 in New Zealand is not only a great shame. It also provides a picture of gloom when one thinks about how MS Dhoni & Co will fare at next year’s World Cup in Australia and NZ.

Dhoni’s team just doesn’t seem to have the horses for courses to be a runaway success in these two countries.

It’s a year when India will play nine Tests abroad, which will make the purists happy as punch, but this could come in the way of true assessment of talent in the 50-50 variety. Thus, Dhoni will have to perform the balancing act like an Olympic gymnast.

One-day batting stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina ought to have prospered on tracks that were not as bowler-friendly as NZ tracks normally are, while Shikhar Dhawan would have realised that there’s a huge difference in going over the top in India and NZ. Form is not permanent, but too many aberrations can hurt a side.

No spinner making an impact in this series can only be a worry. And the fact that Dhoni picked R Ashwin and Rajendra Jadeja in the XI keeping their batting ability in mind is sad. NZ are not known to play wrist spinners very well. Yet, Dhoni didn’t give leg-spinner Amit Mishra a go in any of the games. Is Mishra in the side to marvel at the beautiful sights NZ offers, or is it some cotton wool strategy?

Dhoni and team have to indulge in some serious soul-searching before next week’s Test series against NZ.

At the moment, Indian cricket looks rich only in the corridors of power at Dubai and balance sheets in Mumbai. The runs/wickets/catches factor comes a very distant second.

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