I was disappointed with the way we lost the two tests against England. I happened to talk about it in a lecture and was invited to comment on a student's comment on FB. So posted this.
Firstly, these couple of defeats per se would have been okay, but the way we lost, I felt, was spineless. There was no fight whatsoever. They did not just win, they out-played us completely. Sure every team can lose a couple of games in a row, but the 'how' is equally important.
Secondly, what is our future looking like? Sure we are statistically at No. 1, but how strong is our side! Be it pace bowling, spin or batting, the bench strength looks very raw. Who is going to replace the likes of Sachin, Dravid and Laxman? If we do not find the answers soon, we will go the Aussie way. Difference being, they cleanly dominated other teams for more than a decade and we would struggle to do it for a couple of years. Even today, India does not look dominating or powerful enough to claim the tag of world-beaters. What has been equally important is that other teams have not been very impressive except England and SAF.
Thirdly, I am tempted to look at the statistics of test matches during the last three years. India has played 33, won 15, lost 6. Out of 15 wins, 6 have been overseas. 2 in Bangladesh, 1 each in NZ, SAF, SL and WI. Out of these NZ, Bang, WI clearly not the benchmarks for us. So it is 2 'real' away test wins. 2 away wins out of 15 wins.
The SAF test win at Durban was a horrible pitch. In a way, spinner friendly Indian track. Dhoni mentioned about it in the post-match conference that the pitch was not of international standards. It was an uneven bounce/spin track and Harbhajan made a killing. The win against SL in Colombo was a Sehwag feast. His better than run-a-ball century won it for us.
Sehwag has been a key for us in the last couple of years. Sans him, we saw what can happen to our batting line up. His blazing start was vital for middle order batsmen to come in and capitalize. I am not sure how a world-beater side is so heavily dependant on 1 batsman. Perhaps pretty much like Hayden for Aussies, but look at the way other batsmen played for them when they were No. 1. There were matches that Gilchrist, Langer or Ponting won for them.
Coming to qualitative factors, Indians on the field looked spineless and lethargic even in Windies. We did not go for the win in the last test against WI!! That is not the sign of a champion. Windies are surely not the most formidable. We gave it up there.
Sure, statistically we are No. 1, and we could even retain it by winning/drawing the next two tests. But I am not going by the ranking. Even a WC victory was not convincing for me (personally) that we are the best. I want to see fear in the opponents when they face our bowlers and their bowlers should be left with shivers when we bat. Only Sehwag has managed that. I want to see our team kill others and win some games so one-sided that opponents must be in awe. Windies did it in 70s and 80s, Auusies in 90s and the last decade. We are not yet there. Sure we may some day, but not yet.