dravid is thinking, "why should someone like me who has played the game at the highest level for over a decade be made to open the batting to accommodate a young turk who hasn't done enough to prove himself in test cricket?"
yuvraj is thinking, "how on earth am i going to prove myself as a test cricketer if i'm not given a fair chance to play enough of it, and why is my place in the side being questioned after i have made 169 in my last knock?"
dravid is thinking, "first, they got rid of greg chappell. now, they're trying to pack me off. this team didn't support me when i was captain. and forcing me to open the batting is the selection committee's way of spelling finis to my career as a batsman. come what may, i'm going to make sure i prove them all wrong."
yuvraj is thinking, "it's bad enough that we're playing the best team in the world in their own backyard. worse, people in my own team won't let me have the peace of mind required to do a good job. damn these old fogeys. why can't they just retire and let us young guns take over."
kumble is thinking, "if i support dravid's reluctance to open the batting, they'll say i'm pandering to the whims and fancies of an old friend and someone from my state. considering that i've been given the captaincy after so long, the one thing i must not blot my copybook with is to be seen as partial leader. even if it means being unfair to dravid."
sehwag is thinking, "why did they bring me to australia?"
munaf patel is thinking, "i hope they don't call me to australia. i certainly can't see myself going head-to-head with the likes of the fearsome hayden."
the bowlers are thinking, "why do they pay these batsmen so much more than us. every time we go abroad, they fail to give us the totals we need to bowl the opposition out twice. and yet, we, more often than not, do a better job than them. frankly, we're sick and tired of being treated as second-class citizens."
the australians are thinking, "do we really need to beat these guys? they seem pretty messed up in their heads to beat themselves."
and we're thinking how did a test match that started so well for the indians end up in a most demoralizing loss? (as an after-thought, we're also thinking we shouldn't really be surprised with the way things turned out.)
people who don't want to open the batting will never be able to excel at it; it's a hard enough task to master without having to also answer to the questions posed by the demons in one's own mind. india did not lose this match because they didn't possess the requisite skills to put it across australia. they lost the match because their batsmen weren't properly focused on the job.
cricket, in recent times, may well have evolved into a game dominated by the willow-wielders. but there are still a few things that make life as a bowler fairly encouraging. for instance, a bowler doesn't have to pay as dearly as a batsman for a momentary lapse in concentration. he can simply put it out of his mind and come back with a better delivery. and another one. and another one.
not something a batsmen has the benefit of.
if a batsman takes his eye off the ball for one second, it can mean curtains for him. and we saw it happening time and again to the indians in this test match - batsmen spending time in the middle, getting their eye in, playing well and then throwing it all away with a poor stroke brought about by a wandering mind.
of course the australians batted bowled and fielded much, much better than the indians. which is one of reasons they won the match by such a massive margin. but there's a bigger reason the aussies managed to do what they did to india: india.
on day one - perhaps the only day of the test match that the indians were totally committed to the task on hand - the aussies were packed off for their lowest first innings total in not-so-recent times. the indians need to go back and think about what they thought right on the first day. and, come sydney, they must make sure they aren't wasting their time thinking about all the things that got in their way on day 2 of the match.
it is our considered view that the indians were, first, beaten by the indians. and only then did they lose to australia. sounds familiar, doesn't it?