Suresh Raina and his chastened team will be getting plenty of bad press in India in the next few days following their second successive defeat to hosts Zimbabwe in the Triangular One Day Competition. The first match was close, but the second yesterday was an absolute cakewalk for the home team who cantered past the winning post with over 11 overs to spare after restricting India to 194 for nine from their 50 overs.
In India's defence they are without regulars Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, who have been rested for the tournament. Any side would miss players of that calibre. They are also without Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh. The first two no longer feature in the one day side and if recent history is anything to go by, an out of form, unfit and seemingly uninterested Yuvraj is no real miss.
But even with these players missing, most people would still expect India's supposedly talented new generation to deal easily with Zimbabwe. And it's not if most of the players are inexperienced. Of the team that played yesterday, Dinesh Karthik (44), Suresh Raina (93), Rohit Sharma (45) and Yusuf Pathan (36), have all played over 30 ODIs. Suresh Raina's comment before the tour that his "team had no weakness" is coming back to bite him on his rather portly bum.
Given that some of the same players also disappointed in the recent World T20, it would seem that India does not have much strength in depth to eventually replace the likes of Tendulkar when they finally hang their pads up. Players like Pathan and Karthik have had plenty of chances but don't seem to have what it takes to succeed in international cricket.
We would have put Sharma (below) in that bracket too before his first two one day hundreds came in the first two matches of this tournament. Rohit (or The Artist formerly known as Nohit - as amusingly named by Bored Cricket) is clearly talented but an average of 31 (even with those two hundreds) in over 40 ODI is simply not good enough. Maybe he can kick on from here now that the monkey has been lifted off his back.
We would guess that all this shouldn't affect India too much in the World Cup next year because Dhoni, Sehwag and Sachin et al will return and be the core of the side hoping to win the competition on home soil. But soon after, some of these players may retire completely or at least give up playing ODI. That must be a sobering thought for embarrassed India fans this morning, who will not take mediocrity lightly. They will comfort themselves that at least Raina and Virat Kohli look like they will become very good players.