Some of my cricket-based friends (Inis, Jubbs, Tayne), picked up on something during the disastrous Champions Trophy campaign. There were plenty of signs that there is more wrong with Team India than just bad form with bat and ball - the lacklustre body language prominent among them - but one was particularly interesting, and decidedly odd. During the final over of that famous loss to the West Indies, conferences were conspicuous by their absence.
How many similar finishes have you seen – six to ten off the last, tension all around? In every such game I remember, before every delivery, the captain, bowler, and a few seniors would congregate to hatch a plan. There would be nods of agreement. Shakes of the head. Scratching of chins. Frantic waving of arms. And then, everyone would run back to position, and the bowler would do his best to set the plan in motion. Depending on the result of the delivery, the boys would wash, rinse, repeat.
Where was all this during the India-West Indies game? I don't remember seeing Sachin, Plaha or Kaif running up to offer advice to Dravid or Agarkar. Are the boys even talking to each other? Hmmm . . .