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Must get my head right

Graeme Smith still maintains that there is nothing wrong with his batting technique. His run drought is caused by psychological reasons, he says.

So that in future India can leave their shores better prepared and more confident than at present.

For years now, Indian batsmen have been judged by records and runs and been flattered by the surfaces they play on.

You just wonder if good players like Stephen Fleming, who does not find a place in the upper echelons of cricket, would have been described as `great' had he played most of his cricket in India and batted on wickets that only help spin after a couple of days.

Cricket nowadays is global and the reality is that players come under scrutiny in all conditions. Players, ex-players and administrators need to stop pointing fingers at each other and start working together. Fans need to be told the truth their team will never be good enough away from home while certain conditions prevail.

They will continue to get bowled out and we should not let the next slaying of Bangladesh sweep these inadequacies under the carpet.

Not that the players are totally blameless guts and determination are old-fashioned in the modern world where everything is available now.

If it's too hard, move on, but the trouble is that wherever India go in South Africa the wicket will be pace-friendly so someone has to stand up and say no matter what, I'm going to be there at the end of 50 overs.

So far, India have not even come close to using all their overs, so that in the last four matches, 20 Indian wickets have fallen in just 80 overs.

Only Mahendra Singh Dhoni has shown the mental application required to blunt the Protean pace attack.

More players need to show that they want to be there, in the heat of battle. That urge is not there right now, and the South Africans know it, particularly the pacers. And that gives them even a veteran like Pollock the extra yard of pace.

It isn't as though the picture is all rosy for the South Africans. Not all their batsmen are in prime form, especially Graeme Smith, who is in a miserable trough, but to give credit where it is due, they have been good enough to extract themselves from trouble time and time again.

Given their top order woes, they should by rights be facing many more problems than they are, but India just can't apply pressure for 100 overs.

In patches, yes, but you just have to look at the body language of the teams to know who is going to prevail.

The lack of left-handers has also counted against India.

Over the past few years, neither Nel nor Ntini have liked bowling to left-handers and southpaws around the world Lara/Gayle, Trescothick/Strauss and Gilchrist/Hussey have a good record against South Africa.

Yuvraj's injury was a huge blow, both competitively and because a left-hander gives you another style of play at the top.

In hindsight, perhaps Gautam Gambhir would have been a better bet than Jaffer, but now it is up to old chestnut Sourav Ganguly.

However, I'm not so sure Sourav's style of play against the bouncing ball will add anything to an already fragile team.

The Twenty20 game gives India a chance to go hard at the South Africans since the shorter the game, the larger the role luck plays.

It might be just the tonic the Indians need to kick-start their recovery, though they still need loads of self-analysis both here and back home.

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