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While none of us likes to lose, and we often try as hard as we can to delay or overcome defeat, there are times when it is not always the worst occurrence. Just as pain is a body's way of attracting attention to something wrong, and we ignore it at our own peril, so too can defeat be an alarm going off somewhere. It is how we react to it that tells us how serious we are about learning from it.
England have admitted that defeat against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi opened their eyes to how much further they needed to go and contributed in no small part to success here in India. And during IPL-1 when the Rajasthan Royals had just had a winning streak broken Shane Warne suggested the kick up the backside was needed to get the team focussed on winning again. And that is why I think defeat in this series may not be the worst thing to happen to Indian cricket-that it will force introspection that, for whatever reason, might have been overlooked.
Hardly any introspection
Teams rarely introspect when they are winning; there is camarederie, mateship is at its peak, celebrations are around and no one is really keen to see why the team won. Sometimes defeat can be met with denial, a refusal to accept that there is a problem, or the feeling that it will tide over when circumstances change. I suspect India allowed themselves to go through that phase in 2011-12. There was the world no 1 tag, a World Cup glittering in the office and on bio-datas and so any suggestion of a weakness, like not crushing the West Indies 2-0 in June, was cast aside, no one probably wanted to hear about it.
When India lost in England and won 2-0 at home against the West Indies (it is not always remembered that there was a win between the two 0-4 results!) it reinforced the fact that India were champions at home even though there was a scare in Mumbai and that is what probably led to the feeling, even post Australia, that all India needed to do was to play at home and happy times would be here again. The one-sided series against New Zealand confirmed that and with England due in November, and let's be honest everyone thought they would be run over, an analysis was postponed again, if indeed it was contemplated.