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One more tournament is over. One more final has been lost. A few weeks back we lost the Kitply finals to Pakistan. Yesterday, the Indians were thrashed by Sri Lanka in the finals of the Asia Cup .

At one stage, India were off to a great start, thanks to some incisive bowling by Ishant Sharma. The Sri Lankans were down at 66-4. We let Jayasuriya put on more than 130 runs in partnership with Dilshan. Eventually he scored 125 off 114 balls to power Sri Lankans to a reasonably respectable score of 273.

India got off to a very good start with Sehwag scoring 60 in 36 balls but once he got out to Ajantha Mendis, India’s fortunes turned dramatically. The 23 year old Mendis playing in only his 8th ODI and his first against India bowled the Lankans to victory by getting dream figures of 6/13 in 8 overs. India lost 9 wickets for 97 runs and were all out for 173 in 39.3 overs.

Why is it that India has almost made it a habit of faltering at the very end? Is it the lack of a killer instinct that we have lost 18 out of the 26 finals we have played since 1999? While many may say that it is creditable that we have reached the finals at all, we shouldn’t forget that the world looks towards winners- not losing finalists.

Many times we have had the upper hand but were not able to convert the early advantages to victories. Sunny Gavaskar mentioned years ago that India has the dubious record of -on many occasions- snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

We thought the young team under Dhoni would be different. But their losing the last two finals recently makes me wonder if anything has changed at all in Indian cricket- apart from the sizzling payments that the cricketers earn, quite irrespective of the results.

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This is Post No: 217 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success