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Issues India Need To Address Ahead Of The Trent Bridge Clash

August 13, 2018

England v India - Second Test

Just over a week since an inspiring show at Edgbaston, Team India has evoked the dismal memories of their terrible English tours of 2011 and 2014 with an absolute shattering display at Lord’s, the only venue to have witnessed an Indian victory in the last 11 Tests on England soil. A rain-marred game where the toss could not take place anytime before the start of day 2 and with so many further interruptions may have stretched to the final session of day 4; but the fact is that it lasted only 170.3 overs, 88.1 out of which being played out by the side that eventually went on to win the game by a mammoth margin as they sent the visitors crashing not once but twice during the rest of those overs. This is the first time since 2016 Port of Spain game (where there could only be 22 overs bowled in the entire test match) India have failed to dismiss their opposition at least once. Also for the first time in 4 years India have succumbed to an innings defeat and it clearly shows how despairingly off the mark as a unit India were.

No wonder it has brought back all those harsh memories from the past. And as it has been the case in overseas conditions of late, it’s once again the batsmen who find themselves out of depth. It was always going to be immensely tough to counter a gun-like English seam attack led by their crown jewel James Anderson who doesn’t seem to show any signs of turning dull at all. The way Indian players batted, they were never going to come out on top against the hosts’ bowling pack – be it that first spell from Woakes in the first innings, where he settled magnificently to lay on as good a spell as you can ever ask from any bowler, or that daunting second innings show from the experienced Stuart Broad where everyone against him looked all at sea. But to go down without showing a semblance of fight is what would hurt the Indian team and their fans the most.

Having had to taste his first ever innings defeat since assuming charges as the Indian Captain, Virat Kohli said that they want to get ahead of the mistakes and not repeat the same again. But here arises the bigger question, have India really identified their mistakes? In the 2nd test they mysteriously went in with two spinners on a surface that was screaming for seamers. While the skipper alone seems to have a fixed role and a spot in the batting order, all the rest of the positions have been going through a constant state of confusion. Even their bowling has more than one question to answer with Ravindra Jadeja suddenly finding himself right at the edge despite being the best all-rounder in the world not long ago, while Hardik Pandya surprisingly sees himself rise head-and-shoulders above Umesh Yadav as team’s 3rd seamer!

Although Kohli wants his batsmen to posses clear mindset, but he has to keep in mind that it becomes a whole new different ball game when the spots along with the roles of the players keep changing. Shikhar Dhawan, who was trusted as the opener in the first game was dropped in the second despite scoring almost as many as the runs Murali Vijay and KL Rahul scored between them. Rahul on the other hand played his first test in England at an uncustomary #3 position at the expense of Pujara. Rahane, the vice captain for India in tests was dropped from the side earlier this year in South Africa with the limited overs’ vice captain Rohit taking his place. Perhaps the Dinesh Karthik, who has had a very forgettable tour so far, would be having a sword perennially hanging over his head at the moment while the opening slot may again go under colossal microscopes after Vijay bagging a pair and Rahul at times being clueless on which ball to play and which to leave. However I don’t see either Pujara or Rahane getting dropped anytime soon despite the former still getting troubled with the inswingers and the latter keeps giving his wicket away rather cheaply, still neither of these two would be feeling secure inside. So if the batsmen have to overcome such things and come out with a clear mind to play in England and that too being 0-2 down, then they deserve nothing short of an Oscar. But at the same time that will make them robots as well.

So it’s time that the management comes out with clarity in their thoughts as well, because that’s what India need more than anything else at the moment if they are to script a turnaround from here. It’s more important for the management to change their way of thinking rather than changing the team itself.

One Comment
  1. AYAN ROY permalink

    Really.. It’s very important for team management committee to think in a different point of view for fighting back !!

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