If cricket is a religion in India then England is a land of atheists because Indian cricket always fails there. The trend has continued in English tour of Team India 2018. Lead by captain aggressive – Virat Kohli, India succumbed to a 1-2 defeat in 3 match ODI series. The series of well balanced at 1-1 after two games but Team India fell flat in the decider. England simply wanted it more. They excelled in every department of the game and outplayed the visitors. This kind of non competitive match wasn’t expected, especially from Team India under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.
Bowling : The Kuldeep Yadav Show
Indian bowling looked flat throughout the series except for the finger spinners, that too Kuldeep Yadav Yadav in particular. The youngster from Uttar Pradesh had the English batsmen on the floor searching for the ball. His mysterious deliveries were lethal as he took 9 wickets in 3 matches at an average of 16. India lost the decider where Kuldeep Yadav failed to pickup any wickets. English team management clearly did their home work and the players executed it on the ground. Before the match there was talk of not giving early wickets to Kuldeep Yadav and the strategy clearly worked.
That’s where the problem lies for Team India. Rest of the bowlers were a no show throughout the series. After Kuldeep Yadav the highest wicket taker for India was Umesh Yadav. Umesh took 3 wickets in 2 matches which is hardly impressive. The absence of Bumrah was heavily felt by Team India. Shardul Thakur was unimpressive with the ball so was Hardik Pandya. If India is to challenge for the upcoming World Cup in thr same English conditions, they have to build a pool of bowlers who can backup each other. When Ashwin and Jadeja lost their touch, Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav emerged to take their place. That should be the case for pacers as well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is clearly not the bowler he used to be and might need some reconditioning.
Batting: The Lack Of Middle Order
Team India has always been a batting heavy side. Through the generations India has always had World Class batsmen. That too middle order batsmen. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as of now. India does have quality batsmen. But all of them naturally perform only in the top order. Be it Rahul, Rohit, Dhawan or Captain Kohli- none of them perform at best of their abilities at no. 5 or 6. As a result, whenever top order fails, Team India find themselves in a spot of bother. Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina both play a similar sort of game. They are excellent at short and brisk innings but can’t forge out a daddy hundred from 20th to 40th over. Thus Indian batting is dependent on top order,that too on Virat Kohli particularly.
Virat Kohli has been the stand out performer with the bat for Team India. He scored 191 runs in 3 matches, a tally second to only that of English batsman Joe Root who won the player of the series award. For India to be successful in ODIs in England, they need players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the squad. Excluding Pujara out of ODIs is great prejudice which has been haunting India in England.
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