India had gone into the New Zealand with a realistic expectation that it will be able to win the one day series and then, perhaps, the test series as well. However, from the way things have unfolded in the first couple of one dayers India has lost, it looks like it will be really tough for the much loved Indian team to make a comeback in the series. Here are a few reasons why that may be the case:
Wrong strategy: At the end of the first one day match it was evident that the openers were suffering from lack of confidence, which is why their prolific run of form has ebbed. Such phases are quite normal in a sportsman’s life. In such situations it is the responsibility of the team to make sure that conditions are created so that they can rediscover their form. It is true that the present Indian team revolves around Virat Kohli who quite evidently prefers chasing targets but, then, this is a team game and other players need to be given their space as well.
In two matches Dhoni has won the toss and elected to field first. Dhoni should also understand the fact that apart from the 3 seamers all his bowlers are spinners and so they need a used pitch to be more effective. With the sort of team Dhoni is picking it is advisable that he bats first and if he wants to field first he should pick Binny over one of the spinners. However, quite understandably, he wants to make sure that the Karnataka allrounder is not thrust into the deep end. But these are desperate times and such occasions call for similar measures.
Batting: It is not that India has been clearly outmatched in this department but they have been certainly been left behind by Corey Anderson who at the present moment is making the vital difference with his quickfire batsmanship. India need to find someone who can perform this role – Dhoni used to be the big hitter previously but now he has become a nurdler and nudger. So, may be Raina could be asked to take up the cudgels – it has to be a proper batsman or at least someone whose batting is the primary suit of his game. Maybe, someone like Binny could be asked to perform this role.
Bowling: This is one area where Indians have been clearly outmatched by their Kiwi counterparts. While bowlers like Southee and McClenaghan have been ably backed up by Mills and Anderson, Shami and Bhuvneshwar have found that assistance hard to come by. Ishant Sharma and the spinners have been fairly off color – they have neither been penetrative nor economical and this has only increased the headaches of Dhoni, who, for years, has been asking for a seam-bowling allrounder. Probably Irfan Pathan may have a future in the team once he makes his comeback from injury.
While Dhoni may not want to change the team just after a couple of failures, it may be worthwhile if he looks at other options like Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey and Varun Aaron. Even Rayudu could be given a run at the top of the order. These players could very well make the vital difference.