The Indian team recently played a limited over series against Bangladesh and lost it 2-1. Before the ODI series, India had dominated the solitary test making the hosts follow on even in a rain-affected match. So, naturally, expectations were high and when India went on to lose the series it was a major shock for all – fans, players and administration. However, a good team is defined by the lessons it learns from its setbacks and how it uses them in the next contests. So, let us take a look at the lessons that the Indian team may have learnt from the recently-concluded series.
Bangladesh is a Tough Place to Tour
India is not the first team to have lost a series in Bangladesh and it will not be the last either. A team of New Zealand’s stature is yet to win a series here. Pakistan and West Indies have also tasted defeat over here at the hands of the Bangla Tigers. With the recent addition of Chandika Hathurusinghe and Heath Streak as head coach and bowling coach, Bangladesh has also improved by leaps and bounds, especially in the ODI arena. This was seen in how they performed in the World Cup. This needs to be taken into consideration before the Indian team is lambasted for its performance in Bangladesh.
Post IPL Tours should be discouraged
The Indian board needs to understand the simple fact that the players need some break if they are to perform properly and produce the results that are expected of them. IPL is a very exacting tournament and ideally it should be the end of the season followed by a 2-3 month break. If the board feels like scheduling some tournaments in the interim it can always use the fringe players like what has been done for the Zimbabwe tour. The stars need a break – it is a basic sporting logic.
Proper Bowling Combination is needed
A few days back, Ravi Shastri, the Director of Indian Cricket team, had said that on pitches in subcontinent you need bowlers with skill rather than out and out pace. The fact that this statement came after the startling success of Mustafizur Rahaman, who relied mainly on cutters and other variations, should not take away accuracy from the statement. The nature of wickets in most centres in Asia is such that there is not a lot of pace in the wicket for the out-and-out quick bowlers like Umesh Yadav to work with. This is why with their extra pace they are like cannon fodder at times for batsmen who are always looking for runs. This is where the role of other bowlers becomes so important. The fact that Mohit Sharma was off-colour had a major effect on Yadav appearing to be less potent than he actually is. Stuart Binny should also have been in the starting line-up instead of the misfiring Ravindra Jadeja. Bangladesh played four quality quick bowlers of different kinds. India should have done the same, at least from the second match instead of being inflexible with its team composition.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs to be shown the Door
When Bhuvneshwar Kumar came on to the scene, he was being seen as the next Irfan Pathan. He could swing the ball both ways at low 130s, he was competitive with bat down the order and he was good in the field. However, in 2015 his career has fizzled out like Irfan as well. He is still swinging the ball albeit at high 120s and considering his bowling is his primary suit this is a cause of major worry. In international cricket you need to be bowling at least 130 kph in order to make an impact. The Indian team management needs to understand that he needs to go back to domestic cricket and work on his game and get it back to the previous level. Dhawal Kulkarni looks to be a good prospect at the moment and needs to be given more chances in ODIs.
Someone like Sehwag is needed at the Top of the Order
A few years back when Ajantha Mendis was picking up wickets in the heap against India, it was Sehwag who took him on and smothered his confidence to such an extent that now he has ceased to be a regular fixture in the Sri Lankan team. Perhaps, someone like him is needed at the top of the order with similar levels of ability and self-confidence. When he was playing, there was a lot of criticism regarding his approach. However, now the national team surely misses his qualities.
The Importance of Tip and Run – Singles
There have been several players in Indian cricket who have done this well. Masters like Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar, and to a certain extent Gautam Gambhir come to mind. In the international game, players like Javed Miandad and the Aussies of 1980s – Geoff Marsh, David Boon, Dean Jones – did this rather well. Right now Dhoni and Kane Williamson are the finest exponents of this art. The present players in the Indian team are classical strokeplayers. Perhaps on the slow and low wickets such as ones you get in Bangladesh, they need to change their style a bit.
Whatever happens, it is important to execute your skills properly. In the series, Indian batsmen were guilty of a lot of cross-batted wafts and too much gap between bat and ball while looking for runs. They perhaps need to be mentally adaptable, be patient when things are not going their way, and not take success for granted. Also players such as Ajinkya Rahane have to be persisted with instead of being shown the door.