The wait is over, England’s skipper Joe Root wins the toss and elects to bat first. After all the competitive hustle and jostle, England finally draws the first blood, to go 1 up in the 5 match series. The story of losses continues in the second test as well. This time though in a more humiliating manner as England won by an innings and 159 runs to take a healthy lead of 2-0.
Defeats, defeats, defeats and defeats. The more matches India play overseas, the more the defeats. The anecdotes of overseas defeats have bruised the confidence and emotions of all the Indian players and the fans of Indian cricket.
The only positive for India so far was their bowling unit and Virat, which again is not enough to win test matches overseas. Even the bowling and Kohli couldn’t save an embarrassing loss in the second test, where it would be a moral victory for Virat and co. to pull off a draw.
Now the time has come for BCCI to speak to the coaching staffs and management, about the reasons why India is not being able to replicate their performance at home in overseas test matches. Is it due to lack of practice? Somehow, yes. With about two weeks gap between the final ODI and 1st Test, all India managed is one 3-day practice match with Essex. Nevertheless, the stability in the team selection has been lacking without any doubts.
Although India has played over 30 test matches under the captaincy of Virat, the same playing XI has never been backed for two consecutive tests yet so far. I can’t think of any good that this does to the team, rather frequent chipping and chopping of players will certainly hurt their confidence and morale, which has been seen through the performance of Indian batsmen.
Now, the time has come that the Indian team starts making all sorts of necessary arrangements for trainings and practice based on the conditions and what could be better than stepping into the field for a practice match against various domestic sides?
The head coach also needs to show responsibility towards the team, rather than coming up with excuses every time India loses. No one should doubt the abilities of the Indian players much, as they are capable of performing everywhere in the world, but yet, the major reason of their failure is that they are not mentally prepared. for the overseas conditions.
The batsmen do need to believe that they can face the likes of Anderson, Broad, Curran and Woakes with full control and patience.
The next reason for the batting failure has to be the inability of Indian players to play their natural game. Let us take an example of Hardik Pandya then. When Indian batsman kept India in a good position batting against Sri Lanka, Hardik would usually come in and play his attacking shots and get fine scores of 50s and above. I realize the fact that playing against Sri Lanka and England are different things, but not so different that the India batsmen are finding it difficult to even put 100 runs on the board, especially when they were scoring above 400 consistently at other times. However, in the recent tests, where India is usually in the position of 100 or fewer runs for 5 wickets, Pandya has not been able to play his natural shots and try to counter-attack the bowling, with the fear of losing his wickets. This also concludes that the misperformance of a batsman may hamper the performance of the other.
The problems are plenty, and Indian team management must look for solutions. The best solution in the middle of the series is, of course, avoid overthinking, practice more and bat with the sense of responsibility. Trying the men in form like Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuman Bihari, etc. who are only available for selection after the end of the third test could be another alternative as well.