After two embarrassing defeats in England, India is looking for a change in its fortunes in the third tests. In the process of preparing for the third Test at Northampton, India needs to stop and take stock of the team once. The Indian Team largely comprises of a less impressible combination. Few senior players who have played more of Test Cricket and many youngsters who have little experience and knowledge in the Tests – this is Team India for you. In this gloomy juncture, an analysis of the Team is quite essential.
Zak, the Missing Man:
The absence of Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan has hurt Indians quite badly. Seamer Zaheer would have been well suited for the pitching conditions in England, and losing him has reduced the intensity of the Bowling attack.
Harbhajan Singh, who recently gained entry into the 400+ wickets Club, was not in a position to play the second test. His stomach injury has added many worries to the Bowling, and India managed to perform somehow with the trio – Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth.
Youngsters Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth have given balance to the side quite well and have shouldered the responsibility admirably. Their performance has improved with every day and with every match. But with the absence of Zaheer and Harbhajan, a well matured bowler who specializes in Test Cricket was needed. Team India should have used Murali Karthik, the efficient and effective left arm spinner with real spinning webs, who has played rich county English Cricket. His inclusion would have added more power to the Indian Bowling Armory. Such left arm players would have been more penetrative in the English soil comparatively with the right arm bowlers. Also, Yuvraj should have been given more overs to bowl for, his left arm spin would have an effective penetration into the English defenses. Harbhajan Singh, who is now losing his charm, needs to be rested, before he can come back afresh.
Clumsy Batting Order:
India’s batting has always been commended by Cricket Legends all over the world. With Master Blaster Tendulkar, The Wall Dravid, and the magician Laxman in our Test Team, everyone naturally expects huge runs on the scoreboard. But Tendulkar, Dhoni and Raina, after a series of matches, are really tired and battle-hardened; they need a long break before they can break down further. There is really no point in pointing out our Skippers’ batting and keeping inabilities in Tests, when he has got little time to take a break. And so, the burden has fallen on Laxman and Dravid, the two Test greats of India, to score runs. They have risen magnificently to the occasion, but their lone attack without any support from the rest of the batsmen, is vain.
In between the T20 and ODI, players like Suresh Raina, MSD, Virat Kohli, do not have the space to apply themselves to the demands of the test cricket since the schedule and fixtures are closely scheduled. Eventually, their talent in Test Cricket and the elegance of Test Cricket itself is lost. These players are entangled with T20 and ODI, thus making them difficult to adjust to the different formats of the game quite soon. Ultimately, Indian Cricket, is on the verge of losing such that talented pool of good cricketers, not to the pressure of the game, but to the pressure of the fixtures and itineraries of T20 and ODI.
In this juncture, the BCCI and the ICC must give some food for thought, not to hold matches in short frequencies. If not, the whole spirit of the game will be lost. We hope that Team India analyses its strength and weakness and puts together a Team with experience and energy. Let us keep our fingers crossed for August 10th. Good Luck Team India!