Indian team’s defeat at the hands of the West Indies on the 25th of October match has brought out numerous lessons for India. One could say that the team which looks good on paper failed once again to deliver with its batting and bowling.
The tournament has not witnessed one lambasting innings till now. Surprised..? Quite not! Well, those tried playing perished, be it Jayasuriya, Astle, or Sehwag.
The wickets in the Champions trophy till now have not had the bounce and pace to facilitate shot-making. As a result, such explosive innings have become highly improbable. Openers need to come to terms with this and should keep in mind that the need of the hour is an average of 4-5 runs within the first 15 overs, i.e 60-75 runs without losing too many wickets.
Sehwag in particular needs to reassess and get his shot selection is place. The way he got out in the last match against the Windies -dragging the ball onto his stumps revealed his inability to adapt to the conditions. Playing extravagant shots on a pitch that does not have an even bounce is stupidity. This does raise some concerns but I think he should have learned his lesson by now.
As I mentioned, this Champions trophy is not about 300+ scores, it’s about 175- 220. Teams need to be realistic about the totals which they intend to put on the board. The pitch that has been provided has been a bit dicey and as a result scoring on them has not been easy.
Quickly adapting to the conditions
We have seen that several teams have had a batting order collapse at the top including India in the matches till now. But those which came to terms with the conditions and played sensibly went on to win the match. This fact can be had from skipper Stephen Fleming’s knock who steered his team out of trouble. The same can be said about Mark Boucher’s contribution in the match against Pakistan.
The Indian team needs one contribution from its batting order which has looked heavy on paper till now. With the likes of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, and Yuvraj in the ranks, the team needs at least one of them to rise to the occasion and bat through the innings when wickets fall quickly.
This did not happen in the match against the Windies where all the batsmen scored but failed to make a big score. This cost the team the additional 20-30 runs! Such a mistake is criminal and could cost India a place in the semi-finals.
That partnership is vital is a known fact but they have become quintessential in this Champions Trophy. I think Dravid will have to take the onus and ensure that he bats through the innings and strings in partnerships with other batsmen. We have seen that he is a cement who can bind the likes of Yuvraj and Tendulkar.
The Indian attack lacked the bite in the previous match. The seamers failed to make an impression with the only exception of Munaf Patel who bowled with some consistency. The Indian bowling has suffered another setback in the form of an injury to Agarkar at a crucial juncture in the tournament.
By not putting the ball in the right areas in the previous match, the seamers failed to make an impression. Bereft of pace, its the line and length which can make a difference in a bowling attack. We saw that in the match between Pakistan and South Africa. An indisciplined attack not only demotivates the team’s efforts but negates all the good work done by the bowlers and fielders. Hence the Indian bowlers, particularly the seamers would have to bowl a good line to the Australian bowlers to get some purchase from the wicket and make an impression.
The forthcoming match against the Australians is a do or die for both the teams. India’s performance will show how much they have learned from their performance in their previous outing. To beat an Australian side is difficult but not impossible as proven by the Windies.
The mantra for India is needs -be flexible, gritty, and disciplined to beat Australians.