India has a lot of questions still unanswered
India went down to England for the 4th time in the series to lose the series and the Pataudi Trophy by a margin of 4-1. The fact that there were experts suggesting that this was India’s best chance to win a Test series in England hurts even more.
No doubt there were a lot of positives for India, but when you lose a series there are bound to be a lot more negatives than the positives. India who is currently the #1 ranked Test team, will be disappointed that they couldn’t seize their moments in the series.
India definitely had their chances in almost each and every match but only moments can’t win you matches and series. It would have been a pleasant surprise for the ones who have been watching Indian cricket to see this kind of a performance from the Indian pace attack.
They were absolutely magnificent in the whole series as they kept taking a lot of wickets with the new as well as the old ball.
These numbers are a clear indication of how good the Indian pacers have been. This is one of the aspects which the Indian team management can be proud of. But there are many other things which they won’t be happy with. India has still left a lot of questions unanswered.
To start off with, India still don’t know which is their best opening combination in overseas conditions. The opener who is known for his abilities to leave the ball and be patient was sent home after three Tests. KL Rahul, before scoring the hundred in the last innings of the final Test averaged in the teens.
Shikhar Dhawan too hasn’t done anything significant to merit his place in the side. So, who should open for India when they travel to Australia later this year? Is it time to bring in the openers who have been scoring so heavily in the domestic circuit?
Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal have been consistent, but is it the right time to give them a chance? India has the option to try them in the two Tests which they play against Windies in October. One of them might get a chance in those matches.
India’s batting as in South Africa was below par once again. Pujara and Rahane who bat on the either side of Kohli didn’t score runs as consistently as the team would have wanted. Both of them had some good innings but they were not enough to win the series.
These two need to stand up and take charge in Australia or else India might be facing the same story. Virat Kohli can’t do everything. He has been the lone warrior in the last two overseas tours but you can’t win a Test match single-handedly.
The main question which India have kept unanswered is their team balance. After eight overseas Tests, India still doesn’t know what’s their ideal combination. Is the extra batsmen a right option or the all-rounder is capable of delivering? If yes, is Hardik Pandya the perfect all-rounder?
The thing about Hardik Pandya is that India isn’t sure if he is a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder. Is he ready to bat at No.6? Can he bowl 15-20 tight overs in a day? These questions don’t have proper answers yet. On his day he might be productive, but can he deliver consistently?
At this point in time, the answer is no. It looks like he is trying too much to be a proper Test batsman. He should try and play his natural game, it might just work in his favor. But will India play six batsmen or Hardik Pandya for the next overseas tour still remains the big question.
Let’s be honest here. There are even questions being raised over Kohli’s captaincy. He has got his team selections drastically wrong at times in the series. India could have played two spinners at Edgbaston but didn’t.
The most surprising move came when Kuldeep Yadav was picked at Lords on a green wicket with overcast conditions. That move totally backfired as he wasn’t effective at all in that Test. There were talks about the team management not backing their players enough. Murali Vijay was sent back home after the third Test match.
He has been part of the team long enough to earn himself a bad patch but he didn’t get it. It was a bit unfair to him. Pujara who averages close to 50 wasn’t picked for the first match. Doesn't this constant chopping and changing affect the confidence of the players? You don't have to be a player to get this answer right.
India plays the Asia Cup and then a home series against Windies before they tour Australia. This Australian team is not the team which it used to be. They are going to miss their two star batsmen in David Warner and Steve Smith later this year.
But if their four bowlers are fit to play then they do have a deadly bowling attack. It is going to be a great contest and probably India’s best chance to win a Test series in Australia. India have lost two out of the three overseas Test series. Can they turn it around for the fourth?