What went wrong with the mighty Indian team? In the last series, they crushed Sri Lanka in India but the problem remains with the going away matches in typical English conditions. India doesn't have a good record in the test matches on the foreign soil and it seems the record isn't going to change anytime soon.
Virat Kohli lead Indian team went to England for their 3 T20, 3 ODI and 5 test match series. India won the T20 series by 2-1 while they lost the One Day series by 2-1. After those two series, the Indian team had a 3 day practice match with Essex which ended up in a draw. After these two series, Indians had high hopes for the test series and the players even seemed confident enough. The bowlers were having a good run but the main concern was about the batsmen which unfortunately hit the Indian team hard. On the 1st August India played its first test match against England which England won by 31 runs on the 5th and last day of the match. The second match was scheduled on the 9th of August and Indian team was sweating hard during the warm up sessions and the venue was the Mecca of cricket ground, "Lords" in London. The weather conditions was perfect for the English players. India was batting first and their wickets started falling down like dominoes and they only scored 107 runs which England quite successfully trailed and scored 396 runs. India had to keep on batting for a win or at least a draw they couldn't keep up with the swings and surrendered. The 2nd loss was massive one, they lost it by an innings and 159 runs on the 4th day of the match. After all these blows India still has a chance to recover and hopefully win all the 3 matches to win the series. The last time India won the series against England in England was under Rahul Dravid's captaincy so it is a huge pressure on the Captain Virat Kohli and the team management.
With all these losses and easy give ups, I just want to put up some thoughts on why India is losing the match and what went wrong with the Inidan team.
- Inconsistency in the selection of playing XI: Virat Kohli is looking confused about the best team combination, he is trying too much instead of keeping things simple. This clearly shows he is lacking ideas, he has to learn how to tackle the situations.
- Mentality issues: Is it something with the Indian cricket team not performing good in the overseas conditions? Because I don't think the players are falling short of skills and passion or maybe they are in a state of mind that we cannot win outside India and if this is happening then it's the captain's and team management's role to boost the team's morale and ignite a spark within them that we are not here to repeat history but create one. They should go out on the field with only one thought and that is victory.
- Stable opening combination: 2 test matches with 2 different opening pairs and quite possibly there might be the 3rd new pair in the 3rd match. The question which arises here is that can Kohli trust one pair and back them completely? Shikhar Dhawan failed to score big in the first match and dropped a crucial catch but he is the only established test player in the squad who was replaced by KL Rahul for whom I would use the term immature. He definitely has some good records in India but he has not been quite up to the mark when it comes to playing overseas, he is a talented player and needs to play more but not as an opener. The last opener M Vijay is fully out of form and the captain along with the coach should have a conversation with him in order to help him gain his confidence back.
- Top order contribution: Cheteshwar Pujara much surprisingly didn't play the 1st test match which left all the cricket enthusiasts confused. Then he played the 2nd match which didn't went well for him. He is a test specialist and needs to step up his game while the captain has to show his faith and let him play in the XI. Talking about the captain, our vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is lost, his presence is next to zero on the field or maybe he is still in the vacation mode. I hope he returns from it soon and scores good in the remaining matches.
- Captain Kohli: Bowlers seemed to be doing a good job in both the matches whereas only batsman who stood apart while everyone else failed was our skipper Kohli, he scored a century and a half century however in the 2nd match everyone failed and India faced a miserable loss. Virat is having some back issues while we pray for his well being and hope he plays the 3rd match. I want to quote the Indian team as a wolf pack. "The lone wolf dies but the pack survives." India has to play as a team, only Kohli cannot do all the jobs. I hope they bounce back as a team.
- Middle order and lower middle order: Horrendous performance by them, Dinesh Karthik failed in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha. There is a lot of expectations from Hardik Pandya by the team management and captain, still very less delivery by him. It's early to judge him if he'll be a good all rounder in the test matches so let's wait and see how much Kohli is going to invest on him.
- Potentials on the bench: Ravindra Jadeja, who is good with both batting and bowling has a pretty decent record outside India. 1st test match had the perfect condition for him to play but he has been warming up the bench. Karun Nair had a 300 against England but where did he go? Disappeared from the squad and has become a bench warmer. Rishab Pant has yet to make a test debut but with Karthik not doing anything, Pant might be a gamble that the captain and management should play.
Indian playing XI wasn't bad in the last two matches but still we lost and that is a problem and every problem has a solution to it so these players might be the solution. Back them up, have faith and play another gamble because right now we have got hardly anything to lose but it all goes back to Virat Kohli and the team management if they can take some brave decisions it might be fruitful for the Indian test team which is lacking consistency and confidence. I as an ardent cricket fan only expect a tough fight because at the end it's a game full of emotions and watching the team give up so easily breaks my heart. I wish them all the luck in the coming matches and hope Virat Kohli wins the series in England which only Rahul Dravid has won it for the Indians.