In contrast to the recent flow of things for this mighty Indian LOI team, they faced a decent-sized defeat at the hands of the three lions. Not only did this result spill life into the series and saved the 3rd ODI from becoming a dead contest, It was a vital speed-breaker that was necessary for India when looking at the larger picture i.e the upcoming WC.
Morgan, to the joy of his counterpart, decided to bat first after winning the coin toss. The stats and team form showed that batting second was the key and the factors that led England to decide otherwise remain unclear. Perhaps, as Gambhir pointed out, it might have something to do with negating the effectiveness of the Indian spin-duo under the lights.
The 1st Innings
The first 15 overs or so went as per the script. The English openers got them off to a great start, like they always do. Kuldeep came in and picked up his customary set of wickets. What changed, to the relief of the English fans, was the sight of their main ace Root back to what he does best. A well compiled century while not only making sure that he held the fort against the Indian spinners but also scoring at a decent pace. Buttler fell early and Moeen wasn't any good either. the Indian bowlers were keeping things nice and clean until David Willy decided to go bonkers and gave England what they required to get to 320, which was just about at par given the conditions.
The 2nd Innings
Dhawan gave the innings a great start unleashing a set of exquisite cover drives. The Hitman, on the other end, took his own sweet time. Rahul fell cheap and India's innings was already in trouble. Kohli-Raina stitched together decent partnership but the RRR was always climbing and their pace would only mean one thing-pressure on the weakest part of this Indian team, the lower middle order. Dhoni again gave a masterclass on why he is a misfit at no.6 but Kohli easily brushed away this fact in the post-match press conference with an often used brush called 'off-day'. Once Raina was out in the 32nd Over, there was but little hope. India succumbed to a 86 run defeat.
Not a lot of takeaways from this game for Team India. Only a couple of questions that Kohli and Shastri will have to find answers to. The series is now up for grabs and hopefully, India can pull it off and take a load of confidence going into the all-important test series.
Virat Kohli has recently completed 50 ODI’s as skipper of India. The results are mighty impressive. They’ve won every 4 out of 5 ODI’s with Kohli as skipper. They have been dominant at home, had a great run in Champions Trophy, and treated RSA like a school team in RSA’s own backyard. Bowlers have finally figured out how to take wickets during the middle portions of the game, Captain possesses two skilled slog-over bowlers and a very confident all-rounder who brings a lot of balance to the side.
However, the side is far from perfect and this article highlights some of the areas that India needs to improve on before the World Cup. Normal wisdom suggests that you would want every player to have 30-50 ODI’s under their belt prior to World Cup but I disagree. Good players will shine regardless. New players bring a bit of a mystery factor and new levels of energy for high-octane tournaments. India’s IPL tournament prepares these players for big stages and selectors shouldn’t put too much emphasis on experience factor.
India’s top 3 are arguably collectively biggest batting threat in one-day cricket but as the final of the Champions Trophy demonstrated if these three go cheaply, India’s lower middle doesn’t look capable of mastering tricky chases. To be honest, the top 3 have enjoyed the best of batting conditions and hogged the majority of the strike preventing the lower middle order from getting valuable match experience.
Number 4 and 5 in one-day line-ups are still up for grabs. KL Rahul is still trying to figure out his role in ODI set-up. Raina is a fighter but he is technically limited.
The tail is a bigger worry. With the exception of Bhuvneshwar, India has three genuine number 11 batsmen. In this era of batting deep, India over-relies on the top 7 for the bulk of heavy lifting.
Elephant in the room
Any sane selection committee would have ensured Dhoni is collecting his pension by now but he is guaranteed a spot in final XI for the World Cup. Given his street smartness, surprisingly he has been a constant no-show in recent past and has frustrated fans on several occasion by ignoring the match situation in trying to bat himself in.
India’s reluctance of dealing firmly with fading stars puts inexperienced selection panel in a bit of a quandary. As IPL and other tournaments showed, there are potentially 2-3 very strong wicket-keeping candidates available should Team Management desire them.
The entire Indian cricket fraternity worships Dhoni and you can be assured the wise old wizard will retire on his own terms.
6th Bowling Options
When fully fit, India is fortunate to have 5 genuine wicket-taking options but there will be times when 1 or 2 of these bowlers will have an off day and a 6th option will come in handy. Suresh Raina is the only certified pie-chucker in the side but India can use someone who is a bit more reliable with the ball as a 6th bowling option. Krunal Pandya offers that option to India but it’s hard to see conservative Indian panel considering someone like Krunal Pandya to fill this important role.
Backup Bowling Options
The current backup options haven’t been that impressive. I can’t imagine the Kauls, the Sirajs, the Thakurs, and the Unadkats of winning games on their own. Agreed, they have been up against brutal batting orders on very flat pitches but none of them has demonstrated that X-factor that bowlers need in this era of flat pitches, mighty bats and smaller grounds. Umesh Yadav bowled some vicious spells in IPL but lacks that consistency. Shami has fitness and personal issues to deal with. Varun Aaron is not even on selector’s radar. Under present system, Mavi, Nagarkoti, Khalil and Rajpoot will probably have to put on impressive performances for 12-18 months to get a look in.
The purpose of this article is not to paint an overly negative or depressing picture of the current state. Like India, all other teams are also facing their own unique set of challenges. England lacks world class bowlers and will be under massive pressure to #BringItHome. Australia has serious re-building to do after Sandpapergate disaster. RSA is dealing with ABD’s retirement and the return of Amla to a more mortal form. NZ is like Belgium (Football Team) of cricket. A guaranteed semi-final pick but lack that firepower to go all the way. Pakistan and WI possess several match winners but do blow hot and cold. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have serious issues of their own.
Here is hoping team management and selectors are paying attention to few of these issues and ensuring India goes well-prepared into the mighty important tournament.
A day after England’s loss to Croatia in the FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinals, a cricket match between two strongest ODI teams wasn’t expected to the hit headlines, but fireworks were always on cards given both teams have very explosive batting lineups. The match was played on the same ground where England had scored the highest ever ODI score three weeks ago.
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to chase on what looked like great batting conditions. England started quickly as usual and absence of two front line bowlers - Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, meant that Indians didn’t find it easy to stop openers Roy and Bairstow. They were off to a flyer in powerplays before Kohli threw the ball to chinaman Kuldeep who has been in great form on this tour. An ill-fated reverse sweep by Jason Roy in 11th over started the downfall of the England team after that great start.
Root looked absolutely clueless when he was caught plumb in next over of Kuldeep and a good review against Bairstow for what initially looked like ball pitching outside leg meant India had clamped down chances of a big score.
England needed to rebuild after 3 quick losses, however captain Morgan couldn’t check his temptation to play a big shot against Chahal, only to be caught by Raina at midwicket. Kohli removed Kuldeep from attack after a 4 over spell allowing English batsmen Stokes and Buttler to rebuild innings. Together they added 93 runs. Buttler continued his great form and was fluent throughout his innings scoring at more than run a ball. Stokes, on the other hand, was scratchy and found it difficult to get going against all bowlers.
Bringing back Kuldeep brought quick rewards for Indian teams as he dismissed Buttler to a faint edge down the leg in 39th over. England 214-5 by 44th over were hoping for Stokes and Ali get them close to 280 in 50 overs. However, Stokes who had been patient for longer earlier inexplicably decided to go after Kuldeep’s last over only to see his reverse sweep caught inside the circle. Wiley fell in the same over giving 6th wicket to Kuldeep - best haul for a spinner in England.
Pacers failed to create much impact in good batting conditions and England were dismissed for 268 which didn’t look like a challenging score for a good chasing team at any point. Rohit and Dhawan started quickly before Dhawan fell to Moeen Ali as he tried to go after him. Once Kohli was at the crease, chase always looked in control complemented by Rohit’s unnatural attacking batting early in the inning. Sharma displayed a wide range of shots to completely annihilate the weak English bowling. He brought his 100 in just 82 balls and won the game for India in the 41st over after Kohli’s dismissal earlier.
It was an easy win for the Indian team, but Kuldeep was easily the biggest difference between two sides who are occupying top 2 places in the ICC ODI rankings. If England has to compete with this in-form Indian team, they have to quickly find ways to tackle Indian wrist spinners who seem to be on a different zone with their accuracy, guile, flight, pace and skills on display. English bowling will be tested again and if they have to improve their 2019 world cup preparations, they need to seriously look into this department.
South Africa have the renowned Mr 360, ABDV walking in at #4. Australia, have the option of calling upon the likes of Glenn Maxwell, or even a Chris Lynn. England can send in a Jos Buttler. Come WC 2019, who will India turn to at #4?
Its taken a few years, but by now, even the most casual of cricket fans have realized that ODI cricket has changed a lot since the last time India got its hands on the WC trophy. Apart from the 2 new balls, and slow and steady infusion of T20 batting skills, mindset and expectations - its the shift in powerplay rules that has required batting teams to re-structure their approach towards constructing their innings to make best use of the 300 scoring opportunities that the ODI game offers.
5 out-fielders in the last 10 overs, and 4 in the middle 30 directly translates into smarter teams recognizing the need to shift their risk-taking and acceleration earlier than the historical ODI approach. England, have shown an even more courageous method of utilizing their batting depth by pushing for maximum runs, from ball 1 to right to 300; instead of waiting for the "death" overs to accelerate. Sooner or later, more teams and batsmen are going to start recognizing the benefits of being pro-active in the pursuit of big runs - at least to the team score, if not to the individuals.
So what are the building blocks required to have an ODI batting line-up that can "go big" with the maximum frequency and consistency? Everybody knows the importance of having high quality batsmen in the top 3, guys who can handle pressure, class bowling, an ability to attack as well as set the platform. This is common knowledge since the days when Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana ran amok at the 1996 World Cup. Or even going back to the pioneering Kiwis and Mark Greatbatch in the 1992 version. A team absolutely needs class at the top of the batting lineup in order to be a contender.
The need for a reliable "finisher" in the middle order - a power hitter who can deliver boundaries when needed, and be more reliable than an Afridian lottery ticket, is also apparent.
But for the 2019 World Cup, this is not going to be enough. Teams are routinely going past 330 with ease, and threatening 400 with increasing frequency. And for a batting line-up to achieve such high watermarks regularly, what they are able to do in the 30 to 40 over phase, starts to matter a lot. You need to have batsmen with a low deliveries per boundary stat, in the #4 and 5 slot. Especially given the likelihood of the tracks for the World cup being on the flatter side.
It is increasingly clear that MS Dhoni is a shadow of the legendary ODI bat he once was and is simply not good enough to create or even sustain momentum at this pivotal slot in the batting line-up. And Rahane may have played a quality innings in the first ODI against SA, but he isn't the answer either. Manish Pandey is another aspirant, but thus far in his career, he's shown himself to be a poor man's Kohli at best - not exactly a power hitter with a high boundary striking abilities. And to be bluntly honest, someone like a Dinesh Karthik never was.
For all of Kedar Jadhav's slingy round-arm cleverness with ball in hand, his batting doesn't inspire too much confidence that he can do consistently deliver the goods, especially away from home. Jadhav's opportunistic placement-driven batting style does offer potential - his skill-set and batting tools could be effective in the middle phase with only 4 fielders operating outside the inner ring. The question whether he can do it against tougher opposition, away from Indian tracks remains unanswered at this point. And the sad reality of Indian team selection is that given his lack of "seniority", he is unlikely to get a proper extended run at the position.
Who then, will Team India turn to, for the all-important #4 slot in the batting order? Given that the rest of the team is stacked with quality and class - on both sides of the ball, the choice of #4 may well end up determining India's fate in WC 2019. Especially given the Indian team think tank's resolute faith in allowing the top 3 batsmen the luxury of pursuing big runs while intentionally sacrificing the opportunity for early momentum.
Phase 1: Test batting till 1910s was underdeveloped and cricket was too much in favor of batsmen. So, 1870s to 1910s have lowest averages, but batting was consistently improving.
Phase 2: Batting improved a lot in Bradman era (1920s-1940s) and this was batsmen dominated phase.
Phase 3: 1950s. Pace bowling started developing from trundlers to faster bowlers and batsmen struggled to manage them. Averages dropped quite significantly with improved quality of bowling on uncovered pitches.
Phase 4: 1960s. Covered pitches came into picture and bowlers had no clue to what to do. Batsmen made merry and it was much better decade of batsmen than previous one.
Phase 5: 1970s-1980s. Balanced time for batsmen and bowlers. Batting averages went up and pacers found their way to get wickets.
Phase 6: 1990s. Toughest era for batting with all teams having good bowlers and batsmen struggling. Batting averages dropped significantly. Averaging 50 became almost impossible.
Phase 7: 2003-2013. Era of FTBs. Many great bowlers retired. Pitch quality improved a lot and we got flat pitches all over the world. Minnows entered the scene with lot of matches. Top 6 team averaged 37 with bat. Great ones averaged above 55 and there were million batsmen averaging 50+. Steyn was only great fast bowler emerging during this phase. Massive FTBs and minnow bashing era.
Phase 8: Post 2013. Teams becoming desperate for home advantage and started preparing spicy pitches everywhere. Bangladesh improved at home and Zimbabwe rarely got matches, so that minnow factor dimnished. So many new pacers and spinners emerging again. Overall batting average since 2013 - 33.10. The way it's decreasing with year, it is easily toughest phase in 1990s.
Ill give them edge over KXIP as they have gambhir as captain and they have all the bases well covered .
If maxwell is in form well that cud put this side head of many and if not then it looses that extra mile
Also Rabadaa shud play seriously as last yr it felt he wasnt giving his 100%
Gr8 for prithvi shaw,kalra n abhishek sharma as he gets to play shami, rabadda, boult everyday in nets and seek help of ponting
whole team can rotate around gambhir n later shankar
Maxwell, Pant n morris thats one heck of firepower
Will start with KXIP 1st
1. Yuvi form can be cruical, if not in form they ll find him hard to drop due to fan base and that cud cost half the tournament
2. They are a new team with new captain so might take time to gel together. It may sound an unimportant factor but its not thats the reason MI n CSK put value on retaining the core. A lot wud depend on Hodge n Ashwin
3. Seems avg in field
4. good bowling but many teams have better
5. Ill play tiwary within few games if yuvi doesnt work, tiwary is also a good fielder and can help ashwin with captaincy
6. Rahul n NAir can bat anywere in top 4 which gives them flexibilty
7. They can always throw gayle and u never knw.
8. akashdeep nath can be a surprise
3. CSK- do not underestimate the team on age factor......very well built squad
1. All bases well covered
2. Have exp players which comes in handy in final stages which is why we have seen young sides like DD or RR struggle to reach playoffs in last stages.
3. Great bunch of spinner which can make them unbeatable at home
4. More then few excellent fielder- Raina, Faf, jadeja, bravo, Raydu, dhoni behind stumps.
5. They have attack for a turning track- they can play bravo, watson n wood/indian pacer as seamers n play the wide range of spinners
6. they also have pacer for a bouncy track - Lungi, wood, asif, thakur, monu
7. watson can open n bat as finisher. If he fails they can get billings or even vijay and have one more overseas bowler
8. Consistent players
9. Lacks firepower in terms of s/r but still can manage 150-180 which is good to win many games and they have the bowling that wnt get them big totals most days.
10. captain has the bowling arsenal he likes to choke teams in middle with help of fielders .
11. Batsman who can bowl full quote or almost 2-3 overs Raina, jadhav, watson, bravo (he is a gun bowler in t20)
12. They shud hope bravo finds some form with bat
13. dhoni with this squad shud adopt a bit of kohli style of horses for courses
1. What a top order, if kohli remains consistent with lower order selection it wont disappoint as well
2. Bowling looks good to specially spin dept with chahal n sundar
3. Kohli captaincy is a weekness but his drive to take team anywere as captain n player is also the strength.
4. Kohli with this squad shud aim for balance n consistency like a dhoni wud do
5. Shud start with kulwant ahead of aniket .
6. Baz can be a help on field and as captain but can they make space for him in team
7. Shud play coulter nile rather going for all indians in bowling which can prove really costly
8. A lot depend on Chinnaswamy's pitch - Waha kumble hai
1. Again heavily dependent on warner
2. Even they have 3 batsman with avg s/r - dhawan, pandey , Saha
3.No one can blaze apart from warner or may be hooda, hence hooda form wud be very crucial
4. Mustafizur was the X-factor when they won i see that lacking
5. Other teams have better keeper batsman
6. lack of good indian spinner can hurt them
their batting is better then SRH but warner i feel is a better captain and has better bowling attack
Starting XI- Tripathi, Rahane, smith, Samson, butler, stokes , gowtham, Archer, unadkat, Gopal/lomor, Saxena/dhawal/anureet
1. A good consistent top order with lot of firepower in lower order . Stokes, butler n gowtham can be the x-factor
2. Very week on spinners
3. If archer fails well their fast bowling also might lack the sting
4. Unadkat on jaipur pitches can become easy to counter.
5. Can struggle on turning tracks and the later stages of IPL can offer many such tracks.
6. Suggestions- go in auction n buy ISH sodhi n look for some domestic spinners
7. also try to add aaron, warrier in terms of domestic pace
1. Shud start with this and if they feel they are week in bowling then can drop duminy n add an overseas bowler
2. Lacks in terms of backups- never a good thin
3. Rahul, akila n anukul - u never knw with these spinners they are young
4. Needs more batsman specially a top player to reduce burden on rohit
5. suggestion - buy amla, root , shaun marsh .....one or two of them depending on pocket left
6. Can add an overseas fast bowler n spinner to like morkel , ish sodhi, Mitch mcgleshan
What were they smoking, spending half the pocket on 4 players only
KKR- Lynn, uthappa, shubhman , rana, karthik, Russell, narine, starc, kuldeep, nagarkotti, Mavi
1. where is the captain- If anything we have learned in IPL is the importance of a good captain. Their options are very unknown
2. Very poor on backups specially in batting
3. with so many issue if ur keeper has a habbit of brain farts......well well well
4. If starc gets injured they are screwed
5. If lynn gets injured , again can become tough
6. fire power in batting but a lot of inconsistent batsman to.
7, No batsman to hold them toghter and their best bet is shubhamn gill, depending on an 18 yr old cant be good
8. shud buy morgan incase things go wrong at start they can make him captain
9. Shud look to add amla n root or marsh (not sure how much pocket is left)
10. Add unmukt n baba- atleast kuch backup hoga
11. start scouting some young talent around.
I remember the year 1989 very well. Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace. We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past. Crickets fans were feeling directionless. Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks. Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted, the whole nation " batted " through him.
In 1991, a tall, thin guy, with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath. The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match. While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries by a few runs in both those tests. Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85, a bespectacled Kumble taking a 4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991, Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000, a dashing Sehwag scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever. More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship. Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among certain sections of fans. Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity because of superstars and stars. Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her. Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+. Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy to our team.
I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair, Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti etc. etc. are waiting.
It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names. It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.