IND v ENG: Where did India lose it?

Much to the expectations of the fans, India’s match against England did really unite the fans of the neighbouring countries as their qualifying scenario majorly based on India’s win.

First of all, How funny is that to ask other teams to win matches for you (and abuse when they didn’t) when your own team is not performing well?

Let me not get into that topic though. Coming back to yesterday’s match, we can keep blaming whoever we want to, but the real fact is that India really did have a lot of shortcomings that needed to be addressed before reaching the semi-final which I hope they will. Most importantly, England bowlers did well.

To start with, I wasn’t much happy about the playing eleven as I didn’t want both Kuldeep and Chahal to play on a surface like this, especially, because of the short boundaries and would have preferred Jadeja (considering Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not fit yet) instead of any one of the bowler. Jadeja could have been more effective as he doesn’t spin much but creates an illusion. Of course, he can be taken for runs easily especially by the left-handers, but both Kuldeep and Chahal were worse. At least Jadeja can bat well.

During the mid-overs, when the partnership was going strong, I would have given both Kuldeep and Chahal a break and would have asked Shami to bowl one or would have thrown the ball to Kedhar Jadhav.

If Kedhar Jadhav is not 100% fit to bowl, and considering the fact that he is not in a great form with the bat, I would have gone with Dinesh Karthik.

In recent times, nobody is as capable and experienced as Dinesh Karthik to hit from the ball one. He did really prove in a lot of occasions that he can be a good finisher and also someone who can rotate the strike well. He is someone who is tailor-made for situations like what India had in the last game, still, he was overlooked for some reasons. What baffles me is that picking Pant on a crucial game like this when he wasn’t even on the initial squad.

During the commentary, Sachin Tendulkar said India need to judge the variable bounce right and he mentioned that the pitch would get lower as the game progressed. Nobody judged the bounce right, and there were a lot of false shots as well.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma tried to hold on as much as they can, though in a way it was positive for India as they got some runs on the board and during the end overs they almost made it up. Had there were a few singles initially, the run-rate would have been better. They are the top-two ranked batters, a lot is definitely was expected from them. Of course, they did well, but this is pretty ordinary considering their calibre.

After playing 100-odd deliveries, you would expect Rohit Sharma to finish the match for the team. When Woakes came in to bowl the first over in his new spell, Rohit Sharma could have waited for a ball or two to analyse the bounce right before going on with the shot.

Rishabh Pant’s struggle against the short balls that are near the rib-cage or the shoulders is an open book now, and literally, every single bowler is targetting the same. He knows that as well, and it was just another day in the office for him.

Hardik Pandya is definitely one of the best hitters in the world right now, but where he really fails is that he doesn’t pick up those singles and twos. Well, intentionally. He tries to smack every single delivery that comes in his way, and he picks up singles and twos only if the ball has been stopped near the boundaries. Now, what really separates the Dhoni(barring a few of his innings) with Pandya is the fact that Dhoni knows to runs those singles and doubles, runs faster to grab an extra run. Of course, Pandya can clear the field easily when the ball is in his zone. Even in the IPL, we have seen a few bowlers targetting his weak zone-well comparatively- which was outside the off-stump, the short balls out there.

Coming to Dhoni, yes, he wasn’t trying to hit as normally as he would. A run-rate something near 11 is chasable these days, thanks to T20 but what really happened is that England team has done their homework right to target the weak spots of the Indian batters instead of trying for something different. Every single delivery was on the right length that kept the batters quiet. Yes, the players should have tried to hit with wickets in the hands. Yes, they should have gone for the big shots, but still, we have to give it to their bowlers too. Also, the pitch became slow as the innings progressed with all their bowlers bowling slower deliveries as well. In a way, what it shows is that India didn’t prepare right for individual bowlers.

It was a poor approach from the Indian team, everyone, literally. That doesn’t mean that they are a poor team. It was just a bad day, a day that would force the Indian team to come back stronger. After all, we are topping the rankings.

With Vijay Shankar being ruled out now, it will be interesting to see if Jadeja comes in for any of the bowlers to give that extra batting strength to the team and if Rishabh Pant fails to score big in the next two matches, India needs a better number four batter. Going in with Mayank Agarwal- who is yet to make his ODI debut- in the knockouts can be dangerous as well. I would prefer Rishabh Pant for a match, and I would risk picking up Dinesh Karthik if he fails. After all, he has that experience.

With a few more matches to go, I wish the team sits down to analyse a few things.

To end this rant, It is easier to be the keyboard warrior to talk about matches. Kohli and co. knows better than me. I’m leaving this to them.