Despite winning the small moments and dominating sessions, Team India finds itself trailing behind England 1-3 in the five-match Test series. Individual flashes of brilliance have been in plenty for India but the lack of collective effort to cross the line has cost India yet another overseas Test series.
Here we look at the three reasons that have resulted in India’s struggles in the ongoing Test series.
1. Constant team changes creating a sense of insecurity among players-
In his 39 Tests as a captain, Kohli played an unchanged team only once. The Indian captain is known to swap players on a consistent basis and has axed players for not performing in a couple of games.
This policy has created a sense of insecurity among players and has prevented them from playing their natural game. In fact in a recent report published by an Indian newspaper, members of Indian team have admitted that this policy by Kohli has affected their performance and has kept them thinking about their place in the team.
2. Wrong team selections-
In the second Test at Lord’s India went with two spinners while England played only one. The conditions were tailor-made for seam bowlers and India ended up under-bowling Ashwin and Kuldeep.
In the fourth Test, India played only one spinner while England roped in Moeen Ali as a second spinner with Adil Rashid. The pitch assisted turn from the first innings and Moeen exploited the rough area to a great effect.
Had India played Ravindra Jadeja as a cover for Ashwin, the result might have been different.
India also benched Cheteshwar Pujara in the first Test who proved the significance of ‘hanging on at the crease’ in the third and the fourth Test. Pujara’s presence at the top in the first Test could have helped India to chase the target.
3. Failure of openers-
Openers from both teams have struggled to score runs in this Test series. In fact no opening batsman has posted a fifty in four Tests so far. But England’s lower order somehow arrested the damage done by their openers but India hasn’t been that fortunate.
Barring Virat Kohli, no Indian batsman made any contributions in the first two Tests. Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane found some form in the later stages but they couldn’t make up for the failure of the openers.
Time and again, India’s middle order has been exposed to the new ball in this Test series because India’s openers failed to see off the first session which has always proved critical in England.
With one Test to go and nothing to lose, fans will be expecting Kohli and Co. to overcome these flaws and come out all guns blazing in the final Test.