New Delhi. Despite the strong batting of Mohammad Shami and Jaspreet Bumrah on the final day of the Lord’s Test, the lower order in the ongoing series against England is a big concern for India. No player can be trusted to run in Team India after number one but captain Virat Kohli does not want to compromise on the policy of playing with 5 expert bowlers. After the defeat at Leeds, Virat made it clear that he did not believe much in extra batsmen. The captain said that if your top six batsmen are not able to do the job, there is no guarantee that an extra batsman will save the match for you.
Shardul Tagore’s injury upset the equation.
In the first three Tests of the series, Rabindra Jadeja batted at number one behind Shav Panth, playing as a spin option. However, Jadeja was more of an expert batsman than a spin bowler. The seamer-friendly environment at Nottingham, Lord’s and Headingley persuaded the team management to include four fast bowlers. For this reason, Ravichandran Ashwin, currently the best off-spinner in Test cricket, had to sit on the bench.
Shardul Tagore played the first Test and his power with the bat strengthened the lower order. After injuries, Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj dropped to 8, 10 and 11 in the next two Tests. Although Bumrah-Shami batted exceptionally in the Lord’s Test, not many runs can be expected from them every time. Even if there is a good partnership in the middle order, the opposing team stays in the game all the time, as there is a possibility of getting all out early due to taking two wickets in a row.
What is the problem of the Indian team?
Apart from Jadeja, batting cannot be expected from fast bowlers. On the other hand, India’s expert batsmen do not bowl. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have rarely been seen bowling in Test matches. The strategy of five expert bowlers has forced Team India to make some compromises. Jadeja was preferred over Ashwin based on his recent batting form. However, Ashwin scored a century during the home series against England. The situation in England did not encourage the two spinners to play as India realized their defeat in the final of the Test Championship. However, Ashwin was more effective against the Kiwis in the WTC final.
Shardul was included in the squad in place of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in the first Test as he can give useful runs under the order. This shows that the think tank was aware of the problem. Hardik Pandya’s injury prevented him from bowling in the IPL. As a seamer-all-rounder, Pandya could have been influential in England.
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Loss due to lack of expert batsmen
If India’s top five batsmen are scoring runs, five expert bowlers could be fielded. But Pujara number, Kohli number and Rahane number 5 are not in form at all. On the other hand, number one batsman Pant is confused about what to do. The opening pair of Sharma and Rahul started well in the first two Tests, but when they failed to do so at Headingley, it put pressure on the out-of-form middle order. As a result, India lost by an innings.
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Joe Root saved England
England have wicketkeepers in the top six (Jos Butler in the first three Tests and Johnny Bairstow in the fourth Test starting on Thursday). England’s batsmen were performing poorly in the first two Tests and captain Joe Root took the responsibility of scoring runs on his shoulders. England have also played with five bowlers (four seamers and one spinner like India), but their lower order is usually much stronger than India’s. Players like Maine Ali, Sam Curran, Oli Robinson and Craig Overton can be relied upon to score some runs under pressure.
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The great Test teams also came down with 4 bowlers
The West Indies team was considered the strongest team in Test history from the 1970s to the early 1990s and the Australian team from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. Both these teams have played with four expert bowlers. His bowlers would be flexible in all situations. The Caribbean pace quadruple and the Australian attack of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne were good enough to win the match. He has played with six expert batsmen and his wicketkeeper is also outstanding. If the team does not have players like Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff and Shane Watson, most teams have recently entered Test cricket with six expert batsmen.
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