India not alone in struggling against pace

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 11, 2013 05:39 hrs

The consecutive comprehensive defeats suffered by India in the ODI series has inevitably triggered talk about the visitors’ traditional problems with pace and bounce. 

Honestly, I believe such talk is premature as a two Test match series is yet to be played. It’s thus vital India look ahead and adapt to the mentality which the longer format demands of a player.

For those playing up India’s woes in their struggles with pace and bounce, they only need to look at what’s transpired in the Ashes to realize this is not a problem exclusive to Indian batsmen. 

Mitchell Johnson’s hostile pace bowling has caused the English batsmen all sorts of problems, and the fact is Adelaide has traditionally never even been a wicket that offers fast bowlers a lot of pace and bounce. Yet Alastair Cook and company had no answer to Johnson’s ferocity. 

Returning to India, though, with the ODI series lost, I think it’s worth a shot fielding the Test eleven in today’s dead rubber at Centurion. I believe it would go some way in helping the Test team acclimatise to the conditions. 

It’s the batters that have fallen short so far, so I don’t see any harm in playing Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay. Sadly, the two games played haven’t been competitive, and maybe some out of the box thinking is needed to try and ensure the Test series doesn’t go the same way.

I was also somewhat surprised with the decision to field first for the Durban game. Perhaps the overcast conditions played a role in that choice, but with our batsmen out of sorts at the moment, it would have been better to have given them as much time as they needed to settle down.  

The Indian openers have failed to match their South African counterparts and that’s been a key difference. If you look back at the Champions Trophy, one of the main reasons for India’s success was the solid start provided by the openers. 

It was good to see the return of Ishant Sharma. He will be a handy bowler in these conditions although he’s yet to the hit the right length areas on a consistent basis. 

Overall, there’s still a lot of cricket to be played, but pace and bounce will continue to be South Africa’s main weapons. India therefore needs to regroup quickly and the batsmen, in particular, must make the technical adaptation which they haven’t managed to implement so far. 

Professional Management Group

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