India’s one-day horrors continued with another drubbing at the hands of lowly placed New Zealand. The margin of 87 runs is a clear indication of how badly the Indian team played.
Way back in 2003 too, the Indian team had been thrashed in New Zealand, but at that time the pitches had so much grass on them that it was understandable why there are more sheep than people in this tiny nation. This time there was no such excuse, as the pitches were devoid of grass and played true, and so there was no reason why the batting should have failed as abjectly as it has in the series.
Virat Kohli and the skipper Dhoni himself have been shining exceptions but the rest cut a sorry figure. Much was expected of Shikhar Dhawan, but on pitches where there has been some bounce he has been found wanting with his tendency to play away from the body and with hard hands. Rohit Sharma looks as if he only believes in boundaries and is not prepared to work his way through the initial overs where the ball is doing something.
Sure, when the asking rate is near or over six runs an over there is not much time to settle down, but when a batsman has the range of strokes to catch up and make up for a slow start, a little patience is not a bad thing. Ajinkya Rahane was another disappointment, and he has to quickly give up this tendency of showing surprise at every dismissal and acting as if he could not have been out. Rayudu too could have made the most of the starts that he got, but in looking to play too aggressively he threw his wicket away time and again. The shot selection was a problem with him and he should know that the selectors could be as impatient as he has been.
If the batting has been disappointing then the bowling has been hopeless. If the New Zealand seamers, bowling at nearly the same speed as the Indian bowlers, and that too at some of the finest batsmen in world cricket, can bowl at the economy rate they do then why can’t the Indians do so? The answer is simple, and that is the Indians are giving too much room to the batsmen at the start of the innings, and then towards the end of the innings when the batsmen are going for the big hits, they bowl just the length that enables the batsman to get under and hit the ball over the boundaries.
Another embarrassing loss for Indian cricket, but hopefully the lessons will be learnt before the next year’s campaign to defend the World Cup.
Professional Management Group