5 reasons why India can be successful in overseas Tests

Vijay Rahul Dhawan
There is tremendous competition for spots at the top of the order
Prathmesh Patil

Indian Test team, currently ranked number one in the world, appear to be unstoppable at the moment. Over the course of the last two years and then some, Virat Kohli's team has been on rampaging form. They are currently on a remarkable streak of nine consecutive series triumphs.

Also Read: India have great chance of winning maiden series in SA, opines Rahul Dravid

Many legendary players, including the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid, have shown immense faith in the current Indian lineup. Numerous experts believe that the team is capable of creating history when their upcoming round of overseas tours begins with a 3-match series in South Africa early next year. Here are five reasons why this Indian side can be a successful unit away from the subcontinent as well.

#5 Openers in great form

A settled opening pair is crucial for any team, especially if they have to win matches in overseas conditions. India luckily have all three openers in great form and it will be up to team management to decide which two openers are best suited for those conditions.

With back to back centuries against Sri Lanka, Murali Vijay has almost sealed his spot. His experience in overseas tours makes him more than a handy player.

Shikhar Dhawan, on his day, can destroy any bowling attack by taking away the game in a few sessions. He is an impact player and can score daddy hundreds when in form.

KL Rahul has been consistently scoring runs but is often criticized for throwing his wicket away, especially after getting starts. He has scored a slew of half-centuries in recent times. However, he has not been able to convert any of those into centuries.

Though Vijay and Dhawan may be the first choice openers, India also have Rahul as a solid reserve opener.

#4 Seam bowling depth

Currently India have 4-5 test bowlers who are in great shape and have good bench strength
India have quite a few pacers who have the skills to deliver

India has always produced bunch of quality spinner but same is not the case with fast bowling. However, under the captaincy of Kohli, their fast bowling department has been totally rejuvenated.

In the first Test between against Sri Lanka in Kolkata, Indian fast bowlers took all 10 wickets in first innings, a feat achieved after 34 years on Indian soil. They went on to take seven wickets in the second innings.

Currently Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami are all in brilliant form. They can take heaps of wickets not just on seaming wickets but also on flat decks. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been in ominous form in limited overs cricket, has also earned a maiden call-up to India's Test squad for the South Africa tour.

#3 Experienced spinners

Both Ashwin and Jadeja have bowling experience in overseas conditions
Both Ashwin and Jadeja have a lot of experience between them

Before the Test series against Sri Lanka, Ashwin and Jadeja were in the news for all the wrong reasons. After being ignored continuously in ODI series, plenty of questions were raised on their limited-overs future. However, they teamed up to deliver an emphatic innings victory in Nagpur to set up India's series triumph.

Possessing experience on foreign soil can be crucial. Ashwin has already played nine Tests in Australia, South Africa and England. He has taken 24 wickets in nine Tests where as Jadeja has taken 18 wickets from seven Tests outside the subcontinent.

Apart from bowling, they can also contribute with the bat during key moments. In a likely scenario, only one of Ashwin or Jadeja may feature in the playing XI. Though they have not been that effective outside the subcontinent thus far, they have improved a lot since then and will be itching to perform well away from their comfort zone.

#2 Presence of seam all-rounder

Hardik Pandya has shown great promise in Tests with his all-round abilities
Hardik Pandya has shown great promise with his all-round prowess

Since the retirement of the legendary Kapil Dev in 1994, the search for a seam bowling all-rounder has continued without much success. Plenty of players were tested for that position. However, none of them managed to sustain their form for a long period time to become a successful all-rounder.

Hardik Pandya’s emergence as a talented seam bowling all-rounder is seen as a welcome option for Kohli. From three Tests, he has scored 178 runs at an average of 59.66 including a century and half-century each. He has also picked up four wickets at an average of 23.75.

Though it is too early to form a judgement on Pandya's future in Tests, he has all ingredients to become an ideal pace all-rounder. His presence will provide the much needed balance in the lineup which can contain five bowling options.

#1 Kohli's dynamic captaincy

Kohli's fearless attitude has helped Indian players to express themselves and play their natural game
Kohli's fearless attitude has helped the players to play their natural game

India have reached new heights in Tests under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. When he took over the reigns of the team, India were ranked at number six in Tests. Since then, they have gone on to win one series after another to establish themselves at the top of the table in the premier format.

Extra Cover: Virat Kohli jumps to second spot in latest ICC Test rankings

Under Kohli's leadership, India have won 20 matches out of 33 opportunities. Their win percentage of 60.6 is staggering. After becoming the full-time captain, Kohli has never lost a Test series. With their captain also leading from the front in the batting department, the Indians are perfectly placed to replicate their incredible form outside the subcontinent too.

Edited by Ram Kumar


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