Analysis of India's openers for the upcoming Test series against England
The upcoming Test series against England will be a real Test for the Indian openers against an experienced English seam attack. The openers will lay the foundation for a strong start which will help the middle order to carry on the momentum and score big runs in England.
While the Indian opening batsmen have tasted success in the subcontinent, they have struggled to cope with the seaming, swinging and pace friendly conditions outside the subcontinent in recent past.
India have three opening batsmen in their squad namely Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul.
Vijay and Dhawan have opened for India in 39 innings and have scored 1679 runs at an average of 44.18. However the average drops considerably to 25.45 outside the subcontinent and West Indies which shows their vulnerability in bowling friendly conditions.
Vijay and Rahul scored 472 runs in 20 innings at an average of 23.55. The average drops to a dismal 18.80 outside the subcontinent and West Indies.
Dhawan and Rahul average 65.55 in 9 innings. However, none of the said innings have been outside the subcontinent and West Indies. Hence there is not much to read into the said average of 65.55.
The above statistics clearly reflect that Indian openers have really struggled in conditions especially in England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and hece India have struggled to win Tests at the said places.
Here is a detailed individual analysis of the three Indian openers i.e. Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul:
Murali Vijay is almost a certainty to open the batting for India in the first Test at Edgbaston. In the 2014 series against England, the right handed opener started the series with a brilliant 146 at Trent Bridge in the first innings and followed it up with a half century in the second innings.
An innings of 95 in the second innings at Lord's in the second Test helped India to win the Test. However, he could not carry the momentum in the next three Tests which India lost.
In 10 innings in the 2014 series, the opener from Tamil Nadu scored 402 runs at an average of 40.02 with a century and 2 half centuries.
Having scored runs against England in the past, Vijay will have the confidence of scoring big runs this time against Anderson and Co. Vijay is into his 10th season of international cricket and has the experience of facing the new ball in alien conditions all over the world.
Vijay has the technique and temperament to succeed in English conditions and will be the key for India's success in the 5 match Test series.
Vijay averages 47.02 at home in 49 innings and 35.11 in 48 innings away from home.
An overall Test average of 40.7 in 97 Test innings reflects that Vijay has been consistent when it comes to scoring runs in Tests. His record at home is more impressive than his away record and Vijay will look to improvise his average while playing away from home.