England vs India 2018: Who is to blame for the English debacle?
India lost, yet again in overseas conditions. One more opportunity to remove the tag of "lions at home" gone a-begging.
The fact that India could not beat an average English side, which is struggling to find world-class batsmen and who instead fields three to four all-rounders in its team, is going to hurt for a long time. This was a massive opportunity to win a series in England but it was not to be.
The Indian bowling has never looked so good. This pace quartet of Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav (with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar waiting in the wings as he was injured) has been a revelation in this series. They have been relentless, bowling over after over in the right areas. One can argue that almost every time they failed to dismiss the English lower middle order cheaply, but, it's not easy to run through sides on a recurring basis as there are bound to be some partnerships. In spite of those lower order partnerships, Indian bowlers didn't allow the English side to put big runs on the board.
It is time to find out what went wrong and who to blame for this loss. If India can find the chinks in their armour, then they can strive to take some corrective steps in the dead rubber (5th Test), which will start in a few days time.
#1 Opening batsmen
Batsmen let the Indian team down repeatedly in this series. Lord's was a disaster and the rest of the series was mediocre for everyone except Virat Kohli. India seriously needs to look beyond Shikhar Dhawan as an opener. Dhawan has failed to deliver in South Africa and England. His technique leaves a lot to be desired. Quick twenties and thirties are not good enough for Test cricket.
The Indian openers were sitting ducks throughout the series. There is another disaster which is waiting to happen in Australia if opening issues are not addressed. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood are much better bowlers than this English attack and they must be licking their lips, after looking at the performance of Indian openers in England. KL Rahul also needs to tighten up his game, otherwise, Australia might well turn out to be the last opportunity for him on the road of Test cricket.