ICC World Test Championship: Five areas of concern for No. 1 ranked India
- India are still atop the rankings in the WTC, but they could struggle later if they don't resolve some of these issues.
#2 Uncertainty over opening combinations
Unfortunately, very few teams these days have the luxury of quality Test openers. Even India has been facing opening conundrums in the last year or so. The team has tried out as many as 8 opening combinations in the last 20 outings. Though some of them are forced ones owing to injuries to key players the team management cannot deny that they are yet to find a stable pair at the top.
In particular, the team has struggled with their opening combinations in away Tests which is here the real character of openers are put to test. In the last three overseas series, only a single half-century partnership is provided by the first-wicket pair. Besides the only openers to cross the 50-run mark in this period are Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. From these numbers, it is clear that the opening woes continue to haunt the Indian team.
Shaw looked promising in his return to the Test team but his manner of dismissals in both Tests posed some questions over his technique. Thus the openers slot is something that needs to be sorted out. Will the return of Rohit Sharma into the fold sort things out? Or will the team management stick to Shaw and Agarwal at the top for longer?
#3 Not learning lessons from past mistakes
This Indian Test team has been committing the same mistakes over and over again in the SENA countries. The most common one being the bowling’s unit baffling approach against lower-order batsmen. In the last 9 lost Test matches across SENA countries, the bowling attack has conceded 98 runs on average while accounting for the final 4 wickets.
The other slip-up which has not been discussed much in the cricketing circle is the team’s inability to tackle new-ball on the first day morning of a Test match. There have been five instances where the team has lost half of their side for less than 100 runs in the last couple of years.
Besides, the team has always conceded slender leads in away games when they are near to the first innings total of opposition which has eventually come to haunt them in the final outcome of the game.Published 10 Mar 2020, 17:20 IST