The Indian Test Team although has shown a lot of conviction and courage to win overseas but the results have not gone their way for the past couple of series. The problem however does not lie in the intent of the players but in their application. The team has stood toe–to–toe with oppositions like South Africa and England; but they have somehow not been able to cross the final frontier when it comes to holding the nerves in the moment and applying the skills to the required effect.
The head coach, Ravi Shastri has definitely shaped the team well in his two stints with the Indian Team. Initially the bowling unit used to be an area of concern as the side was not equipped with bowlers managing their workload and taking 20 wickets in overseas conditions. Cut to the present scenario, we have a pool of bowlers taking 20 wickets consistently. However, one aspect of coaching that seems to be missing is the ability of shaping a strong middle order for overseas tours - something that was the hallmark of the team when the ‘Fab Four’ were in the team. I completely understand the sheer fact that you cannot simply replace the void left by the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. But in order to be recognized as the world No. 1 team, you’ve got to win overseas and for that you need a strong anchoring middle order.
Ajinkya Rahane has only scored a century in a year and averages a meager 35.26 in Tests. A player of his caliber needs to be contributing more. One can clearly see his struggles against the moving ball and yet surprisingly the flaw is not being corrected.
While the decision to have Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar as part of the Cricket Advisory Committee by BCCI was laudable, it is high time that they are involved more in tune with the coaching aspects of the game. While Dravid is doing a phenomenal job with both, the Under-19 and India A teams, it was sad to see Anil Kumble quit his job as the coach of the Indian Team. Whatever the issues, a technical coach is any day well equipped to handle a team capable to win overseas. The inclusion of the ‘Fab Four’ within the coaching realm would give an assurance with respect to the technical progression of a player as they are well versed with the modern day demands of the game.
This is not to say that Ravi Shastri has not done an ideal job. But players like KL Rahul, Raina and Rahane find themselves either shuffling batting positions or are not a regular feature in the team. In past 38 Test matches that Virat Kohli has captained, the teams have changed on every occasion. If we are to play a grueling series with the likes of Australia and England, persistence, trust and patience might come in handy in the long term something that Ganguly frequently did with his team and the same was followed by M.S. Dhoni when it came to trusting Rohit Sharma and giving him an extended run.
Though these gentlemen are doing a great job with respect to their role in Cricket Advisory Committee, they might be able to influence the game at large and the performance of the players in particular in a more broadened manner by being involved with cricketing affairs of the national team. This also proves vital and is particularly crucial given the fact that Indian Team would be competing for the World Test Championships from 2019 to 2021.Published 09 Aug 2018, 21:20 IST