What is plaguing Team India overseas?
The official siren for cricket in whites on foreign soil blew in the first week of 2018 after a year which had brought nothing but laurels for India. India were riding on a wave of continuous crests and no troughs. Having pulverized every other opponent on home turf, Indian cricket was anticipating greater glory. However, a golden honeymoon period came to an abrupt end as soon as they touched down on South African soil.
A real tough test awaits Virat Kohli’s team in tough conditions outside India. Somewhere down the line hopes have risen sky high. All this despite the team not being tested outside their comfort zone.
The initial results have been disappointing. Decision making and technique have baffled the 'group'. This group encapsulates cricket pundits and the fans. Is it overconfidence? Is it lack of skills? Is it a lack of temperament?
What is it actually? Do we know the root cause? A team with the strength to demolish anyone have been outplayed. Some of their own decisions have backfired. The opponents have not completely outplayed the Indian team, but instead, it has been their own shortcomings that have contributed to shattered dreams.
Is there any way to pick up those broken pieces and join them together? Coming out of the historic highs would be the first baby steps toward success. Applying the mind to settle on a combination suited to the conditions would be the first step towards acing the course. Providing players the confidence by giving them a continuous run of 4–5 games would help.
This is the tour which can make or break this Indian team. Can Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri self-reflect and make amends? They have to. There is no other option. The upcoming tours will be a test of character. It will be a litmus test for Kohli and his mental strength. Can he lead by example and become the torch bearer, providing light to cross the dark tunnel?
The changes in the process and mindset will yield success in the long run. The FTP needs to be revisited. County cricket should be made available to the best players. Patience is the key.
I am sure being patient whilst following the right process will carve out future success down the line. "Forget and forgive" - the mantra being preached will never make India a great Test side. By satisfying hunger with ‘Paytm’ trophies is just a bubble ready to burst.
We ought to keep our calm in this form of the game.
Time will tell if Kohli's brigade can.