IND vs ENG 2021: 3 reasons why Team India could struggle in England
This aspect has been a bane of Indian cricket for a few decades now. Even those who grew up in the '90s can connect with young fans' frustration of Team India’s bowlers being unable to get rid of the opposition’s tail quickly. Indian bowlers’ weakness against the opposition's lower order was on show as recently as in the WTC final against New Zealand.
Team India’s sorry ‘tail’
Responding to Team India’s first-innings total of 217, New Zealand were seven down for 192. The last three wickets, though, frustrated the Indians and lifted the team’s total to 249. In the context of the low-scoring encounter, this lead proved critical, as New Zealand, eventually, did not have to chase a challenging total to lift the WTC trophy.
Of course, there is another side to this tale. Team India’s own bowlers barely contribute with the bat and are mostly walking wickets. In the first innings of the WTC final, they went from 205 for 6 to 217 all out in a span of a few. It was hardly surprising, though, as it has become a trend with Team India and will need to change for the visitors if they are to end their drought in England.
England’s legendary bowling duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad had limited roles to play in the Test series in India earlier this year. However, they will be the two dangermen with the ball in the upcoming Tests, as far as Team India are concerned.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad’s prowess in English conditions
Some cricket pundits have predicted that the visitors’ might have it easier against the England pacers, as the ball doesn’t do too much at this time of the year. However, swing and seam is something that cannot be completely eliminated in English conditions. Hence, Team India’s batsmen will have to be astute while dealing with Anderson and Broad.
Their record against India’s batters in England speaks for itself. In 17 Tests against India in England, Anderson has claimed a rich haul of 84 wickets at an average of 23.66 with four five-wicket hauls. Broad, meanwhile, has picked up 60 wickets at an exceptional average of 20.96, including two five-fors from 14 Tests.
On paper, Team India have an experienced batting line-up. But that is only one side of the story. The squad is filled with batsmen who are battling self-doubt and uncertainty. In fact, barring captain Virat Kohli, almost everyone is playing for their places in the team. And that cannot be a great scenario going into such a marquee series.
Uncertainty in the batting department
Take the case of the openers. Rohit Sharma will go into another away series looking to establish his credentials as a Test player. He had earlierplayed as a middle-order batter and now he will try to seal the opening spot. Team India will need to put together a new opening pair for Trent Bridge as Mayank Agarwal has been ruled out of the first Test after being hit on the helmet.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been below par for far too long, and the English series could be 'perform or perish' for them. Team India captain Kohli has also failed to get the big scores, although he has got a few starts. Even ignoring the fact that he hasn’t got a hundred in nearly two years, Kohli’s performances have not been up to the mark.