Wednesday , 19 September 2018
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Nine English lessons for Virat Kohli & Co

India lost the five-Test series in England with an embarrassing 1-4 scoreline and though skipper Virat Kohli insists the margin does not indicate how closely the series was fought, there are lessons for the Indian team to learn from another overseas failure.

Play at least two red-ball practice matches: Sunil Gavaskar said India should have played more warm-up matches with the red ball before the Tests. BCCI must remember that while charting out future tours.

Get selectors, team management on same page: Karun Nair was picked by the selectors but the team management converted the team’s sole triple centurion into a tourist-cum-waterboy.

Get team selection right: India constantly erred in calling the playing XI right, like preferring an extra spinner at Lord’s when the overcast skies wept for an extra seamer. Playing the injured off-spinner R Ashwin cost India dearly in the fourth Test.

Shape up the slip cordon: In the first Test, both sides dropped the ball in the slips as if it carried a virus. Then England shaped up. With the notable exception of KL Rahul, India didn’t. It proved decisive in the fifth Test when the visitors dropped five catches.

Get a specialist wicketkeeper: Wicketkeeping in Tests is a specialist’s job. He held on to most catches that came his way in Nottingham but soon Rishabh Pant’s shoddy technique as a glovesman was laid bare. In the last two Tests, Pant gave away 70 byes, some admittedly even a seven-footed keeper couldn’t have saved. The hurricane 114 at the Oval notwithstanding, he should be considered only as a batsman.

Improve lower-order batting: India’s lower-middle order (Karthik/Pant, Pandya, Ashwin) was outperformed by their England counterparts (Stokes/Buttler/Curran/ Woakes) in crunch situations. Jos Buttler, England’s No 7, is their top scorer with 349. Even the hosts’ No 9 and No 10, Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad, played at least one innings of consequence.
See beyond Hardik Pandya at No. 6: He produced a stellar all-round show (18 & 52 not out, 5/28 & 1/22) at Nottingham but clearly, the think tank is overestimating the 24-year-old Surat-born’s ability with bat and ball. He can be a good No 8, as anybody with a first-class average of 30 usually is.
Iron out batting technique: Indian batsmen must sharpen their defensive technique. Barring Kohli, no other batsman on either side consistently conquered the conditions. But, sadly, the Indian top-order batters failed to apply themselves and play to the situation.
Be more inclusive in leadership: This one is for Kohli, who as batsman is the best in the world. But Kohli the captain often looks out of ideas. For instance, his field placements during England’s late-order resistance left much to be desired. He also needs to be fair with everyone. Source : timesofindia


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