Another tour comes to an end for India and other winless one it has been. With the New Zealand series, India have now failed to win a single Test away from home since July 2011 in West Indies. On three of the four tours – England, South Africa and now New Zealand – they have not won a single international match. It was only in Australia that they managed to win a couple of one-day games, but even there they did not progress too far in the tri-nation event. Obviously a lot of problems have been plaguing India over the last three years. Here’s a closer look.
Non-performing captain and uninspiring leadership: Dhoni may be a great captain in home conditions, but on foreign soil he definitely struggles, and this applies to all formats. The fact that they did not win any games in any format inothree of their last four overseas tours points to this fact. Dhoni’s captaincy has been lacklustre most times, which is one of the reasons they haven’t been able to turn great positions in winning results. What’s more, his batting especially in Tests has been ordinary. On batting record alone, he wouldn’t command a place in the Test side, and that is a bitter truth.
Bowlers failing to maintain the pressure: On numerous occasions over the last few series’, India have been in a position of great strength. In England, they had the hosts eight down for next to nothing in one of the Tests, but just could not pick up the last two wickets and conceded the momentum. While they came nowhere close in competing in Australia, India could have won both the Tests in South Africa had they bowled consistently well. At Johannesburg in particular, they had all the time in the world to bowl out South Africa, but failed to do it. History repeated itself at Wellington.
Opening woes: Openers are crucial to the success of any team, and India just haven’t been able to deliver in this aspect. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were disasters in Australia and England. Murali Vijay was decent in South Africa while Shikhar Dhawan excelled in New Zealand. But, as an opening combination, they have been unsuccessful since they have failed to perform well in tandem. It remains to be seen whether India will continue to Vijay or turn back to Gambhir.
No zing in spin: Test teams cannot do well, irrespective of the conditions, unless they have a wicket-taking spinner. Even Nathan Lyon contributed in a big way in Australia’s 5-0 Ashes sweep. A few seasons back it was Rangana Herath who bowled Sri Lanka to a rare Test win over South Africa at Durban. For India, Ravichandran Ashwin failed to deliver in South Africa while Ravindra Jadeja was uninspiring in New Zealand. They have an option in Pragyan Ojha, but he somehow makes it to the Tests only played at home. The time has come to give him a run in an away game.
--By A Cricket Analyst