the test ahead

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Jul 2018 12:09:30

LEGENDARY cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has a word of optimism for the Indian team. He feels that even if English Test captain Joe Root has read the wrist position of Kuldeep Yadav correctly and made him innocuous in his match-winning knock for England in the third one-dayer, it is unlikely that other English players would be able to decode his spin during the five-Test series beginning August 1. But Joe Root could pass on his knowledge to his other colleagues in the team and make the potent weapon in the Indian Captain’s armoury ineffective. Tendulkar says that if the Test pitches are as dry as they were during one-day series, then Kuldip Yadav will still remain a potent weapon for Virat Kohli. 

But it is still ironic that the Indian team should be so much dependent on one bowler, especially during a very long Test series. Sachin Tendulkar speaks about another possibility of the English team opting for greener pitches during the Test series and create tailor-made conditions for home bowlers. And why shouldn’t they? All teams do that to suit their players. England could be no exception either. In that case they can hope to get an upper hand over India. In such a situation India would be very much missing the services of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who is nursing a back injury. With Bhumrah still out of commission and unlikely to join the team until the second Test, the Indian bowling side seems some what vulnerable. Yet, with Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and new addition Shardul Thakur, aided by other world class spinners, the Indian team still has the fire power to fight the hosts on an equal footing.

But that is not the only worry. A few days ago former Captain Sourav Ganguly had criticised the team management for constantly experimenting with the middle order and being ‘top heavy’. The one-day series proved his point. During the one-day series it appeared that any team that can account for the top order consisting of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli early in the innings, can hope to control the game. That is what the English bowlers did during the deciding one-day game. Ganguly lamented that enough care has not been taken of talented players like K. L. Rahul and Anjinkya Rahane. These two players bring solidity to the side. Why they are in and out of the team every now and then is an enigma. Then personally, Virat Kohli has to discard the bad baggage off his back of his last visit. Despite all this, one tends to agree with Sachin Tendulkar, India is not a depleted side. Besides, currently India has a very enviable bench strength, both in batting and bowling.