After a string of horrible performances abroad, Asia Cup seemed to be a sigh of relief, considering home-like conditions for the Indian team in Bangladesh. But a week later, it seems like the Indian team is really a decline, after they were knocked out of the Asia cup, with wins against much lower ranked teams like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Here are some strikingly visible points which was seen from the performance of Indian team.
- Death bowling never ceases to deteriorate : The death bowling, which has always been a concern, was exposed even more in the Asia Cup. While the likes of Shami and Bhuvaneshwar have leaked runs towards the end of the game, saving spinners for the end overs hasn’t worked for India either. Yes, one can argue that the losses against Sri Lanka and Pakistan were last over finishes, but those matches were lost due to poor bowling at the end of the innings. While Bhuvaneshwar has looked more consistent with Yorkers, Shami’s line-and-length bowling has been a liability in the last few overs. This issue has been visible for quite a few years, but now it looks more exposed than ever.
- Too much defensive-ness has hurt the team : The one aspect of this new team is the in-ability to rotate the strike at the middle overs. While Rohit Sharma consumes too many balls during the initial powerplay overs, Ajinkya Rahane’s sturdiness is impressive, but eating up middle overs did not help the cause, as the batsmen were under too much pressure to accelerate in the end overs. This aspect was visible in the match against Sri Lanka, wherein the lower-middle order imploded. Even in the match against Pakistan, the middle order consumed too many overs before Jadeja’s cameo.
- Rohit Sharma as an opener, for how long? : Shikhar Dhawan has reassured his place in the team with some impressive performances in the test series against New Zealand and in Asia Cup, but Rohit Sharma, again, has failed to capitalise. His slow starts have hurt the team’s cause, and he throws away the wicket just when he seems to look settled. Though he was successful in India, it seems like Rohit Sharma as an opener is not a good idea, and the team management needs to reconsider whether he should continue to occupy the opener’s spot.
- Virat’s Captaincy stinct better than expected: Virat Kohli was impressive as a captain. His field setting and rotation of bowlers were good, considering that this is his first major tournament. Also, he cannot be criticized for the two close losses, as he used his spinners efficiently in both of them. But his move to retain the same team for the inconsequential match against Afghanistan definitely defies logic. Though the performances doesn’t look good, his captaincy is definitely one to look forward to in future.
- Dhoni’s absence was felt : Dhoni’s absence was definitely felt, as a wicketkeeper and a middle order batsman. Not only that Dinesh Karthik failed to capitalise the opportunities he received, he missed some crucial stumpings which puts up a question mark on his abilities as a wicketkeeper. Dhoni might not be a wicketkeeper in the league of Mark Boucher, but his skills are smart, and one of the best stumpers around. Also, the manner in which he keeps the score ticking in the middle overs was definitely missed.
The tournament is a real wake up call for the Indian team management. With the next major tournament being the tour of England, the Indian team needs a definite tweaking in all aspects. Also, the upcoming T20 might not be a major form-overturning factor, but a good performance will be a definite mental boost for the team.