SWOT Analysis of the Indian team for England Tests
Published - Nov 4, 2016 5:10 pm | Updated - Nov 4, 2016 5:10 pm
The battle lines have been drawn. It has been trumpeted as the time for payback. Three humiliating series defeats at the hands of the Englishmen still seem to be fresh in many Indian fans minds. Nothing but a convincing series victory for Virat Kohli’s men will quench the fans’ thirst for revenge. Does the Indian team have the wherewithal to inflict wounds that will not heal for some time to come? We analyze here.
South Africa came to India in 2015 having never lost an away series for 9 years. They couldn’t get past the Indian spinners and lost 3-0 in the four-match series.
In 2016, New Zealand landed in India and there were opinions floating around that Kiwis would prove to be a tough challenge to the Indians. They too found the Indian spinners too hot to handle and were promptly whitewashed 3-0.
Now it is England’s turn. So much has changed since their last visit to Indian shores in 2012. They had the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott then and Joe Root made his debut in the final Test of the series. This time they have a battle in their hands with few fresh faces.
To complicate matters for them, they are up against Ravichandran Ashwin who is bowling better now than ever before. Fresh from two ‘Man of the Series’ performances against the Windies and Kiwis, Ashwin will be licking his lips at the prospect of bowling to the lefties in the English line-up. There are as many as five of those in their top 7.
And even more significant has been the fact that, of late he has been targeting and dismissing the main batsman from the opponent team with alarming regularity. Ask AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara or Kane Williamson. So beware Joe Root and Alastair Cook.
If tackling Ashwin alone wasn’t bad enough, the Brits must also plan against Jadeja. He is lethal on turners and with pitches expected to spin, one would imagine that they have their work cut out. He may prove to be as dangerous as Ashwin.
If somehow the English get through Ashwin and Jadeja, Amit Mishra may lay in waiting. With the selection of Hardik Pandya, there is every chance that Kohli may play 3 spinners and Mishra is more than a handful. All in all, India now has a better spin attack than they had last time. If they do their thing, then this may turn out to be a disastrous tour for England.
Middle order and Lower middle order:
There were stages in the series against South Africa and New Zealand when Indian batting was under the pump. But during the last series Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have scored tons. Indians will hope that Vijay will remain solid while they put their trust in the proven record of Gautam Gambhir. Should they fail, Pujara is expected to hold the innings together. Pujara had shown glimpses of returning to old run-making avatar against Kiwis. The onus is on him to continue batting in the same vein.
Kohli has some unfinished business with England and now is the right time to set things right. He enters yet another series in red hot form. If England finds a way past Kohli they will run into India’s best Test batsman – the man for all seasons and all pitches – Ajinkya Rahane. He has registered at least a 90 in each of his previous eight Test series. Not sure England will be happy to hear that!
Kiwis and West Indies managed to get through the top order and middle order a few times only to get thwarted by Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha and Jadeja. India’s lower order has ended up stopping the momentum of the fielding side. In hindsight, sometimes a gritty 40 might turn out to be the turning point and all these guys have shown they are capable of scoring that and more.
Also read – Harbhajan Singh calls Wriddhiman Saha best wicketkeeper in the world while wishing him on his birthday
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