It would be unwise not to commend Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his impeccable captaincy record over the last few years. Under his cool and composed leadership, the Indian Cricket Team has touched the zenith in all the known formats of the game. India has become a cricket champion all around beating top teams like Australia, West Indies and England all the way to the top of the ICC rankings.
As far as we know, Dhoni had some help from the pool of young and talented batsmen; who have contributed to the team’s growth for the past 5 years. Though we have always lacked on the bowling attack our batting order seems to be getting stronger by the day. Dhoni in his captaincy has seen many good players retire – Sachin, Dravid, Laxman to name a few.
After these legends left, the Indian team has not looked back to repent their absence but built its marvellous and top rate batting order out of almost nothing. Fresh talents like Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhvanehswar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, etc have been constantly proving their worth via the display of their remarkable skills and have been gaining recognition.
Considering Dhoni has been lucky on that part, he has still done an efficient job shuffling the squad and giving these players a fighting chance for their position in the team even if that meant going against the selection committee. Dhoni has an amazing instinct for recognizing talents and gives them ample of chances to prove themselves. This can clearly be understood by the example of Ravindra Jadeja, who has picked himself up only now and has adapted to the game quite well.
Alongwith the afore mentioned qualities, Dhoni himself is one of the best wicketkeeper cum batsman cum captain the world of cricket has seen. He holds a remarkable batting record and almost always manages to pull out India in critical match scenarios. He is calm and composed on the field, doesn’t crack under pressure, has a very good temperament and is always focussed on the game, which gives a good output.
1. The absence of trusted spinners:
So, with all these good factors with the Indian Cricket Team, what is going wrong ? I am sure we all know, India’s weakness has always been the lack of a good bowling attack. Although the team has done considerably well on the batting and fielding aspects of the game in the last few years, it has definitely grown weaker and weaker on the bowling aspect.
What troubles me most as a cricket fan is that no attention is being paid to this issue. This is the right time and opportunity for selectors and Dhoni to give a chance to some new bowling talents. With Kumble retired and Bhajji almost out of the scene, we have experienced some problems playing outside the country especially on the pitches of South Africa.
Spinners were a great asset in the Indian bowling line up but somehow, selectors have totally discarded the need for them. Currently there is no proper spinner in the squad and Ashwin is wedged between several responsibilities.
So, first India needs some new spinners. Hopefully selectors find some before the next World Cup. Moving on, I would further lay emphasis on playing outside India. This year India has a total of 15 test matches all on foreign ground and unfriendly pitches; so spinners could come in handy. I agree with the fact that India doesn’t produce so many good fast bowlers; but spinners are our speciality and sadly they are nowhere to be seen.
2. Unfriendly grounds and delaing with them:
Recently, India underperformed in South Africa and as of currently, they are being beaten black and blue by New Zealand which is a weaker team compared to Indian Cricket team. The reason for this is the absence of a proper strategy to play on foregin pitches. If India plays any team back home, a victory is almost guaranteed. But abroad, the Indian team falls apart at unexpected points in the match.
Sometime wickets come crumbling down, other times the bowlers are just shown the boundaries repeatedly leading to insurmountable and unchasable totals. Experienced players now retired, the mantle falls on Dhoni to do a deep analysis of pitch conditions and other factors which players like Sachin and Dada used to handle earlier. Dhoni must realize this and take a step ahead to do the extra homework in this direction considering small observations like this may end up in a team’s victory or defeat in the game of cricket.
3. The need to lookout for fast bowlers:
Though it is hard to find some talented fast bowlers in India, but the fact that they can be created cannot be ruled away. India has a lot of fresh talent out of state Ranji teams and Under-19 squads, which should be utilized effectively. If the selectors are not seeing this angle they should look again as fast bowlers are real assets when playing outside India.
Most of the pitches in South Africa and Australia support team movement and fast bowlers may take advantage of that to turn matches in India’s favour.
4. Technique, Practice and Research:
It is clear the current batsmen are well balanced and mature. But one thing always lacking in most of them is technique. Instinct can get you as far as 10-15 matches but you need real technique to survive in this game, especially in the test version of the game.
Rohit Shrama has proved this fact and is now a prominent member of the team. Although he has been uderperforming from a long time, it is now that he has got a hold of the game by continuously using technique instead of just going out there and pulling some shots with closed eyes.
Practice is another aspect which needs to be looked upon. Players like Kohli, Pujara, etc need to hone their skills by sweating it out in the practice sessions and then observing their faults.
5. Maintaing the fighting spirit:
It is a good thing that Dhoni keeps his cool at all times, but Saurav Dada has taught us a chapter or two on aggression adn fierce attitude which is very important. Being too cool and composed can often result in an almost won match sliiping out of our fingers. So it is good to be cool but if Team India wants to stay champions and keep winning World Cups, they should never let go of the fight and keep the tough and fierce attitude till the last ball is played or till the match is won.
It is true that Indian cricket team has placed itself in the league of champions, but there is always a scope of improvement and I am happy to point out some of them as a die hard cricket fan. I am always on the lookout for Team India, particularly when they are playing away matches; as it disheartens me to see Indian Team losing to a weaker side and going down without a fight.