Ball of gloom for India
By Atreyo Mukhopadhyay | ENS | Published: 15th October 2013 09:42 AM |
You can have a lethal pair of strikers, but to make sure that you don’t lose a football match you have to have a safe set of defenders. Somewhat similarly in cricket, however solid your batting may be, a team is bound to suffer from time to time if the bowlers are not reliable. From an Indian point of view, this is what cost them the first ODI against Australia in Pune on Sunday.
It is widely regarded that the Indian batsmen are the best in business when they are playing at home. Over the years, they have done a lot to lend credence to this view.
But that does not guarantee they can chase 300 in every match. Like most other games, cricket demands a symbiotic relationship between the different departments and this is where Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team fell short.
Apart from the fact that the Australians batted well, the other factor which proved decisive was India’s inept bowling. On pitches loaded in favour of batsmen, it’s essential to maintain discipline if one doesn’t find movement and this is what the Indians failed to do. Australia lost wickets at crucial junctures, but still succeeded in forcing the pace because they got a generous dose of loose deliveries.
Apart from Ravindra Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh to an extent, all the bowlers were guilty of dishing out some ordinary stuff. Ishant Sharma was horrible with length and direction as he sprayed short-pitched deliveries on either side, offering the batsmen plenty of width.
Ravichandran Ashwin had his tidy moments, but lacked consistency while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and R Vinay Kumar were predictable after a good start. The two lacked variation in their later spells and on a flat deck, became easy prey. Without taking names, Dhoni was critical of his bowlers. “We gave away a few runs too many. It was not the sort of wicket where you expect 300. Our bowlers offered a lot of width and gave them chance to score. In conditions such as these, where the new ball doesn’t do much, it’s important to maintain discipline and our attack lacked that,” the skipper was candid in his admission after the match.
He felt Australia could have scored more had his left-arm spinners not done a good job. “Jadeja and Yuvraj did a good containing job. Considering their efforts, we should have restricted Australia to 260 or thereabouts. But we went for plenty in the closing overs. It is difficult in the closing stages in any case with an extra fielder inside the circle. A team must bowl well in that period which we didn’t,” he said.
It’s unlikely that the nature of pitches will be drastically different in the matches to come. They will favour batsmen and if Indian bowlers continue to be wayward, they will suffer. The batsmen will come good, but as long as they don’t get support from the bowlers, India won’t succeed as a team. And it’s team effort which is expected to make the difference in the end.