CHENNAI: Video analysis plays a key part in the preparation of international cricket teams. Other than batting and bowling, the Indian team seems to have been outdone by the English in this department also. While the home team took advantage of this to plot their downfall, the visitors were caught wanting on this front.
According to a leading video analyst, most of the things that England tried after dissecting in details the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian players worked. On the other hand, India’s homework on the same lines didn’t prove as effective. For example, Joe Root’s team devised successful plans to counter the openers and the lower-order, while India failed to crack the code when it came to dislodging the opponent's lower middle-order.
“Everything is available at the push of a button. Every shortcoming and strong point. England’s plan was to get the openers cheaply, stifle Virat Kohli (which they didn’t manage), put pressure on the middle-order and wrap up the tail. India too had a similar plan, but England’s middle- order and tail outsmarted the Indian think tank,” the analyst, who didn’t want to be identified, told Express. Experienced opener Murali Vijay is a case in point. After he scored some runs in England and Australia four years ago, his game was analysed by every opponent and one could see Root’s bowlers following a carefully constructed plan against him.
“Vijay in 2014 played the waiting game to perfection. He left a lot of deliveries outside the offstump and was not in a hurry to play shots. This time the English bowlers bowled close to his body and made him play. They had also watched him struggle during the South Africa series, so they knew how to unsettle him,” the analyst observed. He also attributes the tendency of the lower-order to fold up in no time to inadequate preparation.
“There was a pattern on tape for a long time. The Indians did nothing to change this pattern and thus the plans of the English bowlers clicked. In contrast, England’s lower-order be it Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes or Sam Curran played their natural game. It surprised the Indians because they did not have plans for the likes of him.” Explaining the role of video analysis, former spinner M Venkataramana felt if used properly, it should help one get better as a cricketer.
“There are two types of video analysis. One is for practice sessions and one for actual match play. For match analysis, we discuss threadbare the nature of the wicket and conditions and areas for a bowler to bowl to a particular batsman. “To a batsman, we show him what to expect from a particular bowler at a particular point during the game.
The ones who use these inputs and add a bit of their imagination, come out as competitive cricketers,’’ said Venkataramana. Going by what was seen over four Tests, it seems the Indians have to get better on this front, to reverse the trend of losing overseas.