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Opinion – India cannot afford misjudging conditions, team composition in quest for World Cup success

Virat Kohli's Indian Cricket Team Has Misjudged The Conditions Twice In The Ongoing ODI Series Against Australia As They Look To Iron Out Some Major Issues In Their Last Match Before The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

By : Siddharth Vishwanathan | Updated on: 11 Mar 2019, 06:02:10 PM
Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team lost two consecutive matches in a bilateral home series for the first time since 2012. (Image credit: Virat Kohli Twitter)

highlights

  • India has not lost to Australia at home since 2009.
  • India has lost two consecutive games in a home bilateral series for first time since 2012.
  • The ICC Cricket World Cup begins on May 30 in England.

New Delhi:

Things were looking rosy for the Indian cricket team in the first three months of 2019. The year was important for this was the ICC Cricket World Cup which will be played in England. A win in Australia for the first time, a win after 10 years in New Zealand and a victory in the first two ODIs in Hyderabad and Nagpur signalled a period of dominance for Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team. However, the tide started to turn. In Ranchi, Australia clicked as an all-round unit and they managed to win despite a record century from Virat Kohli. In Mohali, Australia achieved a feat that they had never achieved even when they had Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and other legends. A group of inexperienced players helped Australia chase down 359, the highest by a visiting team in ODIs ever. 

The reactions from Virat Kohli following the losses pointed out to the blame in conditions. In Ranchi, he said, “We were told there was going to be dew around 7-7 30, but there is not a drop of dew on the ground even now. I got that calculation wrong a little bit.” In Mohali, Kohli faced the other extreme. “Last game, we were told there would be dew and we were at the wrong side of that. we have been on the wrong side of the dew twice in two games. It was very difficult to bowl in the end.” 

The reactions from Kohli and the Indian cricket team are a bit worrisome. When it came to the dominant Australia and West Indies teams of the past, they never relied on the conditions for results. They relied on skills from both the bowlers and the batsmen to get the better of the opposition every single time. The Australian team's dominance in 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups was due to having so much skill in the batting and bowling which took the conditions out of the equation.

If India are to achieve great success in the 2019 World Cup, they have to look beyond the conditions. They have to back the skill when it comes to bowling and batting. Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan back themselves to the hilt with their skills along with MS Dhoni. Jasprit Bumrah had an off day in Mohali, with the Australians acknowledging that they still played him purely out of respect. These four players will have to lead the way to help India get confidence on the big match day in the ICC Cricket World Cup. 

No Plan B a big problem 

India have great depth in the batting and bowling. This current situation has prompted many to label Kohli as the captain with a good headache called the 'problem of plenty'. However, this has also resulted in a twist. The problem of plenty has resulted in some dodgy selection issues in the past. In the England, South Africa and the Perth Test against Australia, Kohli played the wrong team and India got hammered. 

However, the biggest problem for India is the lack of plan B in some departments. In the Hamilton ODI, the top-order was absolutely blown away by Trent Boult and they were all out for 92. Even in the 2017 Champions Trophy, the top three who were so dominant were blown away by Mohammad Amir and the middle order floundered. When Australia has gone after Kedar Jadhav in both Ranchi and Mohali, the absence of the fifth bowler has hurt them and there is no Plan B in the absence of Hardik Pandya. When Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are taken to the cleaners like how it happened in Mohali, Kohli does not have a back-up plan to stem the flow of runs. 

In the event Pandya is injured in the World Cup, Kohli's back-up is on dodgy ground for Ravindra Jadeja's bowling and batting is on the wane. Rishabh Pant's struggles in the Mohali game underline the fact that MS Dhoni will be the mainstay throughout the tournament and India will be praying that he does not break down. 

For India to become a great team, they must take the conditions out of the equation and perform. An extra layer of buffer gives them assurance in case any of the departments fail. Of course, luck plays a vital part in the entire set-up. Perhaps, the Indian cricket public might get paranoid about India's prospects after suffering two consecutive losses at home for the first time in seven years. A win in Delhi might drown out the questions but they will still float when the World Cup comes closer. A loss in the final ODI will only make the questions bigger and bolder. 

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by the author in this article are personal. News Nation does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the organisation or its members.

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First Published : 11 Mar 2019, 06:00:56 PM

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