India’s form in one of the most popular Cricket format – ODIs has been deteriorating for quite sometime now. First their series loss [1-2] against Bangladesh during the June-July tour in 2015, followed by a series win against Zimbabwe which is then followed by the series loss against the Proteas in the recently concluded Freedom Series at home [2-3] and finally yesterday giving away the series to the Aussies who comfortably cruised to victory in all the 3 games of the series. It’s good that the Indians are doing great in the Test arena, but the ODI performance is worrying. Here I’m putting down my views as to Why Are Dhoni & Co on a losing streak.
It’s good to see the Indian fielding improved vastly in the recent years. Thanks to some agile performances on the field from Raina, Jadeja, Kohli who are arguably the best fielders in the current Indian Side while Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane compliment them perfectly. Moving to the batting department, the India top order looks to be in great touch in the ongoing series in Australia. Rohit Sharma has been in a sublime form with back to back centuries in the first two games. Virat Kohli too contributed well with the bat in yesterday’s game when he became the fastest person to reach the 7000 ODI run mark along with hitting his 24th century in just 161 innings. However the only weak link is the Indian bowling. Here are few points which I feel are the reason as to why Dhoni’s men are on a losing streak.
If you see in the past few years, the Indian team has had players on and off the team with the likes of Mohammad Shammi, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar staying out due to injuries for a longer duration. This leading to instability in the bowling department. Ishant Sharma has been good with the ball but lacks consistency. The biggest problem I feel is that the Indian bowlers don’t bowl according to the field set, especially the seamers. Further these guys are pretty bad in the death overs, giving away length deliveries, half volleys which are easy picking for a set batsman to bring the asking run rate down significantly. For instance, yesterday’s match where Maxwell hit Yadav for about 16 runs in the 46-47th over bring the asking rate below 6.
Indian batting isn’t of much worry till the team is scoring 280-300 runs. But it is of greater concern when only the top 4 batsmen who are contributing. Dhoni himself if you see isn’t doing great, but it’s not his fault that he usually has 5-10 overs to bat out. However it’s good to see him coming and scoring a quick fire 30-40 to give that instant boost to the run rate. Once Dhoni is back in the hut, the entire lower order falls like a pack of cards. India has been great in getting off from the driver’s seat in the death overs with some dismal batting display. Indians haven always finished 40-50 runs short of what they should have based on the solid start they inherited for instance crashing from a great position like 255/3 to ending up at 308/8 losing 5 wickets in just 7 overs !
Dhoni rightly said that the Indians lack a seaming all rounder. Stuart Binny is there, but I still feel he doesn’t make the perfect option. I would any day prefer a Irfan Pathan as a seamer-allrounder option. This is where most of the overseas team have an edge over the men in blue. For instance Dale Steyn can come in handy with the bat when required, obviously absence of Jacques Kallis has left a void in the South African team. Then there’s someone like James Faulkner who can come in and provide that extra 5-8 overs picking up wickets and giving the boost required in the later part of the innings.
Lastly, some poor strategic decisions at key moments is a cause of concern too. Even a smallest mistake can change the course of the game. From fielding position to bowler selection, anything and everything makes a huge difference. Yesterday too, when Jadeja was turning the ball and keeping things tight, Dhoni could have extend his quota and given him the extra 2-3 overs. Not only the decisions by the captain himself but the players too. Like Umesh Yadav missing a run out chance of Maxwell in the last game, agree that the Aussies were cruising but he should have taken a shot at the stumps.
It’s not a great sight to see your team ending up on the losing side repeatedly and that too after scoring about 300 runs. As fans we always want to see the team on the winning side, but we can’t expect that to happen always. All we can do is support the team regardless of the result. With the current ODI series also lost, hoping for India to come out hard in the remaining two matches and end the series 3-2.
Well that were my thought, if you have any other reason as to why the Indian team is failing to perform good, do mention in the comments below, would love to know what you feel.