Following the Indian team’s terrible performance with the ball in the first two ODIs against Australia, there are loud calls for changes in the playing XI. Apart from being rusty and jaded, the Indian team looked stark contrast to more authoritative hosts. We discuss three things Indian team should change before the third and final One Day International (ODI) in Canberra on Wednesday.
Indian team needs a stronger mentality
As the old adage goes, when the going gets tough the tough get going! Something that team India could do with right now. At times when things aren’t going your way, one just has to find something to bring out that intensity. Virat Kohli, known for his fierce on-field attitude, seems to have mellowed down as well considering his previous fiery exchanges with the Australian cricketers during previous tours. There have been various on-field incidents during the first two ODIs of the three-match series when the cricketers of the two teams have been involved in friendly exchanges.
The Indian team needs to forget about what the score is or the way things have panned out in the series so far and just get in the zone, which really will help bring out the best in the team.
Inspirational captain Virat Kohli led from the front in the second ODI as India fared better than in the opening game. That said, there still remains a gulf between the two sides. While the dominant hosts were regularly rotating the strike, manoeuvring the gaps, and hitting the occasional boundaries, Indian team – including Virat Kohli and KL Rahul – consumed a lot of dot balls, 152 to be precise.
The most worrisome part is, India were average on the field with misfields and error in judgment hurting them against Australia in both the ODIs in Sydney. Virat Kohli, who sets high standards in the field was sceptical about the lack of intensity shown by Indians in the field. The team looked rusty on the field, and while there weren’t too many dropped catch per se, the little error in judgments highlighted how the team was probably getting used to playing back international cricket after nine months.
Indian team needs to stop Smith, attach Starc
That Steve Smith has always been a nemesis to the Indian team. The way the right-handed batsman started his home season, the signs are not at all promising for Team India. India and Australia have played just two ODIs so far but if Steve Smith’s form in those two games is anything to go by, then one can say the Indian team are set for a tough time Down Under.
The former Australia skipper has looked in ominous form so far. In both the ODIs, he scored 62-ball hundreds to power his team to thumping wins over the Men in Blue. Remarkably, in both the innings, Smith has not looked rushed in his inning either way despite the brisk rate at which he was scoring runs.
In the first ODI, Australia won by 66 runs after scoring a mammoth total of 374 for 6. Smith had scored 105 runs in that game.
On the other hand, the Indian team needs to target under-fire Mitchell Starc.
In the second game, every Australian bowler, including part-timers Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques, took at least one wicket. Mitchell Starc, on the other hand, went for 82 runs in his 9 overs.
Even in the opening game of the summer, the left-arm quick recorded the costliest bowling figures. Indian team needs to capitalise and have to come up with a tactic to take on Mitchell Starc’s left-arm quick deliveries early on in the power-play.
Can't think of a better way for our Aussie Men to start the Dettol ODI Series!
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 29, 2020
Indian team needs to change bowling combinations
Before Indian team embarked on a gruelling two-month long tour of Australia, their bowling was all over the news for its potential.
The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami along with upcoming talents Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj were much talked about after their impressive IPL outings.
However, in the opening two ODIs, India’s bowling unit has got a rude awakening.
In addition to being a bowler short, India’s problems lie in the existing bowlers failing to make early inroads. As has been the trend in the two ODIs so far, the openers have laid the perfect foundation for the likes of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell to help the Aussies register only the second instance of the top 5 of a side all scoring more than 50 runs in an ODI.
To delve deeper into the woes, both the matches made it seem like India’s bowlers were trying too hard and too many different things. The first ball Navdeep Saini bowled was short at Warner’s body which the southpaw swivelled away for a six over square leg.
Nevertheless, it will be a good opportunity for India to try out the likes of T Natarajan, Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav ahead of the 3-match T20I series. They will be aiming to get the much-needed balance of the side right.