In what is being termed as one of the most spectacular batting collapses of the decade, India lost 9 wickets within a space of 12 overs and went down in the 4th ODI at Canberra by 25 runs. Chasing an apparently insurmountable target of 349, the visitors were cruising at 277/1 in the 38th over, before they pressed the self destruct button. Sparkling centuries from Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan went in vain as India remained win-less in the 5 match ODI series. Here are the talking points from the game.
Indian bowling – Is it just organised chaos?
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly had recently pointed out how the Indian bowlers, despite having truckloads of experience of playing abroad, have failed to make meaningful contributions to the team’s cause in the last five years. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have all been in a number of overseas campaigns, and yet they continue to be largely ineffective outside the subcontinent. That the Indian bowling attack is not run by a concrete policy can be gauged from the fact that despite being proven failures in overseas conditions, India continues to use both Jadeja and Ashwin in places such as New Zealand and Australia. On the flip side, in an effort to drum up the ‘home advantage’ rhetoric, the square turners back home have stunted the development of a meaningful pace attack. Clearly, things have gone haywire for us in the last decade, as far as the bowling department is concerned!
Ravindra Jadeja – Does he really have a role in the team?
‘Sir’, as we better know him, remains a fundamentally redundant member of the Indian squad. Despite Ravi Shastri’s insistence on Jadeja’s spin bowling ability, we are yet to see him play meaningful roles for his side on tracks that are not exactly rank turners (like the ones that we prepared for Tests against South Africa recently!). In his last 10 ODIs, Jadeja has just 7 wickets and 135 runs to show for. And yet, the very fact that he gets selected in both ODIs and Tests after every Ranji cycle (courtesy bowling on minefields!) and does nothing more than fill up a slot in the playing XI in overseas tours makes us ponder hard on the rationale of team selection used by BCCI. In the ongoing series against Australia, Jadeja has performed neither with the bat nor the ball. Yet, it may not be a surprise if he is still a member of the team when India tour West Indies in July 2016!
Time to rethink MS Dhoni’s place as ODI captain
Despite his known contributions to the Gentleman’s Game as captain of the Indian team, MS Dhoni is no longer the force that he once used to be. In the post match conferences in this series so far, MSD has clearly demonstrated his helplessness in dealing with India’s abysmal track record in away ODIs in the last 5 years. An embarrassing ODI series defeat to South Africa in October last year stands testimony to the progressive loss of Dhoni’s ‘X factor’. With Virat Kohli having already catapulted the Indian Test team to the top of the ICC rankings, barely a year after taking charge, would it not be prudent for MSD to pass on the baton to Kohli? Shall it not be the ideal first step towards building the team that can be a strong challenger for the World Cup in 2019?