India lost the ODIs and T-20 series against Australia at home grounds. The young Australian team gave a scare to Kohli’s men who were basking in glory. Being a spinners’ paradise, Indians failed to read well the leg spinner Adam Zampa and off spinner, Nathan Lyon. Both have wide variation and they exploited Team India’s footwork flaws. Zampa used flights beautifully to lure Indian middle order. In fact, Indians made them look dangerous with wrong foot movement. Can the Indian team brush up the bad memory and rejuvenate them before the world cup?
The first thing they have to do is to engage a foot work expert like Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid who can correct the flaw before Team India takes its flight to England in May. The grass topped wickets in England will let the ball swing and climb a bit more with moist wind. Good spinners can take advantage and will be lethal if they are backed by good fielding. A batsman with all the power and wide range of strokes will look like a school boy if he does not have strong defence. When wicket and fielders support quality bowling, the batsman has to save his wicket as well as rotate the score board. Only a master batsman can do both. So India needs the supporting hands of our masters: Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid to correct the foot movement. Sachin can teach how the players can use wet tennis ball before facing the fiery pacers. Gavaskar can spend some time in the net to correct the inherent flaw while Rahul Dravid should accompany the team in England. The IPL is ill timed as its format will further worsen Team India’s footwork woe. Besides, the key players cannot afford to take risk in the IPL just before world cup. But it can’t be stopped now. The good thing is that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is around. His amazing stumping skill will put pressure on opponent batsman. He still has power to hit sixes and fours at ease. Mr Cool, Dhoni is still a good finisher of the game and he can give the piece of advice to Kohli’s men.
Bumrah, Bhubaneswar Kumar and Shami have the bite and pace. They can do the damage in the English weather. Shane Warne had spent lots of time to groom Zampa and Lyon. Both have shaped up well. India’s veteran spinner Anil Kumble should spare time for Kuldip, Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja in the net. Moist grass pitch is a favourite haunt of spinners and Indians should exploit the condition. The Team India does not have batsmen who can bowl fairly well like Tendulkar and Shehwag. Spinners look vulnerable if the fielding is sloppy. Here Ravi Shastri has to step in. He has to ensure Team India saves runs and converts half chances into catches. Team India can’t win the world cup unless it is guided by the veterans from outside.
By Sudhansu R Das