The appalling collapse of the Indian team in the second innings of the Adelaide Test sent shock waves to the world of cricket. It’s incredible that the team that prides itself on beating stars Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahanegot kicked out for only 36. Not a single batsman managed to exceed double-digit numbers.
It’s not that such a breakdown was a one-off and didn’t happen until day three of the Adelaide Test. Those who follow Indian cricket with keen attention will find that such break-ins have been occurring regularly in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) Countries – especially in the last six years. Only this time is the number that was given out completely astonishing.
Isn’t it time to ask questions about the structure of the Indian coach? Head coach Ravi Shastri, Bowling trainer Bharat Arun and field trainer R Sridhar have been on the team for a long time. The current punch trainer Vikram Rathour joined the team after the ODI World Championship in 2019. Before him, Sanjay Bangar was the punch coach.
TOI went through stats and metrics to explain why the Indian team’s support staff needs to be scrutinized.
The catching and catching hit abysmal lows
It is now known that the Indian team dropped five catches in Australia’s first innings. Marnus Labuschagne got three lives. Tim Paine was dropped by Mayank Agarwal when Australia’s score was 111/7. Paine scored 47 more runs and helped Australia add 80 runs for the last three wickets.
In the T20I series, India lost a total of 12 chances along with some terrible ground fields. Two in the first game in Canberra and then four and six chances in the second and third T20I in Sydney. In the ODI series, the Men in Blue dropped 7 catches. Her performance during the field game was also below average.
Earlier this year, New Zealand beat India 2-0 in a two-game test series. In those two games, India took six chances – three in Christchurch and three in Wellington. During the 3-match ODI series, which India lost 3-0, Virat Kohli and his boys had missed another six.
In the India-South Africa 2017/18 test series in South Africa, India lost 2-1. The team dropped six catches in these three games. In 2018 India went to England and lost 4-1 in a 5-match Test series. A total of 10 chances were awarded during the series.
Interestingly, there was a rotating slip cordon during the series in South Africa and England and the team did not assign a specific player to a specific slip position.
Problems for stroke coaches increase
Rathour joined the Indian team in August last year. It’s now six innings and India has yet to score 250 in a Test inning. The New Zealand tour may have been forgotten, but India’s results were 242 and 124 in the first test and 165 and 191 in the second. India managed to put 244 and 36 on the scoreboard in the Adelaide Test.
Technical malfunctions in batsmen have not yet been resolved and they continue unabated. Case in point: Prithvi Shaw. The batsman’s large gap between bat and pad, lack of foot movement and an exaggerated return stroke while facing the new ball on pacy wickets have yet to be fixed. India’s tail still can’t beat and runs add to the team’s cause.
Why can’t bowlers get the opposition’s tail out quickly?
It’s not the first time the Tailenders have added a significant number of runs and taken the initiative away from the Indian team in the past four years. What Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Tim Paine did to India in Adelaide has been repeated many times.
Indian bowlers knock out the best of the opposition, but waver with the lower order. Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada in the 2017/18 South Africa Series, Sam Curran in the 2018 England Series, Nathan Lyon, who nearly won Australia in the 2018 Adelaide Test, and Kyle Jamieson in the 2020 New Zealand Series all saw themselves as thorns in eye proven in India’s flesh. There are enough cases now to prove that India simply is incapable of displacing the lower order, a restriction that has proven very costly. So many cases, but has Bharat Arun found a solution yet?
Testimony from the head coach
Shastri is the head coach and aside from winning the 2018 series Down Under, India’s performance in the SENA countries was nothing good to write home about. In Shastri’s tenure, India lost in England (2018), New Zealand (2019-20), South Africa (2017-18) and Australia (2014-15). In addition, India did not win an ICC tournament and was always eliminated in the semi-finals.