Perhaps this is the most vital and appropriate assessment undertaken by any authority on Indian cricket. Bursting out heavily on the Indian bowling attack in Australia, former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday said that it is high time “we look for a fresh set of bowlers” in the Test ranks to ensure a result oriented and better showing in overseas conditions.
The Indian bowling attack, comprising of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin, has miserably failed to pick 20 Australian wickets in all the four matches as the visitors conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by 2-0. Gavaskar enforced that it is about time for an immediate change for a positive yield.
He said, “This was the second time that three out of the four bowlers were in Australia and for the second time they were taken to the cleaners as they were in 2011-12. So you really can’t keep them going despite the fact that they might bag wickets in a domestic series because overseas in the last three years they have done nothing. So like we have done with the batting, we have to look at a fresh set of bowlers and you will find them in domestic cricket.”
He elaborated, “If you see the way the new batting came good. When the last trip was there, you had Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, they still weren’t able to do much on that particular trip. Now on this trip you had new batsmen. Apart from Kohli everybody else was playing in Australia for the first time. You showed faith in the new lot, I think you got to show faith and patience in a new lot of bowlers as well.”
Given the heavy quantum of runs gifted, this becomes irrelevant that Shami got a five-wicket haul in the Sydney Test or off-spinner Ashwin bagged four at the SCG, so Gavaskar said that bowling surely let the team down.
He analyzed, “I think if they had the bowling then it would have been a completely different story. But they did not have the bowling. And even granted the pitches were very good for batting, it just wasn’t penetrative enough and it didn’t look as if they wanted to take 20 wickets. In fact if you have a look at the entire scenario of the four Test matches and if I remember correctly then not once did they dismiss the entire Australian team in any of the innings. That exactly tells you a story in itself, doesn’t it.”
As far as scoring runs by team India, there is no dearth of talent and Kohli making 692 runs in the series is just one example. Gavaskar said, “I think that this is going to be a truly formidable unit in the future and people will go miles to see this unit. Because this batting unit has got everything. It’s got copybook cricket, it’s got some extraordinary shot-making ability and it is a team which is a very athletic unit.”
He also added, “They run very well between the wickets, they will give a lot of pleasure to lot of people over the next few years if they maintain their form and more important if they maintain their fitness and enthusiasm”.
Gavaskar praised Kohli for his comprehensive performance, especially the way he led the team by coming upfront in the final test, thus Virat excelled in both the roles as a captain and a batsman.
Underlining the same, Gavaskar said, “As far as his batting is considered, I mean he was extraordinary. To score almost 700 runs in a four-Test series is never easy. He had four hundreds to boast and every single time he came out to bat it seemed he was going to score a hundred. It was such a comforting thought to see him come out to bat because the way he came out to bat and the confidence he showed from the first ball, it really was a sight to see. As far as his captaincy is concerned, what he showed in Sydney is that he had learnt from the Adelaide Test.”
“In the Adelaide Test they went for a win when it would have been more practical after the loss of Wriddhiman Saha’s wicket to try and play sensibly. To try and keep victory in sight at the same time if victory was not possible then try and save the game like they did here in Sydney. He had learnt from that Adelaide mistake, if I might call it a mistake. Nothing is wrong, you are talking about a country’s Test record and losing a Test does nothing to the country. Romantics might say that you went down fighting, but you went down in the first Test. If the same application had been shown in Adelaide then you would have come to Sydney with 1-0 down and with a chance to level the series.”