After a thrilling and appropriate conclusion to the IPL season 7, the next big mission for millions of cricket crazy fans of the nation is the upcoming tour of England. But given the overall inconsistent performance by majority of our star batsmen in the recently concluded IPL, it will not be fair to expect miracles from the current batting order. Most of the top Indian players like from MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja could not perform up to their capability.

The IPL was played on the indigenous Indian pitches and these “stars” could not perform here. It is obvious that the bouncy pitches like Lords, Leeds and Old Trafford will be hard to negotiate for our batsmen. The England tour will be particularly difficult as we do not have anyone of the calibre of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman this time.

The memories of the last England tour are not very sweet, when India lost 4-0. Even today, England has got star batsmen like Cook, Bell, Morgan and Prior. They will not find it difficult to rip through the comparatively weak bowling attack of team India. On the other hand their killer bowling attack consisting of Anderson, Broad, Plunkett, and Jordan is capable of demolishing any kind of batting line up on their own soil.

The performance of wicket taking bowlers always proves vital in deciding the end result of any given match. Thus it becomes crucial that they perform – especially in an away series. The analogy is that it does not matter how many runs have been scored by your team, unless your bowlers contain the run rate of the opponent and also get wickets on a regular interval. Here lies the catch. Most of the Indian fans have a doubt whether our lead bowler Ishant Sharma will be able to get even a few wickets! Another main bowler having responsibility to strike is Bhuvneshwar Kumar. No doubt he has done well in the IPL, but unfortunately his past overseas performances have not been very impressive. The new find of team India Shami Ahmed had risen hopes of countless Indian fans, but not only has his economy rate substantially deteriorated, but he has also been unable to take wickets.

R Ashwin is the key bowler whom many fans used to admire. But off late, he has not only been inconsistent but his habit of never ending experimentation has proved costly. In this world of competitive cricket, there is not much scope of fooling around the seasoned batsmen with one’s ineffective bowling. In this situation, Ashwin has lost his self esteem and confidence. Even now, if he stays focused on his off spin, he might be able to make a comeback. MSD has got to take notice of this fact.

Another disheartening factor with our bowling is fall of the magic of Sir Jadeja. I still believe that he might prove to be a winning horse once he gets back his rhythm, but it is unlikely in England.

A strong batting order, clubbed with an equally good bowling line-up is required to get the desired results. The importance of a tight fielding unit is also very vital. The way a large number of easy catches were dropped in the IPL, the fielding coach will have to work hard to make the fielding of team India effective.

On a positive note, the origin of youngsters like Manan Vohra, Sanju Samson and Sandeep Sharma is a good omen. But they need to be drafted in the test side as soon as possible. 

    Established sports writer across various global platforms

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