The Indian cricket team is scheduled to tour Ireland and England next and here are five things that the team can address before the all-important tour.
The blitz and glamour of the IPL has come to an end and it is time for some international cricket. After India defeated Afghanistan comprehensively within 2 days of the one-off Test played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, it’s now time for the tour of UK.
The team will start its UK tour with a two match T20I series against Ireland to be played on the 27th and 29th of June respectively. The caravan will then move to England where India are scheduled to play a long season.
Matters will start with a 3-match T20I Series which will then give way to a three match T20I series and a three match ODI series. Once the limited-overs leg would be done and dusted, both teams will lock horns for a long five match Test series. Here are five things that India can address before its tour of UK.
The bowling combination
The rise of Umesh Yadav in the recently concluded IPL and Ishant Sharma’s County stint have complicated few things. One thing is for sure, India would most likely go with one spinner in the test matches against England and that spinner would be Ashwin.
If they choose to play Hardik Pandya as an all rounder, then there will be a place left for only three pacers which would be taken by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. For the third place, three quick bowlers will be in contention, namely Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.
Given his current form and his experience of the English conditions, Ishant Sharma is most likely to leapfrog the rest.
The moving ball
It would be a challenge for the Indian batsmen to play in the swinging conditions of England. If there are grey skies, the ball jags around quite a bit. There would also be a lot of seam movement. Batsmen then need to have a very good technique to combat that.
The T20 shots and playing away from the body will have far too much risk. Players like Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who are very attacking may have to face some problems. The batsmen would have to play very close to the body and ones with a compact technique have more probability of succeeding.
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Centuries by both Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay in the one-off test against Afghanistan have increased complications. Also, KL Rahul scored a classy half-century in the match. All the three openers being in form has made it a problem of plenty for the selectors.
However, the way out can be that either Murali Vijay or KL Rahul is slotted lower down the order and the other two can bat at the top. A case is that KL Rahul is shifted to number 5 and Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan open the innings. Rahul will then be adept at facing the second new ball and can stitch some useful partnerships with the lower order.
Virat Kohli’s jinx
Virat Kohli has an abysmal record in England. He is a very attacking player and this is what works against him. In the conditions that offers swing and seam, Kohli tries to fetch the ball from outside the off stump and gets nicked off.
In his previous tour of England, James Anderson troubled him a lot. Though Virat Kohli has improved his technique a lot and would be determined to do well. It would be very interesting to see how Kohli performs. The battle between James Anderson and Virat Kohli will be the top player battle to watch out for.
Keeper and all-rounder dilemma
Wriddhiman Saha was injured and missed out on the one-off test between India and Afghanistan. However his performances have not been up to the mark with the bat. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a brilliant keeper, Dinesh Karthik has been stellar in the IPL.
It was very unfortunate that Karthik got run out in the test match against Afghanistan but he presents a very strong case for selection on the UK tour. The Tamil Nadu keeper-batsman has a good enough technique and has improved his keeping by leaps and bounds.
Karthik can be instrumental for the balance of the side. The team management can then think of dropping Hardik Pandya and playing with 5 complete bowlers as Dinesh Karthik will then serve as the sixth batsman.