India’s bowling performances in their last ODI series and in the first match against Zimbabwe have caused plenty of concern. On the tour to Bangladesh earlier, they were thrashed in two games and might well have lost the third as well if not for Shikhar Dhawan’s and captain MS Dhoni half-centuries. Their win against Zimbabwe in the match wasn’t impressive for a team that started this tour as the No. 2 side in the world.
Be it operating with the new ball, or bowling at the death when batsmen are trying to get some quick runs, India’s pace attack has been toothless and lacks the killer instinct. Only when it seemed the quality had improved, following the team’s successful stint in the World Cup, the unit has slumped against the likes of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Against Bangladesh, Indian bowlers were guilty of bowling short and were punished by the likes of Soumya Sarkar and Shakib Al Hasan. In first ODI again, the death bowling lacked the X-factor as the bowlers gave away 27 runs in the last 3 overs, thus enabling Zimbabwe to take the match down to the wire. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowled well at the beginning of the innings and at the death, handing the match to India in the end. While he had a disciplined line and length Dhawal Kulkarni leaked runs and couldn’t provide any support whatsoever. It was a delight to see Harbhajan Singh don the blue jersey once again but he didn’t really seem to be in the groove. He bowled flat on a turning pitch and got a consolation wicket, which happened to be his first wicket in 4 years.
MS Dhoni has often complained about his lack of options in Indian bowling when in foreign conditions, where the pitches are harder and don’t offer much of a turn. Indian bowling hasn’t fared well in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. The wicket-taking ability of the spinners takes a major hit in these countries. The lack of wickets usually means opposition teams have more wickets in hand to go for the kill in the slog overs.
Maybe the selectors and Board need to consider the likes of Zaheer Khan to take up active role in the side as mentors. Their sheer experience of testing every opposition with some brilliant swing and seam bowling can inspire confidence and zeal in the new side.
Further, Indian bowlers can pick a leaf out of foreign player’s books. Everyone must have noticed the change in the rhythm of Moeen Ali. This is chiefly because he spent a lot of time with Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal who taught him a trick or two during their time together at Worcestershire. Playing in these conditions not only provides due exposure but the experience is invaluable.
It only remains to be seen how the team fairs in the upcoming ODIs and what changes await us. We can only hope and well, support the side at all times.
Image Credits-Bleacher Report