The pre-2015 World Cup preparations are not going on exactly great for team India. Consecutive losses to Australia and England exposed India’s lack of bite in its bowling as well as its inability in conditions aiding the batsmen. However the story reversed itself in the World Cup, where the faster bowlers and the spinners turned it around as India picked 70 wickets in 7 games for the first time in its ODI history.
This time around an year later, the Indian attack is almost back to square one. The faster bowlers seem as erratic as ever, the medium pacers just do not provide enough threat and the spinners look helpless on the flat tracks of the Aussie Summer. However the likes of Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma who are experienced enough in these conditions are injured giving the youngsters an opportunity to showcase their skill as well as a chance to lead for some of the experienced campaigners like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
Batting friendly conditions: Indian bowlers Nightmare?
This has already been talked about a lot during the South African limited overs leg of the series where the Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners in batting friendly conditions. However over the Australian Summer, New Zealand and the West Indies faced the brunt of the Australian bowling attacks who ripped through the batting line ups on batting friendly conditions and hence proving that incision is the key in the conditions down-under.
All said and done, the Indian bowlers at the end of the day are not the Australian bowlers, but they possess immense potential, just like it was depicted in the World Cup of 2015, where the likes of Umesh Yadav performed well beyond expectations.
An Eternal Struggle: Where did it go all wrong?
The Indian bowling has almost been dismal in the concluded two One day Internationals against the Australians, and the matter might just go from bad to worse if they do not pick themselves up and gear up for the challenges in the near future, with the T20 world cup in India lurking, the bowlers must find their mark sooner rather than later.
But what exactly went wrong since that dream run for the bowlers in the World Cup of 2015? Of course one reason may be that of Mohammed Shami. His unfortunate injury has blown away the spine of the Indian attack. Mohammad Shami held the Indian bowling like a glue in the World Cup and his absence has been dearly felt.
Another crucial and the most important reason for this debacle, is the over-dependence on the Indian batsmen to either post a huge total or chase down almost any score in limited overs cricket. This issue has already been an issue of debate. When the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni fail, India invariably lose without much of a fight from its bowlers.
The Semi- Final of the World Cup, some of the games lost to the South Africans almost depict this clear and ever-growing scenario. However this changed when the batsmen lead by Rohit Sharma, actually came good in Perth and the Gabba, but the Indians lost almost without a fight. The attack was just poor from the word go, except for the young Barinder Sran, whose inexperience and a decent performance at Perth can actually be excused.
What does the current form mean for India?
India is in a desperate situation, 0-2 down in the VB series against Australia and games to be played at the SCG and the MCG, means that the side has its task cut out. Australia on the other hand is full of confidence going into the other games, despite playing a truckload of games in Sydney and Melbourne over the last year, the Aussie batsmen look to be in complete command, along with the ones in reserves.
The Indians on the other hand must be positive, and as MS Dhoni always says “Executing the plans better”, might be the motto of the hour. However the problem is that the bowling doesn’t seem to have a definite plan, but probably bowling first without the pressure might be refreshing and could help.The likes of Ishant Sharma must take the initiative to lead by example, and its high time the spinners lead by Ashwin deliver the goods in the middle overs.
With the World T20 around the corner, the Indian bowling line up, the strategy and the rhythm need to be restored sooner rather than later otherwise the Indian attack might just come under the sword big time come the premier T20 tournament back at home.