Another overseas tour. Another similar tale. Team India, it seems, will never mend their ways when they tour abroad. And it is no surprise that the Indian cricket fan is absolutely seething in fury after their latest dismal performance in the Test series in England. After a poor batting performance cost them the first Test at Birmingham, an absolutely horrible and unpardonable batting display in the second Test at Lord’s resulted in a humiliating innings defeat for the visitors.
While winning and losing is a part of the sport, what has really been shocking is the lack of application and utter disregard for the format shown by the Indian batsmen. Talented and established batsmen like Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane have been dismissed to ordinary shots and have not applied themselves at all. It seems Captain Virat Kohli, who had a poor second Test, is the only one who has shown some intent. The rest have been ordinary. In fact, even the bowling unit, which was pretty fantastic in the first Test, was inconsistent and mediocre in the Lord’s Test.
The top order has been all at sea against the moving ball and once again Indian batsmen’s inability to play well on seaming tracks has been exposed. All of them seem to be reliant on Virat Kohli to do the run-scoring. And thus once again it has been shown that the Indian batsmen are indeed the flat-track bullies they are often called.
With three Tests still remaining, this might well be another horror show by India on an overseas tour. Given that they are the number one ranked team at present and all the tall talks that coach Ravi Shastri had indulged in before the Test series, the results in the first two Tests have been really frustrating. "There's no hiding from the fact that mistakes have been made. We'll have to accept those, put them on the side, learn from them and make sure that we're not thinking about the same mistakes again rather get more confident and get ahead of the mistake and not repeat it again. That's our immediate focus heading into the next game,” is what Virat Kohli said after the end of the second game to the press.
While Virat’s attitude is laudable, one cannot say the same for the other members of the team. It has been appalling to see them poke around loosely at deliveries and play wild shots when what was needed was some application against good bowling. There has been no discipline from the team and how exactly will the touring Indian team recoup from this horrible defeat will be interesting to see.
For now, Indian fans seem to have already given up hope and with good reason. This Test series seems to be heading in the same direction that India’s last two tours to England – in 2011 and 2014 where they lost 4-0 and 3-1 respectively – did. Once again India have proven themselves to be lions at home and kittens abroad. For about one and a half years, they kept playing in the confines of their home and defeated all the teams they came across. Their batsmen looked like kings and their spinners ruled. But the moment they have stepped overseas, the veneer of their ability as the supposed number one team in the world has been stripped off.
It remains to be seen if Team India can pick themselves up and post a serious challenge to England in the next three Tests. But things aren’t looking good at present. For now, India seems to have fallen into its old habits and another series loss looks imminent. And if that does happen, then India will perhaps be forever tagged as the perennial losers abroad.