India lost the ODI Series against Australia with its third consecutive defeat from the home team. While skipper MS Dhoni seems to apprehend the glitches one after another after each consecutive matches, the overall performance of the team is under mild qualm. The three matches with Australia has revealed some serious lacunae within Indian Team. Chappell, on onset of the tour, hinted the lack of all-rounder as an apparent deficit for the team. Aligning with his view, Dhoni too corroborated with the fact after the third defeat. However, lack of all-rounders cannot be the only reason for the squad's poor performance. Only the batting line seems to be with some sheen with some strength down the line.
The ODI team is certainly under some impact as due to lack of players like Irfan Pathan at number 5 or 6. It is not because the team is deficient batsmen, it is because the team is in need of more diverse bowlers. Umesh Yadav, although experienced has no particular accolades under his name. On the other hand, for Barinder Sran, it is the maiden ODI series. Ishant Sharma, who is clearly not in form, is the only one as the best pacer on the bowling front. Aswin, the spinner who earned the badge of the top test bowler recently appeared futile. With the present crew of Indian bowlers, it is natural for the team to yield against the Australian strongmen. Performance of Indian bowlers can be comprehended from the fact that Aussies won by more than five wickets in the first ODI and on the second by seven wickets.
The reason Dhoni decided to bat first winning the toss in first two matches might be because he discerned the fact of a lackadaisical bowling front. Australia, on flipside, resort to the same reason as their winning strategy. It was clear when they decided to field first after winning the toss on the third match. It was not because they are more aware of their home Melbourne pitch, but because they have understood the feebleness of Indian bowlers and their incompetence to resist their batsmen. India's inability to resist the sturdy Australian chases is also because of lose fielding. Only bowlers cannot be held responsible to take wickets. Fielders are equally on the hook, if not for taking wickets, at least to check the run rate. Dhoni did speak of a weak fielding stature of his team right after the third defeat. Compared to Smith's squad, Dhoni's team has a serious gap in fielding strength. Apart from catch misses, fielders could not even check medium shots running over boundaries. In the third ODI, the Aussies smashed 28 boundaries and only three sixes.
Lapsed fielding has been a permanent issue for India's team. Players cannot be taught how to field, because it more about a zeal to work hard rather than skills. Indian players are hardly seen diving on the turf and even if they dive, they hardly succeed. When it comes to Indian fielding, players like Robin Singh and Ajay Jadeja tops the lists. Presently, Rahane has been displaying some good actions. To create good fielders, the team should emphasize on coaching and more exposure to live games. Moreover, coaching should emphasize more on building a strong approach towards the game apart from creating skills. Players should go through “warm up” sessions before matches as brainstorming. The approach of the Captain towards the team, the spirit and on-field behaviors contribute largely to strong fielding.
Following the trail of "Captain's Approach" towards a team, a probable dent in Dhoni’s captaincy is visible subtly. It will be certainly harsh to question his captaincy just after some defeats, while he has been one of the most successful skippers for Team India. However, his recent comments on spinners and fielders depicts him only as a craftsman blaming his tools. The problem seems to be with selection of the squad itself. While inclusion of bowlers like Gurkerat and Sran for their maiden ODI was not entirely faulty, the decision should have been focused from a viewpoint that the faceoff is with Australia, the team that won World cup a year before. MS Dhoni and Ravi Shastri should have checked the possibilities of more “tested” bowlers like Ishant Sharma and Aswin in the squad.
Why a team has won would not pose questions and wild guesses as the question of why a team as lost. The consecutive defeat of India in an almost similar manner is sure to raise wringers and assays on the team. Such instances are however, only for constructive purposes as none can question the performance of a team as win and loss has been always a part of the game. With big shows like T20 World Cup at hand, India should put effort to strengthen its stance against top teams like Australia. The Aussies had always been tough for the Blue Squad and overcoming this team is the only way for India to the zenith of Cricket.
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