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28 November, 2020

Where Is India's Sixth Bowler To Help Win One Day Series In Australia?

 CRICKET CAPER   India - Australia Series 2020-21 1st ODI Review

Was Hardik Pandya adding another crown to his career and entertaining you cricket fans the only purpose? Or did you expect Virat Kohli and his boys to dominate the Aussies from Match One?

Did India lose the first One Day International by 66 runs? Or did they lose a practice match? These are few questions die hard fans in India are asking.

The Indian team, without  the two Sharmas - Rohit and Ishant -- were seen to have covered almost all drawbacks after they landed in Australia. 

The biggest among the complaints -- not enough time to get acclimatized  to the conditions -- was resolved as they were allowed to practice in 14 days quarantine as safeguard against the Covid-19. "We got a bit of lead time, which I think is priceless in today's international schedule," said Virat Kohli in his pre match statement.

By saying those words Kohli, getting closer to 12000 ODI runs, effectively sealed any leak the team may get to use as an excuse for defeat by adding: "We were given a few allowances to be able to train and the boys took it really well."

Then you have Ravi Shastri, India's head coach for long who has been publicly reiterating that today's India has the attack to bowl out any opposition on any pitch and the batting depth that can overhaul most stiff targets.

On Friday, not only India's bowling and batting failed but even their fielding was less than international standard. They dropped four crucial catches.

Elsewhere, commentators led by Sanjay Manjrekar got into a debate over the non inclusion of batting specialist Manish Pandey. Manjrekar was questioning the preference given to allrounder Hardik Pandya over Pandey. "Pandya hasn't been bowling after his return from injury, so it's unfortunate Pandey was made to sit out despite a good performance of 49 in the previous ODI India played," Manjrekar reasoned with Harsha Bhogle and Glenn McGrath.

The 374 for 6 Australia raised batting first showed India clearly lacked a sixth bowler who could help contain the home side's run feast. This was Australia highest against India.
This shortage got magnified when Marcus Stoinis, after getting out on a duck, bowled controlled spells for Australia conceding a meagre 25 runs from 6.2 overs at an average of 3.95.

In contrast, four of India's top bowlers ended up conceding 60-plus runs after bowling their quota of 10 overs each. Bumrah, who missed the purple cap by a whisker in the recently played Indian Premier League (IPL) gave away 73 runs from his 10 overs; Yuzvendra Chahal was clobbered for 89 runs while Ravindra Jadeja let go 63 runs from his quota.

"I think it's very important to start well for us as a team. When you come to a place like Australia, you want to set the momentum early," Kohli had claimed before the match.

This momentum that Team India and you fans were looking for has slipped from your hands. If you continue to feel happy with the entertainment Hardik Pandya provided with his belligerent knock, then nothing is lost.

However, if you feel concerned about this Team India not returning as losers from Australia, then you may want to pray that Kohli and the boys transform themselves.

Both Mayank Agarwal and Kohli got out to rash shots. Such desperation wasn't even required then. Kohli looked as if he is already in a mood to begin his paternity leave. Agarwal may be forgiven for his uncharacteristic act hoping he does not repeat it.

You also have Shreyas Iyer, who looks to have been sized up by the Aussie pacers as a prime suspect for short pitched deliveries.

If you are a serious cricket fan, you'll be questioning the Board of Control for Cricket in India with several pertinent questions. Among them: "You have star former players at the helm {Sourav Ganguly as BCCI president, Ravi Shastri as head coach]. These two alone have performed well during their times in Australia. So, shouldn't all this expertise be have put to good use and a more competitive team chosen for the tour?"

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