Home > Features >

India’s bowling woes are becoming a perennial epidemic

Ishant Sharma's performances over the last year have raised eyebrows over his selection in the lineup © Getty Images
Ishant Sharma’s performances over the last year have raised eyebrows over his selection in the lineup © Getty Images

By Shrikant Shankar

India lost the second One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand by 15 runs. A quick glance at the scorecard would indicate that the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma — the openers — didn’t come to the party as India chased down a revised 293-run target. It is true that those two are struggling a bit off late and the middle-order played really well to get close to a daunting target. But it was a daunting target! And for that the bowlers are responsible.

This is not India where the conditions do not change much during the duration of a 50-over match. The track generally stays the same and batting under lights becomes easier. The grounds in New Zealand are much smaller and one can clear the boundary with more ease. Big scores are also seen in New Zealand, but once there is a change in the weather, the conditions become different. There was a bit of rain in Hamilton on Wednesday and that played its part in the outcome of the match in some way.

India lost the first ODI in Napier by 24 runs and again chased a big total. The 300-run mark has not been hit so far in the series by either side, but in both matches India had to chase above 290 to win. The important thing to understand here is that these are not 290-plus wickets. In both matches, Corey Anderson took the match away from the Indians when New Zealand were batting. In the first ODI, he scored a quick-fire 68 not out from 40 deliveries with three fours and four sixes.

In the second ODI, he blazed to a 17-ball 44 with two fours and five sixes. His late onslaughts are causing real concern for India, but the bowlers have to take the blame for this. If the Indian bowlers get early wickets, they are not able to exert pressure later on and the batsmen make merry on this. India came back a bit towards the end in the second ODI, but by then the damage was already done. India have gained a good reputation of being great chasers in modern one-day cricket. But one cannot keep chasing scores near or in excess of 300 that often in all conditions.

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have shouldered the burden of big chases for India in recent times, but they too are bound to fall short every now and then. They have been India’s best batsmen in both the ODIs so far, but they cannot pull-off miracles again and again. That is what India should be wary off when they play for the ICC World Cup 2015. On most days, the Indian batting will get them through. But if they are to face such a situation in a crucial knockout game during the mega event next year, India will come short.

The spinners seem to be better than the pacers at the moment. But India do not have world-class spinners, they have good spinners who need good assistance off the tracks. Australia and New Zealand will not produce spinner-friendly tracks during the World Cup. They will produce pace-friendly tracks. But are the Indian seamers good enough to take advantage of that? The answer is they probably are not good enough. Experience is also a factor. Neither Bhuvneshwar Kumar nor Mohammed Shami are experienced enough in international cricket.

Ishant Sharma is an experienced bowler, but does not seem to bowl like one. The Indian team management must look towards experienced heads like Zaheer Khan and maybe even Irfan Pathan in future series. For now, the bowlers themselves should learn from all this and come out the better or India face a troublesome situation heading into the 2015 World Cup.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe 2014 Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 2014

Jonathan Trott scores century for Warwickshire against Sussex

BCCI’s plea to become national sports body to be looked into by Supreme Court

tsMS Dhoni takes 5th spot in Forbes Magazine’s valuable sportspersons list

PCB launches revamp of Pakistan’s domestic structure

Sri Lanka to look for new coaching staff

India tour of England 2014: Ishant Sharma’s feats at Lord’s

India tour of England 2014: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s feats at Lord’s

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014: Dale Steyn’s feats at Galle

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Bigg Boss 8 contestant list: Rashmi Desai, Tina Dutta and Karan Kundra to participate in Salman Khan’s show!

Ileana D’Cruz sparks engagement rumours!

Videocon launches ‘Double Benefit,Single Price’ plan in Punjab

9 reasons sprouts are good for your health

BCCI’s plea to become national sports body to be looked into by Supreme Court

Spice to bring Firefox, Android One phones before Diwali

Sex Tip #26 – What to do after sex?

India tour of England 2014: Ishant Sharma’s feats at Lord’s

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here