Indian think tank should have promoted in-form Virat Kohli to the No 3 position

At a time when the calls for younger batsmen in the line-up is getting louder with every passing innings, the composure and technique that Virat Kohli has displayed in both innings has given it more meat © Getty Images

 

By Vincent Sunder

 

It was 63 for four in the first innings and 51 for four in the second outing. The common factor in the situation was Virat Kohli waking in and then staying on to stage a recovery. At a time when the calls for younger batsmen in the line-up is getting louder with every passing innings, the composure and technique that Kohli has displayed in both innings has given it more meat.

 

India’s batting problems start at the top of the order, and the issue there is not the lack of application but more a matter of poor and failing technique against the new ball. The batting resurrection debates have, however, been more focused and loud on changes in the middle order. Forget Rohit Sharma for a moment. Will Ajinkya Rahane make his Test debut at Adelaide? Or was he taken just as an injury cover for the openers? Not just an answer to that, the manner in which the minds of Team India think-tank works will be known when the game starts.

 

The Indian bowlers brought the smiles back to the side and the followers on Day Two at Perth. Between the fall of the third wicket at Sydney and the first wicket at Perth yesterday, India bowled 1162 deliveries during which 836 runs were scored for the solitary wicket of Ricky Ponting. Take away this barren period and the bowling has not really been bad. Whilst small battles were won with the ball, it appears only to be a matter of time for a side that folds up in 60.2 overs on Day One of a Test match for a paltry 161 runs, and falters again in the second venture after conceding a 200-run lead, to face the inevitable.

 

Cricketing miracles have happened in the past. Nine sessions are left in this game, India are in arrears of 120 runs with just six wickets in hand and the wicket has something in it for the bowlers. Even the most optimistic Indian follower cannot be blamed if they are unwilling to bet a solitary buck on anything positive for India in terms of the result. The value of the battering handed out by David Warner, so very evident when one looks at the averages of the Indian bowlers, is not just the runs but the time in which he racked them up that has given Australia all the time it needed to get the next ten Indian wickets to move up 3-0. The subsequent failure of Australia with the bat was completely camouflaged the start they had and India’s stuttering start in the 2nd innings.

 

Why hasn’t India changed the batting order?

 

Why hasn’t a long, losing overseas streak made the Indian side think of changes in the batting order? The last Indian batting miracle at Eden Gardens happened when John Wright made a change reading the batting in the first innings very well. This game presented a great opportunity to promote the young Virat Kohli at a responsible No 3 position on the back of his confident knock in the first innings. It would have shown how he handled the pressure and responsibility. Alas, the Indian batting order seems to be etched in stone ignoring consecutive failures.

 

And finally, the batting of the Indian skipper in Tests has come into harsher scrutiny now. Indian cricket will cry for scapegoats and it appears there would be company for VVS Laxman by the time this series comes to an end. With the hitherto moderate success and promise provided by Kohli and Umesh Yadav aside, will the side see any other positives in the Tests ahead? 

 

For their part, Team India needs to believe that a barren period of 1,162 wicketless deliveries will not happen again, and look to perform well with the ball again with the hope that the batsmen will find form. 

 

(Vincent Sunder aspired to play Test cricket, but had to struggle to play ‘gully’ cricket! He managed a league side to title triumph in the KSCA tournaments. He was debarred from umpiring in the gully games after he once appealed vociferously for a caught-behind decision when officiating as an umpire! After two decades in the corporate sector, he became an entrepreneur with the objective of being able to see cricket matches on working days as well. Vincent gets his ‘high’ from cricket books and cricket videos and discussing cricket)