After a largely successful 2013, especially in ODI cricket, Team India have been taken off their perch as the top ranked ODI team in the world. A dismal showing in South Africa has been followed by an equally poor showing in New Zealand, and barring a few players, none of them have performed to their fullest potential. Here, we take a look at 5 of the biggest reasons why India lost the series.
1. Batting failure
You wouldn’t usually say this when the team has scored 270+ in all 4 innings, but on all occasions, they have been aided by their skipper and the lower order. For a team with a bowling attack as weak as India’s, the batsmen need to be more responsible and not throw their wickets away. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have not fired at the top. Virat Kohli has failed in the last two games, and Ajinkya Rahane has not delivered what was expected out of him.
2. Not converting starts
For New Zealand, in every game, Kane Williamson has scored a 50 at least, and the other batsmen have played around him. India haven’t had the opportunity to do something on similar lines. Too often, the likes of Rohit, Dhawan and Suresh Raina, after getting off to a start, have been guilty of throwing it away cheaply. If India are to be successful at next year’s World Cup, then there needs to be more responsibility taken up by the batsmen.
3. New ball bowling
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s strike rate has dipped considerably when you compare it with what it was earlier in his career. Major portion of India’s success in 2013 was down to Bhuvneshwar picking up early wickets and keeping the batsmen under check. In this series, however, runs have flowed from the beginning. Mohammad Shami has not been consistent too. Although Jesse Ryder has not gotten off to a big score yet, India have never managed to keep a lid on the scoring, and that has hurt them.
4. Death bowling
India’s Achilles Heel since time immemorial. It is a very rare sight to see an Indian bowler deliver a yorker these days. The Indian bowlers have kept doling out freebies in the end overs, and the likes of Corey Anderson, Ross Taylor and Luke Ronchi have not let them get away with it. Shami, Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma have all been erratic, and Dhoni has all too often had to rely on the spinners to both pick wickets and keep the scoring down; something that they have found it hard to do on unfriendly conditions.
Although this is a young side filled with athletic personnel, the gulf in class in the fielding department was visible. India never took the chances that came their way on the field. Often, in times of need, brilliance on the field can be a huge morale booster for any side, but India kept dropping catches and missing direct hits, which allowed the New Zealand batsmen to get away with the errors that they made.
With the World Cup a year away and in not very different conditions, MS Dhoni‘s boys have their task cut out if they are to retain their crown. Of late, they have been poor overseas and Dhoni will look to do all he can for a reversal in fortunes.