The series of cricket Tests is over. India got thrashed by England once again bringing to the fore the many problems our much-vaunted super stars seem to have when playing cricket abroad. “Lions at home, lambs abroad” has been a phrase used for decades now to highlight how our batsmen who score heaps of runs in India flounder when they play in England, Australia or South Africa.
In the recent series, we drew the First Test and actually won the Second at Lord’s, for the first time since 1984. Many felt this augured well for the remaining three tests. Would we win the series after defeats abroad in England and Australia? This however was not to be. Things went downhill rapidly and we ended up getting thrashed 3-1 by England. The margins of their victories and all the assorted statistics tell the own story.
Apart from Murali Vijay, the opening batsman, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar , the opening bowler, none of the others did well on a consistent basis. Ishant Sharma has a great game at the Lord, in the only Test we won but injury stopped him from playing the remaining games. These were the turning points of the tour.
What was shocking was the poor perfromance of all our batsmen. Virat Kohli, considered one of the most promising batsmen in the world managed just 134 runs in 10 innings over 5 Tests. The others fared as badly. Even the bowlers seemed to run out of ideas.
The Oval, scene of our triumph in 1971 when Chandra got that memorable 6 for 38, saw India slide to 8/4 at one stage in the final Test. We worried whether we were heading for another sub 50 score as happened in 1974 when we were bundled out at Leeds for 42. Thankfully, 40 years later we did somewhat better and reached 94. But it was a thrashing all the same coming after defeats in the last two Tests as well. We started with a draw, won the second test and lost the next three in a row, each time by a huge margin.
Our players should play in the English County Championship to develop their cricketing skills. If you remember in the pre-IPL days, many of the best Indians did play in the County Cahamionships and they were far better players because of the experience. The IPL has changed all that. Now players from England and elsewhere want to play in the IPL in India. The money on offer makes the Indians not want to ( or need to, really) play anywhere else after the two months of IPL every year!