Indian coach Ravi Shastri was brimming with confidence at the end of 2017 and so was captain Virat Kohli. The two work well together and had great results in all formats of the game. However it does not take a genius to figure out that India did well because they played the majority of their matches at home.
Now that three weeks have passed in 2018, the Indian team have been humiliated in South Africa and have already lost the three match test series 2-0. The manner in which they have played, the poor selection choices, the strange on-field decisions and the quality of play have been abysmal to say the least. Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli must answer to 1.2 billion Indians for putting up a performance that was lacklustre.
Decision To Shun Practice Match
India had the opportunity to play a two day practice match before the first test and get acclimatised to South African conditions but they choose not to and preferred to have a net session. This was another bewildering decision considering the fact that Indian batsmen struggle on bouncy pitches. That is exactly what happened in the first test and India found themselves under pressure to win the second test.
Shastri has loads of experience as a player, commentator and coach and should know better. If he backed the decision not to have a practice match, then he must shoulder the blame just like he loves to take the accolades when India wins.
Decision To Drop Rahane and B Kumar
The decision to drop vice-captain A Rahane over the fact that he had a poor run at home and chose R Sharma who has failed miserably overseas must be questioned. Take away Kohli and Rahane has been India’s best overseas batsman for the last few years. The middle order lacked solidarity and Rahane’s absence made a huge difference.
The decision to drop B Kumar, India’s best bowler in the first test in favour of I Sharma was another shocker. The decision to bring P Patel on tour knowing that he is an average wicket-keeper was another poor decision by the selectors. Patel played the second test in place of the injured W Saha and ended up dropping three catches. The selectors are now flying D Karthik over who should have been in the team ahead of Patel.
Shoddy Fielding And Poor Running
India’s fielding was shoddy and their running was terrible. C Pujara was run out twice in the second test and H Pandya should be given a rollicking for getting run-out after not grounding his bat. Replays showed that a number of Indian players including R Ashwin do not slide their bat into the crease – basics that are taught at school level. What is R Shastri doing as head coach and what excuse will Kohli come up with for poor team selection?