Former Indian captain and the current BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly had admitted that Team India’s batting in English conditions has been woeful in the past decade and they will have to bat a lot better in order to compete in the upcoming six Test matches, including the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, starting Friday.
Speaking on e-Salaam Cricket on Aaj Tak, Ganguly said that the Virat Kohli-led batting unit will have to consistently score in excess of 300-350 runs to allow their bowlers to put pressure on the opposition.
‘’Batting has been a concern for Team India in England. We made over 450 runs at Trent Bridge, so when you make big runs the opposition comes under pressure. Even the bowlers get a total that they can defend when the team scores big. India should forget the past, the lack of big totals on their previous tours,’’ said Sourav Ganguly.
“They will have to bat better than before. The conditions are very different from India and even Australia, the Dukes ball will swing throughout the day. When the sun comes out the ball doesn’t move an inch but when it’s overcast then you see how dangerous James Anderson and Stuart Broad become. They will first have to deal with Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult before facing England in 5 Tests, so scoring runs will be very important for India,’’ he added.
‘’You score over 300-350 runs only then you can compete in a Test match in England. Therefore, I feel it is crucial for India to bat accordingly in English conditions,” Sourav Ganguly said.
Opening in English conditions is one of the toughest jobs in the modern era given the amount of movement that the fast bowlers generate.
Sourav Ganguly reminisced how the duo of Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag would make the job easy for the middle-order by blunting the new ball during his playing days.
He reckoned that the same onus will be on the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill to ensure that they play out opening spells of the fast bowlers and blunt the new Dukes’ ball.
”Opening becomes a very important aspect when you tour abroad. When we toured Australia, England and Pakistan, we played well because we had openers like Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra, who used to play out the new ball and make it old. When your middle-order batsmen come out to bat at 30 for 2 then it becomes really difficult for a side to compete,” said Ganguly.
“This tour therefore, will be very crucial for openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Not just the WTC Final but also the 5 Tests against England. They will have to play out the new ball and put a price on their wickets. If they are able to do that then they will be able to set the game for the batsmen coming after them like Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and India’s best batsman on current form Rishabh Pant,” Sourav Ganguly said.
”Opening is very crucial in overseas conditions and India will have to look into this. I’m sure Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri and the team management will be discussing a lot about this. The game has changed over the last 15-20 years, teams are scoring at a faster rate now because batsmen play a lot of shots and don’t take a lot of time. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will have to find ways of play out the new ball and make it old enough,” said Ganguly
“It’s not that the old ball won’t swing in England, the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult will get movement with the old ball as well that’s why I feel the opening partnership will be very crucial for the Indian team,” Ganguly said.