Former Indian batsman and a World Cup-winning member, Mohinder Amarnath feels that Virat Kohli and his men could have prepared better for the five-match Test series against England.
Interestingly, India got a break of more than a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the limited-overs series. Hence they could have easily played one more practice match to acclimatize to the conditions better.
However, many of the squad members were part of India A squad which played against the England Lions and Windies A.
India’s record outside the subcontinent hasn’t been that great in the last five years. They have only beaten Windies who has been a struggling force in the international circuit.
So, their overall performance in England hasn’t been inspiring at all. They have won three Test series here. However, they have managed to win only six Test matches over all these years. They returned victorious in 1971, 1986 and 2007.
Well, given their performance in English conditions of late, Amarnath feels that India could have prepared a little better. Amaranth gave his views on the series in his column for the Times of India.
Amarnath feels India should have prepared better before facing England:
“The best possible feeling for a true cricket lover is the anticipation of a five-Test series. It’s wonderful that India are playing a full-fledged series in England as it will really be a test of their temperament and technique. Playing the red ball in English conditions is one of cricket’s greatest challenges from a batting point of view, so an absorbing period of two months lies ahead,” he wrote for the ToI.
“At present, England is facing an Indian summer, which means the Indians will feel a bit more assured going into the first Test. My main concern is the preparation of Indians. I am not convinced that limited overs, white-ball cricket offers ideal preparation for Tests. The one four-day game was also reduced to three days, rather ironically, because of heat! These are players who play in 40-plus degree Celsius during the IPL, so I think they can cope with the English sun.”
India has been struggling to find a proper opening combination outside the subcontinent. Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t been at his best outside the Indian subcontinent.
So, has been the case with Cheteshwar Pujara. Barring an innings here and there, Dhawan and Pujara’s form might well bring a headache to Virat Kohli.
The batting order is a concern, says Mohinder Amarnath
“The other concern is that the batting order has not been set yet. The opening slot looks unsettled with Shikhar Dhawan looking tentative. Virat Kohli is a very different batsman from the one who toured a few years ago. He has developed well in the intervening years and will hopefully reach peak form soon. Pujara seems to be in ultra-defensive mode and doesn’t seem to be looking for runs,” Amarnath added.
Amarnath praised the Indian bowling line-up. Amarnath feels that it will be wise to play Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the XI if India is likely to play a couple of spinners.
The fast bowling department will be led by the experienced campaigner Ishant Sharma.
“India’s bowling looks good with Ishant Sharma at the helm. It might be wise to use R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as the spinners. Kuldeep Yadav should not have been played in the shorter formats. Now that he has, he should only be used if conditions are favourable. It would show positivity and intent to go in with five bowlers,” Amarnath, who played 69 Tests for India maintained in his write-up.
Amarnath also stated that England will start as the favourites before the start of the series. He also hailed the likes of Joe Root, who has been one of the modern-day greats in international cricket.
“England do start as favourites. Joe Root is wonderful to watch and, in the company of senior pro-Alastair Cook, and Jonny Bairstow gives their batting a good base. Recent India-England series has been dominated by James Anderson. However, he is not getting younger and our batsmen should face him with greater assurance,” Amarnath concluded.