This year, cricket was badly affected by Covid-19 around the world. Even Team India could only tour New Zealand and Australia and played a three match T-20I series at home with Sri Lanka. They started the year with victory on Sri Lanka in both T20I matches at Indore and Pune while the first T20I matches at Indore and Pune, while the first T-20I match in Guwahati was not played due to rain.
In fact, Team India took full advantage of home conditions in this series and did not let Sri Lankan score the runs. Although Team India again won the series in NZ in the same shortest format, to win the series was not as easy as it looked. Two matches of this series were decided by Super Over and the remaining matches were also very close. But when the Test matches started, Indian team raised hands.
File photo of Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni.Team India during the second Test between India and Australia, in Melbourne on Tuesday. ANI
Actually, the conditions in NZ were completely different where our batsmen could not score much runs. We have a habit of playing in Indian conditions, where there is not too much bounce nor does the ball move that much. Our batsmen could not adapt this habit in NZ where the ball is more seam, movement is also more.
Indian batsmen face similar problems in Australia and England. But the T20 format is completely different. People like this format very much. The boundary is also smaller. Bowlers also try to stop runs than taking wickets. Only one over can change the scenario of the entire match. That was seen in the T20I series in NZ. It would be dangerous to predict anything in this format. Hardly anyone predicted a win over NZ.
After this, Team India won the T20I series in Australia but lost the ODI series. India won the first two T20I matches in Canberra and Sydney. The conditions of these two places are completely different. Once I have made a century in Canberra and the conditions there are very similar to India. Indian team has done well previously at this venue while the ball swings in Sydney.
If a team like Australia loses the T20I series to India in their own conditions, it means that the approach of the Australian captain and coaches is not right. They will have to assess this in future series also but in ODI, India lost the series. The trend of Test matches in Australia is very different. Right from the very beginning, Indian team faces many problems in the first Test of this tour but as the series progresses the performance also improves. I think the performance of Team India will also improve this time, as Team India’s victory in the second Test suggests. Bowlers have impressed in both the matches. Even Indian batting impressed in the second Test. In particular, Ajinkya Rahane’s century was excellent. We lost in Adelaide because our mindset was completely different. Our team came there after white ball cricket.
Our players forgot to stick to the wicket. I have also played in Adelaide. The conditions there are also Indian-friendly. There is not much bounce and turn. Except Pujara and Rahane, none of the mindsets were compatible with the Test. The other front was a quality bowler like Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Pat Cummins also played in IPL recently, but he was not getting much success there. It is necessary to anticipate the conditions in advance. When we went to participate in the 1975 World Cup, in a 60 over match, we considered the score between 150 and 180 as match winning. Gradually, we came to know the format of ODI. India has been a slow starter in the overseas conditions. Now the Indian batsmen performed well in Melbourne. The third Test wicket at Brisbane is very uncertain. Nothing can be said beforehand. Ravichandran Ashwin can prove to be quite useful in this series. It would not be right to guess the series from the Adelaide and Melbourne Tests. I believe this series is going to be quite interesting.
The writer is a former Test player and a coach of the Indian cricket team.
Indian batsmen performed well in Melbourne. The third Test wicket at Brisbane is very uncertain. Nothing can be said beforehand. Ravichandran Ashwin can prove to be quite useful in this series.