Not Just the Subcontinent, India Has the Firepower to Win Overseas
Here’s a look at why the current side can topple teams in unfavorable conditions as well.
The Indian team has more or less decimated every side that has come their way in the last one year. Apart from a few blips at the Champions Trophy and a couple of T20 series against West indies, the Indians have won all competitions across all formats of the game.
However, most of the competitions have happened in the Indian subcontinent or in the home of lower-ranked teams like Zimbabwe (T20s) and West Indies (Tests).
Hence, the burning question – can India maintain their performance in countries such as England, Australia and South Africa?
India have always done well in the Indian subcontinent, but have struggled miserably in tough overseas conditions over the last six years.
However, this Indian team is different. Here’s a look at why the current side can topple teams in unfavorable conditions as well.
1. Excellent Pace Battery
The conditions in England, Australia and South Africa usually favour the speedsters and therefore it is imperative for any visiting team to carry a good fast bowling unit.
In the last Test series that India played in Australia Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav were part of India’s squad.
And this time too, the same fast bowlers, except for Varun Aaron, are likely to be part of the Indian team.
However, the unit has much more experience and skill than they had back in January 2015.
Umesh Yadav has played 22 more Tests since the fourth Test in Australia and has picked up 51 wickets. At the end of the tour of Australia, Shami averaged 36.14 (12 matches) and in the last two years, he has recorded an average of 24.51 (13 matches).
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has played only 6 Tests since the tour of Australia, but he has an incredible record in the last two years. The speedster has picked up 16 wickets at an average of 20.62.
2. Settled Batting Line-Up
India had already sorted out their batting-line up by the end of their run through South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia from December 2013-January 2015.
India recorded a total of above 400 at least once in each of the Test matches in their tour of Australia in 2014-15.
Even in the ODI series in Australia in 2016, India scored above 300 in four out of five ODIs, but still ended up losing the series 4-1.
When India travel to South Africa, later this year or early next year, they will field more or less the same batsmen.
So, the runs will come.
3. Not Reliant Only on Ashwin and Jadeja
Apart from having a great fast bowling unit, India have a big pool of spinners as well. The Men in Blue don’t have to be reliant only on Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are growing at a rapid rate.
Kuldeep started off with a four-wicket haul on his Test debut against Australia on a not-so-spinner-friendly pitch in Dharamsala.
Yuzvendra Chahal, too, has impressed in his short career so far. The leg-spinner averages 24.09 and 15.81 in ODIs and T20s respectively.
The chinaman and leg-spinner could be the key players in India’s plans for shorter formats.
4. Budding Seaming All-Rounder
India missed a good seaming all-rounder during their tours of South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia. Watch MS Dhoni speak to the media ahead of the first ODI against Australia in 2016 in the video above.
And now India have got a fair idea of Hardik Pandya’s potential in the last one-and-a-half years. Pandya has become a vital player in the shorter formats with his hard-hitting prowess and fast bowling abilities.
The 23-year-old also started his Test career with a fifty and a century in the first and third Tests of the three-match series against Sri Lanka. The pacer also chipped in with wickets.
5. Fresh Captain, New Goals
India have struggled on tours, particularly to England and Australia (at least in the Test format), in the last 6 years. And on each of the tours to England, MS Dhoni was the captain.
The wicketkeeper-batsman retired from Tests before the fourth Test against Australia in 2015. So, he was the official captain named for the series against Australia as well.
But, this time, when the Indian team embarks on their journey overseas, Virat Kohli will be at the helm of affairs.
A change of guard should bring in fresher ideas to the camp and new-found energy can be generated in the team.
After India defeated Australia in the fourth Test in Dharamsala and won the series 2-1, earlier this year, Virat Kohli (watch video above) said:
If we can conquer the overseas season, that’s when you will see a broader smile on my face. I am sure that the team can deliver away from home because there is a lot more desire to do well in the team.Virat Kohli
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